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News 7/25/18

July 24, 2018 News 7 Comments

Top News

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The Department of Defense will increase its EHR contract ceiling by $1.1 billion in expanding MHS Genesis to cover implementation of Cerner by the Coast Guard. The extra cost will also cover items included in the VA’s contract that were not present in the DoD’s agreement, according to Defense Healthcare Management Systems Program Executive Officer Stacy Cummings.

Cummings added, “A standard electronic health record baseline for the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and US Coast Guard will enable more efficient, highly reliable, safe, and quality care.”

The DoD’s original contract ceiling with lead contractor Leidos was valued at $4.3 billion and a total of $9 billion if all options were exercised.

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The Coast Guard gave up on its attempt to implement Epic in 2015 after running $46 million over budget with no sites live. A GAO investigation blamed poor project management, insufficient governance, inadequate project documentation, lack of testing, and internal staff turnover. The Coast Guard began searching for an alternative to Epic in February 2016, reverting to paper and, according to the GAO, endangering members with convoluted processes.

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Cummings said the Pentagon will publish a second evaluation report by the end of the year, following a scathing internal review from May that concluded that MHS Genesis “is neither operationally effective or operationally suitable” and not capable of managing care delivery.

The DoD also announced that the next four MHS Genesis rollout locations will be Naval Air Station Lemoore, Travis Air Force Base, US Army Health Clinic Presidio of Monterey, and Mountain Home Air Force Base.


Reader Comments

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From FlyOnTheWall: “Re: Allscripts. The company’s investor page proudly boasts in a press release from last year that Rothman Ortho selected Allscripts PM to replace its ‘legacy system.’ Was not that system Allscripts Vision? Nice to see Allscripts getting into the rip-and-replace frenzy of Allscripts solutions, even though they did an RnR of one of their own products.” Unverified, but I believe Rothman was using the old Vision product of Medic / Misys, acquired by Allscripts in 2008. If that’s indeed the case, then I would categorize the announcement as misleading since it’s just swapping one Allscripts product for another, not a brag-worthy displacement of a competitor’s system.


Webinars

July 26 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “The Patient’s Power in Improving Health and Care.” Sponsor: Health Catalyst. Presenter: Maureen Bisognano, president emerita and senior fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Patients, even those with chronic diseases, only spend a few hours each year with a doctor or a nurse, while they spend thousands of hours making personal choices around eating, exercise, and other activities that impact their health. How can we get patients to be more engaged in their care, and help physicians, nurses, and healthcare providers transition from a paradigm of “what’s the matter” to “what matters to you?” This webinar will present stories of patients and healthcare organizations that are partnering together with tools, processes, data, and systems of accountability to move from dis-ease to health-ease.

July 31 (Tuesday) 12:30 ET. “How to Proactively Troubleshoot End User Experience Issues in Healthcare IT.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. Presenter: Goliath Technologies engineering staff. An early warning system for EHR access problems helps prevent downtime and user access problems before they impacts patients and collects objective technical evidence of the issue’s root cause. This webinar will describe how hospitals protect their investment in Allscripts, Cerner, Epic, and Meditech EHRs by anticipating, troubleshooting, and preventing end user experience issues and collecting the technical data needed to collaborate with their vendors on a solution.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Identity and access management technology vendor Identity Automation acquires HealthCast, which offers single sign-on and virtual desktop systems for healthcare.

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Former employees of the shuttered CareSync describe the company’s final days to the Hardee County (FL) Board of County Commissioners, saying they were pressured to keep patients of its chronic care management business on the telephone line for at least 20 minutes to qualify them for their monthly Medicare billing. CareSync co-founder and State Rep. Jamie Grant — who served as senior solutions architect and was cleared of ethics violations after charges that he funded the company’s startup by misusing Hardee County development grants – says he hasn’t ruled out suing unnamed parties. Co-founder Travis Bond, who employees said was removed by the board because of poor financial management, says he does not plan to pursue litigation.

Cerner has added half of the 600 Kansas City-based employees it needs for an expansion of its RevWorks and ITWorks outsourcing businesses.

University of Minnesota hopes to license an algorithm created by its medical school researchers that predicts a patient’s one-year mortality risk using EHR data.


People

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DirectTrust hires Scott Stuewe (DataFile Technologies) as president and CEO. He worked for Cerner for 20 years through December 2016.

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Methodist Health System (NE) promotes Kent Sona to VP/CIO.


Announcements and Implementations

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A Reaction Data survey of 250 physicians finds that EHRs, regulatory compliance, and internal bureaucracy contribute most to their burnout, with patients named as the problem only 2 percent of the time. The top wished-for EHR improvements are improved user friendliness, additional dictation or scribe capabilities, and reduced time required.

A Black Book survey finds that two-thirds of hospitals are reconsidering whether the ED information system supplied by their EHR vendor can handle efficient ED workflows and meet consumer expectations, with outsourced ED doctors being the least satisfied due to EHR training gaps, excessive clicking, and difficulty in obtaining outside patient data. ED doctors who were forced to move from a best-of-breed EDIS to an EHR’s ED module say their new system hurts their productivity (90 percent), impedes patient workflows (75 percent), and contributes to medical staff burnout (90 percent). CIOs are mostly at odds with those beliefs, favoring a single source EHR solution. The top-rated best-of-breed EDIS vendor is T-System, followed by Optum Picis and Wellsoft. Cerner, Meditech, and Allscripts were also highly rated by users. The most-desired features of both types of EDIS in order are better mobile deployment, interoperability, and patient satisfaction tools.


Government and Politics

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The Senate confirms Robert Wilkie as VA secretary in a 86-9 vote.

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The National Institutes of Health launches its Google Cloud-powered STRIDES Initiative to allow researchers to analyze large biomedical data sets. Meanwhile, a Google Cloud blog post says that former Cleveland Clinic President and CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD has signed on as an advisor.


Privacy and Security

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A Kaiser Health News report recommends that consumers pay cash for alcohol and cigarettes while bragging about gym memberships on social media since insurers and other groups are using personal information from credit cards and other sources to create individual profiles that are then sold to companies. Buyers include drug manufacturers – which might want to buy a list of men over 50 who are experiencing erectile dysfunction – and insurers that may use the profile to predict lifespan or medication adherence. Even employers can use the information to check for a job candidate’s potential work-affecting and expensive chronic illnesses before hiring them. The article quotes Harvard fellow Adam Tanner, who wrote “Our Bodies, Our Date: How Companies Make Billions Selling Our Medical Records.”


Other

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A small JAMA-published study finds that back-end speech recognition (specifically Nuance’s former EScription product) has a 7 percent error rate when creating dictated notes (operative notes, office notes, and discharge summaries), with some of those errors such as “grown mass” instead of “groin mass” remaining on the chart for weeks or sometimes indefinitely as clinicians either don’t review them promptly or sign them without double checking. The authors recommend that speech recognition errors be submitted for calculating error rates and for creating automated error detection systems.

Banner Health posts a job for CEO of its Tucson campuses just after its corporate VP/CIO announced plans to leave and the local paper published documents from a state investigation into problems with patient care, provider satisfaction, and billing from its Epic-to-Cerner conversion at the former University of Arizona Health Network hospitals in Tucson.

Google’s Nest home automation division is approaching eldercare facilities to use its products for monitoring the wellbeing of residents.

A Stanford University scientist invents a patch that measures cortisol in sweat to detect disease, measure stress, and evaluate sports performance.

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Columbia University’s new Center for Precision Dental Medicine offers RFID tracking of patients and equipment, biofeedback-measured stress levels for quantifying pain, video recording of procedures, and all-digital dental chairs whose six instruments are RFID-enabled for tracking usage and sterilization. They hope to use the resulting data not only to make patients more comfortable, but to analyze provider technique to identify best practices. They also hope to to integrate their systems with EHRs to remove the silos between professions.


Sponsor Updates

  • Ellkay will exhibit at AACC’s Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo next week in Chicago.
  • Iatric Systems will exhibit at the SHIEC Annual Conference August 19-22.
  • In Ohio, the MetroHealth System and Medical Mutual become the first provider and payer organizations to digitally exchange data and documents with Hyland’s OnBase Mackinac solution.
  • AdvancedMD publishes a new eGuide, “Best Practices to Improve Patient Payments.”
  • Nordic posts a podcast titled “Developing a strategy for your Epic Community Connect program.”
  • Audacious Inquiry names Roxanne Johanning health IT product manager.
  • Arcadia will host a career open house at its Pittsburgh office July 25.
  • CompuGroup Medical will exhibit at AACC July 29-August 2 in Chicago.
  • Divurgent publishes a new white paper, “Medjacking: A Life or Death Issue for Leaders in Connected Healthcare.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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Monday Morning Update 7/23/18

July 22, 2018 News 5 Comments

Top News

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In England, new Health Secretary Matt Hancock pledges his support for NHS modernization and announces $640 million in new technology funding. He touted virtual visits, barcode tracking, and electronic medication ordering.  


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Poll respondents say Epic has the best CEO. HISJunkie says Meditech hasn’t grown, Brent Shafer is too new to judge, and Allscripts is a mess. Tripp Tart voted for Judy Faulkner in admiring her for keeping the company free of shareholder influence. Former Community CIO votes for Howard Messing since he also kept Wall Street out of the picture and is creating company growth again, while Epic’s growth is mostly due to its hospital customers acquiring more facilities.

New poll to your right or here: would you be OK with insurance companies using your harvested social, financial, and lifestyle data to approve and price your medical coverage?


Webinars

July 26 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “The Patient’s Power in Improving Health and Care.” Sponsor: Health Catalyst. Presenter: Maureen Bisognano, president emerita and senior fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Patients, even those with chronic diseases, only spend a few hours each year with a doctor or a nurse, while they spend thousands of hours making personal choices around eating, exercise, and other activities that impact their health. How can we get patients to be more engaged in their care, and help physicians, nurses, and healthcare providers transition from a paradigm of “what’s the matter” to “what matters to you?” This webinar will present stories of patients and healthcare organizations that are partnering together with tools, processes, data, and systems of accountability to move from dis-ease to health-ease.

July 31 (Tuesday) 12:30 ET. “How to Proactively Troubleshoot End User Experience Issues in Healthcare IT.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. Presenter: Goliath Technologies engineering staff. An early warning system for EHR access problems helps prevent downtime and user access problems before they impacts patients and collects objective technical evidence of the issue’s root cause. This webinar will describe how hospitals protect their investment in Allscripts, Cerner, Epic, and Meditech EHRs by anticipating, troubleshooting, and preventing end user experience issues and collecting the technical data needed to collaborate with their vendors on a solution.

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


Decisions

  • Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital (MI) switched from Evident to iSolved HR and payroll software in June.
  • Divine Savior Healthcare (WI) will replace Evident with Athenahealth in fall 2018.
  • Crisp Regional Hospital (GA) will replace Meditech HR with Kronos in 2018.
  • North Country Hospital & Health Center (VT) replaced Allscripts Paragon with Athenahealth in April 2018.

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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Chronic Care Management, Inc. hires two former executives of its defunct competitor CareSync, Gurpreet Singh (CIO) and Marc Gauthier (head of enterprise business development).


Announcements and Implementations

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Publicly traded rural hospital operator LifePoint Health is considering selling itself to a private equity firm for up to $6 billion, with the report sending LifePoint’s shares up 40 percent. LifePoint Health also operates 15 hospitals in partnership with Duke University Health System under the Duke LifePoint Healthcare brand.


Privacy and Security

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LabCorp is close to fully restoring its systems after they went offline in a July 13 ransomware attack. The company’s security team detected the Remote Desktop Protocol attack and stopped it within 50 minutes, but by then, the SamSam ransomware had impacted 7,000 Windows-based systems and 1,900 servers. SamSam took Allscripts down earlier this year, reportedly also using RDP as its vector.

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Members of a private Facebook group for sexual assault survivors find themselves trolled by new users who threaten to post the intimate details they had shared under their real names. The group was apparently created by an anonymous administrator who either had duped the members or whose account was hacked. The report by “Wired” notes a Facebook flaw that allowed this to happen – groups can be created by “pages” that aren’t tied to an individual’s profile, the same way Russian propagandists used the platform before the 2016 elections to keep themselves anonymous. I was going to play around with some Facebook group stuff but decided instead to try Microsoft Teams now that the company is offering a free tier and no longer requires members to use Office 365.

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Singapore says hackers stole the information of one-fourth of its population, 1.5 million people, in an attack involving its SingHealth clinics. The hackers specifically targeted the information of the prime minister in the cyberattack that lasted from June 27, 2018 until it was discovered on July 4. They breached a specific PC and then elevated its account privileges to access the database.


Other

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Epic’s campus is free of cranes for the first time in two decades as the company’s frenetic construction projects wind down, having expanded the campus to handle employee headcount that tripled to 10,000. Epic says that it may another set of buildings next year.

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The local paper reports that Banner Health’s $45 million, October 2017 conversion to Cerner at its acquired Tucson academic medicine locations caused medical errors and staff frustration, although hospital officials said delays in patient registration, lab ordering, and medication ordering and delivery didn’t harm patients. The paper just received heavily redacted records of an Arizona Department of Health Services investigation. Banner says it made 100 improvements to Cerner this year, naming specifically changes in pharmacy processing, oncology administrative activities, and patient records access. The paper notes these items uncovered from various state investigation documents and meetings:

  • The Tucson locations had a smooth transition when they originally implemented Epic, but moving to Cerner “provided fraught for some patients and staff,” with significant problems due to poor implementation planning and training.
  • This was Banner’s first implementation in an academic medical center (the former University of Arizona Health Network) and its Cerner system couldn’t distinguish between a medical resident and an attending doctor.
  • A near-miss infant overdose happened because Cerner was set up to order per-kg weight-based doses, while Epic had been set up as per-gram ordering.
  • Banner’s CFO admitted to state officials last month that it underestimated Cerner’s data center and bandwidth requirements.
  • Banner’s CFO says both revenue and clinical productivity have yet to recover from the Epic-to-Cerner switch nine months ago. He replied to a Regents member who expressed concerns about Banner’s Tucson reputation, “You and me both.”
  • The article notes that Phoenix-based Mayo Clinic Arizona will replace Cerner with Epic on October 6.
  • In other Banner news from Tucson, the health system cancels its nurse Magnet status, where under University of Arizona Medical Center’s ownership in 2003, it became the first Magnet-designated hospital in Arizona. Banner will continue Magnet participation at its Phoenix campus.

AP Stylebook neatly summarizes how publications should use the results of political polls, offering rules that also apply to healthcare IT:

  • The existence of a poll isn’t in itself newsworthy.
  • The poll results should disclose who paid for it, and if the poll was commissioned by an organization that benefits from its results, it is not newsworthy.
  • Polls should include a description of their methodology and a list of the questions asked.
  • The polled group should be randomly selected to make sure that every member of that population has an equal chance of being selected. Online polls are valid only if participants are randomly recruited, while polls of website visitors, a company email list, or Twitter should be avoided.
  • The poll should state its margin of sampling error.
  • Reporting on results from a poll’s subgroup – such as people of a certain age or location – may be meaningless if the sample size is small.

An interesting study finds that telling students to “find your passion” for a career is bad advice since most passions are grown from experience, not discovered. The danger of the “do what you love” argument is that it encourages people to give up too easily and move on to something else if they don’t receive immediate gratification.

