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Monday Morning Update 10/1/18

September 30, 2018 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center tells technology commercialization VP Gregory Raskin, MD to turn over $1.4 million worth of biotech company shares that he personally owns to MSKCC.

MSKCC had invested in the cancer drug company — which just went public at a share price that values the health system’s stake at $73 million — and had assigned Raskin as its representative on the board of Y-mAbs Therapeutics, for which the company gave him stock options.

MSKCC says it will change its policies so that it will retain any proceeds accruing from the involvement of its executives instead of enriching those executives.

The new policy will not be retroactively applied to MSKCC’s high-profile involvement with Paige.AI. In addition, MSKCC’s CEO will be allowed (at least for now) to continue serving on the board of cancer drug maker Merck.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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The vast majority of poll respondents don’t want researchers or insurers monitoring their social media activities, no matter how pure their intentions. Also noted in the poll’s comments is that our approval as consumers isn’t really necessary anyway – once you’ve posted your data online, anyone can buy and sell it.

New poll to your right or here: to what extent do you use a smart speaker (such as Amazon Echo or Google Home) at home? I like the Google Home Mini that I bought for $20 last Christmas, but I admit that I haven’t done much with it beyond asking it for the weather and setting timers for cooking (it’s totally worth it for just those two things, however). Add your comment after voting to inspire me with ideas of how I can use my gadget more productively.

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I’m improbably penning this from the sparse plains of Thackerville, OK. Mrs. HIStalk mysteriously announced last week, “We’re flying to DFW Saturday morning. Pack casual clothes for two days and don’t Google to figure out where we’re going because it’s a surprise for you.” Our destination turned out to be front-row seats at The Roots concert at WinStar Casino. It was as stunning as you might expect – I’m convinced that they’re the most talented, hardest-working band in the US and Black Thought and Questlove are geniuses in several disciplines. I’ll be playing their back catalog and revisiting Black Thought’s epically poetic 10-minute freestyle rap – imagine the talent required to throw out off-the-cuff, rhythmically resonant lines such as, “As babies we went from Similac and Enfamil to Internet and fentanyl.” Kudos for them for increasing the number of things I can stand about Jimmy Fallon to one. Trivia: Questlove’s father was Lee Andrews, singer for the great 1950s doo-wop group Lee Andrews & The Hearts (“Long Lonely Nights.”)


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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In New Zealand, Orion Health shareholders unenthusiastically (given the lack of better options) approve the company’s plan to sell its only profitable division, which offers the Rhapsody integration engine, to a private equity firm that will run it as a private company. Orion’s other divisions (population health management and hospital software) are big money-losers and did not attract buyer interest. Orion blames its poor results on cash-strapped US hospitals cancelling orders before the company could develop a cloud-based version of Rhapsody. It also says the former Amalga HIS and RIS/PACS it acquired from Microsoft in 2011, developed by another company at Thailand’s Bumrungrad International Hospital, were more of a mess than it thought.  

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The New York Post says revenue cycle technology vendor NThrive (the former MedAssets and Precyse) is the previously unnamed strategic bidder that has offered to buy Athenahealth. NThrive CEO Joel Hackney is a former GE colleague of Athenahealth board chair Jeff Immelt and NThrive owner Pamplona Capital Management could fund the deal by taking on debt.


People

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Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA promotes Joe Cisna, MBA, MHA to global director of vertical solutions and digital marketplace.


Announcements and Implementations

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National Decision Support Company expands its CareSelect solutions for Cerner users to include decision support for laboratory, blood management, and the ABIM Foundation’s Choosing Wisely. Cerner customers were already widely using its image stewardship program to support Medicare’s upcoming imaging appropriate use criteria.

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TriNetX announces self-service precision medicine capabilities for its researcher users, adding Patient Journey Analytics, the ability for researchers to apply their own predictive model to patient data, and giving them the capability to create and monitor de-identified patient cohorts.

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UNC-affiliated Nash UNC Health Care (NC) goes live on Epic, replacing Cerner to run the same system used by UNC, Duke, and Vidant. The president and CEO says the upfront costs are straining the hospital’s bottom line, but annual costs after Year Three will be the same as it was spending on Cerner.  


Privacy and Security

Michigan Medicine notifies 3,700 patients that a fundraising mailing mistake contained one patient’s name on the label but a different patient’s name on the enclosed letter. The fundraising office says it will begin using windowed envelopes to avoid future mishaps.


Other

The former CEO of SingHealth’s IT services organization IHIS, testifying in hearings about its recent massive IT breach, says she immediately fired an employee who in 2014 discovered a security vulnerability in Allscripts Sunrise Clinical Manager and then emailed Epic to suggest using his information to increase market share. IHIS did not, however, follow up on the vulnerability the employee had discovered, assuming that it was no longer a problem since Sunrise had been upgraded. An Allscripts executive complained to the CEO, who then dismissed the employee who had warned that the SCM flaw “could lead to a serious medical leak or even a national security threat.”

Las Vegas’s University Medical Center has still not changed its practices for using an “internal disaster” alert that tells first responders to send patients elsewhere a year after the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting, where at least two shooting victims were taken to another hospital instead of UMC, which is the state’s only Level 1 trauma center. The county designed the alert so that hospitals can notify first responders about flooding or power issues, but it has no power to insist that hospitals stop using it when their EDs are at capacity.

The New York Times notes that nursing homes are closing at a rapid rate, plagued with low occupancy, changes in Medicare payment policies that favor home care, and the problem of offering a service that nobody wants until their other options have been exhausted. Medicaid’s long-term care payments have shifted from 90 percent going to nursing homes 30 years ago to 43 percent today. Aging baby boomers may reverse the trend, however, and nursing homes are retooling to chase the higher payments offered by Medicare for short-term rehab.

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CB Insights perceptively covers the impact of “The Wellness Economy” in which the vague idea of healthy, holistic, experience-driven lifestyles is driving many industries other than healthcare. It predicts the waning of gyms as people (especially Millennials) purse at-home fitness, an increased focus on smart cities, repositioning of nutrition and beauty brands, and an increase in corporate wellness services, providing as evidence the funding and strategic changes companies are adopting to capture new markets.

In India, family members of a man who died during an inpatient stay accuse the private hospital of storing his body for three days afterward so it could bill them for more services.


Sponsor Updates

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Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 9/28/18

September 27, 2018 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Shares of Athenahealth rise slightly after CNBC reports that two private equity firms and one strategic buyer have expressed interest in acquiring the company for close to $131 a share.

The company’s board members are reportedly “motivated to get a deal done.”


Reader Comments

From Former Road Warrior: “Re: HCTec Partners. Checks went out this week to 2,271 current and former consultants who were not paid overtime for working more than 40 hours in one week. The total settlement was $4.5 million.” Unverified since court documents are now almost always unavailable without cost, but I can at least see that the case was settled in July.

From Fall Out Boy: “Re: hackers at Lutheran Hospital. Owner Community Health Systems provides the IT network for spinoff Quorum Health and was infected by malware via QHC’s network. CHS still has several thousand unpatched Windows 2003 servers that include McKesson Horizon applications used at Lutheran. CHS had to shut down those Windows 2003 servers to contain the malware. The upgrade project has been going on for three years now without any results.” Unverified.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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It’s officially fall. Soon it will be the winter holidays and then HIMSS19. That means it’s time for my usual end-of-year deals for new HIStalk sponsors and webinar presenters, whereupon I look away demurely as Lorre offers inducements like a car salesperson anxious to make quota (and to re-stroke my fragile ego with such markers of industry relevance). See what it’s like being one of the cool kids who get a figurative leg up on their less-hip competitors. Now is better since it will get crazy in the less than six weeks between New Year’s Day and HIMSS19.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Adventist Health Bakersfield (CA) will do away with 60 financial services jobs early next year as part of a billing and collections outsourcing deal with Cerner that has already impacted 175 employees over the last six months. The majority of those were re-hired by Cerner and stayed on at the hospital. Cerner has said it will invite the next wave of laid-off staffers to apply for positions at its Missouri headquarters, though as one angry ex-Adventist employee notes, they’ll be competing with former Adventist employees from other parts of the country.

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Los Angeles-based Aiva Health, which has developed virtual assistant-based patient engagement and care coordination software, secures funding from the Google Assistant Investment Program and Amazon’s Alexa Fund.

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Women’s virtual health company Maven raises $27 million, increasing its total to $42 million.

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Cerner will move into 38,000 square feet of office space in Rosslyn, VA to house employees working on the company’s contracts with the VA and DoD.

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Jawbone founder and CEO Hosain Rahman tells ReCode that the company has pivoted from fitness trackers to a device-agnostic remote patient monitoring business that will act as a health check-engine light for monthly subscribers. The new Jawbone Health will use Salesforce’s Health Cloud to securely share customer data with providers, who it seems will then weigh in with treatment advice. The company, which has shrunk from 600 to 110 employees, sputtered out in mid-2017 after mounting financial pressures and competition, including a lengthy patent infringement lawsuit against Fitbit.

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Signify Research describes four ways EHR vendors can continue their growth as the EHR market matures:

  • Diversify into related areas such as population health management, RCM solutions, and IT outsourcing (Cerner, for example, drives 40 percent of revenue from non-core EHR business)
  • Expand the basic EHR offerings
  • Sell outside the US (only Cerner, Epic, Allscripts, and Meditech have done much of this and even they are having challenges) although it’s hard to displace local vendors, making acquisition attractive
  • Pursue acquisitions that drive market share expansion

Cerner expects its Cerner Health Conference to bring 14,000 attendees to KCMO October 8-11, with the conference theme being “Smarter Care.” CHC will also serve as the coming-out party for Chairman and CEO Brent Shafer as well as the resigned Zane Burke’s semi-replacement, Chief Client Officer John Peterzalek.

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Virtual coaching vendor Virta Health hired some new executives this week, which wasn’t as interesting as a review of the components of its type 2 diabetes program – physician supervision, an individualized treatment plan, a personal diet and health coach available by chat, and digital health devices that collect readings in an app  (a digital scale, blood pressure cuff, and glucose testing supplies).


People

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Mandira Singh (Athenahealth) joins Collective Medical as head of product.

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SnapMD hires Deric Frost (Equality Health) as chief revenue officer.

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The Chartis Group appoints Mark Krivopal, MD (GE Healthcare Partners) to its Performance Practice leadership team.

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Nordic begins looking for a new CEO after Bruce Cerullo announces he will transition from the role to chairman of the board.

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Kristi Ebong (Cedars-Sinai) joins Orbita as SVP of strategy and general manager for healthcare providers.


Sales

  • Pershing Health System (MO) will install Cerner Millenium via CommunityWorks.
  • CHI Franciscan Health (WA) will work with GE Healthcare to develop an AI-powered command center to better coordinate patient stays.
  • Signature Healthcare (MA) selects care coordination and communication software from Medarchon.
  • Cabell Huntington Hospital (WV) will implement Wolters Kluwer’s POC Advisor for sepsis surveillance.
  • Geisinger will deploy Chess Health’s addiction management technology at its Medication Assisted Treatment Centers in Pennsylvania.
  • Three DoD facilities will implement Vecna’s patient check-in solution.

Announcements and Implementations

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UnityPoint Health–Marshalltown (IA) transitions to Epic as part of a system-wide roll out.

Centric Home Health & Hospice (TX) implements DrFirst’s Backline secure messaging software.

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Olmsted Medical Center (MN) will go live on Epic this weekend, replacing Cerner CommunityWorks inpatient and McKesson ambulatory.


Government and Politics

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Health Management Associates pays $260 million to settle whistle blower lawsuits related to allegations that HMA coerced its physicians into unnecessarily admitting ED patients to the hospital. One lawsuit contended that HMA set up admission benchmarks driven by cost projections rather than medical necessity, which resulted in CMS footing the bill for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Community Health Systems bought HMA in 2013 for $7.6 billion and has struggled to adjust to the acquisition, which left it $14 billion in debt. CHS sold off 40 hospitals and laid off 70 corporate IT employees earlier this year.

After 60 days on the job, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie tells the Senate VA Committee that he and representatives at the DoD are working to create a “single point of authority” for their respective EHR projects with Cerner. Wilkie and his team are also preparing an EHR governance report for Congress. “If we don’t get the front-end of a member’s service right with the electronic health record,” he told the committee, “it really doesn’t help us when that veteran comes into our system. One of my goals is to make sure that the DoD end works.”


Other

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A survey finds that 72 percent of consumers don’t think insurers should be allowed to use big data to determine insurance policy risk, 55 percent think it’s just as threatening to have insurers accessing private data as Facebook, and 18 percent would allow insurers to test their DNA if they might get lower prices. Startlingly, 8 percent said they would allow a video camera to be installed in their home and 11 percent would be OK with having a biometric tracker installed in their body if it might lower their rates. One in five respondents say no correlation exists between their health and their social and economic situations. As other surveys have found, Americans are strongly pro-privacy until someone offers to pay for their most precious secrets.

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Brilliant: a Twitter user describes how she used IOS 12’s scripting-like shortcut creation tool to create a Siri-launched Mayday shortcut that sends an “I’m in trouble” text message to friends that includes her latitude, longitude, altitude, and Wi-Fi network name (to help them find her in, including if she’s in a large building or shopping mall); her phone’s battery level; her IP address; and a warning that the phone will automatically go into “do not disturb” and “low power mode” to avoid alerting whoever is threatening her that help is on they way. She just has to say, “Hey, Siri, Mayday” and her IPhone does the rest.

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The Maryland Health Care Commission launches a “Wear the Cost” campaign to get people talking about and comparing the prices of procedures, which can vary wildly between hospitals. Harvard Medical School professor and pricing transparency expert Ateev Mehrotra, MD (who says he’ll gift the shirts to his health policy friends) believes the campaign may wind up being more about hospital price shaming than encouraging patients to shop around. “To date,” he explains, “price transparency initiatives that have been rigorously assessed have had little to no impact on prices in the health care system. The reason so far is few people are using those websites.”

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center quickly ditches the AI-focused “Harnessing Big Data” theme of its annual fund-raising campaign following its Paige.AI equity controversy. The campaign, which usually raises around $1 million, will instead emphasize patient care.

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A radiologist who was transported by helicopter to a trauma center in Texas is left holding a $45,000 bill from national air ambulance Air Evac Lifeteam after his insurer agrees to pay just $12,000 since this particular company is not in its network and bystanders who called for help had no way of knowing that. The air ambulance company and several others are owned by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Their charges are considered aviation rather than healthcare expenses, so they can (and do) charge whatever they want. The radiologist lost his arm in the accident, soon to be followed by his remaining arm and a leg courtesy of KKR. The industry’s trade group claims each flight costs an air transport company $10,200, but they have no choice but to stick insured patients for higher amounts to cover Medicare, Medicaid, and uninsured patients.


