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News 6/26/19

June 25, 2019 News 2 Comments

Top News

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UnitedHealth Group acquires PatientsLikeMe, whose China-based key investor was forced by the US government to sell the company for national security reasons.


Reader Comments

From Asking for a Friend: “Re: Change Healthcare, Phreesia IPOs. I’m wondering if your readers have advice for interviewing with a company that is planning an IPO. Is it a good time to hire on, or does the IPO create its own type of workplace unrest?” I’ll open it up to readers since I have no experience in that area. My cheap seats observation is that companies are usually in go-go mode before doing an IPO and are not looking to cut back, making hiring on as a new employee attractive. However, Change Healthcare is an exception because it’s really more like a merger (Emdeon and McKesson’s IT business) in which synergies are being sought in reducing headcount and streamlining product offerings. Change is also challenged by factors that aren’t typical of an IPO company – being saddled with billions in merger-related debt, unimpressive revenue growth, a stable of cast-off products from its majority owner McKesson, and a rapidly changing health IT market that might not be the perfect time to start running on the quarter-by-quarter investor treadmill. Still, given that you can’t predict any company’s future, and given the ephemeral nature of much employment these days, I would say take the best job offer, with slight preference toward companies that are about to IPO. I’ve worked for both good and not-as-good organizations, and while a bad boss spoiled the former, a good one didn’t save the latter.


Webinars

July 18 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Healthcare’s Digital Front Door: Modernizing Medicine’s Mobile-First Strategies That Are Winning Patient Engagement.” Sponsor: Relatient. Presenters: Michele Perry, CEO, Relatient; Michael Rivers, MD, director of EMA Ophthalmology, Modernizing Medicine. Providers are understandably focused on how to make the most of the 5-8 minutes they have on average with a patient during an exam, but what happens between appointments also plays a significant role in the overall health of patients. Modernizing Medicine is driving high patient engagement with best practice, mobile-first strategies. This webinar will describe patient engagement and the challenges in delivering it, how consumerism is changing healthcare, and how to get started and navigate the patient engagement marketplace.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Private equity firm The Jordan Company acquires electronic health and dental information exchange platform vendor Vyne from PE firm Accel-KKR, which bought the company five years ago.

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Humana will offer medication management services to its Medicare Advantage members through Aspen RxHealth, which links consumers to virtual visit pharmacists via the company’s consumer app.

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Call9, which offers nursing homes a 24×7 onsite first responder who is backed up by a remote ED doctor to prevent avoidable resident ED visits, shuts down and lays off 100 employees as it runs out of money despite having raised $34 million. The company hoped to share cost savings with insurers, but says value-based care was too slow in coming. High-profile investors included 23andMe’s Ann Wojcicki and Ashton Kutcher.

The Wall Street Journal reports that drugmaker AbbVie – which sells the #1 drug in the US, Humira, with $20 billion in annual revenue — will buy Botox manufacturer Allergan for $63 billion.


Sales

  • Hardin Medical Center (TN) will implement Cerner at a cost of $4.2 million, replacing Medhost, T-System, and Allscripts. 
  • Delta Regional Medical Center (MS) selects PatientMatters IntelliGuide to connect uninsured patients with available healthcare benefits.
  • CommonWell Health Alliance signs a six-year contract with Change Healthcare to provide record locator and document retrieval services, extending their previous five-year relationship.

Announcements and Implementations

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KLAS names Navigant as the #1 “would you buy again” revenue cycle outsourcer, while Cerner finished by far the worst, with 70% of its customers saying they wouldn’t sign up again. Navigant also finished first in the scope of services offered.

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ActX offers 23andMe customers a $95 professional interpretation of their genetic screening results and will screen physician drug orders via EHR integration. The company’s founder, chairman, and CEO is Andrew Ury, MD, who founded Practice Partner, an EHR/PM vendor that was acquired by McKesson in 2007. Seattle-based ActX has raised $3.9 million in seed and venture funding rounds.

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UNC Health Care launches an American Well-powered, Epic-integrated telehealth solution that allows existing UNC Health Care patients to schedule video visits from MyChart that the provider conducts within the Epic environment.

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Williamson Memorial Hospital (WV) goes live with Meditech as a Service.

JD Power will publish its first telehealth satisfaction study later this year, dividing the market into direct-to-consumer, payer-owned, and health system-owned services. 


Government and Politics

The White House’s executive order on healthcare provider price transparency raises some interesting reactions:

  • President Trump predicts that healthcare prices will come “way, way down” as “we’re giving that power back to patients.”
  • Experts say the order, which has no law behind it pending further rule-making, doesn’t say specifically what hospitals and insurers will be required to disclose.
  • CMS Administrator Seema Verma rejects the notion that the order is vague, saying that it specifically mentions disclosure of confidential negotiated payment rates.
  • Hospital executives say patients don’t pay the negotiated rates themselves and won’t help those patients make decisions, especially in emergent situations, also noting that previous price transparency efforts haven’t helped patients shop around or save money.
  • Employers may benefit since they don’t see individual provider pricing now — the information could help them steer employees to more cost-effective ones.
  • Economists note that price transparency could actually drive costs up, citing a much-loved 1990s example in which the government of Denmark forced concrete suppliers to disclose their negotiated prices in hopes of spurring competition, after which those companies were able to raise prices simultaneously since they then knew what everybody else was charging and they had little fear of new competition because of the high barrier to entry.

Other

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In Australia, Queensland Health’s director-general – the equivalent of CEO of the 90,000-employee state public health system — will resign following highly publicized cost and patient safety problems with its $1 billion Cerner implementation. Audio recordings of an internal meeting that were leaked two weeks ago caught Michael Walsh saying that he was forced to make positive public comments about the “messy” project in which delays were introduced after clinicians express concerns about patient safety.

IT employees of Regional Medical Center (IA) trigger a state investigation by reporting emails from which they learned that the hospital’s CEO and development director were passing off personal trips as hospital business to obtain expense reimbursement. Investigators found $255,000 in questionable payments, noting the CEO’s 566 “improper” trips and 267 “unsupported” ones. The development director was fired, the CEO resigned four days later, and both have been charged with first-degree theft.

California’s City of Hope cancer treatment and research center will spend $1 billion to build an Irvine, CA campus, two hours from its main location in Duarte.

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HIMSS cites a “leadership change” in explaining why it is vacating Cleveland’s Global Center for Health Innovation, where it is the anchor tenant occupying 30,000 square feet. HIMSS had extended its lease in October 2018 for three years. The HIMMS [sic] information page says the Cleveland building is “the perfect location for HIMSS to strive towards their mission to better health through information and technology.”


Sponsor Updates

  • The Boston business paper names Definitive Healthcare as the “#1 Best Place to Work” among large companies in Massachusetts.
  • Optimum Healthcare IT releases a mobile version of its Skillmarket platform that matches its consultants with upcoming projects.
  • Apixio will exhibit at Qualipalooza June 27-28 in Orlando.
  • Avaya publishes a new white paper, “AI: The De Facto for Contact Center Experience.”
  • Black Book publishes the top 12 highly-rated RCM analytics solutions vendors ranked on 18 key performance indicators in Q2 2019.
  • Boston Software Systems names Linda Stotsky marketing content manager.
  • CoverMyMeds will exhibit at McKesson IdeaShare June 26-30 in Orlando.

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Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
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Monday Morning Update 6/24/19

June 23, 2019 News 14 Comments

Top News

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Phreesia files for a $125 million IPO, hoping to list shares on the NYSE under ticker symbol PHR.

The company – whose platform offers online appointment scheduling, revenue cycle, health risk screening,  and check-in kiosks — lost $15 million on $100 million of total revenue in its most recent fiscal year.


Reader Comments

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From HISInside: “Re: Change Healthcare. Large-scale pre-IPO layoffs over the past few days. They also announced internally that they are selling the analytics business unit, including RelayHealth products.” Unverified, although reported on some of the layoff sites. Anonymous posters there attached a purported company email that said jobs were eliminated in the Software and Analytics business unit. I would be surprised if they are dealing off RelayHealth since it was the closest thing to a jewel in the McKesson HIT crown, but perhaps the potential payoff is too great to pass up.

From Max the Fax: “Re: fax machines. See this article. It’s embarrassing to be so far behind.” I’ll take your side if you show me documented proof that getting rid of fax machines improves outcomes or cost. Fax machines are an admittedly humorous example of “being behind,” but healthcare is also guilty of chasing the latest and greatest shiny objects (imaging machines, drugs, IT, architect-arousing buildings) that don’t move the health needle one bit. We need to become more critical consumers of resources of unproven value for which patients and insured consumers are forced to pay, especially given that big healthcare systems feel little competitive pressure to spend patient money wisely.

From Kabob: “Re: Slack. Wondering if you’ve used it?” I haven’t, but my curiosity has been piqued by all the pre-IPO coverage. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has used it in a hospital setting and what benefits it provided. The most common criticism is that it sucks up time and saps creativity as users move their mental goalpost to never-ending but often pointless interaction, plus it leaves them in a social media-like dopamine frenzy to check it constantly for fearing of being one-upped while offline. Things I learned today: the name Slack came from the contrived acronym “Searchable Log of All Communication and Knowledge.” There’s a free trial for anyone interested. I played around with the free version of Microsoft Teams and wasn’t impressed.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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PCPs of an encouraging two-thirds of poll respondents had the records of their most recent hospital encounter at their next appointment. David says his PCP had his records and CT scans, while Monica reports that the notes, but not the x-rays, were sent to her specialist within three weeks. Peggy says her PCP had everything, while Proficient Patient and Flyonthewall said it was a snap because the hospital and PCP both use Epic.

New poll to your right or here: For those employed by others: what is the #1 reason that you don’t work for yourself?

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Greenway Health. The Tampa-based company offers the award-winning, cloud-based Intergy EHR/PM that delivers reduced clicks and personalized user experience; revenue cycle management solutions that decrease A/R days by an average of 32%;  practice analytics; patient engagement; care coordination; and interoperability options that include CommonWell and Greenway Exchange, a cloud-based health information network that has connected 1,400 vendor products in delivering 22 million messages per month. The company summarizes its areas of focus as: (a) delighting the caregiver; (b) inspiring practice transformation; and (c) restoring the “care” in “healthcare.” Thanks to Greenway Health for supporting HIStalk.

It’s almost July 1, when a fresh batch of scared (and scarily young) medical residents learn to answer to being called “doctor” in the hospital as they ply their chosen career for the first time, fueled by panic-induced adrenaline, low-quality but free cafeteria food, the pressure to please their attendings, and sleep deprivation. For the rest of us, it’s like a restaurant’s soft opening or a play’s first performance – you’ll be happier if you can hold off being a customer for a few weeks until routines replace reaction.


Webinars

July 25 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Meeting patient needs across the continuum of care.” Sponsor: Philips Population Health Management. Presenters: Cindy Gaines, chief nursing officer, Philips Population Health Management; Cynthia Burghard, research director of value-based healthcare IT transformation strategies, IDC. Traditional care management approaches are not sufficient to deliver value-based healthcare. Supplementing EHRs with advanced PHM technology and a scalable care management approach gives health systems proactive and longitudinal insights that optimize scarce resources in meeting the needs of multiple types of patients. This webinar will address the key characteristics of a digital platform for value-based care management, cover the planning and deployment of a scalable care management strategy, and review patient experience scenarios for CHF and diabetes.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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UnitedHealth Group will acquire healthcare payments firm Equian LLC from its private equity owner for $3.2 billion. New Mountain Capital acquired the company in late 2015 for just $225 million. Industry long-timer Scott Mingee joined Equian in early 2013 in his first CEO job.

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Recently retired McKesson Chairman and CEO John Hammergren will receive a $114 million one-time pension payout, $10.5 million in stock vesting, lifetime medical benefits, lifetime financial counseling, and an office and secretary for the rest of his life. The total cost the company is around $141 million. He’ll also be paid $900,000 per year as chairman of Change Healthcare. The $10,000 worth of MCK shares you bought the day Hammergren started as CEO (February 1, 2001) were worth $42,500 the day he quit, although that’s barely better performance than the Nasdaq as a whole. In addition to his parting gift, Hammergren made more than $500 million in a 13-year span with McKesson, with a record one-year compensation of $145 million. The American healthcare system and its sick patients who paid those sums have thus thanked you for your service.

Three New York City hospitals (Montefiore, Mount Sinai, and Maimonides) sell the professional liability insurance firm they own (Hospitals Insurance Company) for $650 million to The Doctors Company. The hospitals admitted in 2017 to breaking state law in failing to disclose that they, like other hospitals, had formed a Cayman Islands-based insurance company that collected premiums that were used to buy less-expensive policies, generating more than $200 million in investment income. That practice is legal as long as hospitals disclose it. The Doctors Company says it is aware of the company’s history and will rename it Healthcare Risk Advisors. Mount Sinai will spend its $325 million of the proceeds on construction, while Montefiore will use its $163 million to buy software for cost management and value-based care.


People

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Megan Schmidt (CompuGroup Medical) joins PierianDx as SVP of product.


Announcements and Implementations

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Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital (FL) will replace Cerner with Epic, which is used throughout Hopkins Medicine. The 15-month project will kick off on July 1. Hopkins took ownership of the 259-bed hospital in 2011, its first expansion outside of Maryland. The hospital reported $50 million in profit on $469 million in revenue in its most recent tax year.


Government and Politics

President Trump will issue an executive order Monday that will require hospitals, doctors, and insurers to disclose their negotiated contract prices. This is great news if you are an attorney since the legal wrangling will take years before anyone sees confidential contract pricing, if indeed they ever do.

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Politico reports that Mark Roche, MD, MSMI has resigned as CMS’s first chief health informatics officer after taking the job just four months ago.


Other

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Modern Healthcare lists the 25 highest-paid executives of non-profit health systems for 2017. Topping the list is Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard Tyson at $16 million. The lowest guy on the list (and I say “guy” because all 25 are male) still made $5.3 million. The one that leaps out, though, is electrophysiologist Joseph Levine, MD of St. Francis Hospital (NY), whose $6.5 million payday represented 1.68% of the hospital’s entire payroll.

Hospital operator Universal Health Services says 26 of its facilities were taken offline for two hours Friday due to Cerner data center problems.

GoFundMe says it is running $10 million worth of campaigns by people who need help affording insulin. Why you would want to be running a drug company rather than being diabetic: a vial of insulin costs $2-6 to manufacture and you can charge 7 million Americans — who would die without using up to several vials per month – $250 or more per vial, multiples of what people in all other countries pay. Sweet. 


Sponsor Updates

  • Diameter Health is attending Qualipalooza in Orlando this week and will sponsor NCQA’s Digital Quality Summit in Boston July 16-18.
  • Live Process creates a CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule self-assessment quiz.
  • Waystar, Flywire Health, Experian Health, Recondo Technology, Relatient, and Sansoro Health will exhibit at HFMA June 23-26 in Orlando.
  • NextGate responds to the CMS FY20 IPPS proposed rule.
  • With help from AWHONN attendees, Clinical Computer Systems, developer of the Obix Perinatal Data System, donates $3,125 to AWHONN’s Every Woman, Every Baby effort.
  • OmniSys will exhibit at McKesson IdeaShare June 27-30 in Orlando.
  • PatientBond publishes a new white paper, “Psychographic Segmentation and its Practical Application in Patient Engagement and Behavior Change.”
  • Surescripts will exhibit at the ASAP Mid Year Conference 2019 June 26-28 in Washington, DC.
  • SymphonyRM will present at AAPL June 27 in Salt Lake City.
  • Voalte will exhibit at the AzONL 2019 Summer Forum for Nurse Leaders June 28 in Scottsdale, AZ.
  • Visage Imaging will exhibit at SIIM19 June 26-28 in Denver.

Blog Posts


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Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
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News 6/21/19

June 20, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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Private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners acquires EHR and practice management vendor Nextech in a $500 million deal.

The news comes nearly a year after Nextech owner Francisco Partners announced that it was putting the company up for sale.


Reader Comments

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From PitViper: “Re: ONC. Convened payers, health systems, associations, state agencies, federal agencies, and tech solution providers in Washington DC last week to dialogue on provider directory. Participants presented their initiatives and ONC reviewed a new FHIR implementation guide for provider directory. Attendees debated different topics around national solution (public vs. private, funding, and governance).” ONC held a Healthcare Directory Workshop on June 13-14.