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This is where science and public health meet the reality of people who don’t value them or who think they are driven by conspiracies. The parents of 57,000 Texas public school students decline to have them vaccinated in the 2017-2018 school year for non-medical reasons. In a significant jump, some counties saw a 9 percent opt-out rate and nearly half of the parents of students at one Austin private school opted out of giving them vaccinations under the repeatedly scientifically disproven belief that vaccines cause autism and other diseases, with “vaccine choice” being viewed by some as resistance against overly intrusive government. Supporters of Texans for Vaccine Choice are mobilizing political activities, protesting with signs that say “The State Does Not Own My Children” and promoting “informed consent” in publishing anecdotal stories in which parents claim that the medical problems of their children were caused by vaccinations. Obviously their choice affects everyone as vaccines work for entire populations only when enough people receive them to create “herd immunity.”

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A CNBC report notes that a roadblock to digital health company success is that apps always end up recommending that users see their doctors, which people don’t like doing and often can’t afford. That leaves apps as “a funnel or a stopgap rather than a revolution.” A cardiology fellow and digital health founder says, “All the things done well by digital health — they’re simple, fun, visual, with great user experience — are still missing from most clinical visits, so it remains pretty unpleasant to be a patient. To me, this gap gets closed by bringing the clinical experience up to the same standards as our digital health solutions.” That is pretty brilliant insight – imagine frictionlessly summoning a ride on Uber and then having a 2004 Pontiac Aztek show up an hour late with the meter already at $40 and the lost driver refusing to use the GPS.

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Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter launch an open source Data Transfer Project that allows people to transfer their data from one online service to another (the technical overview is here). Healthcare wasn’t mentioned specifically, but it would be pretty cool if EHR vendors provided a similar capability in allowing patients who are seeing a new doctor to initiate their own transfer of data to the new doctor’s EHR, although questions would then arise about the lack of synchronization capability afterward.


Sponsor Updates

  • Elsevier will offer its StatDX radiology diagnostic decision support tool through MModal’s Fluency for Imaging.
  • Liaison Technologies partners with One Laptop Per Child.
  • Pivot Point Consulting names Matthew Curtain director of business development.
  • Sunquest will host its annual user group conference July 29-August 3 in Scottsdale, AZ.
  • Vocera will exhibit at LeadingAge Florida July 29 in Kissimmee, FL.
  • Mazars USA names Steven Herbst principal, health care consulting group.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 7/20/18

July 19, 2018 News 1 Comment

Top News

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A Deloitte physician survey finds that while both consumers and doctors recognize the benefits of virtual care, most consumers haven’t experienced a virtual visit and only 14 percent of doctors offer them.

The most commonly implemented virtual care technologies are email / patient portal consultations, physician-to-physician consultations, and virtual visits. Adoption was in the single digits for remote care management and coaching, remote patient monitoring at home or in other facilities, and integration of wearables.

The factors listed above do not include the big ones that doctors can’t control — reimbursement and licensing. You can bet that they would be quick to offer those services if adequately paid to do so or if per-visit fees were eliminated under value-based care payments and an in-person visit actually cost the practice money.


Reader Comments

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From DisCerner: “Re: Banner Health. CIO Ryan Smith has tendered his resignation and a posting is up for SVP/CIO on Banner’s site.” The job is posted here, although Ryan is still listed as CIO on the company’s executive page. His career was with Intermountain until he joined Banner in October 2013. He was paid $900K in the most recent year. The tax filings also indicate that Cerner was Banner’s third-highest paid independent contractor at $47 million. 

From Email Privilege: “Re: HIPAA. I was emailed a receipt after paying online that included my name, account number, date of birth, and telephone number. Should they not just have the account number and amount paid because of HIPAA?” All of those fields, as well as your email address itself, are elements of PHI. However, your use of the provider’s portal probably could be taken to indicate your consent for communicating by email (I bet that was listed in its terms of service). It’s also not illegal to send PHI by email – HHS’s only requirement is that the provider “apply reasonable safeguards,” of which encryption would be one even though the rule doesn’t specifically require it as far as I know.

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From Avuncular Robert: “Re: McKesson’s outpatient pharmacy point-of-sale system. It’s been down for over 24 hours and their service desk is blaming Amazon Web Services. It is a huge headache – we’ve had to go back to the old cash box process.” I reached out to McKesson, which provided this response:

We are aware of the situation that affected a subset of our customers and impacted their operations for the past 24 hours. Though point-of-sale services were impacted, the dispensing of medication was not affected. We have resolved the issue and have informed customers of next steps. As always, we appreciate our customers’ support and thank them for their patience and cooperation.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor EPSi. The Allscripts-owned, Chesterfield, MO-based company is the industry leader in health system integrated financial decision support, budgeting, and planning. More than 900 US hospitals — including nine of the top 10-rated hospitals, 128 IDNs, and 40 global academic facilities — rely on EPSi for data-driven insight into managing costs and improving their long-range financial performance, as well as addressing requirements created by value-based care, bundled payments, accountable care, and continuum of care. The company’s just-launched, cloud-based RealCost financial decision support and analytics system allows health systems to quickly gain deeper cost insights and empower informed decision-making. Check out case studies from Texas Children’s Hospital, University of Kentucky Healthcare, and UMC Health System. Thanks to EPSi for supporting HIStalk.


Webinars

July 26 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “The Patient’s Power in Improving Health and Care.” Sponsor: Health Catalyst. Presenter: Maureen Bisognano, president emerita and senior fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Patients, even those with chronic diseases, only spend a few hours each year with a doctor or a nurse, while they spend thousands of hours making personal choices around eating, exercise, and other activities that impact their health. How can we get patients to be more engaged in their care, and help physicians, nurses, and healthcare providers transition from a paradigm of “what’s the matter” to “what matters to you?” This webinar will present stories of patients and healthcare organizations that are partnering together with tools, processes, data, and systems of accountability to move from dis-ease to health-ease.

July 31 (Tuesday) 12:30 ET. “How to Proactively Troubleshoot End User Experience Issues in Healthcare IT.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. Presenter: Goliath Technologies engineering staff. An early warning system for EHR access problems helps prevent downtime and user access problems before they impacts patients and collects objective technical evidence of the issue’s root cause. This webinar will describe how hospitals protect their investment in Allscripts, Cerner, Epic, and Meditech EHRs by anticipating, troubleshooting, and preventing end user experience issues and collecting the technical data needed to collaborate with their vendors on a solution.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Stat reports that Atul Gawande, MD — head of the still-unnamed healthcare joint venture of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase — will embark on a cross-country listening tour to gauge the healthcare concerns of employees at the three companies. Those conversations will likely fuel the nonprofit’s business plan, which could include a digital primary care solution, according to Mount Sinai Health System Chief Population Health Officer Niyum Gandhi. “I wouldn’t put it past them to … test it on all their employees first before they go broadly to market. I mean, if anybody could do it, it would be them. But they’re going to have to do things that are at national scale, which there just aren’t quick wins on.”

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Tenet Healthcare considers selling its Conifer Health Solutions business to UnitedHealth Group in a deal that could be worth $2 billion. Tenet hired Goldman Sachs last December to help it divest Conifer as part of a $250 million cost-reduction initiative that it aims to wrap up by year’s end.

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Vyera Pharmaceuticals, known as Turing Pharmaceuticals under the infamous leadership of now-incarcerated pharma bro Martin Shkreli, reports Q1 losses of over $1 million thanks to declining sales of Daraprim, the drug Shkreli infamously raised the price of by over 5,000 percent when he acquired it in 2015. Vyera is considering changing its name to Phoenixus, no doubt in an effort to shed its former association with Shkreli and revitalize slumping sales.


Announcements and Implementations

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NYU Langone Health (NY) implements Omnicell’s automated medication management software and dispensing cabinets at its new inpatient hospital.

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Northwestern Memorial Healthcare (IL) selects HealthSource release-of-information technology from Ciox.

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AdvancedMD releases a redesigned version of its AdvancedInsight financial reporting suite for private medical practices.


People

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Adam Boehler, director of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation, takes on the additional HHS role of senior advisor for value-based transformation and innovation.


Sales

  • Methodist Hospital (KY) selects cloud-based backup and recovery software and services from CloudWave.

Other

A Health Catalyst survey on patient safety efforts across care settings finds that ineffective IT combined with a lack of real-time alerts is the biggest impediment to reducing medical errors. A lack of adequate staffing and budget is a close second.


Sponsor Updates

  • Formativ Health is recognized as the Gold Winner in the startup categories of both the CEO World Awards and the Globee Awards
  • RxBenefit Clarity, a prescribing decision support solution developed by CoverMyMeds and RelayHealth Pharmacy Solutions, will be adopted by a dozen health systems that use Epic, Allscripts, and other EHRs.
  • EClinicalWorks Director of Interoperability Strategy and Business Development Tushar Malhotra joins the CommonWell Health Alliance Board of Directors.
  • FormFast and Kyruus will exhibit at the AHA Leadership Summit July 26-28 in San Diego.
  • The Jacksonville Business Journal recognizes The HCI Group as one of the city’s fastest growing companies for the sixth year in a row.
  • Optimum Healthcare IT publishes an infographic ttitled “3 Keys to Change Success.”
  • Impact Advisors promotes April Smith to principal.
  • InterSystems will exhibit at the Defense HIT Symposium July 24-26 in Orlando.
  • CoverMyMeds announces that its RxBenefit Clarity prescribing decision support tool, developed with RelayHealth Pharmacy Solutions, will soon be used by 250,000 providers via new integrations with a dozen EHRs and Epic health systems.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 7/18/18

July 17, 2018 News 6 Comments

Top News

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LabCorp shuts down its entire computer network when it detects that a hacker has penetrated its systems and is trying to access patient records.

The company says via an SEC filing that test processing and customer access was limited over the weekend. It will take several days to bring all systems back online, the company says, causing delays in results reporting.

LabCorp hasn’t yet said whether PHI was compromised.

The company does not use Twitter or Facebook, but its LinkedIn profile and its website don’t mention the outage.


Reader Comments

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From Another Allscripts Casualty: “Re: Friday the 13th Allscripts layoff. Our VP used a lot of corporate jargon words like ‘synergy’ and ‘socialize the discussion’ to describe the streamlining process in which basically each manager had to remove one employee slot, even those with teams of just a handful of people. Team managers were notified only 30 minutes before the heads rolled. The cuts were not performance based, so producer worker bees were let go instead of middle layer fat. The McKesson EIS acquisition brought in a lot of overlapping people and I expect another round late this year or early next as more people are trained to be cross-functional. Allscripts is like the mythical Hydra – every time they lop off a head, another acquisition causes 10 more to pop up, and management is never lopping the right heads. I think some of the people at the top have a good idea of where they want to take the company, but the inertia of herding cats keeps them in the same rut.” Unverified. I’m not as confident that the company has a solid, rational strategy other than making undisciplined acquisitions that sometimes work out great (Netsmart, DbMotion) and sometimes just fizzle out quietly. That’s been the strategy all along, but other than a burst of investor enthusiasm that sent shares on a tear in 2000 (peaking then at more than six times today’s share price), it’s been a market-lagging stock that made headlines for mostly the wrong kind of reasons as it also came late to the post-MU EHR consolidation party by finally announcing that it would develop a new product, which is new territory for a company known for buying instead of building. Even with all that acquisition activity, Allscripts has a market cap of $2.2 billion, around 1/10 that of Cerner and one-third of Athenahealth’s market value. It has made some good deals, though – it paid just $185 million to buy the health IT business of a desperate and perpetually HIT-clueless McKesson, then sold off just the content management part to Hyland for up to $235 million.

From Fact Checquer: “Re: Allscripts. You mentioned the new EHR product Avenel. I find no mention of it on the company’s site.” It’s not listed on the physician EHR page with TouchWorks or Professional, but I found by Googling that it has its own site that says “machine learning” a lot and offers only a “contact us for more information” form. 

From Bjorn To Be Wild: “Re: HIStalk theme music. I don’t know when you added it, but I love it. It improved an already wonderful daily morning reading and coffee experience.” I put up the prog rock “HIStalk Theme” a few weeks ago. That musical style isn’t to everyone’s taste, so I’m considering commissioning a light jazz sort of tune for a more mellow experience. It’s surprisingly inexpensive (in the $100 range) to have custom music created to spec.

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From RN Data Maven: “Re: National Guidelines clearinghouse shutdown. A tragic loss of a resource for practitioners to access evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Fear of evidence-based scientific research or short-sighted funding decisions?” AHRQ says it can’t come up with the $1.2 million to keep the site running and thus took it down this week, but the non-profit ECRI – who managed the site for AHRQ — will bring it back in the fall with enhancements as a fee-based service. Some speculate that the site was doomed once then-Congressman Tom Price, MD (who later became HHS Secretary for a few months) demanded that AHRQ remove a study that was critical of a drug sold by one of his campaign donors.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Lorre has a backlog of inquiries for my annual “summer doldrums special” on new sponsorships and webinars, but she would still be happy to chat.

I was thinking today that Karl Marx’s “opiate of the masses” is no longer religion – now it’s actually opiates.


Webinars

July 26 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “The Patient’s Power in Improving Health and Care.” Sponsor: Health Catalyst. Presenter: Maureen Bisognano, president emerita and senior fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Patients, even those with chronic diseases, only spend a few hours each year with a doctor or a nurse, while they spend thousands of hours making personal choices around eating, exercise, and other activities that impact their health. How can we get patients to be more engaged in their care, and help physicians, nurses, and healthcare providers transition from a paradigm of “what’s the matter” to “what matters to you?” This webinar will present stories of patients and healthcare organizations that are partnering together with tools, processes, data, and systems of accountability to move from dis-ease to health-ease.

July 31 (Tuesday) 12:30 ET. “How to Proactively Troubleshoot End User Experience Issues in Healthcare IT.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. Presenter: Goliath Technologies engineering staff. An early warning system for EHR access problems helps prevent downtime and user access problems before they impacts patients and collects objective technical evidence of the issue’s root cause. This webinar will describe how hospitals protect their investment in Allscripts, Cerner, Epic, and Meditech EHRs by anticipating, troubleshooting, and preventing end user experience issues and collecting the technical data needed to collaborate with their vendors on a solution.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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UnitedHealth Group reports Q2 results: revenue up 12 percent, EPS $2.98 vs. $2.32. The company’s UnitedHealthcare insurance business took in $46 billion as membership increased to 49 million people. Its Optum segment, which provides pharmacy benefits management and technology services, booked $1.8 billion in profit on $25 billion in revenue for the quarter. 

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Nashville-based post-acute care CRM software vendor PlayMaker CRM acquires post-acute market intelligence and analytics vendor ViaDirect Solutions and renames itself PlayMaker Health.


Sales

  • CoxHealth (MS) chooses Kyruus to provide a digital provider directory and patient-provider matching technology for its website and call center.
  • Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center selects Phoenix Health Systems for outsourced IT management and support.
  • Australia’s Canberra Hospital and University of Canberra Hospital will implement Alcidion’s Electric Patient Journey Board to reduce length of stay and improve patient flow from the ED.

Announcements and Implementations

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Health Catalyst launches a patient safety surveillance system and applies to become an AHRQ-certified Patient Safety Organization (PSO) that can offer clients a litigation-free environment for data analysis. The trigger-based system cost $50 million to develop. The company says EHRs offer limited surveillance capabilities and, unlike a PSO framework, are legally discoverable.

CompuGroup Medical launches its ELVI telehealth product.

Behavioral Health Network of Massachusetts goes live on ZeOmega’s Jiva population health management.