Sponsor Updates

  • Parallon Technology Solutions publishes an e-book titled “7 Key Epic Optimizations Can Have a Direct Impact on Your Bottom Line.”
  • Elsevier Clinical Solutions will exhibit at the American Society Clinical Pathology 2018 Annual Meeting October 3 in Baltimore.
  • EClinicalWorks, Ellkay, Healthfinch, Intelligent Medical Objects, and PMD will exhibit at MGMA September 30-October 2 in Boston.
  • PatientPing selects Amendola Communications to support its growth initiatives.
  • Crossings Healthcare Solution develops Cerner MPage-driven Insulin Management Advisors that provide evidence-based recommendations for IV fluid management, glucose correction, electrolyte replacement, acidosis and anion gap correction, and subcutaneous insulin transition.
  • Healthfinch achieves HITRUST CSF Certification.
  • Healthwise will exhibit at AdvancedMD’s Evo18 conference October 2-6 in Salt Lake City.
  • InterSystems will host its Global Summit 2018 September 30-October 3 in San Antonio.
  • Kyruus announces a panel of leading health system CEOs at its upcoming 2018 Annual Thought Leadership on Access Symposium October 15-17 in Boston.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 9/26/18

September 25, 2018 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Several provider organizations develop Health Record Request Wizard, an online tool that walks patients through submitting a request to providers for electronic copies of their medical records. It extends a previous form developed by AHIMA by adding branching logic.

Despite the headline proclaiming that it helps families obtain and share their records, it doesn’t – it addresses the 2 percent of the work involved in providing a standard user interface for such requests while neatly turfing off the 98 percent of technical integration to EHR vendors who may not see the value in supporting someone else’s front end. Only three health systems and no EHR vendors have pledged to support it.

Plus it doesn’t support the most prevalent and essential healthcare technology – the fax machine.


Reader Comments

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From HIT Medical Student: “Re: JAMA article. I think your readers will find the author’s conclusion as ridiculous and insulting as his title. How are physicians still using ‘autism’ as a pejorative in professional settings? At what point, if ever, are all physicians going to understand that EMR documentation is a vital part of patient care and population health management?” The JAMA Pediatrics opinion piece titled “The Electronic Health Record and Acquired Physician Autism” was written by Palmetto Health (SC) psychiatrist Peter Loper, Jr., MD. He blames a “fixation on the EHR” for his being “abrupt and crass” with patients, complaining that he had previously refused to use an EHR during encounters and admitting that he was “chronically behind on documentation.” His point is that focus on the EHR during encounters causes doctors to “exhibit the same behaviors that render this disorder so socially incapacitating for those on the autistic spectrum” while failing to note the humanity of the encounter and that the physician-patient relationship is key to disease management. He could have made his point without the autism reference, and had he done that, I would defend him since he’s a child-focused psychiatrist and EHRs (Palmetto uses Cerner) do little to improve his practice over paper other than to get him paid. He also suffers from the ubiquitous misperception that his N-of-one experience is generalizable to the entire medical profession and also fails to consider how his employer chose to configure the EHR and mandate its use, doing as doctors often do in shooting the EHR vendor messenger without realizing that it wasn’t them who made the workflow decisions.  

From Crass is Greener: “Re: Memorial Sloan Kettering and Paige.AI. Your update makes me wonder about its business relationships with IBM and Allscripts looks like, knowing that IBM needs to prove out Watson and Allscripts’ propensity for ‘doing deals’ (see Verity Health).” Hospitals excel at cloaking business deals behind lofty, altruistic proclamations (this is especially common with oncology and pediatrics since everybody is extra empathetic to those patients.) It would be interesting to see MSKCC’s contract with IBM, especially since reports suggest that Watson Oncology is more of a mechanical turk that just sends whatever recommendations MSKCC’s doctors manually offer while disguising it to look like machine-powered insight. I wouldn’t trust any deal involving Patrick Soon-Shiong’s Nant companies, and the apparent enthusiasm with which Allscripts did so suggests desperation on both ends of the transaction, leaving the now-bankrupt Verity in the middle of a Sunrise implementation they didn’t want and their financial Santa Claus moving on to other shiny objects after just one year. My life’s most relevant lesson learned is that people and organizations (including many non-profits and all health systems) do whatever benefits them the most, so follow the money.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Listening: new from Badflower, LA kids who can crank out some hard rock. They are touring tiny venues (like bars) right now – they’ll be in Madison, WI on October 12. I’m enjoying their music along with the best manufactured cookie I’ve had in years, Oreo Thins with pistachio (I expect the coconut to be equally wondrous). 


Webinars

September 26 (Wednesday) 12:30 ET. “How to Ensure Patient Records are Always Available.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. Presenter: Goliath Technologies engineering staff. This webinar will discuss how an early warning system can help your organization ensure your EHR systems and patient records are always available. You’ll also learn how to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, prevent, and resolve end user experience issues before users or patients are impacted.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

CenTrak acquires the security solutions assets of Elpas Solutions, which include infant protection, wireless call, staff duress, man down, and wander management.


People

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Akron Children’s Hospital (OH) promotes pediatric hematologist-oncologist Sarah Rush, MD to CMIO.

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Intelerad Medical System hires Paul Lepage (Telus Health) as president/CEO.


Announcements and Implementations

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Cancer management and patient engagement technology vendor Carevive goes live with its patient care planning software at University of Missouri Health Care’s Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, where it is integrated with Cerner Oncology.

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I missed this earlier: a Rand report recommends that patients get involved with provider record-matching challenges, with these suggestions:

  • Implement a voluntary universal identifier, managed by an organization that does not store PHI
  • Implement a patient-managed public key
  • Expand the use of government-issued identifiers such as driver license numbers
  • Match records by asking patients to verify their identity by answering “what you know” type security questions
  • Use biometrics with demographics
  • Verify the identity of patients by sending one-time verification codes to their phones
  • Implement consumer-directed exchange
  • Use regional health record banks
  • Give patients a user interface so they can verify record matches themselves
  • Have patients supply their own record location information

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In urge-to-merge and marketing provider news, Greenville Health System and Palmetto Health will rename their South Carolina partnership to Prisma Health, while in Florida, Orlando Health and Lakeland Regional will end their affiliation October 1 after just one year due to their “different strategies and distinctive communities served” that were apparently not evident 12 months ago. One might assume it was an uneasy relationship between Orlando and Lakeland since the websites of both systems have been scrubbed of any evidence of the affiliation, including their rosy press releases from last year that predicted improved patient access and clinical quality. And in Maine, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems (which oddly makes “system” plural) will rename itself Northern Light Health, following the lead of hospitals that have eschewed their confusing “health system” moniker to make a land grab for the “health” label even though hospitals have only a tiny impact on health while taking the lion’s share of healthcare expenditures.


Other

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Intermountain precision genomics director Lincoln Nadauld, MD, PhD decries EHR-generated PDFs as a crude form of interoperability, noting that a particular patient’s 143-page record could not be searched, viewing it caused it to re-default to 6-point font with each page flip, it could not display CT scan images, and it contained only the first page of genomic testing results. He advocates a patient-controlled, cloud-based, searchable repository, not surprisingly since he wrote the piece for Ciitizen, a pre-beta vendor that will offer such a sharing platform. It sounds a bit like CareSync, which unfortunately couldn’t make a go of offering a stellar service that also included having humans obtain the subscriber’s medical records (my CareSync experience was excellent). I’m ever-skeptical about a business model that expects patients to obtain and upload their own records since they historically won’t bother.

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An Associated Press analysis finds that despite the White House’s claim in May that drug companies would announce “massive” price cuts almost immediately, 2018 has seen 96 price increases for every one price reduction. HHS Secretary Alex Azar — a former executive of a drug company that dramatically increased insulin prices during his tenure — says he’s not counting on “the altruism of pharma companies lowing their prices.” Drug price hikes are often small but frequent and makers of competing products often raise prices in lockstep.

Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the US healthcare system, the world’s most expensive by far, is morally wrong in that “nobody would understand why almost 30 million people are not covered by insurance.” He says drug companies, hospitals, and doctors are using their lobbying power to avoid universal healthcare. 

A Michigan jury awards $130 million to the family of a boy who in 2006, as a two-month-old, developed cerebral palsy that the family’s attorneys claim was due to a botched IV start at Beaumont Hospital. The family’s lawyers say the now-12-year-old is a “charming and beautiful boy” who needs help getting in and out of the bathtub.

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I’ve lost interest in the heavy-handed and unrealistic medical program “The Resident,” but  its Season 2 premiere this week borrowed an idea from year-old episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” by featuring a cyberhacking story line. The hospital’s drama-filled blackout turns out to be the work of a hacker who got herself admitted to the hospital so she could breach its systems from the inside (Hollywood loves “the call is coming from inside the house” as a shocker) in revenge for high medical bills that forced her to drop out of college. Least believable (and that’s saying a lot for this episode) is that the hacker was admitted for a UTI instead of being streeted with a prescription for antibiotics, and when confronted about the breach, she handed over a thumb drive backup that somehow fixed everything. Not unbelievable is that the hospital fired an uninvolved IT guy over the incident. 


Sponsor Updates

  • Crossings Healthcare Solutions will demonstrate its clinical decision support tools for physicians, nurses, and informaticists at the 11th Annual DV/NJHIMSS Fall Event this week in Atlantic City, NJ and at the Cerner Health Conference October 8-11 in Kansas City, MO.
  • ROI Healthcare Solutions is featured on the TV program “Newswatch.”
  • Kyruus will convene a CEO panel at the Fifth Annual Thought Leadership on Access Symposium in Boston October 15-17.
  • MModal and Enjoin will partner to offer a technology-driven clinical documentation improvement advisory solution to address population health.
  • The Wisconsin State-Journal profiles Nordic Data & Analytics Services Delivery Manager Eric Pennington.
  • Nordic’s managed services division has signed 20 clients and expanded to 100 consultants.
  • Healthwise launches its FHIR app in Epic’s App Orchard.
  • Aprima will offer HIPAA compliance programs from Abyde.
  • Mmodal partners with Enjoin to offer clinical documentation consulting services.
  • ZappRx partners with specialty pharmacy Dunn Meadow to speed up prescription access for oncology and pulmonology patients.
  • FDB publishes a new case study describing how Health First improved medication adherence with FDB’s Meducation in its Allscripts Sunrise EHR.
  • AdvancedMD will exhibit at WebPT’s annual Ascend conference September 28-29 in Phoenix, AZ.
  • Aprima, CoverMyMeds, CTG, Culbert Healthcare Solutions, and Direct Consulting Associates will exhibit at MGMA September 30-October 2 in Boston.
  • CarePort Health will exhibit at ACMA Maryland September 29 in Baltimore.
  • Change Healthcare will host Inspire 2018 September 30 in Phoenix, AZ.
  • Cumberland Consulting Group will exhibit at the MDRP Summit 2018 October 1-3 in Chicago.
  • Dimensional Insight will exhibit at 2018 IntegraTe October 2 in Davie, FL.

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 9/24/18

September 23, 2018 News 8 Comments

Top News

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Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center leadership defends itself to its employees following reports that it gave for-profit AI startup Paige.AI exclusive access to its 25 million pathology slides in return for an equity stake for itself and several MSKCC executives (in essence, profiting from the work of its pathologists and the property of its patients instead of by creating new intellectual property). The health system explains that:

  • It is sharing only de-identified patient data and not actual slides (note: the Paige.AI partnership announcement specifically says it gained “exclusive rights to MSK’s library of 25 million pathology slides” that are “accompanied by de-identified pathologic and clinical annotation”)
  • The relationship between its executives and the company was vetted for conflict of interest
  • Board members and faculty who received equity won’t participate in company decisions
  • They’ll kick back some of the proceeds to the pathology department

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MSKCC’s recent bad press – including unreported conflicts of interest by a since-resigned key researcher who was raking in drug company money and skepticism about its relationship with IBM Watson Health – add it to the list of health systems whose high-falutin’ patient care proclamations fail to hide the fact that it often acts like any other self-enriching business whose own interests come first. It paid its CEO $6.7 million (plus he gets a company house), its CIO $1 million, and its chief fundraiser $1.4 million, according to its most recent tax forms.

In case you missed it, sick and frightened cancer patients are a highly profitable widget in this country. As is typical in healthcare, nebulous consent forms allow their data to be sold to any willing buyer without their permission or benefit.

ProPublica notes that its report didn’t create the MSKCC Paige.AI controversy – it was MSKCC’s own pathologists who complained that their work had been taken for the benefit of top MSKCC brass. Surprisingly, they didn’t complain that Paige.AI’s business model requires the company to characterize the work of human pathologists as subjective, error-prone, and inefficient compared to allowing a computer to do their work.

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MSKCC’s former pathology department chair Marc Rosenblum, MD wrote the most brilliantly sarcastic internal email I’ve ever seen last month (subject: “Department: Fleece(d)”) in offering suggestions to hold a Paige.AI naming contest with stock options as a prize to “fully embrace the entrepreneurial tenor of our times;” to create a department logo to “trumpet where we’re going” that would look good on a Patagonia fleece; and to create a department fight song. 


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Poll respondents are skeptical about the population health benefits of the Apple Watch’s EKG recording capability.

New poll to your right or here: would you be OK with having your social media activities monitored for health research or to trigger personalized health improvement suggestions? I admit I’m fascinated by the human aspect of expecting an insurer to cover huge financial risk while denying them relevant information, which then goes back to the argument about universal healthcare, under which such lifestyle forensics would be unnecessary since the entire country would make up the risk pool. Life insurers are allowed to require medical exams, getting auto insurance involves having your pre-existing condition (driving record) examined initially to set premium prices and having that price jacked up (or the policy cancelled) following a paid claim, and all forms of business insurance (malpractice, cybersecurity, etc.) come with the expectation of allowing the insurer to assess their risk by inspecting sensitive records. Only with health insurance are we offended at the idea that insurers need to learn more about our health before agreeing to pay to maintain it, an expectation that has risen due to out-of-control hospital and drug costs in the absence of political will to address the issue.


Webinars

September 26 (Wednesday) 12:30 ET. “How to Ensure Patient Records are Always Available.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. Presenter: Goliath Technologies engineering staff. This webinar will discuss how an early warning system can help your organization ensure your EHR systems and patient records are always available. You’ll also learn how to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, prevent, and resolve end user experience issues before users or patients are impacted.

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


People

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Mazars USA promotes Gil Enos to leader of its healthcare consulting group.


Announcements and Implementations

Wolters Kluwer Health launches a new version of its Sentri7 clinical surveillance solution.


Other

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Researchers question whether it’s a good idea to apply Cambridge Analytica-type social media “digital phenotyping” to target people for population health interventions. They note that such activities incur the risk of public backlash (when social media users realize they’re being monitored and controlled) and having those users go underground by avoiding using words that all out their health-harming practices.

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An oncologist’s Wall Street Journal op-ed piece ponders the dilemma in which drug companies charge whatever high prices the market will bear irrespective of their actual research and manufacturing costs and the extent to which the drug improves an individual’s health, noting that the US is the only country that approves marketing of drugs without negotiating the allowed selling price:

The extraordinary cost of these treatments presents a tragic dilemma: We may soon have a miracle drug for cancer whose cost, when multiplied across the population that needs it, could bankrupt the country. Consider what would happen if the new drugs were used to treat 250,000 cancer patients per year—just 40 percent of the Americans who die annually from cancer. At $373,000 per patient, a Kymriah-type immunotherapy treatment would increase drug spending in the US by approximately $93 billion a year. This would mean an almost 20 percent increase in the country’s total annual drug spending—for just one drug. To put that figure in perspective, it amounts to $300 per American, or $500 if we include associated medical services.

