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Monday Morning Update 7/1/24

June 30, 2024 News 12 Comments

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Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago reports in a data breach filing notice that the information of 791,000 people was exposed to ransomware hackers in its January 31 cyberattack.

The Rhysida ransomware group claimed in March that it had stolen the hospital’s data and sold it for $3.4 million.

The hospital finished restoring its systems on May 20.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Most poll respondents would like to see government review or approval when private equity firms propose to conduct a provider-related transaction. I’m siding with commenter and industry long-timer Bill Spooner, who suggests that equal attention be paid to not-for-profit transactions since the goal is the same, to eliminate competition and to buy practices as bed-fillers under the guise of integration.

New poll to your right or here, following up on Dr. Jayne’s comments last week and some excellent observations from reader DrM: Does healthcare have an oversupply of physician informaticists? I’m focusing just on the physician part of clinical informatics since that was the subject of Dr. Jayne’s original pondering.

Today I learned – at least I think I did — that my long-time dentist’s practice was acquired years ago by Heartland Dental, which is owned by private equity firm KKR. I’m speculating on the “acquired” part since Heartland labels itself as a DSO (dental services organization) that serves “affiliates,” but it sounds like they either buy practices outright or perhaps take a majority position. Whatever they do, it involves 1,700 practices, 20,000 employees, and the opening of several dozen new practices from scratch each year. I should be relieved that unlike PE-acquired medical practices or hospitals, it doesn’t seem that quality or customer service have slipped.

I don’t watch TV and therefore had never seen Conan O’Brien on anything until YouTube pushed a video at me this weekend from something called “First We Feast Hot Ones” (never heard of it), in which Conan takes over the show as only someone who is smart, funny, and schooled in improv could do (not to mention sticking to the bit while chugging down high-Scoville hot sauce). That led me down the rabbit hole of a Dr. Arroyo follow-up and then a deep dive into old appearances by Jordan Schlansky and savagely funny, Robert Smigel-operated Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, all of which were new to me. I don’t listen to podcasts, but “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” might lure me in. Conan sold his Team Coco podcast network for $150 million two years ago to Sirius XM, or as Triumph recently called it, “the abandoned mall of the entertainment industry” and then added, “Why get your milk for free when you could rent the cow for $21.99 a month?”

I nominate “please know” as the most irritating wording in corporate blathering history, given that it’s meaningless, superfluous (just tell us what you want us to know), and also gratingly fawning since companies use it to feign sincerity and humility, usually because of their own misstep or misbehavior. I rank it above even “please don’t hesitate to call” to attempt to sound more professional (sort of like the pompous “utilize” or “leverage” instead of “use.”) I’m more amused than annoyed at out-of-office email replies that claim “I will have limited access to email” as though the person doesn’t own a smartphone instead of just admitting that they at least temporarily have more important things to do.


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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Optum notifies Massachusetts regulators that it won’t follow through on a previously announced agreement to buy Steward Health Care’s physician network.



Optum promotes Cara Griffin to SVP of marketing.

Announcements and Implementations


A new KLAS report on digital rounding solutions for nurses finds that Huron, the 2024 Best in KLAS winner, tops the list in customer satisfaction and the ability to drive outcomes and reduce nurse workload.


Australia’s SA health orders an investigation into an error in its Sunrise EHR that miscalculated the estimated due dates of 1,700 pregnant women, raising concerns that the incorrect dates may have caused clinicians to induce labor too early.

Sponsor Updates

  • Consensus Cloud Solutions receives the 2024 CSO Award from Foundry’s CSO for demonstrating outstanding business value and thought leadership.
  • Black Book Research declares Inovalon the top-ranked vendor in robust data integration and predictive analytics, according to feedback from managed care, health plans, and payer technology users.
  • Five9 publishes a new e-book, “AI in Healthcare: How AI Drives Value for Five9 Healthcare Customers.”
  • Waystar takes Black Book’s top spot for end-to-end revenue RCM solutions for health systems.
  • Surescripts Chief Product Officer Tara Dragert joins the NCPDP Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
  • Inovalon announces a partnership with the Meditech Alliance, which will offer the company’s end-to-end RCM to Meditech customers.
  • TruBridge publishes a new case study, “How Texas Institute for Surgery Increased Cash Flow and Decreased AR Days.”

