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June 25, 2020 News 3 Comments

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Kaufman Hall spins off its enterprise performance management software division as Syntellis Performance Solutions, with investment from private equity firms Thoma Bravo and Madison Dearborn Partners.


Kaufman Hall’s Kermit Randa will move to the new company as CEO.

The business was created from Kaufman Hall’s Axiom Software and its recently acquired Connected Analytics practice of Change Healthcare.

Reader Comments


From Barely Covered Enmity: “Re: Shafiq Rab leaving Rush University Medical Center. Interesting that his LinkedIn says he is a senior advisor to Michael Dandorph, the CEO of Wellforce. Bill Shickolovich is still listed as CIO, but Dandorph came from Rush. Wellforce is a relatively new player in MA, with Tufts Medical Center primarily on Siemens, Lowell General on Cerner, and Melrose-Wakefield on Meditech. Most affiliated providers are on eCW. They have announced plans to move all to Epic.”

From Generally Specific, MD: “Re: telemedicine EHR entries. Our billers tell us that we have to record three numeric entries in the vital sign section of our EHR to quality for telemedicine payment. You’re allowed to take the patient’s word on height and weight (yup). Some people will give you a temp, home blood pressure check, or data from Apple Watch or Fitbit. When all else fails, I see if they can feel a pulse (big one in neck if wrist fails) and have them count while I time 15 seconds on my phone. Or watch them breathe. If someone doesn’t look good, I have to get them seen in person anyway.”


From Swag Seeker: “Re: conferences. Will HLTH cancel?” They already have. HLTH announced last week that the October event will be virtual (meaning: a flop.) HLTH has held just two conferences in its short existence, the first in May 2018. I would not want to be HIMSS, RSNA, or other non-profits that fill the bank mostly from their member conferences, but HLTH is even worse off in being funded by VCs and having no other line of business to fall back on. HLTH made some puzzling decisions about locations and dates early on but managed to lure a lot of healthcare luminaries and their expense accounted-fueled groupies to generally positive reception. They will now try again in Boston in October 2021, assuming that (a) they survive, and (b) that anyone cares by then. Conferences aren’t coming back strong until a year or two after a vaccine is proven to be effective, if ever, and we may have found better ways to spend the time and money of our employers by then.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


I’m watching and recommending  the Netflix medical documentary series “Lenox Hill,” which follows four doctors and their patients at Northwell Health’s Lenox Hill Hospital. Fun fact: Northwell pays featured neurosurgeons David Langer, MD (above) and John Boockvar, MD more than $2 million each per year. Google-stalking suggests that Langer’s summer house in the Hamptons, site of the retreat the doctors attended, is worth a cool $3 million. Still, they seem like highly competent, mostly nice guys, although I bet that being surgeons that some critical, loudly recited monologues to eyes-downcast co-workers were left on the virtual cutting room floor.


None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

The Massachusetts EHealth Collaborative will sell its remaining assets and shut down operations. The non-profit sold its technology assets and customer accounts to population health management and analytics vendor Arcadia last month. The majority of its employees, including President and CEO Micky Tripathi, have joined Arcadia.


  • Idaho will integrate its PDMP data into statewide EHR and pharmacy systems using Appriss Health’s PMP Gateway solution.
  • Teleradiology company Rapid Radiology selects OpenText’s EMR-Link software to ensure smoother transfer of imaging results to providers at long term care and skilled nursing facilities.
  • The University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System will implement PhysIQ’s PinpointIQ remote patient monitoring technology to monitor employees for signs of COVID-19, and high-risk COVID-19 patients for signs of deterioration.
  • Wexford PHO goes live on the all-payer population health management solution of SPH Analytics.
  • Fairfield Medical Center (OH) chooses Updox for patient flow management, in-office productivity, and virtual care.
  • The DoD gives Leidos a $170 million task order for MHS Genesis services that will include program management, enterprise sustainment, license maintenance, and operational management services.
  • Texas Health Aetna will use the SMS/IVR technology of CareSignal for remotely monitoring patients with diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.



Cambridge Health Alliance names Hannah Galvin, MD (Beth Israel Lahey Health) as CMIO.