Government and Politics

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NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD pitches IRhythm’s Zio arrhythmia monitoring patch for detecting unknown atrial fibrillation, although noting that while the results may get patients to visit their doctor and begin anticoagulant therapy, its long-term benefit in reducing strokes, ER visits, and hospitalizations remain unproven. Collins concludes that the clinical trial was interesting because high-risk patients were recruited by email, had the patches mailed to them, then mailed them back at the end without having met a researcher face to face. Less exciting is the fact that we have yet another high-powered diagnostic tool to detect diseases that we as a country can’t afford to treat because we refuse to control healthcare costs — those newly ordered anticoagulants cost $15 per tablet, meaning someone will be paying $5,000 per year for the rest of each new patient’s life, although maybe that’s cheaper than treating the subset of them that would have otherwise had strokes.

FCC will propose in its August meeting to fund a $100 million “Connected Care Pilot Program” that would promote using telehealth among low-income families and veterans by providing affordable broadband service. Up to 20 providers that serve low-income populations would receive up to $5 million in funding in partnership with a broadband services provider.


Privacy and Security

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In Canada, home care provider CarePartners is hit by ransomware, with the hackers contacting CBC News with samples of the patient information they have stolen (the samples alone involve 80,000 patients).The cyberintruders, who say they found unpatched software that allowed them to penetrate the systems, are demanding unstated “compensation in exchange for telling them how to fix their security issues and for us to not leak data online.”

Change Healthcare introduces a kill switch for its HealthQX value-based care analytics suite that allows customers to instantly revoke access to their data as long as two of its authorized operators issue the command from separate locations as part of a “bring your own key” capability.


Other

A Quest Diagnostics survey finds that healthcare has made little progress toward value-based care since last year. More than half of health plan executives think physicians don’t have the tools they need to succeed under VBC arrangements, while 61 percent of doctors say their EHR doesn’t contain all the information they need to deliver patient care.

In Australia, 20,000 people opt out of sharing data with its My Health Record online system on the first day of the three-month opt-out period.

Western State Hospital (VA, rebranded from the more memorable Western State Lunatic Asylum) realizes that it hasn’t followed state laws allowing it to destroy the records of patients 10 years after their last date of service, forcing a three-year records review in which a single HIM employee examined 6,000 reels of microfilm dating back to the 1800s. And you thought your job was dull.

A New York Times report notes that rural hospitals are not only closing at alarming rates, they are eliminating OB services to the point that fewer than half of US rural counties still have hospitals that deliver babies. It notes that loss of OB services means that fewer women receive prenatal care due to the time and cost of traveling further, more of them deliver prematurely, infant mortality increases, and EDs deliver babies the best they can.

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This is important as the White House dismantles ACA protections that prohibit insurers (including those who sell through employers) from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions or charging sicker people higher premiums. A ProPublica report finds that insurers are buying the lifestyle information of hundreds of millions of Americans from data brokers that includes race, educational level, TV habits, clothing size, net worth, credit, and social media activity, all of which are run through algorithms that predict how much that person’s healthcare will cost. The article notes that while the information is ostensibly used to manage population health, it could also be applied to premium pricing formulas. Experts say that while insurers can’t blatantly discriminate (at least for now), they have cherry-picked the healthiest people by choosing their geographic coverage based on population data, or as one data salesperson said, “God forbid you live on the wrong street these days.” An excerpt:

[LexisNexis] said it uses 442 non-medical personal attributes to predict a person’s medical costs. Its cache includes more than 78 billion records from more than 10,000 public and proprietary sources, including people’s cell phone numbers, criminal records, bankruptcies, property records, neighborhood safety, and more. The information is used to predict patients’ health risks and costs in eight areas, including how often they are likely to visit emergency rooms, their total cost, their pharmacy costs, their motivation to stay healthy, and their stress levels. People who downsize their homes tend to have higher healthcare costs, the company says. As do those whose parents didn’t finish high school. Patients who own more valuable homes are less likely to land back in the hospital within 30 days of their discharge. The company says it has validated its scores against insurance claims and clinical data. But it won’t share its methods and hasn’t published the work in peer-reviewed journals.

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In New Zealand, an internal health board report finds that hospital generators failed to kick on after a power line was cut, with battery back-ups having just four minutes of power left when the power came back on. My experience with generators is not reassuring – even with regular testing and fuel monitoring, the switchover always seem to fail. What’s your experience?

In England, a nurse assistant is charged with fraud after submitting timesheets indicating that she had worked 242 shifts in 20 months instead of her actual 10, for which she was overpaid $66,000. She claimed that she thought she was entering the times she was available for work instead of logging her actual time. She had asked her manager to help her, which might have provided yet another clue to the manager that her entries were incorrect. The judge noted that the hospital makes such fraud easy.

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Bizarre: a hospitalized prisoner who eats metal objects such as catheter clamp, thumbtacks, and screws racks up $1 million in medical bills, then is admitted under 24-hour watch to Loyola Medical Center in a stay that has added $500,000 to his tab as taxpayer-funded hospitals try to keep him from being admitted to their facilities and the hospital presses the prison for payment. The prisoner is a 6-foot, seven-inch former basketball player who has previously threatened hospital employees. The sheriff bluntly but accurately explains:

We have a guy right now that has cost us — has cost all the people in this room — close to a million dollars in health bills because he constantly eats the jail. Across the country, the easy thing to do was cut mental health services, and they’ve done it. So people don’t get better. They don’t get treatment. They go to jails and prisons and emergency rooms.

Welcome to a country run by lawyers. In Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay Hotel’s corporate parent MGM Resorts International sues 1,000 concert-goers injured in the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting last year, hoping to force a decision that it can’t be held liable because it hired a security firm that was certified by the Department of Homeland Security for protecting against mass injury. A lawyer representing some of the victims says the company – which also owns the concert venue — is “judge shopping” in trying to push any case into federal instead of state court.


Sponsor Updates

  • PatientKeeper publishes an e-book titled “Attending to Physicians: Why Healthcare Must Focus on Improving Physician Experience” and a video titled “PatientKeeper Charge Rescue Service.”
  • Buffalo Business First profiles Hamish Stewart-Smith, CTG’s managing director of sales for its North American healthcare business unit.
  • Huntzinger Management Consulting Group earns high rankings in the KLAS HIT Assessment & Strategic Planning 2018 report.
  • FDB releases a new video to help people understand how its Opioid Risk Management Module supports safer opioid risk management and prescribing.
  • Divurgent publishes its “Windows 10 Upgrade Benchmark Report.”
  • Optimum Healthcare IT publishes a white paper titled “Change How You Approach Change in Healthcare.”
  • Dimensional Insight VP George Dealy earns CHIME’s CFCHE credential.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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Monday Morning Update 7/16/18

July 15, 2018 News 5 Comments

Top News

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CMS issues a massive draft set of rule changes that it says will reduce provider administrative burdens, encourage price transparency, revamp the longstanding E/M codes to a single code in which physician payment is driven by time spent or medical decision-making required, and paying for virtual visits (although at a very low rate).

CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in an announcement, “Today’s proposals deliver on the pledge to put patients over paperwork by enabling doctors to spend more time with their patients. Physicians tell us they continue to struggle with excessive regulatory requirements and unnecessary paperwork that steal time from patient care. This Administration has listened and is taking action. The proposed changes to the Physician Fee Schedule and Quality Payment Program address those problems head-on, by streamlining documentation requirements to focus on patient care and by modernizing payment policies so seniors and others covered by Medicare can take advantage of the latest technologies to get the quality care they need.”


Reader Comments

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From Another Allscripts Casualty: “Re: Allscripts layoffs Friday the 13th. Follows the voluntary early retirement program. I don’t know the numbers, but it definitely involved US-based support for ProEHR, ProAPM, and interfaces. Knowledgeable staff were released and offshore customer support will become even more prevalent.” Unverified, and I didn’t even bother asking because Allscripts always declines to comment on personnel issues. Another reader says he heard 70 folks were let go. I was thinking that as I write this, I don’t even have a good mental picture of what Allscripts has become – a distant fourth-place inpatient EHR vendor; seller of badly aging EHR/PM systems but with a newly developed product in the wings; acquirer of fire-saled unrelated products like Paragon, Practice Fusion, and NantHealth; or a pseudo HIT mutual fund trying to tap-dance investors into a buy-and-hold stupor by promising a better future involving genomics and population health? Even that master-of-none pandering to financial markets hasn’t worked out great – since Paul Black hired on in December 2012, MDRX shares are up just 13 percent vs. the Nasdaq’s 149 percent gain and Cerner’s 49 percent jump. Let’s hear from you, however – what has Allscripts done well and not so well and what would you do first thing if installed as King or Queen of Allscripts for a day?

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Speaking of Allscripts, I just noticed a subtle change in the company’s logo to make the L’s look like they’re rising and to darken the font. The change was made sometime in April or early May, according to cached copies of the page. Hopefully the rationale for the change made it worth what must have been a significant cost to swap it out everywhere. While I was looking over their site, I also noticed that seven of eight executives are male, as are nine of nine board members, which is high even in man-centric health IT.

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From Banty Rooster: “Re: KLAS’s EHR global market share report. Cerner signed the most contracts and more beds than InterSystems, yet KLAS positions ‘rapid growth’ for InterSystems while Cerner ‘lagged.’ The chart doesn’t seem to match the narrative.” I think KLAS struggled to characterize Cerner since it’s the only one of the top vendors that sells multiple systems that it targets to specific geographic regions, and half of its 2017 global contracts and a pretty big chunk of its new international bed count came from sales of its I.S.H. Med system instead of Millennium. I know basically nothing about I.S.H. Med other than Cerner inherited it with its acquisition of Siemens Health Services, which had bought the SAP-based system from Austria’s T-Systems (no relation to the US-based T-System as far as I know). KLAS’s summary from the full report: “Over the past five years, Millennium has not grown as quickly as its primary competitors. Cerner has slowed Millennium’s growth by limiting it to targeted markets, offering I.S.H Med in additional markets around the globe, and marketing their non-EMR platforms (like HealtheIntent). Those who do choose Millennium like its broad functionality and flexibility.”

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From Measly Metric: “Re: population health. The tools are promising, but where’s the process?” My take on population health is simple – one of the biggest threats to your health is getting pulled into the bosom of the US healthcare “system” and having your insurance milked and your body tinkered with, most often to your detriment even with good intention as uncoordinated experts blast their diagnostic and therapeutic guns in ready-fire-aim fashion. PHM sounds like a good idea as long as doctors get paid only if you stay well, but otherwise, many people would remain healthier by steering a wide path around financially motivated doctors and hospitals whose “health” expertise (versus “healthcare services sales”) is minimal. Whatever you do, try not to be admitted to a hospital, because the dangers there – both clinical and financial — are staggering. I’ve seen them firsthand as a member of various hospital committees that review the plethora of errors, lack of coordination, and outright bad decisions — the reality of regular medical mayhem versus the proudly displayed crystal awards in the tasteful lobby is jarring. Executives fresh off an admission to their own hospital – even in luxury suites with piles of extra attention – invariably marvel among peers at how lucky they were to escape without permanent harm.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Virtual visits haven’t kicked much of a dent in the health IT universe, with 83 percent of us never having participated in one (and I generously included “telephone” in the category). Judy says Doctor On Demand costs her just $5 on her employer’s plan and she has avoided at least three ED/urgent care visits as a result. Carla loved a Sunday afternoon session for an infection. Allen says his insurance covers only office visits, making me wonder why employers wouldn’t embrace them to keep employees productive instead of wasting half a day driving and waiting. Jim loves MD-Live for routine issues and care in rural areas, noting that he was able to choose a highly qualified doctor from a list instead of paying retail clinic prices that now cost about as much as a PCP visit but that mostly use NPs/PAs instead of doctors.

New poll to your right or here, which popped into my head while I was thinking about Allscripts: who is the best CEO among the largest inpatient EHR vendors? Vote and then click the poll’s “comments” link to explain what “best” means to you and why your choice qualifies.

Listening: Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett, an interesting combination of blandly delivered but smart, observational lyrics paired with her stripped-down guitar. Sample lyrics: “Tell me I’m exceptional and I promise to exploit you” and “I think you’re a joke, but I don’t find you very funny.” She’s one of those musicians whose modest singing and instrumental skills transform into something great just because it’s her words and her unpretentious, non-computer enhanced knack for saying what everybody feels. Music goes through predictable cycles where audiences finally rebel against corporately backed, wildly overproduced mindless mainstream pop, and when it happens again, Courtney will be ready.


Webinars

July 26 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “The Patient’s Power in Improving Health and Care.” Sponsor: Health Catalyst. Presenter: Maureen Bisognano, president emerita and senior fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Patients, even those with chronic diseases, only spend a few hours each year with a doctor or a nurse, while they spend thousands of hours making personal choices around eating, exercise, and other activities that impact their health. How can we get patients to be more engaged in their care, and help physicians, nurses, and healthcare providers transition from a paradigm of “what’s the matter” to “what matters to you?” This webinar will present stories of patients and healthcare organizations that are partnering together with tools, processes, data, and systems of accountability to move from dis-ease to health-ease.

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


People

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New Ascension-owned process automation vendor Agilify hires Doug Thompson (NextStep Solutions) as president.


Government and Politics

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The VA creates an Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization to oversee its Cerner implementation, to be headed by Genevieve Morris, who is on loan from ONC as principal deputy national coordinator.


Privacy and Security

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The email account of an employee of Billings Clinic (MT) is hacked while he or she is traveling overseas, exposing the information of 8,400 people who were mentioned in the employee’s emails and attachments.


Other

JAMIA President Doug Fridsma, MD, PhD says in a BMJ editorial that medical students should be taught health informatics. 

The New York Times looks at a town in Mexico whose ongoing water shortages encourage residents to drink cheap, readily available Coca-Cola, of which the locals consume an average of a half-gallon per day. Public health has suffered, with the diabetes mortality rate jumping 30 percent in three years. Residents complain that the local bottler pays little for the water it uses and that money goes directly to the federal government in a sweetheart deal. A local activist neatly summarizes Coke’s business model as, “Coca-Cola is abusive, manipulative. They take our pure water, they dye it, and they trick you on TV saying that it’s the spark of life. Then they take the money and go.”

As a regular Waze user, I’m happy to see that the Google-owned GPS app will give cities access to its massive amount of traffic and driving data to support real-time emergency notifications and long-term infrastructure planning.


Sponsor Updates

  • LogicStream Health releases a new podcast, “How data analytics, data democratization and clinical process improvement are helping to increase innovation and control costs in healthcare.”
  • Mobile Heartbeat adds Amplion’s Alert nurse call system to its MH-CURE clinical communications and collaboration smartphone app.
  • Santa Rosa Chief Strategy Officer William Leander shares his presentation from HFMA titled, “Seven Critical Aspects of a Successful BI & Analytics Program.”
  • Summit Healthcare raises $3,900 for A Gift for Teaching, this year’s Heart of MUSE Foundation recipient.
  • Surescripts releases a new video, “Technology: A Prescription for a 21st Century Health Crisis.”
  • Optimum Healthcare IT is named as one of Jacksonville, FL’s list of fastest-growing companies for the third consecutive year.
  • Mazars employees volunteer at local communication organizations across six states for the company’s fourth annual “Days of Service.”
  • ZappRx will exhibit at Integrate 2018 July 23-25 in Philadelphia.
  • ZeOmega releases a Jiva customer success video featuring MCG Health.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 7/13/18

July 12, 2018 News 3 Comments

Top News

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Facebook eliminates a privacy setting that allowed third parties to glean the names of users who participate in private, closed Facebook groups.

