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Monday Morning Update 11/16/20

November 15, 2020 News 2 Comments

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UC San Diego Health reports the benefits of moving UC San Diego’s student health service to Epic in August 2019.

The university says the Epic go-live gave it instant access to the medical records of 262 US health systems for its 39,000 students. Clinicians accessed 250,000 documents in the first six months from hospitals and CVS drugstores in several states.


Student Health was able to quickly convert to virtual visits for mental health when the pandemic struck. It then used Epic to power its Return to Learn initiative by allowing 1,480 students to self-test for COVID-19 and then to have diagnostic testing automatically ordered if indicated.

Challenges that were addressed included identifying student health records in external EHRs, limiting access to PHI based on medical necessity, and integrating immunization records. The university also had to obtain student permission to use their Social Security numbers to identify their records and to share their records with other institutions.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


A significant number of poll respondents will spend Thanksgiving among people with whom they don’t live without employing mitigation measures. Not to be a downer, but small gatherings are top spreader events and winter holidays will be especially risky with record infection levels, family members flying in, and extended close contact that is moved indoors because of weather. I, too cling to the “they are careful and so are we, so I’m sure we’ll be fine” hope that unfortunately hasn’t proven to be broadly accurate given pre-symptomatic spread. We misspent our limited supply of public health goodwill in the spring by implementing draconian lockdowns that were supposed to buy us time to muster our national resolve to prepare hospitals, develop testing capacity, stockpile PPE, create contact tracing programs, and educate the public, but we basically just delayed the inevitable by flattening the curve while doing nothing that might have reduced the area under it. The world’s first COVID Christmas is going to be challenging.

New poll to your right or here: Where do you expect to be working a year from now?


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

Harris acquires UK-based Genial Genetics and Genial Compliance Systems, which sells genetics-related laboratory information systems



Bay Area Hospital (OR) hires primary care physician William Moriarty, MD as CMIO.


Industry long-timer Peter Siavelis, MHI, MBA  (Waystar) joins Cardinal Health as SVP/GM of acute care distribution and services.


Sensyne Health hires Derek Baird, MBA (Avia) as president, North America.


Walter Kerschl, MD, MMM (Cerner) joins WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center as VP/chief medical officer.

Announcements and Implementations


A KLAS study of health system connectivity to post-acute care organizations finds that only Epic and Meditech provide solutions in all areas, as Cerner offers long-term and behavioral health modules but resells home health and hospice technology from strong performer MatrixCare. Netsmart has significant market share in standalone organizations that aren’t connected to health systems, having acquired solutions from Allscripts, Change Healthcare, DeVero, and HealthMedx, but customer satisfaction has dropped following post-acquisition lapses in support, development, and integration. PointClickCare is the strongest performer in long-term care, but no vendor consistently meets behavioral health needs. Records-sharing with acute care organizations from which referrals are sent is inconsistent, with Cerner and Epic having a high percentage of customers connected to CommonWell or Carequality, Meditech and Allscripts having low interoperability adoption, and the majority of users of all four systems reporting faxing as the most common method of exchanging information.



The US reported a record 1.7 million COVID-19 tests, 170,000 new cases, and 68,500 hospitalized patients on Friday, as deaths moved up 30% from their seven-day average to 1,300.


Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD notes that mobility drives infection spread, and while hard-hit states such as SD, ND, UT, and WI are showing modestly reduced mobility, coronavirus isn’t broadly keeping people from their shopping and recreation.

A 38-hospital study of 1,250 COVID-19 patients who were discharged from March 16 to July 1 finds that within 60 days, 7% of them had died, 15% were rehospitalized, 13% were still experiencing persistent symptoms, and 15% were unable to return to normal activity. Forty percent of those who had been employed were unable to return to work — mostly because of poor health, but also because their jobs had been lost – and of those who did go back to work, 25% were assigned reduced hours or modified duties. The study dispels any notion that hospitalized COVID-19 patients return unscathed to their prior states of health and financial security.


Illinois officials won’t reopen the 2,250-bed emergency COVID-19 hospital that was built inside McCormick Place at a cost of $81 million – most of that paid by federal taxpayers — and closed three weeks after opening after having seen only 38 patients. IT costs totaled nearly $4 million, including $400,000 paid to Rush University Medical Center to install and support Epic.