Why we should have been lawyers: a Georgia jury awards the family of a baby whose penis was injured during a midwife’s circumcision $30 million.

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A fun Bleacher Report profile of Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, MD – who is also a right guard for the Kansas City Chiefs who signed a five-year, $41 million contract extension with $20 million guaranteed last year – reveals interesting facts:

  • He made good money at 12 years old selling pesto that he made himself, explaining that it had to be very good since “I wasn’t cute enough to get any sympathy purchases.”
  • His parents took the children on year-long sailing trips carrying only rice and canned vegetables to show them that money isn’t all that important.
  • The Quebec born Duvernay-Tardif graduated from McGill University’s medical school even though he spoke only French and all his classes were conducted in English, so he played lecture recordings at half speed while looking words up in a dictionary.
  • He was on call on NFL draft day, so he gave his phone to a nurse and asked her to say yes to any team that drafted him while he participated in an emergency C-section.
  • He is only the 10th player ever drafted by the NFL from a Canadian college and the first active doctor to be on a team’s roster
  • The NFL denied his request to add “MD” after his last name on his jersey, which he says is OK since “my name is Duvernay-Tardif, and it’s plenty long enough like that.”
  • He explanations the motivation required to master two difficult professions: “My biggest fear is doing nothing. When you start downsizing your expectations of what you can do with your time, it’s hard to go back. If I spend an offseason doing nothing, I don’t know if that drive will come back. That scares me more than anything.”

Sponsor Updates

  • Lightbeam Health Solutions launches the Pop Health Podcast with an initial episode on gaining patient buy-in for chronic care management.
  • MedData and Experian Health will exhibit at the HFMA Region 7 Conference September 26-28 in South Bend, IN.
  • Kansas State University’s College of Engineering names Netsmart its 2018 Company of the Year.
  • Clinical Computer Systems, developer of the Obix Perinatal Data System, will exhibit at the CSO HIMSS Leadership Symposium September 28 in Cincinnati.
  • PreparedHealth will exhibit at the Regional DV-NJ Chapters HIMSS Conference September 26-28 in Atlantic City.
  • The SSI Group will exhibit at the HFMA South Texas and TAHFA Fall Symposium September 23-25 in San Antonio.
  • Surescripts and ZappRx will exhibit at the NASP Annual Meeting & Expo 2018 September 24-26 in Washington, DC.
  • TriNetX will host TriNetX Summit18 September 25-26 in Boston.
  • Vocera will exhibit at the Illinois Health and Hospital Association Leadership Conference September 25 in Lombard, IL.
  • Consulting Magazine names Huron a “Best Firm to Work For” for the second consecutive year.
  • Wellsoft will exhibit at Emergency Nursing 2018 September 26-29 in Pittsburgh.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 9/21/18

September 20, 2018 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Pathologists at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center object to a deal under which several MSKCC executives and three of its board members received an equity stake in pathology clinical decision support startup Paige.AI after the health system gave the company exclusive access to its archive of 25 million patient tissue slides.

The pathologists say it’s unfair that equity created by their expertise was handed out.

Paige.AI raised $25 million in a February 2018 Series A funding round.

The pathologists also are expressing concern about sending anonymized patient data to the for-profit company.


Reader Comments

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From Former Healthx-er: “Re: Healthx. CEO Sean Downs and CFO Jim Meer were replaced a couple of weeks ago with guys who seem to travel together to fix broken companies. The COO and VP of product were released a few months ago. More than half the account management team was let go last week and cutbacks were made in services, sales, marketing, accounting, product development, and the chief people officer. More layoffs are expected this week.” Unverified, except for the newly announced CEO and CFO. New CEO Gene Cattarino has ridden the CEO circuit for SafeOp Surgical, Capsule, Lynx Medical Systems, Landacorp, Medicode, and TDS. Indianapolis-based Healthx offers a provider-member engagement portal to health plans.


Webinars

September 26 (Wednesday) 12:30 ET. “How to Ensure Patient Records are Always Available.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. Presenter: Goliath Technologies engineering staff. This webinar will discuss how an early warning system can help your organization ensure your EHR systems and patient records are always available. You’ll also learn how to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, prevent, and resolve end user experience issues before users or patients are impacted.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Mercy Health (OH) becomes a minority investor in cloud-based medical image management vendor NucleusHealth. The 23-hospital system served as a beta site for company’s cloud-based PACS, eventually developing an image-sharing network across 300 facilities.

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Ooda Health raises $40.5 million in a funding round that led it to seek out investment partners with strong female leadership (of which there are few). Oak HC/FT and DFJ led the round. The San Francisco-based startup is working with Blue Shield of California to develop real-time claims payment software that will be piloted at Dignity Health and Hill Physicians. Co-founder and CEO Giovanni Colella, MD founded and led Castlight Health and Relay Health.

Telemedicine vendor SnapMD raises $7.1 million in a Series B round.

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InstaMed expands its Philadelphia headquarters with the addition of a 3,200 square-foot Collaboration Center.

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Town Hall Ventures closes a $115 million fund and makes unspecified investments in payer Bright Health, home health provider Landmark Health, and chronic kidney disease company Strive Health. Town Hall was launched in May by former CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, Trevor Price (Docent Health), and David Whelan (Rebel Labs) to invest in companies that cater to underserved populations.

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Details finally come to light about Nest’s secretive 2017 acquisition of Senosis Health, an app-based health monitoring startup out of the University of Washington. Parent company Google put strict parameters around publicizing the acquisition, so as to keep Nest’s digital health plans a secret. The company, which is now part of Google’s hardware unit, has yet to release a healthcare product, though it did throw its hat (unsuccessfully) in the Withings acquisition ring. Reports now suggest that Nest is working on devices to help seniors age in place.


People

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Emids names Tim McMullen (NTT Data Services) president and Dan Critchley (Optimum Healthcare IT) VP of its provider business. Tom Niehaus, who served as president since the company’s acquisition of Encore Health Resources last year, will retire at the end of September.


Sales

  • The Nebraska Health Information Initiative selects patient identity matching technology from 4medica.
  • St. Luke’s University Health Network expands its CarePort Care Management implementation to additional facilities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
  • La Clinica de Familia will implement EClinicalWorks across its 19 locations in New Mexico.
  • Spectrum Health & Human Services (NY) and Reeves County Hospital District (TX) select Cerner’s EHR and RCM technology.
  • Cottage Hospital (NH) will expand its use of Summit Healthcare’s interoperability solutions.

Announcements and Implementations

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Allina Health (MN) implements Vocera software to better connect its nurse call, patient monitoring, and communications systems.

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Provation develops cloud-based procedure documentation software, including automated coding, for ASCs and hospitals. Wolters Kluwer sold the company to Clearlake Capital Group at the beginning of the year for $180 million.

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Whitman Hospital & Medical Clinic (WA) goes live on Meditech’s Web Ambulatory EHR with implementation help from Engage.

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KLAS ranks WebPT as the #1 ambulatory therapy/rehab EHR vendor in both market share and overall performance, with Clinicient and Raintree also performing well. Casamba and Net Health customers say (75 percent and 46 percent, respectively) they wouldn’t buy the product again.

As part of its continued effort to pivot from a consumer wearable to a medical device, Fitbit creates an app-based virtual care and health coaching program for health systems, payers, and employers.


Privacy and Security

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Lutheran Health Network (IN) brings its IT systems back online after an attempted data breach. Lutheran Hospital diverted ER patients to other facilities during the reboot, which took several hours. Hospital administrators were quick to point out the incident was in no way related to known network stability issues. Lutheran is in the midst of a $30 million IT project that will replace outdated McKesson software with Cerner.

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Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital collectively pay $999,000 to OCR to settle potential privacy violations related to the taping of TV show “Boston Med” without prior patient approval. New York-Presbyterian Hospital settled for similar reasons several years ago after allowing filming for “NY Med.”

A Springfield, MA gynecologist is sentenced to one year of probation for violating HIPAA by giving a drug company sales rep access to patient files. Rita Luthra, MD lost her medical license upon her arrest in 2015, forcing her to close her practice that served primarily indigent patients.


Other

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Intermountain Healthcare (UT) opens a $20 million Healthcare Transformation Center that will house a Healthcare Delivery Institute, Leadership Institute and Simulation Center, and CHIME innovation center.

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Hixny’s decision to expand its HIE services into nine new counties in upstate New York prompts HealthlinkNY to cry foul because of overlapping territories. HealthlinkNY Executive Director Staci Romeo believes cannibalizing on service areas will decrease overall data-sharing effectiveness. Both HIEs are part of the Statewide Health Information Network for New York.


Sponsor Updates

  • FormFast will exhibit at DreamForce September 25-28 in San Francisco.
  • LogicStream Health will exhibit at the MSHP 2018 Midyear Clinical Meeting September 21 in Brooklyn Park, MN.
  • Elsevier Clinical Solutions, InterSystems, and Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at AHIMA September 22-26 in Miami.
  • Meditech will participate in MGMA18 September 30-October 30.
  • EPSi will exhibit at the HFMA Arizona Fall Conference September 26-28 in Chandler.
  • Glytec customer Honor Health John C. Lincoln Medical Center’s Cardiovascular ICU achieves a silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.
  • HCTec publishes a new case study on “Delivering Cutting-Edge Coding Solutions.”
  • Allscripts features Healthfinch’s Charlie Refill Management app as its Allscripts Developer Program September 2018 App of the Month.
  • Madison Magazine includes Nordic on its list of best places to work for the third straight year.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 9/19/18

September 18, 2018 News 5 Comments

Top News

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Activist investor Elliott Management — whose criticism of Athenahealth caused the company to fire founder and CEO Jonathan Bush, cut costs, and seek a buyer – joins several other would-be suitors that will pass on acquiring the company at Elliott’s previously offered price of $160 per share.

Elliot says its due diligence has turned up significant Athenahealth problems. ATHN shares dropped sharply on the news.

Athenahealth will extend its bid deadline by 10 days through September 27.

Critics of Elliott’s tactics speculate that the firm is hoping that Athenahealth will accept a fire-sale price to avoid the public embarrassment of eliciting no acceptable offers.


Reader Comments

From NXGN Woes: “Re: Nextgen. Employees were told last week that two C-level executives are leaving the company. Operations employees will report to the CFO.” Unverified. NXGN Woes provided names, although I’ll decline to include them since their LinkedIn entries and the company’s executive page remain unchanged. UPDATE: a reader tells me that marketing SVP Tamra Rushing has been replaced and provides this internal email from CEO Rusty Frantz:

Due to personal reasons and effective immediately, Scott Bostick has made the decision to step down from his position as Chief Operating Officer and into an Individual Contributor role reporting directly to me. Please join me in thanking Scott for his leadership as he transitions into this new role. Further, in the coming weeks, the executive team will work with the senior leaders within the client services organization to ensure a successful transition under the leadership of our Chief Financial Officer, Jamie Arnold. The leaders who will now be reporting to Jamie Arnold include: Mitch Waters –  SVP, Sales, Colleen Edwards – SVP, Marketing, Allen Plunk – SVP, Managed Services, and Ben Clark – SVP, Client Services. At this time, we will not be backfilling the Chief Operating Officer role. We will move forward with a flatter organizational structure to ensure continued success of the commercial client facing organization.

From Jellico: “Re: KLAS. We dropped out of the relationship after they failed to contact any of the dozens of our consulting firm’s clients whose names we provided. All of the four KLAS reps we had been assigned over several years have left the company. I’ve kept in touch with two of those and both say they were uncomfortable collecting money from vendors they were rating. It will be interesting to see if Black Book gains traction. They appear to be more straightforward and they don’t accept monies from vendors they rate.” I’ve found KLAS’s market reports to be informative in how they broadly characterize a particular market segment. I have less confidence that they use enough statistically defensible methodology to rate individual vendors reliably. Still, the company’s business model is propped up by (a) the high-ranked vendors who usually keep paying in hoping of remaining on top, and (b) the also-rans who believe – accurately or not – that maintaining or increasing their KLAS payments will improve their chances of earning KLAS bragging rights. No CIO in their right mind would buy something based on KLAS scores and I suspect that few do, but anxious vendors are always looking for a competitive advantage and hope KLAS can provide it, even if indirectly. In KLAS’s defense, consulting firms (of which they are arguably one) often make recommendations to clients based on laughably subjective factors gleaned from casual conversations that they package up into impressive PowerPoints, so it’s hardly a new concept. I enjoy the Black Book survey results, where they survey huge numbers of people and then slice and dice their responses into a mind-boggling set of reports whose statistical underpinning and transparency seems reasonable. A significant deficiency of many of the survey-type reports I see is that they fail to categorize respondents (do they work for a single hospital, a health system in a corporate role, or a medical practice?) and they often fail to distinguish between a vendor and its multiple products (which Allscripts EHR were the respondents talking about?)


Webinars

September 26 (Wednesday) 12:30 ET. “How to Ensure Patient Records are Always Available.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. Presenter: Goliath Technologies engineering staff. This webinar will discuss how an early warning system can help your organization ensure your EHR systems and patient records are always available. You’ll also learn how to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, prevent, and resolve end user experience issues before users or patients are impacted.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Waystar will acquire workflow and predictive analytics vendor Connance to enhance its revenue cycle management capabilities.

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Hospital purchased services technology vendor Valify acquires Lucro, which offers a hospital-vendor marketplace.

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Signet Accel, the Ohio State University spinoff that offers the Avec data integration platform, has reportedly downsized and parted ways with CEO John Raden. I also noticed that former EVP of Sales and Marketing Brenda Barry has gone back to her previous employer after one year on the job. Regenstrief President/CEO and AMIA board chair Peter Embi, MD, MS was a Signet Accel co-founder and medical advisor.

Aramark will sell its Charlotte, NC-based hospital medical equipment management and clinical engineering business to Trimedx for $300 million.

Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins will spin off its digital health group – which includes some of its most prominent partners, who have invested in Uber and Stripe – into an independent group. The early-stage team will continue to operate under the Kleiner Perkins name. The firm’s healthcare technology investments include Collective Medical, Livongo, and Mango Health. It previously invested in Teladoc.

The Justice Department approves the $52 billion merger of insurer Cigna and pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts.


Sales

  • Beacon Health System will implement MyHealthDirect’s patient self-scheduling system.
  • Children’s Health (TX) signs a 15-year, $75 million agreement with Philips for patient monitoring and PACS technologies.
  • DCH Health System (AL) chooses Santa Rosa Consulting to lead its Meditech Expanse implementation.
  • Cigna will expand its diabetes prevention program in collaboration with Omada Health.

People

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GetWellNetwork hires Peter Keating (Advisory Board) as chief people officer.

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Jeff Sturman (Cumberland Consulting Group) joins Memorial Healthcare System (FL) as SVP/CIO. He was previously SVP of IT there from 2004 to 2012, where he led its selection and implementation of Epic.

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PatientPing hires Sagnik Bhattacharya (Epic) as VP of payer and provider initiatives.

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Jesus Delgado (Rush University Medical Center) joins Community Healthcare System’s Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana as VP/CIO.

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Healthcare investor and innovator Tom Main, managing partner of 7wire Ventures, died Sunday.


Announcements and Implementations

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VisualDx launches Aysa, a consumer app that inspects a user’s skin condition photos, asks relevant questions, and then provides possible causes. 

