Home » News » Currently Reading:

Monday Morning Update 8/16/21

August 15, 2021 News 3 Comments

Top News


CMS will require hospitals to attest that they have completed an annual self-assessment of their compliance with the SAFER Guides for EHR safety. The requirement starts with the EHR reporting period in CY 2022.

The nine categories of the Guides are:

  1. High-priority practices
  2. Organizational responsibilities
  3. Contingency planning
  4. System configuration
  5. System interfaces
  6. Patient identification
  7. Computerized provider order entry with decision support
  8. Test results reporting and follow-up
  9. Clinician communication

The SAFER Guides were developed by Dean Sittig, PhD; Joan Ash, PhD, MLS, MS, MBA; and Hardeep Singh, MD, MPH with the support of ONC. They first published the SAFER Guides in early 2014.

Reader Comments

From Recapper Rick: “Re: HIMSS21. Hot topics from the exhibit hall?” That’s always subjective, but I’ll try (and encourage others to chime in), remembering that low exhibitor count means underrepresentation of some topics:

  • Hot: telehealth, remote patient monitoring, cybersecurity, AI, interoperability, health equity, population health management, patient payments, digital front door, cloud, hospital data for life sciences.
  • Not: EHRs, big data, blockchain, wearables.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Take these results with a grain of salt since some non-providers missed the “healthcare providers” part of the poll and responded about their non-provider workplace. That’s perfectly fine – basically across the industry, it’s a fairly even split of requiring vaccination proof.

New poll to your right or here: How did HIMSS21 change your perception of HIMSS?


I checked out some of the HIMSS21 videos on the HIMSS Accelerate platform. They are posted as unlisted YouTube videos and stream embedded from there, although the Alex Rodriguez keynote doesn’t work since it has been blocked by Warner Music Group. I don’t know if A-Rod has anything to do with WMG, so maybe it has something to do with background music or something.

I still haven’t seen a HIMSS21 attendee count, although they said that 18,000 people had registered for both the in-person and online versions. Since HIMSS didn’t provide a count of onsite, paid attendees, I’ll throw out my guess of 8,000 given the expanse of empty space in the exhibit hall and hallways. Let me know if you have better information.


One final HIMSS21 to-do item – complete my quick 10-question survey about your experience with either the in-person or virtual version. I’ll summarize the responses shortly. Thanks.

My vaccinated, COVID-infected relative is feeling a good bit better although with brain fog, but she learned from emails from others in her camping trip group that at least 60 of them have been infected, which makes it a superspreader event. The other relative who was infected last week from an unknown source now has three of four family members testing positive and symptomatic, for which they initiated a telehealth visit (filled out an online form, paid $90, got a telephone call back two days later) with the controversial America’s Frontline Doctors, who prescribed a Z-Pack and hydroxychloroquine.

HIMSS21 returnees, consider following Dr. Jayne’s suggestion to isolate until the fourth day after you left the conference, then take a COVID-19 test on that day for the all-clear. Walmart sells the BinaxNow self-test at $20 for two, and given present circumstances, it’s unlikely that the second one will expire unused.


I set a reminder to see if anyone had analyzed HIMSS conference tweet counts as a proxy for general conference interest and participation. Ottawa-based medical writer Pat Rich did.

I’m disappointed that nobody Photoshopped the “Chris Christie on the closed beach” meme onto his HIMSS21 keynote stage photo.


Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Ideawake. The Milwaukee-based company enables employers to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of their workforce. Its industry-leading idea management software makes it easy to capture, evaluate, and implement targeted ideas from frontline employees. Support a culture of innovation by using its one-stop platform for facilitating innovation challenges, shark tanks, hackathons, and improvement symposiums from initial sourcing of ideas to measuring ROI. Customers such as Advocate Aurora, UnityPoint, OSF Healthcare, and Sanford Health use Ideawake to cost-effectively discover more solutions, prioritize the best ones faster, and transform more of them into impact. Engage hundreds to tens of thousands of employees to solve your biggest problems and break down entrenched silos and geographic barriers while fostering a global, company-wide culture of innovation. Thanks to Ideawake for supporting HIStalk.

Here’s an Ideawake intro video.


