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Monday Morning Update 1/25/21

January 24, 2021 News 5 Comments

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ONC opens a challenge project to create realistic patient data for the open source Synthea synthetic health data engine.

Synthea creates simulated lifelong health records that can be used by developers and researchers to support patient-centered outcomes research while they are waiting for access to real clinical data.

Up to six winners will be chosen for prizes of $10,000 to $50,000.

Reader Comments

From Maybe Going: “Re: HIMSS21. No registration page yet?” The conference site says that registration will open in January. The latest entry on the “Conference News & Announcements” page is from five months ago. We are just over six months away from the scheduled start of HIMSS21. HIMSS22 is scheduled for seven months later in March 2022 in Orlando.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Most poll respondents who have worked for an acquired company say their jobs got worse afterward.

New poll to your right or here: Have you argued with, criticized, or publicly disagreed with someone on Facebook who you have never met personally? Background: I don’t understand the perceived benefit of arguing publicly online and I can’t identify with how someone’s political or social beliefs can be so defining to their self-worth that they need defend them to faceless strangers, but Facebook fight-picking seems to be everybody’s favorite pastime. Mrs. HIStalk sometimes gets worked up over some clearly stupid or trolling comment and wants to respond, but I always provide my unsolicited advice: (a) you’ve never had your mind changed by a stranger’s Facebook comment and neither has anyone else; and (b) do you really want to spar with some keyboard warrior who can find our address from your name? I would consider social media to be a place for thoughtful discussion only if (a) everybody had to register with one and only one account using their validated name and address; and (b) I could click any comment to mute the author permanently.

I’m puzzled at why I’ve seen the city of “St. Louis” – its legal name – spelled out several times in the last week or two as “Saint Louis” by folks whose tendency seems to be to erroneously shorten rather than lengthen words (“Saint Louis University” is correct only because it is named after the actual saint and not the city). The city’s pronunciation is equally vexing – it should be “loo-EEE” given that it was named by French speakers who were referring to their king, whose delight would probably be diminished upon hearing that ‘Murcans mispronounce his name as LOO_us. Even the state’s name is illogically converted by some residents to Missou-ruh. It’s interesting that we choose names from other languages, but then mispronounce them intentionally or otherwise to make them uniquely ours (see Texas, just north of “I see an X so I’m saying an X” Mexico).

It’s a slow-to-no news day compared to the usual HIMSS-focused seasonal burst of PR activity. Enjoy the few minutes you will save as a result.


January 28 (Thursday) 12:30 ET: “In Conversation: Advancing Women Leaders in Health IT.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Tabitha Lieberman, SVP of clinical and revenue cycle applications, Providence St. Joseph Health; Ann Barnes, CEO, IMO; Deanna Towne, MBA, CIO, CORHIO; Amanda Heidemann, MD, CMIO, CMIO Services, LLC. IMO CEO Ann Barnes brings together a panel of female health executives for a results-oriented discussion on how managers and C-suite executives can address diversity and inclusion in their organizations. From STEM education to mentoring and networking, the “COVID effect” on women in the workplace, to matters of equity, there’s no better time to talk openly about these issues to help generate meaningful change in healthcare.

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

Announcements and Implementations


Eighteen hospitals of Steward Health Care complete their virtual implementation of a regionally shared Meditech Expanse EHR.

Divurgent launches a Virtual Patient Support Solution to help providers manage COVID-19 vaccination scheduling calls.

A Mass General / Harvard Medical School study that was performed using real-world data from the TriNetX global health research network finds that people who have autoimmune or immune-suppressing rheumatic conditions are less likely to experience severe COVID-19 outcomes. The authors, who reviewed the de-identified information of 8,500 patients, also noted that the death risk to those patients remains substantial at 5-6% within 30 days of diagnosis.


Beverly Knight Children’s Hospital goes live on Vocera Ease for connecting parents with their NNICU babies. Employees applied for and received a Pampers Bright Beginnings NICU Connectivity Grant to fund the project.


Sunday’s COVID-19 hospitalizations in the US dropped to 110,628, new deaths to 1,940, and new cases the lowest other than on Christmas Day since December 1 at 142,949. The numbers are likely retreating after holiday-caused spikes, but the lull may be temporary as the B117 variant increases in prevalence. The US death count is at 417,000.

CDC reports that 20.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered of 41.4 million distributed (50%). The federal government says that vaccine availability won’t improve until April due to manufacturing capacity, so experts urge the government focus on fixing state and local vaccination center problems that can’t even get existing limited supplies into arms.

The New York Times warns that the US should learn from Britain’s experience of hospitals becoming overwhelmed with patients, partly driven by the more contagious B117 coronavirus variant. One example is overloaded liquid oxygen pipes, caused by the use of high-flow oxygen for COVID-19 patients in trying to avoid the use of ventilators. The article also notes that hospitals have been reluctant to delay elective procedures, causing staff burnout, and quotes doctors who worry about how COVID survivors can be rehabilitated.

Sponsor Updates

  • OptimizeRx will present at the B. Riley Securities 2021 Vision Day Virtual Conference January 28.
  • PatientPing publishes a new white paper, “CMS Direct Contracting: Preparing for the New Model & How to Succeed with Real-Time Data.”
  • Arcadia congratulates Micky Tripathi on his new leadership role as National Coordinator for Health Information Technology with the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • TrustRadius has recognized Pure Storage’s FlashArray for Best Customer Support and Best Usability.
  • Relatient publishes a new case study, “The Warren Clinic Leverages Epic and Relatient to Distribute COVID-19 Vaccines.”
  • Spirion will host a series of virtual events January 26-28 in support of Data Privacy Day.
  • MD Tech Review names Zen Healthcare IT a “Top Healthcare Interoperability Solution Provider of 2020.”

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Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

    • Yeah, but the nickname for Sault Ste. Marie is “The Soo”, and not “The Sue”.

      That just raises other thorny issues. The estate of Johnny Cash is likely to sue over the classic song, A Boy Named Soo, er Sue.

      • The Provencals lightly pronounce the L in Sault which is a wonderful commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France. The Canadians who speak le français also pronounce the L in Sault Ste. Marie.

  1. It’s also not “logical” for French people to be mispronouncing Latin so badly that it turned into another language entirely. Maybe you should write some hot takes about that.

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