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Monday Morning Update 11/9/20

November 8, 2020 News No Comments

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Six-hospital University of Vermont Health Network says that it has regained access to a week’s worth of patient schedules following its October 25 malware-caused systems outage. Otherwise, computer systems have been down for 12 days.


It is still unable to provide full chemotherapy services to cancer patients at UVM Medical Center and is sending some patients to its other hospitals. The hospital has cancelled all breast imaging studies for Monday, November 9, and says it can’t let patients know about their cancelled appointments because it cannot access their information. Email is offline throughout the health system.

A Vermont National Guard cybersecurity team is on site to help review all end-user computing devices for malware.


An oddly worded announcement suggests that 300 UVM Medical Center employees have been “impacted” by having “seen their jobs disrupted by this event,” with 130 accepting temporary assignments and the rest furloughed, and 30 employees were impacted at Central Vermont Medical Center.

Reader Comments

From Little Friend: “Re: HIStalk readers. I’m wondering how many come from imaging centers, physician groups, and mammography?” I don’t know, but it would be great if readers who fall into those categories would check in anonymously with this 10-second form, after which I’ll report back.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Three-fourths of poll respondents most frequently pick up their prescriptions at the drugstore counter or drive-though, another 20% from a US pharmacy via the mail, and less than 2% have it delivered in person by the drugstore or a third-party service. My wording of “drugstore” was intentionally imprecise, but I’ll say that my experience with coupon and price search features from companies like GoodRx I’ve found that the deals are almost always better at chain grocery store pharmacies. Example: a 30-day supply of generic Lipitor 20mg in Atlanta is $7-$8 cash price at Kroger and Publix, $19 at CVS, and $49 at Walgreens. Also note that it’s cheaper to get a larger quantity in a single prescription – the atorvastatin is $7 for a 30-day supply at Kroger, but only $12 for a 90-day supply and $27 for a full year’s worth – you would save nearly 70% (plus time and gas) buying a 365-day supply.

New poll to your right or here: which activities will you participate in over Thanksgiving? I’m curious since coronavirus is spreading at will and many of us are numb from pandemic fatigue, so our winter holiday activities are likely to add even more fuel to the infectious fire.

Thanks to the following companies that recently supported HIStalk. Click a logo for more information.



November 11 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Beyond the Firewall: Securing Patients, Staff, and the Healthcare Internet of Things.” Sponsor: Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Presenter: Daniel Faurlin, head of network solutions for healthcare, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. The biggest cybersecurity risk for healthcare IoT isn’t the objects themselves, but rather the “network door” they can open. This network infrastructure-oriented webinar will address overcoming the challenges of architecting a network to provide security, management, and monitoring for IoT, devices, and users using ALE’s Digital Age Networking blueprint, a single service platform for hospital networks. Digital Age Networking includes an autonomous network, onboarding and managing IoT, and creating business innovation with automated workflows. Specific use cases will describe enabling COVID-19 quarantine management, contact tracing, locating equipment and people, and ensuring the security of patients and more.

November 12 (Thursday) 5 ET: “Getting Surgical Documentation Right: A Fireside Chat.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Alex Dawson, product manager, IMO; Janice Kelly, MS, RN, president, AORN Syntegrity; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO; Lou Ann Montgomery, RN, BSN, nurse informaticist, IMO; Whitney Mannion, RN, clinical terminologist, IMO. The presenters will discuss using checklists, templates, the EHR, and third-party solutions to improve documentation without overburdening clinicians. They will explore the importance of surgical documentation in perioperative patient management, the guidelines and requirements for surgical documentation and operative notes, how refining practices and tools can improve accuracy and efficiency, and the risks and implications of incomplete, inconsistent, and non-compliant documentation.

November 16 (Monday) 1 ET. “COVID-19 and Beyond: A CISO’s Perspective for Staying Ahead of Threats.” Sponsor: Everbridge. Presenter: Sonia Arista, VP and global chief information security officer, Everbridge. While hospitals worldwide work to resume elective care amid COVID-19, they’re quickly adapting and responding to a variety of emerging risks that have tested their resilience, including a surge in cybersecurity and ransomware attacks. This webinar will highlight emerging IT vulnerabilities and best practices designed to help hospitals anticipate and quickly mitigate cybersecurity risks. A former hospital CISO will share her expertise in responding to high-impact IT incidents and mitigating risks during critical events given the “new normal” that COVID-19 has created.

November 18 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Do You Really Have a Telehealth Program, Or Just Videoconferencing?” Sponsor: Mend Family. Presenters: J. D. McFarland, solutions architect, Mend Family; Nick Neral, national account executive, Mend Family.  Healthcare’s new competitive advantage is telehealth, of which a videoconferencing platform is just a small part. This presentation will describe a comprehensive patient journey in which an organization can acquire new patients, reduce check-in time, reduce no-shows, and increase patient satisfaction, all using virtual care. Health systems did a good job in quickly standing up virtual visits in response to COVID, but telehealth and the digital front door are here to stay and now is a good time to re-evaluate tools and processes that support patient scheduling, digital forms, telehealth, and patient engagement as part of a competitive strategy.