Reader Tom Foley, chief growth officer of GenieMD, emailed to say that the company was busy during HIMSS21, still going strong with demos and meetings at 4:00 Thursday as the exhibit hall closed. I was intrigued and asked why his company did so well when others didn’t seem as thrilled. I appreciate his ideas:

  • GenieMD offers an integrated telehealth and remote patient monitoring solution, which is a growth area since providers are finding out that their EHRs aren’t robust in those areas and video-only platforms aren’t a long-term solution.
  • The majority of booth visitors were senior decision makers.
  • The company expected reduced conference attendance, so decided just four weeks out to upgrade from a Caesars Forum kiosk to a 10×10 space in the main hall.
  • They bought a full-page ad in the conference magazine.
  • They issued four press releases the week before and during the conference and posted those on LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • GenieMD has chosen an 20×20 booth for HIMSS22, expecting to have more information to share then.


None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Acute care telemedicine vendor SOC Telemed reports Q2 results: revenue up 84%, EPS –$0.16 versus –$0.30. Shares dropped 34% on Friday following the announcement, valuing the company at $414 million. TLMD shares are down 69% since early November 2020, when the company went public via a SPAC merger.

Customer experience software vendor Talkdesk completes a Series D funding round that values the company at $10 billion.


Clinical workflow solutions provider Medstreaming and its acquired M2S clinical data registries company rename the combined entity to Fivos Health. Industry long-timer Jay Colfer is CEO.


Labcorp acquires Ovia Health, which offers health plans, employers, and individuals services that include women’s health coaching and apps for fertility, pregnancy, and baby development tracking. The company whose annual revenue is $20 million, previously received an investment from Labcorp’s venture fund.


  • Oklahoma Heart Hospital chooses Health Catalyst’s Data Operating System and DOS Marts.
  • Stratum Med will offer its practices CareSignal’s Deviceless Remote Patient Monitoring.



Jeannell Thomas (UnitedHealth Group) joins Protenus as VP of implementations and customer solutions.


Industry long-timer Brian Gildea (Spok) joins NThrive as VP of new client acquisition.


Divurgent hires Scott Freeman, MHA (Leidos) as VP of client service.

Announcements and Implementations

Intelligent Medical Objects launches IMO Core CSmart app, which allows Cerner users to more easily capture ICD-10 specificity and secondary codes, improve capture of HCCs, and organize problem lists in clinical categories.

Imprivata rolls out a new digital identity maturity assessment tool.

Everbridge announces new versions of its CareConverge and HipaaBridge secure clinical collaboration solutions.

Adventist Health joins Cerner Learning Health Network.

Government and Politics

UnitedHealthcare will pay $15.7 million to settle federal and state charges that it overcharged or denied coverage for patients with mental health and substance abuse issues using a software algorithm to trigger extra reviews.



The federal government’s HHS Protect system shows that hospitals in Florida and Georgia are using more than 20% of their inpatient beds for COVID-19 patients.


State officials in Mississippi warn that its hospital system is facing imminent failure and ask for federal government help with more than 1,500 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, 400 in the ICU, and University of Mississippi Medical Center turning a floor of its parking garage into a field hospital. Oregon is sending National Guard members to hospitals that are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19 test positivity rate exceeded 50% in Oklahoma and Mississippi last week. Their percentage of fully vaccinated residents is 41.7% and 35.9%, respectively.


Even more concerning is the percentage of ICU beds that are housing COVID-19 patients.

NIH Director Francis Collins said on a Sunday news program that he expects the daily case count to exceed 200,000 within two weeks – it’s at 140,000 now — because 90 million people still aren’t vaccinated, concluding that “we’re in a world of hurt.”

Eric Topol, MD says in an op-ed piece that CDC is making a mistake by ending its monitoring of post-vaccination COVID-19 infections that don’t involve hospitalization or death. He says we are “flying blind” since we don’t know how many breakthrough infections are occurring, the threshold cycle of positive PCR tests would provide an understanding of viral load, and we can’t perform genetic sequencing to see if the virus is continuing to mutate. Data collection would also help public health officials identify who is at risk for breakthrough infections, analyze vaccine effectiveness, and figure out the types of patients who need booster shots.

In another call for increased CDC data analysis, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD says it should gather data on children who are hospitalized with COVID-19 to determine whether the big ramp-up in the South is the “top of a huge iceberg of dire infection” or a sign that the virus has become more pathogenic in children.

