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March 12, 2020 News 4 Comments

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A New York Times article says the use of telemedicine in COVID-19 screening and treatment is increasing.

Use of virtual visits keeps people out of the ED or medical practice waiting rooms who are either exhibiting symptoms or who are susceptible to infection.

Upfront triage also minimizes the exposure of healthcare workers and the quarantine that would result.

NYU Langone Health is encouraging its self-quarantined doctors to continue their work by offering virtual visits, while Intermountain Healthcare is considering delivering virtual care for patients who have COVID-19 and chronic medical conditions and can be safely treated at home in avoiding the exposure of traveling nurses who could spread the infection.

Reader Comments


From Andre: “Re: COVID-19. Our pediatrician’s practice has temporarily disabled appointment checking via MyChart, apparently since adding screening questions isn’t easy.” It will be a struggle to convince practices and their patients that medical office visits create risk for staff and fellow patients. This particular practice also invites patients to call in when they arrive in the parking lot, then wait for a call back to proceed directly to the exam room to avoid potential waiting room exposure.

From Jeebo: “Re: MIPS filing deadline. Have you heard anything about possible extensions?” I haven’t, but I don’t follow it as thoroughly as Dr. Jayne and others, so I will invite reader comments.

From Mitchell: “Re: Loews Hotels. Has decided not to give any refunds for HIMSS20. Seems like they are the only ones.”


From Airman: Re: travel. Dulles is a graveyard, all international flights cancelled and business travelers on the sideline. The hotel was one-third full, restaurants were empty. It feels like 9/11 60 days out. We are headed for a major recession from what I have seen. I took this photo at 4:40 p.m., probably the busiest time of day under normal circumstances.” Layoffs have already started in all travel-dependent sectors and I’m sure restaurants and retail businesses will take a major hit as people stay home. The compound effect that in our screwy US healthcare non-system, all those folks will lose their health insurance (if they were even offered it or were able to afford it in the first place) and any diagnosis and treatment they require for COVID-19 or anything else is going to strain their own finances and the system in general. We had better keep delivery drivers for Amazon and grocery delivery services healthy since they may be our most valuable lifeline. We will have learned many hard lessons once this outbreak winds down, but some of them are for the long-term good.


From Corey Spears: “Re: ONC’s rule. Since it is waiting for final formatting, I took the liberty of creating a bookmarked version, which is much easier to navigate since there are so many internal references.” Thanks. That makes it much easier to find items other than by searching.


From Life at Veeva: “Re: working from home. My company, Veeva, is good at accommodating remote work, but also created this video to help employees who ordinarily work in our corporate offices.” The five-minute video is packed with a lot of good information, much of it instructions for those who are new to the Zoom videoconferencing app.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I’m pondering whether we’ll have a future shortage of asterisks needed to explain 2020 sports records that involved shortened seasons and cancelled tournaments.


March 25 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Streamlining Your Surgical Workflows for Better Financial Outcomes.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: David Bocanegra, RN, nurse informaticist, IMO; Alex Dawson, product manager, IMO. Health systems that struggle with coordinating operating rooms and scheduling surgeries can increase their profitability with tools that allow for optimal reimbursement. This webinar will identify practices to optimize OR workflows and provider reimbursement, discuss how changes to perioperative management of procedures can support increased profitability, and explore factors that can impede perioperative workflow practices.

March 26 (Thursday) 12:30 ET. “How to Use Automation to Reduce ‘My EHR is Slow’ Complaints.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. A common challenge is that a clinician is ready to work, but their technology is not. EHRs can be slow, logins not working, or printers and scanners are offline. Troubleshooting these end user tickets quickly is nearly impossible, especially in complex environments that might include Citrix or VMware Horizon. This webinar will present real-world examples of how leading health systems are using purpose-built technology with embedded automation and intelligence to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, and prevent end user performance issue across their IT infrastructure and EHRs.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Health IT and consulting company Emids announces an undisclosed investment from BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners. The Nashville-based company was acquired by New Mountain Capital last September.


Amazon Care considers working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to deliver COVID-19 home testing kits in Seattle. Amazon has offered to come up with a logistics plan for delivery, free of charge, so that kits can be delivered within a few hours. Nose swabs in the kits would then be mailed to the University of Washington for analysis.


B.Well Connected Health raises $16 million in a Series A funding round, increasing its total to $27 million. The company offers employees of subscribing companies a personal health record that is connected to hospitals, pharmacies, lab companies, and insurers; a gamified health journey; and a digital wallet for health expenses. CEO Kristen Valdes founded the company in 2015 after several years at disease management company XLHealth, which was acquired by UnitedHealthcare for $2.4 billion.


Virtual cardiovascular care management solution vendor Heartbeat Health raises $8.2 million in a Series A funding round.


From Cerner’s investment community meeting:

  • HealthIntent clients have been migrated to Amazon Web Services and Cerner-hosted CareAware customers will be migrated by the end of the year.
  • 90% of the company’s total revenue is recurring or highly visible.
  • Cerner expects its Works business to decline as a percent of revenues.
  • Core revenue growth will decline slightly due to EHR client attrition, but that will be partially offset by global and revenue cycle.
  • The company sees opportunity in the 30% of the market that runs non-current systems, most of them hospitals of greater than 200 beds.
  • Soarian and Millennium assets will be combined to form a revenue cycle offering and will be accessible via APIs, with about 18 months remaining on the three-year project.
  • Cerner sees three markets for data: life sciences, release of information, and payers. It says the EHR data it holds for provider clients represents one of the largest data assets in the world.
  • Mass tort lawsuits that require retrieving the medical records of thousands or millions of people have resulted in Cerner signing 65 law firms as clients for its HealthHistory business, which it says grew 30-40 times its revenue in one year.
  • HealtheIntent contains data from non-Millennium environments and has the advantage of refreshing itself every 17 seconds in the cloud.
  • Regional IDNs and community hospitals can make money participating in clinical trials, which isn’t a strong suit of Epic since it has mostly academic medical center clients. 
  • The company suggested that it will make acquisitions in the real-world evidence area.
  • Cerner has not yet seen a reduction in project activity due to COVID-19 and says it’s possible that demand for its services will increase.
  • The company says it is “incredibly disappointing” to lose customers to Epic, which is why creating a client success office was important. Those customers also will continue to run Cerner’s EHR for several years and will continue to use platforms such as HealthIntent and CareAware.