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Meditech announces Greenfield, a third-party app development environment that supports FHIR and will offer a store of approved apps. 

Mercy Technology Solutions launches a cloud-hosted, pay-per-study PACS offering.

EPSi adds Ilerasoft’s medical equipment investment and usage capabilities to its capital budgeting system.

Ciox Health announces HealthSource Gym, a learning environment that will help healthcare organizations assess, train, and develop medical coders.


Government and Politics

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HHS publishes a report covering the state of its data sharing among its 29 agencies, noting problems that include a lack of standards for inter-agency data requests; variation in technical formats and approaches; the variety of statues that regulate data collection project; and the increased chance of privacy violations as data availability increases.   


Other

California doctors will be required to consult the state’s prescription drug monitoring program database before prescribing opiates under a law that takes effect October 2. The CURES system was developed in 1997 and updated in 2009 and 2016, but a 2012 newspaper investigation found that less than 10 percent of doctors and pharmacists had even bothered to sign up for access.

Amazon Web Services features Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance’s self-development of an IPad charting application that uses AWS and Salesforce

In Africa, the governor of Nairobi makes an unannounced visit to a maternity hospital to follow up on complaints of negligence, orders an employee to open several unlabeled boxes and bags in a storage room. and finds the bodies of 12 infants. Reports suggest that the babies died when the hospital’s incubators lost electrical power. The government will follow up with investigations into rumored child trafficking and giving babies to the wrong families. Kenya’s public hospitals are mismanaged, underfunded, and staffed by doctors and nurses who have gone on strike over low pay and poor working conditions.

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A Cincinnati neighborhood creates a Christmas celebration for a two-year-old whose aggressive brain cancer is likely to kill him before December. Six neighbors of Brody Allen’s family put up their Christmas lights early, sent cards, and will have a Christmas parade that includes fire trucks and supporters driving their own cars. He is too weak to walk, so his siblings wheel him around the neighborhood in a Red Flyer wagon covered with blankets.


Sponsor Updates

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  • CenTrak donates $5,000 to the Kerala Flood Relief Charity Fund.
  • ACOs using Lightbeam Health Solutions achieved 1.7 times the savings generated by non-Lightbeam ACOs.
  • Cumberland Consulting Group will sponsor and present at the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program Summit October 1-3 in Chicago.
  • Formativ Health adds several new features to its Patient Engagement Platform including payment functionality powered by Patientco.
  • Wolters Kluwer highlights patients as an underutilized resource in the fight against sepsis.
  • AdvancedMD will host its EVO18 annual user conference October 3-5 in Salt Lake City.
  • Aprima and Direct Consulting Associates will exhibit at the Ohio MGMA Fall Conference September 19-21 in Columbus.
  • Jason Spurck (SOS Tech Group) joins Audacious Inquiry as support engineer.
  • TechVibe Radio features Arcadia CTO Jon Cook.
  • Datica publishes a new book, “Complete Cloud Compliance: How regulated companies de-risk the cloud and kickstart transformation.”
  • Burwood Group will host “Cloud Revolution with Burwood, Citrix, & Google” September 27 in Chesterfield, MO.
  • CarePort Health will exhibit at ACMA Kentucky/Tennessee September 24 in Nashville.
  • CoverMyMeds will exhibit at the PCMA Annual Conference September 23-25 in Scottsdale, AZ.

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 9/17/18

September 16, 2018 News 6 Comments

Top News

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Paper EHR woes following Hurricane Katrina created the push for EHRs and interoperability in 2005 (and propelled Karen DeSalvo into the National Coordinator role in early 2014), so it’s fitting that Georgia’s GRAChIE HIE is working to connect Southeast providers via the EHealth Exchange to meet care needs that are being challenged by Hurricane Florence.

In related news, HIEs in Tennessee and North Carolina take just 48 hours to connect their respective systems to allow Tennessee providers to pull up records for North Carolina evacuees who require medical care there.

Also, UNC Health Care waives fees for its MDLive-powered virtual visits during the hurricane.

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HHS reminds hospitals in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia that it is temporarily waiving several HIPAA Privacy Rule sanctions and penalties:

  • The requirement to obtain patient consent to speak with family members and friends about their care
  • The requirement to honor patient requests to opt out of the facility directory
  • The requirement to provide a notice of privacy practices
  • The right of the patient to restrict uses and disclosures and to request alternative forms of confidential communications

I would be interested in hearing from IT folks hurricane-affected hospitals about how they prepared for the storm or responded to its effects.


Reader Comments

From Silver Surfer: “Re: KLAS. We’re a vendor and cancelled our agreement three years ago after KLAS assigned 18 months of feedback from our clients to the wrong vendor. Three years later, anyone searching KLAS for our consulting firm gets a message that our results don’t meet minimum KLAS Konfidence levels, meaning that we might be losing business from prospects who see that as a negative for our company even though it was KLAS’s error.” Unverified. The strongest complaints I get regarding KLAS’s methodology involve (a) how many of a vendor’s clients they survey; (b) how they select those they speak to; and (c) whether that small subset of clients is representative. People also express concern that paying KLAS to survey more clients than they might otherwise contact gives deeper-pockets vendors a chance to gain ground.

From Vishnu: “Re: [vendor name omitted]. Protecting its managers and team leads against internal sexual harassment accusations. Hopefully in time they will do what’s right.” I’ll omit the company’s name in the absence of legal evidence, such as a filed lawsuit.

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From Dr. Ross: “Re: Epic in Denmark. I was in southern Europe for a conference and this article seems to be all the talk, even though I haven’t seen it mentioned in the US.” Three doctors in Denmark’s Capital Region refer to its newly implemented system (in a Google-translated page) as “the killing platform,” saying that it’s cumbersome, illogical, and doesn’t easily share data with quality and research databases (they expressed their concerns in a Danish language video that doesn’t include an English translation). The doctors say the Region’s claim that 30 systems have been replaced by one is “fake news,” as departments that previously used 6-7 systems are still running 3-4, and warns that reduced productivity may bankrupt the Region. They conclude that the system was built for private hospitals in the US and isn’t suitable for those in Denmark despite the claims of “US salesmen and lawyers,” urging the Danish Parliament to take over the project instead of “cling[ing] to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.”

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From Udon: “Re: ERISA. Would love to see an expose on that statute, which renders most state-level legislative and regulatory actions meaningless because it governs employer-funded health plans. If you are denied a scan or behavioral stay, you have to sue the health plan – which will fight it tooth and nail – and the most you can get is the cost of the denied benefit.” ERISA, which sets standards for private health and pension plans, got a recent spotlight when an HCA hospital assured a heart attack patient that his out-of-network stay would be covered by his insurance, then went after him for the $109,000 balance beyond what Aetna paid because his employer-provided insurance was self-funded (as is true of 60 percent of people), meaning he’s not protected by state-mandated prohibition of balance billing. On the other hand, those state protections are not common anyway and are often not comprehensive. ACA prohibits balance billing for out-of-network ED visits, but still allows out-of-network doctors, hospitals, and ambulance services to demand payment from the patient beyond the negotiated amount their insurance pays. So, Mr. Life-Threatening Emergency Patient, your job before breaching a hospital’s financially (and sometimes clinically)dangerous wall is:

  • Study your employer’s insurance ahead of time to see if it’s self-funded.
  • Keep a list of which hospitals are in your policy’s ever-narrowing provider network.
  • Never travel beyond the immediate vicinity of those in-network hospitals.
  • Stay conscious at all times during your medical crisis (or better yet, bring a medical bodyguard) so you can ask every person you see whether they’re in your network since hospitals are notorious for letting people work out of their building who are anxious to bill you separately and who don’t need your approval to do so.
  • Remember that you don’t have a choice of ED doctor, surgeon, anesthesiologist, hospitalist, etc. and your condition makes elective transfer unlikely, so wear ear plugs to mute the sound of the ever-ringing cash register.
  • Assume that despite paying for what looks like decent insurance, an unplanned medical event could progress quickly into an unplanned medical bankruptcy courtesy of healthcare profiteers and their political lap dogs who like things just the way they are.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Poll respondents express little interest in paying for expanded consumer genetics testing at a higher price, with the most significant concern being that long-term care insurers could use your personal data against you — the testing companies aren’t covered by HIPAA’s minimal protections and therefore your data can be sold to anyone.

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New poll to your right or here: How much impact will Apple Watch’s announced EKG recording capabilities have on overall population health? I admit I’m skeptical about all consumer diagnostic tools for these reasons:

  • Our system is already burdened by excessive use and cost, so further clogging up EDs and PCP offices with Apple Watch wearers demanding to have providers interpret their likely meaningless readings isn’t necessarily a good thing
  • Many millions of Americans have already been accurately diagnosed with life-affecting conditions they can’t afford to have treated and this further aligns people into have/have not categories
  • It reinforces Silicon Valley’s misperception that our poor public health is caused by underdiagnosis or misdiagnosis rather than a screwy system of misaligned incentives and the siphoning off of most of our healthcare spending to episodic care providers rather than toward population and public health
  • Such tools also reinforce the inaccurate idea that funneling symptom-free people into a healthcare system that can do more harm than good is in their best interest, especially the largely elderly population likely to experience atrial fibrillation

Thanks to Jenn for covering for me for a few vacation days. I’m happy to have rendered myself at least temporarily redundant so I can take occasional worry-free time off without being chained to a computer all day. You may notice the difference since my writing is grumpier and more wearily skeptical than Jenn, whose forte is admirable journalistic excellence rather than pent-up, post-vacation ranting.

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Spam protection has made sending bulk email – such as my HIStalk “we’ve published something new” notices – a crapshoot. People tell me every day they aren’t getting the updates, yet the problem always involves their email server’s settings that I can’t fix. I can only suggest that you enter your email again if you aren’t getting my updates, which is risk-free since you won’t get multiple email copies no matter what.

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Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor LightSpeed Technology Group. The Chapel Hill, NC-based company’s VeriDOCs revenue cycle solutions offer a secret sauce for professional fee coding and billing in emergency, anesthesia, and hospitalist management services in supporting technical disparity and diverse coding volume across many locations. It offers interfacing (EHR integration, demographics, billing); the VeriCODE quality-driven medical coding application; a web-based coder QA pre-billing audit application; a physician peer review tool; and VeriNET workflow oversight and reporting. The end result is that coders and auditors work from a streamlined, secure platform that drives faster onboarding, more efficient coding, and faster bill turnaround. Thanks to LightSpeed Technology Group for supporting HIStalk.


Webinars

September 26 (Wednesday) 12:30 ET. “How to Ensure Patient Records are Always Available.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. Presenter: Goliath Technologies engineering staff. This webinar will discuss how an early warning system can help your organization ensure your EHR systems and patient records are always available. You’ll also learn how to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, prevent, and resolve end user experience issues before users or patients are impacted.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Outgoing Cerner President Zane Burke has sold $52 million worth of CERN shares in the past couple of weeks. I notice. CERN shares are down 6 percent in the past year versus the Nasdaq’s 24 percent gain.

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Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph, speaking at Health Catalyst’s Health Analytics Summit, urges attendees to develop optimism, confidence, and a tolerance for risk in describing how the tiny, struggling, two-year-old Netflix practically begged Blockbuster to buy it for $50 million and was quickly shown the door. He advocates “testing it without doing it,” explaining that Netflix “was not about having good ideas. It was about a system and a culture of trying lots of bad ones. What we realized is that the key to this is not the good idea. It was how quickly and easily and cheaply you could try as many ideas as you could think of.”


Sales

  • Wyckoff Heights Medical Center (NY) chooses Allscripts Sunrise Abstracting.
  • Chicago area home care provider Bowes In Home Care joins PreparedHealth’s EnTouch network that connects hospitals with post-acute providers to improve outcomes.

Decisions

  • Stevens Community Medical Center (MN) will replace Cerner and EClinicalWorks with Epic in November 2018.
  • Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center (AZ) will go live with Allscripts Sunrise in 2019, replacing Allscripts Paragon.
  • IU Health Jay Hospital (IN) replaced Meditech with Cerner on March 1, 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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Industry long-timer Jonathan Niloff, MD, MBA died Saturday of cancer at 64. He was chief medical officer of Diameter Health, a board member of HIMSS North America, and founder of MedVentive (acquired by McKesson in 2012) as well as a former cancer surgeon and ovarian cancer researcher.


Announcements and Implementations

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A new Reaction Data survey of 300 providers finds that 62 percent are using speech recognition in their EHRs, with another 15 percent working on it and a stubborn 23 percent saying they’ll never use EHR speech recognition. Not surprisingly, Nuance is the big dog and is gaining ground, while MModal’s much smaller market presence still makes them Nuance’s only real competitor and its user satisfaction is higher. Epic is by far the most commonly used speech-integrated EHR. Only 3 percent of speech recognition users say they might switch vendors.

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A new KLAS report on clinical documentation improvement says that Nuance and ChartWise provide the strongest financial ROI, Iodine’s high-satisfaction tools are disruptive in prioritization functionality, and 3M’s offerings are overhyped. Claro Healthcare leads a small pack of services firms that offer CDI optimization and outsourcing.


Other

AMA’s newswire highlights a JAMIA-published comparison of order entry clicks between Cerner and Epic under the title of “62 clicks to order Tylenol? What happens when EHR tweaks go bad.”

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An investor in online pharmacy Pillpack — whose value went from zero to more than $1 billion in five years when it was recently acquired by Amazon from its early 30s founders above — lists the company’s lessons learned:

  • Relentlessly focus on the end user
  • Build a full technology stack that allows the company to control its own destiny (Pillpack spent $10 million building its systems)
  • Stand your ground against larger competitors
  • Realize that you can’t grow and optimize a business simultaneously – design for scale, don’t code before understanding processes, and don’t industrialize without understanding the problem you’re trying to solve
  • Hire executives and board members who have a founder mentality
  • Invest in culture, which will be harder to manage as the company grows
  • Don’t aim for a people-free business – human touch is essential
  • Hire strong operations leaders who have a bias for action
  • Hire a strong CFO/COO

In India, the state of Uttarakhand orders the government to provide printers so that every doctor’s prescription can be printed out before signing, addressing a problem in which patients and pharmacists often can’t read the doctor’s writing.

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NYU Langone Health’s magazine notes that for the first time, all eight of its surgery chief residents are female.

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A jury awards $4.6 million to a cruise ship passenger whose flu symptoms were mismanaged by the ship’s doctor, claiming:

  • The Colombia-trained physician (which the lawsuit misstates as “Columbia-trained”) was inexperienced and gave a 25 mg dose of promethazine IV instead of safer, better drugs
  • The doctor missed the patient’s cubital vein and instead injected the drug quickly into his ulnar artery
  • Staff ignored the patient’s report of a burning sensation, declining to evacuate him by helicopter and instead waiting until the ship’s next port
  • The patient developed compartment syndrome, requiring his arm to be amputated at the elbow

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Weird News Andy says that despite early examples of scientific hype that turned out to be wrong (“nuclear power will be so cheap it won’t be worth metering usage”) he still likes that we’re getting closer to a Tricorder-like device. University of British Columbia engineers develop a Band-Aid sized ultrasound transducer that could turn a smartphone into an ultrasound machine for $100.

