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Monday Morning Update 9/13/21

September 12, 2021 News 1 Comment

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Researchers Dean Sittig, PhD and Hardeep Singh, MD, MPH call for additional EHR safety actions beyond CMS’s recent mandate that hospitals self-assess annually using the SAFER Guides framework. Their JAMA Network piece recommends that hospitals and EHR developers share the responsibility for EHR safety since hospitals can’t develop EHR features themselves to meet the SAFER Guides standards:

  • EHR developer teams, including clinicians, should self-assess their EHRs annually and report their results as part of the federal government’s certification process. They should ensure that their product can be configured to meet SAFER recommendations and deploy it with the appropriate default settings.
  • ONC should convene an expert panel each year to develop any SAFER updates that are needed. That panel would also publish a list of developer non-conformity with an analysis of appropriateness.
  • EHR developers should create EHR configuration guides for their product and share them with customers and their certification body. This would ensure that customers understand how to configure the EHR to meet SAFER recommendations and emphasize the safety consequences of failing to do so.

The SAFER Guides for EHR safety were developed in early 2014 by Sittig, Singh, and Joan Ash, PhD, MLS, MS, MBA. CMS requires hospitals to self-assess their compliance with the guides annually, starting with the EHR reporting period in CY 2022.


CMS is planning to require that Eligible Professionals annually attest that they have reviewed the “High Priority Practices” elements of the SAFER Guides, although their involvement would likely be limited to pressing their EHR vendors to comply.

ONC submitted much-publicized plans for an EHR safety center in its 2015 budget request, but funding was not provided.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Many poll respondents have been laid off in their career and quite a few were forced into a job they didn’t want or were fired, but demotions and forced relocation were uncommon.

New poll to your right or here: Which annual conference would you attend if limited to one?


September 16 (Thursday) 1 ET. “Patient Acquisition and Retention: The Future of Omnichannel Virtual Assistants.” Sponsor: Orbita. Presenters: Harris Hunt, SVP growth product, Cancer Treatment Centers of America; Patty Riskind, MBA, CEO, Orbita; Nathan Treloar, MSc, co-founder and COO, Orbita. Consumers want the same digital healthcare experience from healthcare that they get in online shopping, banking, and booking reservations, and the pandemic has ramped up the patient and provider need for frictionless access to healthcare resources and services. Health systems can improve patient acquisition and retention with the help of omnichannel virtual assistants that engage and delight. Discover how to open and enhance healthcare’s digital front door to offer care that goes beyond expectations.

September 16 (Thursday) 1 ET. “ICD-10-CM 2022 Updates and Regulatory Readiness.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: June Bronnert, MSHI, RHIA, VP global clinical services, IMO; Theresa Rihanek, MHA, RHIA, mapping manager, IMO; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO. IMO’s top coding professionals and thought leaders will discuss the coding changes in the yearly update to allow your organization to prepare for a smooth transition and avoid negative impacts to the bottom line. The presenters will review new, revised, and deleted codes; highlight revisions to ICD-10-CM index and tabular; discuss changes within Official Coding Guidelines, and review modifier changes.

October 6 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Solving Patient Experience Challenges Through a Strong Digital Front Door.” Sponsor: Avtex. Presenters: Mike Pietig, VP of healthcare experience, Avtex; Jamey Shiels, MBA, VP of consumer experience, Advocate Aurora Health; Chad Thorpe, care ambassador, DispatchHealth. Patients expect healthcare providers to offer them the same digital experience they get when banking, shopping, and traveling. This webinar will describe how two leading healthcare providers created digital front doors that exceed patient expectations, improve patient outcomes, drive loyalty and acquisition, and future-proof their growth strategies in competitive markets.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Spok’s board is reviewing strategic alternatives for the company, including a potential sale, following unsolicited interest in acquiring some or all of its shares.  The company notes that more than 5% of its shares have been recently acquired by Acacia Research, which licenses company patents to pursue litigation, and its partner, activist hedge fund Starboard Value. Cerner gave in to pressure from Starboard in early 2019, adding four board seats with two of those new members being nominated by Starboard. Starboard sold Cerner shares quickly afterward as it usually does with its corporate targets, taking advantage of the short-term price jump to reduce its 1.2% position in Cerner. CERN shares have since risen 19% versus the Nasdaq’s 91% gain. Spok Holdings share price has been flat in the past year, valuing the company at less than $200 million.