Medical University of South Carolina hires Mark McMath, MBA (Methodist Le Bonheur Health) as enterprise CIO for information solutions.

Announcements and Implementations


United Community & Family Services (CT) transitions to Epic from Greenway Health’s Prime Suite.

HIE-focused nonprofit The Health Collaborative selects Omni-HealthData’s cloud and analytics solutions.

Privacy and Security


Hackers lure employees at several unnamed companies into opening emails purportedly from Vanderbilt University Medical Center (TN) that claim to have HIV test results in an attached file, which, when opened, prompts the recipient to download malicious software. Hackers have also engineered similar phishing campaigns that prey on COVID-19 fears, referencing CDC guidelines and safety measures.

An analysis of 1.2 million Internet-connected devices in hospitals finds that 83% run on outdated software, including Windows 7 and Windows XP.


An opinion piece written by two Duke informaticists says that EHRs are ill suited for the COVID-19 pandemic due to poor information presentation, complexity that causes users to delay applying much-needed updates for months, and lack of public health reporting. They recommend that hospitals:

  1. Review their business continuity plan.
  2. Prioritize clinical system patch updates and enforce change control policies.
  3. Heighten cybersecurity vigilance.
  4. Deploy mobile apps that extend EHR capability to improve productivity and to guide management of COVID-19 patients.
  5. Use scribes to increase clinician efficiency.


England’s NHS ramps up efforts to offer more COVID-19 care through online consultations, given that only half of practices have telemedicine capabilities. The health service has also launched a care management service with digital-first capabilities for patients in self-quarantine, and has increased testing capabilities from 1,500 patients a day to 10,000.


The local news highlights the role the Avera ECare telemedicine network is playing in caring for COVID-19 patients virtually at 190 hospitals and 66 nursing homes across the country, particularly those in rural areas. Ten additional hospitals will go live with ECare’s services in the coming weeks.


Chilmark Research is soliciting information from companies that are offering free COVID-19 related health IT solutions.


The Onion sets the record straight on coronavirus.

Sponsor Updates

  • Provider data management software vendor Phynd reports a record year, adding six new health system customers in Q4 2019.
  • PatientPing launches an educational website dedicated to CMS’s interoperability and patient access rule.
  • Intelligent Medical Objects releases retrospective business updates.
  • Elsevier Clinical Solutions upgrades its ProspectoRx website.
  • Optimum Healthcare IT publishes a case study titled “Decentralized Epic Go-Live Success at Scripps Health.”
  • Ensocare Business Intelligence Engineer Matt Tweedy earns the Bob Cassling Service Excellence Award from parent company CQuence Health Group.
  • EPSi Associate Consultant Zac Steele joins the 2020 Millenial Cohort of the American Enterprise Institute’s Leadership Network.
  • CloudWave makes its disaster recovery solution available on Amazon Web Services.
  • Masimo will integrate Imprivata’s medical device access authentication technology into its Root and Iris hospital automation platform.
  • DataRobot and InterSystems partner to accelerate adoption of AI in healthcare.
  • CarePort Health supports CMS’ expanded commitment to care coordination in interoperability rule.

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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. Will 2021 finally be the year of the PHR now that these ONC rules came out? B Well’s gimmick is to make the employer pays for it, though they can only swindle employers out of looking at the apps adoption rate for so long.

    IMO there isn’t enough value in a PHR to run a business. You either have to keep your costs extremely low or make money some other way. To me two models come to mind. The Linux model, in which some devs do it as a passion project for awhile until it gets big enough that some institutional players start chipping in, maybe with some consulting opportunities with big health system or payer orgs. Or the Facebook model, in which you make it free for the consumer and sell their data.

    • Still waiting on a decision from Marriott on refunds (hotel was Fairfield Inn LBV Marriott Village, booked thru OnPeak). I am not optimistic. Anyone else out there had a response from Marriott?

  2. Hilton and the HIlton family of hotels seems to have been extremely understanding regarding cancellations based on the e-mail I got today from them:

    We remain committed to offering you flexible booking options. Given these unique circumstances we are making additional adjustments to our individual booking policies to give you extra peace of mind:

    Government Restrictions. In regions affected by government-issued travel restrictions, we will continue to waive change fees or offer full refunds. Please click here for the latest information on our travel waivers.

    Existing Reservations. All reservations – even those described as “non-cancellable” (“Advanced Purchase”) – that are scheduled for arrival before April 30, 2020, can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival.

    New Reservations. Any reservation you make – even those described as “non-cancellable” (“Advanced Purchase”) – that are booked between today and April 30, 2020, for any future arrival date, can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival.

    If you need to adjust reservations made via the Hilton website, app or call center, please contact the Hilton Guest Assistance team. If you need to adjust reservations made through another travel site, please contact them for assistance.

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