November 18 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Leveraging a Clinical Intelligence Engine to Solve the EHR Usability Crisis.” Sponsor: Medicomp Systems. Presenter: Jay Anders, MD, MS, chief medical officer, Medicomp; David Lareau, CEO, Medicomp. Healthcare is long overdue for a data makeover. Clinician burnout is fueled by inaccurate, inconsistent, and incomplete clinical data, but that can be improved without scrapping existing systems. The presenters will describe the use of tools that work seamlessly with EHR workflows to deliver actionable data, improve interoperability; support the clinician’s thought process; and improve usability for better decision-making and accurate coding.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


SOC Telemed virtually rings Nasdaq’s opening bell on Wednesday in its first day of trading. Shares opened Wednesday at $9.58, closed at $9.26, and ended the week at $9.00, valuing the company at $288 million.


Change Healthcare reports Q2 results: revenue down 5%, EPS $0.32 verus $0.27, beating Wall Street expectations for both.

The one-month share performance of the Global X Telemedicine and Digital Health exchange-traded fund shows a rise of 2.9% versus the Nasdaq’s 4.6% increase and the S&P 500’s 2.6% rise. EDOC shares have increased 14% since its July 29 inception versus increases in the Nasdaq of 12.3% and of the S&P 500 of 8.1%. EDOC’s top holding is Tokyo-based, Sony-backed M3, Inc., which offers a pharma sales support platform, a cloud-based EHR, telehealth services, and websites.



Retired family medicine physician William Earl Davis, III, MD died last week in Winona, MN at 80. He implemented the first EHR in Minnesota, served as CMIO of Winona Health, and received Cerner’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

Government and Politics


The annual report of the VA’s 16,000-employee Office of Information and Technology in the year of COVID highlights:

  • Its big jump in Net Promoter Score since March.
  • Its above-average disability and pension claims processing even as its employees were forced into telework.
  • Release of its Microsoft-powered coronavirus chatbot.
  • Rollout of a virtual hearing solution.
  • Mobilization of speech recognition to workers who don’t have VA-issued laptops.
  • Procurement and deployment of 199,000 laptops and 11,000 mobile devices for connecting with patients.
  • Expansion of its telehealth system with fivefold capacity in a few weeks.
  • Rollout of remote check-in and screening tools for patients.
  • Implementing tele-critical care services.
  • Supporting a sharp rise in use of its My HealtheVet patient portal and prescription refill system.



States on Saturday reported a record 128,000 new COVID-19 cases, 56,000 hospitalized patients, 11,000 COVID-19 patients in ICU beds, and 1,097 new deaths. Sixteen states reported record-high COVID-19 hospitalizations on Friday and the Dakotas are reporting per-capita case and death rates that have never been seen globally and are still rising, as noted by Eric Topol. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD says the actual case count is probably five times that number and that lack of state-level mitigation will cause case numbers to explode in the next few weeks. Cases and deaths are rising even in long-term care facilities, where protecting vulnerable residents is a national priority.


A Tampa Bay newspaper’s investigative report finds that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s office allowed conservative blogger Jennifer Cabrera to examine 700 COVID-19 death certificates – records that the state has refused to allow academics and journalists to review in arguing that they are not public — to fuel her article that COVID-19 deaths are being over-reported by counting people who died “with it” rather than “of it.”

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows tests positive for COVID-19, along with at least six other newly diagnosed White House advisors and campaign officials. He attended the President’s election party Tuesday night in which several hundred attendees, many of them not wearing masks, gathered inside the White House. Also testing positive is Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who in March appeared on the House floor wearing a gas mask to mock COVID-19 as a hoax.


A California psychiatric practice will pay $25,000 to settle HHS OCR charges that it failed to provide a patient with a copy of her records despite multiple requests. OCR had originally closed the complaint after discussing the incident with the practice, but reopened it a month later when the patient reported that she still hadn’t received the records. The case is the tenth HHS OCR investigation into HIPAA Right of Access Initiative incidents.

Epic CEO Judy Faulkner says the company will launch EpicShare.org in the next few weeks, which will allow healthcare people, whether Epic users or not, to share innovative ideas for solving common clinical problems.

Sponsor Updates

  • Phunware integrates provider data management and search capabilities from Phynd Technologies with its Multiscreen-as-a-Service enterprise cloud platform.
  • Nuance will participate in the Guggenheim Digital Virtual Health Summit December 8-9, and the Barclays Global Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Conference December 10.
  • QliqSoft posts a recording of its recent webinar with CareSignal titled “Facilitating Deviceless Remote Patient Monitoring using AI-Driven Chatbots.”
  • Redox releases a new podcast, “Vida on Virtual Chronic Care and Mental Health.”
  • The Passionate Pioneers Podcast features RxRevu CEO Carm Huntress.
  • Spirion partners with Seclore for persistent rights management to bolster its data privacy management framework.
  • TriNetX achieves re-certification for the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 Information Security Standard.
  • Vocera releases a new podcast, “The Value of Human-Centered Design in Healthcare with Nick Dawson.”

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Reader Comments

  • Mark Hochhauser: Sanford Health's CEO has been replaced. https://www.startribune.com/sanford-replaces-ceo-after-controversial-email-a...
  • IANAL: That's a lot of money for eMDs though it isn't clear how the financing works. At face value it would take compugroup mor...
  • Anne: Apologies for how rudely that came across. I do still question why our health is the responsibility of our doctors, but...
  • Elizabeth H. H. Holmes: Incredible. What an awful posture to take, what an awful example to set. It just encourages others to lie that they had ...
  • @JennHIStalk: Katie, if you're still looking for health IT history resources, check out Vince Ciotti's HIStory here: http://histalk.co...

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