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News 4/6/18

April 5, 2018 News 5 Comments

Top News

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JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon provides shareholders high-level details about the employee healthcare venture the company is undertaking with Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway. He notes that “high deductibles have barely worked” to improve costs and outcomes.

A bipartisan group will “start very small” in working on issues that include:

  • Aligning incentives since the US has the “highest costs association with the worse outcomes”
  • Studying the cost of waste, administration, and fraud
  • Giving employees ownership of their healthcare data to allow them to make better choices and offer them telemedicine options
  • Developing wellness programs, especially around obesity and smoking
  • Investigating why use of expensive drugs are under- and over-utilized
  • Examining the cost of providing end-of-life care

Judging from these and prior comments, Dimon seems to be much less knowledgeable and motivated than Bezos and Buffett and his leg of the stool is the weak one with the most to lose from disrupting the status quo. I wouldn’t necessarily assume that his description of the plan is how it will play out, nor would I rule out Amazon and Berkshire going individually further than the combined venture.


Reader Comments

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From Not from Monterey: “Re: GE exiting health IT. Does that mean that existing GE/IDX customers will now be dealing with Veritas Capital rather than GE? If so, what does that mean for the future of GE/IDX?” I would expect Veritas to create a new company and name for its acquisition like they did with the Thomson Reuters business (renaming it Truven Health Analytics). GE will surely want its name off everything and Veritas probably has equal but different incentive to downplay the GE connection (every year it’s GE Healthcare and Allscripts vying for “worst vendor” in the HISsies voting). I don’t see much future for the aging, GE-mismanaged product line, so I’m assuming Veritas will just milk the maintenance fees until everybody transitions off the products. The one bright spot is the former API Healthcare, which GE has had only four years to screw up. If I were Veritas, I’d make that labor management software business its own company since it’s the only part of the portfolio that’s likely to generate acquisition interest down the road.

Trivia: according to Vince, this is the second time that GE has bailed out of health IT, the first being in 1971. Some of its acquisitions – again, per Vince – were Loral (renamed to Centricity PACS), Marquette Medical (renamed Centricity Perinatal), Per-Se (Centricity RIS), ORMIS (Centricity Perioperative), BDM (Centricity Pharmacy), MedicaLogic (office EMR), Millbrook (office PM), Triple G (Centricity Lab), and IDX (Flowcast, Groupcast, Carecast, and Imagecast, all renamed to Centricity, including the former PHAMIS product that IDX had acquired). Vince called the shot in his 2013 review of GE Healthcare:

We estimate GE has fallen several positions since their post-IDX peak. They even sold their RX system back to BDM in March! Is it the start of a second retreat from the HIS biz?


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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It’s the wind-down of this week’s “Wish I’d Known” question, so answer now and you’ll see your comments in this weekend’s recap.


Webinars

April 10 (Tuesday) 3:00 ET. “Using Socioeconomic Data, Not Just Demographics, to Create a Healthier Patient Population.” Sponsor: LexisNexis. Presenters: Erin Benson, director of marketing planning, LexisNexis Health Care; Eric McCulley, director of strategic solutions consultants, LexisNexis Health Care. Did you know that 25 cents of every healthcare dollar is spent on health conditions that are caused by changeable behavior? Use of social determinants of health (SDOH) — including information on households, neighborhoods, relatives, and assets — can directly improve care management and risk stratification. However, it’s important to first define what SDOH is and isn’t. A recent LexisNexis Health Care CIO survey found that only 50 percent of organizations are using SDOH data at all, and even then, they have only limited information from their EHR or from patient surveys. The question is: what are you going to do about it? This webinar will reveal the myths and truths that will help you avoid answering, “Not enough.”

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Welltok raises $75 million in a second Series E round, bringing its total to $252 million.

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Care coordination software company SCI Solutions acquires patient engagement vendor DatStat for an undisclosed sum. SCI acquired competitor Clarity Health Services in 2015.

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Virta raises $45 million in a Series B funding round. The San Francisco-based company has developed a clinical treatment and continuous remote monitoring technology for the prevention and reversal of type 2 diabetes.

Microsoft assures customers it will not engage in joint technology ventures with them and then set up competing businesses. It cites as an example 365mc Hospital in South Korea, which has partnered with Microsoft to develop motion-tracking AI software to improve surgeon performance.

A newly filed Allscripts 8-K SEC form seems to say that Netsmart will acquire Barista Operations from Change Healthcare for $168 million. I take to mean the former McKesson Homecare software system that was sent to Change Healthcare as part of McKesson’s technology business.


People

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Diameter Health hires Kim Howland (Omnicell) as chief product officer.

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Digital therapy vendor Vida Health hires Randy Forman (Livongo Health) as chief commercial officer.


Sales

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Kern Medical (CA) chooses Cerner Millennium and HealtheIntent. I assume they are replacing Medsphere OpenVista.


Announcements and Implementations

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Mercy Technology Services launches a VMware-powered healthcare cloud for hosting EHRs, imaging systems, and office applications. 


Government and Politics

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Veterans groups voice their lack of confidence in acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie and his ability to keep the yet-to-be signed Cerner contract on track.

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ONC publishes a consumer-friendly guide to obtaining and using digital health records.


Privacy and Security

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Virtua Medical Group (NJ) will pay $418,000 to settle allegations that it exposed medical records of 1,650 patients. Discovered during a patient’s Google search, the exposure occurred when the group’s transcription company, Best Medical Transcription, misconfigured its server, allowing the records to be accessed via FTP site without a password.


Other

A NEJM op-ed piece says we may be approaching the limits of how much impact changes in process, culture, and narrowly-focused technology can have on patient harm, suggesting that AI-powered computer vision – such as that used in Google’s experiments with self-driving cars – could improve the screening of medical images, evaluate patient mobility, and monitor handwashing compliance.

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GPs in London protest NHS England’s decision last fall to offer patients text-based care via the Babylon Health-powered GP at Hand app, the use of which automatically de-registered users from their local NHS surgery. Patients are now attempting to re-register, creating extra work for clinicians who also feel the app “cherry picks” healthier, less-costly patients. Babylon Health, meanwhile, has signed a deal with Chinese Internet technology vendor Tencent to incorporate its virtual care tools into WeChat, a social messaging app with 1 billion users.


Sponsor Updates

  • CoverMyMeds partners with McKesson Specialty Health to develop ExpressCoverage prior authorization and medication management services.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at ASCA 2018 April 11-13 in Boston.
  • The HCI Group publishes a new white paper, “Managed IT Services for Healthcare.”
  • PatientSafe Solutions will deliver infectious disease alerts from its integration with the technology of Merck subsidiary Ilum Health Solutions.
  • Healthgrades partners with other Denver tech companies to launch the Colorado Technology Recruiting Coalition.
  • Healthwise will exhibit at the EClinicalWorks Innovation Summit for Enterprise and Urgent Care Customers April 9-11 in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
  • Paula Anthony joins Huntzinger Management Group affiliate Next Wave Health Advisors.
  • InstaMed’s External Payment Page Integration is now available in the Epic App Orchard.
  • InterSystems and Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at NetSmart Connections 2018 April 8-11 in Phoenix.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 4/4/18

April 3, 2018 News 6 Comments

Top News

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GE Healthcare will exit the health IT market by selling its revenue cycle, ambulatory care, and workforce management software business to Veritas Capital for $1.05 billion in cash.

Veritas Capital’s previous health IT acquisitions include Verisk Health (2016, renamed to Verscend) and the healthcare unit of Thomson Reuters (2012, sold to IBM for double its acquisition price in 2016).

GE Healthcare joins previous healthcare IT acquisition-fueled dabblers (McKesson, Siemens, Misys, Sage) in wrecking a bunch of acquired companies and then cutting and running when the expected massive profits didn’t materialize. Or as I wrote a long time ago, “conglomerate vendors that seem to be happy milking the wrinkled, desiccated udders of their thinning herds of malnourished and badly aging cash cows,” to which I added further back in 2006, “ Healthcare IT customers carry little weight with toe-dippers. Are GE brass more worried about the flatlining former CareCast or sagging toaster sales at Wal-Mart? Does patient safety come up in Siemens corporate meetings as often as power generators?”


Reader Comments

From Penultimate: “Re: EMRs as a research database. I looked at the article you linked to in your tweet about conglomerate vendors. That took me to the one where you predicted that EMRs linked to genomic data and social determinants of health would give drug companies valuable information they would be willing to pay for.” I forgot about that piece from 2006, in which I said, “Drug companies and device manufacturers need the data that lives in your clinical systems. How else will they be available to target research to a very narrow range of patient types, maybe even those with a rare genomic profile? It could help them identify appropriate research subjects, design post-marketing surveillance, study population-based outcomes, and catalog adverse events. The information you provide could either be de-identified or made available only if individual patients opt in. The benefit to patients is access to a wider variety of treatments and protocols, most likely free to them if tied to a research project.” Your inquiry led me to look at the other editorials I wrote long enough ago that I can enjoy them as something new.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Qventus. The Los Altos, CA-based company’s AI-powered technology – which serves as virtual air traffic control for hospital operations — helps healthcare teams turn data into action and action into results. Its real-time decision management platform improves efficiency, patient experience, and clinician satisfaction by predicting issues, recommending immediate actions, alerting the right team members, and coordinating response. Success stories include El Camino Hospital (reduced falls by 39 percent), Stanford Children’s Health (increased patient satisfaction by 18 percent), Mercy Hospital Ardmore (reduced patients who left the ED without being seen by 55 percent), and Mercy Hospital Fort Smith (reduced unnecessary lab tests by 40 percent). Hospitals have rolled out countless dashboards and analytics reports from competing companies without success because those on the front line still have to make operational decisions with incomplete insight. The company’s platform is quickly deployed, easy to use, and easy to integrate with EHRs. Check out your own hospital’s efficiency ranking. Thanks to Qventus for supporting HIStalk.

Here’s a Qventus intro video I found on YouTube.

Listening (and watching): “Long Time Running,” an outstanding documentary streaming on Netflix that covers the bittersweet 2016 farewell tour of Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip after singer-songwriter Gord Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer (he died a year later). The super-talented group has been intact since 1986 and the members agreed early on to share all songwriting credits (a la the Doors) to avoid dissent. The band’s love of country and affinity with their fellow Canadians (including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who appeared in the film) was a joy to watch, albeit with envy.

I had a routine appointment with a specialist today and saw the usual pointless form entry repetition first hand. They copied my insurance card, but I still had to manually write the information down on their paper form. Same with my referring doctor’s information. Every form asked me again for name, date of birth, age, and current date (apparently nobody was able to subtract B from D to calculate my C). Form fields weren’t big enough for the information requested. I had to sign in on the clipboard upon arrival, and of course I could see every person’s name and doctor. Then after filling everything out – medical history, family history, meds, social habits, etc. – the MA in the exam room asked me the same questions all over again so she could enter it into the EHR. However, healthcare is so defiantly and illogically inefficient that this process seemed streamlined and sensible in comparison.

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

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Webinars

April 5 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Succeeding in Value-Based Care Via a Technology-Driven Approach.” Sponsor: Health Fidelity. Presenters: Adele L. Towers, MD, MPH, senior clinical advisor, UPMC Enterprises; Adam Gronsky, director of advisory services, Health Fidelity. Success in value-based care requires a thorough understanding of how risk-based payment models work. To prosper in this data-laden era of care, providers need to manage their patient populateeions holistically rather than through a collection of individual episodes and be able to accurately identify, document, and report risk scores. Given the stakes, is your provider organization adequately set up to take on and succeed in managing risk? In this webinar, learn how technology-enabled risk capture optimization is helping providers succeed in risk-based payment models.

April 10 (Tuesday) 3:00 ET. “Using Socioeconomic Data, Not Just Demographics, to Create a Healthier Patient Population.” Sponsor: LexisNexis. Presenters: Erin Benson, director of marketing planning, LexisNexis Health Care; Eric McCulley, director of strategic solutions consultants, LexisNexis Health Care. Did you know that 25 cents of every healthcare dollar is spent on health conditions that are caused by changeable behavior? Use of social determinants of health (SDOH) — including information on households, neighborhoods, relatives, and assets — can directly improve care management and risk stratification. However, it’s important to first define what SDOH is and isn’t. A recent LexisNexis Health Care CIO survey found that only 50 percent of organizations are using SDOH data at all, and even then, they have only limited information from their EHR or from patient surveys. The question is: what are you going to do about it? This webinar will reveal the myths and truths that will help you avoid answering, “Not enough.”

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Orion Health Group announces poor annual results and implementation of a cost-saving restructuring as it reorganizes into three business units – Rhapsody, population health, and hospitals. Share price hit an all-time low on the New Zealand stock Exchange following the financial report, reducing the company’s market cap to $100 million.

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Ninety-two of the 104 doctors of Charlotte, NC-based Mecklenburg Medical Group sue Atrium Health (the former Carolinas Healthcare System) to leave the health system and operate independently following contract changes that reduced the practice’s RN staffing levels, centralized triage and reception functions at a call center, reduced compensation, and added a non-complete clause that prevents doctors from practicing with a 30-mile radius for a year after leaving.

Humana, MultiPlan, Quest, Optum, and UnitedHealthcare launch a pilot of a blockchain-powered project to improve provider directories.

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Walmart is rumored to be in acquisition talks with PillPack, an online pharmacy that packages individual doses into reminder packs. The rumored price is in the $1 billion range.

The Nashville paper confirms an item a reader submitted a few days ago – Microsoft is suing Community Health Systems for breaching its software licensing contracts.

Hyland completes its acquisition of Allscripts OneContent (the former McKesson Horizon Patient Folders), transitioning its Alpharetta-based employees and 350 customers.


Sales

  • Illinois Rural Community Care Organization chooses Cerner HealthIntent for population health management.
  • Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa chooses the cloud-based EClinicalWorks v11 for its 84 providers.

People

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McLeod Health (SC) promotes Matt Reich to SVP/CIO.

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PatientPay hires Vikram Natarajan (Medfusion) as CTO.

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Connected health technology vendor ResMed hires Bobby Ghoshal (Brightree, owned by ResMed) as CTO.

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Susan Pouzar (Harris Healthcare) joins Genesis Automation Healthcare as VP of sales.

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Neal Schwartz (Cerner) joins MedeAnalytics as COO.


Announcements and Implementations

ROI Healthcare Solutions launches a staffing and recruitment outsourcing organization called ROI Resource Group.

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St. Charles Health System (OR) will go live on its $80 million Epic system next week, less than a year after choosing the company’s products. 

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Population health management solutions vendor Casenet releases its TruCare Opioid Toolkit, which provides a patient assessment, an evidence-based care plan, and education materials.


Government and Politics

President Trump’s proposed CMS operating budget would eliminate funding for insurance exchanges.