Webinars

July 25 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Meeting patient needs across the continuum of care.” Sponsor: Philips Population Health Management. Presenters: Cindy Gaines, chief nursing officer, Philips Population Health Management; Cynthia Burghard, research director of value-based healthcare IT transformation strategies, IDC. Traditional care management approaches are not sufficient to deliver value-based healthcare. Supplementing EHRs with advanced PHM technology and a scalable care management approach gives health systems proactive and longitudinal insights that optimize scarce resources in meeting the needs of multiple types of patients. This webinar will address the key characteristics of a digital platform for value-based care management, cover the planning and deployment of a scalable care management strategy, and review patient experience scenarios for CHF and diabetes.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Dallas-based healthcare recruiting firm General Healthcare Resources will acquire the health information management consulting business of HCTec, according to an internal email. The change doesn’t affect HCTec’s health IT and managed services business.  

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Private equity firm Warburg Pincus will buy NJ-based, 900-provider multi-specialty practice Summit Medical Group and merge it with its 120-location CityMD urgent care holding. The firm said in the announcement, “The combined organization will offer patients a seamless experience across a full spectrum of high-quality primary, specialty, and urgent care.”

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Digital prescription startup Xealth adds $3 million to its $11 million Series A funding round that was announced in March.

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McKesson acquires NHS-integrated prescription delivery and medication management app Echo in an effort to gain a foothold in the UK’s nascent digital pharmacy market. McKesson’s ties to the startup include ownership of Lloyds Pharmacy, from which Echo gets most of its medication supply.

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Philips announces plans to open new research space at One Discovery Square, a medical innovation complex in Rochester, MN that is owned and anchored by Mayo Clinic. Tenants will also include Epic, which owns a nearby data center that it purchased from the clinic in 2016 for $46 million.

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Allscripts shares rose 5% Thursday after a stock analyst said in a research note that the market is undervaluing the potential of the company’s Veradigm payer and life sciences analytics business, which he says that despite representing only 8% of sales, will eventually either drive share price upward or make the company an attractive leveraged buy-out target.


Sales

  • Integris Health (OK) selects Vyne Medical’s Trace communication management software.
  • Bluestone Physician Services (PA) will implement Aprima EHR and practice management software from EMDs later this year.
  • Allegheny Health Network (PA) will roll out telemedicine services from Mercy Virtual, a subsidiary of the Mercy health system in St. Louis, at its four hospitals over the next 12 months.

People

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Sisu Healthcare IT Solutions promotes Kevin Boerboom to CEO.


Announcements and Implementations

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In Ontario, Hawkesbury General Hospital goes live on Epic.

Mount Sinai (NY) and LabCorp will establish the Mount Sinai Digital and Artificial Intelligence-Enabled Pathology Center of Excellence using IntelliSite pathology software from Philips.

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The American Society of Clinical Oncology, Mitre, and the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Foundation develop an open source set of common cancer data standards and specifications that can be incorporated into EHRs via FHIR. Cancer centers at Partners Healthcare (MA) and Intermountain Healthcare are piloting the new standards.

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A KLAS report looks at consulting firms that offer health IT advisory services, some of which have launched their offerings recently as implementation work tapers off. The most experienced and high-performing firms are Impact Advisors, Nordic, and Chartis Group, while Optimum Healthcare IT has the best track record among developing firms.


Privacy and Security

Grays Harbor Community Hospital (WA) and its Harbor Medical Group are recovering from unspecified computer issues that forced both organizations back to paper over the weekend. The hospital’s Meditech system is up and running, while the medical group’s eight clinics are unable to tap into their separate EHR (unnamed, but it appears to be Virence Centricity).


Other

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Researchers find that Facebook posts accurately predict 21 medical conditions as verified against patient medical records, although demographic data alone did about half as well. Hostile language and references to drinking were accurate indicators of substance abuse, while religious references correlated with diabetes.

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A Definitive Healthcare survey on outpatient care trends finds that investing in and implementing new technologies – especially those related to interoperability – is the top challenge, followed by keeping up with consolidation trends, managing staffing, and attracting new patients. The field of 200 respondents said that telemedicine, mobile apps, and streamlined patient technologies were among the top drivers of outpatient growth.

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A retrospective analysis of diabetic patients treated at Grady Hospital (GA) finds consistently improved outcomes for those who are managed by Glytec’s EGlycemic Management System.

In Canada, a hospital located near the border between Ontario and Manitoba struggles to share information across the provincial dividing line even though patients move freely across it in choosing the closest or most appropriate hospital.

Robocall spam is overwhelming the telephone systems of some hospitals that get little help from their telephone company or the federal government in keeping the calls out. Scammers have learned to spoof the incoming calling number to force hospital operators to answer thinking it’s someone local. They are also making residential calls with the hospital’s name spoofed in caller ID, hoping to convince locals to pay fake hospital bills.

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Thanks to DrLyle (Lyle Berkowitz, MD) for sending over a link to a new Vanity Fair article describing the shame that the Sackler family – which owns most of the drug maker Purdue Pharma — claims to be feeling for having made billions of dollars selling OxyContin, often via shockingly unsavory practices and lining influential pockets. A Massachusetts lawsuit against the company concludes that “eight people in a single family made the choices that caused much of the opioid epidemic.” The article notes that Joint Commission’s 2001 war on pain as “the fifth vital sign” – which arguably launched the opioid crisis in which 200,000 Americans have died of prescription opioid overdoses — came after Purdue gave $1 million to the organization. Article author Bethany McLean, DrLyle’s sister-in-law, was the co-author of 2004’s “The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron.”

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UCSD researchers find that one-third of inpatients didn’t use the tablet-controlled room environment app that the hospital placed in every patient room, although interestingly, older patients used it more than younger ones, although the authors note that they can’t determine whether it was the patient themselves or their family members running the controls. They also note that accessibility issues may have been a problem in services such as neurology and surgery.  

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A study in JAMA finds that patients of surgeons who behave unprofessionally experience more post-surgical complications than those whose surgeons act more professionally. Negative behaviors included “unclear or disrespectful communication, poor or unsafe care, lack of integrity, and failure to follow through on professional responsibilities.”


Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the California Primary Care Association Region IX Clinical Excellence Conference June 23-25 in Newport Beach, CA.
  • EPSi, InterSystems, and Nuance will exhibit at HFMA June 23-26 in Orlando.
  • HealthCrowd will exhibit at Qualipalooza: the 3rd Annual Rise Quality Leadership Summit June 25-26 in Phoenix, AZ.
  • Visage Imaging announces version 7.1.14 of its Visage 7 Enterprise Imaging Platform at SIIM 2019.
  • The Chartis Group publishes a new paper outlining a strategic framework for health system executives to evaluate their partnership strategy.
  • Redox launches a public bug bounty program with Bugcrowd to help keep customer health data secure.
  • Thrive Global profiles Kyruus co-founder and CEO Graham Gardner.
  • Frost & Sullivan recognizes Waystar with the 2019 North American Customer Value Leadership Award for automating claims resolution and streamlining process workflows.
  • ZeOmega achieves DirectTrust HISP accreditation.
  • Cantata Health announces a partnership with Ability Network to improve reimbursement and compliance for skilled nursing facilities.
  • Surescripts announces that several national, regional, and local PBMs and payers have signed on for its electronic prior authorization service, increasing the number of insured lives covered by the company by nearly 20%.
  • Nordic releases a new podcast, “How Managed Services can support your EHR extension partners.”
  • Prepared Health will present at the Collaborative Care & Health IT Innovations Summit on June 24 in Baltimore.
  • KLAS names Optimum Healthcare IT the top-rated developing HIT Advisory Services firm in its Advisory Services 2019 report.
  • Meditech will host its 2019 Revenue Cycle Summit October 8-9 in Foxborough, MA.
  • The Boston Business Journal profiles Definitive Healthcare.
  • Philips joins the Atlanta-based Emory Healthcare Innovation Hub.

Blog Posts


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Contacts

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


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News 6/19/19

June 18, 2019 News 8 Comments

Top News

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Drug maker Sanofi and Google will establish a virtual innovation lab that will use analytics to understand diseases and to extract patient insights to understand which treatments work best.

Sanofi will also use AI to forecast sales and manage marketing and supply chain efforts and will migrate some of its business applications to Google Cloud. 

Paris-based Sanofi, which sells the expensive insulin Lantus, previously formed a join venture with Verily to offer virtual diabetes coaching and tools.


Reader Comments

From Struggling with KLAS: “Re: KLAS doing research on consulting firms. We had been ranked by KLAS for multiple years, but we’re no longer ranked in our category and KLAS can’t get us back up to the minimum number. Our category used to have 35-40 consulting firms ranked and now there are only 11. Has anyone else complained about this? We are seriously considering cancelling our membership. We just aren’t getting value.” I’ll open it up to readers.

From Kloc Programmer: “Re: doctors highlighting EHR data. I don’t get the point. They could miss something by not reading the whole chart. Isn’t all of it important?” Let’s say you’re doing a book report on a 400-page novel. You read / skim with a highlighter in hand, marking the most important points in separating the wheat from the chaff (the author’s job was to write a lengthy book that therefore commands a high price, while yours is to reverse engineer those pages back into an outline of the high points). You write our report and put the book back on your shelf. Two years later, you pick the book back up, and in 60 seconds, you can flip through the pages, read your previously highlighted text and margin notes, and instantly refresh your memory instead of plowing through all 400 pages again. That’s what I’m proposing for an EHR, which intentionally hides the few nuggets a chart contains into volumes of auto-generated and copy-pasted junk. It could work something like this:

  • You read through the chart on your first encounter with the patient, marking individual data elements or selected text as useful.
  • You add a comment if you like to give yourself a reminder, an explanation, or a question to research later. A margin note, if you will.
  • Next visit, you click the magic button that pops up just the information you have marked previously and then highlight anything newly added in the same way.
  • Information that no longer seems useful can be banished to the background by unclicking your highlight. That doesn’t affect anyone else and thus doesn’t need rigorous editing.
  • Individual highlights or comments can be marked as public or private. Everybody benefits when you flag your item publicly so everybody can see what you found useful, but you can any highlight or comment private.
  • The highlighting and review function wouldn’t change the EHR’s functionality. It’s like the annotation feature of Word or of Adobe Acrobat that sits above the hardcore editing tasks.
  • Comments could be handwritten via an electronic pen for on-the-fly notation that doesn’t require sitting at a keyboard.
  • An even simpler option would be to allow a one-click “I found this useful” marking option to make interesting data elements stand out.
  • The rewards for creating note bloat – most of them due to reimbursement or the EHR vendor’s passion for spitting out reams of useless text as a technical parlor trick — aren’t going away soon. At least give doctors a way to mark a chart once and then save time with every visit that follows.
  • It’s an EHR win since paper charts offer no way to do this, short of attaching Post-It notes to the front of the manila folder.
  • The bottom line is that it’s almost impossible to clean up EHR bloat at this point given the many masters it serves, so we might as well add a smarter, relatively easily implemented layer that makes its contents more useful.

From Right into the Trash: “Re: industry email newsletters. HIStalk I open to click the link. Others I zap unlooked. Am I missing any good ones?” The only one I find useful is Advisory Board’s daily briefing. Others lured me in initially with slick writing that unfortunately went nowhere, while others just blast out time-wasting clickbait links claiming to be “curated” but obviously not by an industry expert. I always tell Mrs. HIStalk that a particular restaurant or retail store has a “high hit rate” a high percentage of choices that I would actually buy and Advisory Board’s daily update has that. I also use my “high hit rate” standard to evaluate health and health IT websites to determine which of them are worth following consistently (spoiler: in my case at least, I haven’t found any).


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Friday is the first day of summer, so it’s time once again for my annual Summer Doldrums Special on webinars and new sponsorships, wherein I attempt to break through the industry inattentiveness and indecision that is caused by vacations and family activities. Talk to Lorre, who might even offer a little something extra to former sponsors who regret the “former” part. It’s between you and her since I don’t get involved – I have the luxury of being purely the writing, analysis, and snark specialist.


Webinars

July 25 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Meeting patient needs across the continuum of care.” Sponsor: Philips Population Health Management. Presenters: Cindy Gaines, chief nursing officer, Philips Population Health Management; Cynthia Burghard, research director of value-based healthcare IT transformation strategies, IDC. Traditional care management approaches are not sufficient to deliver value-based healthcare. Supplementing EHRs with advanced PHM technology and a scalable care management approach gives health systems proactive and longitudinal insights that optimize scarce resources in meeting the needs of multiple types of patients. This webinar will address the key characteristics of a digital platform for value-based care management, cover the planning and deployment of a scalable care management strategy, and review patient experience scenarios for CHF and diabetes.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Collective Health, which offers a health benefits management system for self-insured employers, raises $205 million in a Series E funding round, increasing its total to $434 million. Co-founder Rajaie Batniji, MD, DPhil (same as a PhD) was until recently a Stanford medical school professor. 

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Hospital laboratory consulting firm Accumen, which was acquired by a private equity firm in January 2019, acquires clinical data exchange technology vendor Halfpenny Technologies.

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Quartet Health, whose technology connects people who have medical conditions with mental health providers when appropriate, raises $60 million in a Series D funding round led by insurer Centene, increasing its total to $153 million. Two of the three co-founders have left their executive positions but remain on the company’s board.

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Community-based organization referral platform vendor Aunt Bertha raises $16 million in a Series C funding round. I interviewed CEO Erine Gray last month and reader response was really good.


Sales

  • Capital Caring (VA) chooses Netsmart’s MyUnity EHR to enrich person-centered care in hospice and palliative care.
  • Community Health Network (IN) will implement MModal’s conversational artificial intelligence to speed up Epic documentation and will also quickly roll out the company’s virtual scribing solution. 

People

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Justin Box (Mary Washington Healthcare) joins Driscoll Health System (TX) as VP/CIO.

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UCSF promotes Rohit Gupta to the newly created position of chief biobank officer, where he will oversee the use of human specimens for research, the creation of consent and processing protocols, and integrating genomic data with the EHR. He worked his way up from his first Stanford job as a clinical study research assistant as he was earning his only academic credential, a bachelor’s degree in biology.


Announcements and Implementations

St. Luke’s Health Care System goes live on Meditech Expense.


Government and Politics

The American Hospital Association wants ONC to restore the requirement that Qualified Health Information Networks support FHIR after it was removed from the second draft of TEFCA (Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement).


Privacy and Security

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Hong Kong Hospital Authority admits – after initially denying it — that it gave police a list of people who were treated in its ED after protesting a proposed law that would allow citizens to be extradited to mainland China for trial. The Hospital Authority claims it did not intentionally leak the information, but says that the hospital’s ED computers are always logged in and anyone can access the information it contains. An intercepted email from the Hospital Authority ordered employees to classify each ED patient as police, reporter, civilian, or other, while a hospital doctor publicly showed an EHR screen that was labeled “For Police.”

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The computer systems of Olean Medical Group and Seneca Nation Health System (NY) are brought down in ransomware attacks.


Other

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Vietnam’s Ministry of Health wants 90% of the population covered by an EHR by 2025, with district-level clinics scheduled for the first round of go-lives next month. The kick-off meeting was held June 14 in Hanoi. Project participants say they are challenged by lack of interoperability and missing connections between practices and hospitals. Hospitals and practices will not be allowed to use paper medical records after 2028.

In Canada, Ottawa Hospital reports 15-deep patient lines at its clinics following its June 1 Epic go-live on because of the time required to re-enter some patient information. Only in a polite country like Canada would the nurse’s union rep decline to rip the hospital when asked about the delays, instead offering the union’s support and remind the reporter that the delays were expected, adding her thought that “hopefully it will get better every day.”

Providence St. Joseph Health EVP/CIO BJ Moore — hired in January 2019 after a 26-year career working for Microsoft — says that Providence St. Joseph and the healthcare industry as a whole are 15-20 years behind in technology. His goals are to simplify the health system’s technology, improve its network performance, speed up employee onboarding, move systems from owned data centers to the cloud, and roll out Epic throughout the system to replace the 14 EHRs that its 51 hospitals use. He also wants to bring more external data into the EHR from consumer wearables.

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A one-star rated nursing home in New York is fined $48,000 after its medical director orders insulin over the phone for a resident whose hospital discharge note clearly indicated that she shouldn’t have it. The doctor blamed a nurse who he said didn’t read him the warning correctly, also speculating that the patient was admitted to the hospital in the first place because someone accidentally deleted her blood glucose readings from the EHR.

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Industry long-timer and North Carolina FC soccer team owner Steve Malik — who founded Medfusion in 2000 and remains its owner – proposes building a $1.9 billion stadium and multi-used develop in downtown Raleigh, NC to convince Major League Soccer to give the city a team in its expansion.