Odd: a Pennsylvania court upholds the prison sentence given to a man who in 2015 dialed 911 while choking. First responders found the 47-year-old passed out on his living room floor, clad only in underwear and socks in front of his computer monitor that was displaying a child pornography chat room. He unsuccessfully claimed that unnamed enemies framed him, with his daughter providing a heartwarming family moment in testifying that her dad isn’t smart enough to know how to download porn.

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Internal medicine resident Mike Natter, MD notes that the relationship between the number of things carried and level of medical training is inverse.


Sponsor Updates

  • Voalte announces that its VUE user conference, to be held October 3-5 in Sarasota, FL, has sold out for the first time in its history.
  • LogicStream Health publishes a new report, “The New Healthcare Imperative.”
  • MedData will exhibit at the Ohio American Academy of Pediatrics 2018 Annual Meeting September 21-22 in Dublin.
  • Waystar will exhibit at Ohio MGMA September 21 in Dublin.
  • The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association names Nordic a “Get with the Guidelines”-compatible vendor.
  • Clinical Computer Systems, developer of the Obix Perinatal Data System, will exhibit at the annual Georgia Perinatal Conference September 19-21 in St. Simon’s Island, GA.
  • Experian Health and PatientKeeper will exhibit at AHIMA September 22-27 in Miami.
  • PerfectServe will co-host the Hospital for Special Surgery Educational and Networking Open House September 21 in New York City.
  • Redox will present at Health 2.0 September 16-19 in Grapevine, TX.
  • T-System offers disaster relief T Sheets free of charge to hospitals in the path of Hurricane Florence.
  • Mazars USA welcomes Chief Human Resource Officer Julie Venkat.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 9/14/18

September 13, 2018 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Apple’s latest product announcement regarding the new Watch’s ability to record ECGs and monitor heart rhythm for abnormalities leaves healthcare reporters salivating and clinical experts torn between guarded optimism and healthy skepticism. The device, which can also detect when a user has fallen and alert emergency services, will start at $400 when it debuts later this year.

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Industry folks were quick to point out that the device could lead to over treatment, and that its FDA clearance states the new apps are “not intended to replace traditional methods of diagnosis or treatment.” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD also tweeted out amidst his Hurricane Florence PSAs that app clearance is “a significant step forward in FDA policy because we decoupled review of the app from review of the watch itself. The watch isn’t a medical device, just the apps that help consumers detect serious medical conditions.”


Webinars

September 26 (Wednesday) 12:30 ET. “How to Ensure Patient Records are Always Available.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. Presenter: Goliath Technologies engineering staff. This webinar will discuss how an early warning system can help your organization ensure your EHR systems and patient records are always available. You’ll also learn how to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, prevent, and resolve end user experience issues before users or patients are impacted.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Cigna allocates $250 million for a new corporate venture fund that will target companies working in the areas of care delivery and management, digital health and retail, and insights and analytics. Cigna’s previous health IT investments include MDLive, Omada Health, and Cricket Health.

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OneOncology launches with a $200 million investment from General Atlantic and health IT support from Flatiron Health. Created by a partnership between Tennessee Oncology, New York Cancer & Blood Specialists, and West Cancer Center (TN), the company aims to offer oncology patients access to providers, treatments, and clinical trials typically unavailable in smaller, community-based settings. Former CVS Health EVP Tracy Bahl will serve as president and CEO.

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MediWare Information Systems rebrands to WellSky in an effort to better unify 30 brands across multiple companies in the US and abroad.

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In the UK, Babylon Health will spend $100 million to double its workforce, aiming to hire 500 additional staff within the next nine months. The plan is part of the virtual consult company’s efforts to expand its chat bot symptom assessment technology to include chronic disease management for diabetes and depression. The company is perhaps best known for powering the NHS telemedicine app GP at Hand.

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Nuance and ChartWise top the list of CDI vendors driving the most tangible financial outcomes, according to a new KLAS report, while Iodine Software surpasses both when it comes to enabling efficient workflows. Third-party CDI firms like Claro Healthcare, Navigant, PwC, and Huron all score similarly on value and satisfaction. 


People

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Mark Amey (UC San Diego Health) joins Alameda Health System as CIO ahead of its $200 million Epic implementation.

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Akiri, a health data network spun out of AMA’s Health2047 business development and commercialization arm, names David Watson (The SSI Group) CEO.

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Caradigm co-founder Warren Ratliff joins Seattle Children’s Hospital analytics spin-off MDMetrix as CEO.

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Kermit Randa (Waystar) joins Kaufman Hall as CEO of its Software Division.

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Access appoints Davin Marceau (Success Group) COO and promotes Cody Strate to the new role of VP of strategy and innovation.


Sales

  • Bristol Hospital (CT) selects ESO’s Health Data Exchange software for improved data-sharing between its ED and EMS agencies.
  • San Luis Valley Health Regional Medical Center (CO) will implement FormFast’s FastPrint Enterprise and ESignature bundle.

Announcements and Implementations

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The North Carolina Health Information Exchange Authority rolls out subscription-based clinical event alerts to members of the NC HealthConnex HIE.

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Marin General Hospital (CA) will install University of California San Francisco Health’s Epic software as part of a strategic alliance that includes co-branding and designating UCSF as its academic and teaching partner.

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Regional West Health Services (NE) prepares to go live on Cerner Millenium this weekend.

Mercy Technology Services develops a cloud-based imaging solution that comprises Visage’s imaging software, workflow technology from Medicalis, and speech recognition and reporting capabilities from Nuance.


Other

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FHIR architect and interoperability consultant Grahame Grieve tells the Australian Senate an IT overhaul is needed to assure the success of the My Health Record initiative. The national digital records database, which he has been an advisor on, has come under fire over the last several months thanks to a questionable opt-out policy, and privacy and governance concerns. Grieve, an Australian native, told the Senate ahead of a September 17 inquiry into the program that, “The design of the system and the standards it is based on were state of the art in 2007. Although a more distributed design was initially planned, it is now, unfortunately, a centralised national database of static summary documents. This was an inevitable consequence of the technical standards used at the time, but now constrains the use, extensibility and therefore the value of the system.”

A survey of 109 providers finds that 68 percent have not yet developed a disaster preparedness plan, despite having experienced two such events within the last five years. All bets are off when it comes to securely communicating with hospitals during and after weather events: 25 percent of specialty providers have used unsecured text messaging to reach hospital staff, and 22 percent have used the same method to reach patients and their family members. Hospital-based respondents take secure messaging more seriously, perhaps because they already have resources in place: 44 percent believe secure messaging to be a key component of preparedness plans, surpassed only by the need for backup generators and extra supplies and medication.


Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at Health 2.0 September 16-19 in Santa Clara, CA.
  • Formativ Health partners with Lyft to help get patients to medical appointments.
  • Broadlawns Medical Center adds FormFast’s Go electronic document solution to its existing Capture software.
  • The HCI Group publishes a new white paper, “You’ve Signed a New EHR Contract: Now What?”
  • Loyale Healthcare explores healthcare CEOs and innovation in a new video, “Who Thrives? Who Survives?”
  • Politico features PatientPing in “Connecting your medical data could be the next big payoff.”
  • Consulting Magazine ranks Impact Advisors third on its list of best small firms to work for.
  • Hyland Healthcare collaborates with Change Healthcare to speed and simplify claim attachments for providers and payers.
  • InterSystems adds a mobile, touchscreen-enabled user interface to its TrakCare health information system.
  • Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at the 2018 OR Manager Conference September 17-19 in Nashville.
  • Kyruus will present at the 2018 Tri-State Conference September 19-21 in Wisconsin Dells, WI.
  • Join Meditech in signing the World Sepsis Declaration.
  • TransUnion Healthcare announces its support of nonprofit RIP Medical Debt.
  • Dimensional Insight publishes a new case study featuring Doctors Hospital in Puerto Rico.
  • Voalte’s annual Vue user conference, set to take place October 3-5 in in Sarasota, FL, sells out for the first time.
  • PatientKeeper and Medhost enter into a reseller agreement.
  • Hayes Management Consulting hires Mark Rivero (Athenahealth) as director of client experience.
  • EPSi partners with MPA Healthcare Solutions to offer customers risk-adjustment and clinical analytics.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 9/12/18

September 11, 2018 News 1 Comment

Top News

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Cerner President Zane Burke announces he will leave the company November 2. John Peterzalek, EVP of worldwide client relationships, will assume Burke’s responsibilities and the title of chief client officer. Burke joined the company in 1996 and took on the title of president in 2013. Analysts have expressed little surprise at his impending departure, given that he had just about reached the pinnacle of the company’s corporate ladder.


Webinars

September 26 (Wednesday) 12:30 ET. “How to Ensure Patient Records are Always Available.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. Presenter: Goliath Technologies engineering staff. This webinar will discuss how an early warning system can help your organization ensure your EHR systems and patient records are always available. You’ll also learn how to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, prevent, and resolve end user experience issues before users or patients are impacted.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Clarify Health Solutions raises $57 million in a Series B round led by KKR. The San Francisco-based company has developed analytics-based software to help providers better match and assist patients with tailored clinical services.

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In the face of Verity Health’s bankruptcy filing, California legislators stress that owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD must uphold the original ownership agreement approved by the state attorney general, especially as it pertains to safety net care and the continued employment of 7,000 staff across six hospitals and affiliated facilities.

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The FDA grants “breakthrough device” status to heart health technology company AliveCor for an algorithm it has developed that can detect high blood potassium levels through EKG analysis. Traditional detection methods require a blood sample. The Mayo Clinic-backed company’s products include an EKG smartphone attachment and app, and an Apple Watch band with similar capabilities. CEO Vic Gundotra expects it will take a year to bring the new technology to market.

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Nostrum Laboratories hikes the price of an antibiotic for bladder infections from $474.75 to $2,392, a move CEO (and avowed Martin Shkreli supporter) Nirmal Mulye believes is in keeping with the “moral requirement to make money when you can … to sell the product for the highest price.” He adds that, “This is a capitalist economy and if you can’t make money you can’t stay in business.”


People

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Former VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD joins Sanford Health (SD) as chief innovation officer.

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LHC Group promotes EVP and Chief Innovation Officer Bruce Greenstein to the additional role of chief strategy officer.

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Nanticoke Health Services (DE) promotes Steffan Williams to CIO.

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HCA President and COO Sam Hazen will succeed CEO Milton Johnson when he retires at the end of the year.

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The Value-Based Care Solutions Group names Bob Segert (Aspect Software) chairman and CEO, and has promoted Jon Zimmerman to president. Veritas Capital acquired the group from GE Healthcare in July, and intends to rebrand the company.


Announcements and Implementations

Q-Centrix adds natural language processing capabilities to its clinical data registry reporting software.


Sales

  • Unity Health (AR) will implement IntelliPass+ patient payment software from PatientMatters at its three hospitals.
  • Jamestown Regional Medical Center (TN) will go live on Evident’s Thrive EHR in December. JRMC has selected cloud-hosting and RCM services from Evident’s sister company, TruBridge. Both are subsidiaries of CPSI.

Government and Politics

A Kaiser Health News analysis of 1,406 comments on President Trump’s proposal to cut down the 340B hospital drug discount program finds that half were submitted anonymously and contained suspiciously similar wording, with two submitted hundreds of times containing the same grammatical error. Further digging by KHN also found that some patients can’t remember commenting, implying that they were unwittingly coerced into submitting them by practices affiliated with the Community Oncology Alliance, a nonprofit trade organization funded by drug manufacturers. CMS Administrator Seema Verma and Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan pointed to patient comments as a big part of their decision to cut annual 340B payments to hospitals by $1.6 billion.

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The Mike O’Callaghan Military Medical Center on Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base becomes the first base to connect with the VA’s Tele-ICU center in Minneapolis. Installed in five of the center’s rooms, the extra set of virtual “eyes” have especially helped in the prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia, catheter-related bloodstream infections, and stress ulcers.


Other

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The latest report from KLAS looks at the shrinking pool of release-of-information vendors and their ability to deliver consistently across customers. While Ciox Health continues to dominate thanks to the combined customer bases of its predecessors, IOD and HealthPort, it lags behind Verisma and MRO in customer satisfaction. While some Ciox customers seem prepared to leave over a lack of focus, culture, and personal touch, others are optimistic that the company’s new automated technology will close performance gaps. Customers give MRO high marks for high-quality customer service, especially in the areas of educational programs and training. Verisma, the smallest vendor, has experienced steady growth along with high levels of satisfaction for personal attention and access to the executive team – traits that may be hard to maintain as the company grows.


Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD will exhibit at the Healthcare Business Management Association Conference September 12-14 in Charlotte, NC.
  • Agfa HealthCare embraces intelligence in its health IT and imaging solutions to enable Care You Can See at RSNA18.
  • Aprima recaps its ninth annual user conference.
  • The local business paper profiles Diameter Health co-founder Eric Rosow.
  • Greenway Health names AssessURHealth its Marketplace Rookie of the Year.
  • Arcadia will present at the EOCCO Clinician Summit September 20 in Hermiston, OR.
  • Redox will exhibit at HITRUST September 11-13 in Grapevine, TX.
  • The latest Black Book Market Research survey names Leidos Health the 2018 top health information technology consultant.
  • CarePort Health will exhibit at ACMA Illinois September 18 in Rosemont.
  • Dimensional Insight will exhibit at the MDM Analytics Summit 2018 September 18-20 in Denver.
  • University of Texas Medical Branch CEO Donna Sollenberger joins Nordic’s Board of Directors.
  • Health Catalyst creates a Patient Safety Organization to give customers an avenue through which to share best practices, plus other benefits.

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 9/10/18

September 9, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (NY) CMO José Baselga, MD comes under fire after media outlets report he failed to disclose his financial ties to research journals in which he was published. Baselga has served on the boards of and performed consulting work for dozens of pharma and healthcare companies, yet has systematically failed to report the millions of dollars in payments received when speaking or writing about sponsored clinical studies.

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Adding insult to injury is the fact that Memorial Sloan Kettering has not yet censured Baselga in any way, other than to call for its staff to do a better job of disclosing their corporate relationships.

Baselga’s lapse highlights not only a lack of ethics on his part, but the slippery slope prestigious research publications like The Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine must walk when deciding to publish research. Most rely on an honor system, and for some, it’s simply a matter of not enough background-checking resources to go around. While publications like the American Association for Cancer Research have never barred an author from publishing, many are now reviewing their submission and review processes. 