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Politico notes that the State Department has issued an RFP for a new EHR. It was previously collaborating with the Coast Guard to implement Epic until that project failed. The State Department is specifically interested in how an EHR would provide shared services opportunities with the DoD and VA, which would seem to point to Cerner as the most likely choice among the few capable vendors.

Kentucky passes a law prohibiting federally certified radiologists from interpreting X-rays in black lung compensation claims, allowing only pulmonologists to make those assessments. Of Kentucky’s six certified pulmonologists, four work for coal companies or their insurers.


Privacy and Security

Cloudflare launches 1.1.1.1, a brilliantly named DNS service that improves network performance and privacy (and maybe gain access to geo-blocked content, if that’s your thing). I’ve used DNS proxies before and they work fine, so I took a couple of minutes to set this one. It’s working invisibly, which is exactly what you would expect. 


Other

A Harvard Business Review article says the US spends too much of its healthcare dollar on low-value services that offer minimal clinical benefit, blaming: (a) limited effectiveness data for everything except drugs; (b) doctors make money from performing low-value services that they often can order themselves with payments protected by lobbyists; (c) patients lack the information to make their own decisions or to hold their doctors accountable. It notes that some high-value therapies are underused strictly because they are expensive, such as gene therapy and hepatitis C treatments. The authors propose using the capital markets to give insurers compensation when a patient’s early, expensive treatment results in savings for another insurer (like Medicare) down the road.


Sponsor Updates

  • Medecision launches Aerial CarePlanner 360 that supports person-centric care.
  • Meditech publishes a video in which hospital customers describe how they benefit from using Meditech.
  • HCS will exhibit at and sponsor the NALTH Sprint Clinical Education & Annual Meeting in New Orleans on April 5-6.
  • Aprima will exhibit at the OKMGMA Conference April 5-6 in Oklahoma City.
  • Bernoulli Health will exhibit at SWUGM 2018 April 6 in Phoenix.
  • CompuGroup Medical will exhibit at the ACMG Annual Meeting April 11-14 in Charlotte, NC.
  • Everest Group recognizes Conduent as a leader in healthcare business process outsourcing.

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 4/2/18

April 1, 2018 News 2 Comments

Top News

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The White House insists that VA Secretary David Shulkin resigned, disputing Shulkin’s own account of being fired. Shulkin did not submit a resignation letter and wasn’t allowed to return to his office after being told he was being replaced.

The reason: firing Shulkin would have automatically made VA Deputy Secretary Thomas Bowman – with whom the White House has clashed over VA privatization– the VA’s acting secretary. Claiming that Shulkin resigned allowed the White House to hand pick the DoD’s Robert Wilkie as acting secretary.

There’s a health IT aspect in play. If Wilkie signs the VA’s Cerner contract as acting secretary, it could be challenged on the grounds that he isn’t serving in his role legally.

Shulkin said on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” “I came to fight for our veterans and I had no intention of giving up. There would be no reason for me to resign. I made a commitment, I took an oath, and I was here to fight for our veterans.” He was emphatic in saying on another Sunday talk show that, “I did not resign,” adding that he was told in a telephone call from White House Chief of Staff John Kelly shortly before President Trump tweeted that he was nominating White House physician Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, MD to replace him.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Two readers responded to my Vietnam Veterans Day pondering if anybody still actively working in health IT was deployed there. Checking in were: 

  • Navy Petty Officer John Humm
  • Army Intelligence Specialist Vince Ciotti

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The most common online sources used by poll respondents to find a doctor are their insurer’s provider list, Healthgrades, and Google Reviews (that last one was surprising to me), although “none of these” was the #1 answer. Commenters mentioned that most doctors have few reviews with relevant details, also noting that insurance company lists are outdated, fail to describe what types of patient that doctor sees, and are full of doctors unwilling to accept new patients. A reader suggests going the other direction – ask around for recommended doctors and then call them up to see if they accept your insurance. 

New poll to your right or here: what’s your most-valued use of LinkedIn, if any?

I received fascinating responses to my question about “What I Wish I’d Known Before … Retiring or Career Downsizing.”

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My next question involves what you wish you’d known before serving on the board of a company or non-profit. I see quite a bit of the latter on LinkedIn profiles and I’m interested in how that works.


Webinars

April 5 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Succeeding in Value-Based Care Via a Technology-Driven Approach.” Sponsor: Health Fidelity. Presenters: Adele L. Towers, MD, MPH, senior clinical advisor, UPMC Technology Development Center; Adam Gronsky, director of advisory services, Health Fidelity. Success in value-based care requires a thorough understanding of how risk-based payment models work. To prosper in this data-laden era of care, providers need to manage their patient populations holistically rather than through a collection of individual episodes and be able to accurately identify, document, and report risk scores. Given the stakes, is your provider organization adequately set up to take on and succeed in managing risk? In this webinar, learn how technology-enabled risk capture optimization is helping providers succeed in risk-based payment models.

April 10 (Tuesday) 3:00 ET. “Using Socioeconomic Data, Not Just Demographics, to Create a Healthier Patient Population.” Sponsor: LexisNexis. Presenters: Erin Benson, director of marketing planning, LexisNexis Health Care; Eric McCulley, director of strategic solutions consultants, LexisNexis Health Care. Did you know that 25 cents of every healthcare dollar is spent on health conditions that are caused by changeable behavior? Use of social determinants of health (SDOH) — including information on households, neighborhoods, relatives, and assets — can directly improve care management and risk stratification. However, it’s important to first define what SDOH is and isn’t. A recent LexisNexis Health Care CIO survey found that only 50 percent of organizations are using SDOH data at all, and even then, they have only limited information from their EHR or from patient surveys. The question is: what are you going to do about it? This webinar will reveal the myths and truths that will help you avoid answering, “Not enough.”

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Japan’s Panasonic Healthcare Holdings renames itself to PHC Holdings.

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Personalized health and benefits solution vendor Accolade raises $50 million in a Series F funding round, increasing its total to $217 million.


People

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Consulting firm 314e hires Douglas Herr (Leidos Health) as SVP.


Government and Politics

California’s attorney general sues Sutter Health, claiming the health system violated antitrust laws in using its market dominance to force insurers to sign “all or nothing” contracts at inflated prices and to charge unreasonable out-of-network prices.

UK’s General Medical Council investigates 30 doctors for unsafe online prescribing after several patients died after being ordered narcotics from online visits. A recent report found that online doctors prescribed opiates and antibiotics without performing due diligence and failed to notify the patient’s PCP in some cases. 


Other

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Patent filings from Amazon and Google suggest that their digital assistants could do a lot more than obey pre-programmed commands, suggesting their potential uses to monitor voice and telephone conversations to get ad-serving ideas for both parties involved and listen to body sounds to detect potential medical situations.

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An HBR article by Bob Wachter, MD (USCF) and Jeff Goldsmith, PhD (University of Virginia) says the way to reduce physician burnout and increase quality of care is to improve billing-dominated, 1990s-technology EHRs that are “performing several tasks, badly.” They recommend that:

  • Caregivers create a “portrait of the patient’s medical situation at the moment,” limited to a fix number of characters to force a concise recap similar to a tweet.
  • The patient portrait is frequently updated under rules that also define who is responsible for doing so.
  • The patient portrait is used as the patient’s “wall” whose updated information is used as clinician groupware.
  • Data importing is limited to prevent chart bloat, with minute-by-minute comments automatically deleted a la Snapchat.
  • Voice- and gesture-based interfaces should replace keyboards and mice, including voice-powered order entry and information recall.
  • Order entry should provide clinicians with costs and risks.
  • Patients should be able to enter their own information remotely.
  • EHR value should be enhanced with artificial intelligence.

Readmissions dropped by half after Intermountain Healthcare implemented its “Partners in Healing” program, which places family members on a patient’s care team to prepare them to provide post-discharge care.

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Epic did its usual home page makeover for April Fools’ Day (which I’ve spelled correctly).

Vince and Elise continue their look at 2018’s largest vendors by revenue and digging deeper into Cerner, Epic, and Allscripts. 


Sponsor Updates

  • Research and advisory firm SiriusDecisions recognizes Huron Consulting, Imprivata, and Vocera as winners of the 2018 Return on Integration Awards.
  • WebPT becomes the first rehab therapy EHR to achieve Platinum Standard ISO Certification.
  • WiserTogether and Myewellness partner to provide wellness solutions to employers and employees.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 3/30/18

March 29, 2018 News 6 Comments

Top News

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President Trump fires VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD after a wave of negative press around questionable funding for Shulkin’s trip to Europe last summer. Shulkin believes the ouster came from political opponents who want to privatize the VA, a move he was quick to slam Wednesday in a New York Times editorial.

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President Trump will nominate the White House physician, Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, MD, as Shulkin’s replacement. Shulkin had reportedly recommended Jackson for a VA undersecretary position last fall, but the President wanted him to remain in the White House.

Though Jackson served as an emergency medicine physician during Operation Iraqi Freedom, veterans groups question his nomination, citing concerns over a lack of administrative experience. I tweeted on the news, “Choosing an unbeholden outsider in hoping for disruption or believing that character (good or bad) outweighs experience sounds good. But I’m not sure I’d want as my first management job to be running a $200 billion, politically microscoped organization. Whatever the VA pays isn’t enough.”

The status of the VA’s proposed no-bid contract with Cerner remains cloudy as Shulkin departed without signing it. Experts are expressing confidence that Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie – who has no VA or healthcare experience — won’t want to take on the responsibility of executing the Cerner contract, but I wouldn’t be so sure: Jared Kushner pushed Cerner in the first place and the White House may tell Wilkie to just get it done as a purely administrative chore that lets the White House take immediate credit. That’s the bet I’d make.


Reader Comments

From CanadaEh: “Re: Novia Scotia. Has released its provincial RFP to the two short-listed vendors, Cerner and Allscripts. Demos are planned for May and June.” Unverified.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Thursday was National Vietnam War Veterans Day, honoring those who served and died in the conflict that ended 43 years ago. If you were deployed to Vietnam then and are still working in health IT all these years later, fill out my online form and I’ll list you in an upcoming post.


Webinars

April 5 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Succeeding in Value-Based Care Via a Technology-Driven Approach.” Sponsor: Health Fidelity. Presenters: Adele L. Towers, MD, MPH, senior clinical advisor, UPMC Technology Development Center; Adam Gronsky, director of advisory services, Health Fidelity. Success in value-based care requires a thorough understanding of how risk-based payment models work. To prosper in this data-laden era of care, providers need to manage their patient populations holistically rather than through a collection of individual episodes and be able to accurately identify, document, and report risk scores. Given the stakes, is your provider organization adequately set up to take on and succeed in managing risk? In this webinar, learn how technology-enabled risk capture optimization is helping providers succeed in risk-based payment models.

April 10 (Tuesday) 3:00 ET. “Using Socioeconomic Data, Not Just Demographics, to Create a Healthier Patient Population.” Sponsor: LexisNexis. Presenters: Erin Benson, director of marketing planning, LexisNexis Health Care; Eric McCulley, director of strategic solutions consultants, LexisNexis Health Care. Did you know that 25 cents of every healthcare dollar is spent on health conditions that are caused by changeable behavior? Use of social determinants of health (SDOH) — including information on households, neighborhoods, relatives, and assets — can directly improve care management and risk stratification. However, it’s important to first define what SDOH is and isn’t. A recent LexisNexis Health Care CIO survey found that only 50 percent of organizations are using SDOH data at all, and even then, they have only limited information from their EHR or from patient surveys. The question is: what are you going to do about it? This webinar will reveal the myths and truths that will help you avoid answering, “Not enough.”

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Intermountain Healthcare (UT) will shift 98 of its 358 IT staffers to employment with DXC Technology, an IT and consulting services company it has worked with since 2012. The health system previously announced plans to transition 2,300 billing employees to employment with R1 RCM beginning April 8.

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The FDA approves Dexcom’s G6 interoperable continuous glucose monitoring system.

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Mercy Health-Cincinnati invests in local startup Crosswave Health and its FindLocalTreatment.com addiction services look-up tool. Mercy Health formed an Addiction Treatment Collaborative in January to help its patients find longer-term treatment options.

Two hundred investors wonder how their lawsuit against Theranos and its founders will fare once the SEC is done with its criminal investigation. The investors, who bought shares through their investment funds, are looking to graze over the company’s remains, which include dozens of patents and potentially the personal fortune of former President Sunny Balwani, recently estimated by a magazine at $100 million.


Sales

  • Tenet Healthcare (TX) selects Inovalon’s VantageCPS cloud-based analytics software for its post-acute care services.
  • Western Maryland Health System chooses Artifact Health’s physician query software.
  • Plum Healthcare Group will implement FormFast Connect Powered by Salesforce for resident intake across its 65 SNFs.

Announcements and Implementations

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Vanderbilt University Medical Center (TN) integrates mobile voice, text, and broadcast functionalities from Mobile Heartbeat with its Rauland-Borg nurse call system and Epic EHR and goes live on the system.

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Image Stream Medical develops EasySuite 4K imaging software for the OR.

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VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System implements LiveData’s PeriOp Manager with EHR integration help from DSS.

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Healthfinch announces GA of its Refills Lite prescription refill management app for practices using AthenaClinicals.

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Apple moves its Health Records app out of beta. Thirty-nine healthcare institutions have signed up to make patient records available via the app.

The Patent and Trademark Office awards Glytec two more patent allowances for its FDA-approved EGlycemic Management System.


Privacy and Security

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Northwell Health (NY) staffers help concerned citizens at DataBreaches.net and UpGuard alert a New York-based medical group with zero Web presence that it had left 42,000 patient records and millions of patient clinical notes exposed on a misconfigured rsync backup for over a month.

UnderArmour says the information of 150 million users of its MyFitnessPal app was exposed in a February breach, although the information it stores is minimal (username, email, and encrypted password).


Other

A new paper by Google Cloud researchers says that while AI can help radiologists do their jobs more efficiently, it can’t replace them, noting that it can only do a small part of their job.

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The only newspaper article I could find is behind a paywall, but it appears that the new government of South Australia will follow through on its promise to halt the SA Health rollout of its over-budget, behind-schedule, Allscripts-powered EPAS system.

A NEJM Catalyst article says the “two-canoe system” — in which nearly all physicians work under both fee-for-service and value-based payment arrangements – encourages doctors to provide suboptimal care at a higher cost. Their moral dilemma of doing what’s best for their patient vs. what’s best for their wallets is contributing significantly to their burnout, the authors conclude, also noting that the public may start pushing back on their focus of generating revenue.

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A study of VA facilities finds that reducing low-value EHR inbox notifications saved 1.5 hours per week of PCP time, although the information overload remains unmanageable and will require more work to fix.

Child protection workers across Montana are using Project ECHO’s telemedicine capabilities to compare notes and connect with child psychiatrists and other therapists at Billings Clinic (MT), which launched a Project ECHO hub several years ago.

An analysis of 7 million patient reviews on Healthgrades finds that patients place the most value on the amount of time their physician spends with them, particularly in the areas of their willingness to answer questions, listen to concerns, and ensure they understand their conditions or procedures.