A Kaiser Health News report observes the sharp increase in the number of hospitals that offer ECMO (extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation), a “very expensive, labor-intensive and unsuccessful effort to cheat death” that creates cost and ethical dilemmas in keeping patients whose hearts and lungs don’t work alive even though few of them ever leave the ICU. It also forces family members to choose the moment at which it will be turned off, for which experts urge having the doctor set the date instead. A Brigham doctor concludes that ECMO is a great example of “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” 

Only in healthcare: a hacker who installed ransomware in the computer systems of an Ohio urology practice sends their $75,000 ransom demand (which was paid) via the office’s fax machine.


Sponsor Updates

  • The Omni-HealthData analytics platform from Information Builders is named Best Overall Healthcare Data Analytics Platform in the 2019 MedTech Breakthrough Awards program.
  • Audacious Inquiry will offer users of its Encounter Notification Service the ability to share their data with CarePort Health for care coordination.
  • Location technology powered advertising platform Brandify will offer health system marketing programs a consumer-facing “providers near me” option, presenting optimized provider and location data from Kyruus.
  • Aprima will exhibit at HFMA June 23-26 in Orlando.
  • CoverMyMeds will exhibit at the EMDs 2019 User Conference & Symposium June 20-22 in Austin, TX.
  • ACAP selects Cumberland Consulting Group as a preferred vendor for consulting services.

Blog Posts


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Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
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Contact us.


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Monday Morning Update 6/17/19

June 16, 2019 News 4 Comments

Top News

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The local paper’s review of the June 2 ransomware attack on Estes Park Health (CO), which includes a 23-bed critical access hospital, contains interesting nuggets:

  • The ransomware took down the health system’s network, phones, and email.
  • The health system’s cyberinsurance company negotiated and paid the unspecified ransom.
  • Further ransom payments were required as the health system found additional encrypted files.
  • The health system defends paying the ransom because other businesses that have refused remained offline for weeks and “we rely heavily on this summer business to maintain our financial stability.”
  • The health system had to pay a $10,000 deductible of the total ransom paid,  which it says was money well spent because it generates more revenue than that in a single hour.

Reader Comments

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From Just a Gigolo: “Re: Allscripts acquiring ZappRx. Good move, do you think?” Yes, assuming that ZappRx’s underlying fundamentals are anywhere near sound after several years in business. The end of HITECH has given EHR vendors a breather that they both appreciate (in allowing them to get back to product development) and hate (they need something else to sell to avoid a drop in revenue). Allscripts is the best EHR vendor at running itself, as one HIStalk reader observed, like a health IT mutual fund of minimally related software products bought at a discount, and this acquisition seems to be well aligned with that strategy. Allscripts also likes working with pharma, which is another plus since that’s who pays for ZappRx’s services. You don’t really want to be a publicly traded EHR vendor (or a consulting firm dependent on their implementation business) as demand for your primary product drops, even if external factors such as HITECH expiration are to blame. Cerner is in the same boat, but seems to be pinning its diversification hopes to healthcare projects that don’t necessarily involve just software.

From Cutting Rejoinder: “Re: EHR bloat. How can technology fix that?” I always give the same answer, but nobody seems to agree with me – allow each clinician to tag the information (highlighted text or discrete fields) that they feel is important in the patient’s care, adding or removing those tags at any time and for any reason. That provides two benefits: (a) the provider could click a single button to display only the information they themselves have previously tagged, with date sorting / filtering that makes getting a quick refresher nearly instantaneous; and (b) someone plowing through the chart for the first time could look at what everybody else found useful, or perhaps that a particular clinician saw as useful (like a cardiologist). The underlying EHR data collection and storage would not require changes since it could keep collecting the junk as usual. It would be like highlighting a textbook or contract with the added ability of seeing what one or more others have highlighted. One more benefit is that the patient could then see the highlighted information in their electronic copy of their record to help them make sense of the 90% of the record that nobody will ever care about.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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More than half of poll respondents say their job description requires an applicant to have earned a bachelor’s degree, while 24% say it takes a master’s. Only 5% say that no degree is needed, although a maddening 17% observe that their employer ignores their own job descriptions if they really want to hire someone (meaning that the requirement isn’t really required, which is the kind of wishy-washiness that you often see in hospitals).

New poll to your right or here: For those treated by a hospital (inpatient or ED) within three years: did your PCP have your hospital records at your next visit? I don’t worry too much about practice-to-practice interoperability since that usually involves minimal urgency, but surely my PCP would be curious about what was done to me in the hospital during a recent inpatient stay or ED visit.

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor HealthCrowd. The San Mateo, CA-based company offers a unified, cloud-based, end-to-end communications solution that allows organizations to deliver member-centric engagement at scale, moving communications from tactical to strategic. Its Unified Communications Platform (text, voice, email, and nanosites) drive members to action, backed by Clairvoyance campaign analytics. Case studies: (a) Aetna developed a sustainable digital outreach program for its Medicaid project; (b) a health plan used intelligent mobile messaging as part of its disease management program, nearly doubling screening; (c) a managed care organization used the company’s platform to communicate with Medicaid beneficiaries. Founder and CEO Bing Doh founded the company with the behavioral change and consumer analytics knowledge she gained in the online advertising technology world. Thanks to HealthCrowd for supporting HIStalk.

Listening: new from Midland, which if I’m ever going to like country music (which isn’t likely), this would be why. It’s not the usual Nashville city slicker pretty boys warbling with fake Southern accents over a few token pedal steel pop licks while wearing cowboy hats in places like midtown Manhattan or on stage at night where their only value is as a poser cowboy affectation. This recently formed Dripping Springs, TX trio sounds to me like the California country-rock of the 1970s Eagles with the occasional surf guitar, Spanish guitar, and moody minor chords skillfully blended in. Fun fact: they formed the band when one member was getting married and the other two were his groomsmen, jamming on the porch after showing up a few days before the ceremony and deciding that they could form a band. I’m not entirely sure this is really country music, so I’ll admit that I actually like it a lot. Audio of the excellent new single is here.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Change Healthcare raises the amount of its IPO again, this time to $1.2 billion. The original value from March filings was for $100 million. The company hopes to use the proceeds to pay down some of its $5.8 billion in debt.


Decisions

  • Lincoln Medical Center (TN) will replace CPSI Evident radiology PACS with Intelerad in June 2019.
  • Jefferson Memorial Hospital Radiology (TN) replaced GE radiology PACS with Change Healthcare on June 1, 2019.
  • The Orthopedic Hospital (IN) went live on Cerner in March 2019.
  • Ascension Seton Smithville Regional Hospital (TX) will go live on Cerner in 2019.

These provider-reported updates are supplied by Definitive Healthcare, which offers a free trial of its powerful intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and healthcare providers.


People

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Health First (FL) hires William Walders, MHA (VMware) as CIO. He is a US Navy veteran and served in a number of military IT roles, including CIO of the USNS Comfort and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.


Announcements and Implementations

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CPSI offers users of Microsoft HealthVault – which will be shut down in November – migration of their data to the Lydia platform sold by its subsidiary Get Real Health.

Clinical Computer Systems, Inc. will distribute amniotic fluid lactate level monitoring technology developed by Sweden-based ObsteCare pending FDA clearance for its use in prolonged labor. 


Other

Patients complain that the Cerner system of Abrazo Community Health Network (AZ) has been down for several days, which the hospital says was caused by a Cerner upgrade.

Researchers are mining EHR data to determine when expensive medical helicopter transfer services make sense, especially those involving moving a patient from one hospital to another. They hope to create a checklist to help clinicians decide whether air transport is worth it, especially since patients often get stuck with exorbitant air flight bills after their insurance declines to pay.

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LifePod Solutions will offer its caregiver-managed voice service for home care on IHome’s consumer electronics equipment. It will provide monitoring, fall detection, real-time alerts, and reports that are driven by the senior’s voice alone.

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A New York Times investigation finds that GE, Siemens, Philips, and Toshiba are bribing poorly paid Chinese hospital officials to buy their medical equipment. GE salespeople offered one hospital administrator a $1 million bribe to buy a $4 million CT scanner. The companies inflate equipment price to cover the cost of bribes and kickbacks, refuse to underbid each other, and use shady third-party importing companies to cover their tracks.

An Atlantic article says that the US healthcare system is an expensive flop globally because Americans are the worst patients – we are hypochondriacs; we demand drugs that we don’t need but refuse to take those we do; our “cost is no object” beliefs trigger outrage when insurers decline to pay for expensive treatments that have been proven to offer little value; we sue providers so often that they order unnecessary tests and initiate treatment based on the results purely as malpractice defense; and we believe that heroic interventions are justified in delaying death. The author concludes,

It makes sense that a wealthy nation with unhealthy lifestyles, little interest in preventive medicine, and expectations of limitless, topnotch specialist care would empower its healthcare system to accommodate these preferences. It also makes sense that a healthcare system that has thrived by throwing over-the-top care at patients has little incentive to push those same patients to embrace care that’s less flashy but may do more good. Medicare for All could provide that incentive by refusing to pay for unnecessarily expensive care, as Medicare does now—but can it prepare patients to start hearing “no” from their physicians? 


Sponsor Updates

  • Lightbeam Health Solutions publishes a new case study, “Kootenai Care Network: ACO Automates GRPO Reporting.”
  • Mobile Heartbeat and Voalte will exhibit at the Organization of Nurse Leaders event June 20-21 in Newport, RI.
  • Waystar, Experian Health, Patientco, and ZeOmega will exhibit at HFMA June 23-26 in Orlando.
  • Netsmart will exhibit at the LeadingAge Collaborative Care and Health IT Innovations Summit June 23-25 in Baltimore.
  • Nordic will exhibit at HIUG Interact 2019 June 16-19 in Orlando.
  • ROI Healthcare Solutions will exhibit at the Midwest Infor User Group meeting June 19-20.
  • SailPoint will exhibit at Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit June 17-20 in National Harbor, MD.
  • Sansoro Health releases a new 4×4 Health podcast, “CMS & ONC Propose Big Changes for Payers.”
  • Surescripts and Wolters Kluwer Health will exhibit at AHIP June 19-21 in Nashville.
  • T-System will exhibit at the 2019 Western Region Flex Conference June 19-21 in Marana, AZ.
  • TriNetX applauds the House Appropriations Committee for supporting use of real-world evidence in the House Agriculture-FDA Spending Bill.
  • Visage Imaging will exhibit at the SIIM19 Annual Meeting June 26-28 in Denver.
  • Vocera will exhibit at HITEC 2019 June 17 in Minneapolis.

Blog Posts


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Contacts

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


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News 6/14/19

June 13, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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Allscripts will buy specialty drug prescription prior authorization platform vendor ZappRx, according to reports, as it moves toward diversifying its EHR business.

The acquisition price was not disclosed, but is reportedly less than the $41 million ZappRx raised in seed, Series A, and Series B round from 2013 through 2017. 

The acquisition will put other EHR vendors whose products use ZappRx in an interesting position – they will need to either remove the integration and force customers to go back to manual processes or pay the competitor who now owns the platform.

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I interviewed ZappRx CEO Zoë Barry in November 2017. She explained why the inefficiency in specialty drug prescriptions had been overlooked until she formed ZappRx in 2012:

Specialty drugs are only 2 percent of the volume, about 70 million prescriptions total, although they make up about 40 percent of the drug spend. You need a very different software and product that handles specialty prescriptions and you need a very different business model for something that accommodates only 2 percent of the market.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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French company Dassault Systèmes will acquire clinical trials software vendor Medidata for $5.8 billion.

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GE Ventures is reportedly looking for a buyer for its stake in 100-plus startups as parent company GE attempts a turnaround under a smothering $110 billion debt load and declining share price. Its active healthcare investments include Arcadia, Evidation Health, Iora Health, Omada Health, and Genome Medical.


Announcements and Implementations

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Lewis County Health System (NY) goes live on Meditech.

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Michigan physicians organization Answer Health deploys population health management technology from Lightbeam Health Solutions.

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Community Health Network (IN) implements MModal’s real-time speech recognition, mobile documentation, virtual scribing, and transcription software.

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Health Catalyst develops Population Health Foundations to help providers better analyze and understand clinical and financial performance.

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Lawrence General Hospital (MA) goes live on Meditech Expanse.

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Vocera incorporates AI and machine learning into the latest version of its mobile rounding app, and adds the Care Inform communication tool to its smartphone app.

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Rush University Medical Center in Chicago transitions to Google Cloud with help from consulting firm Maven Wave, which also helped the hospital map unstructured EHR data to SNOMED codes.


Sales

  • BMC HealthNet / Mercy Alliance will launch PatientWisdom’s digital member feedback platform to help it define the community health needs in Springfield, MA.
  • Houston Methodist selects dose optimization software from Tabula Rasa HealthCare’s DoseMe subsidiary.
  • Wake Radiology UNC Rex Healthcare will use Veriphyr’s patient data privacy monitoring to detect unauthorized access to medical records at its 14 locations in North Carolina.

People

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Washington Health System (PA) promotes Rodney Louk to VP/COO. He will also continue in his CIO role.


Government and Politics

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Secret recordings shared by a local news outlet in Australia reveal Queensland Health Director-General Michael Walsh’s opinion of the $1.5 billion Cerner IEMR project as “messy” and “not perfect.” He also admits to being required to publicly praise the project despite hearing end-user complaints about software glitches, costs, and skyrocketing stress levels. Thirteen hospitals have already gone live, and another 13 are scheduled to do so within the next two years.

Lawmakers express continued frustration with the lack of leadership over the VA and DoD’s EHR projects, calling the proposed Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization Program Office more of a concept than a concrete step towards joint governance. First proposed in March, FEHRM’s yet-to-be appointed director and deputy director will report jointly to deputy secretaries at the VA and DoD. Rep. Suzie Lee (D-NV), chair of the Subcommittee on Technology Modernization of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, didn’t hold back in her remarks on the bureaucratic foot-dragging:

For months this subcommittee has asked about a joint proposal to address longstanding problems with the existing [interagency program office]. There has been a name change, but we have seen nothing substantive. There is a one-page slide about a three-phase plan, but it is hard to find where the governance and accountability is in this plan. Based on the timeline for implementation it will come too late to address the critical decisions that need to be made now.


Privacy and Security

In China, police capture eight suspected hackers who used self-developed software to break into hospital registration systems and hijack appointment slots, which they then allegedly sold to the highest bidders.

Two people file a class action lawsuit claiming that Sutter Health is sharing patient medical information with Facebook, Google, and Twitter so those sites can target Internet advertising.


Other

The American Medical Association adopts a policy to support the education of physicians on the use of artificial intelligence in patient care.

An external review of University of Maryland Medical System finds that the health system issued no-bid contracts to companies of several members of its board, did not obtain full board approval for the deals, and pressured employees to use software sold by companies from which board members would benefit. Even the board’s financial auditor was caught assigning himself a no-bid deal. Baltimore’s mayor resigned after an investigation found that the health system spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on children’s book she wrote and four UMMS executives have resigned. Real Time Medical Systems founder and board member Scott Rifkin, MD says he provided analytics software to UMMS at no charge, but the review found that he tried to leverage the relationship to increase company sales and UMMS employees said they felt pressure to implement the software in skilled nursing facilities. The company raised $9.2 million in a February 2019 venture funding round.


Sponsor Updates

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  • ConnectiveRx team members spend the day helping Morris County Habitat for Humanity.
  • Elsevier’s Via Oncology wins a MedTech Breakthrough Award for “Best Computerized Decision Support Solution.”
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the Northeast Regional Telehealth Conference June 17-18 in Portland, ME.
  • Hayes Management Consulting names Elizabeth Lavelle content product owner.
  • Healthfinch will host a focus group at the AMDIS Annual Physician-Computer Connection Symposium June 18-21 in Ojai, CA.
  • InterSystems and Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at the AMDIS Annual Physician-Computer Connection Symposium June 18-21 in Ojai, CA.
  • Kyruus will exhibit at the Patient Experience Transformation Assembly June 16-17 in Nashville.
  • Information Builders will host seminars in Atlanta, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Herndon, VA to demonstrate the new features of its Omni-HealthData Provider Master Edition.
  • KLAS recognizes Cumberland Consulting Group as a top-three consulting firm in its “2019 Payer Consulting IT” report.
  • ZeOmega achieves full HISP P&S accreditation from EHNAC.
  • Health Catalyst VP of Product Management Dan Soule joins the DirectTrust board.

Blog Posts


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Contacts

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


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News 6/12/19

June 11, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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Epic will integrate Humana’s real-time prescription benefits checking tool within its e-prescribing workflow, giving prescribers drug efficacy and cost information at the time of prescribing.

Other elements of the relationship include work with prior authorization, provider data sharing, sending claims information electronically, and providing clinical insights within workflow, such as possible diagnoses and health maintenance activities.