  • The VA awards Cerner an 18-month, $134 million task order for its EHR rollout.



Medecision promotes Terri Steinberg, MD, MBA to EVP / chief portfolio officer.

Announcements and Implementations

Upfront Healthcare creates the Bartosch Institute for Patient Activation Research.

Health Catalyst launches a research network to allow health systems to establish relationships with drug companies and pharma-related research organizations.

The VA has migrated to Nuance Dragon Medical One.


A new KLAS report on EHRs in the Middle East and Africa finds that Cerner leads in performance and has improved relationships and services quality, Health Insights has improved satisfaction by migrating all customers to its web-based platform but hasn’t made a sale since 2019, and the sales success of InterSystems has caused some growing pains as customers report challenges in reaching its experts.



A CDC review of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in 13 US jurisdictions from April through July 2021 finds that while the vaccine’s effectiveness at preventing infection has dropped with the delta variant, its protection against hospitalization and death has not changed. However, the underlying numbers suggested that hospital and death percentages aren’t drastically different among infected people regardless of vaccination status.

A Minnesota family physician who is running as a Republican candidate for governor calls for creating a “health freedom sanctuary state” where state residents would be free to ignore federal masking and vaccination requirements. The campaign of Scott Jensen, MD, who says he has not been vaccinated and doesn’t plan to be, has been banned from advertising on Facebook for posting COVID-19 misinformation. Another state Republican candidate and physician, dermatologist Neil Shah, MD, is campaigning against federally mandated vaccination, saying that asymptomatic spread is rare and that the government is working with the medical industry to “destroy science.” 

California releases its digital vaccine record system source code into the public domain. It uses the SMART Health Card framework, which can connect to a state immunization registry, CVS, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and hospitals that use Epic or Cerner.


Eric Topol, MD summarizes the White House’s new vaccine-centric COVID-19 plan versus a more comprehensive one. He has tweeted most frequently about the need for better CDC data and analysis, the need for a Green Pass system for air and train travel, and making at-home rapid tests free to help keep schools open.


Executives and employees of DeepMind, the AI company that Google acquired in 2014, worked on secret plans to break away from Google over several years because they don’t trust the search engine giant. Insiders say they were worried about placing their work within the Google bureaucracy and started hiding their research for fear that Google’s internal AI group was using it without giving credit.

Sponsor Updates

  • OptimizeRx welcomes Andrew D’Silva as SVP of corporate finance.
  • The Edinburg Center expands its use of NetSmart’s CareFabric platform with additional features that include new financial functionalities, integrated reporting tools, and navigation features.
  • Olive appoints Eileen Naughton (Google) to its Board of Directors.
  • Jvion drives adoption of prescriptive intelligence and clinical AI with new peer-reviewed results, platform integrations, and SDOH solutions.
  • Premier and 11 leading health systems have acquired a minority stake in Exela Pharma Sciences to secure supply of pharmaceutical products and support domestic production.
  • Pure Storage offers a case study, “Hong Kong Cancer Fund Expands Services and Enhances the Digital Experience for Patients.”
  • Talkdesk has earned the number-one spot in 11 G2 Fall Reports for 2021, and has earned G2 accolades in categories related to telecom services for call centers, contact center workforce, auto dialer, speech analytics, and contact center quality assurance.
  • Upfront Healthcare, Relatient, and Well Health join Panda Health’s digital health marketplace in the new category of Unified Patient Messaging.
  • Vocera releases a new Caring Greatly Podcast, “Streamlining EHR Work to Improve Clinician Well-Being – Annie Ideker, MD.”
  • West Monroe Senior Managers Kirsten Lentz and Ken Goebel win M&A Advisor’s Emerging Leaders Award.
  • VitalTech EVP of Sales & Marketing Ernie Iance will present at the Virtual Ziegler Link Age Fund Symposium September 9 in Chicago.

Blog Posts


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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Rick Klau is my hero. I’m so happy to see code written with public funds freely shared in the public domain.

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