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Weekender 5/15/20

May 15, 2020 Weekender 1 Comment


Weekly News Recap

  • Cerner moves its October health conference to an online format.
  • Epic is working with an unnamed group on a COVID-19 “immunity passport.”
  • AMA publishes privacy principles for companies that aren’t HIPAA covered entities, such as technology firms.
  • Quarterly reports from Livongo and Health Catalyst beat Wall Street expectations for revenue and earnings.
  • Akron Children’s Hospital creates the country’s first endowed chair in telehealth and appoints its CMIO to the role.
  • Researchers find that an app’s four-question COVID-19 questionnaire can determine with 80% accuracy if the user is infected.
  • KLAS says that more than 100 Epic customers are using its AI-powered model, making it the only inpatient EHR vendor to have a significant number of sites live on AI.

Best Reader Comments

Epic/COVID-19: If Epic has really done rigorous analysis on 100 million patients and 30 drugs, don’t they owe it to the public health experts (and to public at large) to publish that information? … Same goes for the deterioration index mentioned in the conversation. If this index has really been successful in providing early alerts to front line clinicians at over 100 health systems (and has discriminated meaningfully between COVID-19 induced crash and other underlying cause of crash) and has been a factor in reducing COVID-19 related mortality (or even in reducing hospital stay or ventilator use etc.) then that’s a huge success and breakthrough! Why not publish those results and performance of the index? Why not publish it so that other non-Epic hospitals can also use it and save lives? (Corona_Verona)

Direct Trust is doing good work, but it is mostly around how to get the next generation out and building standards for the solutions to use. Who uses, how they interpreted, and what they exchange via those standards will dictate how effective their efforts will be. Carequality is an interesting concept, but if you don’t solve the underlying interoperability failures, then you are back to the same problem. I know several EHRs are trying to get together and do formative testing between themselves, but it is slow going and has been recently hobbled. We know with certainty that certification testing is not sufficient to solve this problem Here is a challenge for you. Can you exchange your top 100 problems, allergies, medications, procedures, labs, results at 100% accuracy with the top three ambulatory, acute, and SNF solutions? Can you then create a longitudinal record for the top 10 most common conditions with and without co-morbidities — and exchange that with 100% accuracy? (Brody Brodock)

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a ubiquitously overused excuse for inaction and unwarranted “privacy” protection. And it is definitely a favorite blocking tactic of hospital administrators, especially witless ones. I have been told at my bank and grocery store that rule or policy was for preventing a potential HIPAA violation. Just for giggles, I generally ask the earnest clerk/cashier: “Who is the covered entity in question?” or “Which of the 18 protected health information identifiers are being exposed?” When they admit they don’t know what I am talking about, I explain that they obviously do not understand the HIPAA law. (Wadiego)

Watercooler Talk Tidbits


Readers funded the Donors Choose teacher grant request of Ms. M in Washington, who asked for math manipulatives for her kindergarten class. She reported in February, “My students are aware that generous and thoughtful folks have donated these manipulatives in order to enhance their math skills. I am so happy to know that my current and future students will all benefit and become better mathematicians because of your generosity. We are currently working on composing and decomposing numbers, and the number windows came in so handy. Critical thinking is happening. With the rockets, students had to basically find the numeral, the appropriate ten frame, the tally, and the array that represent the same number. Seeing how the students persevere and seeing their smile brings me so much joy.”


A Cambridge, MA pub that reopened as a COVID-19 antibody testing site in partnership with the owner’s physician brother lasted four days before the city shut it down over zoning issues. According to the vice mayor, “I felt that it was a little bit odd and quite honestly concerning to see a restaurant pivot from serving food to being a phlebotomy site.”

FDA provides guidance for disinfecting refrigerated trucks that temporarily held human bodies so that they can again carry food.


A doctor treating a COVID-19 patient at Advocate Christ Medical Center (IL) leaves the man’s sister a voicemail but fails to hang up afterward, with the doctor’s phone then continuing to capture her telling co-workers, “Look, he’s going to die. It’s just a matter of time. For the safety of everybody that’s involved, we should not do chest compressions on him.” The man died 10 days later, after which his sister expressed concerns that he didn’t receive all the care he could have.


An Emmy-winning camera operator records parts of his two-week COVID-19 hospital stay on his phone, hoping to leave his family a record of what he feared would be his final days. He is recovering at home and says he hopes his videos will encourage people to maintain physical distancing and wear masks. His wife’s mother had died from COVID-19 two weeks before his admission in mid-March.


A woman in labor whose husband rushed her to a Louisville hospital only to find the doors locked gives birth on the sidewalk, with a 911 dispatcher walking her husband through the delivery. He couldn’t find anything to tie off the umbilical cord, so he used one of the COVID-19 masks that his grandmother had knitted for the family. The couple’s new son is fine.

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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. That bar is maybe a 7 minute walk from me and let me tell you, nothing personifies the preeningly arrogant “disruptor” ethos of the Cambridge/Somerville gentrification set quite like thinking that its perfectly reasonable to run an unlicensed medical clinic in what was (and will be again, probably) food-prep area.

    “But we cleaned it!” OK, champ.

    I would be extremely interested to see how the press would have described it if the unlicensed clinic (with an uncredentialled phlebotomist (“she went to nursing school!” — Oh? Did she graduate?) and a waiter as a “medical assistant” with zero clinical training or experience) was in oh say, Roxbury or Dot and not nu-bougie Cambridge.

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