The company also shuts down the Grouply.io Chrome extension that was designed to allow marketers to harvest such information on a large scale.

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The latter problem was discovered by the moderator of a group for BRCA-positive women who worried that their potential breast cancer information could be shared with insurance companies, with the extension’s behavior documented and reported to Facebook by healthcare technologist Fred Trotter.


Reader Comments

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From Dockside: “Re: BJC HealthCare Information Services. Laid off 68 employees and 45 contractors Wednesday following the Epic rollout on June 2 at the remaining facilities. Health Information Partners (HIP), the internal group responsible for the Epic implementation (a joint venture with BJC and Washington University) did not seem to suffer any layoffs. We knew this would be coming at some point, but in our opinion it was handled very poorly. People were told individually and were given an hour to remove their personal items prior to being walked out. Those on PTO were given the news by telephone and told not to return to the office – their personal items were shipped to them. Those of us who were left finally received an email saying what was going on just after 4:00 pm Wednesday. Any semblance of the ‘family’ culture that originally came from the hospitals pre-merger has pretty much been wiped out and replaced with the typical cold corporate culture.” I reached out to June Fowler, BJC SVP of communications, marketing, and public affairs, who confirmed Wednesday’s elimination of about 10 percent of the health system’s IT workforce. She provides this statement:

Market forces are driving all healthcare organizations to deliver patient care services in new, more efficient, and more cost-effective ways. BJC’s positioning for sustained long-term success in response to these pressures will rely increasingly on information technology and IT expertise for innovative solutions. As a business enabler, IT must increase focus on strategic priorities and align work and resources in support of these priorities. Reprioritizing the work towards improved system stability, strengthening of information protection, and disciplined execution requires changes in the IT staffing structure. This realignment includes an adjustment of skills and capabilities required in IT and will eliminate some current positions. In some cases, new job roles and responsibilities will be created to enable improved capabilities and assure accountability for execution as well.

To adjust staffing levels to meet current priorities, we made the difficult decision to reduce the IT workforce effective July 11. The workforce reduction affects 68 employees and 45 IT contractors.

We recognize any action that results in job loss has a significant impact on employees and their families. There is a comprehensive compensation and outplacement support package in place to assist those who are directly affected by this necessary action. The BJC human resources team is working closely with these affected colleagues to support them through this transition. The reduction initiates action towards a major transformation of our delivery capabilities where IT will realign resources to deliver against BJC’s most strategic intents.

From Plebe: “Re: health IT influencer blogs. What do you think of this site’s list?” It’s not up to me to decide who influences whom, but I checked out the 32 sites and found that: (a) 13 are no longer online; (b) nine rarely post anything; and (c) the remaining 10 write something at least occasionally. I’m not getting into a quality debate on the content of those 10, but for most, their rather simplistic articles wouldn’t seem likely to influence anyone who themselves have actual influence.


Webinars

July 26 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “The Patient’s Power in Improving Health and Care.” Sponsor: Health Catalyst. Presenter: Maureen Bisognano, president Emerita and senior fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Patients, even those with chronic diseases, only spend a few hours each year with a doctor or a nurse, while they spend thousands of hours making personal choices around eating, exercise, and other activities that impact their health. How can we get patients to be more engaged in their care, and help physicians, nurses, and healthcare providers transition from a paradigm of “what’s the matter” to “what matters to you?” This webinar will present stories of patients and healthcare organizations that are partnering together with tools, processes, data, and systems of accountability to move from dis-ease to health-ease.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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On-demand birth control delivery startup Nurx raises $36 million in a funding round led by Kleiner Perkins. The San Francisco-based company, which has raisd $41 million since launching four years ago, also offers access to anti-HIV medication and plans to offer at-home HIV testing lab kits.

Alphabet’s Verily health business will partner with medical device company ResMed to apply sleep data to study the health and financial impacts of undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea. I’m not sure how that will work since ResMed mostly sells CPAP equipment that would be prescribed only after a positive diagnosis for sleep apnea.

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Analysts predict that health IT company Henry Schein will downsize after a regulatory filing hints at plans to increase efficiencies. The Melville, NY-based company spun off its animal health business in April and announced a joint dental software venture with Internet Brands last week.

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Epic Systems founder and CEO Judy Faulkner climbs three spots on the latest Forbes list of richest self-made women, proving that the “extreme fame leverage” of list cover girl Kylie Jenner (#27) isn’t necessary to achieve a net worth of $3.5 billion and the #3 ranking behind women involved in ABC Supply and Little Caesars (does anyone actually still buy awful Little Caesars pizza except as evening-out sustenance to be left for the kids and babysitter?)


People

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Eric Pupo (Accenture) joins Columbia University Irving Medical Center as CIO.

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Divurgent hires Sarah Sample-Reif (Modis) as VP of client services.


Sales

  • Hospital management company Candor Healthcare will implement MedSphere’s CareVue Cloud EHR at Rock Regional Hospital (KS) early next year as part of a facility-wide roll out that will include ChartLogic’s EHR and RCM software and services.
  • Benefis Health System (MT) selects patient self-scheduling and EHR integration software from MyHealthDirect.
  • Eagle Physicians & Associates (NC) opts for real-time patient care alerts from PatientPing.
  • MemorialCare Health System (CA) chooses RTLS-based patient workflow technology from Vizzia Technologies.

Announcements and Implementations

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Virginia Hospital Center goes live on Bernoulli Health’s clinical surveillance, analytics, and medical device integration software.

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CompuGroup Medical announces GA of Electronic Videoconsulting.

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PatientSafe Solutions develops an app for rounding and clinical communications.

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Allscripts, Athenahealth,  CareCloud, and DrChrono users can offer patients appointment scheduling through Alexa using Nimblr’s virtual assistant, Holly. Integration with Epic is scheduled for Q3.

CipherHealth introduces patient engagement technology for ACOs, including targeted outreach and care coordination tools.

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Healthcare Growth Partners publishes its always-brilliant midyear health IT market review. It notes:

  • Despite $29 billion in health IT investment since 2014, broad impact on care delivery, cost, and outcomes has been muted, but value is accruing.
  • Healthcare’s IT spending as a percentage of revenue is close to the average across all industries at 3.5 percent, but still runs about half of what banking and securities companies spend.
  • That healthcare IT spending, however, has been spent on infrastructure and by providers switching from one EHR or billing system to another, gaining little improvement in cost and quality.
  • M&A activity for smaller companies have three points at which value is assigned – proof-of-concept (the product can be sold and deployed commercially, with annual revenue less than $1 million); growth scalability (the company shows signs of profitability and growth scaling, with revenue $5-10 million), and mature scalability (the company takes on real infrastructure and begins to show strong profitability, with revenue $20 million and up).
  • HGP’s HIT Index gained 25.7 percent in 2017 and added another 21.6 percent in the first quarter of 2018.
  • Leading the Q1 HIT performance in share price change are Tabula Rasa Healthcare (up 128 percent), Connecture (up 116 percent), Evolent Health (up 71 percent), and Teladoc (up 67 percent). 
  • Bottom-performing in the Q1 HIT index are Inovalon Holdings (down 34 percent), Invitae (down 19 percent), Oneview Healthcare (down 19 percent), and Allscripts (down 18 percent).
  • Health IT IPOs have dried up completely, with zero in 2017 and so far in 2018.

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A new KLAS report on non-US EHR activity finds that Epic gained 16,000 beds in signing six contracts in 2017, more than doubling its small, non-domestic market share as concerns about high-profile problems at Cambridge’s implementation in the UK faded. InterSystems continued its rapid growth, especially in smaller, multi-hospital organizations, while Cerner’s growth was moderate and lagged its primary competitors. The early days of the UK’s Global Digital Exemplar program has seen only four new contracts signed, of which Epic earned two, System C one, and Allscripts one.

Virginia Hospital Center (VA) goes live on Bernoulli One for clinical surveillance, medical device integration, and real-time analytics.

Advisory Board’s annual survey of health system CEOs finds that their top concern is preparing for sustainable cost control and creatively reducing expenses, followed by finding diversified revenue streams. A fast-growing #5 was meeting rising consumer demands for service.


Government and Politics

The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs names to the subcommittee that will oversee the VA’s Cerner implementation Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN, chairman); Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA, ranking member); Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI);  Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO); and Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA).

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HHS awards Cue Health a $14 million contract to develop app-based flu-testing kits for the home and office that will include virtual consult and prescribing capabilities. The company announced a $45 million Series B funding round earlier this week. Diassess has been awarded a $10 million contract to develop a similar kit, though its focus will be on creating a disposable, battery-powered device for use during public health emergencies.


Privacy and Security

Public health officials in Nashville, TN discover that the PHI of thousands of HIV patients was accessible to all employees on a Metro Public Health server for almost nine months. The database, typically accessed by a small group of physicians, is used to track and help patients living with HIV.

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Children’s Mercy Hospital (MO) faces its fourth data breach-related lawsuit, this time pertaining to an email phishing scam discovered in January that potentially exposed the data of 63,000 individuals. Children’s Mercy faced another suit from the same firm over a 2017 breach involving the PHI exposure of 5,500 patients. Two additional lawsuits involved the theft of paper records from employee vehicles.

Fortified Health Security releases its mid-year cybersecurity report, noting that 28 percent of breaches so far this year involved an email attack.


Other

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The FDA issues recalls on 39,000 Medtronic implantable heart devices after the company alerts providers that the devices need software updates to avoid potentially adverse events.

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In England, the Royal College of Surgeons calls out the NHS after discovering the health service is still using 9,000 fax machines despite a nationwide push to convert to digital technologies. “NHS hospital trusts remain stubbornly attached to using archaic fax machines for a significant proportion of their communications,” says RCS chair Richard Kerr. “This is ludicrous. The NHS cannot continue to rely on a technology most other organisations scrapped in the early 2000s.”

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UC Health describes its central data repository for all six UC Health systems at its Data Day in San Diego, noting these points:

  • The scientific method of asking questions and then making observations is becoming obsolete as ample data already exists, with the bottleneck not being the gathering of information, but rather “asking the killer questions.”
  • UC Health’s tools include UC-Rex, a search engine for anonymized patient information, and Epic’s SlicerDicer, which creates patient cohorts from EHR data.
  • Studies now start with looking at what has happened to patients clinically, then getting IRB approval to dig deeper.
  • Information that is being added to the data warehouse includes patient satisfaction and survey results, hospital operations data, claims data, and eventually genomics data.
  • Data analysis includes looking at how physicians spend their time and looking for potential burnout risk factors.

CNBC reports that Amazon and Xealth, a digital prescribing and analytics startup, are in talks with several health systems to develop bundled medical product recommendation and delivery services for patients just before discharge.

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Weird News Andy is proud as a peacock that New Zealand scientists have performed the first 3-D, color X-ray on a human.


Sponsor Updates

  • CarePort Health extends its discharge planning and referral management software agreement with Jackson Health System (FL), and helps JHS integrate its software with the hospital’s Cerner EHR.
  • Elsevier Clinical Solutions will exhibit at the APC 2018 Annual Meeting July 15 in San Diego.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the 2018 FSASC Annual Conference July 18-20 in Orlando.
  • Optimum Healthcare IT publishes a video describing SkillMarket, software to manage EHR go-live resource evaluation, compliance, and scheduling.
  • Meditech publishes a case study titled “The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust Transforms Cancer Care.”
  • IMAT Solutions will exhibit at HealthImpact East July 18-20 in Washington, DC.
  • Butler Health System (PA) achieves 97-percent patient-matching accuracy using solutions from LexisNexis Risk Solutions and Occam Technologies.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 7/11/18

July 10, 2018 News 4 Comments

Top News

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Cerner will partner with value-based care services operator Lumeris to create a combined VBC technology product to be called Maestro Advantage. Lumeris will also adopt Cerner’s HealtheIntent platform.

Cerner will make a $266 million investment Lumeris, acquiring a minority share.


Reader Comments

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From You Dubbed: “Re: UW Medicine’s EHR project. You shouldn’t have included the link from your reader since other sites used it without listing HIStalk as a source.” That happens quite a bit when I run insider-reported news that competing sites have to pretend they discovered on their own even though the source is obvious due to timing and the link (or lack of a link). I don’t mind that they do it, but I do mind that they intentionally don’t give credit, which I would unfailingly do. The most head-scratching commentary was added by the 2017 journalism graduate of Becker’s, who ill-advisedly went off script in pondering to a stated CIO audience, “UW Medicine has not revealed whether it will build its own system or select an EHR vendor for the $180 million effort,” missing the obvious points that (a) no health system has built an EHR in many years; (b) the project budget clearly indicates the line item involved with buying the unnamed vendor’s product; and (c) the rollout will start in a few months.

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From Blank Cheque: “Re: HIT family tree. Looking for the graphic depiction you ran.” The most recent version I have of the thoroughly researched and incredibly complex document that was created by Constantine Davides (now a managing director at investor relations firm Westwicke Partners) is from 2015. From which I shall extract this trivia question: what was the former high-flying point-of-care patient safety technology vendor that Cerner acquired for just $11 million in 2005? You might also want to consult Vince Ciotti’s HIS-tory, which I believe had similar depictions.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Medical practice technology vendor AdvancedMD acquires competitor NueMD, which offers practice management and billing applications that include clearinghouse capabilities.

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Verity Health System (CA) is looking for a buyer of some or all of its six hospitals, hoping to “address challenges our hospitals face after a decade of deferred maintenance, poor payor contracts, and increasing costs.” Patrick Soon-Shiong’s NantWorks bought a majority interest in the health system last July from its hedge fund owner, which retained a minority share and provided additional funding. That announcement touted the health system’s access to new technologies such as the ones NantWorks sells. Shortly after the announcement, Verity moved to implement Sunrise from Allscripts, of which Soon-Shiong was also an investor, a move so embarrassingly self-serving that the Allscripts sales announcement declined to refer to Verity by name. 

Population health management technology vendor Arcadia opens a Pittsburgh office, where it will add 30 software engineering jobs by the end of the year.


Sales

  • Catholic Health Initiatives chooses CTG to implement Epic in its Chattanooga, TN region.
  • Non-profit Manifest MedEx adds two large California medical groups and Stanford Health Care to its network that provides real-time patient encounter notification and a display of aggregated patient data. CEO Claudia Williams and Chief of Staff Erica Galvez previously worked for ONC on interoperability.
  • Avera Health (SD) will implement PeriGen’s PeriWatch labor analysis software in its birthing units and will add the full PeriGen suite that includes its fetal monitoring solution. 
  • Nova Scotia Health Authority chooses Corepoint’s integration engine for province-wide interoperability for its One Person One Record initiative.

People

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Ingenious Med hires Nimesh Shah (McKesson) as CEO. He replaces Joe Marabito, who was hired for the CEO job in September 2016.


Announcements and Implementations

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State of Alaska hospitals can view view prescription drug monitoring program information at the point of care via Collective Medical’s network and platform, which also allows providers to identify their highest-need patients in real time and collaborate to meet their needs. Collective’s system is endorsed as a best practice for emergency medicine by ACEP, whose state chapter was involved in the rollout.

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KLAS introduces high-mindshare precision medicine vendors in a new report that will be followed in Q4 by a more detailed version that will include customer opinions.

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InstaMed makes its External Payment Page Integration available in Epic’s App Orchard, allowing sites to create a seamless, secure online payment experience without requiring them to store credit card and bank payment information.


Government and Politics

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In England, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Jeremy Hunt replaces the resigned Boris Johnson as foreign secretary. Taking over Hunt’s job in a flurry of Brexit-related resignations is culture secretary Matt Hancock, a 39-year-old former economist and technologist. 