Reader Comments

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From Barnabas Rubble: “Re: RWJ Barnabas Health. Moving from Allscripts and Cerner to Epic.” Unverified. I reached out to CIO Robert Irwin, but haven’t heard back. That’s a great phony name, by the way.

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From Grift Certificate: “Re: HIMSS. Stole the idea for your conference survival kits!” It was actually Arcadia’s idea for the survival kits going back several years – we just helped hand them out and they included our logo to be nice. I actually used the contents to get through the week. The HIMSS20 version from HIMSS will cost a sponsoring company $40,000 even though it’s not as cool as Arcadia’s judging from the photo of its contents. HIMSS must be desperate to stem the attendee headcount bleeding because anyone who pays to emblazon their logo on the kits also gets four full conference badges and 10 exhibitor badges. HIMSS is also offering other branded tchotchkes in attempting to monetize every object and space within a mile of the Orange County Convention Center. Its website says Athenahealth has already signed up to plant its name on attendee bags at a cost of $47,500, maybe because Virence Health paid for the HIMSS19 bags and announced as the show started that it was retiring that name and using Athenahealth instead (suggestion to the company – if your $47,500 buys the same crappy bags as you gave out at HIMSS19, please spend more for something people can use after the conference – isn’t that the goal?) I won’t have a booth at HIMSS20 because I can’t justify the cost, but I’m sure Arcadia will be handing out the kits as usual. Consistency is key in branding and this is a good example – I automatically associate Arcadia with the kits because they provide them every year and theirs are the best.

From Shrunk Costs: “Re: hospital cost. Why don’t we go back to the old days of paying them a cost-plus on top of their actual costs?” Because their actual costs are the problem. Hospitals spend enormous amounts on employees and buildings, and unlike for-profit businesses, they don’t have much incentive to cut costs since they’re just an impenetrable black box for which insurers are stuck paying (at least as long as a nearby equally desirable competitor doesn’t undercut them). Communities and patients love seeing the tall architectural wonders that non-profit hospitals buy with money taken from the sick people among them; they also love having hospitals as the biggest and probably least-efficient employer in their community. Limiting hospital margins by mandating cost-plus pricing is a drop in the bucket compared to cutting hospital financial waste. However, squeeze their margins in one area and they’ll make it up elsewhere since that’s what businesses are supposed to do. It will get worse as health systems sprawl by acquisition and exert more market control. Hospitals have unfortunately outgrown the honor system that used to keep prices in check before the nuns and empathetic locals ceded control to suit-wearing MBAs.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor PCare. The Lake Success, NY-based company’s interactive patient experience solution helps providers engage, educate, and entertain patients across the care continuum, integrating with EHRs, patient portals, and mobile health apps to connect patients, families, and caregivers and to improve the lives of staff. It’s ranked #1 in KLAS’s Interactive Patient Systems for 2019 (and the three previous years as well) and can be deployed in an average of under 60 days. Patients get a personalized experience based on their orders, diagnosis, and their own actions that improves responsiveness, patient education, the care environment, and discharge and care transition. UPMC Children’s Hospital automated its patient education with Cerner integration, while Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center integrated the PCare platform with a range of hospital technologies that manage RFID, HVAC control, dietary, and medical interpretation across multiple care settings. Thanks to PCare for supporting HIStalk.

I found this recent PCare intro on YouTube.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Salesforce will acquire analytics software vendor Tableau in an all-stock deal worth nearly $16 billion. Fun fact: Tableau co-founder Patrick Hanrahan is not only now a billionaire, he’s also an Academy Award winner from his movie work at Pixar. He says he works only 20% of the time at Tableau, preferring to spend the majority of day as a Stanford engineering professor.

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This is good advice from the CEO of Box. Software vendors nearly always eventually overload their products with questionably useful and little-understood features, either to (a) differentiate the product from competitors and command a premium price; or (b) placate a small subset of vocal users who insist on adding fringe functionality that almost strays into custom software development. That second item is common with provider software since standardization across organizations is unheard of and everyone wants software to mimic their screwy processes from paper or other electronic systems. I might posit that the long-term success of a medical software vendor is to avoid pandering to clients (especially the loud ones from big hospitals) who demand the illogical and instead steer them toward the reasonable. A corollary would be that near-universal inpatient EHR adoption and the market shakeout to just a few dominant vendors has at least encouraged hospitals to standardize to the degree required to run off-the-shelf software.


Announcements and Implementations

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Invenix announces that its smart infusion system — designed from the ground up to meet FDA’s 2014 infusion pump guidelines — has earned FDA’s 510(k) clearance. The company says the new device has better usability with a smartphone-like user interface, saves nurse time, and adds patented adaptive control technology, all of which can reduce total cost of ownership by 40%. Legacy IV systems, including earlier-generation smart pumps, are involved with a lot of serious medication errors, so this is a pretty big deal.


Government and Politics

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Louisiana’s state auditor lists ethical problems with Louisiana State University’s creation of a private, non-profit organization to sell its self-developed, web-based physician inquiry tool called CLIQ that was implemented at Charity Hospital. LSU incorporated Louisiana Health Information Technology Foundation in 2014 to collect potential software revenue while bypassing state budgetary oversight. LaHIT later signed a licensing deal with a for-profit company who then hired several of LSU’s programmers, but LSU cut ties with both organizations in early 2017. LSU blames former EVP Frank Opelka, MD for overstepping the boundaries of his position.


Other

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Technology investor Mary Meeker’s just-released influential, annual “Internet Trends Report” contains these nuggets:

  • Global Internet penetration has risen above 50%, but new user growth will be hard to find and most of it will come from Asia.
  • Smartphone shipments are declining and, as usual, IOS device sales are dwarfed by Android.
  • Google and Facebook lead in ad revenue but Amazon, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest are growing faster than both.
  • The average American adult spends 6.3 hours per day consuming digital media and 28% of daily video-watching minutes comes from digital.
  • 26% of Americans are online “almost constantly,” although the average daily time spent on social media is leveling off.
  • The number of Americans using wearables increased from 25 million in 2014 to 52 million in 2018.
  • Customers strongly prefer brands that provide personalized offers or recommendations, and most of them are willing to actively or passively share data to get them.
  • The US profit and loss swung deeply into the red starting in 2003, with Medicare and Medicaid being the biggest spending drivers in doubling and tripling their entitlement percentages, respectively, since 1988. Overall entitlement spending grew during that same 30 years from $1.1 trillion to $4.1 trillion per year.
  • The US leads peer nations in both preventable deaths and administrative healthcare spending.
  • Consumer adoption of digital tools is growing steadily, with an especially large percentage increase in telemedicine.
  • Major healthcare trends include research using data pools, aligning care teams, filling unused appointment slots, offering on-demand delivered prescriptions, participating in physician social networks, and using digital tools to reward health living.
  • Among Internet leaders, consumers are most willing to share the healthcare data with Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple.

A study finds that patients who ask a hospital for copies of their radiology images are nearly always offered only a CD option, with 8% also offering emailed copies and 4% making them available via their online portal. Charges ranged from $0 to $75 for a single CD.

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A review of the LinkedIn profiles of former Theranos employees finds that some of them ended up working for tech companies (Apple was the #1 choice) and pharma; some tried to hide their previous employer by labeling them as an unnamed “biotech startup company;” and a few made light of their previous employment in humorously describing their work there. Former executives Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani still list their current jobs as working at Theranos even though the company shut down last year and Balwani left in 2016, although I doubt many companies are reaching out to put them on their payroll. I’m intrigued that the company’s compliance manager (a lawyer and an RN) still lists active employment there. My LinkedIn search ended prematurely at that point now that the Microsoft-owned site has limited people searching unless you pay “as little as $47.99 per month,” odds of which in my case are exactly zero. Facebook is the master of nudging people to take profit-generating actions that don’t cost anything, while LinkedIn beats users over the head with hammer in forcing casual users to log in so they can harass them with “try premium now” messages that, along with LinkedIn user-generated unsolicited sales message spam, have earned it my vote for most annoying site. Footnote: as I’m looking at the Theranos logo, I realize it’s a word jumble for “Sheraton.”

Intermountain Healthcare and it outsourced revenue cycle vendor R1 RCM open their 30,000-square-foot innovation center in Salt Lake City, the “innovation” being technology solutions that get insurers and patients to pay up (just in case it sounds like something that is beneficial to patients or that will advance medical knowledge). I don’t know exactly what’s in there unless it’s computers, collection letter printers, and sacks of cash.

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UC San Diego Health opens another of its “one-stop shop” comprehensive health centers, touting online “save my spot” booking, in-room 40-inch monitors so patients can see what the doctor is typing into the EHR, and UCSD’s mobile app that offers a location finder, provider look-up, directions and parking information, appointment booking, and Epic MyChart. 

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These reports always fascinate me. In India, the family of an elderly patient who died in the hospital ED attacks hospital employees and trashes the place, claiming that junior doctors were negligent and that handling of the patient’s body was delayed. One doctor was admitted to the hospital in critical condition, while 50 others later closed the hospital with a sit-in demanding better security. Bystanders say two truckloads of family members were joined by others to form a mob of 200 rioters who attacked the doctors as local police watched without intervening. The patient was a Muslim imam, and images being circulated suggest that a radical Muslim fundamentalist used social media to call for violence. I would like to think it couldn’t happen here, but I’m not so certain these days.


Sponsor Updates

  • A Black Book survey finds that health system CEOs seek financial team executives who possess experience with technology acquisition and implementation, data analytics, financial business strategy, and financial operations administration through technologies.
  • FDB will present at the UDI Conference June 11-12 in Baltimore.
  • SiliconSlopes.com features Collective Medical CTO Adam Green and CISO Wylie van den Akker on its Meat & Potatoes podcast.
  • CoverMyMeds will exhibit at the Greenway Health User Exchange June 13 in Columbus, OH.
  • Cumberland Consulting Group will exhibit at the AHIP Institute & Expo June 19-21 in Nashville.

Blog Posts


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Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
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Monday Morning Update 6/10/19

June 9, 2019 News 4 Comments

Top News

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A physician’s New York Times opinion piece says corporatized healthcare is cynically taking advantage of the professionalism of doctors and nurses by assuming they will work extra hours without extra pay, with the biggest overtime culprit being the EHR.

The article concludes,

In a factory, if 30% more items were suddenly dropped onto an assembly line, the process would grind to a halt. Imagine a plumber or a lawyer doing 30% more work without billing for it. But in healthcare, there is a wondrous elasticity — you can keep adding work and magically it all somehow gets done. The nurse won’t take a lunch break if the ward is short of staff members. The doctor will “squeeze in” the extra patients. The EMR  is now “conveniently available” to log into from home. Many of my colleagues devote their weekends and evenings to the spillover work.

The author, internist Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, also notes that the number of healthcare administrators increased 3,200% from 1975 to 2010, leaving healthcare with 10 administrators (and their salaries) for each doctor.

The always-thoughtful reader comments, many of them from clinicians, nearly all criticize the EHR and the transformation of healthcare from a calling to a greedy business dominated by mega-corporations whose richly compensated executives are rarely clinicians.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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The most recent method use by most poll respondents to communicate directly with their doctor was patient portal messaging and in-person conversation, with telephone calls coming in a distance third and all others methods registering a negligible number of responses.

New poll to your right or here: What college education would be required of a candidate for your job title? I upset the longstanding apple cart at a previous employer by requiring two of my managers – hired before I came on board — who did not have college degrees to either start a degree-seeking program or accept a demotion since their job descriptions required it. It’s either a requirement or it isn’t, and in our case, it was, even though a wishy-washy predecessor had promoted them without it. On the other hand, good job candidates don’t necessarily possess degrees and employers often require those credentials only to reduce the number of applications they have to read. Worst of all are companies that waffle their job description language with “should have” or “preferred” rather than “must have” – the job description should describe only those credentials required to earn further resume review or an interview.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Switzerland-based medical Internet of Things vendor Medisanté enters the US market with the opening of an office in Bridgewater, NJ.


Sales

  • Integris Health chooses Health Catalyst’s Data Operating System for enterprise-wide performance improvement.

Decisions

  • The Mary Black campus of Spartanburg Medical Center (SC) will go live on Epic this month.
  • Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Grapevine (TX) will go live on Epic in 2020.
  • Surgeons Choice Medical Center (MI), which replaced CPSI with Athenahealth in December 2017, will move back to CPSI this month.
  • Advanced Surgical Hospital (PA) will remain with CPSI instead of moving to Cerner because of cost considerations.

These provider-reported updates are supplied by Definitive Healthcare, which offers a free trial of its powerful intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and healthcare providers.


People

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Scott Hill (Allscripts) joins Change Healthcare as VP of strategic accounts.

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Geisinger hires David K. Vawdrey, PhD (New York – Presbyterian Hospital) as chief data informatics officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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Mobile Heartbeat adds secure mobile video chat to its MH-CURE clinical communication platform for face-to-face team member collaboration. Use cases include diagnosis, specialist consults, remote huddles, and staff training. It supports cross-platform use between Android and IOS devices. Meanwhile, Yale New Haven Health’s Bridgeport Hospital goes live on MH-CURE in all units, integrated with caregiver assignments in Epic and alarm management with Connexall. 

Clinical Computer Systems, Inc., which offers the Obix perinatal data system, announces the BeCA Fetal Monitor and the Freedom wireless transducer solution that allows cable-free monitoring during labor.

Healthcare Growth Partners summarizes the health IT funding themes for May 2019 as fitness technology manufacturers, telemedicine-related companies, and vendors of patient engagement technology.


Other

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Another female novelist’s New York Times editorial calls for curtailing the wellness industry:

The diet industry is a virus, and viruses are smart. It has survived all these decades by adapting, but it’s as dangerous as ever. In 2019, dieting presents itself as wellness and clean eating, duping modern feminists to participate under the guise of health. Wellness influencers attract sponsorships and hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram by tying before and after selfies to inspiring narratives. Go from sluggish to vibrant, insecure to confident, foggy-brained to clear-eyed. But when you have to deprive, punish, and isolate yourself to look “good,” it is impossible to feel good. I was my sickest and loneliest when I appeared my healthiest.

A women and children’s hospital in Australia doubles its antenatal pertussis vaccination rate after changing the optional “did you offer the vaccine” clinician EHR dropdown field from optional to mandatory.


Sponsor Updates

  • Gartner includes Lightbeam Health Solutions in its report, “Healthcare Payer CIOs, Leverage Vendor Partners to Succeed at Clinical Data Integration.”
  • Waystar will exhibit at the Homecare Homebase Annual Users Conference 2019 June 12-14 in Dallas.
  • NextGate publishes a new case study, “Enterprise Patient Matching Helps KeyHIE Establish Integrated Network of Accurate, Accessible Health Records and Drive Down Duplicate Record Rate to Less than 1%.”
  • Nordic, Surescripts, and Vocera will exhibit at the Epic Michigan User Group Conference June 10 in Ypsilanti.
  • Clinical Computer Systems, developer of the Obix Perinatal Data System, adds Stephanie Martin, DO to its executive advisory board.
  • Recondo Technology partners with analytics vendor VisiQuate to reduce claim denials and shorten the process of correcting and resubmitting them to payers.
  • DoD program Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve honors CloudWave with its Pro Patria Award for its support of Guard and Reserve employees.
  • PreparedHealth will exhibit at CMSA June 10-14 in Las Vegas.
  • Redox will exhibit at the Innovation Conference 2019 June 13 in Santa Fe.
  • Relatient publishes a new case study, “Seven Hills Women’s Health Centers Recover Over 1,300 Patients to Bridge Gaps in Care Using Automated Health Campaign.”
  • Sansoro Health releases a new 4×4 Health Podcast, “America’s Opioid Crisis: How IT Enables Better Care.”

Blog Posts


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News 6/7/19

June 6, 2019 News 4 Comments

Top News

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LabCorp joins the roster of companies impacted by the American Medical Collection Agency breach, notifying nearly 8 million customers that their personal and financial data may have been exposed.

Opko Health’s 422,000 BioReference Lab customers were also caught up in the hack.

The records of nearly 20 million patients are involved in the breach of the medical billing company.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Listening: new from the newly reformed, all-female L7, my favorite 1990s Riot Grrrl group except for maybe Hole. Lead singer, Flying V guitarist, and songwriter Donita Sparks — who is still tough, angry, and foul-mouthed at 56 — is about as far as you can get from “singers” whose “concerts” consist of prancing and lip syncing to pre-recorded songs written by anonymous hit-writing consortia. I’m pretty sure that if some guy in the front row harassed her that she would leap off the stage and punch him out.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Pharmacy technology vendor OmniSys acquires Rx-Net and its ProfitMax automated prescription pricing software. The Dallas-based company’s last acquisition was its 2017 purchase of competitor VoiceTech.