A coroner’s inquest into the death of a knee surgery patient in a hospital in Australia finds that clinicians had a “persistent failure of critical thinking” when an anesthesiologist mistakenly ordered him a fentanyl patch and PCA that was intended for a different patient. The anesthesiologist noticed the PCA later but assumed someone else had ordered it, while nursing and pharmacy employees failed to catch his mistake. The doctor said he was distracted while trying to manage two patients and forgot which patient’s record was displaying on the EHR. He overrode system warnings for overdose, drug interaction, and duplicate therapy. It was his third time using the newly implemented system. The coroner recommend further training, changes to EHR screen and label layouts, and a hospital review of medication administration procedures.

Weird News Andy refers to this story as, “Not going, not going, not gonorrhea.” A UK man receives an unwelcome surprise after a sexual encounter in Southeast Asia – the “worst-ever” case of gonorrhea that is resistant to all common antibiotics.


Sponsor Updates

  • CommonWell Health TV features Ellkay CIO Kamal Patel.
  • Consulting Magazine recognizes The HCI Group CEO Ricky Caplin as a global leader in consulting.
  • The local news interviews Imprivata CMO Sean Kelly, MD about the company’s palm vein scanner ID technology.
  • Liaison Technologies partners with Tierion to extend blockchain capabilities to its Alloy platform.
  • Black Book Research recognizes LogicStream Health for highest client satisfaction and clinical process improvement.
  • HealthcareNow Radio interviews Medicomp Systems CEO Dave Lareau.
  • Mobile Heartbeat will exhibit at the American Organization of Nurse Executives annual meeting in Indianapolis April 12-15.
  • Nordic publishes a podcast titled “How to use change champions for a more successful go-live.”
  • Clinical Computer Systems, developer of the Obix Perinatal Data System, will exhibit at the annual IA Conference on Perinatal Medicine April 3-4 in West Des Moines, IA.
  • Experian Health will exhibit at HFMA Hudson Valley April 5 in Tarrytown, NY.
  • In the UK, St. Stephen’s Clinical Research implements Elsevier’s Macro electronic data capture solution.
  • The US Patent and Trademark Office issues two more patent allowances for Glytec’s eGlycemic Management System.
  • Medicision adds CarePlanner 360 to its line of Aerial care management solutions for payers and risk-bearing organizations.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 3/28/18

March 27, 2018 News 4 Comments

Top News

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FDA will expand its digital health pre-certification pilot program by the end of the year, taking on more companies beyond the 10 current participants.

FDA says it regrets labeling the project as a “pilot” since it is more of a co-development project that will allow app vendors who earn FDA’s pre-certification to fast-track getting their products to market. 


Reader Comments

From Headcounter: “Re: your ‘People’ section. Today, 100 percent of those listed are men and your overall ration is about nine to one male. I can’t give you a pass any longer. Many women are powerful in this field, but for some reason don’t get the same recognition. Maybe your criteria are male-centric and you need to adjust them?” As the messenger you’ve just shot, allow me to explain my criteria for reporting job changes: (a) full-time VP positions and above, and (b) either the hiring company is one I’ve heard of or the new hire has enough industry history so that readers will likely know him or her (few readers would care about a health IT company hiring an HR VP from a local bank). My sources of information are press releases, someone notifying me directly, or LinkedIn if the person is connected to me. Any gender imbalance you see in the People section reflects the industry, not my coverage of it. That solution lives far above my pay grade.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

My favorite response so far to “What I Wish I’d Known Before … Retiring or Career Downsizing” notes the impact of “an insufferable department director and an incompetent CIO.” What say you on the topic of getting off the career treadmill?

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I’m having a post-HIMSS swag fest in wearing a great Cantata Health sweatshirt and sampling Ellkay flavored honey (the chocolate is way dangerous, but I wouldn’t kick the cinnamon, vanilla, or Himalayan salt versions out of the kitchen either).

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In another post-HIMSS moment, I now know what Brianne and Lorre were doing with the Polaroid cameras in our booth – inviting visitors to have their photo taken with the Smokin’ Doc and to write their messages to me on the result. Thanks to the 100 or so folks who participated. Lorre sent me the album in which she mounted the photos in and I’m pretty sure I’ll page through it often since this hobby (sitting alone trying to fill an empty laptop screen with something interesting while remaining anonymous) makes it easy to feel disconnected and to forget that actual people are on the other end. Now I can see them.

Here’s a fun fact told to me by a guy who has used repeated “trial subscriptions” to SiriusXM to get years of service for free (which I’m not advocating). Email servers usually ignore periods to the left of the @ sign, so you can sign up with “thisisme@myserver.com” and then sign up again later with “thisis.me@myserver.com” in looking like a new subscriber while still receiving the confirmation emails.

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A fun item I found: Pushbullet, an app and Chrome extension (versions are also available for Firefox and Windows) that automatically mirror your phone’s notifications and SMS messages to your computer and also let you exchange text messages, links, and files right from your computer’s browser to a phone. I didn’t know I needed it as a minimal phone user, but since I’m on Android, I kind of do.


Webinars

April 5 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Succeeding in Value-Based Care Via a Technology-Driven Approach.” Sponsor: Health Fidelity. Presenters: Adele L. Towers, MD, MPH, senior clinical advisor, UPMC Technology Development Center; Adam Gronsky, director of advisory services, Health Fidelity. Success in value-based care requires a thorough understanding of how risk-based payment models work. To prosper in this data-laden era of care, providers need to manage their patient populations holistically rather than through a collection of individual episodes and be able to accurately identify, document, and report risk scores. Given the stakes, is your provider organization adequately set up to take on and succeed in managing risk? In this webinar, learn how technology-enabled risk capture optimization is helping providers succeed in risk-based payment models.

April 10 (Tuesday) 3:00 ET. “Using Socioeconomic Data, Not Just Demographics, to Create a Healthier Patient Population.” Sponsor: LexisNexis. Presenters: Erin Benson, director of marketing planning, LexisNexis Health Care; Eric McCulley, director of strategic solutions consultants, LexisNexis Health Care. Did you know that 25 cents of every healthcare dollar is spent on health conditions that are caused by changeable behavior? Use of social determinants of health (SDOH) — including information on households, neighborhoods, relatives, and assets — can directly improve care management and risk stratification. However, it’s important to first define what SDOH is and isn’t. A recent LexisNexis Health Care CIO survey found that only 50 percent of organizations are using SDOH data at all, and even then, they have only limited information from their EHR or from patient surveys. The question is: what are you going to do about it? This webinar will reveal the myths and truths that will help you avoid answering, “Not enough.”

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


Announcements and Implementations

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Gay dating app Grindr will send its male users reminders to get an HIV test every 3-6 months, give them directions to the nearest testing site and allow non-profit testing centers to advertise their services at no charge.

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Apple announces a new 9.7” IPad that will start at $329 for the 32 GB model. It lacks some of the advanced features of the Pro, but still has the Retina display, the A10 Fusion chip, and Apple Pencil support. It appears to be targeted to schools since it was announced at an education conference and schools get modest discounts. The IPad Mini 4 — like the clearly obsolete Macbook Air — makes even less sense than it did before since its display is just 7.9 inches and it costs $70 more, although with 128 GB of memory.

Primary care technology vendor Canvas Medical announces GA of its EHR, claiming that its autocomplete-powered documentation is three times faster than the top three EHRs, requires 80 percent fewer clicks, and eliminates the need for separate population health management software. Pricing starts at $599 per month. CEO Andrew Hines used to work for Practice Fusion. The company appears to have about a dozen employees, which isn’t many when you consider ongoing support, further development, and keeping all those bosses of non-concierge doctors (insurers and the government) happy. Cascade Family Practice (WA) was quoted in the announcement, but I notice that its patient portal is still Athenahealth.


Privacy and Security

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A fascinating article describes how scammers make a fortune using Facebook (and so does Facebook) by using Facebook’s targeting software to push affiliate ads based on location and language, often buying phony Facebook accounts to keep the ads going. The king scammer — a 31-year-old whose dubious career accomplishments have made him one of Poland’s richest people at a net worth of $180 million (and a billboard purchaser, above) — says Facebook sends a mixed message by claiming to shut down suspicious accounts while it also sends company reps to scammer conferences to encourage them to buy more ads. He admits that affiliates – companies that pay him a percentage of sales when his ad for their product is clicked — are stealing from the poorest people, but says the real problem is a capitalistic society that is based on convincing people to buy things they don’t need. His next idea is creating a cryptocurrency that will turn his business into a billion-dollar company.

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I don’t know who Dylan Curran is, but click these links he provided in Twitter to see just how much Facebook and Google know about you:

  • https://www.google.com/maps/timeline?pb (every place you’ve been with your phone turned on).
  • https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity (your search history from every device combined).
    https://adssettings.google.com/authenticated (your profile as provided to advertisers).
  • https://www.youtube.com/feed/history/search_history (every YouTube search you’ve ever performed).
  • https://takeout.google.com/settings/takeout (where you can download your entire Google history). Dylan’s 5.5 GB file contained bookmarks, emails (including deleted ones), contacts, Google Drive files (including deleted ones), photos taken, calendar, businesses from which goods were purchased and the items bought, websites create, phones owned, pages shared, and how many steps he took each day.
  • Facebook also offers a download that includes every message sent, files sent or received, phone contacts, audio messages sent or received, a list of topics it thinks you’re interested in based on your Facebook interaction.
  • Windows 10 enables by default tracking location, installed apps, when the apps were used, access to the webcam and microphone, emails, calendar, call history, files downloaded, photos and videos, and search history.

The Dallas paper profiles the regional security monitoring center of Blue Cross Blue Shield of IL, MT, NM, OK, and TX. The 200-analyst, 24×7 center looks for foreign access and unusual member activity. It’s run by SVP/CISO Kevin Charest, PhD, who held a similar job with UnitedHealth Group and was CISO of HHS. He was also previously a VP of Greenway Medical and a US Army captain. 

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Finger Lakes Health (NY) pays an unspecified sum to to bring its systems back online after a week of ransomware-caused downtime.


Other

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The CFO of Medical Center Health System (TX) blames its credit downgrade to a worsening local economy and the hospital’s Cerner implementation, which he says “has really hurt us from an accounts receivable standpoint.” The previous CFO attributed the hospital’s 2017 bond downgrade to the $55 million it spent on Cerner.

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A poll finds that high costs caused 40 percent of Americans to skip doctor visits, prescribed tests, or treatments in the past year. Around 30 percent said they had to choose whether to spend their money on medical bills or on necessities such as food, heating, or housing, while respondents who faced with healthcare expenses used up their savings (36 percent), borrowed money (32 percent) or saved less (41 percent). Half said the were billed for services they thought their insurance covered and one-fourth of respondents had a medical bill turned over to a collections agency.

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NC-based mental and behavioral services managed care provider Cardinal Innovations Healthcare sues former CEO Richard Topping for the $1.68 million he convinced the organization’s board to pay him in the severance agreement he drew up himself. Cardinal’s investigator also claims that former CIO Pete Murphy committed wrongdoing by helping Topping download 1.5 GB of confidential company information a few days before he was fired. The two were apparently planning to launch a privately backed competitor to Cardinal. “I can’t wait until we’re rich,” Murphy said in an email to Topping. The other fired executives who received severance were Murphy ($740,000), the COO ($690,000), and the chief medical officer ($684,000). Topping and Murphy have since started the DC-based Shao, described on LinkedIn as “a technology partnership between health plans and telecom carriers to provide plan members with digital connectivity and the tools to maximize that access for better health and wellness.” The most interesting aspect of this is that fired CEO Topping has impeccable credentials – he earned a JD degree, an MPH from Harvard, was a judge advocate in the US Army, served as legal counsel for Brigham and Women’s Center for Bioethics, and was a US Department of Justice trial attorney.

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Belgium-based Materalise earns FDA approval for its 3D printing software that creates anatomical models for planning surgeries.

This offshore market research company’s $4,450 report predicts “incredible” (7.3 percent – is that incredible?) growth for the LIS market, although one might question its qualifications even beyond the fractured English — it lists products from McKesson (sold to Allscripts last year) and Eclipsys (sold to Allscripts in 2010 – Eclipsys had acquired SysWare in 2006 but its LIS seems to be defunct). You get the feeling that the report won’t actually be written until someone orders a copy.

A Brigham and Women’s ICU doctor observes in a New York Times article that patient end-of-life wishes are often not respected because clinicians don’t see them in the moment of need. Reasons: the advance directives are buried in the EHR progress notes and lack of interoperability means that the preferences won’t be seen if the patient falls ill away from home or after transfer to a nursing home. The author likes the idea of patients being able to maintain their own advance care planning documentation on a smartphone app, but wishes that “the EHR isn’t just a clunky online version of a paper chart but actually a tool to help us do our jobs better.”

A small interview study of patient portal users finds that two-thirds of them viewed test results that did not contain an explanation from their doctor, triggering frantic phone calls (sometimes after office hours) and online searches as the patients tried to get more information. The authors conclude that just posting test results on a patient portal without context isn’t adequate. A Kaiser Heath News article describes an internist who checked her husband’s patient portal with his permission and found from it that he had widespread metastatic cancer, after which she kept rebooting her computer and rechecking it in disbelief (he’s OK now).

Sometimes I run across bizarre items that earn the Weird News Andy seal of approval even though WNA didn’t send them to me. Here’s one: surgeons in India determine that a woman’s eye and nose pain are being caused by the wriggling of a 2.5 inch worm lodged right behind her eye, which they remove via nasal surgery. Larvae of the Lua Lua worm (also known as the African eye worm) are spread by biting flies and live under human skin. You can thank me later for not including the BJM Case Reports photos.


Sponsor Updates

  • Boston Software System publishes a white paper titled “EHR Migration Guide.”
  • Solutionreach integrates its patient relationship management system with Epic and adds its app to Epic’s App Orchard.
  • CSI Healthcare IT employees volunteer with Habitat for Humanity as part of its Gives Back program.
  • The Sequoia Project re-elects Surescripts Chief Administrative, Legal, and Privacy Officer Paul Uhrig to its board.
  • Fortified Health Security partners with Beach Health System to strengthen its cybersecurity program.
  • HealthcareNow Radio interviews Aprima COO Neil Simon.
  • Chiropractic software vendor EZBIS will integrate Ability Network’s all-payer RCM application into its practice management system.
  • Optimum Healthcare IT publishes an infographic titled “EHR Trends – Usage and Adoption.”
  • CenTrak empowers IoT solutions in the Australian healthcare sector.
  • CTG publishes a new case study, “Inova Health System Relies on CTG for Post-Implementation Helpdesk Solution in a Production Environment.”
  • Heather Espino (Centura Health) joins Culbert Healthcare Solutions as Epic manager.
  • Dignity Health features Docent Health on the cover of its Hello Health magazine.
  • Meditech publishes a case study of patient engagement at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, which uses Meditech’s patient portal to improve recovery, improve patient self-assessment scores, and reduce appointment no-shows.