Politico’s “Inside America’s COVID-Reporting Breakdown” says that state surveillance systems aren’t capable of giving public health officials real-time data to determine where outbreaks are occurring. Labs are short on staff to process tests quickly, many results are reported manually, and the systems that are used by state health departments are not interoperable with each other. Newly opened labs that weren’t prepared to report results electronically forced health department volunteers to pull results off fax machines and re-enter them into spreadsheets. Data de-duplication to make sure each result was entered only once was hampered by misspelled names.


CDC issues a recommendation that people whose immune systems are compromised get a booster dose of vaccine. Those conditions are listed in the slide above from CDC’s vaccine advisory committee. CDC is also now recommending that pregnant and breastfeeding women receive the vaccine.

The Atlantic science writer Ed Yong writes a new version of his influence March 2020 piece titled “How the Pandemic will End.” He makes these points in the newly published “How the Pandemic Now Ends”:

  • The goal is once again to buy time to keep hospitals and schools open and to get more people vaccinated.
  • Unvaccinated people are often clustered geographically and that allows the variant to spread. Vaccinated people can transmit the delta variant to an unknown degree.
  • Societies cannot use vaccines as their only defense, and unvaccinated pockets can still shut down schools, overwhelm hospitals, and create more changes for worse variants to emerge. Available tools include better ventilation, rapid tests, and social support such as paid sick leave, eviction moratoriums, and free isolation sites.
  • Universal vaccination mandates probably won’t fly, but vaccination should be required for employees of hospitals, long-term care facilities, and prisons, where vulnerable people don’t have a choice about being exposed. They may also be likely for university students, government employees, and the military.
  • The delta variant has made it unlikely that COVID-19 can be eliminated. The pandemic will eventually turn into an endemic like the common cold.

Sponsor Updates

  • Avtex publishes a Digital Front Door Toolkit.
  • OptimizeRx SVP & Principal of Agency Channels Angelo Campano joins The Curtis & Coulter Podcast to discuss “The ‘Tele’ Movement & Evolution of Point-of-Care.”
  • Nordic publishes a new whitepaper, “The new healthcare ecosystem: Preparing for decentralized care.”
  • TCS Healthcare Technologies will use Healthwise Care Management Solution in its care management platform.
  • Protenus co-founder and CEO Nick Culbertson joins the ReCon Labs Podcast.
  • University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands signs a 10-year contract for digital pathology with Sectra.
  • Spirion appoints Billy VanCannon head of product management.
  • Well Health salutes five customers who made the US News Best Hospitals 2021-22 Honor Roll.
  • Frost & Sullivan honors Lumeon with the 2021 North American Customer Value Leadership Award.
  • Nordic Consulting partners with Fortified Health Security to offer its customers cybersecurity solutions.
  • Surescripts publishes a new data brief, “COVID-19 Heightens the Need to Improve Interoperability, Provide Price Transparency & Relieve Provider Burnout.”
  • Halo Health releases a new infographic, “Clinical Collaboration Platforms and EHRs – An Essential Partnership.”
  • Healthcare Growth Partners has advised Radix Health in its sale to Relatient.
  • Infor announces significant success and momentum for its cloud-based interoperability solutions.
  • Meditech releases a new infographic, “How NMC Health leverages data with BCA dashboards.”

Blog Posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.Send news or rumors.
Contact us.


HIStalk Featured Sponsors


Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. The “unexpected” ending in Afghanistan is heartbreaking. How the pandemic ends will be even worse.

  2. I’m interested to know, from the GenieMD person what “conference magazine” they took our a full page ad in, given that the HIMSS Daily, for which we used to have 2-page ads throughout HIMSS has been discontinued.

    • There was a printed daily magazine, offered to passersby walking towards the Sands conference center. I did not pick one up, so I don’t know what it was called.

Text Ads


  1. Part of my attitude relates to an experience I had. And this was within a single HIS. I wanted to…

  2. For what it's worth, the VA currently releases C-CDA (or HITSP C-32...my memory fails me) via eHealth Exchange and has…

  3. Unfortunately, I can't disagree with anything you wrote. It is important that they get this right for so many reasons,…

  4. Going out on a limb here. Wouldn't Oracle's (apparent) interoperability strategy, have a better chance of success, than the VA's?…

  5. Dr Jayne is noticing one of the more egregious but trivial instance of bad behavior by allegedly non-profit organizations. I…

Founding Sponsors


Platinum Sponsors











































Gold Sponsors