Reader Comments

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From Vaporware: “Re: VA CIO nominee’s remarks on speeding up the Cerner project timeline. Summary: ‘We can do this faster,’ says someone who has never implemented an EHR. ‘You’ll be held accountable,’ says someone who never held anyone accountable. ‘LOL. $10 meeeellion dollars!’ says Zane on his way to the bank.” VA CIO nominee James Gfrerer told a Senate hearing committee last week that getting the Cerner switch flipped in under 10 years is definitely on the table. Nominated by President Trump at the end of July, Gfrerer spent two decades in the Marine Corps before serving as a senior military advisor in the State Department and then moving to E&Y’s cybersecurity practice.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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The majority of respondents would have no qualms about sharing their medical bills with media outlets in hopes of getting them reduced, though my use of the word “resort” implies that it would be a last-ditch effort after all other avenues have been exhausted. Greg points out that, “If the healthcare organization is not responsive or unwilling to work with me on the bill, the media is one outlet I’d consider reaching out to. Any business should expect what they say to their customers to end up in the news or on TV. With the laws in the US so skewed towards powerful interests, public shame in the media is one of the only options an average person has to fight with.” Lisa admits that it would “definitely not be my first choice, but as a last resort it’s better than bankruptcy. So far, I’ve been able to challenge and remove billing items that are clearly inappropriate, but what do you do if the billing folks refuse to clean up errors?” Mark says he’s “already used that approach and leveraged it effectively. Know your facts, prepare your facts, and share them with others so that all can benefit. When my wife had a hip replacement, without complications, and the net charges were 2x of the local competition, 2.5x what the facility accepts for a Medicare patient, put the the pen and paper (keyboard and email) to the task. Bottom line – fees reduced, perhaps humbled the facility, for a moment.”

New poll to your right or here: Would you purchase a “premium” genetics testing service from at-home kit companies like 23andMe?


Webinars

September 26 (Wednesday) 12:30 ET. “How to Ensure Patient Records are Always Available.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. Presenter: Goliath Technologies engineering staff. This webinar will discuss how an early warning system can help your organization ensure your EHR systems and patient records are always available. You’ll also learn how to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, prevent, and resolve end user experience issues before users or patients are impacted.

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


People

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Lisa Johnson (Legacy Health) joins Bluetree’s executive leadership team.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Quality Systems changes its name to NextGen Healthcare. Quality Systems created NextGen in 2001 through the merger of Clinitec and Micromed.

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Notable Health raises $13.5 million to further develop its physician-patient interaction software delivered via Apple Watch.

Optimum Healthcare IT settles a class-action lawsuit related to unpaid overtime filed last year by two employees for $4.9 million plus $1.6 million in legal fees.

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Healthcare Growth Partners recaps investment activity over the last year in RCM markets that include patient financial responsibility, complex claims from non-traditional payers, and coding and claims as they relate to connecting providers and payers.


Sales

  • University of Louisville Hospital and Physicians (KY) select Health Catalyst’s Data Operating System and outcomes improvement professional services.
  • Conway Regional Medical Center (AR) chooses post-discharge automated messaging software from CipherHealth.

Announcements and Implementations

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Personalized cancer treatment company Driver develops an app that offers patients treatment options and follow-up care within its network of 30 cancer centers. The membership-based service includes medical record and tumor sample collection, appointment scheduling, and virtual consults.

OnlyBoth adds hospital performance to its line of consumer-friendly healthcare comparison websites.

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Ciox Health announces GA of HealthSource, AI-powered software that locates, acquires, digitizes, and manages health data.

Nuance makes voice-enabled Dragon Medical workflows available through Epic’s mobile Rover documentation and barcode validation app.

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Mobile Heartbeat develops a new user interface for its MH-Cure care team messaging software.

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A new KLAS report on patient financial access finds that AccuReg ranks highest in customer satisfaction across categories, while Experian Health sees similar rankings from broad adopters. Recondo Technology leads the way in automated preauthorizations, but lags other vendors when it comes to customer perception of its positive impact on patients, staff, and billing. Experian Health’s customers, however, are the most likely to share patient access success stories. Change Healthcare wound up being the only vendor whose customers have all realized the benefit patient access solutions have on back-end billing.


Privacy and Security

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British Airways suffers another privacy black eye after hackers breach its website and app, compromising personal and financial information tied to 380,000 passenger transactions. The airline came under fire in July when its social media team asked passengers with service complaints to post personally identifiable information on Twitter to help resolve their issues, claiming it was necessary to comply with GDPR. 

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HITRUST introduces a Shared Responsibility Program to help organizations and their service providers clearly understand their roles regarding ownership and operation of security controls.


Other

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CNBC survey-takers believe controlling costs to be the top reason companies like Apple and Facebook are bypassing third parties like Premise Health to set up on-site clinics for their employees.


Sponsor Updates

  • LiveProcess will exhibit at the SONAR Safety Healthcare Conference September 14 in North Platte, NE.
  • MDLive will present at the Healthcare Analytics Summit September 13 in Salt Lake City.
  • Waystar will exhibit at the Mediware Conference September 10-12 in San Antonio.
  • Clinical Computer Systems, developer of the Obix Perinatal Data System, will exhibit at the AWHONN Ohio Section Conference September 13-14 in Sandusky.
  • OmniSys will exhibit at the PDX Pharmacy Forum September 16-18 in Fort Worth, TX.
  • Experian Health will exhibit at AAHAM MD September 11-13 in Ocean City, MD.
  • Sunquest will exhibit at Precision Medicine for Hospital CEOs September 12-13 in Nashville.
  • Visage Imaging will exhibit at the SIIM Conference on Machine Intelligence and Medical Imaging September 9-10 in San Francisco.
  • Philips Wellcentive publishes a new white paper, “How rising risk impacts value-based care.”
  • Voalte will exhibit at the Texas Health Association 2018 Quality and Patient Safety Conference September 13-14 in Georgetown, TX.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 9/7/18

September 6, 2018 News 3 Comments

Top News

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Theranos investigative reporter John Carreyrou breaks the news that the scandal-ridden blood-testing company will dissolve. CEO David Taylor, who took over from founder Elizabeth Holmes after she resigned in June amid criminal allegations, told shareholders that time had run out to find a buyer for the company before it defaulted on a $100 million loan from Fortress Investment Group.

Fortress co-founder Wes Edens has a history of making counterintuitive investments that include $3 billion towards a private rail line in Florida, and stakes in struggling sports teams like the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and English football club Aston Villa. Fortress will likely walk away from the deal with a handful of presumably worthless Theranos patents – assuming it can help the company pay off the $60 million it owes to other creditors. The company has just $5 million cash in hand.


Webinars

September 26 (Wednesday) 12:30 ET. “How to Ensure Patient Records are Always Available.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. Presenter: Goliath Technologies engineering staff. This webinar will discuss how an early warning system can help your organization ensure your EHR systems and patient records are always available. You’ll also learn how to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, prevent, and resolve end user experience issues before users or patients are impacted.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Home DNA testing kit company 23andMe revisits the idea of rolling out a premium service for more in-depth genetic sequencing. The company, which toyed with the idea in 2016, has hinted at a $750 price tag, putting it several hundred dollars below the offerings of whole genome sequencing competitors like Veritas Genetics.

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Mount Sinai Health System spinoff Rx.Health raises $1.8 million. The New York-based startup has developed software that gives providers the ability to prescribe apps and other digital health tools from within their EHRs.

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The US patent office awards Glytec two patents describing interactions between its insulin titration software and connected diabetes technologies related to blood glucose measurement, insulin delivery, and patient messaging.

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Tech-enabled kidney care company Cricket Health raises $24 million in a Series A round led by Oak HC/FT.

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Athenahealth prepares to take second-round bids as inside sources report that Cerner and UnitedHealthcare have passed on buying the EHR vendor. Elliott Management has teamed up with Bain Capital, which owns Waystar, to remain a contender. Ousted CEO and company co-founder Jonathan Bush stands to gain $4.8 million if the company is sold.

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Headspace acquires digital voice assistant development company Alpine.AI to add more vocal interaction to its flagship meditation app.

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Catholic Health Initiatives (CO), HCA Healthcare (TN), Intermountain Healthcare (UT), Mayo Clinic (MN), Providence St. Joseph Health (WA), SSM Health (MO), and Trinity Health (MI) band together to form a nonprofit generic drug company called Civica Rx. Led by former Amgen executive Martin VanTrieste, Civica will initially focus on the production of 14 generics that the founding health systems have committed to purchasing. VanTrieste has said he will forego a salary, and expects Civica’s first drugs to be on the market by 2019.

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After being acquired by Midmark in 2016, Versus Technology officially rebrands to Midmark RTLS.


People

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New Jersey Hospital Association SVP Sean Hopkins will lead the association’s new Center for Health Analytics, Research and Transformation.

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Jesus Delgado joins the Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana, parent company of Community Healthcare System, as CIO and VP of IT.

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Cambia Health Solutions hires Faraz Shafiq (Verizon) as chief artificial intelligence officer.


Sales

  • University Hospitals (OH) selects Jvion’s Cognitive Machine software to better prevent sepsis.
  • Western Connecticut Medical Group chooses patient engagement consulting services and technology from Formativ Health.
  • Pharmacy benefit management company EmpiRx Health selects ZeOmega’s Jiva 6.1 population health management technology.
  • Johns Hopkins Medicine (MD) will use Patient Flow Optimization software from MidMark RTLS at its Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.
  • Hartford HealthCare (CT) will implement ESO’s Health Data Exchange technology for EDs across its six hospitals.

Announcements and Implementations

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Vocera develops care team communication analytics in an effort to reduce alert fatigue and improve response times.

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Hiawatha Community Hospital (KS) replaces McKesson’s Paragon with Athenahealth.


Government and Politics

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announces the state will use a $12 million grant from CMS to launch an HIE early next year. The state’s first HIE sputtered out in 2014 after a $4 million investment and a four-year run at attempting to develop a reliable revenue stream.


Other

The Open Source Electronic Health Record Alliance will develop a global version of VistA compatible with different languages. The project, dubbed Plan VI, will also create a reference implementation guide.

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This analysis finds that 53 percent of hospitals mark up the cost of prescription drugs for patients and payers by between 200 and 400 percent. One in six jack up prices by as much as 700 percent, while one in 12 feel justified raising prices by 1,000 percent.

Providers, payers, and vendors like Epic, Cerner, and Allscripts pledge their allegiance alongside HL7 to The Da Vinci Project, an initiative that will work to improve data sharing in value-based care using FHIR standards. Initial test cases will include workflows for 30-day medication reconciliation and coverage requirements discovery.

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Scripps Research Translational Institute and WebMD develop the Healthy Pregnancy Research Program, an ongoing study leveraging ResearchKit data-capture capabilities within the WebMD pregnancy app. Researchers hope that the predominantly passive collection of pregnancy data will inform future studies geared towards reducing maternal death rates, give women a better understanding of their pregnancies, and arm them with more data to share with their providers.

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In North Carolina, Broughton Hospital’s opening day is finally in sight. Construction on the $130 million facility began seven years ago, suffering numerous setbacks due to weather, ongoing litigation with the contractor, and bureaucratic mismanagement along the way. The hospital will be paper-based once it opens in March 2019, despite being billed as “state of the art.”

A survey of CMIOs on medication management initiatives finds that varying departmental workflows and a lack of process buy-in, compliance, and ownership are top areas of patient safety concern. Incomplete medication histories and the misinformed care team decisions that result are also top issues, as is a lack of pricing transparency that often results in patients forgoing medication.

A Healthgrades study shows that consumers are twice as likely to visit a doctor when they can access a physician search tool from within a prescription drug company’s website.


Sponsor Updates

  • Compression therapy product manufacturer Absolute Medical selects FormFast’s Connect digital forms solution.
  • Carilion Clinic (VA) renews its agreement with LogicStream Health for its clinical process improvement and control software.
  • NextGen Healthcare adds electronic prior authorization capabilities from CoverMyMeds to its cloud-based Office EHR.
  • Healthfinch will exhibit at the Healthcare Analytics Summit September 11-13 in Salt Lake City.
  • Imprivata will present at the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium’s meeting on September 12 in Waltham.
  • Influence Health CEO Rupen Patel speaks to the Metro Atlanta CEO about the company’s consumer experience platform.
  • Meditech dedicates September to sepsis awareness.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 9/5/18

September 4, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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Atul Gawande, MD taps Jack Stoddard to be COO of the still unnamed joint healthcare venture of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan. Stoddard was formerly general manager of digital health at Comcast, where he devoted some of his time to developing digital patient engagement and education tools for a (presumably defunct) program with Independence Blue Cross. Stoddard’s time in the healthcare trenches also includes stints at Comcast-backed Accolade and Optum.


Reader Comments

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From Savoy Special: “Re: Medhost’s customer count. Down to 180 hospitals? That number cannot be correct since they still have their platform in most of the 119 CHS hospitals, plus a large number of LifePoint, Acadia, and Select hospitals. Plus they recently won a multi-entity deal at the end of last year. And then there is all of their EDIS business. The Curae bankruptcy was not unexpected. There was actually a lot of buzz about Medhost at Health:Further18.”


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Global technology services company Persistent Systems acquires Herald Health for $5.2 million. Herald’s software helps surface relevant EHR data in real time across hospital departments. The Boston-based startup came out of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (MA), which, through its Partners HealthCare network, tapped Persistent last year to develop a SMART on FHIR digital platform for sharing best clinical practices.

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Redox raises $3 million, bringing its total raised to $18 million since launching in 2014.

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Medication risk management vendor Tabula Rasa Healthcare acquires EHR vendor Mediture and its third-party administrative services subsidiary EClusive for $22 million. Both cater to Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly markets. The businesses will be incorporated into Tabula Rasa’s new PACE-focused CareVention HealthCare technology and services division.

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Following in Apple’s footsteps, Amazon momentarily hits the $1 trillion mark during day trading, focusing analyst’s eyes even more eagerly on its push into healthcare. The Internet retailer went public in 1997 at $18 a share, a figure that has skyrocketed to $2,050 and made founder and CEO Jeff Bezos the world’s richest man with a net worth of $167 billion.


People

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Patrick McGill (Community Health Network) will join primary care management company Primaria Health as CEO in December.


Announcements and Implementations

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Greenville Health System (SC) goes live on Agfa Healthcare’s enterprise imaging system.

The Brooklyn Hospital Center (NY) implements Epic at its ambulatory sites.


Other

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Following on-campus protests and obvious malcontent amongst its staff, Providence Hospital management fires the majority of its Board of Directors via email after tensions mount around parent organization Ascension’s decision to stop offering acute care services at the hospital by the end of year as part of its transition to a “health village.” (It announced it would close its obstetrics and behavioral health departments last August.) A former board member claims a vote on the acute-care decision was snuck in at the end of a regular meeting, after several other members had already left. Ascension claims the shuttering will better enable Providence to focus on “care coordination, telehealth/virtual care, primary and urgent care, home care, community-based behavioral healthcare, senior care, and more.”

In Australia, Victoria’s Dept. of Health and Human Services begins migrating 12,000 users from Lotus Notes to Office 365. Lotus Notes was first implemented in 1998, making the number of applications that have been spawned around it too numerous to die a quick death.

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Researchers develop an iPhone app capable of measuring blood pressure with the press of a finger. Readings were found to be similar to those from traditional blood pressure cuffs.

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The Cincinnati business paper profiles Cincinnati Children’s Hospital surgeon Victor Garcia, MD and the predictive analytics software he has developed with Israeli researchers to stave off shock in ICU patients.


Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD publishes a new e-guide, “In or Out-Source: Your Value-Based Care (VBC) Revenue Cycle Management.”
  • Aprima will exhibit at the Patient-Centered Medical Home Congress September 14-15 in San Diego.
  • Gartner recognizes Arcadia as a representative vendor across five categories in its latest report, “Healthcare Payer CIOs, Leverage Vendor Partners to Succeed at Clinical Data Integration.”
  • The University of Wisconsin-Madison profiles Bluetree Network founder Ted Gurman’s work with the Madison Entrepreneur Resource, Learning, and Innovation Network.
  • Datica will present and exhibit at HITRUST 2018 September 11-13 in Grapevine, TX.
  • The Chicago Tribune profiles Burwood Group Senior Director of Sales and Marketing (and Renaissance man) Greg Bueltmann.
  • CarePort Health will exhibit at ACMA New York September 8 in New York City.
  • Carevive Systems will exhibit at the 2018 ACS Cancer Programs Annual Conference September 5-7 in Chicago.
  • Collective Medical partners with the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California.
  • CoverMyMeds will present at the CBI Hub and SPP Model Optimization event September 12-13 in San Diego.
  • CTG will present at the Patient-Centered Medical Home Congress September 14-15 in San Diego.
  • Cumberland Consulting Group will sponsor the HealthCare Executive Group Annual Forum September 12-14 in Minneapolis.
  • The Connecticut Technology Council and Marcum LLP include Diameter Health on their list of the fastest-growing technology companies in Connecticut.
  • Yuma Regional Medical Center (AZ) expands its use of Vocera technology to include its entire enterprise.
  • Long-time Meditech customer DCH Health System (AL) will implement the company’s Expanse EHR across select hospitals and clinics.

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 9/3/18

September 2, 2018 News 1 Comment

Top News

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As predicted, California-based Verity Health files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an effort to survive the health IT missteps of billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD who acquired the health system in July 2017 with promises of achieving the Triple Aim using Allscripts technology, which he seemed to favor as a company investor. Implementation efforts have been put on hold as the frustrations of local officials mount. “It has become crystal clear by the bankruptcy announcement that he virtually had no intention of keeping these hospitals open and to continue to serve the poor like the Daughters of Charity [the past owners] did,” says city official David Canepa. “The whole thing seems like one big lie.”


Reader Comments

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From Vumcit: “Re: CIO departure at VUMC. Vanderbilt operating revenue down 68 percent after Epic implementation. CIO leaving. Unofficial hiring freeze in place.” It appears CIO Ken Letkeman will be heading to Houston Methodist after overseeing Nashville-based VUMC’s $200 million switch to Epic last November. The hospital’s latest financial statement says that while the drop in revenue was planned for, the implementation caused “muted” procedural volume, though future gains are expected.

From Savoy Special: “Re: Teladoc. Teladoc Rx ordering suffered widespread outage for over 36 hours between 8/29 and 8/31. After hours on the phone with Teladoc getting multiple stories, with the only consistent theme being ‘It’s not us, it’s them’ in a vague reference to a downstream integration or e-prescribing vendor platform doing an upgrade or emergency fix. Messages are flowing in a FIFO manner as of 9 a.m. ET on 8/31.” Unverified. Teladoc uses e-prescribing services from Surescripts.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Blockchain’s potential impact on healthcare seems to be minimal at best, which makes me wonder if an emperor-with-no-clothes mentality has swept investors (and other media outlets) off their feet. Clarence says, “The biggest impact is the cost of time and energy spent exploring this fruitless and wasteful expenditure.” Former CIO explains that, “It’s a database, a really slow database. What database has ever impacted cost or quality? When has a slower technology ever improved anything in healthcare?”

New survey to your right or here: Would you resort to sharing your medical bill with the media in hopes of getting it reduced?


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Virtual care software vendor Zipnosis raises $3 million in a Series B round, bringing its total funding to $22 million.

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The New York Times profiles Comcast and the surprisingly savvy investments it has made to keep healthcare costs down for its employees. (Most employees have a $250 deductible.) Through its Comcast Ventures investment arm, the much-maligned cable company has developed financial relationships with startups like Accolade, which helps employees navigate their health benefits; and Grand Rounds, which helps patients find second opinions. Comcast offers their services to its employees, plus virtual care from Doctor on Demand. It’s next admittedly self-serving play is to ensure the financial health of its employees through a startup it has created and funded call Brightside. Accolade co-founder Tom Spann made his debut as CEO of Brightside at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas.

HCA Healthcare buys Mission Health for $1.5 billion and pledges to invest $25 million in an innovation fund for the North Carolina-based system. Coincidentally, HCA is part owner of St. David’s Medical Center in Austin, TX, which slapped patient Drew Calver with a $109,000 bill for heart attack treatment, but then ultimately slashed it to $332 after receiving negative national media coverage it couldn’t “neutralize.”


People

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Todd Hoisington (Huron Consulting) joins The Chartis Group as principal and partner.


Announcements and Implementations

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Meritus Medical Center (MD) and physician practices go live on Epic.

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In Australia, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse implements Meditech’s 6.x oncology and pharmacy software.


Sales

  • Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital (MA) selects Meditech Expanse EHR implementation services from CloudWave.

Other

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An interop enthusiast reflects on Epic CEO Judy Faulkner’s UGM comments on the benefits of “One Virtual System Worldwide.”

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The integration of new devices for better communication tops the list of call center process-improvement goals, according to Spok’s inaugural survey of 400 providers involved with call-center strategy. Pagers are still going strong as a top communication method for staff, nearly tying with smartphones. Smart watches seem to be high on everyone’s wish list.


Sponsor Updates

  • Liaison Technologies releases a new video, “The State of Data Privacy and Security Compliance in Healthcare.”
  • LifeImage’s network now connects 1,500 hospitals and has facilitated the exchange of 7 billion image files.
  • MedData will exhibit at the Texas MGMA Fall Conference September 6-7 in Houston.
  • PatientPing releases a new success story video featuring Karen Yakabowskas of Saint Francis Healthcare Partners.
  • Surescripts recognizes nine EHR companies as finalists for the 2018 White Coat Award.
  • Vocera will exhibit at the 2018 Kansas Hospital Association Conference and Tradeshow September 6 in Topeka.
  • Philips Wellcentive publishes a new case study, “Eastside Health Network overcomes integration challenges.”
  • Meditech adds PDMP integration from DrFirst to its Expanse EHR.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 8/31/18

August 30, 2018 News 1 Comment

Top News

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The first FDA-approved digital pill will soon be offered to Medicaid patients in certain markets suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The Abilify MyCite regimen, which will come with a monthly price tag of $1,650, includes a sensor-embedded pill, wearable sensor, user app, and provider portal. Manufactured by Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, the pill is a digital version of the 16 year-old antipsychotic drug Abilify, which is now available as a generic for $700 a month.


Reader Comments

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From CB: “Re: Curae and Medhost. Remember that Curae-Medhost deal earlier this year? Curae has filed for Chapter 11 after incurring ‘higher-than-expected costs for electronic health records.’ Rumor is Medhost is down from a high of 450 clients to less than 180.” Rural healthcare operating company Curae Health actually signed on with Medhost last September at two of its hospitals. Curae filed for bankruptcy earlier this week, citing an inability to pay vendors in a timely manner. Medhost insiders are welcome to comment on the unverified client count.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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The US Patent & Trademark Office grants health data integration company Redox a patent for digitally translating messages between providers and vendors for smoother data exchange.

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Workforce management and analytics software vendor API Healthcare will move from GE Healthcare’s campus in Wauwatosa, WI to its former headquarters in nearby Hartford. GE sold off API, along with its enterprise financial and ambulatory care management units, to Veritas Capital in July for $1 billion.

Malvern, PA-based FluidEdge Consulting receives a strategic investment from CitiusTech.

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The USPTO issues Monarch Medical Technologies a patent related to providing patient-specific insulin dosing recommendations for its EndoTool Glucose Management System.

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Philips Healthcare acquires patient monitoring technology from the US Air Force. The Battlefield Assisted Trauma Distributed Observation Kit was designed to help medics monitor casualties in the field via smartphone or tablet. Philips plans to further develop the technology, with an eye on telemedicine offerings for civilians.

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Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett tells Bloomberg that Atul Gawande, MD is hiring for unnamed positions within Berkshire’s joint healthcare venture with Amazon and JPMorgan Chase. Buffet added that the venture, of which Gawande has been CEO since early July, is in no hurry to upend healthcare. “We’d like to be in a hurry,” he added, “but we’re not going to try and do something faster than it can be done.”

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Chicago-based Tempus raises $110 million in a Series E round that brings its total funding to $320 million and valuation to $2 billion. The oncology-focused precision medicine company was started in 2015 by Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky, who plans to use the investment to expand its focus to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and its reach to foreign markets.


People

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Nashville General Hospital names Eric Stephens (Vanderbilt University Medical Center) chief analytics officer.

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Jim Clifford (Philips Wellcentive) joins Rimidi as VP of strategic sales.


Sales

  • Woman’s Hospital (LA) selects Health Catalyst’s Data Operating System.
  • Oregon Health and Science University chooses Passport electronic forms from Access for surgical consents and safe opioid agreements.

Announcements and Implementations

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UMass Memorial Medical Center (MA) implements real-time patient messaging software from HealthLoop to better support total joint surgery patients.

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Definitive Healthcare announces GA of commercial medical claims data on 210 million de-identified patients.

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In the UK, Great Ormond Street Hospital deploys Elsevier’s Arezzo clinical pathways software in its endocrinology and metabolic unit.

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First announced in April 2016, Centra Health (VA) will go live on Cerner at each of its hospitals and 50 ambulatory and long-term care facilities September 1. Four hundred Cerner trainers will be on site to help with the culmination of what has been dubbed “Project Unison.”


Government and Politics

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VA Secretary Robert Wilkie tells American Legion national convention attendees that customer service will be a top priority within the agency, as will transitioning to Cerner and working with the DoD to help patients navigate from active-duty to veteran status. He stressed that no veteran should have to endure what his father, Army Lt. Col. Robert Leon Wilkie Sr., went through when he carried 800 pages of medical records to VA appointments.


Other

Epic’s annual user group meeting brings an influx of end users and staff to company headquarters in Verona, WI. Locals bemoaned the crowds (made worse by the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s move-in week and exceptional rains), while conference-goers griped about the lack of an agreed-upon hashtag. CEO Judy Faulkner made her typical opening remarks, with even the local press picking up on her vision for a global health data sharing network. A few images from the event:

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Weird News Andy says this California couple’s first kiss was definitely one to remember: Max Montgomery suffered a heart attack and collapsed on the beach during his first date with anesthesiologist Andrea Traynor, MD who quickly administered CPR. EMTs revived Montgomery in the ambulance and admitted him to the hospital for bypass surgery. The couple – and Montgomery’s heart – are still going strong 10 months later.


Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at CASA 2018 September 5-6 in Huntington Beach, CA.
  • The Healthcare Business Intelligence 2018 report from KLAS Research gives HBI Solutions an overall score of 91.3 for advanced analytics.
  • Iatric Systems will exhibit at HCCA Regional September 7 in Boston.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 8/29/18

August 28, 2018 News 4 Comments

Top News

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Harris Computer Systems acquires Iatric Systems, which it will run as an independent business unit.

Iatric President/CEO Frank Fortner will join Harris as EVP of Iatric Systems.

Iatric’s website says it has 200 employees. The company is headquartered in Wakefield, MA. It has won awards for patient privacy monitoring, specimen collection barcoding, interoperability, and EHR optimization.

Harris’s health IT business includes Amazing Charts, GEMMS, Harris Healthcare Clinical Solutions, Harris Coordinated Care Solutions, IMDSoft, MediSolution, Morcare, Picis, PulseCheck, and QuadraMed.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Listening: the amazing if unlikely 2011 pairing of Amy Winehouse and Nas, leading me to belatedly appreciate her troubled genius. The eclectic streaming station roped in my scanning with the little-heard 1967 tune “Monterey” by Eric Burdon and the Animals and moved on to a weird mix of great music, including that of Amy, who died of alcohol poisoning in 2011 as her initiation into the 27 Club of musician deaths.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Politico reports that debt-ridden Verity Health System, acquired by Patrick Soon-Shiong last year, will file bankruptcy in the next few weeks. The article notes that Soon-Shiong forced the system to implement Allscripts Sunrise when he held a financial stake in that vendor, costing the health system an estimated $20 to $100 million even though it preferred Epic. Losses have forced the health system to cut back on IT infrastructure services and charity care. The health system lost $119 million in the year ending in June 2018 versus an expected break-even budget even as Soon-Shiong’s management company was paid $20 million.

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Palm Beach Gardens, FL-based Bridge Connector, which integrates customer relationship management systems with EHR and other hospital systems, raises $5.5 million in a Series A funding round that follows a $4.5 million investment in its June 2018 seed funding round.


Sales

  • Steward Health Care chooses Wolters Kluwer for point-of-care knowledge tools, infection surveillance, and evidence-based clinical decision support.
  • Mohawk Valley Health System (NY) chooses Epic to replace its five non-Epic EHRs.
  • Partners HealthCare will offer urgent care video visits through its health plan, working with Teladoc Health.

People

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Pivot Point Consulting hires Janice Wurz (Impact Advisors) as VP of advisory services.

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CTG co-founder G. David Baer died August 21. He was 82.


Announcements and Implementations

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A new KLAS report covering the European EHR market finds the top vendors to be Epic, Cerner, and Allscripts in that order, with Epic growing market share in Netherlands and Scandinavia despite customer feelings that its approach is US-centric and Cerner seeing its growth mostly in the UK but with inconsistent delivery. Meditech and Allscripts are noted as performing very well for their users despite a small customer base. The top three vendors in terms of 2012-2017 market wins are InterSystems (by far), Agfa, and Epic.

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The Pew Charitable Trusts, MedStar Health’s human factors group, the AMA, and external reviewers publish “Ways to Improve Electronic Health Record Safety,” a call for voluntary improvement of usability testing, integration of usability and safety reviews into product life cycles, and creating safety-focused test case scenarios.

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Adventist Health System – which is changing its name to AdventHealth – buys the 10-year naming rights to the practice facilities and administrative offices of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL football team, saying the move will allow it to “identify and tackle important health issues in the Greater Tampa Bay Area” (the pun may or may have not been intentional).

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St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center (IA) opens a 60-station, 350-employee virtual hospital (St. Luke’s Virtual Care Center) that will offer clinic consultation, hospital consultation, and home monitoring.

OSEHRA will create an international version of the VA’s VistA EHR, with participation from South Korea, China,  and Jordan.


Other

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Another struggling, rural hospital gets in trouble for allowing itself to be used in a questionable lab billing scheme. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina sues LifeBrite Hospital of Stokes and removes the hospital from its network after its volume of submitted lab tests rises from 267 per month to 67,000, most of them for urine toxicology screening for out-of-state patients who had no hospital connection. BCBSNC paid $11 million for what it says are fraudulent, inflated-price tests before it stopped payments, claiming that the hospital was purchased strictly to take advantage of its in-network contracts. LifeBrite bought the bankrupt 99-bed hospital last year – then named Pioneer Community Hospital of Stokes — for $400,000 and BCBSNC says it has billed $76 million since. The Georgia company has just one other hospital, but runs national reference lab LiteBrite Laboratories.

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Central Maine Healthcare’s recently hired CEO Jeff Brickman says he moved too quickly in trying to turn around the health system’s finances, causing doctors and employees to push back over its Cerner implementation. Their no-confidence vote failed, however, as the board reiterated its support for him.