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 3/26/18

March 25, 2018 News 1 Comment

Top News

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Israel will spend $287 million to make the health data of its 9 million citizens available to researchers and private companies for work on preventive medicine and personalized medicine projects, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday.

Most citizens of Israel belong to HMOs, whose EHRs will provide the electronic patient data to the government unless they opt out.

Concerns have already been expressed about patient confidentiality and whether the billions of dollars Israel could charge drug companies for using the data will trigger higher drug prices.


Reader Comments

From Imaginary Lover: “Re: Dr. Jayne’s comments about SteadyMD’s CEO declining to comment on its SEC-reported funding. It’s unusual, but understandable. Funding comes at a cost that includes loss of control and dilution (sometimes massive) of previous shareholders. The co-founder and CEO who declined to comment was probably a major shareholder before this infusion, but maybe not afterwards. New funding may save a company from certain death (bankruptcy) but can be the beginning of another kind of sickness – now the company has to pull a rabbit out of the hat for the new investors in short order to give them a return. If it can’t, investors may pull the plug or fire the CEO. The fellow who invested his time, sweat, money, and lifeblood is taking on risk and losing equity, all in one fell swoop. Trying to act like the belle of the ball in those circumstances must be a challenge. I feel for the guy.” I enjoyed the wit, warmth, and insight of this comment so much that I’ve asked the author to consider making further contributions. Sometimes you just read something that elicits a “I want to hear more from you” response.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Not only do we have much work to do in delivering a “comprehensive health record,” we can’t even agree on how far along we are. Reader comments note health system data hoarding, the lack of semantic standards needed to make exchanged data useful, and health systems that don’t fully populate what could be a complete medical record.

New poll to your right or here: what online sources have you used in choosing a doctor? I always pair up my insurer’s director with Healthgrades and haven’t used any of the other sources I listed.

Responses to “What I Wish I’d Known Before … Being Admitted to a Hospital or Being Seen in the ED” suggest that while hospitals provide many of us with our living, our experience as patients in them is frustrating and sometimes dangerous. One bizarre example: a hospital insisted on giving a newly-admitted patient the meal that the room’s since-discharged previous occupant had ordered (a fruit cup), so the famished poll respondent ordered a nice dinner on discharge day so the next patient wouldn’t starve.

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Let’s hear from folks who have retired or downsized their careers – what do you wish you’d known?


Webinars

April 5 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Succeeding in Value-Based Care Via a Technology-Driven Approach.” Sponsor: Health Fidelity. Presenters: Adele L. Towers, MD, MPH, senior clinical advisor, UPMC Technology Development Center; Adam Gronsky, director of advisory services, Health Fidelity. Success in value-based care requires a thorough understanding of how risk-based payment models work. To prosper in this data-laden era of care, providers need to manage their patient populations holistically rather than through a collection of individual episodes and be able to accurately identify, document, and report risk scores. Given the stakes, is your provider organization adequately set up to take on and succeed in managing risk? In this webinar, learn how technology-enabled risk capture optimization is helping providers succeed in risk-based payment models.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Regulators approve the merger of Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care that will create the country’s 10th-largest non-profit health system upon closing next week. Advocate Aurora Health will have 27 hospitals, 3,300 employed physicians, 70,000 employees, and annual revenue of $11 billion. The organizations predict that synergy will support the always-promised, never-delivered goal of higher quality and lower cost.

Wolters Kluwer completes its acquisition of 16-employee medical student learning platform vendor Firecracker.


Sales

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USC’s Keck School of Medicine joins the global health research network of TriNetX.


Decisions

  • MultiCare Deaconess Hospital (WA) will go live with Epic in summer 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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The analytics-powered insurer that is being created in a joint venture between Sutter Health and Aetna hires Steve Wigginton (Valence Health) as CEO. Evolent Health acquired Valence Health for $219 million in October 2016, after which it replaced Valence’s CEO Andy Eckert with Wigginton, then Evolent’s chief development officer. 

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Culbert Healthcare Solutions hires Wayne Thompson (Mount Nittany Health) as executive consultant.


Announcements and Implementations

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Alex Scarlat, MD publishes “Medical Information Extraction & Analysis: From Zero to Hero with a Bit of SQL and a Real-life Database.” It gives clinicians an introduction to SQL using hands-on exercises running against a de-identified ICU patient database from BIDMC. It also helps IT folks understand the data elements that interest clinicians.

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I also noticed when looking up Alex’s book on Amazon that Springer has published a review and self-assessment for the ABPM’s clinical informatics board exam. I can’t vouch for the ultimate outcome of improving test scores in return for your $125, but the material looks solid, the writing is meaty, and the sample test looks darned hard. The other available review book ($129) has just three Amazon reviews, but one titled “Not fit for sale” raises a red flag in noting that “clinical” is misspelled on the book’s spine.


Government and Politics

The federal government’s spending bill leaves ONC’s annual budget unchanged at $60 million – at least through September – instead of being reduced to $38 million as requested by the White House.

In Canada, New Brunswick offers a $2,500 bonus to doctors who start using its provincial EHR, hoping to entice the 400 of its 750 physicians who haven’t transitioned off paper charts to do so. The EHR was implemented in 2012. 

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A surgeon in England believes that the Syrian military hacked his laptop to determine which hospital he was helping with video surgery consultations as featured on a BBC program, after which suspected warplanes destroyed the hospital with a bunker-busting bomb. A security expert suggests creating a VPN connection for secure laptops, but the surgeon has since stopped offering video help to doctors in war-torn areas.


Other

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Harvard Business Review describes Mayo Clinic’s effort to reduce ICU clinician overload caused by a never-ending stream of data. They’re using “ambient intelligence” in applying NASA methods to identify clinicians whose workload requires them to filter vital information from data clutter, identifying the 60 data elements that are important for taking quick action. The end result was an EHR-connected, rules-based, color-coded dashboard that saves an ICU clinician an hour each day while improving outcomes and reducing costs. Mayo has licensed the technology to Ambient Clinical Analytics.

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A North Carolina state legislator who used her background as a nurse to sponsor several health-related bills isn’t a nurse after all. The state’s Board of Nursing orders Beverly Boswell – whose only healthcare background is as a phlebotomist – to remove her claims of being a nurse from her website, which Boswell says was due to a campaign volunteer’s error. However, video shows her telling an audience in 2014 that her background includes “providing nursing skills and medical care.” The Republican lawmaker earned more attention last week when she called a school outside her district after believing a fake news report saying that students were being required to walk out to protest gun violence, posting on Facebook afterward, “So the students that were eating Tide Pods last week run your school this week?”

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An addiction publication profiles OpenBeds, software developed by Johns Hopkins medical school faculty member Nishi Rawat, MD. Indianapolis social workers are using it to find available space in opioid addiction treatment facilities.

In China, a media company tells a woman applying for a live-streaming job that her appearance is “far from that of an Internet celebrity,” advising her to have cosmetic facial surgery at their expense. An employee went to the hospital with her on the day of surgery and told her she would need to borrow the $6,300 cost from an online loan company and would be reimbursed afterward. She wasn’t, and she was let go because she still didn’t meet appearance standards. She is suing the company. Such financing is called a “face loan” in China, where would-be Internet stars with poor credit histories often find themselves unable to pay the money back.

Vince and Elise pored over health IT vendor financial filings to name their Top 10 hospital system vendors by annual revenue. Most are unsurprising and the Top 3 hold a giant chunk of the total, but let’s hear it for those #7-10 companies that get less attention as significant players – Harris Healthcare, Medhost, and Cantata Health. Vince notes that Meditech is back in growth mode after four years of declining revenue and also observes that none of today’s top five vendors were on his 1998 version of the list at all. It’s pretty interesting that it took just 20 years for acquisitions (some of them ill-advised and three involving Allscripts buying its way into today’s Top 5) to decimate all of the 1998 Top 10 other than Meditech and CPSI. 

This is fantastic: a Columbia University surgery resident dryly analyzes the accuracy of ED and OR scenes from several dozen movies and TV shows in a  video that has earned 1.6 million YouTube views in barely more than a week. One of her many quotable lines involves her observation of Dr. House running around the OR in street clothes: “In real life, that guy would have been tackled by about six tiny perioperative nurses far before he got to the operating room.” She compares surgery to her hobby of running marathons: “You have to be a masochistic glutton for punishment with obsessive compulsive tendencies.”

Weird News Andy confidently labels this honey of a story as T63.442A, “toxic effect of venom of bees, intentional self-harm, initial encounter.” A woman dies of an allergic reaction caused by a bee sting intentionally administered in a cosmetic procedure called “apitherapy” that has been lauded by anti-medical Hollywood goofball Gwyneth Paltrow. WNA consulted the primary literature in noting the line, “after getting bee venom therapy from an unlicensed apitherapist in South Korea,”which he takes to mean that South Korea has actual, licensed apitherapists. He extends the nomenclature to counselors for software developers in suggesting that they call themselves “APItherapists.”


Sponsor Updates

  • QuadraMed celebrates Health Information Professionals Week.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 3/23/18

March 22, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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John Bardis, the former MedAssets founder who as HHS assistant secretary of administration signed off on the charter flights of long-time friend HHS Secretary Tom Price, resigns effective April 6. He says he always intended to serve just one year. Bardis’s responsibilities include the HHS CIO office.

Second in command in HHS to Bardis — and presumably the frontrunner to replace him in overseeing HHS HR, the CIO office, and Equal Opportunity compliance — is former technology executive and Trump campaign worker Jon Cordova, who just completed his two-week HHS suspension for his pre-election social media posts.

The Facebook posts written or shared by Cordova include calling Hillary Clinton a “slimy trailer trash huckster;” accusing the Clinton Foundation of paying Gold Star parent Khizr Khan to criticize Trump; making up sex scandal stories about Senator Ted Cruz; and sharing a doctored photo of a black man holding a sign reading, “No mother should have to fear for her son’s life every time he robs a store.”


Reader Comments

From Cowtown: “Re: Microsoft’s March 15 copyright infringement lawsuit brought against Community Health Systems. Microsoft alleges that CHS stalled software audits for years and intentionally under-reported SQL Server usage by claiming only one-sixth of the production footprint. Maybe that’s not surprising when your CIO is Manish Shah, who was fired in 2002 from EMC for making his sales quota by falsifying invoices.” Shah joined CHS in 2013 after spending time at Aurora Health Care and no time in prison since he was never charged with a crime as far as I can tell and thus has never admitted guilt. I don’t have access to the filings to see what Microsoft is claiming.

From Clara Barton: “Re: the attached news item. This, apparently, is still a thing.” Indeed it is. An RN who presumably forgot to lock her car the night before wakes up to find her nursing license, laptop, and thumb drive with PHI on it missing.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Please tell me what you wish you’d known before being admitted to a hospital or seen in the ED. I’ve spent only one night in a hospital and that was a waste of time since nothing turned out to be wrong with me, but what I wish I’d known (not that it would have helped except as incentive to go elsewhere) is:

  • That the ED person who reassured me that the hospital has only private rooms was either misinformed or lying since I was placed in a room with a guy who sounded like he was on death’s door.
  • That I would lie for hours in the ED waiting for a bed, only to find when I got there that I had just missed dinner and nothing would be available to eat until breakfast. This was after being told that I missed lunch in the ED, being offered only apple juice instead.
  • That I would be awakened all night by loud employees in the hall and by frequent vital sign and IV checks.
  • That every med I received was late and some were never administered at all, including one that the ED insisted afterward was important.
  • That the hospital would steadfastly refuse to give me an electronic copy of my information after my visit — they said they weren’t required to and would only give electronic information to doctors, not patients — and that my OCR complaint would be dismissed with no action taken against the hospital.

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Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor OmniSys. The Dallas-based company offers innovative solutions for retail, outpatient hospital, and independent pharmacies. Products include an omni-channel patient communications platform; revenue cycle management for immunizations, DME, and prescriptions; patient engagement programs; and consumer engagement analytics. The company also provides domain expertise, market insight gained from serving 25,000 pharmacies, and proprietary SaaS technology that integrates with customer workflow. The company’s rules-driven OmniLink engagement platform improves vaccination rates, therapy adherence, and post-encounter follow-up, while its Fusion-Rx provides all-channel refill and pick-up reminders, manages refill requests, and offers an inbound IVR with automated attendant and voicemail. CEO John King is an industry long-timer going back nearly 30 years, starting with Shared Medical Systems. Thanks to OmniSys for supporting HIStalk.


Webinars

April 5 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Succeeding in Value-Based Care Via a Technology-Driven Approach.” Sponsor: Health Fidelity. Presenters: Adele L. Towers, MD, MPH, senior clinical advisor, UPMC Technology Development Center; Adam Gronsky, director of advisory services, Health Fidelity. Success in value-based care requires a thorough understanding of how risk-based payment models work. To prosper in this data-laden era of care, providers need to manage their patient populations holistically rather than through a collection of individual episodes and be able to accurately identify, document, and report risk scores. Given the stakes, is your provider organization adequately set up to take on and succeed in managing risk? In this webinar, learn how technology-enabled risk capture optimization is helping providers succeed in risk-based payment models.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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This seems to hit a lot of timely trends. SteadyMD raises $2.5 million for its online, concierge primary care practice. It runs eight practices, most of which are specialized (bodybuilding, LGBTQ, triathlon, etc.), but one of the practices addresses general health. SteadyMD patients meet their new PCP in a one-hour video visit, after which the company collects and stores all their medical records and makes the doctor available at any time via text messaging, phone calls, or video appointments. Membership costs $79 per month. The company says its doctors can prescribe, but doesn’t provide details of how that works.


Sales

  • Washington Regional Medical Center (AR) selects Streamline Health’s cloud-based, automated pre-bill coding analysis technology.
  • The Wyoming Department of Health chooses Medicity to power a statewide HIE that it hopes to eventually connect to that of neighboring states of Colorado and South Dakota, which also use Medicity.

People

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Glytec names Ed Furlong (Kyruus) COO.

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Robert Redfield, MD will become director of the CDC. A 20-year veteran of the US Army Medical Corps, Redfield has spent the majority of his career on HIV/AIDS research and clinical care.


Privacy and Security

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Finger Lakes Health (NY) is still recovering from a ransomware attack over the weekend that forced it to revert to paper-based processes and EHR backups.

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The 40,000 users in Australia of Telstra’s Argus healthcare secure messaging software are notified that their systems are vulnerable to outside attacks since the company always creates the same user account for remote access and then stores its static password in an unsecured text file. Telstra says hackers used the information to penetrate servers via Microsoft’s remote desktop protocol with full administrative access. One person who examined a breached server said it appears that medical information wasn’t stolen, with the hacker’s main interesting appearing to be using the servers to host dating scams and to buy items with stolen credit cards. I suppose Telstra is correct in calling its service “secure” even if its installation of it isn’t.