The White House eliminates most of the remaining CMS funding for navigators who help people sign up for Affordable Care Act policies, also requiring groups who apply for navigator grants to pitch short-term and association health plans that offer cheaper but less comprehensive coverage, charge sicker people higher premiums, and exclude pre-existing conditions.


Other

Drug users are monitoring their post-ingestion heart rates on their fitness trackers and posting screen shots on Reddit and other sites to show the effects of what they took. A quantified selfer reports, “Drugs are the only reason I wear a Fitbit. I want an early warning system for when my heart’s going to explode.” Experts warn that this is a really bad idea given the inaccuracy of the devices and maybe for taking potentially deadly drugs in the first place.

More interesting claims from Tennessee’s lawsuit against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma:

  • The company’s sales reps, none of whom were medical professionals, were told to claim medical expertise and to focus their sales efforts on overworked, lesser-trained doctors
  • The company paid to create noble-sounding advocacy groups that called the opioid epidemic as a “psuedoaddiction” that could be prevented by prescribing higher doses to eliminate addiction symptoms
  • Reps were ordered to keep selling to doctors known to be running cash-for-pills operation and whose patients were dying of overdoses
  • Purdue Pharma specifically targeted military veterans as opioid patients with a campaign called “Exit Wounds”
  • The company’s tagline was to “sell hope in a bottle” and it urged reps to “always be closing”

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A woman with a family history of cancer celebrates her 23andMe BRCA1/2 breast cancer genetic test results that showed no variants, only to receive hospital results four weeks later indicating that the company’s less-than-thorough testing missed the fact that she’s genetically at risk. 23andMe’s fine print indicates that it tests only the most common genetic variants. The woman will have her breasts and ovaries removed this month to reduce her 70 percent chance of getting cancer.  


Sponsor Updates

  • Solutionreach adds the voice of three patient advocates to its company blog.
  • Datica joins the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.
  • CRN recognizes Burwood Group’s Joanna Robinson as one of its 2018 Women of the Channel.
  • CenTrak expands IoT location and sensing services to Awarepoint customers.
  • Change Healthcare introduces Member Healthcare Payments, a consumer payment tool that helps payers display patient financial information in one place

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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Monday Morning Update 7/9/18

July 8, 2018 News 5 Comments

Top News

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A reader-forwarded committee meeting agenda from University of Washington Medicine dated July 12 indicates that the health system will move to a single EHR in a 30-month, $180 million project.

The health system is using Cerner inpatient at University of Washington Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center, Cerner Soarian at Northwest Hospital, and Epic for ambulatory.

The document doesn’t say which system UW Medicine has chosen, but all of the peer group hospitals mentioned in another document I found online use Epic.


Reader Comments

From Ricardo Researcher: “Re: my journal article. I was hoping you might mention this one on HIStalk.” I’m increasingly frustrated by articles that exist only behind a paywall, which of course is the ridiculous default for peer-reviewed journals that make a fortune by selling access to articles they didn’t themselves write, describing important research work that they didn’t themselves perform, and funded in many cases by taxpayers who aren’t allowed to look at it. It does no good to proudly tweet out links when non-subscribers don’t have access. I usually won’t mention those articles unless the author emails me a copy since I don’t trust someone else’s summary, especially if they don’t have relevant medical or technical background. 


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor MDLive. The Sunrise, FL-based virtual care provider has since 2009 offered high-quality, convenient, and cost-efficient virtual care to meet the medical, dermatological, and behavioral health needs of its 25 million members. Consumers, health plans, health systems, and self-insured employers enjoy 24/7/365, anyplace access to its network of board-certified doctors and therapists via mobile app, online, or phone. Health systems can get a free virtual care assessment to learn how the company’s end-to-end virtual care solution reduces readmissions, removes barriers to ongoing care, increases brand loyalty, drives utilization, and optimizes provider schedules. Informatics luminary Lyle Berkowitz, MD (DrLyle) recently joined the company as chief medical officer, EVP of product strategy, and president of its medical group. Thanks to MDLive for supporting HIStalk.

I found this MDLive intro video on YouTube.

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Provider poll respondents mostly spend 1-2 work weeks each year attending conferences.

New poll to your right or here, repeating one I did two years ago to see what’s changed since: have you participated in a virtual visit in the past year? Click the poll’s “comments” link after voting to explain why or why not.

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Every year I offer a “Summer Doldrums” deal on newly signed sponsorships and webinars to overcome the seasonally-induced vendor siesta that makes me question whether I have slipped into irrelevance. Contact Lorre. Extra points for naming the summer movie depicted above.

The week of July 4 is traditionally one of the slowest for real news and having the holiday fall on a Wednesday encouraged a week-long work slowdown. You will likely not resent the idea of having less to read knowing that while I wrote less, I still covered everything important.

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.


Sales

  • Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center (NY) chooses Masimo’s Patient Safety Net remote monitoring solution that will automatically record vital signs in its Meditech system.

Government and Politics

A Politico article notes that never-ending government healthcare changes and resulting uncertainty, especially those driven by the Affordable Care Act, have been a boon for consultants, observing that, “American healthcare has no shortage of saviors. Some have brilliant insights that save lives and trim costs; others mainly generate invoices … Half of Twitter seems to consist of consultants. (The other half is developing health apps, which themselves spawn niche consultants.) They offer marketing, communication and wellness strategies; practice transformation; team-based-care building, revenue maximizing, behavioral health integration, pharmaceutical price-calibrating, and YouTube channels.”

The White House suspends the Affordable Care Act’s risk adjustment payments, which without further action will drive more insurers from the market and increase premiums. The payments to insurance companies, worth billions of dollars per year, discourage them from cherry-picking the healthiest and thus lowest-risk people as customers. CMS cites a recent New Mexico ruling in which a court found that the payment methodology is flawed in favor of large insurers, with the founder of a small, non-profit New Mexico insurer saying the decision will increase competition and reduce prices despite the commonly held perception that it’s just one more way for the Trump administration to sabotage the ACA.


Other

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Informatics nurse and analytics guy Brian Norris is looking for responses to this poll. My choice would probably be email since (a) I don’t like getting voice calls, and (b) text messages are harder to manage, although I would also worry that the email would end up in my spam folder as is often the case these days.

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Companies trying to attract investors by claiming their systems use artificial intelligence sometimes instead are sometimes using a “pseudo-AI, fake it until you make it” approach where humans are actually doing the work behind the scenes, or as an expert calls it, “prototyping the AI with human beings.” Examples:

  • A company whose app converts voicemails into text message ran its service from an offshore call center instead of with technology
  • A scheduling app vendor hired people to pretend to be a chatbot
  • An expense receipt company admitted that receipts were sometimes entered by humans instead of its “smartscan technology,” sending work to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourced labor tool that allowed low-paid workers to read the full information from user-scanned receipts
  • Google admits that some third-party apps allow their developers to read user emails to collect advertising information or to refine the logic of their apps

In Australia, a hospital’s handwashing compliance rate drops from 94 percent to 30 percent after it replaces human auditors with an expensive, sink-installed automated surveillance system.

The parents of two unrelated 11-year-old Florida boys struggle to straighten out an insurance company identity mix-up, caused by the boys having the same full name, date of birth, and birth county. Their Social Security numbers are also one digit apart. The insurance company paid claims without questioning why an unrelated child would be covered on a family insurance plan. The parents worry about which child’s medical record would be displayed in an emergency, but are at least happy that both families are reasonable since “we have the most sensitive information about each other’s children.” 


Sponsor Updates

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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Events and Updates

July 7, 2018 News No Comments

Upcoming Webinars
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Recorded Webinars
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Sponsor Announcements
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Events
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Jobs
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News 7/6/18

July 5, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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England’s NHS announces December 2018 availability of a new app that will allow all citizens to book doctor appointments, order prescription refills, manage chronic conditions, and make calls to its 111 non-emergency medical helpline.

The app will also allow users to record their data-sharing, organ donor, and end-of-life care preferences.

Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt said of the app, “I want this innovation to mark the death-knell of the 8 a.m. scramble for GP appointments that infuriates so many patients.”

Thursday was the 70th birthday of NHS, formed on July 5, 1948 to bring together all health services under a single organization.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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The investment fund of David Einhorn – a long-time, vocal critic and stock-shorter of Athenahealth that he dismissed as “a business process outsourcer with a very promotional CEO” that stood no chance against Epic – is losing investors as the value of its investments dropped 11 percent from 2014 to 2017 as the S&P 500 rose 38 percent. Einhorn is also shorting Amazon and Netflix, which have gained value, and is long on Brighthouse Financial, whose shares have dropped 31 percent so far this year.


Sales

  • In England, NHS Digital awards IBM a three-year contract for cybersecurity services that include vulnerability scanning, threat detection, and threat intelligence.
  • Atrium Health (the former Carolinas HealthCare System) chooses Golden Hour’s EMSHIE solution for exchanging patient information with emergency responders.

People

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Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center (LA) hires Stephanie Manson, MBA, MS (Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System) as COO.


Announcements and Implementations

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Holzer Health System (OH) goes live on Athenahealth.

Cleveland Clinic joins the list of hospitals that give patients access to their medical records on Apple Health Records. Apple lists more than 60 health systems that are participating in the Health Records beta.


Government and Politics

Politico reports that Cerner hired two former Congressmen as lobbyists for its VA project the day the contract was signed – Jeff Miller (R-FL) and James Moran (D-VA), both employed by McDermott Will & Emery.


Privacy and Security

A former patient information coordinator at UPMC and Allegheny Health Network (PA) is indicted on federal charges involving her retrieval of the information of 111 patients and her disclosure of the information of three of them “with the intent to cause malicious harm” if an unspecified nature. She faces an 11-year prison sentence and a fine of $350,000.

Facebook can continue tracking the browsing habits of people who have deleted their Facebook account, the company confirms, where it obtains information from any site that uses its Like or Share buttons or that runs Facebook ads to nag the former user into returning to Facebook and to serve them ads.


Other

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A small study finds that adding a second exam room monitor that mirrors the clinician’s EHR screen can be helpful in engaging patients. Patients liked the transparency, not having to look over the clinician’s shoulder in feeling engaged, and having the clinician’s conversation reinforced by seeing their information on the EHR screen. However, they found the EHR user interface, screen-flipping, and on-screen jargon confusing. Clinicians liked the ease of sharing information with patients, but noted that not all patients are interested. They also worry that raising more patient questions would extend visit time. Both groups noted that exam rooms were not well laid out for adding a second monitor.

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Epic adds to its quirky campus art collection by buying the old-fashioned carousel and decorations of the recently closed Ella’s Deli of Madison, saying that it was an easy decision to preserve part of the iconic landmark.

In Wales, Assembly member Lee Waters says the country is struggling with NHS’s IT systems, claiming that the unreliability of its Cancer Network Information System Cymru (Canisc) is causing daily problems. BBC says the system is over 20 years old, is not supported by Microsoft, and went down 11 times in a recent four-week period, delaying some chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatments.

A Fortune opinion piece by a venture partner observes that companies are claiming their systems are AI-powered when they are really capable of doing only basic data analysis via pre-programmed logic or plain old algorithms. His investment evaluation checklist for AI-claiming companies is:

  • Do their systems get constantly smarter?
  • Do they leave a large trail of proprietary data collected from interesting sources?
  • Does their technology reduce the need for humans to be involved?
  • Do the founders have deep technical understanding of machine learning models and how they can be applied to a large data set?
  • Is their AI expertise so deep that they have an extreme advantage over competitors and can they attract the right talent to go after their market?

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Independence Day always generates some fireworks-related cautionary tales. A Dayton, OH man who had just purchased fireworks couldn’t wait to light one and throw it out his car window, with his unsuccessful toss igniting his in-car stash and causing an explosion that severely injured him and several people nearby, set off car airbags down the street, and damaged a nearby house. A 21-year-old Maryland man sustains severe hand injuries when he tries to launch an illegal firework from a mortar over his head during a party, not realizing that he was holding the mortar upside down.  A Florida man holding an M80 blows off all his fingers. Another Florida man loses his fingers and eyebrows when a mortar he had modified went off in his hand. Kudos to NFL’er Jason Pierre-Paul, who, as he does annually, posted gruesome photos of his July 4, 2015 fireworks-caused hand injury in warning people to be careful with fireworks (ESPN’s tweeting of a hospital OR schedule to scoop the world on his finger amputation kicked off a privacy firestorm, you may recall). 


Contacts

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

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News 7/4/18

July 3, 2018 News 2 Comments

Top News

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UK-based private equity firm Hg will buy Orion Health’s Rhapsody healthcare integration technology business for $138 million and will pay another $14 million to acquire a 25 percent share of its population health unit.

In a complicated transaction, Orion will then reinvest some of the proceeds to buy back equity from the same acquirer, leaving it with 25 percent of Rhapsody and 75 percent of population health. It will use the rest of the money to buy back shares and fund its hospital division.

Orion shares, traded on the New Zealand exchange, rose sharply on the news but are still down 81 percent since the company’s December 2014 IPO.  


Reader Comments

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From Gaunt Survivor: “Re: HIStalk ‘like’ buttons. Which items have earned the most votes?” That’s an interesting question since I’ve never looked at the statistics from those little thumbs up/down icons I added to each post and comment, and in fact I didn’t know I could look up historical results. The all-time top three items by net score (likes minus dislikes over the past 18 months since I first turned on voting) are a diverse group:

From Sprachen: “Re: telemedicine. Some harsh tweets say it was overhyped.” The virtual visit companies have certainly hyped themselves (which is what companies do, especially when they are trying to create a new consumer market) and uptake has been slower than you might expect because of state-specific laws, reimbursement issues, and natural market consolidation. However, there’s no way telemedicine can fail to attract a significant share of some market elements — specifically non-urgent acute issues, mental health, and chronic disease management – because it eliminates the geographical challenges that are caused by irregular provider distribution and challenging physical access. The biggest challenges to telemedicine vendors are (a) they have to market directly to consumers, which is expensive and difficult; and (b) they have to maintain a supply of competent providers who are wiling to conduct video visits at reasonable compensation levels. They have an advantage that both insurers and consumers should find appealing in that they can operate as a de facto national medical practice that is professionally managed to follow sound medical standards defined by policy and procedures and measured by analytics across a broad scale, which could be a lot better than a rogue independent doctor whose practice patterns stray from the accepted. There’s actually a third challenge that sounds worse than it is – it’s not as good as having access to your regular doctor via email or telephone, but most medical practices are eliminating that threat by hiding themselves behind the four walls of their insurance billing factory.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Listening: new from The Wild Feathers, which breaks my lifetime-long streak of never recommending a country-rock band. It’s like the Eagles with the annoying parts excised, with remarkable harmonies and enough minor chords to keep me from quickly flipping on. I only wish they would ditch the cliché cowboy hat affectation that is emblematic of Nashville-based artists even though I’ve never seen anyone the South (except for Texas) wear a cowboy hat in public since they have no actual cowboys, especially the kind that work indoors at night miles away from the nearest horse that they couldn’t ride anyway.

