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Monday Morning Update 11/23/20

November 22, 2020 News No Comments

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University of Vermont Health Network begins restoring access to Epic beyond a read-only view at inpatient and ambulatory sites of UVM Medical Center. The health system says that effort will require several days, with other sites to follow.

The health system will need to back-enter data nearly 30 days’ worth of manually recorded data. UVM systems have been down since October 28.

The IT team will focus on restoring MyChart once they have brought Epic back up.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Poll respondents are optimistic about their job prospects for the next year, with 80% of them expecting to hold the same or better job and 80% of those assuming they will be working for the same employer.

New poll to your right or here, and of course your answers are not trackable or identifiable: How much total compensation will you receive from your primary employer in 2020?


Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Emerge. The Dallas-based company’s solutions empower healthcare professionals with superior medical data intelligence, resulting in enhanced workflows, increased efficiency, and higher quality of care. ChartScout, launched by SSO from the EHR, removes the barriers between caregivers and EHR data by accessing data from structured, free-text, and scanned image data, providing an intuitive patient chart search and visualization and personalized dashboards to facilitate patient overview and management by showing care gaps, calculations, scores, and decision support. ChartPop provides a tailored, cross-sectional view of the active patient population to create pursuit lists, fill gaps in care, and work toward better population management. The ChartGenie data conversion service provides a seamless transition between an old EHR to a new one and/or into Emerge’s cloud. A subscription also provides access to the data from both systems into a single synthetic patient view using ChartScout and ChartPop, removing data siloes and the need for toggling between EHRs. Thanks to Emerge for supporting HIStalk.


December 3 (Thursday) noon ET. “Why Patient-Centered Billing: How University Physicians’ Association Increased Revenue and Reduced Days to Pay.” Sponsor: Relatient. Presenter: Christy Bailey, VP, University Physicians’ Association. Financial recovery calls for a better patient financial experience as providers drive revenue, engage patients, and reduce costs and bad debt. The presenter will talk about patients as payers and how delivering a financial experience that meets their expectations can improve the financial outcomes of providers, hospitals, and health systems.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Phone-connected ultrasound transducer manufacturer Butterfly IQ will go public on the NYSE in a merger with a special purpose acquisition company that values the company at $1.5 billion.

Announcements and Implementations


Drug company Bayer will support five startups as part of its G4A Digital Health Partnerships Program. The initial class of early-stage companies are Caria (evidence-based menopause support), Elly Health (audio chronic condition education), Decipher Biosciences (genomic testing), Sweetch (data-powered disease management recommendations), and MyOnCare (patient and care team communication).

Government and Politics

The VA will expand its 5G testing to sites in Florida and Seattle following its initial work in its Palo Alto hospital, looking at technologies such Microsoft HoloLens for surgical navigation and adding telemetry monitoring to new areas of hospitals.



COVID-19 tests, new cases, and hospitalized patients set records Friday, with 82,000 hospital inpatients straining capacity in many areas.


About 1,000 hospitals have reported critical staffing shortages to HHS, although not all hospitals are submitting staffing data to the abruptly implemented HHS Protect reporting system. Hospitals note that while it’s easy to add beds, shortages of skilled personnel will force them to prioritize who receives care.


Henry Ford Health System has had 169 employees test positive for COVID-19 in the past week, straining the five-hospital system as 19% of 900 workers were found to have coronavirus.

St. Louis hospitals say that state reports showing hospitals with plenty of available regular and ICU beds are dangerously misleading to the public, as the information that is reported to the federal government looks at beds that are licensed, not those that are staffed for appropriate COVID-19 care.

The government says that shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could start December 11, the day after FDA’s vaccine advisory committee meeting, assuming its data review is positive.

Operation Warp Speed scientific advisor Mocef Slaoui, PhD tells CNN that he expects US life to return to somewhat normal by May as a significant portion of the population will either have received a vaccine or recovered from previous infection with some degree of immunity, slowing coronavirus spread.

WHO recommends against using remdesivir to treat COVID-19 after an expert panel’s review of studies finds that it does not improve any important patient outcome, including the rate of ventilation and death. FDA gave the Gilead drug fast, full approval in October despite modest results from questionably rigorous studies.

Updated CDC guidance says that most COVID-19 infections are spread by people who do not have symptoms, making mitigation measures even more important.

Most health systems that were polled by Premier say they aren’t ready to receive and manage the administration of COVID-19 vaccines. Issues:

  • Pfizer’s vaccine requires storage at –70 degrees Celsius, which will require procurement of large ultra-cold freezers in each health system market or location and development of dry ice policies and procedures.
  • Some health systems have been designated as state vaccine distribution hubs and will need to track location, quantity, and storage temperatures in real time.
  • CDC has not yet announced how populations will be prioritized to get the vaccine.
  • Healthcare workers who will get the vaccine early will need to be pre-scheduled for staggered appointments to avoid potential coronavirus exposure while waiting in lines.
  • IT systems will need to be evaluated to capture and report vaccine storage, vaccinations administered, doses on hand, and participation in training programs, with all of the information ideally linked to the health system’s EHR.
  • Appointments for the second dose of the two-dose regimen should be made during the first-dose visit, followed by reminders to the phone number and email address captured at that time, to make sure patients receive the second dose.


The Texas National Guard sends 36 troops to El Paso to help overworked morgue personnel deal with the large number bodies of coronavirus victims and setting up a new central morgue expansion.


Expert authors say in a Harvard Business Review article that telehealth has great promise, but unintended consequences include exacerbating disparities in access and challenging clinicians with video fatigue, longer work days, and a blurring of work-life boundaries. They also note that virtual visits can increase healthcare spending via new utilization. They use HITECH experience with EHRs to suggest facilitating equitable access by offering digital help and language interpretation, engaging patients and their families, scheduling provider virtual visits in specific sessions instead of on top of a full workday, and integrated telemedicine platforms (especially those offered by for-profit telehealth services) with EHRs for continuity of care.

A Singapore doctor search and patient review website raises the ire of country’s medical and dental membership organization, whose practitioner information the company apparently scraped from its website without permission. The company says it will ignore the request of Academy of Medicine, Singapore to remove its details about practitioners and will also ignore any requests of AMS members who ask not to be listed.


The Pro Football Hall of Fame honors Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, MD, who skipped the 2020 season as right guard for the Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs to work as an orderly in a long-term care facility on the COVID-19 front lines.

Sponsor Updates

  • OptimizeRx hires Nick Hill (Passport) as director of project management.
  • PatientPing publishes a new Use Case Spotlight, “How Heartland Alliance Health Improves Patient Engagement and Care Coordination Outcomes for Vulnerable and High-risk Patients.”
  • Cerner appoints Major General Elder Granger, MD, US Army (retired) to its Board of Directors.
  • Pure Storage introduces the Pure Validated Design Program to simplify deployment of partner solutions.
  • Redox releases a new podcast, “No Beers, No Bars, just ELRs: Electronic Lab Reporting Requirements with Dr. Louise Laurent.”
  • Relatient and TriNetX ranks on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500.
  • SOC Telemed will present at the virtual Piper Sandler Healthcare Conference December 2.
  • Waystar publishes the results of a new study, “Consumer Attitudes Toward Medical Bills + the Price Transparency Rule.”
  • Well Health and Wolters Kluwer partner to embed EmmiEngage interactive multimedia programs on diabetes education into the Well platform.

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