Other

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The threat of a negative patient Yelp review seems to hold more sway with physicians than educational campaigns encouraging them to reduce unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics. Physicians Working Together has launched a petition asking Yelp to remove negative doctor reviews.

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Danny Sands, MD, MPH assures his Twitter followers that the above fax from VNA of Boston to his practice announcing its transition from mail to fax is not an early April Fools’ Day joke.

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This contraption looks downright frightening, perhaps something that Michael Myers might have created for his Halloween activities as a Shatner mask replacement. I’m willing to bet the mug that the patient is so tightly clasping is filled with either calming tea or spirits.

A survey that asked consumers to name a famous female technology leader resulted in 92 percent drawing a blank and half the remainder naming Siri or Alexa, fueling the fire under the question of why virtual assistant voices are always female.


Sponsor Updates

  • Bernoulli Health publishes a new e-book, “Continuous Clinical Surveillance: A Business and Clinical Case for Creating the Foundation for Real-Time Healthcare.”
  • Optimum Healthcare IT publishes a new white paper, “Is Healthcare Preparing for a Cyberattack?”
  • LogicStream Health releases a new podcast, “Improving care: The role of patients, technology and the art of healing with Archelle Georgiou, MD and Patrick Yoder.”
  • MedData will host a job fair March 24 at its office in Grand Rapids, MI.
  • Meditech AVP Cathy Turner, RN joins the HIMSS CNO-CNIO Vendor Roundtable as co-chair.
  • EClinicalWorks publishes a new customer success story, “World-Class Care in a Small Town,” featuring Pecos Valley Medical Center.
  • National Decision Support Co. will exhibit at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Annual Conference March 22-24 in Orlando.
  • Experian Health will exhibit at the MultiState Managed Care Meeting March 28-30 in Atlanta.
  • PerfectServe’s Michelle McCleerey presents at the Population Health Colloquium.
  • The Chartis Group publishes a new white paper, “Everyone is a Cancer Patient.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 3/21/18

March 20, 2018 News 7 Comments

Top News

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Houston-based RCM outsourcer Constellation Healthcare Technologies files Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will sell the business due to the servicing costs of the extensive debt it took on to fund its acquisition strategy.

The company says it fired unnamed executives who intentionally misstated its revenue and earnings.

A lawsuit filed in late 2016 claimed that CEO Paul Parmar masterminded a series of fraudulent acquisitions to allow him to falsify revenue numbers while misappropriating cash.

A private investment firm owned by former Blackstone executive Chinh Chu bought the company for $309 million in early 2017.


Reader Comments

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From Stern Countenance: “Re: Tronc. Mike Ferro is out as chairman following allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior. Justin Dearborn, one of his cronies from his Merge Healthcare days, will replace him. Ferro was already a jillionaire with the sale of Merge Healthcare to IBM plus he was rich before he joined Tronc. Ferro gets a $15 million consulting contract as a farewell gift. Now Justin gets to be a jillionaire, too. These guys are no dummies when it comes to money, including running Merge into the ground by slashing and burning to make numbers that looked good enough to get IBM to buy the company.” There’s another healthcare connection – Tronc (the former Tribune Publishing) is selling the Los Angeles Times to NantHealth’s Patrick Soon-Shiong for $500 million in cash. I interviewed Justin Dearborn in early 2014; IBM bought Merge Healthcare for $1 billion in mid-2015 to expand its Watson offerings.    

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From Obsidian: “Re: HLTH conference. Between JPMorgan and HIMSS I’ve seen 100+ billboards and ads for this new conference that’s supposed to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. What do you and your readers know about it?” The conference, taglined as “The Future of Healthcare,” will be held in Las Vegas May 6-9. They expect 2,000 attendees and will offer a smallish exhibit hall. The guy in charge is money guy and conference organizer Jon Weiner, who has zero healthcare experience in advocating for “disruptive innovation.” He has raised $5 million in funding to launch the conference. Among HLTH’s handful of sponsors are Change Healthcare, Optum, and UPMC. The massive roster of 250+ presenters includes the CEOs of Allscripts, Geisinger, 23andMe, Optum Health, Change Healthcare, Sharecare, Intermountain Healthcare, and Athenahealth. HIMSS (and its newly acquired Health 2.0) seems to have most of the bases well covered and JPMorgan is where the money guys and CEOs hang out, so I’m not quite sure how HLTH will convince people to spend another $1,850 registration fee and four days away from work to go back to Las Vegas (assuming most of its attendees will have just returned from HIMSS18). However, I shouldn’t underestimate the willingness of healthcare people to spend their employers’ money on conferences with questionable ROI to anyone except the attendee, who gains validation for getting his or her employer to foot the bill. Readers: are you going, and if so, what’s the draw beyond the HIMSS and JPM conferences?


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I get excited by two Northern Hemisphere calendar days – the winter solstice on December 21 (after which daylight lasts longer every day through the summer solstice on June 21) and the spring solstice equinox (thanks for the correction) Wednesday, which is when spring officially begins. Actually I should add a third celebrated date that I call the HIMSS solstice, the last day of the HIMSS conference in which the crazy-busy health IT period that starts January 2 ends, replaced by a relatively lazy summer that lasts until Labor Day.


Webinars

April 5 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Succeeding in Value-Based Care Via a Technology-Driven Approach.” Sponsor: Health Fidelity. Presenters: Adele L. Towers, MD, MPH, senior clinical advisor, UPMC Technology Development Center; Adam Gronsky, director of advisory services, Health Fidelity. Success in value-based care requires a thorough understanding of how risk-based payment models work. To prosper in this data-laden era of care, providers need to manage their patient populations holistically rather than through a collection of individual episodes and be able to accurately identify, document, and report risk scores. Given the stakes, is your provider organization adequately set up to take on and succeed in managing risk? In this webinar, learn how technology-enabled risk capture optimization is helping providers succeed in risk-based payment models.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Parachute Health, which offers a durable medical equipment ordering system, raises $5.5 million in a seed funding round.


Sales

  • Orlando Health extends its Affinity RCM contract with Harris Healthcare for three years with an additional one-year option.
  • Piedmont Healthcare (GA) expands its use of Glytec’s EGlycemic Management System to all of its acute care facilities.
  • Partners HealthCare expands its use Kyruus ProviderMatch patient access solutions.
  • University of Maryland School of Dentistry will implement DrFirst’s mobility suite to help dentist prescribers meet the state’s July 1, 2018 prescription drug monitoring program mandate.
  • Lawrence General Hospital (MA) will implement Meditech’s Expanse EHR.

People

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Change Healthcare hires Fredrik Eliasson (CSX) as EVP/CFO.

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UPMC Chief Innovation Officer Rasu Shrestha, MD, MBA will lead the VA’s API project that was announced at HIMSS18. The VA’s Lighthouse project involves standards-based data exchange via an open API framework. Organizations that have signed its Open API Pledge are UPMC, BIDMC, Partners HealthCare, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Fairview, Geisinger, Intermountain Healthcare, Jefferson, Rush, and VCU Health.

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Steve Weichhand (Avaap) joins Divurgent as VP of professional services.

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Charles Tuchinda, MD, MBA is promoted to the newly created role of EVP and deputy group head of Hearst Health and VP of Hearst. He will also continue in his role as president of Hearst-owned First Databank.


Announcements and Implementations

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Diameter Health gives its clinical data management users the ability to track user-defined patient populations over time, with a sample use case being a health plan that wants to update its patient list with fresh HIE information on a specific schedule.

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Healthcare sharing ministry Medi-Share will use payment processing systems from Liquid Payments. This is interesting mostly because of the business model of Medi-Share, which is run as a ministry but is effectively an insurer since its 375,000 members agree to share their healthcare bills that are discounted via Medi-Share PPO provider agreements. Faith-based plans, which don’t guarantee that they will cover medical bills and sometimes exclude preexisting conditions, require a pastor’s recommendation and the member’s pledge to avoid using drugs, smoking, and behaving immorally. The plans are not regulated.

Clinical Architecture releases Symedical on FHIR, a RESTful API based on the FHIR Terminology Service standard.


Government and Politics

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The VA’s Cerner project will cost $16 billion instead of the previously hinted $10 billion, according to comments made in a House Appropriations Committee by Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL). Cerner will get $10 billion (which is probably where the earlier figure originated), the VA will spend $4.6 billion on infrastructure improvements, and another $1.2 billion will be budgeted for third-party project management (Booz Allen Hamilton has already been awarded $750 million of that). Another tidbit dropped in a House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing: VA Secretary David Shulkin had planned to announce during his HIMSS keynote that the VA’s contract with Cerner had been finalized, although continuing delays took that topic off the table.

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Former VP Joe Biden expands on the Seema Verma-Jared Kushner announcements at HIMSS18 in a Fortune opinion piece, recommending that:

  • HHS should cite providers for data blocking if they don’t provide patients with an electronic copy of their EHR information within 24 hours of their request.
  • The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation should create a uniform patient data portal for storing and sharing patient information.
  • HHS should expand its Sync for Science program in which patients can contribute their medical records to research.
  • The National Cancer Institute should create a cancer data trust to hold EHR, diagnostic, genomic, and outcomes data.

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The New York Times reviews the NIH’s $1.4 billion project to collect genomic, medical records, blood, and wearables information from one million Americans. The “All of Us” research program – still in beta testing — hopes to uncover new diagnostic and treatment insights, but hasn’t made much progress in its first three years even though its 2017 budget alone was $230 million. Geisinger gave back its $50 million participation grant because endless meetings and conference calls weren’t going anywhere, while Kaiser Permanente felt NIH just wanted its data without its insights so it passed, too. Both organizations are creating similar systems and so is the VA, which is making good progress for a budget of just $250 million over seven years. Researchers also say it’s hard because patient information is scattered across multiple provider EHRs and the US doesn’t have enough DNA sequencing machines to handle the load. 


Other

The US News “top medical schools” for research are Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and NYU, while the top three for primary care are UNC-Chapel Hill, UCSF, and University of Washington.

Epidemiologists are being robbed of their ability to track infectious disease activity by the shutdown of US local newspapers, which provide higher-quality information than social media. 


Sponsor Updates

  • Optimum Healthcare IT publishes an infographic titled “The Complex ERP Lifecycle.”
  • Aprima will exhibit at the Association of Independent Medical Software Value Added Resellers Annual Conference March 23-24 in San Antonio.
  • CoverMyMeds will host TechPint March 22 in Cleveland.
  • Nordic publishes a podcast titled “How will transitioning to Nordic’s maintenance and support affect my internal teams? Q&A with Loma Linda University Health.”
  • HCTec publishes a new case study, “Outpatient CDI Model Increases Revenue Opportunities and Positions Health System for Future Success.”
  • Healthwise will exhibit at the 2018 Midwest ACE User Group Conference March 21-23 in Chicago.
  • Image Stream Medical will exhibit at the AORN Global Surgical Conference & Expo March 24-28 in New Orleans.
  • Kyruus will exhibit at the Cleveland Health IT Summit

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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Morning Headlines 3/20/18

March 19, 2018 News 1 Comment

Constellation Healthcare Technologies Files Voluntary Chapter 11 Petitions to Facilitate an Orderly and Efficient Sale Process

Following earnings discrepancies, an executive exodus and investigation for fraud, Constellation Healthcare Technologies files Chapter 11 for several of its subsidiaries.

Joe Biden: To Save and Improve Lives Using Data, Details Matter

Former Vice President and founder of the Biden Cancer Initiative Joe Biden responds to the Trump administration’s MyHealthEData initiative with next steps that include mandating the provision of a patient’s digital health data within 24 hours of treatment.

Trump administration to seek stiffer penalties against drug dealers, reduce opioid prescribing

Trump administration officials share plans to fight the opioid epidemic, including the creation of national PDMP that would flag suspicious prescriptions.

Monday Morning Update 3/19/18

March 18, 2018 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Despite technical problems that delayed business on the German stock exchange by an hour, Siemens AG raises $5.2 billion in its Healthineers IPO. Funds will be used to invest in molecular diagnostics and to acquire US-based health IT startups.


Reader Comments

From Lizzie Borden: “Re: Theranos board and advisors. It looks like at least one member of the infamous company’s scientific advisory board is getting proactive about making sure industry insiders know she’s distanced herself from the company.” The Washington University School of Medicine has indeed assured the media that professor Ann Gronowski left the Theranos board at the end of last year, even though the company’s website still lists her as a member. Sources report that two other advisers still remain on the SAB, which was formed in 2016 to lend credibility to the company’s under-fire efforts.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Thanks to those who responded to “What I Wish I’d Known Before … Taking My First Hospital IT Executive Job.” I can’t say I’m surprised at how frequently hospital politics came up.

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The next installment of the series is your chance to help future patients and caregivers learn from your past experiences in the hospital or ED.

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Meditech was the favorite in a highly unscientific poll that mostly garnered votes from IP addresses associated with the vendors listed.

New poll to your right or here: How far along are EHRs in delivering a "comprehensive health record" that paints a full patient picture?


Webinars

April 5 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Succeeding in Value-Based Care Via a Technology-Driven Approach.” Sponsor: Health Fidelity. Presenters: Adele L. Towers, MD, MPH, senior clinical advisor, UPMC Technology Development Center; Adam Gronsky, director of advisory services, Health Fidelity. Success in value-based care requires a thorough understanding of how risk-based payment models work. To prosper in this data-laden era of care, providers need to manage their patient populations holistically rather than through a collection of individual episodes and be able to accurately identify, document, and report risk scores. Given the stakes, is your provider organization adequately set up to take on and succeed in managing risk? In this webinar, learn how technology-enabled risk capture optimization is helping providers succeed in risk-based payment models.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Mazars USA opens a new office in Los Angeles.


Decisions

  • Tri Valley Health Center (NE) will go live with Meditech on May 1.
  • Morristown Medical Center (NJ) will go live with Epic in June.
  • Northside Regional Medical Center (OH) will switch from Cerner to Meditech in June.

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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CNBC reports that Amazon has hired Taha Kass-Hout (Trinity Health) to head up healthcare project business development on its Grand Challenge team. Also known as the 1492 Lab, Amazon’s team stealthily launched last year to focus on projects related to medical records management and access, though not much has been heard from them since. Much is being made of the fact that Kass-Hout was the FDA’s first chief health informatics officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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In Bermuda, the Hospitals Board integrates eForms from Access with its Cerner EHR at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute.

Medication management vendor DrFirst deploys FDB’s new Opioid Risk Management Module as part of its support of Nebraska’s PDMP. In January, Nebraska became the first state to require tracking of all prescription drugs.


Other

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This sounds a bit Big Brotherish to me: Herman Miller introduces a smart office chair that, when paired with its smart desk and app, gives employers insight into how long workers spend at their desks, times of highest productivity, and whether they’ve gone to the restroom or left for the day.