It’s the beginning of the July Syndrome, when fresh batches of frightened, newly minted medical residents begin working in US hospitals in scarily defining why we call it the “practice” of medicine. You will be well advised to steer clear for non-emergent needs for the next month or so.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Laid-off IBM Watson Health engineers describe the challenges faced by the company following its expensive acquisition of Phytel, Truven, and Explorys in 2015-2016 in trying (and failing so far) to turn its $15 billion investment into profits:

  • Phytel employees thought they would accomplish great things under IBM, but has seen the company lose half its clients and 80 percent of its employees
  • IBM halted everything Phytel was doing for the first post-acquisition year as it “bluewashed” the company by making it do things IBM’s way
  • Non-technologist IBM leaders tried to create new Watson products from the capabilities of its acquisitions, but didn’t have clear ideas, kept changing their mind, and sketched out products that were impossible to create
  • IBM is losing the war to attract AI talent
  • Former engineers say IBM is “not anywhere close to injecting AI into the provider space” as the planned new products don’t use AI
  • Asking Phytel’s customers what they wanted resulted in their demand to bring back the pre-IBM product

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Rock Health’s Midyear Funding Review says:

  • Digital health investments continue to grow at a record pace
  • Startups are increasingly having their products validated even in a post-Theranos shadow
  • Two-thirds of digital health investors have made previous deals in the sector
  • M&A activity is down from its 2015 high as companies are staying private longer even when they have raised more than the $136 million average of previous IPOs, instead choosing to be acquired pre-IPO
  • Half of the digital health companies acquired so far in 2018 were bought by other digital health companies, although the number overweighted by virtual visit providers that aren’t really technology companies

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CNBC notes that e-cigarette maker Juul – whose USB-recharged vaporizer is easily concealable before and during use — is enjoying an 800 percent sales jump and a valuation of $15 billion, even as public health experts warn that while the company claims its products are intended to help adults quit smoking tobacco, many of its users are teens and adults who have never smoked. The company and its knock-off competitors offer nicotine-containing pods in such flavors as apple honeydew, donut cream, and Gummy Bear.


Sales

  • University of Mississippi Medical Center chooses Kyruus’s ProviderMatch for Access Centers to allow call center agents to identify the right provider based on a patient’s needs.

Announcements and Implementations

Japan’s first telemedicine intensive program goes live, developed in conjunction with Philips.


Government and Politics

Politico reports that the VA will not continue its Epic-powered MASS scheduling project beyond the pilot stage and will instead use Cerner’s capabilities. The VA ended up spending $28 million of the $624 million contract. However, the publication has since issued a “clarification” that its original report was incorrect, and the VA in fact hasn’t yet decided whether to continue the MASS project.


Privacy and Security

A former peer review coordinator of Memorial Hermann Healthcare System sues the health system, saying it fired her for her refusal to reveal confidential surgery-related information at open meetings.

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A developer whose company’s mission-critical monitoring application runs on Google Cloud is dismayed to find his entire site down, shut down hard by Google’s automated systems after “potential suspicious activity” with warnings that the entire site would be deleted within three business days. He reports that Google’s customer chat was offline and no support telephone number was provided – Google requires completing an online form and attaching a scan of the credit card use for payment as well as the holder’s picture ID, requiring him to wake up the company’s CFO in whose name the card was issued. He advises using Amazon Web Services instead, having experienced this problem twice with Google Cloud.

In England, NHS Digital blames one of its technology vendors (TPP) for failing to send it patient opt-out requests, a just-uncovered problem going back to 2015 that has caused the information of 150,000 patients to be shared against their wishes.


Other

Stat profiles Biobot Analytics, whose technology analyzes a city’s wastewater as a “public health observatory” that uses “wastewater epidemiology” to perform population-level, toilet-based studies. The company’s challenge is that cities don’t really want to know (and to have publicized) their incidence of opioid use and it would merely confirm the extent of a problem already known to be extensive.

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The New York Times says people are being unnecessarily frightened by false positives after they send information from their consumer genetic tests to third-party analysis companies like Promethease, which looks for health-related mutations in the raw data of companies like 23andMe even though they aren’t certified clinical laboratories. The other (unstated) issue is that like much of today’s sophisticated diagnostic testing, we can recognize and name it without being able to fix it.

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This medical versus financial decision repeats itself endlessly every day in the only country where an urgent medical need can leave you broke for the rest of your life.

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Cordova Community Medical Center (AK) won’t close after all, despite having warned the community that it would shut its doors on July 1 when it expected to run out of money to pay for the Internet access that its computer systems require. The hospital CEO says the FCC’s cuts to the Rural Healthcare Fund left the hospital to pay for its Internet access in full, leaving it with an accumulated $1 million bill. The hospital didn’t say how it resolved the issue, although the FCC boosted the program’s funding on June 1 to account for inflation, possibly restoring the subsidy that allowed the hospital to receive $80,000 per month worth of broadband services for $1,000.

A Detroit jury awards a 17-year-old girl a $135 million judgment in her malpractice lawsuit against Detroit Medical Center, which she claims botched her spinal surgery when she was 10 and left her with permanent weakness that the hospital says was due to a blood clot.

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Reno, NV police arrest a 31-year-old man who was running around a hospital’s public areas wearing scrubs and a doctor’s nametag, although he wasn’t booked for that charge specifically since he didn’t identify himself as a doctor and there’s no law against “just throwing a stethoscope around your neck and walking around.” The charge involved a similar incident at a different hospital in which he came in as a patient and then decided to video himself wearing someone’s scrubs. He has led an interesting life – he had two airplane crash landings in two days after convincing aircraft owners that he was a pilot and potential buyer and needed to take their planes up for test drives, then crashing them. His scrubs in the video carry the name of “Denver Prinz, MD,” suggesting that he might be this guy (Prince Denver of Prussia) who claims to be a prince, a charity CEO, a friend to countless celebrities (“my friend Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon”), a talented keyboard player (whose fingers aren’t shown and whose body movements clearly don’t match the music), and a pilot of everything from helicopters to stunt planes.


Sponsor Updates

  • Waystar (the former Navicure and ZirMed) rolls out its “The All-New Rev Cycle” branding campaign at the HFMA annual conference.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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Readers Write: The Opioid Crisis: Fix the Process, Fix the Problem

July 2, 2018 News No Comments

The Opioid Crisis: Fix the Process, Fix the Problem
By Brita Hansen, MD

Brita Hansen, MD is chief medical officer of LogicStream Health of Minneapolis, MN.

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As the nation continues to grapple with the overprescribing and misuse of opioids, reaching a solution often feels far out of reach. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, more than 11 million individuals have been documented as having misused prescription opioids, resulting in an alarming 116 opioid-related deaths daily.

Despite this growing epidemic, provider organizations are uniquely positioned to address a key issue contributing to improper prescribing practices – inefficient clinical processes. Outdated and obsolete clinical processes built into electronic health records (EHRs) can be significant factors driving inappropriate drug utilization and impaired patient safety and quality care.

While the opioid crisis has no single origin point, one contributing factor can be traced back to the early-2000s when the Joint Commission implemented its revised pain management standards in response to the under-treatment of pain that was reported throughout the industry. In turn, many healthcare organizations interpreted these standards as a mandate and began to adopt clinical processes that aggressively treated patients’ acute and chronic pain. This also contributed to the then-growing trend of patients and caregivers equating pain management with medication use, which led to a demand that helped drive the increase in opioid prescriptions, and subsequently, opioid-related abuse and overdoses.

Despite evolving patient expectations and the emergence of new best practices for opioid prescribing, EHRs still lack the ability to appropriately guide clinicians and provide effective decision support during the prescribing process. Further, healthcare organizations also face the challenge of ensuring that clinicians understand and adhere to both general opioid ordering practices and best-practice guidelines. Gaining insight into these clinician’s ordering habits has been a continuous issue, and while clinicians express interest in reviewing and improving their ordering practices, this information is difficult and time-consuming to gather.

In addition to fixing and controlling processes and improving clinician adherence, provider organizations must ensure content in EHRs are continuously and reliably aligned with evidence-based guidelines to enable sustainable opioid therapy. For instance, recently developed treatments limit patients’ exposure to opioids, and instead, provide them with powerful yet non-addictive drugs such as corticosteroid injections for rapid pain relief and local anesthetics used during surgery or physical therapy sessions.

Facing the pressures to curb the country’s misuse of prescription opioids and adhere with rapidly changing prescribing guidelines, many healthcare organizations are increasingly leveraging health IT to encourage and improve the use of evidence-based best practices at the point of care. However, these tools are only as effective as the upstream clinical processes governing them, processes that are too often overlooked in the overall improvement strategy.

The data and trends contained within EHRs provide the key insights needed to optimize, measure, and manage the clinical processes related to opioid prescribing. With this critical information, frontline care teams can target and eliminate obsolete opioid protocols and order sets, thereby helping to improve, standardize, and better control processes and decrease the variability in how opioids are prescribed.

By identifying inefficiencies in workflows and the EHR build that often drive inappropriate prescribing practices, care teams can eliminate these issues. With the right tools, they can also continuously monitor the clinical processes guiding opioid prescribing and ensure they are aligned with current clinical evidence, regulatory requirements, and internal workflow needs. It’s equally imperative to continuously monitor clinician interaction with and adoption of the clinical processes that have been implemented, as various barriers inevitably lead to low compliance with set prescribing standards and protocols among some clinicians. Regular monitoring of opioid ordering enables clinical leaders to identify outliers, address barriers, and deploy appropriate interventions as needed.

To truly address the current opioid epidemic, provider organizations must fix the process to fix the problem, which begins with maintaining upstream improvements to clinical processes guiding opioid prescribing. While these steps may be one part of the nation’s opioid strategy, they remain key to providing healthcare organizations with the proactive support needed to combat the crisis.

Monday Morning Update 7/2/18

July 1, 2018 News 8 Comments

Top News

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CNBC’s talented and prolific reporter Chrissy Farr (she’s smart because she listens instead of talks, unlike most vain, vacuous TV talking heads whose raison d’etre is a buffoonishly gleaming smile rather than journalism) ponders why telemedicine “has been such a bust so far,” as 82 percent of Americans don’t use it.” Reasons:

  • People don’t know about it
  • Companies use the word “telemedicine,” which consumers don’t understand
  • Patients worry about the cost since most video visits require cash payments that aren’t affordable to a lot of people
  • They worry that doctors who are willing to offer video visits may be inexperienced or questionably skilled
  • Sick people want personal reassurance that an app can’t deliver
  • The common $75 charge is more than the co-pay of a doctor visit and not much less than a Minute Clinic cash visit

Still, I’m not sure I’d call telemedicine a bust. It only recently overcame technical and legal challenges to enter mainstream healthcare and its potential to more geographically evenly distribute medical expertise is promising. We have plenty of doctors, just not enough of them in primary care and an overabundance in big cities like Boston and New York where doctors prefer to live.

I’ve never had a video visit myself, but I would be more inclined to use it for a conversation with a skilled specialist in obtaining a second opinion since I have my $60-per-month concierge doctor available at all times anyway. 


Reader Comments

From Ms. Security: “Re: Quest Diagnostics. Their online bill password protection is a joke — MM-DD-YYYYZIPCODE.” Unverified. I registered on MyQuest to see how it works – the site requires creating a case-sensitive password that’s at least eight characters long that contains at least one alpha and one numeric or special character. Maybe it varies by the way the site is accessed.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Two-thirds of poll respondents admire and respect their employer’s big boss.

New poll to your right or here: provider employees, how many work days do you spend attending conferences each year? I admit that I’m skeptical that conference attendance delivers employer value beyond giving providing an ego stroke for employees who enjoy feeling important among external peers (for which patients are paying, of course). However, I acknowledge those who say their attendance is important for building relationships with vendors and staying current (OK, I’m still skeptical).

Happy birthday, Canada (July 1) and United States of America (July 4).

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I was in Trader Joe’s early on a recent morning and was surprised to hear the immediately recognizable opening and then the growling Hammond organ of “Fire” by the bizarre 1960s psychedelic band The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, which made my day as I felt a secret, shared rebelliousness with a grocery store that is too cool to play “Daydream Believer.” In fact, I’m picturing a dramatic opening for presentations by FHIR expert Grahame Grieve, in which he takes the podium wearing a giant flaming helmet as an overdubbed version of “Fire” blares with these modified lyrics: “I am the god of health FHIR and I bring you FHIR. I’ll take you to learn.”


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

I’m fascinated with the comments of investor and technology executive Dave Kellogg, who ponders the “does the emperor have clothes?” question in reviewing the S-1 filing of BI tech vendor Domo, about which he observes (think of Theranos as you read this):

  • The Silicon Valley goal is now to raise more capital, generate more hype, and buy the most customers.
  • The ratio of venture capital to annual recurring revenue is the “hype factor,” for which Domo’s is 6.4, meaning “you give them $1 and you get $0.15 of heat and $0.85 of light.”
  • The founder controls nearly all the voting shares.
  • The company’s growth is leveling, but its burn rate is $150 million per year and it carries an $803 million accumulated deficit.
  • Market penetration is less than 4 percent.
  • The company leases a private jet from the founder for $1 million per year and spends $300,000 per year on catering by a company owned by the founder and his brother.
  • Kellogg says Domo is “the Kardashians of business intelligence” in being famous for being famous as its product description is nearly indecipherable other than it uses a lot of VC buzzwords in concluding that its product “enables CEOs to manage their entire company from their phone.”

Sales

  • Duke Regional Hospital (NC) chooses Glytec’s EGlycemic Management System for insulin therapy.

Decisions

  • Community Hospital of Staunton (IL) will switch from Evident to Meditech in November 2019.
  • Beatrice Community Hospital & Health Center (NE) will replace Allscripts with Epic on December 1, 2018.
  • Neshoba County General Hospital (MS) will go live with Cerner in February 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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T-System President and CEO Roger Davis has resigned, verified by the company in response to my query from a reader-reported rumor.


Government and Politics

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Los Angeles prosecutors name nine new defendants, including a former hospital CFO and three orthopedic surgeons, for their alleged participation in a kickback scheme involving surgeries, compounded drugs, home health services, and hospice care as orchestrated by the former owner of Pacific Hospital on Long Beach, CA. He is charged with paying $40 million in kickbacks to generate $950 million in fraudulent bills over 15 years. Orthopedic surgeon Daniel Capen, MD (above) will plead guilty for his part in creating $142 million in fraudulent bills, for which Pacific Hospital was paid $56 million. Michael Drobot, the former hospital owner, was sentenced to 63 months in prison earlier this year for billing worker’s compensation hundreds of millions of dollars for spinal surgeries for which he paid kickbacks of up to $15,000 per case, which he funded by billing the hospital at inflated prices for spinal surgery implants used in the cases. He also bribed a state senator to keep the spinal device law in effect, for which the former senator went to prison. The federal government rather wittily refers to its investigation as “Operation Spinal Cap.”


Other

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Don’t read this if you’re of the “healthcare is a calling, not a business” frame of mind. Atrium Health (the former Carolinas HealthCare System) replaces its anesthesiology group for refusing to lower their prices, choosing instead a local group based in Charlotte. The displaced group, which is owned by a publicly traded company valued at $4 billion, launches a media campaign that warns the public that the decision will jeopardize patient safety and says the health system’s previous cost-cutting efforts simply padded its bottom line to pay for huge executive salaries and its aggressive expansion. The company also notes that its anesthesiologists signed non-compete agreements that prevent them from accepting the job offers that the new company made.

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More US healthcare system madness as uncovered by Medicare claims analysis that would make Martin Shkreli beam with pride from his prison cell:

  • An old drug whose only approved use is for a rare condition in babies was being sold by Drug Company A for $40 in 2000.
  • Drug Company B bought the drug’s rights for $100,000 in 2001 and immediately raised its price to $750.
  • Drug Company B kept raising the prices, including a 2007 jump overnight from $1,600 to $23,000.
  • Drug Company C bought Drug Company B in 2014 and raised the price another $7,000.
  • Drug Company C immediately began aggressive promotion of the drug for questionable uses that included paying speaking fees (“peer-to-peer speaking engagements”) to doctors, writing checks to 80 percent of the drug’s prescribers.
  • Medicare spent $2 billion on the drug from 2011 to 2016 even though far cheaper drugs, such as prednisone, work just as well.
  • Overall, the drug’s price has been increased from $40 to $39,000 per vial and the company boasts that “current regulatory guidelines … make a generic unlikely.”