Shannon Werb (Virtual Radiologic) joins DispatchHealth as COO.


The HCI Group names Will Conaway (Prime Healthcare) VP of provider delivery.

Announcements and Implementations

The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin rolls out a remote patient monitoring program for pregnant patients using technology from Babyscripts made available through digital health prescription vendor Xealth, which includes the health system among its investors.


PatientPing launches an e-notification service for patient admissions, discharges, and transfers that ensures providers are compliant with the Condition of Participation laid out in the final Interoperability and Patient Access rule from CMS.


Nordic develops an evaluation and management transition service to help health systems comply with CMS’s E/M updates, set to take effect January 1.

UCI Health (CA) adds Everbridge’s MediNav wayfinding technology to its My UCI Health app.


MuleSoft announces GA of Accelerator for Healthcare, a set of prebuilt APIs, integration templates, and best practices that can help developers more easily integrate data from different EHRs into healthcare projects. Salesforce acquired the company in 2018 for $6.5 billion.

Mayo Clinic (MN) launches a home healthcare service using technology from Medically Home. The service falls under the health system’s relatively new Mayo Clinic Platform, an initiative led by John Halamka, MD that aims to create new ventures using the latest technologies.

Healthcare voice AI vendor Suki launches a new voice service that it says will deliver faster, more accurate company responses from normal physician speech. Its digital clinical assistant has also been enhanced with ICD-10 coding, Epic integration, and delivery of an app for Android smartphone users.



Texas Governor Greg Abbott bans elective surgeries in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties to free up bed space for the state’s rapidly expanding epidemic. Texas Medical Center says it will need to tap surge capacity this week and is on track to exceed total capacity within two weeks. The governor will also halt further reopening phases, acknowledging the state’s “massive outbreak” after it rushed to reopen despite increasing numbers. Abbott said two weeks ago that there was no reason to worry about reopening because “we have so many hospital beds available to anybody who gets ill.” Texas allows churches, governments, daycare centers, and camps to operate without occupancy limits, while bars, sporting events, swimming pools, libraries, and amusement parks can operate at 50% occupancy. Restaurants are limited to 75% capacity. Abbott, who previously refused to require mask-wearing and barred local officials from implementing their own mask requirements, encouraged Texans to wear masks in announcing his executive order Thursday. Perhaps it bears repeating that being discharged alive from a COVID-19 hospital stay doesn’t preclude a shortened lifetime of suffering, never-ending medical interventions, and hugely diminished quality of life. The ability to get an ICU bed and ventilator should not provide a false sense of security.

Public health officials in Austin, TX blame COVID-19 case counts that vary wildly by day on labs that are sending test results by fax, requiring their employees to re-enter the information manually. County officials want to know which labs are involved for possible enforcement of the state law that requires digital reporting.

COVID-overwhelmed Arizona is experiencing the same problems that other states ran into early in the pandemic — long lines for testing, a shortage of testing capacity, and a lack of coordination among hospitals and doctors offices to match testing demand to availability.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice fires Cathy Slemp, MD, MPH, commissioner of the state’s Bureau of Public Health, claiming that her office unintentionally inflated COVID-19 case counts by failing to exclude recovered patients.

CVS Health announces GA of Return Ready, a customizable COVID-19 screening, testing, and analytics program for employers and universities that also offers digital tools for symptom monitoring and contact tracing.

Bars are increasingly looking like a COVID-19 breeding ground in states where they are open, with factors being close quarters, fearless young customers who don’t wear masks, proprietors who flout distancing and crowd size mandates, and loud conversations that spray more droplets. Patrons who don’t know they’ve been infected are spreading the infection to people who are more cautious.


COVID-19 is forcing health system to change their plans for developing hotels to house elective surgery patients and visitors, many of them cash-paying residents of other countries. Miami’s $500 million, 680-foot tall Legacy Hotel and Residence will feature a 256-room hotel, a 100,000 square foot medical center, condos, bars, restaurants and shops, but its CEO says he doesn’t use the term “hospital” for reasons that go beyond the legal one of not offering emergency services — “You’re in a luxury hotel. You don’t want to be around people who are dying.”