Sponsor Updates

  • Parallon announces a reseller agreement with Cerner.
  • CommonWell Health TV interviews Redox Chief Customer Officer Devin Soleberg.
  • ROI Healthcare Solutions launches the ROI Resource Group.
  • Santa Rosa Consulting adds an analytics migration program to its business intelligence and analytics services.
  • Philips Wellcentive will exhibit at the Population Health Colloquium March 19-21 in Philadelphia.
  • Wolters Kluwer publishes its annual report.
  • QuadraMed will celebrate Health Information Professionals Week, March 18-24, by providing HIP swag to any healthcare organization registering for a Lunch-N-Learn by March 30.
  • Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford visits DrFirst’s headquarters to learn how the Rockville, MD-based company is fighting the opioid epidemic with Maryland-based partners MedChi, CRISP, and UMSOD.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 3/16/18

March 15, 2018 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes will pay the SEC $500,000 to settle charges that she and the company fraudulently raised over $700 million. Holmes will also give up majority voting control over the company, and some of her equity in it. She will also be banned from directing a public company for the next 10 years. Former Theranos President Sunny Balwani, who resigned from the company in 2016, also faces charges, which the SEC plans to litigate at a later date. None of the company’s star-studded board have been implicated.

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Aside from the numerous alleged lies told to investors during presentations, media interviews, and product demos, Holmes and Balwani erroneously claimed that the company’s products were used by the DoD on the battlefield in Afghanistan and on medevac helicopters, and that the company would generate more than $100 million in revenue in 2014 – far above the $100,000 it actually pulled in. A separate criminal investigation is still underway.

My two cents: Investors should have done their due diligence instead of getting giddy from founder buzz. The Theranos hype machine, which the media dutifully fed on, made the company sound Silicon Valley hip instead of like a tiny-volume, would-be competitor to the fully-scaled big, national labs.


Webinars

April 5 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Succeeding in Value-Based Care Via a Technology-Driven Approach.” Sponsor: Health Fidelity. Presenters: Adele L. Towers, MD, MPH, senior clinical advisor, UPMC Technology Development Center; Adam Gronsky, director of advisory services, Health Fidelity. Success in value-based care requires a thorough understanding of how risk-based payment models work. To prosper in this data-laden era of care, providers need to manage their patient populations holistically rather than through a collection of individual episodes and be able to accurately identify, document, and report risk scores. Given the stakes, is your provider organization adequately set up to take on and succeed in managing risk? In this webinar, learn how technology-enabled risk capture optimization is helping providers succeed in risk-based payment models.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Mediware Information Systems will build a new 66,000 square-foot global headquarters in Overland Park, KS that it expects to open in mid-2019. The company acquired Medicare billing company MedTranDirect in January.

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NantHealth reports a 2017 net loss of $175 million, with revenue up 8 percent year over year to $87 million. Q4’s $22 million revenue fell a bit short of analyst expectations. No mention was made of its August layoffs or sale of its provider and patient engagement assets to Allscripts, aside from labeling them as discontinued operations.


People

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Sir Andrew Witty (GlaxoSmithKline) will join Optum as CEO, replacing Larry Renfro, who will become a managing partner of Optum Ventures and its new $100 million fund for technology, data analytics, and healthcare companies. Witty was knighted in 2012 for his services to the British economy.

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Divurgent brings on Jeff Sassenscheid to handle the expansion of its ERP, HRIS, and HCM service lines.

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I missed this in the pre-HIMSS media frenzy: El Camino Hospital (CA) promotes Deborah Muro to CIO.


Announcements and Implementations

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Northwell Health (NY) will implement GMed’s enterprise endoscopy solution at 20 hospitals and ASCs. GMed was acquired by Modernizing Medicine in 2015.

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Millennium Physician Group (FL) selects population health management technology from Lightbeam Health Solutions.

In Illinois, Community Partnership of the Ozarks prepares to launch a Mediware-based software project that will help to eventually connect 16 healthcare and social services organizations across the region.

WebPT and Modernizing Medicine develop an interface between their respective EHRs to enable better data sharing between physical therapists and orthopedists.

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Salesforce adds care gaps and assessments functionality to its Health Cloud CRM.

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Medicomp Systems adds care management capabilities for opioid addiction treatment to its line of Quippe clinical solutions.


Other

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A VA study of 100 heart failure patients finds continuously streaming data from stick-on chest sensors to an analytics-based smartphone app is just as effective at preventing readmissions as a more expensive implantable device.

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Patients at Danbury Hospital (CT) express frustration with scheduling and procedure delays resulting from a system-wide Cerner implementation earlier this month at Western Connecticut Health Network. Announced in 2015, the roll out included Cerner’s Millenium EHR, HealtheIntent population health management software, and a Soarian upgrade.

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@Farzad_MD tweets out the results of an “aromatherapy” study that found alcohol prep pads were more effective at quelling nausea in ED patients than customary anti-nausea medication.

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Weird News Andy wonders about the ICD-10 code for “airhead” after surgeons discover a giant air pocket where part of an 84 year-old patient’s brain should have been. The man sought care after suffering a mild stroke, but had otherwise lived a normal life.


Sponsor Updates

  • PerfectServe creates an Apple Watch app to give end users easier access to its messaging technology.
  • Learn on Demand Systems hires Laura Faughtenberry (Dude Solutions) as director of marketing.
  • The Athena Breast Health Network (CA) selects LifeImage-powered Mammosphere to provide network management of medical images and associated clinical information to conduct the WISDOM breast cancer screening study.
  • Meditech publishes a new e-book, “The Essential Guide to EHR Value & Sustainability.”
  • LiveProcess will exhibit at the ANA Quality and Innovation Conference March 21-23 in Orlando.
  • Loyale Healthcare rolls out its Patient Financial Manager solution to select Parallon clients including 170 HCA hospitals and EPs.
  • The LiveHelpNow Challenge includes Vyne in its list of top companies providing exception customer service.
  • Meditech will exhibit at the 2018 Home Care Optimization Symposium March 20-22 in Atlanta.
  • National Decision Support Co. will exhibit at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Annual Conference March 22-24 in Orlando.
  • Netsmart will exhibit at the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems March 19 in Washington, DC.
  • Clinical Computer Systems, developer of the Obix Perinatal Data System, achieves HITRUST CSF Certification.
  • EClinicalWorks publishes a new case study highlighting Rainbow Pediatric Center’s use of telemedicine to improve ADHD patient compliance.
  • Black Book Research ranks Optimum Healthcare IT number one for enterprise EHR implementation and IT advisory and customer satisfaction.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 3/14/18

March 13, 2018 News 2 Comments

Top News

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A blog post from UCSF’s Center for Digital Health Innovation takes exception to Epic’s claim that it offers a “comprehensive health record.” The authors say EHR vendors are missing the point that no EHR can be comprehensive since important information is also generated by patients, families, and caregivers; includes genomic information, and is sourced from non-clinical settings. It concludes,

Interoperability is not and must not be defined by being able to pick up and move a giant digital stack of records from one hospital system to another, with the hope that the patient’s various providers will all be able to accumulate everything, like a cartoon snowball rolling downhill … interoperability is a national priority precisely because no single vendor EHR system is comprehensive… Given this, we say “connected health record,” not comprehensive health record, and we are not alone … a chorus of physicians and patients is crying out that EHR systems are already cumbersome and inefficient. Imagine how much worse this might become if EHR systems grow and grow to accommodate new use cases … technological advances have led other industries to adopt an API-based model, in which modules, devices, and software from different vendors can easily connect. That way, each vendor can focus on what it does best, and the user can benefit from an ecosystem of technology and software that work seamlessly together.


Reader Comments

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From Jorge DiSelva: “Re: Cerner’s revenue mix. Did you notice how far it has swung from license fees to services? Pretty amazing.” It is indeed amazing. Annual revenue has nearly doubled in the past five years and 43 percent of software revenue is now coming from subscriptions. Services revenue is also huge at 72 percent of the $5 billion total, with 62 percent of Cerner’s annual revenue being recurring. Companies have chased the subscription-based revenue model with varying degrees of success to try to smooth out revenue swings due to the timing of contract signings, but Cerner has delivered. Customers could theoretically displace its products more easily under the subscription model, but few will do so given the lack of alternatives and the effort they expended to implement them in the first place. Investors aren’t loving everything about Cerner, though – the health IT market is changing pretty quickly, the company’s margins have slipped a bit, the VA deal hasn’t yet played out as expected, and the new CEO is an unknown factor. CERN shares are up 16 percent in the past year, which sounds great except that just investing that the Nasdaq composite would have yielded nearly double that.

From Math Challenged: “Re: HIMSS conference combo deal. They tweeted that a combo pass for HIMSS19 and Health 2.0 is a ‘2 for 1 Deal … for the price of 1 ticket.’ Not so – the website says the combo for HIMSS members is $1,799.” I don’t understand that claim either. The HIMSS early bird registration rate for members was $795 this year, so that means you’re paying $1,034 for Health 2.0 instead of its early bird price of $1,199, which isn’t much of a deal.

From Old Timer: “Re: open position at BIDMC. Is John Halamka leaving?” The job posting is for CIO of just the physician group from what I can tell.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Datica Chief Data Officer Mark Olschesky tweeted out a challenge at the HIMSS conference in which he offered to donate $1 to my DonorsChoose project for each attendee at his session on HIPAA and GDPR compliance for developers. His donation (and your attendance, if you were among the 300 there) along with matching funds fully covered these teacher grant requests:

  • 12 sets of headphones, a microphone, and a barcode scanner for Mrs. R’s elementary school class in Tucson, AZ
  • A document camera for Mrs. S’s second grade class in Charlotte, NC
  • Two tablets for programming robots for Ms. C’s middle school class in Fresno, CA
  • Two tablets and cases for robotics programming for Mrs. A’s elementary school class in Theodore, AL
  • Speakers for Mrs. D’s elementary school class in Holyoke, MA
  • Eight LCD writing boards for Ms. C’s elementary school class in Memphis, TN

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Hyland Software. The company combines information management and enterprise medical imaging with business process and case management capabilities to deliver a suite of unparalleled content and image management solutions to address the clinical, financial, and operational needs of healthcare organizations around the world. More than 2,000 healthcare organizations use Hyland Healthcare’s world-class solutions every day to become more agile, efficient, and effective. The product suite – Acuo by Hyland, Brainware by Hyland, NilRead, OnBase by Hyland, PACSgear, Perceptive Content, and ShareBase by Hyland – helps complete patient records, eliminate reimbursement delays, and enhance business processes. Hyland Healthcare is a part of Hyland, a leader in providing software solutions for managing content, processes, and cases for organizations across the globe. Thanks to Hyland Healthcare for supporting HIStalk.


Webinars

April 5 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Succeeding in Value-Based Care Via a Technology-Driven Approach.” Sponsor: Health Fidelity. Presenters: Adele L. Towers, MD, MPH, senior clinical advisor, UPMC Technology Development Center; Adam Gronsky, director of advisory services, Health Fidelity. Success in value-based care requires a thorough understanding of how risk-based payment models work. To prosper in this data-laden era of care, providers need to manage their patient populations holistically rather than through a collection of individual episodes and be able to accurately identify, document, and report risk scores. Given the stakes, is your provider organization adequately set up to take on and succeed in managing risk? In this webinar, learn how technology-enabled risk capture optimization is helping providers succeed in risk-based payment models.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Cognizant will acquire Louisville, KY-based RCM services vendor Bolder Healthcare Solutions, adding to its previous health IT-related acquisitions TMG Health and TriZetto.  

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Greenway Health will close its Lake Mary, FL office in late April and lay off 27 employees who work there. The company had previously announced the closure of that office as well as those in Atlanta and Birmingham as it consolidates operations in Tampa, FL.

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The White House kills Broadcom’s hostile takeover of Qualcomm, meaning that Capsule Tech will remain a Qualcomm subsidiary. Thanks to reader Dr. Trump, who reminded me of the healthcare IT connection. Qualcomm acquired medical device integration vendor Capsule Technologie in September 2015.


Sales

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Virginia Hospital Center (VA) will implement the Spok Care Connect unified communication platform.


People

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Former HIMSS President and CEO Steve Lieber joins association software vendor Next Wave Connect as executive advisor.

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Advocate Health Care SVP/CIO Bobbie Byrne, MD is named CIO for Advocate Aurora Health once the Advocate-Aurora merger is completed in the next few weeks. Aurora CIO Preston Simons will “retire.” The CEOs of each health system will serve as co-CEOs of the merged organization, which never works even though it gets the deal signed in bypassing egos. I question the focus of a company that doesn’t have enough decisiveness to put one person in charge, although the co-CEO arrangement is usually abandoned fairly quickly anyway.

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Intelligent Medical Objects promotes Matt Cardwell, PhD to chief product officer and Jose Maldonado to chief solutions officer.

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Collective Medical promotes Andrew Reeve to SVP of sales.

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Influence Health promotes Mike Oakman to COO.


Announcements and Implementations

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GetWellNetwork adds Healthwise’s patient education video library to its patient experience platform.

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Medable announces Insight, a blockchain-powered medical data exchange platform for research studies. The company offers tools for building secure data-related applications, analytics, alerts, and data visualization. It claims that researchers can develop a clinical study app in one day.

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CompuGroup Medical launches a project to create new ambulatory products for several countries, with the US at its center. The core product can be customized to individual markets but will share a code base, tools, and processes.

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DirectTrust’s board calls for nominations for new board directors and for the CEO position being vacated by David Kibbe, MD, MBA at the end of the year.

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Datica launches a Kubernetes-enabled version of its security and compliance technology that will allow AWS and Microsoft Azure users to deploy Datica’s platform on their own cloud accounts.


Government and Politics

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Media reports suggest that President Trump is considering replacing VA Secretary David Shulkin with Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who is a former Texas governor and Air Force captain and pilot. 


Other

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ECRI focuses on diagnostic errors in its top 10 patient safety issues for 2018, with “incorporating health IT into patient safety programs” being the only pure IT item on the list.

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FYI: the latest update to the Chrome browser adds the desperately-needed option to permanently mute a site, preventing the heart-stopping racket that some sites create with auto-play video (CNN and local TV station sites are the worst offenders). Right-click a tab and the “mute site” option appears.

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A JAMA article says out-of-control US healthcare spending is driven by high prices and administrative overhead rather than overutilization. It notes in comparing the US to 10 high-income countries that the US:

  • Spends twice as much on medical care, representing 17.8 percent of GDP vs. the next-highest 12.4 percent
  • Covers 90 percent of residents with health insurance vs. the next-lowest country at 99 percent
  • Has the highest obesity rate, the lowest life expectancy, and the highest rate of infant mortality
  • Has about the same number of doctors, nurses, and hospital beds per 1,000 people , but pays clinicians a lot more
  • Spends 8 percent on healthcare administrative costs vs. the next-highest 3 percent
  • Spends $1,443 per person on prescription drugs vs. the next-highest $939, with drugs here costing up to 10 times what people in other countries pay

Epic’s Judy Faulkner tells Politico that the company won’t challenge the VA’s single-source Cerner contract choice (“we feel it’s the customer’s right to pick whatever they want”), but she estimates that Epic would have charged at least $3 billion less than Cerner and would offer more interoperability with providers who see veterans that seek care outside the VA system.