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The Riverside Company acquires Champion Healthcare Technologies from Jump Capital for an undisclosed sum. Riverside will combine Champion’s tracking software for implanted medical devices with its HemaTerra Technologies business, which offers supply chain management software for hospitals and blood and plasma collection centers.

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Waystar acquires Paro Decision Support, a predictive analytics vendor that helps hospitals identify patients who are eligible for charity care.

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Industry insiders say Bain Capital, Blackstone Group, KKR, CVC Capital Partners, GIC, and ChrysCapital have advanced to a second round of negotiations for the purchase of health IT consulting, services, and software company CitiusTech. General Atlantic acquired a controlling interest in the company in 2014 with a $111 million investment. A final sale decision is expected next month.


People

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Data archiving company Olah Healthcare Technology hires Wayne Trochmann (Allscripts) as VP of sales.


Announcements and Implementations

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St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital (IL) will soon switch from Meditech to Epic, wrapping up the Hospital Sisters Health System’s four-year, $112 million implementation project.

Northwell Health (NY) implements DataMotion’s Direct Secure Messaging to improve its HIE capabilities.

British Columbia’s Northern Health system adopts Nuance’s Dragon Medical One and Power Mic Mobile speech-recognition technologies.

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AWS announces GA of Textract, a service that uses machine learning to identify and extract text and data from documents in any format. Extracted data is available via an API that developers can then use to analyze and query for their own analytics projects. Use cases include patient registration forms and scanning medical charts for undocumented diagnoses that lead to referrals.

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In West Virginia, Williamson Memorial Hospital goes live on Meditech.

Black Book names the top client-rated software and services vendors for achieving financial digital transformation, derived from surveying 484 hospitals and 713 practices. Among the 20 winners:

  • Hospital inpatient accounting: Meditech
  • Patient access software: Recondo
  • ERP: Premier
  • Document management: Ciox Health
  • Charge master: NThrive
  • Ambulatory claims management and clearinghouse: Availity
  • Inpatient claims management: Waystar
  • Patient payment technology: Waystar
  • EMPI: Verato

Government and Politics

The VA issues a $140 million task order to Cerner for interface support over the next four years. The order is part of the agency’s original $10 billion EHR modernization contract with Cerner. The VA expects to begin piloting the new software at several sites in the Pacific Northwest early next year.

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The NHS has promised financial incentives to providers who use AI for diagnostics, screenings, and outpatient appointments as part of a system-wide effort to meet productivity targets. The health service agreed to those goals last year in exchange for an extra £20 billion a year.


Other

Politico rehashes stories reported here earlier about Epic implementation problems in the Copenhagen region of Denmark, adding more details:

  • A consultant says the group from Denmark “went to Epic and fell in love” in being overly influenced by its campus.
  • Doctors and nurses dispense medications directly rather than pharmacists and Epic won’t allow nurses to prescribe in emergencies as is done in hospitals there, leading to workflow problems.
  • Medical terminologies had to be translated using Google Translate, creating problems such as when surgeons were offered two choices for the leg they intended to amputate: “left” or “correct.”
  • An anesthesiologist working on the project says the first hospital that went live was in “indescribable, total chaos” as Epic recommended going live with no pilot sites, which he describes as “worse than amateurish” when doctors and nurses were forced to use a system they hadn’t seen, after which they were “weeping openly for days.” The regional health administrator admits that he was overzealous in trying to get Epic implemented quickly to avoid the cost and integration challenges of running it alongside the old system.
  • Epic still isn’t integrated with the national medical record system.
  • Eighty percent of patients in Denmark move casually from hospital to home or other care setting and back over long periods, creating problems for clinicians who are forced to follow the American standard of re-entering diagnoses and medications each time using different screens for inpatient and outpatient.
  • Discharge letters to doctors include “nonsense that’s a copy-paste of everything in the patient record … five pages of gibberish [in which] there are five lines the doctor probably should read but doesn’t.” The government hired a consultant to use AI to extract the useful information.
  • Physician satisfaction with Epic is at 12%, and the country’s physician association said of Epic’s offer to let them run its system free in their offices, “You couldn’t give us enough money to install Epic. We’ve seen how it works.”
  • A leading breast cancer surgeon concludes, “You have exported burnout.”
  • The rest of Denmark decided not to follow the Copenhagen’s region’s lead, selecting Systematic over Epic, leading some politicians to call for Epic’s replacement in Copenhagen, but the Health Ministry’s digital director says Epic is “too big to fail” after they have spent $500 million on it. 

Australia’s Queensland Health opens a search for a new EHealth Queensland CEO to replace Richard Ashby, who left in January over a conflict of interest issue.  His replacement will take responsibility for the over-budget Cerner project that has raised concerns from the auditor-general that Queensland Health has little negotiating leverage when contract extensions become due.

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Google Product Manager Prem Ramaswami reflects on the impact the company’s custom executive education program at Harvard Medical School has had on its healthcare endeavors. The 15-day course focuses on understanding the digital hoops patients jumped through to learn about treatments and clinical trials, physician interactions with EHRs, and ethical discussions on how the company could leverage its technology for global healthcare projects. “Taking this course, I felt like our work on health search would not be complete until doctors were prescribing Google to their patients,” he says.

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Here’s more savagely accurate satire from The Onion.


Sponsor Updates

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  • Ellkay sponsors Alpine Learning Group’s Go the Distance for Autism event.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the Telehealth Summit 2019 June 6-7 in Atlanta.
  • Ensocare will exhibit at the CMSA 2019 Conference June 10-14 in Las Vegas.
  • Hayes Management Consulting hires Paulo Santos as director of business development and Pej Ayandeh as client success manager.
  • HGP publishes “Health IT May Insights.”
  • Healthwise will exhibit at the Epic Michigan User Group Conference June 10 in Ypsilanti.
  • Information Builders showcases innovations for scaling advanced analytics and data management at its Summit 2019 user conference.
  • InterSystems will exhibit at the HL7 FHIR DevDays June 10-12 in Redmond, WA.
  • Intelligent Medical Objects holds a grand opening ceremony for its new headquarters in Rosemont, IL.
  • ConnectiveRx publishes a new white paper, “Communicating with HCPs based on their observed prescribing behavior.”
  • Halifax Health becomes the first member of the Access Million ESignature Club.
  • Greenway Health wins a 2019 Fortress Cyber Security Award in the application security category.
  • Frost & Sullivan awards Medicomp Systems its 2019 Customer Value Leadership Award for Clinical Decision Support for the Quippe suite of solutions.
  • Apixio achieves HITRUST CSF Certification.
  • Black Book announces the top client-rated software and services vendors that have achieved financial digital transformation.

Blog Posts

The Medtech Breakthrough Awards recognize:

  • Kyruus for its ProviderMatch for Consumers in Spanish
  • Vocera’s SmartBadge for “Best Internet-of-Things Healthcare Wearable Device”
  • Patientco’s payment software as the “Best New Healthcare Payments Solution”
  • Sansoro Health’s Emissary Platform as the “Best Healthcare Big Data Solution”

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Morning Headlines 6/5/19

June 4, 2019 News 2 Comments

Former National Health IT Coordinators Respond To Proposed ONC, CMS Interoperability Rules

All six former National Coordinators pledge their support for the proposed ONC/CMS interoperability rules, saying they will transform information flow, spur innovation, and empower consumers.

CVS turning 1,500 stores into HealthHUB locations with less retail, more health care

CVS will expand its HealthHub store layout pilot to 1,500 stores that will retool 20% of the floor space to offer health kiosks, digital health tools, and expanded MinuteClinics.

RxRevu – the Industry Leader in Prescription Decision Support – Secures $15.9 Million in Series A Funding Led by UCHealth

Denver-based RxRevu, which offers EHR-integrated prescription pricing decision support, raises $15.9 million in a Series A funding round.

Cerner Calls for App Ideas That Improve Consumer Access to Health Records

Cerner challenges developers to build apps on top of its platform that can help consumers access, understand, and use their EHR information in the 2019 version of its Code App Challenge.

News 6/5/19

June 4, 2019 News 10 Comments

Top News

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All six former National Coordinators pledge their support for the proposed ONC/CMS interoperability rules in a Health Affairs article. They say the rules will transform information flow, spur innovation, and empower consumers. They also observe that:

  • Rapid advancement of FHIR and APIs is critical.
  • Expanding interoperability requirements to health plans is “game-changing.”
  • Using Medicare’s Conditions of Participation to advance interoperability is a powerful tool.
  • Strong enforcement of information blocking provisions should be high priority and access to the USCDI data set via APIs should be free since “price has unacceptably been used in the past to ration electronic exchange of information or to block it outright.”
  • The federal government should work in parallel to create a consumer privacy framework, especially around third-party APIs and consent processes.
  • Stakeholder education will be important.

Reader Comments

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From Crown Victoria Secret: “Re: Atrius Health. Has become an allied member of The Permanente Federation.” The forwarded internal email announcement describes a vaguely defined collaboration that began on June 1 between the 715-doctor, Boston-based Atrius Health and the Federation, the leadership and consulting group for the eight Permanente Medical Groups that serve Kaiser Permanente members. The independent, non-profit Atrius has 75% of its nearly $2 billion in annual revenue tied to full-risk contracts. It just announced a $39 million profit for 2018.

From Orion’s Belt: “Re: executive coaching. What do you think of people earning a formal coaching credential and hanging out a shingle to advise executives?” I don’t know how many executives are seeking such assistance, and certainly just waving around a freshly printed certificate without a history of demonstrated personal success won’t be much of a draw (it’s a “those who can” sort of thing). I like the idea, though, and I even toyed with taking one of the (expensive and hard-marketed) certification programs not too long ago just because the courses sounded interesting. Certification requires quite a bit of hands-on training and completing a bunch of actual coaching hours that are critiqued by the person being coached, so it’s not a quick, cheap, or low-effort project, not even counting the fact that it’s all for naught if nobody hires you.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Industry long-timer and friend of HIStalk Vince Ciotti tells me that he and his partners have closed down their consulting business, HIS Pros, after 30 years. His long-running “HIS-tory” PowerPoint series on the history of the health IT industry was housed on the now-shuttered website, but Vince is sending me the files so I can post them permanently on HIStalk. The companies and people he mentions shouldn’t be forgotten and some of them offer lessons that we can learn all over again. Plus they are a heck of a lot of fun to read, especially if you’ve been around awhile.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Denver-based RxRevu, which offers EHR-integrated prescription pricing decision support, raises $15.9 million in a Series A funding round led by Colorado’s UCHealth.

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Cerner challenges developers to build apps on top of its platform that can help consumers access, understand, and use their EHR information in the 2019 version of its Code App Challenge. Winners receive a year of assistance in getting their app ready to be published on Cerner’s app store. Last year’s winner in November 2018 was a smart glasses-powered EHR navigation and documentation tool that isn’t yet listed in Cerner’s store.

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CVS, sweating under retail pressure from Amazon following its acquisition of Aetna, will expand its HealthHub store layout pilot to 1,500 stores that will retool 20% of the available floor space to offer health kiosks, digital health tools, yoga classes, dietitian counseling, expanded MinuteClinics. and SmileDirectClub teeth straightening (big companies really hate putting spaces between words). The space will come from reducing the inventory of slow-selling items such as greeting cards. The company’s #3 stated priority is to seamlessly connect digital and physical experiences, turn data into insights and action, and offer an intelligent engagement platform. CVS also expects big financial returns from chronic disease management.


People

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CoverMyMeds, which was acquired by McKesson for over $1 billion in early 2017, promotes David Holladay to president and Scott Gaines to COO. Co-founder and CEO Matt Scantland will leave the 1,000-employee company by the end of the year, while COO Michelle Brown will move into a different role. 


Announcements and Implementations

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A KLAS report covering recently announced inpatient EHRs for under-200 bed hospitals finds that only Athenahealth and Meditech have brought customers live, with those vendors having signed 115+ hospitals each. Just three hospitals each have contracted for ECW’s inpatient system and Epic Sonnet. Athenahealth customers worry about significant product functionality gaps (mostly clinical) and that the company has paused sales of the inpatient product during its corporate turmoil, with 22 hospitals cancelling their contracts in the past two years. Meditech Expanse earns high marks in both administrative and clinical areas, as does the company’s cost transparency. KLAS notes that Epic Sonnet isn’t really intended for small hospitals, but rather larger ones that are willing to start off with less functionality or lower cost with plans to eventually move up to the full Epic product, with Community Connect as provided by larger hospitals (rather than Epic itself) being the only real small-hospital option. ECW is losing prospects, most of them running CPSI or Allscripts Paragon, to other vendors due to delays in bringing any sites live. The bottom line is: (a) Meditech Expanse is the only successful new product; and (b) it’s not easy for ambulatory EHR companies to develop and implement a successful inpatient product.

Glytec will expand the capabilities of its EGlycemic Management System to create Therapy Advisor, a “Software as a Medical Device” platform that supports dosing and management of all diabetes medications, not just insulin. It will give providers evidence-based recommendations on product selection that also include patient affordability.

Sacramento-based non-profit medical technology startup support group MedStart shuts down, citing a drop-off in funding, plans by UC Davis to develop a similar program in Sacramento, and failed merger talks with other organizations. 


Government and Politics

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President Trump responds to a reporter’s question during a joint session with Prime Minister Theresa May by saying that any post-Brexit trade deal needs to allow US companies to sell to the National Health Service. Response was quick and unflattering from everyone from British politicians to clinicians who don’t like people, especially those from other countries, messing with NHS.

Coffey Health System (KS) will pay $250,000 to settle the federal government’s claim that it falsely attested to Meaningful Use in 2012-2013 by failing to perform a security risk analysis. The whistleblower lawsuit was filed by two people, one of whom I was able to find online as an employee of the 25-bed hospital’s compliance office. 


Privacy and Security

The information of 12 million Quest Diagnostics lab patients is exposed in a breach of the systems of American Medical Collection Agency, which provides billing services to Quest contractor Optum360.


Other

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Apple makes some health-related announcements at its WWDC developer conference, most of them pertaining to Watch:

  • WatchOS6 will add menstruation tracking, which will also work on the IPhone’s Health app
  • WatchOS6 will introduce a Noise app that will measure sound levels
  • Watch’s fitness tracking will be displayed as rings that tabulate daily movement, exercise, and non-sitting time and will roll those into long-term trend displays
  • WatchOS6 will allow using the App Store directly from the Watch
  • The IPhone’s Health app will be redesigned to offer notifications, favorites, and health highlights

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Verizon is hyping the heck out of its 5G service, with some of its questionable claims now including improving cancer treatment. The cell carriers like the opportunity to capturing market share, but 5G doesn’t seem like a silver bullet – it requires a ton of closely-spaced towers; it does nothing to bring broadband to rural areas where the cable company monopolies have stopped installing fiber and upgrading infrastructure; nobody has looked hard at what healthcare bandwidth limitations 5G expects to remove; and cell carriers (like the cable companies) provide notoriously poor user support. Eric Topol called them out for the TV commercial above, inviting them to show data proving that they improve cancer outcomes. I also winced at their use of the tired “fight” analogy.  

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Stanford professor and investor Phyllis Gardner is earning fame for her comments about Theranos and founder Elizabeth Holmes that were included in two documentaries about the company, some of those critical observations made long before a series of investigative reports brought the company down. She says:

  • She tried to tell Holmes early on that the company’s technology could not possibly work, but Holmes brushed her off and has since “been the burr under my saddle.”
  • Many smart venture capitalists sent Holmes packing when she invoked “trade secrets” in refusing to explain how the Theranos technology worked.
  • It was corporate malfeasance to load up the company’s board with people who had no science understanding, which she called “old men [whose] brains go to their groin.”
  • She knew the phony deep voice, black turtlenecks, and “the glammed-up look” of Holmes was fake, but says you could never see her real self.
  • “I didn’t find that many people at Stanford who thought she was amazing.”
  • She rips Silicon Valley’s “fake it until you make it”mantra for healthcare: “In medicine, you do not fake it. Ever. That is verboten, and that is why we have regulatory agencies … you don’t fail 10,000 times and get it right on the 10,000st. That is absolutely evil to say that.”

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Forbes releases its list of “America’s Richest Self-Made Women,” with Epic CEO Judy Faulkner coming in fourth with an estimated net worth of $3.6 billion. Wisconsin women took two of the top four spots, with #1 being Diane Hendricks of construction material vendor ABC Supply at $7 billion. The most bizarre winner – Suzy Batiz, whose toilet spray Poo-Pourri has sold 60 million bottles in giving her a not-so-crappy net worth of $240 million, tying Reese Witherspoon. 