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Don’t show up here with a medical emergency. Despite its appearance and name, CHI Health Center isn’t a hospital – the Omaha arena that hosts concerts and wrestling matches sells its naming rights to CHI Health (part of Catholic Health Initiatives) for $24 million over 20 years. 


Sponsor Updates

  • Definitive Healthcare is named as the 5th Best Place to Work by the Boston Business Journal.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 6/29/18

June 28, 2018 News 7 Comments

Top News

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Amazon will acquire online pharmacy PillPack, which dispenses patient prescriptions as individual time-sorted doses. The company is also known for its sophisticated technology, which includes patient apps and order processing systems.

Shares of CVS and Walgreens dropped sharply on the news that Amazon has made its long-rumored healthcare entry.

I wrote about PillPack in mid-2015, amused by the physical description of its pharmacist founder as, “the guy you might buy pot from at a Dead concert.” He also offered his reaction to its just-raised $50 million, “We should probably hire a finance guy.”

Amazon’s acquisition price wasn’t disclosed (rumor: $1 billion in cash), but PillPack had raised $122 million through its Series D round in September 2016. The company said last year that it expected to bring in $100 million in revenue for 2017. Walmart was rumored to have been close to buying the company in April 2018 for under $1 billion, but didn’t pull the trigger fast enough.

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The founders, who are both around 30 years old, met through MIT’s Hacking Medicine.

As someone noted on Twitter, you can now buy everything Walgreens sells through its drugstore from Amazon. Amazon could also connect with insurers who want an alternative to giving business to pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts, which Cigna acquired for $67 billion a few weeks back. That would take some work since to my knowledge, PillPack offers just the prescription-filling service and doesn’t negotiate manufacturer prices or manage the use of specialty medications.

Still, Amazon has the clout to turn the company into a PBM given that it now has the necessary pharmacy licenses (49 of 50 states, excluding Hawaii), multiple fulfillment locations, and the technology needed to scale.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Maybe it’s unreasonable to expect an India-based research firm that covers everything from strollers to glass tableware to understand healthcare intricacies, but one might ponder the wisdom of spending $3,300 for a report that in every instance refers to “HER” instead of “EHR.” I generously offer this free advice: in Word, click File, Options, Proofing, AutoCorrect Options, and then remove the entry that corrects “ehr” to “her.” Svaagat hai.

Thank you, The Atlantic, for noting “exclamation-point inflation” in which two or more exclamation points are now required to properly indicate written enthusiasm. The article notes the precedent of diluting the value of “awesome” as overused term in an attempt to overcome the non-signaling blandness of email conversation. I’ve seen Facebook posts that (a) ended every phrase with one or more exclamation points like the writer was on their eighth cappuccino of the morning; (b) ran a single sentence for hundreds of words with seemingly random blurting separated only by ellipses; and (c) use those annoying text-as-a-picture things whose point I clearly don’t understand since I find them nearly as aggravating as running movie clips turned into GIFs to indicate one’s reaction on Twitter.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Medical procedure shopping app and “on-demand insurance” vendor Bind raises $10 million from investors that include Ascension Ventures and UnitedHealth Group, increasing its total to $70 million. The company offers basic medical benefits from insurers and then allows employees of it customers to shop for procedures by price, where they pay co-pays but no deductibles. The founder and CEO is Tony Miller, a former health benefits company CEO who is a managing partner of healthcare services venture capital firm Lemhi Ventures, whose other active investments include PokitDok and Recondo. 

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Here’s what market power allows you to do – ATT increases its easily overlooked “administrative fee” cell phone bill line item from $0.76 to $1.99 (I’m paying $1.26, from my bill above), which sounds innocent enough until you do the math and realize the company will get a free $800 million per year to help pay for its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. Because it can.

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Cerner settles a class action lawsuit brought by employees who say they weren’t paid overtime, but details may not be released since Cerner has asked the court to seal the agreement’s details (legal sources place the figure at $4.5 million). The company denies wrongdoing but says the settlement is in its best interest as long as the details aren’t made public. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of delivery consultants and system analysts by a former employee who says those are entry-level jobs that require no background in systems analysis, software engineering, or programming. 


Sales

  • LabCorp will deploy the Phillips IntelliSite digital pathology system for reducing diagnostic time and for collaborating with specialty pathologists.
  • Jackson Health System (FL) signs an 11-year agreement with Philips for enterprise patient monitoring for a per-patient fee.

People

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Healthwise promotes chief medical officer Adam Husney, MD to president.

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The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing hires Kenneth Dion, PhD, RN, MSN, MBA to the newly created position of assistant dean for business development and strategic relationships. His work history includes the founding of Decision Critical and incubator TurnPath as well as time spent as a VP of HealthStream.

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T-System promotes Robert Hitchcock, MD to EVP and GM of documentation.

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Harvard Medical School professor and EHR pioneer Warner Slack, MD has died at 85. He floated the idea in the mid-1960s that computers could be used to “help patients to help themselves with their medical problems” extending his belief that “patients are the most under-utilized resource in healthcare.” Slack was a UW-Madison medical resident in 1965 when he proposed that computers could interview patients to give their doctor better information for their treatment. He was co-chief of BIDMC’s Division of Clinical Computing, which created early hospital computer systems. He wrote a 2001 book titled “Cybermedicine: How Computing Empowers Doctors and Patients for Better Care.”


Announcements and Implementations

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Meditech customer Alliance Community Hospital (OH) goes live on CommonWell’s interoperability services. I was about to write “FHIR-powered services,” which made me realize my own suppressed marketing potential as I then contemplated trademarking the term “FHIRpower” to cash in on the lowbrow punning by those who are endlessly amused that “FHIR” can be questionably contrived to sound like “fire” if you fancy yourself a health IT wit.

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The endlessly-hyped HLTH conference will move its planned second iteration from May 2019 to October 2019. Somehow the founders – who raised a fortune in VC money – failed to notice that the HIMSS conference owns the springtime conference schedule (duh) and the idea of holding theirs immediately afterward in the same city (Las Vegas) was kind of stupid. Investors now have to wait an extra five months before the company’s next revenue bolus, assuming it really does rebound from its amateurish error for a late 2019 redux. It will probably be fine since many in our industry never met a conference they didn’t like attending, raising the question of how valuable they are to employers that chug along fine without them.

Verily (the former Google Life Sciences) will provide digital health technology for an insulin patch pump for diabetics that it will commercialize with drug maker Sanofi and micro-pump technology vendor Sensile Medical.  


Government and Politics

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Congressman Phil Roe, MD (R-TN) says in a Tuesday VA EHR hearing, “It’s incredibly important that these health information exchanges work, that we can share information. It’s a problem in the private sector, trust me. You can’t go to a hospital and get the information .. One of the things that bothered me when I was out at Fairchild was that on MHS Genesis, when you came in, what was entered into the EHR was basically allergies, medications, medications, procedures. I can get that in one minute of asking somebody. Other data, what I really want to see, are your lab results, x-ray reports, notes from previous visits, discharge summaries. You have to use the Joint Legacy Viewer to look back. That slows you down … are we going to be able to put all this information in … without using two systems? If we do, what’s the point of using Cerner?” Roe also noted that the VA’s needs are different from DoD’s since active military members are mostly young and healthy. The VA responded that Cerner will ingest all records, including those from community providers.

Also from the VA hearing: Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN) noted that VA Acting CIO Camilo Sandoval wasn’t invited: “At the heart of the single biggest electronic project maybe we’ve ever done in government, we haven’t received one phone call, one text, or one interaction at all with Mr. Sandova,l” but the VA’ers in attendance assured him that project governance structures and GAO oversight is being developed, to which Walz reminded the committee that the VA does not have a confirmed secretary, deputy secretary, undersecretary for health, or CIO. The VA also acknowledged that the project will require up to $6 billion for infrastructure and project management on top of the $10 billion that will be paid to Cerner. Cerner President Zane Burke (misidentified as CEO by as least one site) told the committee that ongoing costs will be less than with VistA. Burke stammered a tortured response (as a reader noted) when he was zinged by Congressman Bruce Polquin (R-ME) with the question of whether DoD is on time and on budget with its own Cerner implementation: “They’re on… to date that that there were on that’s I … we’ve think we’ll be ah … we’ll be a stay on time and on budget as it relates to that … in the … in that perspective.”

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The Department of Justice charges 601 defendants — including 165 doctors, nurses, and other licensed professionals – for $2 billion in fraudulent billings for medically unnecessary or compounded prescriptions. Among the details of the largest health fraud takedown in history: 84 of of the cases involve the illegal distribution of 13 million doses of opioids; claims for hundreds of millions of dollars were filed for phony substance abuse treatment services; a compounding pharmacy provided prostitutes and dinners to podiatrists who issued prescriptions on pre-printed forms that generated $250 million in fraudulent pharmacy claims; doctors were charged for taking kickbacks from home health agencies; and a medical transportation company that cruised the street for people willing to take cash for fraudulent physical and occupational therapy took in $7 million.

Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital examines a South Korean tourist’s baby who had fallen off a hotel room bed, determining that the child was fine and required no treatment. Two years later, the family receives a bill for $19,000, $16,000 of which involved “trauma activation” fees, in which any trauma center can make up an activation fee even for cases in which no trauma services were actually delivered. Another patient seen for a broken ankle was hit for the same $16,000 trauma response fee, which with other charges insurance wouldn’t cover, left her with a bill for $31,000. Another patient seen by a California hospital for a minor motorcycle accident was sent home after receiving no diagnostic tests and treatments that included only an IV, ibuprofen, and staples, leaving him with a $27,000 bill, of which $23,000 was a trauma response fee. Because they can.


Other

In Australia, the federal government announces that a three-member panel will spend the next five months reviewing the paused rollout of South Australia’s Allscripts-powered Enterprise Patient Administration System, which the health minister describes as an “enormous frustration for many clinicians and a rolling disaster for South Australian taxpayers.” Project costs are running double the 2013 estimate of $162 million as doctors criticized the system as “unfit for purpose” and “dangerous.”

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Diagnosis chatbot vendor Babylon Health, which powers NHS’s GP at Hand app, claims that its AI-powered bot scores as well as human doctors on medical exams, although doctors are skeptical since they can’t verify the company’s claims and they say patient will still end up seeing a doctor. The company says it will roll the system out as an Alexa skill.

Some lawyer’s family is now financially set for at least three generations: a California county and its tree inspection contractor will pay $47.5 million to settle the case of a seriously injured 12-year-old public park camper whose tent was crushed by a falling tree.

In the UK, a drug-abusing anesthesiologist who was previously accused of looking up celebrity medical records and injecting himself with leftover patient opiates dies on the last day of his honeymoon after taking medications he bought on the dark web.


Sponsor Updates

  • Patientco adds patient financing solutions from Curae to its SmartFinance platform.
  • Mobile Heartbeat and Amplion Clinical Communications will integrate their respective enterprise mobility and nurse call systems.
  • PatientKeeper publishes a new ebook, “Attending to Physicians: Why Healthcare Must Focus on Improving Physician Experience.”
  • James Welsh joins Mazars USA’s Pennsylvania office practice as partner.
  • The Chartis Group publishes a white paper titled “The Disruption of Primary Care: How Customer-Obsessed Companies are Changing Everything”

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 6/27/18

June 26, 2018 News 6 Comments

Top News

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GE will spin off its GE Healthcare into a standalone business as the struggling behemoth that yearns to be a “simpler, stronger GE” focuses on its aviation, power, and generator businesses.

GE Chairman and CEO John Flannery said in a statement, “GE Healthcare and BHGE [the former Baker Hughes oil field division] are excellent examples of GE at its best—anticipating customer needs, breaking barriers through innovation, and delivering life-changing products and services. Today’s actions unlock both a pure-play healthcare company and a tier-one oil and gas servicing and equipment player. We are confident that positioning GE Healthcare and BHGE outside of GE’s current structure is best not only for GE and its owners, but also for these businesses, which will strengthen their market-leading positions and enhance their ability to invest for the future, while carrying the spirit of GE forward.”

GE Healthcare President and CEO Kieran Murphy will continue his role with the standalone company, which brought $19 billion in 2017 revenue before its jubilant unlocking.


Reader Comments

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From Sullen VIsage: “Re: Athenahealth. This poll says they should not sell out to Elliott Management.” I wouldn’t assign much value to an online poll whose results are headlined without indicating how many people voted (that site’s past polls have had a pitiful turnout), but there’s also the bias of customers and employees to resist change. Publicly traded companies, however, have just one customer – their investors — and the company is obligated to take whatever course of action that maximally enrichens them. The real question is whether that enrichment might be woefully short term versus the longer-term value that could be wrung out by keeping customers happy, improving efficiency, and allow their strategies the time to mature. However, corporate raiders are more interested in yard saling the assets and moving on to the next company rather than building value, while investors aren’t opposed of the idea of banking a quick profit by selling off the body parts.

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From Pomposity: “Re: CareSync. Clueless management strikes again and leaves employees hanging.” Maybe, but we don’t know why the company suddenly closed its doors. The timing suggests a due diligence issue that was performed late in the process, plus we already know from the “ran out of time” comments that the company was desperate to mate with a sugar daddy. You have to stop the bleeding at some point. It is hard to fathom, however, how a company could raise nearly $50 million, hire a ton of people and move them into a swanky headquarters, operate in what seems like a promising business sector, and then blow up whatever asset value and goodwill remained by just turning off the lights for good. I can only speculate that despite the investment interest, the company was burdened with so much debt that even bankruptcy couldn’t have saved it. It’s also hard to fathom why CareSync needed 300 employees to run what seems like a simple, modestly promising business, but I can’t second guess the folks in charge since their money was on the line and mine wasn’t.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Clinical interoperability network vendor Health Gorilla raises $8.2 million in a Series A funding round.

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Outcome Health co-founders Rishi Shah and Shradha Agarwal – who had already resigned their top executive positions in a settlement with investors who claimed the company had defrauded them – leave their board positions as the company tries to regain credibility and its pre-scandal $5 billion valuation.  


Sales

  • AllianceRx Walgreens Prime —  the specialty pharmacy formed by Walgreens and pharmacy benefits manager Prime Therapeutics – chooses Inovalon’s specialty pharmacy system.
  • Amita Health selects R1 RCM for revenue cycle management services.
  • Memorial Healthcare (MI) selects Parallon Technology Solutions to lead its conversion from Meditech’s Magic to Expanse.
  • West Virginia’s pharmacy board will use Appriss Health’s PMP Gateway to give all state prescribers and pharmacists workflow access to the company’s NarxCare system for detection of opioid misuse.

People

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Microsoft Healthcare hires Jim Weinstein, DO, MS (Dartmouth-Hitchcock) as head of innovation and health equity and Joshua Mandel, MD (Verily) as chief architect.


Announcements and Implementations

Change Healthcare releases Assurance Attach Assist, which reduces provider claims rejection by recognizing the documentation that payers require and providing an electronic platform for its submission and management.


