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Weekender 7/9/21

July 9, 2021 Weekender 1 Comment


Weekly News Recap

  • FDA clears AliveCor’s phone-attached EKG sensor and app to allow professionals to calculate QTc interval for diagnosis of irregular heartbeat.
  • Intelerad acquires Heart Imaging Technologies.
  • A second OIG review of the VA’s Cerner project warns again of unbudgeted infrastructure costs of several billion dollars.
  • Sophia Genetics announces IPO plans.
  • UC San Diego Health adopts the SMART Health Card.
  • Three institutions form Texas Health Informatics Alliance and announce its first conference.

Best Reader Comments

Regarding AmazonCare, calling it “value-based care” is generous. Telehealth companies used to charge per-member per-month. Insurance companies started to figure out that telehealth companies weren’t doing much. Even worse is that as the insurance companies added members, the cost to the insurance company rose linearly, but the cost to the telehealth company barely changed since so few of those members actually used the telehealth service. Insurance companies also did internal measurements on the value of “urgent care” style telehealth and realized it wasn’t really substituting for primary care visits and wasn’t driving down long term costs. In urgent care style telehealth, people use it for the sniffles, while before, they would just ride it out. Increased healthcare convenience means people use more healthcare, not less. That isn’t an interesting service for insurance companies. So about five years ago, insurance companies forced telehealth companies away from per-member per-month. Many initially tried straight charging per visit and some still do, but that style of telehealth is a race to the bottom, low-margin business. Your HR department that buys your benefits is less savvy to this stuff than insurance companies, so it is easier to make money off employers directly, but selling to them one by one requires a lot of sales people. (IANAL)

I was heavily involved in the original IBM/Epic bid for the DoD. When we lost and found out what Leidos / Cerner had bid, we were mystified. Either they had low-balled, had missed some major infrastructure pieces, or had some “secret sauce” that we just hadn’t figured out. Well, I think we’re finding there was no secret sauce involved. (Bob Smith)

[Epic Care Everywhere] internal structures and mechanisms have been built. There’s a whole support structure to enable information sharing. Therefore, when two compatible Epic HIS systems aren’t sharing data, it’s entirely a customer-side issue. Maybe they aren’t mature enough to share data (after all, I’d consider external data sharing to be an “advanced”’ HIS function, and less of a priority than internal needs and priorities). Or maybe, someone at the customer has specifically decided they don’t want to share data. After all, if setting up Care Everywhere is relatively easy and is fully vendor supported, one has to start to question what the hold-up is. (Brian Too)

I find it funny that slews of provider organizations are coming out saying sepsis AI doesn’t work because they’ve all upcoded sepsis diagnoses. Seems like some great candidates for a Medicare audit. Maybe they can use the sepsis predictor to predict overpayment! (Sepsis predictor)

The Supreme Court decision in the TransUnion case this week makes it pretty clear the lawsuit against Google isn’t going anywhere. If the court doesn’t consider you to be harmed when a credit reporting agency mistakenly informs you that you’re on the terrorist watch list, they’re definitely not going to consider you harmed by having some personal info undisclosed in a log file somewhere. (Dan)

Watercooler Talk Tidbits


Readers funded the Donors Choose teacher grant request of Mr. G in Kentucky, who requested a camera for his school’s yearbook club. He reported back in December, “With school being in and out because of COVID, they have not gotten the opportunity to use it as much as they would like. However, earlier in the school year, we were lucky enough to take some action shots at a couple of our football games. This provided a great opportunity for some hands on learning with more than one student at a time. This is something that I am greatly appreciative of as a teacher! The students were able to take many great shots that will look great in our yearbook. We all thank you from the bottom of our hearts to allow us the opportunity to grow and have amazing opportunities for us to improve our school.”

I found through frustration that scanning your COVID-19 vaccination card into the HIMSS21 Clear Health Pass app works only by positioning your phone skinny side up (portrait mode) instead of the wide-side up (landscape mode) that I expected since that’s how my bank’s mobile deposits work. I finally got that to work, although the app shows my status as “pending verification” with no definition of what that means.


A Tennessee doctor whose medical license was previously suspended for possession of controlled substances will face the state board again, this time for inappropriately administering COVID-19 antibody tests to determine whether patients are actively infected. The doctor, who had started an in-home COVID-19 testing program, was accused by patients of not wearing a mask or gloves, not performing a physical exam, and falsifying medical records in documenting work he didn’t actually perform.


Riverside Regional Medical Center (VA) medical resident Eleanor Love, MD starts Richmond-based The Simple Sunflower, which asks newly married couples for their wedding flowers after the ceremony, repackages them into individual vases, and delivers them to hospitalized patients in Richmond, starting with those in palliative care. 

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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. RE: Virginia-based Dr Love’s initiative about repurposing wedding flowers for patients.

    Reminds me of a news item from years ago where the patients in a large hospital had developed a commission system with the gift shop in the main lobby. After the well-wishing visitors had left, the patients would send the flowers back to the gift shop where these would be resold to the next walk-in customer. As I recall, nurses and staff helped in the arrangement but did not receive any financial benefit.

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