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December 20, 2022 News 4 Comments

Top News

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Fujifilm acquires Tampa-based Inspirata, which offers the Dynamyx digital pathology system.


Reader Comments

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From Climb Higher: “Re: airline-like reporting and oversight of patient safety issues. This is not a new idea, but I’m glad to see it maybe finally coming to life.” Me too. The first suggestion of an national EHR oversight program that I’m aware of was published in a 2011 article (above) that called for health system EHR safety committees to investigate EHR-related adverse events and then report them to a federal, multidisciplinary National Transportation Safety Board type organization that would review the issues to determine their potential prevalence and risk and then publish preventive strategies for a national audience where appropriate. The authors suggested two immediate steps to get the program started: (a) establish a reporting system for de-identified incident data; and (b) define trigger criteria, a dissemination methodology, the legal infrastructure required to create the new board, and integration of EHR vendor requirements into ONC’s certification process. I summarized the article and added my thoughts in November 2011, where I expressed a slight preference for a non-government approach such as that of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices:

I personally think you could start to turn the battleship with non-governmental non-profit of 5-20 employees. It  wouldn’t provide oversight, but leadership. Work on awareness and best practices. Take voluntary reports, and even if you don’t get many, blast them out there and let the reaction go somewhat viral. Develop constructive relationships with vendors and call out the obstructionists publicly. Make best friends with all those REC people out there. Align with the people who talk a lot about patient safety but don’t have technology expertise (Joint Commission, state licensing boards.) Steer clear of endless theoretical debates and react to real-life incidents. Stay well away from HIMSS and CHIME if you want to keep your objectivity, but think about working with AMIA. Self-fund through educational and consulting offerings. We have a highly collegial and collaborative industry, so use a network of experts as needed  to bolster staffing for specific projects. Even if the government eventually does something, this kind of work will still be needed – ISMP’s work isn’t diminished by the fact that there’s a plodding FDA out there.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Here’s wishing you a Happy Yalda for Wednesday night, the longest night of the year, the beginning of winter, and the start of longer daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere. This is one of few holidays, like New Year’s Day, that is inclusive to all, except maybe those south of the equator who will celebrate Yalda when winter begins in June. ChatGPT perhaps says it better: “Happy Yalda! May this festive occasion bring joy and happiness to you and your loved ones. May the light of the longest night of the year brighten your path and guide you towards prosperity and success in the coming year. Wishing you a blessed and wonderful Yalda celebration.”

Random fact: Epic CEO Judy Faulkner will turn 80 next August 11, just 10 days before UGM starts.


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Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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A federal court grants the motion of Epic to invalidate the patents of non-practicing entity (patent troll) Decapolis Systems, which has been suing Epic customers claiming that Epic’s software violates its patents. Epic defended its customers and sued Decapolis in its own hometown. Two dozen companies, including EHR vendors, paid Decapolis to settle its litigation. Decapolis was formed in 2021 by a patent attorney who used generic healthcare information patents to target EHR vendors, along with filing lawsuits in several other industries based on similarly non-specific patents. Clearly USPTO is issuing a lot of patents that it shouldn’t.

Axios reports that primary care chain Carbon Health is talking with several companies about licensing its homegrown EHR. Co-founder and CEO Eren Bali has said that the company had to fix EHRs because everybody hates them and their software is “laughable,” insisting that the company design a new EHR for its own use without looking at existing ones or their feature lists. He will likely learn how hard it is to turn one organization’s custom-developed software package into a commercially viable, well-supported product. 


People

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Aaron Wootton, MBA (Henry Ford Health System) joins Concord Hospital Health System as CIO.

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Direct healthcare company Nomi Health hires Amy Wykoff (IBM Watson Health) as its first chief product officer.

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Becky Fox, RN, MSN (Atrium Health) joins Intermountain Healthcare as chief clinical information officer.

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Industry long-timer Dave Runt, COO of Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Health Centers, tells me that he will retire this month.


Announcements and Implementations

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A KLAS report on practice management systems for mid-sized and large practices finds Athenahealth and Epic topping the list for large practices — although Meditech Expanse was right on their heels but with an insufficient sample size – while Cerner and EClinicalWorks need improvement. Mid-sized practices are most satisfied with Athenahealth and NextGen Healthcare, while independent practices like NextGen Healthcare. Two-thirds of Oracle Cerner customers report dissatisfaction due to outdated technology, inadequate training, and functionality gaps that require adding third-party products, with many of those having low expectations for the company’s RevElate replacement product because of Cerner’s history of unfulfilled RCM promises.   


Government and Politics

HHS proposes a change to HIPAA that would support healthcare attachment transactions for claims and prior authorizations and the use of electronic signatures in those transactions, which the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare estimates could save $828 million per year. 

The General Accounting Office appoints seven members to the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee:

  • Kikelomo Belizaire, MD, MPH, MBA, chief medical officer, Pegasystems.
  • Shila Blend, PhD, MS, health information technology director, North Dakota Health Information Network.
  • Hannah Galvin, MD, CMIO, Cambridge Health Alliance.
  • Bryant Thomas Karras, MD, CMIO and senior epidemiologist, Washington State Department of Health.
  • Anna McCollister, consultant and patient advocate.
  • Deven McGraw, JD, MPH, lead for data stewardship and data sharing, Invitae.
  • Naresh Sundar Rajan, PhD, MS, chief data officer, CyncHealth.

The Drug Enforcement Administration serves a Show Cause order to online pharmacy Truepill, which it alleges wrongfully filled thousands of prescriptions for ADHD stimulants such as Adderall in its relationship with telehealth companies such as Cerebral. DEA says that the company filled 72,000 controlled substance prescriptions in two years, 60% of them for stimulants, many of which were not medically appropriate and in some cases were written by prescribers who did not possess the required state license. Truepill’s fall 2021 funding round valued the company at $1.6 billion. The company acquired its own ADHD telehealth company (Ahead), shut it down as the DEA came knocking in its investigation of competitor Cerebral, and has conducted four rounds of layoffs this year. It has refocused on its core pharmacy business and cut back on its COVID-focused offerings of telehealth visits, home lab testing, and generating and filling antiviral prescriptions as allowed by Emergency Use Authorization.


Other

An MIT Technology Review article observes that the proliferation of AI-generated text and images will spoil future AI models, which will train on both real and fake Internet content without knowing the difference. The author worries that AI is good at generating confident, authoritative text that glosses over unreferenced assertions and outright misstatements that it repeats. She noted in a previous article that it’s nearly impossible to detect AI-generated text, but one way is to assume that if text is well written and free of typos, misspellings, and poorly constructed sentences, the author was probably not a human.


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