A 55-attendee wedding reception in rural Maine creates a COVID-19 outbreak of 177 cases in the local community, a long-term care facility, and a prison. Guests did not comply with mask-wearing and distancing requirements and the facility didn’t enforce those rules or collect contact information from the guests. They did conduct temperature checks, but all were normal. The index patient had no symptoms the day of the reception, but came down with fever, runny nose, cough, and fatigue the day after. Half of the guests tested positive within two weeks, as did a venue staff member, a vendor, and a guest who was not part of the reception. One attendee attended a school meeting later the same day they started coughing, after which two school employees tested positive and the school’s opening was delayed by two weeks. Six residents of a long-term care facility died after the infection was spread by a guest who had a close interaction with one of its employees. None of the wedding reception guests themselves died.

An Ohio court orders the state health department to release information about COVID-related hospital bed capacity, medical supplies, and staffing to an investigative reporting outlet. The health department had argued that its Surgenet resource tracking system is a security record that could be used in terrorism response, but the court said that the computer system is just a repository for the requested data and the department would need to prove that the records themselves prevent or mitigate terrorist acts.

States and cities warn that that the logistical challenges of distributing a COVID-19 vaccine may be hard to overcome, among them promoting its availability, convincing people to get the vaccine despite its quick development, delivering supplies securely, hiring or recruiting volunteers to administer it, and recording and tracking the two-dose protocol. A new federal government system called Immunization Gateway was developed to connect state vaccine registries for people like snowbirds who get the two doses in different states, but most states aren’t connected. The CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, says, “A month before the vaccine is about to become available is not the time to think about making systems across 3,000 health departments in 50 states interoperable.” CDC also wants to track real-time demographic information to identify low-vaccination populations and regions, but must convince states to turn over the personal data of their residents. CDC is also considering rollout of a phone-based tool to ask recipients if they’ve had any problems.



Researchers find that including a patient’s headshot in the EHR significantly reduced ED wrong-patient order entry errors without creating provider burden.

UCHealth CMIO CT Lin, MD records a ukelele-powered “It is a Telehealth World.” Careful examination of his backdrop reveals COVID-related ephemera, such as Clorox wipes and what appears to be a Fauci bobblehead.

Sponsor Updates

  • Forbes includes OpenText on its list of World’s Best Employers for 2020.
  • OptimizeRx hires Antonio Bogdanovic and Iva Lozancic as project managers.
  • Pure Storage receives the Flash Memory Summit 2020 Best of Show Award for Most Innovative Flash Memory Technology.
  • Spok publishes a new infographic, “Which communication solution is best for your healthcare organization?”
  • Waystar publishes a new trend analysis, “Price Transparency + Healthcare Consumerism.”
  • Well Health launches a Use Case Library to offer best practices and product use cases.

Blog Posts

Sponsor Spotlight


Visage Imaging (“Visage”) just went live today with our new corporate website and our latest corporate video. Visage will be virtually exhibiting at the upcoming Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 2020, November 29 – December 5, 2020.

(Sponsor Spotlight is free for HIStalk Platinum sponsors).


Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

    • I’ve been more active and invigorated writing HIStalk since the pandemic’s early days, mostly because HIMSS20 and other conferences were cancelled and people still need to feel connected and informed. Companies are pushing out more news to report (and more non-news to filter out) and new sponsors have signed on in this uncharted territory that we all find ourselves in, so I’m busier than I expected. Most gratifying to me is that when I skeptically surveyed readers about whether I should summarize COVID-related news as a reader had suggested, they said yes, giving me (begrudgingly at first) a reason to apply the same learn-by-teaching model that led me to start HIStalk way back in 2003. If I lose my relevance, interest, or satisfaction with health IT, then I’ll go off and write about some new industry or topic that I know little about just to force me to learn.

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  1. Yet you miss the critical end of that sentence ---- "..yet they have ALL the LEVERAGE IF there were any…

  2. The VA project involves dozens of billions of taxpayer dollars, a big industry vendor, and a lot of people who…

  3. KLAS expressed the hospital count by rounded percentage, as follows including those I didn't mention originally: Epic 35.9 Oracle Cerner…

  4. There are other vendors out there with even fewer hospitals, I think athenahealth has some. And then there are still…

  5. I want to start off by saying excellent content and to continue with that theme I feel organizations should implement…


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