Sponsor Updates

  • Formativ Health announces a patient engagement solution for Salesforce Health Cloud.
  • Meditech will exhibit at the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals (TORCH) 2018 Conference in Dallas April 10-12.
  • CareSync publishes a new report on chronic care management for rural health clinics and FQHC practices.
  • Carevive will present and exhibit at the ACCC Annual Meeting and Cancer Center Business Summit March 14-16 in Washington, DC.
  • Software Advice includes ChartLogic in its list of frontrunners in the EHR software market.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at Endo Expo 2018 March 17-20 in Chicago.
  • Ellkay joins the CommonWell Health Alliance.
  • Healthfinch receives an Innovation Award from Athenahealth for its Charlie Practice Automation Platform.
  • Healthwise announces new health educational content partnerships with TeleHealth Services, and Mytonomy.
  • InterSystems and Rhode Island Quality Institute deliver designee alerts for patient empowerment.
  • IMO and Aorn Syntegrity partner to create a consolidated surgical scheduling procedure list.
  • Kyruus integrates IBM Watson Virtual Agent with its ProviderMatch technology to enable AI-assisted patient-provider matching and scheduling
  • Clinical Architecture CEO Charlie Harp discusses interoperability on CommonWell TV.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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The Smokin’ Doc Celebrates a Successful HIMSS

March 12, 2018 News 6 Comments

The exhibit hall closed Thursday at 4:00 p.m. Lorre and Brianne had already packed up our little bundle of booth furnishings and were saying goodbye to their new friends at booth neighbors Avelead and Valcom.

Setting up and then abandoning a booth is like camping, where you start with an empty patch of woods, turn it into a festive home and have a great few days in it, but are then shocked afterward to see that when you take everything down, it was just a quiet, sad little spot all along. The space was transformed into something else by the people who temporarily inhabited it.

For that reason, we always leave the Smokin’ Doc standee in the booth for the staff to deal with after the exhibit hall closes for good. He can’t be reused, but we can’t bear to just stuff him into a convention center trashcan. We always just walk away, and in our minds, he stands guard forever over our now-forlorn booth space.

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The  ladies joked with Paul from Valcom that they wanted to get a final photo of the Smokin’ Doc at a slot machine if his folks could help carry him over. Paul said he would do them one better – they would take him out on the town and show him a good time with photos to prove it. Lorre said we didn’t expect them to haul a six-foot cardboard figure around, but Paul assured her that, “If we say we’ll do it, we will.”

What followed was a weekend of texted Smokin’ Doc photos from all over Las Vegas at all hours. We laughed every time our phones pinged.

Here’s a recap of how the Smokin’ Doc spent his post-HIMSS celebration weekend in Las Vegas, with the text messages that accompanied the photos.

[Just to allay any suspicions of a phony stunt — which is what I would automatically assume if I were reading this — the Valcom folks had never heard of HIStalk until the exhibit hall opened and I’m still not sure they know what we do, so they certainly weren’t looking for exposure. What they did was entirely on their own and we had no idea what was happening back in Las Vegas until the photos started arriving as we were heading home. We asked afterward if it was OK to give them a little plug.]


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[Lorre responds that we’ve never named him and that they can choose a name that fits his personality].

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[Robert Bell is a former Harlem Globetrotter and police officer who now devotes his time to anti-bullying]


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[Contact Paula Burrier, executive casino host at The D Las Vegas.] 


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Paul made us laugh, so here’s a little plug for Valcom in return. Roanoke, VA-based Valcom sells communications solutions to schools, commercial, healthcare, and government that include mass communications, voice paging, outdoor emergency help-summoning call boxes, and an audible sound curtain that prevents hallway and exam room conversations from being overheard as a HIPAA violation. They offer an emergency lockdown system that secures buildings after a threat has been identified. Lorre asked Paul to describe an event he mentioned to her in the booth: “A little over a week ago, one of our higher education clients had to use our IP6000 and eLaunch system to lock down the entire school because of an active shooter. Once this lockdown occurs, it makes it hard for a wrongdoer to stay the course. No lives were lost that day and our system did what it was designed to do. I take pride in working for a company that saves lives when seconds count and is 100 percent American designed, manufactured, and supported.” Paul will offer a site inspection and consultation, including on site and web demos, to readers who contact him at pburton@valcom.com.

Monday Morning Update 3/12/18

March 11, 2018 News 9 Comments

Top News

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Cerner says in its HIMSS conference investor presentation that the VA will go live in 48 waves that will begin in Q4 2019 with pilot sites and then run through 2027, while DoD go-lives beyond the pilot sites will start this fall and go live in 23 waves (assuming the project reviews in both result in a go-ahead verdict). The company is also pursuing government opportunities with the Coast Guard, Indian Health Services, and CDC. 


Reader Comments

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From Amy Contagious: “Re: HIMSS. I’m wondering what if any sickness people returned from the conference with? I have a light case of norovirus or similar. Wondering how many colds, flu, food issues, etc. since I don’t recall anything except exhaustion last year.” Attendees, tell us here. I’m happy to have returned just fine, other than I’m scared to get on the scales to measure the after-effect of a week’s worth of dietary destruction. Some of it was worth the calories, such as the amazing burger and fries, pizza, and wings at Home Plate Grill & Bar. I didn’t go to a single party or vendor event, spending my evenings in the rental house writing HIStalk, so low-key places nearby were just fine.

From Patiently Participating: “Re: patients at HIMSS. Did you sponsor patients to attend again this year?” I did not. I like the idea of having tech-savvy people who are actively involved in managing their chronic conditions (as well as caregivers) participate in health IT. However, I learned last time that more prep work is needed before just turning people loose in the glitzy exhibit hall to challenge random booth salespeople. Like most trade group conferences, HIMSS isn’t really designed for people who aren’t working in the field  (whether that’s a feature or a bug is debatable) and just having consumers drop in isn’t necessarily productive despite noble intentions. My recommendations for offering scholarships are:

  1. Determine the desired outcomes of such participation.
  2. Develop a plan of how patients (or consumers in general) can constructively participate in the conference as a representative of others like themselves. It’s too easy to get caught up in the parties and giveaways while forgetting the real point of being there.
  3. Create a mandatory online training program for prospective attendees to help them understand the most effective ways to be a patient advocate and how to train others.
  4. Document the technology usage, frustrations, and desires of those attendees in advance so that they can be shared.
  5. Require as a condition of participation that attendees report to their community at large what they did there to advance their collective cause.
  6. Work with vendors to determine how to best engage consumer representatives during and after the conference.
  7. Create an online directory of companies looking for consumer guidance and for patient advocates interested in providing it.
  8. Set up specific meetings at the conference with the right vendor people, particularly those in product design.
  9. Make participation ongoing to whatever level those attendees and vendors want.
  10. Choose new participants regularly to bring in fresh, objective viewpoints.

From Tarheel: “Re: Novant SVP/CIO Dave Garrett. Has left the organization.” Unverified. Dave hasn’t ever been listed on the health system’s leadership page from what I can tell, but it now contains the bio of EVP/Chief Digital Officer Angela Yochem, who was hired in January. She doesn’t have any healthcare experience except for a short stint as CTO for drug maker AstraZeneca. Novant paid Dave $1 million per year, according to its latest tax forms, but he still made less than the chief consumer officer ($1.5 million) and several others just in case you were thinking that “non-profit” implies “modestly-compensated executives.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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With HIMSS behind us, let’s get back to the “What I Wish I’d Known Before” question about taking your first hospital IT executive job. Or more specifically, your response. Here’s mine: I wish I’d know that non-profit health systems have just as many conniving middle managers as any business, stabbing your back regularly in trying to wrest internal or external IT control. A lot of hospital people are really nice, but quite a few aren’t.

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My Android phone puts me in the one-third minority among poll respondents.

New poll to your right or here: HIMSS attendees, which of the Big Five inpatient vendors made the best impression last week?

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I’m interest in your thoughts about the conference. What were the best and worst parts?

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Since I didn’t do a “Weekender” post last week, here’s a DonorsChoose update from Ms. M in New York City, who asked for take-home math tools for her third graders. She reports, “They couldn’t wait to see all the math games. They were even more excited when they found out they were going to be able to take the materials home with them for homework. They are so excited! These materials will help us strength our math skills and prepare us for the state exam coming up. These games will allow my students to review past math chapters in a fun and interesting way. Once again, thank you for the donation!”


My Biggest HIMSS Conference Takeaways

  1. The White House and HHS used the HIMSS conference to come out shockingly forcefully in vowing to attack information blocking; to give patients more control over their information; to move more quickly into value-based care; to reduce physician EHR burden; and to disrupt the system in which health systems keep charging more without delivering commensurately improved outcomes. Nobody knows how these populist talking points will get turned into policy.
  2. VA and DoD EHRs remain a contentious topic.
  3. The big keep getting bigger in healthcare, including in health IT.
  4. Microsoft, Amazon, and Google have their eyes on earning a chunk of our massive healthcare spending by replacing local data centers with cloud hosting and back-end services.
  5. AI is ready for prime time, at least in the context of powering virtual assistants that make clinician EHR interaction more tolerable.
  6. Health IT is spreading beyond health systems and practices to skilled nursing facilities, home health, public health, behavioral health, and pharma.
  7. Everybody is talking about consumerism despite little evidence that it actually exists in the classic sense due to lack of provider transparency and the involvement of intermediaries such as insurers.
  8. The real Meaningful Use ROI is just now becoming obvious as massive amounts of electronic data are being used for research, outcomes studies, financial analysis, and whole-patient views, all of which provide evidence to support policy and practice changes that would not have been possible otherwise.
  9. Interoperability is improving, but far from solved, as providers still have no financial incentive to demand it of their vendors and competitors.
  10. HIMSS keeps acquiring and growing its way to a bigger bottom line.

HIStalk Image Sizes

A reader complained about too-small images in news posts and I said I would put it to a vote. The choices are as follows.

Option 1 – No Change

Use small images (250 pixels wide) for low-detail items like a hospital photo, larger images (350 pixels) for web captures or anything that would be hard to read in the smaller size. Even the large size could be hard to read if the image contains a lot of text (like a dense web page). Examples are below.

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A 250-pixel image.

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A 350-pixel image.

Option 2 – Use Mostly Larger Images

This option involves making the standard size 350 pixels wide in all most cases, even low-detail images such as the hospital example above. The downside is that wider images are also taller, meaning it requires a bit more scrolling to read the entire post.

Option 3 – Use Thumbnails

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Images would be displayed as a “thumbnail” preview that’s about the same size as the current small image. Clicking the image displays it larger, and the larger size could be much bigger than the current 350 pixels. Downsides: pretty much every image would need to be clicked to view it. You have to page back after reviewing to return to HIStalk. Accidentally hitting the image with your finger on a mobile device takes you out of the HIStalk page.

Vote for your preferred option.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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HIMSS extends its lease through 2021 of the top floor at Cleveland’s Global Center. They should get the American Optometric Association on board since the building’s visually jarring design has probably spurred quite a few eye exams.


Decisions

  • Fairfield Medical Center (OH) will switch from McKesson to Cerner on April 1, 2018.
  • Central Montana Medical Center (MT) will go live on Cerner in 2019.
  • Hermann Area District (MO) will go live on Cerner in June 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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Contra Costa Health Services (CA) promotes CIO Dave Runt to COO.

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Deloitte Consulting hires Douglas Rosendale, DO (CAIRNformatics) as federal chief medical interoperability officer.


Other

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Pharma bro Martin Shkreli — who had previously boasted that prosecuting attorneys in his securities fraud case were “junior varsity” — cries like a baby before being sentenced to seven years in prison. His own attorney said in his closing statement that while he sometimes wants to comfort his client, “there’s times I want to punch him in the face.” Note that Shkreli was found guilty only of ripping off fellow rich people – ripping off not-rich patients and their insurers by jacking up the price of Daraprim by over 5,000 percent remains perfectly legal and, from a purely business standpoint, admirable.

Odd: a 52-year-old, female New York City EMT is arrested for hitting a hospital employee over the head with a computer tablet following an argument.


Contacts

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

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Dr. Jayne at HIMSS 3/8/18

March 9, 2018 News 1 Comment

No matter how comfy of shoes I pack, my feet are always tired by my last day at HIMSS and I find myself questioning why I come every year. I was able to go to some good sessions, earn some hard-to-find continuing education credit for the Clinical Informatics board certification, and learn about some up and coming vendors and potentially disruptive products that I’d like to see succeed. Today was a good reminder though that healthcare IT is full of people who really care, people who have passion, and people who are trying to have some fun along the way.

I started my day cruising some booths with Dr. Lyle Berkowitz, getting his thoughts about various technologies and where he sees things going in the next few years. Some of us work in relative isolation and it’s good to know that what we perceive as trends are being seen by others, and that we’re sharing the same struggles. We ran into some folks he knew at WiserCare, which is working to engage patients around various clinical issues including end-of-life conversations. They deliver education to make those critical conversations more productive or to encourage their occurrence when they’re not happening. Having families engage in these discussions is something I’m passionate about, so I’m always excited to see someone working to improve the process.

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From there, we made our way to the Newwave Telecom & Technologies booth which delighted us in several ways. First, there was the donut bar, where you could select a dip or drizzle for your donut, followed by toppings including whipped cream, chocolate chips, M&Ms, pecans, bacon, and more.

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I thought I heard Lyle yell “Bingo,” but it was only in my head, when we saw their buzzword wall.

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He had a busy schedule, so we headed our separate ways. I talked to some folks at HealthGrid about their mobile patient engagement platform. They’re doing some work to help organizations that might have multiple patient portals as they work to give their patients a more seamless experience. Their booth was clean and well-organized and I liked their floral display.

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I spent a little time with First Databank learning about what they’re doing with device management and solutions to make clinical alerts more relevant. I was most taken by their Meducation offering, which gives patients instructions on taking their medications in a clear and easy-to-understand way. It’s available in 24 languages and anyone who has had to explain how to measure medication in a syringe should appreciate the clear, dose-specific pictures that show up on the print-out.

I ran into several engaging booth staffers today. On the main floor, Dave at the RFIDeas booth caught my eye with his cowboy hat and spent some time showing me solutions from their partner SerialIO. They offer a variety of RFID, NFC, and barcode scanners and sensors at good price points. On the lower floor, Mark at the Epson booth showed me some scanners I was interested in for our ever-expanding practice. We really only scan insurance cards and IDs anymore, and they’ve got some small footprint options that I didn’t know about.