Sponsor Updates

  • Dimensional Insight earns top scores for customer experience and vendor credibility in the annual Wisdom of Crowds business intelligence market study.
  • Avaya leverages Google Cloud to provide a wider range of global organizations with flexible, scalable communications and collaboration solutions.
  • Bluetree will exhibit at the Epic Michigan User Group Meeting June 10 in Ypsilanti.
  • Prepared Health will exhibit at the CMSA 2019 Annual Conference June 10-14 in Las Vegas.
  • KLAS recognizes CenTrak for standout industry performance in its 2019 report on real-time location systems.
  • CompuGroup Medical will exhibit at the New Mexico Primary Care Association Annual Conference June 13-14 in Albuquerque.
  • Collective Medical helps providers support and coordinate care for homeless patients.

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Monday Morning Update 6/3/19

June 2, 2019 News 11 Comments

Top News

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The vendor members of the HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association raise “significant concerns” about proposed federal rules covering interoperability. Their draft comments note that:

  • The rule limits EHR vendor profits and thus discourages innovation because it requires them to share their intellectual property. The proposed rule would require vendors to offer interoperability elements with “reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.”
  • The compulsory licensing rule would require developing documentation, APIs, and patents, creating a regulatory burden that might “outweigh the opportunity that remains.”
  • ONC’s definition of “interoperability elements” and “electronic health information” are overly broad and unreasonable, while some of the defined exceptions would be nearly impossible to enforce.
  • EHR vendors can’t deliver the programming necessary in the proposed 24-month timeline, especially when they are dealing with other CMS and ONC regulatory requirements.
  • The proposed rule includes ambiguous definitions such as “reasonable,” “as soon as possible,” and “near real-time,” which is risky when penalties can be issued of up to $1 million per infraction.
  • EHRA recommends publishing an Interim Final Rule this year to allow continuing clarification and feedback and to create a way that vendors can get quick answers to their questions.

The Health Innovation Alliance this week said the rule is too vague and contains too many loopholes, recommending that ONC and CMS “go back to the drawing board.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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More than half of poll respondents say vendor and hospital burnout in health IT is caused by excessive workload and time pressure rather than organizational, management, and compensation issues. Furydelabongo says that work overload could be a symptom of having incompetent or overly ambitious managers, while Drex cites the nearly universal absence of good IT governance in hospitals that encourages employees work at whatever tasks they believe are important or that executives complain the loudest about.

New poll to your right or here: What method did you use the last time you communicated directly with a doctor who was providing care to you? I’m looking for your most recent exchange, the final one in your most recent encounter.

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Happy 16th birthday this week to HIStalk, which I started writing in June 2003. I think it was June 6, but I’m not certain since I sometimes think it was June 3. Back then:

  • Some big healthcare names were George W. Bush, Tommy Thompson, Tom Scully, Dennis O’Leary, Erich Reinhardt, Linda Kloss, Anthony Principi, and Neal Patterson.
  • Hospitals were struggling with early CPOE implementations.
  • Kaiser Permanente had just chosen Epic.
  • Cerner had just made its first UK sales and opened its new headquarters.
  • HIMSS offered HIMSS03 in San Diego (with keynotes from Jeff Immelt, Rudy Giuliani, and Patch Adams) following Summer HIMSS in Chicago and also launched Solutions Toolkit, the predecessor to HIMSS Analytics.
  • Computers ran Windows XP while users licked their wounds caused by Windows ME and awaited / dreaded the promised magic of Windows Vista as the effects of the “every other Windows release sucks” rule were about to be felt.
  • People sent messages on BlackBerry devices and talked on the Nokia cell phones that dominated the market.
  • Companies such as MercuryMD, Misys, First Consulting Group, Per-Se, IDX, Healthlink, Quovadx, Alaris, and Sentillion were making a few sales.
  • Health IT news came slowly and with little critical review other than from expensive, influential newsletters such as “Inside Healthcare Computing” and “HIS Insider.”

Listening: new from NF (Nate Feuerstein), a 28-year-old, Michigan-based, Eminem-influenced rapper whose lyrics are emotional but commendably free of profanity (a change he made in 2010, saying that he’s Christian even though his music is not) and misogyny. His vocal rhythms immediately embed themselves in your head even if the lyrics don’t. The link is for “Let You Down,” which is not only a dramatic video, but also a powerful song about the strained relationship between a disappointed father and his son who has bitterly decided that their superficial relationship is over.

Thanks to the following companies that recently supported HIStalk. Click a logo for more information.

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Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Decisions

  • Bayhealth (DE) switched from Avaya To Cisco Systems for call center technology in April 2019.
  • Highpoint Health (IN) will replace Meditech with Allscripts in July 2019.
  • ProMedica Coldwater Regional Hospital (MI) replaced Meditech with Epic on May 1, 2019.
  • Chestnut Hill Hospital (PA) will go live on Epic in August 2019.
  • Baptist Health Floyd (IN) will replace Allscripts with Epic In June 2019.

These provider-reported updates are supplied by Definitive Healthcare, which offers a free trial of its powerful intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and healthcare providers.


Announcements and Implementations

SailPoint earns a US patent for its application of AI/ML to identify peers among system users to detect those whose access profile is unusual enough to warrant review for potential security concerns.


Other

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Eric Topol notes the nearly identical, relentless price increases for competing best-selling injectable arthritis drugs Humira and Enbrel, which generated a combined $28 billion in 2018 sales. Today’s price is more than double that of 2012, with cash-paying patients paying more than $5,000 per month even with the best coupon offered by GoodRx. The cost is much less in the UK, which doesn’t allow endless drug company patent filings and lawsuits that block competition for biologic drugs.

CDC reports that the number of US measles cases has broken the 25-year-old record even though we’re only halfway through the year. Measles is classified as “eliminated” in the US, but that achievement is at risk for the first time in a generation.

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I’m fascinated that Cincinnati-based Bon Secours Mercy Health will sell its majority stake of an RCM company it bought for $60 million in 2016 for $1.2 billion. The Catholic health system, former in September 2018 with the merger of Mercy Health and Bon Secours Health System, had just announced its merger with Ireland’s largest healthcare provider, a five-hospital system in Dublin, with intentions I don’t quite understand (unless they’re using Ireland’s favorable tax status to benefit their for-profit ventures).


Sponsor Updates

  • Sansoro Health announces an integration partnership with OpiSafe, which provides clinical decision support for opioid prescribers.
  • TriNetX will exhibit at Academy Health June 2-4 in Washington, DC.
  • A study finds that hospitals using Meditech Expanse outperformed Cerner and Epic clients in CMS quality and value measures.
  • Wolters Kluwer Health promotes Greg Samio to president and CEO of health learning, research, and practice.
  • The SSI Group will exhibit at the Alabama HFMA Annual Institute June 2-4 in Destin, FL

Blog Posts


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News 5/31/19

May 30, 2019 News 3 Comments

Top News

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Precision medicine platform vendor Tempus raises $200 million in a Series F funding round that values the Chicago-based company at $3.1 billion.

CEO Eric Lefkosky, JD founded the company in 2015 after launching two marketing companies, a logistics technology company, and a venture capital firm. He is also chairman and co-founder of Groupon and formerly served as that company’s CEO. 


Reader Comments

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From Food for Chewing: “Re: KLAS’s new report on Cerner revenue cycle management. I’m curious to know if Cerner paid for or commissioned the report.” KLAS responded to me by saying that it was initially creating the report without Cerner’s involvement, but Cerner asked KLAS to convene a big-client summit that was hosted by Intermountain. The Cerner clients then asked KLAS to provide quarterly updates about Cerner’s progress. Cerner will engage around those results, and while KLAS tell me specifically that Cerner is paying, it’s not unreasonable since Cerner commissioned the follow-up. Cerner won’t get much immediate mileage from this initial report – the client feedback (at least as reported in the “Key Findings” summary, which is all I can see) is nearly universally negative, not surprising given the meeting’s genesis (no pun intended for you Cerner DoD MHS types).

From Crowdfunding Not for the Weak at Heart: “Re: HEAL Diabetes Clinic. Received an email indicating that after its StartEngine funding campaign, CEO Richard Koffler ‘surprised us by announcing his resignation from the company.’ The company decided that it couldn’t move forward without home, so it is shutting down and returning any leftover money to investors.” The company’s webpage says it has closed and Koffler’s LinkedIn indicates that he has resigned. It offered a ketogenic diet program.

From Non-Corporate Man: “Re: your experience with an HIT vendor owned by a large company. My experience was the opposite. I did just about every job you could think of in corporate HIT, did an MBA and law degree while working full time, and got the CEO job because I knew all the pieces.” My only for-profit experience was with this vendor, but it was eye-opening to see what happens when a Fortune 500 company acquires a failing software vendor that quickly disappears into the murk of the corporate balance sheet once it fails to meet overly optimistic expectations. They only bought us with the questionable hope that our sexy-sounding business would jumpstart their anemic growth rate, apparently actually believing our financials that must have been quite the work of fiction ( (I speculate our executives offered them the “Promises & Lies” version of our P&L).

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From Union Rep: “Re: HIT headlines. This one is surely among the worst.” I agree. As health IT wit goes, this is half. The story itself is basically a rewritten press release, so someone was anxious to show some poorly executed creativity in the headline in desperately punning “Sunrise.” I can only imagine the damage they would do in trying to work “Millennial” into a Cerner sales announcement.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Multi-state Bon Secours Mercy Health will sell a majority stake in its Ensemble Health Partners RCM and Epic optimization business to Golden Gate Capital for $1.2 billion.

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Cerner initiates a $0.18 quarterly dividend, its first-ever such payment and $0.03 greater than it originally mentioned in February. Opinions vary on whether companies that initiate dividend payments are showing signs of strength (making so much money that they might as well share it with investors) or weakness (management can’t entice people to buy the stock otherwise). I generally side with the latter. Companies that are doing well and expect strong future performance would be better off investing the money in their own business and let the success-driven share price increase reward its shareholders. But that’s just me, and if CERN shareholders love the stock, they can just reinvest the dividends themselves. CERN shares are down 3% vs. the Nasdaq’s 3% rise since Brent Shafer took over on January 10, 2018.

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Government health IT contractor Apprio creates a new commercial healthcare division to market its RCM services to hospitals and health systems.

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Talkspace raises $50 million in a Series D round led by Revolution Growth, bringing its total funding to $107 million. Optum’s behavioral health business has signed on for the company’s online therapy service.

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Pillo Health raises $11 million to complete its Series A round. Lead investor Stanley Black & Decker will work with Pillo to launch a direct-to-consumer version of its digital home health companion later this year.

Patient relationship management vendor Welkin Health raises $17.5 million in a Series B round, bringing its total funding to $30 million.


Sales

  • UCLA Health (CA) selects Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing services to speed up data analysis for researchers and precision medicine efforts.
  • The Louisiana Dept. of Health will implement provider credentialing software from Verisys.
  • Allegheny Health Network (PA) selects Vynca’s end-of-life care planning technology.

People

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Mount Sinai Health System (NY) names Andrew Kasarskis, PhD (Icahn School of Medicine) as EVP and chief data officer.

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Roni Zeiger, MD (Smart Patients) joins Facebook as head of health strategy.


Announcements and Implementations

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Woman’s Hospital (LA) goes live on Meditech Expanse.

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OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital (OR) offers parents Locus Health’s app-based remote monitoring software for use post-discharge.

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PerfectServe announces GA of embedded messaging within Cerner.


Privacy and Security

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In Australia, auditors warn Victoria’s public health system officials that weak cybersecurity practices have left facilities vulnerable to attacks. A review of security measures at several hospitals within the state found similar weaknesses, including weak passwords, poor system and network monitoring, inadequate user access controls, and lack of appropriate governance and policy frameworks. Barriers to implementing all 72 of the recommended cybersecurity measures include lack of budget and staff, plus a lack of awareness around third-party vendor security protocols.

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Allegheny Health Network brings its Epic system back online after an unspecified network issue caused it to go down Wednesday morning. The outage affected all seven of its Western Pennsylvania hospitals.

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Indiana-based Medical Informatics Engineering and its subsidiary NoMoreClipboard will pay $900,000 to settle a multistate lawsuit brought against it last year by 16 state attorneys general over a 2015 breach that compromised the data of 4 million patients. Meanwhile, nobody is planning a PHI heist of 4 million clipboards.


Other

Canada’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre will integrate its self-developed SunnyCare clinical workflow solution with CPSI Evident’s Thrive EHR. The organizations will also establish an outcomes innovation center in Toronto.

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A New York Times investigation finds that pediatric cardiologists at UNC Children’s Hospital (NC) were so alarmed at high death rates that they questioned — in secretly recorded department meetings obtained by the newspaper — whether they would send their own children there for surgery. From the Times article:

  • The hospital’s death rate was among the worst among the 82 institutions that publicly report it.
  • Cardiologists and hospital executives were all worried about the hospital’s high death rate, but didn’t know what to do about it.
  • Since 2015, the hospital had lost two of its pediatric cardiac intensivists and some experienced nurses, closed its CIC unit, and didn’t have a dedicated cardiac intensive care unit.
  • A transplant surgeon failed to show up to perform a heart transplant when a donor heart became available on a weekend, leading one cardiologist to say, “This is what you signed up for. Who is he to play God with some kid’s life?”
  • UNC said it has since replaced leadership that hospital administrators called “a dysfunctional group.”
  • So many hospitals offer complex pediatric heart surgeries that some hospitals, including UNC, perform few cases and thus have limited resources and experience. Several hospitals have shut down similar programs or merged with others in hopes that higher volumes would drive better outcomes.
  • UNC says mortality data alone isn’t a good measure and termed it “critically important” to instead look at risk-adjusted data, but then refused to release that data because it says the data doesn’t adequately reflect that its patients are sicker.
  • The since-retired head of the children’s hospital told cardiologists to follow their conscience if that included referring patients to other hospitals, but warned them that reduced surgery volume would hurt hospital revenue and possibly cost them their jobs.

Sponsor Updates

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  • HCTec employees volunteer with the Gentlemen’s Quest of Tampa and the United Way.
  • Elsevier Clinical Solutions will exhibit at ASCO June 1 in Chicago.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the SCPHA Association Annual Clinical Network Retreat June 7-9 in Myrtle Beach, SC.
  • Glytec publishes a new case study, “Paul Chidester, MD: How Sentara Healthcare Achieved the Standard of Care in Glycemic Management, and Your Organization Can, Too.”
  • Google Cloud releases a new video, “American Cancer Society: Powering cancer research using Google Cloud machine learning.”
  • Hayes Management Consulting will host a reception during the AAMC Compliance Officers’ Symposium June 6 in Washington, DC.
  • Audacious Inquiry celebrates 15 years in business by reflecting on 15 significant company milestones.
  • Nordic releases a new podcast, “How to build an effective hub-and-spoke relationship.”
  • NextGate publishes a new case study, “Enterprise Patient Matching Helps KeyHIE Establish Integrated Network of Accurate, Accessible Health Records and Drive Down Duplicate Record Rate to Less than 1%.”

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News 5/29/19

May 28, 2019 News 3 Comments

Top News

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Cardinal Health makes a $10 million investment in home medical monitoring technology and monitoring services vendor Medically Home Group.

The company says that its remotely monitored “virtual hospital room” that it sets up in the patient’s home saves the 60% of the expense of hospitalization that is related to fixed costs, such as buildings.


Reader Comments

From Hospital Digital Marketer: “Re: Google. Did they ban healthcare systems from posting star ratings for doctors in search results? We pay a lot to our survey vendor to post these on our website, but the stars disappeared after Google updated its search engine results pages.” I’ll invite marketing folks to weigh in since this isn’t something I follow.