Government and Politics

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A GAO report finds that the VA was spending $1 billion per year maintaining VistA, but even as it plans that system’s replacement with Cerner, work remains to define exactly what VistA is – especially regarding its site-specific customization – and how Cerner can replace the nearly 50 percent of VistA applications that don’t have a Cerner counterpart.

The American Hospital Association tells CMS that it “strongly opposes” making interoperability a requirement of Medicare participation, noting these problems:

  • Not all providers who would be potential exchange partners use EHRs
  • The information exchanged might not be useful
  • The required workflow is cumbersome
  • Lack of a single patient identifier hinders accurate exchange
  • Information exchange across different EHRs is hard
  • Metrics for measuring interoperability are lacking

Other

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Oklahoma State University will name its nearly-completed, $20 million women’s soccer stadium after alumnus, major benefactor, and former Cerner Chairman and CEO Neal Patterson, who died a year ago.

A Bloomberg analysis finds that government-encouraged employer experimentation with high-deductible health plans in the 1990s has made them nearly universal, with the result being that cash-strapped patients have simply stopped getting medical care instead of shopping for healthcare value as politicians had predicted. The plans have saved employers money, but in ways that seem to have harmed the long-term health of their employees in ways that may eventually become the problem of taxpayers who fund Medicare and Medicaid. A Comcast executive says, “Why did we design a health plan that has the ability to deliver a $1,000 surprise to employees? That’s kind of stupid.” He didn’t mention the people who buy their own insurance on the individual market who will be likely sucked in by the lower premiums of junk policies such as association health plans, whose nearly indecipherable terms exclude basically anything that requires a significant payment, such as those involving pre-existing conditions. As a restaurant guy told me once, you can buy hamburger meat at nearly any price you want to pay, but that doesn’t mean you would want to eat it.

A TransUnion Healthcare study finds that an average hospital stay sticks the patient with a $781 bill after their insurance has paid, a 67 percent increase in the past five years.

In Japan, two people with cancer die untreated after hospital radiology departments fail to share their diagnostic images with other departments within the same hospital , while several other patients required more complex surgeries due to treatment delays. An expert says information sharing has become more complicated as increasingly sophisticated medical equipment has increased data volume.

Interesting: the Kansas City paper describes a county IT guy’s experimentation with a cheap antenna to allow his laptop to pick up TV stations, during which he started intercepting unencrypted hospital pager messages that included names, demographics, and diagnoses. The paper contacted one of the patients whose name appeared in the message, to which she offered her succinct reaction: “What the hell?”


Sponsor Updates

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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Monday Morning Update 6/25/18

June 24, 2018 News 3 Comments

Top News

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The Tampa paper provides more details about CareSync’s abrupt closure last Thursday:

  • Founder and CEO Travis Bond had  left the company “unexpectedly” several weeks before.
  • The interim CEO assured employees last Monday that the company was “on incredibly good financial footing” because it was about to be acquired by Bill Smith, the founder of grocery delivery company Shipt.
  • Smith said at an all-hands employee meeting last Monday (photo above), “My family will own 100 percent of the company going forward. We’re making a very significant financial commitment to the company, and my perspective on this is that we’re going to build this company for the long-term. I didn’t come into this thing to flip this company in a couple years … I don’t want you to have to worry about where your next paycheck is coming from.”
  • The deal fell through Thursday as the company “ran out of time,” after which employees were told to vacate its two Florida locations immediately as the company would be shutting down at midnight. 
  • 292 employees lost their jobs. They will not receive severance payments and their health insurance was immediately terminated. 
  • CareSync announced its closure on its website, but says its servers will remain operational so that customers can continue to access their medical information.

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HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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A slight “most” of poll respondents say their employer hasn’t laid people off in 2018. Layoffs are business as usual for many companies, it seems. Maybe that’s a more face-saving option for employees who would otherwise be fired – the health system layoffs I’ve had a hand in orchestrating were all designed to part ways with subpar performers without having to go through the internal and legal challenges of firing them.

New poll to your right or here: do you admire and respect the highest-ranking executive of your employer?


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Cost-cutting Qualcomm is seeking a buyer for a majority stake in its Qualcomm Life subsidiary, which includes the 2net remote patient monitoring system and Capsule medical device integration platform.

The New York Times covers Humana’s acquisition of two for-profit hospice companies that made it the country’s largest hospice care provider, noting that profit margins are high.

Politico reports that Allscripts is offering voluntary retirement to a large number of employees.


Sales

Memorial Healthcare (MI) chooses CloudWave to implement Meditech Expanse.


Decisions

  • Cozad Community Hospital (NE) went live with Evident supply chain management in May 2018.
  • Arkansas Children’s Hospital System (AR) will go live with Workday supply chain management software on July 1, 2018.
  • Holton Community Hospital (KS) switched from Medhost to Athenahealth on June 19, 2018.

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

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A Reaction Data report finds that negative opinion about payers acquiring vendors has increased, as has hesitation about sharing information with those companies.   


Privacy and Security

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A JAMA Network op-ed piece co-authored by former CMS administrator and IHI President Emeritus Don Berwick, MD, MPP says HIPAA causes “serious obstacles to patient care” as misinformed providers refuse to share information with each other and to provide information to family members. The authors note that any time a clinician or clerk says, “I wish I could tell you but HIPAA won’t let me,” they are likely untrained or working under misguided organizational policies. They recommend:

  • HHS should undertake a study of how often the HIPAA privacy rule is misinterpreted and the impact that has on patients
  • HHS OCR should publish model policies and procedures
  • HHS should create and enforce penalties for failing to release patient information to treating clinicians and create a ‘’wall of shame” to call out repeat offenders
  • Professional societies and patient advocacy groups should mount campaigns to clinicians and patients that call out common misinterpretations of HIPAA

Other

The Madison newspaper describes the VA’s early success in rolling out Epic’s scheduling system. Lead contractor Leidos says it can implement the entire VA system on the system in two years for $350 million versus its contract that calls for a five-year implementation at a cost of $624 million, although the VA hasn’t committed yet or announced its plans following its selection of Cerner. 

Former doctor Elisabeth Rosenthal’s New York Times opinion piece says that the White House’s detail-light hopes that encouraging free-market principles to bring drug prices down hasn’t worked historically, as drug companies keep raising prices as a group even as competing products are introduced. It notes that lifesaving leukemia drug Gleevec – invented by a researcher who didn’t seek a patent for it and never made a penny from it – cost $26,000 when it was first marketed in 2001 and has spawned several competing products since, but all of them now cost $150,000 per year.

I received several emails that provided details about the reorganization of Ascension Information Services in which somewhere between 200 to 1,000 employees were rumored to have been let go:

  • AIS was ordered by Ascension to reduce its FY2019 budget by $155 million
  • It will retire some legacy systems and reduce the use of contractors such as Cerner and Kaufman Hall
  • Some employees expressed anger that they weren’t told about the layoffs in advance, that management won’t confirm how many people were let go, and AIS’s lack of transparency about any changes that would affect its Cerner, Epic, and Meditech teams.
  • Employees were escorted out of the building and weren’t allowed to retrieve their personal items, which were boxed up and delivered to them

Sponsor Updates

  • Medicity and Philips Wellcentive will present at the Internet of Health event June 26-27 in Boston.
  • Bill Macaitas (Slack) joins Liaison Technologies in a brand advisory role.
  • Kyruus releases its ProviderMatch for Consumers solution in Spanish.
  • Vyne Medical publishes a new case study, “Standardizing Patient Estimating to Improve Upfront Collections.”
  • Meditech will host the 2018 6.1/Expanse Revenue Cycle Summit June 28-29 in Foxborough, MA.
  • Navicure/Waystar will exhibit at the AAHC Conference Expo June 27-28 in Scottsdale, AZ.
  • Netsmart will exhibit at Post-Acute 360 Strategy & Solutions Conference June 25-27 in National Harbor, MD.
  • Clinical Computer Systems, developer of the Obix Perinatal Data System, will exhibit at the Indiana Rural Health Association Conference June 26-27 in French Lick, IN.
  • OmniSys will exhibit at Cardinal Health RBC June 27-30 in San Diego.
  • Recondo Technology’s automated RCM suite achieves HFMA Peer Review Status for patient access and business office software.
  • Experian Health publishes a new white paper, “Driving customer engagement in the healthcare financial journey.”
  • WebPT will exhibit at the Next APTA Conference and Exposition June 27-30 in Orlando.
  • ZappRx will exhibit at the Pulmonary Hypertension Association’s annual meeting June 29-July 1 in Orlando.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 6/22/18

June 21, 2018 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Chronic care management company CareSync shuts down. Reader Holy Mackerel alerted me to the development: ”Shipt founder Bill Smith offered on Monday to buy 100 percent of company stock for $7 million. Keeping in mind that investors poured in $79 million, he’d essentially be buying at $0.10 on the dollar. Bill backed out of the sale today. CareSync informed all employees at 9 AM of the news, and told them doors were closing and they had to leave by 10 AM.” Social media posts from disgruntled, former employees point to bankruptcy as the cause of the abrupt closure, which has left over 100 jobless.


Reader Comments

From ml: “Re: Ascension IS. On June 14th, 2018, Ascension Information Services eliminated over 450+ positions throughout the US. This included directors, upper level as well as mid-level managers, and the majority of employee’s being IT at both the senior and junior level. This vast amount of cuts came as a shock to most employees. AIS was told from their parent Ascension Health that for FY18 to cut $100 million from their budget and now for FY19 starting July 1, 2018, they were told to cut another $155 million. This obviously included headcount since they were not even able to cut the $100 million from 2018.” Unverified.


Webinars

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

Check out the recording of Thursday’s webinar titled, “Healthcare Organizations: Operationalizing Data Science Models.”


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Wildflower Health acquires Circle for an undisclosed sum. Circle’s EHR-compatible pregnancy and parenting app was developed by providers and the digital innovation team at Providence St. Joseph Health (WA).

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CNBC reports that prescription drug comparison pricing and coupon company GoodRx is considering selling itself. Analysts predict it will go for between $1.5 billion and $3 billion. Co-founded by Yahoo and Facebook veteran Doug Hirsch, the company has been around since 2011.

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Verscend Technologies will acquire healthcare payments technology company Cotiviti for $4.9 billion. Verscend is backed by Veritas Capital, which acquired GE Healthcare’s Value-Based Care Division earlier this year for $1 billion. Veritas sold off Truven Health Analytics to IBM Watson Health for $2.6 billion in 2016.


People

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Surgeon, professor, and author Atul Gawande, MD will become CEO of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase’s new nonprofit healthcare venture, effective July 9. The still unnamed company will operate as an independent entity out of Boston. Gawande briefly mentioned his new gig at the end of his AHIP keynote: “I’ll only say it is a long target and I’m lucky to have an expectation that we’re going to take on the kinds of problems I’m talking about over the next decade. It’ll be gradual progress and there won’t be instant solutions.”


Sales

  • Piedmont Healthcare (GA) will implement Patientco’s billing and payment technology.
  • Parkview Medical Center (CO) selects clinical decision support, and referral and case management software from Pieces Technologies.
  • Mount Sinai Medical Center (FL) chooses Voalte’s smartphone-based communication and alert system.
  • OhioHealth signs a three-year agreement with Clearwater Compliance for cyber risk services.
  • Neshoba County Hospital and Nursing Home (MS) will convert its disparate digital and paper medical record and billing systems to Cerner.

Announcements and Implementations

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Richmond University Medical Center (NY) implements population health management tools including analytics, risk stratification, care management, and reporting from Lightbeam Health Solutions.

Omada Health adds programs for hypertension and type 2 diabetes, plus medication management and remote monitoring features, to its digital therapy offerings for employers and payers.

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Beaumont Health (MI) deploys HealthEC’s population health management technology.

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Marshall Browning Hospital’s (IL) clinics will go live on Meditech July 2.


Government and Politics

Members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will create a subcommittee devoted to keeping a close eye on the VA’s EHR overhaul and other major IT projects. Committee Chairman Phil Roe, MD (R-TN) is especially insistent on oversight given his own experience with health IT: “Having personally gone through a transition to a new health record system in private practice, I know how much potential there is for a project like this to be a huge and expensive disruption.”

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A year after its debut, the FDA updates its software pre-certification program guidelines to emphasize benefits for startups and small companies that haven’t yet established a track record of reliable development. The FDA plans to open up its pilot program, which initially accepted nine fairly big-name companies, to a broader applicant pool next year.

Pending Congressional approval, HHS will be renamed the Department of Health and Public Welfare if it takes on the $70 billion food stamp program outlined as part of President Trump’s proposed government overhaul.

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Former VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD shares why he believes competition – not privatization – will be key to the VA’s success as it works towards offering veterans greater access to care from non-VA providers:

“Although competition alone is not sufficient to improve quality, it can help to modernize performance standards, lead to new management practices within VA medical centers, and move the VA away from the possibility of privatization. Competition also ensures that private-sector providers that wish to care for veterans adhere to the highest quality standards — and formalizing those standards through legislation would allow the VA to better fulfill its responsibility to veterans and taxpayers. Veterans deserve a continually improving health care system, and the best way to ensure that they receive it may be to support the VA at levels that allow it to successfully compete with the private sector.”


Privacy and Security

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Passwords are losing relevance, yet gaining in popularity.


Other

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This extremely small study looks at the technical challenges of integrating patient generated-data from the Asthma Health app with Epic’s MyChart. Noted pain points included device maturity, lack of Android compatibility, and patient and provider training.

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We’ve still got a long way to go.


Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the California Rural Health Conference June 26-27 in Folsom, CA.
  • Premera Blue Cross will use InterSystems HealthShare software to aggregate health data from HIEs, EHRs, and claims to build a better picture of its members.
  • Kyruus will host its fifth annual Thought Leadership on Access Symposium (ATLAS) October 15-17 in Boston.
  • Experian Health achieves HITRUST CSF Certification.
  • Agfa HealthCare announces that the latest version of Enterprise Imaging is operational in 21 healthcare systems throughout North America.
  • Kern Health Systems (CA) goes live with the second implementation phase of its ZeOmega’s Jiva population health management software.
  • Meditech announces that 150 hospital customers have received ‘A’ grades from Leapfrog.
  • Philips Wellcentive publishes a new white paper, “Funding the transformation to value-based care: Seven strategies for success at each step of the maturity curve.”
  • Computerworld names Health Catalyst one of the best places to work in IT for the second year in a row.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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Reader Comments

  • TH: I'm curious what you mean by "adult supervision phase". Do you mean "going public"? Which is something that a) Epic ...
  • Mr. HIStalk: I think Epic's customers are the best judge of how the company behaves (the same ones who bought the product after their...
  • ellemennopee: Ancestryhealth. Interesting. People won't willingly share a social security number with anyone yet will gladly send of...
  • Fred: Mr. H I'm a little taken aback by your lack of your default Epic Apologist position on Henry W. Jones III's comments! No...
  • Julie Mann: Yes, that is exactly what our sensors do....
  • Julie Mann: Eddy - here is a link to one of our patent announcements - https://www.holonsolutions.com/holon-solutions-awarded-second...
  • Scot Silverstein MD: I can say, unfortunately, with an exceptional degree of confidence that patients are harmed by events such as we describ...
  • Clinton Phillips: Thank you Dr. Jayne for the Veterans Operation 11/11 shout out. Medici is excited to see how many veterans we can help a...
  • @henryjones: Again what evidence do you have here that you "know that Epic demands more redactions and secrecy than other EHR vendor"...
  • Mr. HIStalk: Vikas Chowdhry gets all the credit for interviewing Dr. Bhavan. He volunteered to conduct interviews, of which this is h...

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