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Crowds were significantly thinner today and I was able to hit the Venetian food court at 12:15 and actually find a seat. I visited several sponsors. Legacy Data Access had a nice green theme to match our signs. Patient Keeper and Agfa also had their signs prominently displayed.

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Many vendors come to HIMSS but don’t have booths. I ran into this guy in his mobile office behind the Epic booth. He offered me a spot on his cushy carpet while I checked email and we had a Judy Faulkner sighting.

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This booth was empty of people but full of luggage, including someone’s shirt hanging over the pipe-and-drape to the empty booth next door. A closer look revealed the HIMSS18 Exhibitor Move-Out Bulletin in the trash can. I didn’t read it, but I’m sure it had instructions about how to depart gracefully. Several booths had trash on the tables, empty bottles, and were in general disarray.

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Leaving your booth unattended is not only a waste of money but also a potential business liability. Beware of sketchy characters who might decide to make themselves at home and confuse potential customers.

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I had been looking for the Optiv booth since the opening reception, when I came across it and found it interesting because there was nothing about the booth that said what the company did. I couldn’t find it in the directory, and since they were a first-time exhibitor, I wanted to see what they were all about. By 1:15 today, they had everything packed up, the screens turned off, and the remaining booth staffer was more interested in packing then chatting.

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Transcend had the latest fashion for hospital security personnel. We wandered around looking for the Uber Health booth, but all the reps were busy assisting other customers.

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We had a good chat with these guys at HipLink, who always look great in their racing shirts. One was rocking some great tennis shoes and they shared their secrets of how to stand just on the edge of the more-padded booth carpet to give your feet a break. I’ve written about them for several years – they’re always engaging and have a variety of solutions including messaging and business continuity. They cross industries to utilities, transportation, and a host of others. We talked about the vibe in Hall G and one commented that it was “Trade Show, Old School.” We laughed about show swag: pens that don’t write, flashlights that are dead by the time you get them home, and all sorts of squishy stress relief items. Someone had abandoned a squishy tree in their booth and it was hiding behind their desk display. Note the lack of cell phones, lack of clutter, and total focus on the aisle. These guys are pros.

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These folks from CosmoKnows became frustrated with lack of communication between different care venues and were tired of waiting for vendors to solve their problems, so they started their own company. Their enthusiasm was contagious, for sure.

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The body-painting weirdness continued today, this time with an airbrushed skeletal system.

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The “First Time Exhibitor Stylin’ and Profilin’ Award” goes to Merino Computer concepts. It was late in the day and they were in massage chairs, but they were engaging. If you look carefully, you can see the booth staff represented in their IT Superheroes montage.

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I was puzzled by these InstaMed bottle openers.

By the end of the Booth Crawl, I was dragging. Jellyfish Health saved the day when they offered me a cold Diet Coke. It was nearly 3 p.m. but the booth staff was still fresh and eager to talk even when the booth teams around them were starting to bail.

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It was then time to head to the airport. Due to the traffic, I had plenty of time to catch up on email and texts. My favorite HIMSS BFF sent me this picture from his Uber. To all of our readers, whether you attended HIMSS in person or vicariously through our posts, we wish you “every success in your job.” Another HIMSS is in the books and we’ll see you next year in Orlando!

From HIMSS 3/8/18

March 9, 2018 News 3 Comments

Newsy Items

DoD doctors and software technicians tell Politico that the Cerner rollout at four pilot sites is plagued with system bugs, inadequately trained users, and login times of up to 10 minutes. Problems reported by those interviewed and in a previous internal DoD assessment of the pilot project include:

  • Doctors can’t treat as many patients.
  • Software-related patient safety incidents are being filed almost daily and some doctors have quit over fears that patients will be harmed.
  • Interfaces are problematic.
  • Documentation is outdated.
  • Training, especially for clinical specialties, was inadequate or non-existent.
  • Users complain that workflows are more cumbersome than with the system Cerner replaced.
  • The pilot site has no failover capability.
  • Extensive cybersecurity vulnerabilities mean the system could not survive a cyberattack.

DoD officials acknowledged the problems in a hastily arranged conference call, but say the rollout will continue as scheduled. As it should – the laundry list Politico ran is from just a handful of users and , other than the last two items, you could copy and paste it into any EHR implementation project that’s just a few months in.

Singapore decides to use two EHR vendors instead of make a single-vendor selection, initially causing Allscripts shares to drop to the point that the company files an SEC 8-K form indicating that while it didn’t get the single-vendor bid, at least its existing Sunrise business in Singapore isn’t at risk.


From Not So Scientific: “Re: KLAS. I just pulled ten of our last deals and seven of them stated that they looked at KLAS as part of their decision-making process. They are no Consumer Reports — wish there was a different option.” I suppose there’s a second question – did they look at KLAS reports just to validate their choice, or did it actually change their minds?

From Jemima: “Re: women. Al the acutely ill ‘patients’ in the Masimo beds are women, heavily made up. I guess men don’t end up in the hospital?” I wanted to interview one of those ladies to see what it’s like lying in a bed all day, trying to look sick with people staring at you. The job description must include “strong bladder.”

From Emily Peters: “Re: women. My worst encounter was when a HIMSS attendee asked if we had ‘any executives at the booth, or just women?” a few years ago. ARG. A younger colleague of mine posted photos of putting on a fake diamond ring to ward off creeps this year. Some things never change at HIMSS, it seems.” Next conference I’m arming an attractive female attendee with a hidden audio recorder to capture inappropriate comments for memorializing on HIStalk. I’m actually not joking about that. I don’t think we males understand what it’s like to receive unwanted attention or to be demeaned individually or collectively, intentionally or otherwise.

From Come Again?: “Re: women. Cerner CFO Marc Naughton during the HIMSS investor briefing, and on International Women’s Day, no less: ‘Instead of teacup rides and ‘It’s A Small World’ soundtrack at Disney, Vegas has crack and hookers. So basically the same. Speaking of hookers, I heard this morning that this year at HIMSS represents the first time ever that investment bankers have outnumbered prostitutes in the city, and that’s pretty amazing. Actually, I should probably apologize for comparing bankers to prostitutes. After all, that’s really unfair to the prostitutes.” Unverified. Although to be fair, some prostitutes are male, so to assume otherwise from his comments is in itself ironically sexist.  


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The past several days have led me to detest the Sands Expo, which opened nearly 30 years ago (eons in Las Vegas implosion years) as an overflow space for the Las Vegas Convention Center. It feels outdated and I suspect it was not designed to hold a mega-booth exhibit the size of HIMSS, although it hosts larger conventions. The odd layout (especially the upstairs / downstairs) means full-paying exhibitors get fewer visitors than they should, it’s almost impossible to orient yourself to even leave the hall, and the too-few concession offerings are pathetically poor. I also found the restrooms inside the hall to be small and primitive and I’m not a fan of the congested hallways outside the hall and throughout the complex. About the only positive is the attached hotels that replaced the old Sands Hotel in 1999. Orlando is light years better and so were the convention centers in HIMSS-abandoned cities like New Orleans and Chicago. Las Vegas has always been my least-favorite city in the world and the convention center holds a similar spot in my heart.

Despite the choice of venue, kudos to HIMSS for developing and running a hugely complicated conference while making it look easy. I realized as I wrote my convention center critique that I have nothing bad to say about the event itself. I can’t even imagine the work required years before the first attendee shows up.

The announced registration through Thursday (since the HIMSS link for Friday’s numbers doesn’t work) was 43,857, up 4 percent from HIMSS17 but about the same as HIMSS15.

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My favorite giveaway this week: cool socks. Thanks, Geneia. I may steal the idea for next year.

Lorre is still offering her “Cellar Dweller Special” for our Hall G neighbors who want to sign up as a new sponsor. A year online is better than three days in the basement.

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It was cool to see software groups from Bavaria, Austria, and Israel down in Hall G. These candies were so pretty that I didn’t take one – it would have felt like defiling and art display.

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Germany-based Future-Shape makes a capacitance-powered sub-flooring that turns any room into a touchscreen-like tracking system that can detect falls, issue warnings for unusual movement (like someone who’s been in a hospital bathroom for a long time), and track movement for workflow redesign.

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Learn on Demand Systems helps vendors set up large-scale training and testing environments for their software, with options for cloud-based demonstrations and labs that can be used anywhere (proof is their 24-hour training activity hotspot video). They also offer cybersecurity training. 

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I don’t drink hot tea, but if I did, I’d want this.

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I like this booth design – the layout and lighting were well done.

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This magician does an amazing vanishing act.

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I was shocked that vendors were still offering refreshments on Thursday, the last (and shortened) exhibit hall day. The best item of the whole week was the doughnut bar of InterSystems, where you choose a doughnut type, pick which warm sauces you want, pick a fruit glaze if you want, and then decide what toppings would best round it out. My personal doughnut chef recommended a chocolate cake doughnut with warm dark chocolate sauce, large candied pecans, hunks of real bacon, and whipped cream, when he then garnished nicely. It was as fabulous as it looks.

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What goes great with a doughnut? A mimosa.

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What is it about these people that screams, “I’m not really a clinician?”

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Walking through this ugly passageway between the halls is like car washes that finish up with a hurricane-like blast of drying air, except this particular blast was icy cold.

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TigerText has renamed itself to make sure people understand that they move all kinds of data around, not just text.

Dell EMC’s booth was so large that they offered audio tours like you see at museums. I sat through their theater presentation, which was spectacularly uninteresting.

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Alert Medical was global before it was HIMSS-cool, showing up every year in their red-and-white suits even though I don’t think they’ve ever sold a US customer and maybe aren’t even trying. This demo was being done in another language.

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I got a demo of ClearSense, which offers a “Mission Control for Healthcare” dashboard that has a lot of smarts and good UI in presenting an intelligent view of just about every type of data you can throw at it. A user from Meharry Medical College said they’re doing cool things with it, with their next step being to create a data science institute.

That’s the HIMSS18 wrap-up unless I think of something else. It’s back to the usual Monday Morning Update next week. Let me know what you thought of the conference and any life-altering takeaways it provided. It’s back to Orlando February 10-15, 2019.

Jenn’s HIMSS 3/8/18

March 9, 2018 News 2 Comments

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My last day at HIMSS kicked off with a pit stop for breakfast in the press room, which was refreshingly free of sugar-filled pastries (or perhaps they were just all gone by the time I got there). The Sands was decidedly quieter than Tuesday and Wednesday, with more than a few attendees exhibiting that glazed-over look that comes from too little fresh air and sunlight, and too much caffeine and alcohol.

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Many female HIMSS-goers wore purple in honor of International Women’s Day, which, according to the IWD website, is an homage to the purple, green, and white worn by members of the Women’s Social and Political Union in the UK in the early 20th century. Purple represented justice and dignity, green hope, and white purity. Today, the color purple reflects the day’s goal of celebrating women’s social, economic, and political achievements and the need for gender equality.

Madhuri Kudrimoti, director of clinical informatics at Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin, proudly sported the color during the morning’s Mentoring Meetup, which paired over female 100 attendees with table moderators to discuss topics like work/life balance, networking, and salary negotiation. I had the chance to chat with Kudrimoti about her organization’s health IT needs before the meetup got into full swing. Froedtert recently hired its first chief analytics officer – a woman, no less – who has tasked Kudrimoti with looking for analytics solutions that can help their organization aggregate their four or five data warehouses into one. Analytics are part of a five-year strategy Froedtert has just started to embark upon.

Karen Marie-Wilding, table moderator and senior director of quality and value-based care at The University of Maryland Medical System, was quick to tell me that E&M (evaluation and management) coding needs to be retired when I asked her what topic or theme seemed to be prevalent at HIMSS. “Provider documentation needs to change in a big way,” she added, telling me that  topic had come up in nearly every session she attended. Nuance solutions seemed to have also generated some buzz among her documentation circles.

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Fun fact on IWD: The name of the new Allscripts EHR, Avenel, does in fact have a story behind it (despite booth reps telling Mr. H it had no known provenance), as the tweet above can attest.

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I didn’t see much purple as I made my way into the exhibit hall. Trick shots from Chef Anton (who was in fact a chef) were in abundance at the Iatric Systems booth, though. Just after I snapped this pic, the man on the pool table reached into his pocket and grabbed his phone for a selfie.

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RTLS vendor CenTrak seemed to have decent traffic for the last day of HIMSS.

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Clinicspectrum CEO Vishal Gandhi always looks sharp on the show floor. He had on a different but equally eye-catching jacket every day of the conference.

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The LogicStream Health team is always welcoming when I stop by. This time around I got to meet founder and CEO Patrick Yoder, who happened to be chatting with friend and former colleague Ray Wolski, VP of strategic solutions at Wolters Kluwer.

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Zebu Compliance Solutions had a friendly blowup of the South Asian domestic cattle the company is named for.

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I had a great conversation with the folks at Fitbit, who showed me some of the compelling ways its users are sharing their personal health success stories using the new social sharing feature on its app. A first-time exhibitor, the company was touting its recent acquisition of Twine Health and the deeper dive it hopes to take into health management.

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By the last day of HIMSS, I’m pretty immune to booth stunts, but the get-up above definitely got my attention. Paessler System Engineer Greg Ross donned his lederhosen to attract attendees to the German IT infrastructure monitoring company’s booth, and it seemed to work given the regret he had over not wearing the outfit Tuesday or Wednesday.

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While vendors were scurrying out of the shuttered exhibit hall, I headed over to the session on physician suicide and clinician engagement tools presented by psychotherapist and StelliCare CEO Melissa McCool and Lifely Insights Chief Strategy Officer Janae Sharp, who shared a very personal story of her physician husband’s suicide several years ago. Between 15 and 20 hands went up in the audience when Sharp asked who had known a physician that committed suicide, and nearly everyone acknowledged knowing someone that had attempted or committed suicide.

Health IT came up, of course, but the ladies emphasized that EHRs and the like aren’t as much of a contributor to physician burnout and suicide as headlines would have us believe. Data from KLAS backed up their point. Solutions offered include changing licensure requirements so that mental health issues don’t have to be reported for re-licensure – a change that would hopefully result in MDs being more likely to seek proactive help, less burdensome interactions with EHRs, less burdensome federal regulations, and offering physicians more coping tools and support (like mental healthcare via telemedicine) without any stigma attached.

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One sobering session led into another, with my last of the day – Lessons Learned from the Boston Bombing – proving to be my absolute favorite. Former Boston Chief of Police Dan Linskey took attendees through the day of the bombing, showing video footage and playing audio to help us understand the way in which emergency services from all sectors of the city came together in a crisis. We laughed, we cried, and we finally gave him a standing ovation. It was a far more compelling session than any HIMSS keynote I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t help but think HIMSS-goers would have been more inspired by Linskey’s experience and lessons on strategic planning and leadership than any tune from a Voice contestant or buzzword uttered by Eric Schmidt.

I took one last walk through the Venetian and called it an early night. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth. Your words of gratitude and encouragement keep us going year round. HIMSS18 is in the books. See you in Orlando for HIMSS19!

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