The American Hospital Association loses its bid to stop the federal government from requiring hospitals and insurers to publish their negotiated prices. AHA had argued that the White House did not have the legal authority to require such disclosure, that compliance would create overwhelming administrative burdens, and that such transparency might increase prices. The federal judge disagreed, ruling that informed customers should drive prices down and that hospitals attack transparency measures in general to keep patients in the dark about pricing. Hospitals are appealing the ruling.


A review of the VA’s HIT-related outpatient diagnostic delays over several years finds five key high-risk areas: overwhelming EHR inbox notifications and communications and lack of coverage for absences; lack of interoperability and visible surfacing of important information; technical problems; data entry issues; and systems that don’t track test results. It cites previous studies in which PCPs reported missing abnormal test results because of an overloaded EHR inbox that requires more than an hour per day to work through. Specific cases were interesting:

  • Physicians who were notified by note to correct an EHR entry sometimes signed off without actually making the correction.
  • One clinician missed an abnormal test result that was among the 200 inbox notifications they received in one day.
  • Results were sent to clinicians who were on leave or who had left the organization with no one assigned to cover their inbox.
  • Use of note templates sometimes caused the recipient to miss important information.
  • Clinicians missed information due to delays in obtaining records, missing fax reports, delays in outside organizations posting diagnostic information to record-sharing portals, and failure to notify the clinician to review records that had been scanned.
  • Clinicians sometimes failed to review abnormal test results in subsequent encounters.
  • One clinician had customized the EHR to display only abnormal results, but missed one abnormal result because an abnormal cutoff value had not been defined.
  • Inactive radiology codes failed to trigger notification.
  • Abnormal result warnings were set to disappear when opened, so clinicians lost track if they were interrupted.

Sponsor Updates

  • VMblog features an interview with Goliath Technologies CMO Stacy Leidwinger.
  • Google Cloud hires Kathy Bonanno (Palo Alto Networks) as finance lead.
  • Halo Health publishes a case study, “Schedule-Driven Communication Improves Collaboration for Great River Health System.”
  • Pivot Point Consulting expands its telehealth services to offer end-to-end solutions, from strategy to platform selection to implementation.
  • Hyland CEO Bill Priemer shares his thoughts on potential challenges and the unknowns around working from home.
  • The Boston Globe features Imprivata CEO Gus Malezis in an article assessing COVID-19’s impact on office work.
  • Seeking Alpha profiles digital prescription savings and patient engagement company OptimizeRx.
  • Vocera partners with Mediaplanet to launch the “Empowering Our Healthcare Heroes & First Responders” media campaign.
  • PMD successfully completes its annual SOC 2 Type II and HIPAA security audits.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. RE: Generally Specific, MD: “Re: telemedicine EHR entries. Our billers tell us that we have to record three numeric entries in the vital sign section of our EHR to quality for telemedicine payment”

    Does Generally’s billing team have a citation for this requirement? I did some searching this morning and couldn’t find anything definitive.

  2. While in theory I like the idea of requiring hospitals and insurers to publish their prices, I’m somewhat skeptical of the actual benefit this may provide to patients. To the majority of patients in this country who are insured by a commercial payor or CMS, unless the anticipated out of pocket costs are also provided, I suspect the published price itself will be ineffective in driving patients to lower cost alternatives. For the remaining 8.5% of people who are uninsured, there may be some increase in price comparison shopping, but in many cases even the lowest price for a procedure is often unaffordable – and that relates specifically to elective care; for emergencies, price is often not a consideration. The truth is, with Health System monopolies and the ubiquity of employer-provided health insurance, patients simply don’t have much of a choice either where they get their care or who their insurance provider is, which will only cause prices to continue to rise.

  3. Re: Texas –

    It’s so cute watching these Republican Governors pretend like they’ve actually been doing something and we should listen to them: That they had a reopening “plan”. That it’s “reopening” when you never really closed. That they know what they’re doing, when after months of being able to learn New York’s example they still can’t lead their citizens towards taking the basic public health measures that we know work, both from recent experience and past pandemics.

    I’m pretty sick of this. The past 3 months have absolutely sucked, and we’re likely going to have to do it all again starting in a couple weeks because so many of our Southern states can’t be troubled to learn that science is real.

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