From Pendulous Appendages: “Re: management. What eventually happened to your software vendor employer manager who refused to alert customers to a problem that put patients in harm’s way?” I Googled him and turned up nothing, leaving me free to speculate hopefully that karma found him despite his apparent corporate fast track back then. I did locate his boss, the corporate suit who was parachuted into our office as a 20-something newly minted executive assigned to lend his vast knowledge to our failing operation – he later became CEO of several large healthcare companies (one of which he took public, another of which was sold to an especially scummy drug company) and is now an investment company partner. My takeaways from this:

  • The people who end up in charge have the drive, ambition, and personality quirks that set their direction early. They never spent time as programmers, clinicians, or cube-dwellers, having been chosen early on for internships and consulting assignments that skipped the hands-on layer. It doesn’t hurt to be a family friend or relative of a company bigwig.
  • Some of the anointed ones are screaming, petulant psychopaths (the CEO I mentioned above was the poster child for that), while others are generally amiable since they aren’t really emotionally invested in the assignment that they know is just a brief stop on their ascent to the summit. I didn’t mind working for the later-career ones who took the top job as a favor for our investors and therefore were more often bemused than tyrannical in realistically assessing their ability to do anything more than delay the inevitable.
  • They took every job with the next one in mind. Those of us rowing the boat saw a lot of captains come and go. We were happy to see most of them leave, apprehensive about which company man would be sent to our corporate hinterlands to replace them, and full of conflicting thoughts about their jobs and lives versus ours as we passed around the newspaper reports of their opulent home purchases and saw them wheeling their testosterone-boosting sports cars (all but one were male) into their reserved parking spots each day.
  • The rise to the top can be achieved even while running failing, doomed companies as long as you can make their corporate budget contribution look temporarily better than when you arrived (i.e., laying people off, cutting R&D, sunsetting products, increasing maintenance and services fees). This is not a good thing for customers, but then again, having a perpetually money-losing software vendor isn’t sustainable anyway.  
  • The victory lap for circuit-riding CEOs is in venture capital and other investment activity, which lines their pockets even more than running companies.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I occupied some of my time over the long weekend with binge-watching: all but the final couple of episodes of ”What/If” and continued progress on “Justified,” both of which I recommend for unchallenging yet engrossing entertainment. Next up is “High Seas.” It’s fun that so many series are available on the streaming services we use (Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime) that when someone asks you what you’re watching or vice versa there’s an 80% chance the other person hasn’t heard of it, unlike the old “three networks” days when everybody talked about the same shows. I didn’t realize until getting engrossed in “Justified” that it’s an old series, having run on FX from 2010 to 2015, magically reborn to feed the streaming beast. 

I was browsing on my Chromebook as I often do (because it’s light and small, just right for a break in the easy chair) when I recalled that Microsoft Office 365 contains fully functional Web versions of the suite (Word, Excel, OneDrive, etc. – everything except Access) that run just fine on it. I could do nearly everything I do on a full Windows desktop on the Chromebook, although “nearly” still prevents a full switch. I suppose I could just get a small, lightweight laptop for these situations, such as a Surface, but I don’t really need one.

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Google Cloud. Solutions include unified, HIPAA-compliant and HITRUST CSF-certified data storage with Cloud Healthcare API access; the BigQuery managed, server-less data warehouse; the Cloud Machine Learning Engine and TensorFlow for building and training custom models; collaboration tools such as the G Suite productivity suite and Chromebooks; and Cloud Healthcare API and Apigee Healthcare APIx to bridge systems and applications with FHIR and DICOM support. Customers include Cleveland Clinic (extending its EHR and performing analytics via APIs); Lahey Health (collaboration); Hunterdon Healthcare (collaboration); and Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine (data warehouse for patient and genetic data for personalized diagnoses and treatment as well as research). Rush University Medical Center powers its MyRush app with Google Cloud, improving customer experience and patient outcomes with API-enabled services, use of 250 analytics variables, and management of the access gateway with OAuth, validation policies, and traffic management. Google Cloud offers a free tier that provides everything from storage to development tools, APIs, and analytics. CIOs can connect with the company at CHIME’s Fall CIO Forum in November. Thanks to Google Cloud for supporting HIStalk.

Here’s a panel discussion on “The Future of Health” from Google’s just-concluded Cloud Next 19 developer conference.


Webinars

May 30 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “ONC Data Blocking Proposed Rule: What Health Systems Need to Know.” Sponsor: Philips PHM. Presenter: Greg Fulton, industry and public policy lead, Philips. Proposed data-blocking regulations could specify fines, disincentives, and de-certification of providers who don’t provide an API for patients to extract all of their data. This webinar will describe who is deploying APIs, the scope of data and third-party apps that can be used, the seven costs that do not count as a data-blocking exception, and the health system protections that don’t involve using a vendor. It will also provide examples of data blocking and further exceptions.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Change Healthcare files an amended prospectus for a $200 million IPO, double the value of its mid-March filing.

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Apple reportedly acquires Tueo Health, which is developing an app to monitor the nighttime breathing of asthmatic children. The deal was supposedly done in late 2018, but nobody noticed until now.

UCSF ends its plan to affiliate with Dignity Health’s four Bay Area hospitals, citing unresolved issues related to women’s reproductive services, LGBTQ care, and end-of-life options.


Sales

  • Loma Linda University Medical Center chooses QuadraMed for patient identity management.
  • Western Maryland Health System chooses PeraHealth’s Rothman Index for real-time monitoring of patient condition.

People

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Surgical automation and software vendor Caresyntax hires Tim Lantz (Sentry Data Systems) as president.

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Divurgent hires Bill Bottomley (HighPoint Solutions) and Mary Beth Seaman (HighPoint Solutions) as client services VPs.


Announcements and Implementations

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Muhlenberg Community Hospital (KY) replaces Meditech with the Epic system of its corporate parent, Owensboro Health, with the project coming in under budget at $2.3 million. 

Imprivata enables its Confirm ID EPCS solution to run under the Google Chrome browser, making it more accessible to Meditech users.


Government and Politics

A Kaiser Health News analysis reviews whether the reduced cost involved with healthcare overhaul could wipe out “the industry” (meaning providers, insurers, and others) that provides 20% of the country’s employment. The article quotes economists who previously worried that the bloated and growing healthcare sector was being used as a “wildly inefficient jobs program” to drag the country out of the Great Recession. A healthcare economist observes that hospitals make up the top six employers in Boston and two of the top three in Nashville, with the main source of healthcare cost savings being layoffs that he estimates would impact 2 million people, equally split between providers and insurers. Another economist agrees, but says high healthcare costs sap non-healthcare industries in ways that can’t be easily measured.


Other

I missed this earlier: HHS OIG report finds that ACOs (of the six it studied) that run a single EHR are able to to share electronic data in real time, whereas those using multiple EHRs are limited to phone calls and faxes. The report also notes that care coordination outside the network is hard even with HIEs (since they provide limited data) and that most ACOs aren’t using analytics to personalize care. 

A federal lawsuit questions whether hospitals are sidestepping anti-kickback laws by overpaying the salaries and perks of doctors they hire whose test and procedure volume generates hospital profits that exceed their specialty-specific losses. It highlights the aggressive practices of Wheeling Hospital (WV) to increase its market share, which include directly tying physician compensation to the hospital revenue they generate and hiding doctor payments within office lease terms that give some doctors incomes that are multiples of what their private practice counterparts are making. Meanwhile, CMS dropped the hospital’s quality star rating to one, the lowest possible score.

A study estimates the annual cost of physician burnout at $4.6 billion, or $7,600 per doctor per year. Now that WHO has added “burnout” as a rather vaguely defined ICD-11 diagnosis (symptoms: exhaustion, negativity, and reduced productivity), let’s hope we don’t medicalize it by paying for questionable treatment that then creates consumer demand as we’ve done for other newly defined conditions – we don’t want doctors to burn out from treating doctor burnout.


Sponsor Updates

  • Nuance customers in Colorado, Mississippi, and Ohio adopt the company’s CDI solutions.
  • Surescripts expands its White Coat Award to include categories for health systems, pharmacies, and pharmacy technology leaders, as well as EHR vendors.
  • FDB releases MedKnowledge Canada to support bi-lingual medication management app development.
  • The Chartis Group publishes a paper titled “Launching a Revenue Cycle Automation Strategy.”
  • Aprima will exhibit at the NJMGMA Practice Management Conference June 5-7 in Atlantic City.
  • In Argentina, Emergencias deploys Avaya’s IX Contact Center software to help save lives.
  • Bluetree will exhibit at the IPMI Healthcare IT Institute June 2-4 in San Antonio.
  • Burwood Group will exhibit and present at the Southern California CIO Executive Summit June 5 in Universal City.
  • PeriGen publishes a white paper titled “How to Reduce Exposure to Obstetric Megaverdicts with AI-Driven Technology.”
  • CompuGroup Medical will exhibit at the Arizona Medical Association Annual Meeting June 1 in Chandler.
  • CoverMyMeds will exhibit at the NG Healthcare Provider Symposium June 5-7 in Savannah, GA.

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Monday Morning Update 5/27/19

May 26, 2019 News 4 Comments

Top News

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The VA skips a House committee meeting that addressed oversight of its Cerner implementation, but attends a Senate meeting long enough to oppose a bill that proposes creating an independent advisory committee to oversee the $10 billion project.


Reader Comments

From Anon E. Mouse: “Re: EHR timers. Cerner was the vendor that wasn’t directly mentioned in the article, although it’s obvious since Eva Karp works for Cerner. Cerner’s Lights On Network has been freely available with such timers for years and is used by many of their clients daily. Cerner invests a ton of effort in building additional timers as they introduce new software and functionality and then works to attack the problem areas to improve performance and clinical workflow.” Cerner’s write-up of Lights On Network describes its benefits: finding users whose system actions suggest that they could use help, identifying system bottlenecks, flagging unusual system settings, and benchmarking against other Cerner clients.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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A convincing 97% of poll respondents who have coordinated post-acute care for someone said it was hard, with the biggest issue being trying to coordinate the activities of the care team and family. Some comments:

  • Vicki says organizations served only their own interests in caring for her family members, such as a SNF that wasn’t interested in helping find a home health provider other than the one it owns.
  • Clark’s experience with transitions from ICU to LTAC, SNF, home care, and therapy providers is that nobody every had current patient information, creating both frustration and danger.
  • Brittany’s experience with hospice care is that medical equipment wasn’t delivered, transportation was delayed, and nurses misunderstood the family’s wishes and kept the family member over-sedated in denying them the chance to have meaningful final moments together.
  • Another reader reports that they experienced excellent coordination at Johns Hopkins, but had a “consistently horrendous” experience at their own hospital, where they are a physician faculty member. HIM dragged their feet on providing an electronic copy of the medical records, obtaining images required two trips and upfront payment of fees, a chaotic discharge process created delays that necessitated rescheduling home health appointments, refrigeration-required antibiotics were delivered early when nobody was home, prescriptions were sent to the wrong pharmacy, hospital nurses argued with the family over the medication list in insisting that their computer must be correct, and the hospital ran out of common medical supplies.
  • Caregiver Informaticist says their family member’s care was never coordinated in several trips between LTAC and the acute care hospital, with no information sharing after being falsely told that the LTAC’s doctors round at the hospital and attend joint care planning meetings.

New poll to your right or here: What is the main cause of burnout among employees of health IT vendors and hospital IT departments? My experience working for a crappy vendor makes “all of the above” attractive, but let’s focus on the most important item on the list. For me, that was incompetent, uncaring managers who interfered with our productivity in trying to add value to processes they would never understand, poring over their MBA textbooks in their spiffy offices with the doors shut before emerging into the cube farm to make a lofty pronouncement that after applying their exemplary insight to our operation, they had figured out the solution to our problems (we had tried it before and failed, but saying so elicited scorn that what we had been missing then was their keen leadership). Worst of all, they had no healthcare background and thus nothing but contempt for our users and the patients who depended on our systems – we were just a widget factory that happened to sell healthcare software. I made an impassioned, stick-figure level plea to one of the suits about a patient-endangering software defect that I had laboriously documented urging him to simply allow us to notify all customers of the problem since we hadn’t yet figured out how to fix it. His answer: “We don’t owe those clients a damned thing.”


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Monday is Memorial Day, created not to serve as a nonchalant kickoff to summer, but rather to set aside time to remember those who died while serving in the armed forces. It’s perfectly fine to pass on attending a ceremony or an increasingly rare Memorial day parade, but perhaps you know someone who lost a family member (especially if it happened within the past handful of years) who was serving and could drop them a quick email or social media acknowledgement of their loss. Here’s another idea – take flowers to a cemetery that has a section set aside for soldiers and leave one on each grave that doesn’t already have some.

In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


Webinars

May 30 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “ONC Data Blocking Proposed Rule: What Health Systems Need to Know.” Sponsor: Philips PHM. Presenter: Greg Fulton, industry and public policy lead, Philips. Proposed data-blocking regulations could specify fines, disincentives, and de-certification of providers who don’t provide an API for patients to extract all of their data. This webinar will describe who is deploying APIs, the scope of data and third-party apps that can be used, the seven costs that do not count as a data-blocking exception, and the health system protections that don’t involve using a vendor. It will also provide examples of data blocking and further exceptions.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


People

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HHS promotes Jose Arrieta to CIO.


Announcements and Implementations

Lawrence General Hospital completes its implementation of Meditech Expanse under a fixed-fee implementation agreement with Santa Rosa Consulting.

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A new KLAS report covering opioid prescription intelligence finds that all vendors reviewed performed well. PastRx tops the list in pulling PDMP data into the chart for physician review, while AffirmHealth and Collective Medical were praised in their respective regional pain management clinic and ED environments. Appriss Health and DrFirst were seen as less helpful in developing an opioid stewardship strategy since they work with users only indirectly.

In England, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust issues a 10-year, $225 million tender for a enterprise EHR that will be used by up to 35,000 employees of three London-based trusts.


Government and Politics

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The VA’s self-developed, open source workflow tool Light Electronic Action Framework (LEAF) wins a government health IT magazine’s innovation award. The team used the tool to develop a telehealth provider volunteer site for hurricane relief efforts (pictured above) within 24 hours.


Other

A data study finds that Canadian buyers of marijuana (where it is legal) avoid paying by credit card since they know their data is likely to be stored on servers in the US (where it isn’t legal). Also in play is that some employers enforce zero-tolerance policies for non-medical use. Canada’s own Office of the Privacy Commissioner recommends that buyers pay cash since the US government can access their credit card records without a warrant and could prevent them from entering the US.

I’m fascinated by this: Elon Musk’s SpaceX uses its Falcon 9 rocket to launch the first 60 low-Earth, 500-pound satellites of its $10 billion Starlink broadband service, which will offer inexpensive broadband connectivity to the northern US after six launches, the whole country after 12, and the entire populated world after 30. The company will use the revenue from the broadband service to fund its planned colonization of Mars.

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An interesting op-ed piece by the co-founder of a clinician collaboration platform says that architects ruined healthcare by emphasizing grand, soothing aesthetics for visitors while eliminating the conference rooms and lounges where clinicians can interact with each other. He also opines that the Disney-created concept of hiding the “messy parts” of running a hospital means that the healthcare professionals themselves are the messy parts. He concludes that hospital design is now obsessed with distracting people from thinking about their health rather than making them healthy.

More evidence that Americans are too science-challenged to form rational healthcare opinions: people are OK with the widespread rollout of untested medical treatments, but object to randomized trials in which two equally acceptable treatments are applied to separate groups to determine which is better. Experts can’t explain the results, but think people might worry that consent is required from those who don’t get a particular treatment or that such tests should be unnecessary because experts should already know what works.

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A third-year UTHealth medical school student who has undergone six brain surgeries, survived on artificial nutrition due to gastroparesis, and had a stroke that left her temporarily paralyzed from the waist down says the experience (along with deficits in her hand function from the stroke) has motivated her to consider a career in physical medicine and rehabilitation and neurology.


Sponsor Updates

  • Meditech; NextGate; Clinical Computer Systems, developer of the Obix perinatal data system; CereCore; CloudWave; Experian Health; PatientKeeper will exhibit at the 2019 MUSE Inspire Conference May 28-31 in Nashville.
  • Waystar will exhibit at the EClinicalWorks Education Expo May 27-31 in Boston.
  • The Chartis Group publishes a white paper titled “Bridging the Digital Divide in the Healthcare C-Suite: Positioning IT for Success in the New Health Economy.”
  • OmniSys and Surescripts will exhibit at the PioneerRx Connect 2019 May 31-June 2 in Orlando.
  • Relatient welcomes its 100th employee.
  • Sansoro Health releases a new 4×4 Health Podcast, “Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs and Investors.”
  • The SSI Group will exhibit at the South Carolina HFMA Annual Institute May 28-31 in Myrtle Beach, SC.
  • PatientKeeper will demonstrate its EHR optimization solutions this week at E-Health in Toronto and MUSE Inspire in Nashville.
  • Community First Health Plans goes live with ZeOmega’s Jiva LTSS for long-term care.

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News 5/24/19

May 23, 2019 News 18 Comments

Top News

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California-based drone-delivery company Zipline announces $190 million in funding and plans to expand its healthcare-focused service to the US, starting in North Carolina.