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Currently there are "12 comments" on this Article:

  1. The Hot Ones is brilliant. There have been many great interviews, the host does his homework. Also worth looking for the Maya Rudolph as Beyonce SNL sketches. Conan’s appearance wasn’t typical but was hilarious. Thanks for the Dr. Arroyo follow up!

  2. Highly recommend the book Plunder: Private Equity’s Plan to Pillage America. Goes into detail of nursing homes, dental offices, vet clinics, etc… UHG/UHC, Change and Optum make an appearance as well. Should be required reading in my opinion.

  3. My mental image for “I have limited access to email” is “I am walleye fishing in the northern boundary waters.”

    And a nonzero fraction of the time, this image is correct!

  4. Clearly you’re an adult and doing just fine, but stating “I don’t watch TV” and “I don’t listen to podcasts” makes me question your ability to contextualize pop culture/trends within the HIS world! Ha. I guess it’s not THAT relevant, but… Hmmm.

    I work at a very, very large billion dollar health company that you’ve mentioned many times here. I would say 25% of our employees don’t have access to company email from their smartphones (because it’s deemed not necessary if they don’t work remote, aren’t on call, etc) Company says less access = less security risk. So it *IS* possible some employees really do have “limited access”while out. Have a great holiday, all!

    • Are these company-owned phones or BYOD? I guess it would make sense to restrict email access when using personal devices for people whose jobs don’t require it, although then the “limited access” message might not be needed anyway in that case.

      I feel as though I should possess the ability to contextualize pop culture, so I’m going to choose 10 popular podcasts and give them a critique. That will also stop me from saying “I don’t listen to podcasts.” I’m open to suggestions as long as they don’t involve the usual list of health tech self-promoters. And while I haven’t watched broadcast TV in many years, I have enjoyed some good TV series on the streaming services, which I envision hating if I had to try to keep my attention span while suffering through inane commercials.

      • Did you want HIT-related podcasts or general recommendations? I never miss a chance to recommend Planet Money for its variety of topics (especially on esoteric things like “truffle hunting” and “stadium hot dogs”), and Song Exploder for constantly fascinating me about how other peoples’ brains work. Based on your musical commentary, I would think Song Exploder might really work for you.

        • Song Exploder is excellent, thanks. I’ve listened to episodes with The Flaming Lips, Alvvays, REM, and The Roots so far. It’s perfect content for a podcast and a fascinating and humbling look at how musicians create.

  5. Literally used the “limited access to email” in my OOO response for this week. I am in Maine, mostly in the lake, and almost always with an adult beverage in hand. The iphone is mostly sitting on the deck railing at the cabin with the Merlin app listening for all the various birds around (somehow my wife is 3 birds ahead of me!). So yeah, limited access is accurate in my case. Have a safe and happy 4th everyone!

    • I like that. In fact, I’m gaining appreciation for the “limited access to email” option because it doesn’t specify what the specific limitation is, meaning it could be a personally imposed one whose genesis was an aversion to spending personal time monitoring company email.

    • When I’m off work, whether on vacation or not, I’m deliberately hard to reach. I actively discourage attempts to contact me (not a jerk about it, I just avoid mentioning how to reach me).

      There are ways to reach me. It will take determination to do it; this avoids the whole “FYI, no pressure, but actually I want a callback within an hour” types of messages.

      My best move? I just say I’m not available and I supply alternate contacts who can handle business matters in my absence.

      Not everyone can do this, I admit. But a lot of people actually have big egos and truly think they are indispensable. It’s the whole “everyone is an idiot/incompetent except me; this place will fall apart within seconds without me” dynamic. So they behave in ways that reinforce this message.

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