Founded in 2011, the company initially focused on delivering vaccines, blood products, and medications to remote clinics in Rwanda and Ghana. CEO Keller Rinaudo says Zipline is now ready to provide similar services to remote areas in the US: “People think what we do is solving a developing economies problem. But critical-access hospitals are closing at an alarming rate in the US, too, especially if you live in the rural US.”


Webinars

May 30 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “ONC Data Blocking Proposed Rule: What Health Systems Need to Know.” Sponsor: Philips PHM. Presenter: Greg Fulton, industry and public policy lead, Philips. Proposed data-blocking regulations could specify fines, disincentives, and de-certification of providers who don’t provide an API for patients to extract all of their data. This webinar will describe who is deploying APIs, the scope of data and third-party apps that can be used, the seven costs that do not count as a data-blocking exception, and the health system protections that don’t involve using a vendor. It will also provide examples of data blocking and further exceptions.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Helix lays off employees and closes two of its four offices after announcing earlier this month that it will pivot from direct-to-consumer DNA testing to a provider-focused population health management business. The company has raised $300 million over the last four years. Its most high-profile contract seems to have been with organizers of the Healthy Nevada Project, which had promised last spring to hand out Helix testing kits to 40,000 of its public health data project participants.

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Global imaging and IT company Agfa considers selling off the health IT and integrated care parts of its European healthcare business, the most high-profile part of which is its Orbis EHR. Analysts believe potential acquirers could include Cerner, Philips, or CompuGroup Medical, which made a purchase offer in 2016.


People

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Diabetes management software vendor Glooko names Mark Clements, MD (Children’s Mercy Kansas City) CMO.

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Russell Siebert (ZirMed) joins analytics company VisiQuate as EVP of growth.

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MDLive appoints Kristen Lalowski (N-of-One) chief product officer.

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MD Anderson Cancer Center (TX) hires David Jaffray (University Health Network/Princess Margaret Cancer Centre) as its first chief technology and digital officer.

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Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD returns to venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates as a special partner on its healthcare investment team.

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Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD receives the inaugural Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare from the Vilcek Foundation and The Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The pediatrician discovered Flint, Michigan’s lead poisoning crisis by analyzing patient data in Hurley Medical Center’s Epic system. She has donated the $10,000 prize to the Flint Kids Fund.

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Provation names Rick Jennings (Teammate) CTO and Erin Surprise (Hoonuit) SVP of professional services. Wolters Kluwer Health sold Provation to Clearlake Capital last year for $180 million.


Sales

  • Consulate Health Care (FL) will leverage Collective Medical’s network for better insight into senior care transitions.

Announcements and Implementations

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Innovaccer announces GA of patient outreach management software.

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Reports surface that Amazon is developing a voice-activated wearable capable of detecting emotion that may also offer users advice on how to interact with others.


Government and Politics

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Travis Air Force Base’s David Grant USAF Medical Center (CA) will go live on MHS Genesis, the DoD’s new Cerner-based system, in September. Other facilities in the initial wave of implementations will include Naval Air Station Lemoore and US Army Health Clinic Presidio of Monterey in California, and Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho.


Privacy and Security

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Indiana-based Medical Informatics Engineering will pay OCR $100,000 to settle HIPAA violations stemming from a 2015 data breach that impacted nearly 4 million patients. OCR’s investigation determined that the EHR vendor hadn’t performed a thorough risk analysis before hackers broke into the system using a compromised user ID and password. Other sources have said the company ignored the recommendations of a cybersecurity firm hired at the beginning of 2015, which included strengthening weak login credentials created so that end users didn’t need individual user names and passwords. The company was named in a multi-state December 2018 lawsuit brought by 12 attorney generals over its lack of health data protection.


Other

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Burnout exists in the IT trenches, too, according to a local Madison, WI news outlet. It dedicates a good chunk of copy to the complaints of former Epic employees who have moved on to greener, less grueling pastures. Rachel Neill, CEO of health IT staffing company Carex Consulting, says Epic experiences a 20-30% churn in employees each year, with the majority of replacements coming straight out of college. “They’re looking for someone who can keep on going, going, going until they can’t any more,” she adds. Epic disputes that claim, saying that its actual voluntary turnover is about 10% per year, which is below average for companies in health IT specifically and in the Midwest in general, and that employees work about the same hours per week as salaried US employees overall. Epic Director of Human Resources Allison Stroud believes that most employees feel “happy and challenged, which ends up being one of the best ways to prevent burnout.”


Sponsor Updates

  • Elsevier Clinical Solutions, FormFast, Imprivata, and Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at the 2019 MUSE Inspire Conference May 28-29 in Nashville.
  • EPSi shares the updated features of its EPSi 19.1 financial decision support and budgeting software.
  • Hayes Management Consulting hires Yara Hentz (Monster) as client success manager.
  • Goliath Technologies releases an updated version of its Performance Monitor software.
  • Kyruus will host the Sixth Annual Thought Leadership on Access Symposium (ATLAS) September 23-24 in Boston featuring a keynote by Toby Cosgrove, MD.
  • Matter will feature Intelligent Medical Objects co-founder Frank Naeymi-Rad at a networking event on May 29 in Chicago.
  • HBI Solutions joins the Iatric Systems AI Solutions Center.
  • NextGate responds to requests for information by CMS and ONC on strategies to improve patient matching, underscoring the importance of standards, proven technology, and data governance.
  • Glytec receives patent allowances from regulatory bodies in Australia, Japan, and Israel related to systems and methods for insulin titration and glycemic management.

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News 5/22/19

May 21, 2019 News 8 Comments

Top News

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ONC finds that interoperability among office-based physicians didn’t improve a bit from 2015 to 2017 even though more doctors used information from outside sources. The percentage who sent, received, and integrated the information didn’t change and only 10% of doctors participated in all four domains.

Only 30% of doctors received an electronic summary of care record, 20% were sent ED notifications, and hospitals provided electronic patient discharge summaries to just 25% of PCPs.

Here’s a tip for ONC. Just about every hospital uses Cerner, Epic, or Meditech. The fact that some hospitals are able to do the right thing using those systems means the challenge is not a vendor or technology problem – it’s that some providers just don’t want to do it, no matter how much their patients might benefit. Think about this when you anoint these foot-dragging health systems as the official steward of everybody’s overall health. The jammed interoperability floodgates would magically open by Labor Day if their payments depended on it.

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In an accompanying report, ONC also finds that only about half of people were offered access to their online medical record in 2018, unchanged from 2017. About 60% of those looked at their information at least once. Most people said they have no need to view their online record.


Reader Comments

From AC: “Re: EHR internal timers and event log monitoring. Epic measures this. Customers should make sure they are getting an Executive Packet (Physician Well-Being section) and request access to Epic Signal. You should see if you can get Epic to interview with you on this topic or to share an overview. It might benefit their customers since not all of them take advantage of the tools available or even know about them.” I would like to hear more if someone from Epic or a client site is willing to share details. The study I cited suggests that tools like this can highlight EHR areas that could be streamlined and to quantitatively measure the impact of making system changes. It would also be interesting for an EHR vendor or its clients to compare the time and clicks required for specific functions across multiple health systems to identify best practices.

From Jack Ripa: “Re: HIMSS. Says investors are attending its conferences to follow trends.” MobiHealthNews (which is owned by HIMSS) runs a commercial from HIMSS TV (which is owned by HIMSS) that was recorded at HIMSS19 (which is owned by HIMSS) that says investors are finding value in attending conferences (that are owned by HIMSS). You, too have been (owned by HIMSS). Investors are there, of course, but I would assume everybody already knows that. Pro tip: despite appearances, the people wearing snappy suits are lightweights – the folks with real money (to whom the nattily attired genuflect) show up wearing clothes that are more commonly seen on golf courses and Applebee’s happy hour because they don’t need to impress anyone.

From Interview Analyzer: “Re: interviews. CEOs on occasion seem to get fresh ideas from your questions that I wonder, do they follow up with you afterward to pick your brain?” I’m pretty sure that my questions, while sometimes refreshingly off the wall or embarrassingly uninformed, have minimal business utility to someone who lives and breathes their particular niche. I attribute what you’ve read to: (a) interviewees who are being nice because they are HIStalk fans or who aren’t but hope to score flattery points; or (b) the interviewee being surprised at hearing thoughts from someone who lacks a verbal filter and who understands the race but has no horse in it. Neither party would have reason to continue the conversation offline and indeed that has never happened.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Readers recommended several folks for me to interview and that’s been fun. Let me know if you have suggestions of others who are interesting, doing good work, and confident enough to speak boldly about their area of interest.


Webinars

May 30 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “ONC Data Blocking Proposed Rule: What Health Systems Need to Know.” Sponsor: Philips PHM. Presenter: Greg Fulton, industry and public policy lead, Philips. Proposed data-blocking regulations could specify fines, disincentives, and de-certification of providers who don’t provide an API for patients to extract all of their data. This webinar will describe who is deploying APIs, the scope of data and third-party apps that can be used, the seven costs that do not count as a data-blocking exception, and the health system protections that don’t involve using a vendor. It will also provide examples of data blocking and further exceptions.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Private equity firm TPG sells its chain of cancer hospitals in India to oncology device and software vendor Varian Medical Systems for $283 million, proving that healthcare as a profit-driven industry isn’t just an American concept.

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Inova Personalized Health Accelerator invests an unspecified amount in Ireland-based Deciphex, which develops AI-powered digital pathology triaging applications such as Patholytix Preclinical.

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A Signify Research report finds that the EHR market in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) is highly fragmented, with Cerner being the only vendor that holds a double-digit percentage of the region’s estimated $3.7 billion in annual spending.

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Google parent Alphabet’s Verily signs deals with several drug companies to display study recruitment ads to people who search for certain symptoms. Verily’s Project Baseline, launched in 2017, invites people to sign up (it’s a 12-minute online process) to contribute their research data, participate in surveys and focus groups, and test new technologies in working with partners Stanford Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, and the American Heart Association.

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PatientsLikeMe founder Jamie Heywood expresses frustration that the federal government’s Committee on Foreign Investment is forcing the company to sell itself because its key investor is China-based genomics company ICarbonX. PatientsLikeMe is expanding beyond offering people a platform for discussing their conditions and symptoms with others with the same condition, now collecting their blood samples for AI analysis to understood more about human disease. Heywood says the government was concerned about exposing de-identified patient data to Chinese investors and insisted that the company prove that its work presented no national security risks.


Sales

  • Camden Coalition of Healthcare Partners chooses ACT.md’s social determinants of health collaboration system, which will support its care model identifying high-utilization patients and visiting their homes to help with medications, transportation, and connecting with social services.
  • In England, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will implement Allscripts Sunrise.
  • Baystate Health (MA) selects Artifact Health’s mobile physician query platform to give physicians a faster way to review records in its clinical documentation improvement program.
  • Central Ohio Primary Care will use Updox for document management and communications services.

People

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Greg Miller (Health Catalyst) joins TransformativeMed as chief growth officer.

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Hackensack Meridian Health hires Pam Landis (Atrium Health) as VP of strategic digital programs.


Announcements and Implementations

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Google releases an updated enterprise edition of its much-maligned Glass, promoting the product from its Google X skunkworks division to mainstream Google. The $999 Glass won’t be sold directly to consumers – its audience is companies that want to sell their productivity-enhancing industrial software. The new version has a beefed-up processor and runs on Android with easier API integration. Google’s blog post says that Sutter Health is a development partner, which probably relates to its use of (and investment in) the Augmedix remote scribe service.

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A new KLAS report on practice management systems for practices of 11 or more doctors finds considerable variation in performance even those systems have been around forever. Epic continues to lead in satisfaction by far as customers report lower A/R days and better cash flow, while NextGen Healthcare is steadily improving. Practices of 76+ doctors report growing dissatisfaction with Cerner, mostly due to the product itself, and only 40% of them expect to see improvement in the next year. Satisfaction with Athenahealth has also declined significantly as customers say the company’s changing culture has impacted product support. They also express uncertainty about the company’s merger with Virence Health. Greenway Health performed well in mid-sized practices and is improving.


Government and Politics

The TL;DR version of why Missouri is the only state that can’t figure out how to launch a prescription drug monitoring database: (a) politics; (b) a family doctor-state senator who keeps squashing legislative efforts over privacy concerns that he somehow links to federal meddling in gun ownership; and (c) proposed bills that would have made physician use of the system mandatory.


Other

A Harvard Business Review article describes how New York City Health + Hospitals uses data science to identify homeless patients and match them to community services. They look for patient records that contain:

  • A home address of a homeless shelter or hospital
  • The words “homeless” or “shelter” in the home address
  • 10 or more ZIP code changes in one year
  • Registration-collected “homeless” flags from those few facilities that record it
  • ICD-10 codes for homelessness in the problem list, diagnostic assessment, or billing record

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I’m a big fan of giving patients a way to communicate their self-assessed health status to clinicians via an electronic form. Patient-reported outcomes for early chemotherapy side effect detection is one example, where patients report how they’re feeling or problems they are having that can then trigger EHR alerts for quick follow-up. An oncology researcher found that cancer patients who were provided that method of feedback lived an average of five months longer than those who weren’t, which doesn’t sound all that impressive until you remember that chemo drugs that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars often can’t deliver even that modest life extension. This concept should be applied to routine encounters – why must doctors swoop into the exam room and immediately start reading an electronic or paper form for the first time to see why you are there and then ask you all over again, wasting a couple of the few minutes patients get? I can’t figure out why the SF-36 form with additional specific data collection isn’t used widely, other than (a) clinicians aren’t paid to review it; (b) providers aren’t really interested in a patient deep dive as much as cranking out billable work; and (c) providers are afraid of being sued for missing something that turned out to be important. I have never personally seen this form, or anything like it, used out there in the Wild West of healthcare’s front lines, suggesting that my providers don’t really want to open up a can of medical worms by asking how I’m doing overall except as the rhetorical question part of exam room small talk.

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Analysis by US News & World Report finds that Washington, New Hampshire, and Minnesota are the best states overall when taking into account everything from healthcare to the economy. Dead last at #50 is Louisiana, which beat out fellow cellar-dwellers Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia, and New Mexico. The public health implications are significant given the key role of states in driving public health, setting spending levels on social services, and creating and enforcing healthcare-related laws. You might also assume that telemedicine could be important if skilled clinicians agree with the conclusions and elect to live elsewhere.

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I missed this story that illustrates how healthcare price competition should work if you buy the idea that care is a commodity. SSM Health will charge just a flat $25 for a questionnaire-based, call-back virtual physician visit. It appears to be a white-labeled service from Zipnosis. I wondered where the country would get enough pharmacists when chain drug stores were popping up on every corner, so with that fear proven to be unfounded, I can now wonder whether we have enough doctors to staff telemedicine services. Probably so given puzzlingly modest adoption, although being a telemedicine doctor must be like working as an Uber driver except the money is good, you can work from home in your pajamas, and your car stays clean (note to self: patent the idea of telemedicine surge pricing). It sounds potentially dehumanizing as a doctor, however, since the only important outcomes involve volume, patient satisfaction, and not getting sued since the patients have low-acuity needs that are being addressed episodically. Maybe it will devolve into those 1980s 1-900 telephone services for sex and psychics, although the objective there was to keep callers on the line with the meter running (there’s another note to self in maximizing profit from chatty patients). 

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An interesting study finds that the overconfidence of wealthy people makes everybody think they are more competent than they really are, proving that “fake it until you make it” and some level of snobbishness works, especially in one-off situations such as job interviews. I’ll add an unresearched postulate – executives often think they are smarter and more insightful than everyone else just because someone put them in charge, causing them to overvalue lone-wolf instinct instead of underling-assembled facts and analysis (I wrote about this way back in 2006 in describing what I called “Man of Action Syndrome.”)


Sponsor Updates

  • Dimensional Insight will exhibit at the 2019 MUSE Inspire Conference May 28-31 in Nashville.
  • Bluetree will exhibit at the HIMSS Southern California 2019 Annual Healthcare IT Conference May 23 in Los Angeles.
  • CarePort Health will exhibit at ACMA Northern California May 28-29 in Napa.
  • The Chartis Group publishes a paper titled “EHR Benefits: Unlocking the Secrets of Successful Organizations.”
  • Authority Magazine profiles Collective Medical CEO Chris Klomp.
  • CoverMyMeds will exhibit at the 2019 CMSC Annual Meeting May 28-June 1 in Seattle.
  • Hunt Scanlon highlights Direct Recruiters’ integration with sister company Direct Consulting Associates.

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Reader Comments

  • Responding for a friend: Mr. H is correct regarding the Change Healthcare IPO. They went through 3 RIFs in FY19 alone. One was a complete take do...
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