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We’re going to need a lot more reporters: an HCA hospital tells a heart patient that his insurance will cover his four-night, out-of-network heart attack stay, then bills him for $109,000 and turns it over to collections when the high school teacher can’t pay. State-mandated protection against balance billing didn’t apply in his case since his employer is self-insured. Experts say Aetna had already paid the hospital at least 2-4 times reasonable charges. NPR’s coverage of the story suddenly resulted in the for-profit hospital offering a “financial assistance discount” that reduced the teacher’s bill to $782, a 99.3 percent “bury this story now” cost savings that it will surely make back from patients whose stories earn less press.

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Meanwhile, former ED physician Matthew Wetschler – who was left with a $500K bill after his insurer Oscar refused to pay out-of-network San Francisco General Hospital for emergency treatment after he broke his spine – says UCSF has turned over 41 separate accounts under his name to debt collectors. This is a good lesson – given their inability to hold prices down by negotiating with market-dominant health systems, about the only tools insurers have left are to (a) deny coverage; (b) increase the portion patients pay; and (c) most damaging of all, to create such narrow networks that bills for emergency care or services received while away from home are almost certain to be denied, with the patient getting stuck with the balance at full list (imaginary) price.


Sponsor Updates

  • Bluetree will exhibit at the CHIME Partner Education Summit September 5-7 in Chicago.
  • Bernoulli Health showcases the latest features of its Bernoulli One platform, including integration of patient ECG rhythm reports into Epic’s EHR, at Epic UGM this week in Verona.
  • CompuGroup Medical will exhibit at PainWeek September 4-8 in Las Vegas.
  • Spok will participate in several health events through fall.
  • Dimensional Insight emerges as a top cross-industry vendor in the latest KLAS Healthcare Business Intelligence Report.
  • DocuTap will host its annual user conference October 3-5 in Denver.

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 8/27/18

August 26, 2018 News 1 Comment

Top News

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Two key leaders of the VA’s Cerner implementation have turned in their resignations – Chief Medical Officer Ashwini Zenooz, MD and Chief Health Information Officer Genevieve Morris.

They had held those jobs for just 15 months and barely more than one month, respectively.

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Morris posted her resignation letter on Twitter.

Morris had tweeted a few days earlier that her song of the day was Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.”


Reader Comments

From Shalom: “Re: news articles. I just wanted to say thanks for the curation.” You’re welcome, but I push back at the term “curation” for several reasons: (a) it’s insufferably trendy; (b) it marginalizes the reporting of breaking news, rendering opinion, and developing reader interaction that goes beyond linking to someone else’s stories; and (c) quite a few questionably educated and experienced folks have taken on the “curator” title, which like “thought leader,” is a self-bestowed honorific that often deflects attention from a striking lack of actual accomplishment. I’m careful who I trust to filter news and render opinion.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Most poll respondents aren’t expecting much to result from Silicon Valley tech giants announcing their support for healthcare interoperability. Furydelabongo concludes, “As long as we consider interoperability to be a technology problem, it will never be solved. For the same reason, I doubt I’ll ever be able to move seamlessly between a Honda, Ford, and BMW and have a similar data experience. Everyone has their own secret sauce that gives them a market advantage. Why would they do anything to compromise that?”

New poll to your right or here: How much impact will blockchain technology have on healthcare cost and quality? My implicit message is that until it can directly influence those factors, then don’t waste time salivating over it.

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Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor Prepared Health. The Chicago-based company’s EnTouch Network makes it easier for patients to stay healthy at home by connecting them with providers, caregivers, and payers. Health systems use the platform to stay connected to referral sources, involve the patient’s caregivers in their care, receive real-time alerts of changes in risk or care setting, and monitor for fraud and abuse via GPS-powered visit verification. Its EnTouch Analytics identifies and manages evidence-based interventions. Centegra’s director of care coordination explains, “We were struggling to reduce excessive use of medical staff and better match patients with the right level of care when they left the hospital. We needed a tool to track our patients and their progress from the moment we got involved with them. The phone calls and faxes between various providers and manually writing down notes were not working.” Co-founders Ashish Shah and David Coyle spent years in key roles with Medicity. Thanks to Prepared Health for supporting HIStalk.


Webinars

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


People

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Urgent care documentation technology vendor Edaris Health promotes Meg Aranow to CEO.


Government and Politics

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New York City police arrest former CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH on charges that he grabbed the buttocks of an unnamed female acquaintance of 20 years who was leaving a dinner party in his home.


Privacy and Security

The adoptive parents of a two-year-old who died of drowning sue McAlester Regional Health Center (OK), claiming that some of its cafeteria workers accessed his records and one of them contacted the boy’s birth mother. The lawsuit says that a food service employee whose EHR credentials allowed looking up patient information for meal delivery had been told to post their login credentials on a sticky note on a computer, which gave other workers access. The couple’s attorney admits that he can’t sue for a HIPAA violation, but he can claim that the hospital was negligent in not meeting HIPAA requirements.


Other

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The New York Times looks at dementia-fighting strategies in the Netherlands that include a bus ride simulator; a mini-vacation room built to mimic a beach with sounds and heated sand; video projection; a re-creation of a bar complete with singing and real alcohol; robotic pets; and rooms featuring rotary phones, typewriters, and other decor with which many residents grew up. Residents enjoy memories and shared experiences that reduce the need for medications and restraints. 

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Financial Times says big pharma is willing to embrace clinically validated software that serves as a key component in managing or curing a particular condition. It notes MoovCare, an algorithm-powered web portal offer by Israel-based Sivan Innovation that studies suggest can extend life expectancy for lung cancer patients by early detection of relapses and complications. Novartis is working with Pear Therapeutics, which offers a software-only treatment for substance abuse that will be launched in the US in the next six months. 

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Tobacco companies are using sophisticated hashtag campaigns in reaching out to social medial influencers – who are sometimes paid or invited to attend promotional events — to portray smoking and vaping as hip while getting around laws that prohibit tobacco advertising. One company specifically told the influencers to use only cigarette pack photos in which the required health warning is obscured.

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England’s new health secretary Matt Hancock vows in a Facebook post to implement national interoperability standards after he observes staff at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital reverting to pen and paper.

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Home genetic test vendor 23andMe will turn off API access to its anonymized data sets, telling developers that they can access company-generated reports but not the underlying data. 23andMe had previously planned to launch an app store, but was worried about vetting third-party developers. The company turned off access to an anonymous developer in 2015 who used it to create a “race wall” so that sites could block users of specific gender, ancestry, or genetic characteristic.

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Stanford’s John Ioannidis, MD, DSc urges reform in nutritional epidemiology research, noting that newspapers and websites pick up wildly misleading studies that conclude that eating or not eating a particular food changes health status or longevity. He basically says that everybody eats, so you can always find some questionable correlation between diet and health that usually means nothing and distracts consumers from the amply documented risks of smoking, lack of exercise, air pollution, and climate change. 

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The Dallas business paper profiles Children’s Health SVP/CIO Pam Arora.

The decision by the late Senator John McCain to stop his cancer treatment provides a reminder of how to avoid being insensitive or incorrect in those situations:

  • Don’t refer to someone as “battling cancer” or as a “cancer victim” – they simply have cancer
  • Declining chemotherapy, radiation treatment, or surgery doesn’t mean the person is “giving up” in choosing quality of life over aggressive treatment
  • Palliative care is a medical care option, so someone who chooses it has not “ended their medical care”
  • The military metaphor that comments on the person’s toughness, bravery, or willingness to “fight” doesn’t necessarily help them “beat cancer” or suggest that those who failed to do so were lacking those qualities
  • The term “survivor” isn’t always meaningful because the person will always wonder if the cancer will come back and isn’t necessarily leading the same life they led before

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Epic expects to host 8,000 users and 9,000 of its own employees at UGM this week. Sunday offered dinner around the campfire with an emphasis on Wisconsin foods (I’m thinking cheese curds, wursts, and beer, but that’s from my own limited experience). Verona got pounded by rain this weekend and it will be hot and humid with highs in the mid-80s through Tuesday, but the sun and cooler temperatures return Wednesday with highs barely breaking 70. Attendee updates and reports are welcome.

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I ran across Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom when Googling something unrelated, noting that its nurse CEO just published (via a vanity press) “Big Brother in the Exam Room: The Dangerous Truth about Electronic Health Records.” A tweet congratulates her for “hitting #1 on an Amazon best seller list,” although (a) that was in just the “Medical History & Records” category; (b) it has since fallen to #12 in that category; and (c) the book’s overall sales rank suggests that it is selling maybe 5-10 copies per day. Its website seems to harbor a lot of anger about healthcare in general:

  • It asks people to sign a form declaring that they will not enroll “the national Obamacare Exchange system,” although the point why anyone would do that (versus just not signing up) isn’t clear.
  • It says the Affordable Care Act is a “massive national tracking system” and that its implementation means “Our life, our liberty, and our future as a free nation hangs in the balance. Will the government get control of our healthcare, and with it the power to decide whether we live or die? ”
  • It urges people to refuse to sign a provider’s Notice of Privacy Practices, although it makes no argument as to what value that provides beyond being annoying to staff.
  • It posted a petition demanding that people be allowed to get Social Security benefits without signing up for Medicare since they are then “involuntarily enrolled in Affordable Care Act Accountable Care Organizations.”
  • It declares PCORI to be a “federal rationing plan.”
  • It says doctors “push” flu vaccine to hit government targets even though the “best quality of care may be to recommend against the vaccine”
  • It decries provider score cards based on adherence to evidence-based medicine to be “government cookbook medicine.”

If you like the book I mentioned above, you’ll surely want to study this article in the ultra-conservative Washington Times titled “How AI is pushing US healthcare down a USSR path.” It concludes that behind the “bureaucratic bull-crappery” of the announced support for interoperability by tech giants is this:

Out go the individual’s expectation of medical records’ privacies; in comes the prioritization of the healthcare as a collective, not individual, good. The medical breakthroughs may be significant. But the flip side is that suddenly, it’s not you and the doctor in that office. It’s you and the doctor and a nationally approved streamlined course of care, based on Big Data collection, Big Business information-sharing, and AI-fueled decisions. And when you’re done? Count on your outcomes — the success or failure of your medical treatment — being fed as fuel to the machine learning beast.

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Weird News Andy has an unnatural love for fecal transplant stories and titles this one “Bottom’s Up.” Scientists create a “baby poo smoothie” probiotic supplement. Punster WNA says this idea has reached a new low and hopes that this, too shall pass.


Sponsor Updates

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  • Summit Healthcare staff volunteer at The Greater Boston Food Bank in support of company-wide philanthropic initiatives.
  • Loyale Healthcare provides insight on rising healthcare costs and impacts on patient satisfaction.
  • MDLive will exhibit at the Connected Health Summit August 28-30 in San Diego.
  • Meditech 2018 Revenue Cycle Summits boost customer communication.
  • National Decision Support Co., Pivot Point Consulting, Surescripts, and Visage Imaging will exhibit at Epic UGM August 27-30 in Verona, WI.
  • WebPT publishes “The 2018 Rehab Therapy Salary Report.”
  • Philips Wellcentive releases a new video, “Bridging the VBC Care Gaps Survey.”
  • Chief Executive profiles ZappRx CEO Zoe Barry.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates. Send news or rumors.
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News 8/24/18

August 23, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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More details come to light about Andy Slavitt’s Medicaid Transformation Project. First mentioned at the Avia Network Summit in May, the project will involve 17 health systems that, over a two-year period, will work to improve care for Medicaid patients in four areas — substance use disorder, behavioral health, maternal and infant health, and reducing preventable ED admissions.

Avia, a digital health firm based in Chicago with strong ties to HIMSS, will help with the technological underpinnings of the project as ideas are conceived and implemented. Slavitt joined Avia as an advisor in May 2016.

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David Smith (Leavitt Partners) and Avia Executive in Residence Molly Coye, MD, MPH will lead the project, which will be anchored by Advocate Aurora Health (IL), Baylor Scott & White Health (TX), Dignity Health (CA), Geisinger Health System (PA), and Providence St. Joseph Health (WA).


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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RDMD will use $3 million in seed money to develop a repository of health data from a variety of digital sources that can then be used for rare disease research and treatment. The startup evolved out of a hackathon last year organized by RDMD founder Onno Faber, who encouraged attendees to dig through his health data in hopes of finding a treatment for his neurofibromatosis type 2, a rare genetic disease for which there previously was no known treatment. RDMD co-founder and CEO Nancy Yu came to the company from 23andMe. They hope to eventually make money by selling de-identified data to pharmaceutical companies.

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Healthcare CRM and analytics firm Hc1.com wraps up a $10 million Series B funding round led by Health Cloud Capital.

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New Enterprise Associates will invest $165 million in Paladina Health, an employer-focused primary care company acquired from DaVita in June for $100 million. The funding, which mirrors that of other primary care-focused investments into companies like One Medical and Iora Health, will be used for expansion and future acquisitions. If memory serves me correctly, Paladina Health has been an EClinicalWorks customer for a number of years.

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Mediware continues its spate of acquisitions by buying Rock-Pond Solutions, an Arkansas-based provider of business intelligence and analytics for home infusion, home medical equipment, and specialty pharmacy businesses.


People

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Kate DeBaene (WPS Health Insurance) joins Forward Health Group as VP of client delivery.

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Scott McKay (ZappRx) joins GNS Healthcare as CTO.

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ESolutions names Gerry McCarthy (TransUnion Healthcare) CEO. He replaces Gene Creach, who has retired.

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HCI Group Global COO Mike Sinno died Saturday, August 11 of a heart attack while coaching his son’s basketball game. He was 45. He had previously served as CIO of Stony Brook University Physicians and Cooper University Hospital. Friends and co-workers are collecting donations for his wife and three children.


Sales

  • Montgomery General Hospital (WV) will launch Meditech’s cloud- and subscription-based EHR in September.
  • Santiam Hospital (OR) goes back to CPSI’s EHR after trying another vendor’s solution that fell short in its inpatient functionality (apparently Athenahealth).

Announcements and Implementations

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Vibra Healthcare (PA) implements Direct messaging capabilities from Secure Exchange Solutions across its 38 facilities.

The Greater Houston Healthconnect HIE goes live on InterSystems HealthShare.

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Adena Regional Medical Center (OH) deploys nurse call and RTLS technologies from Critical Alert Systems.

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Imat Solutions develops a Health Data Confidence Index to help providers determine the cleanliness, comprehensiveness, and timeliness of their data.

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Cerner and Duke Clinical Research Institute develop an atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk calculator app that estimates 10-year and lifetime risk using basic patient information that can be used during a PCP or cardiologist visit. The app extracts information from several EHRs using SMART on FHIR.

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A new KLAS report on worksite health services such as primary care and welllness coaching – perfectly timed given Paladina’s impending fund raise — finds that Premise Health and Marathon Health lead the pack, with CareHere also performing well in mid-sized organizations. Cerner’s performance was middle of the road despite its technology capabilities, while KLAS observed that Paladina isn’t on many radars due to its mixed marketing message (something that its new investment can surely improve). Also mentioned were innovators OurHealth (clinics shared among multiple employers), Crossover Health (technology-enabled worksite health), and One Medical (for its consumer focus and 24/7 telemedicine services).


Government and Politics

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ONC seeks feedback on the 21st Century Cures Act Electronic Health Record Reporting Program by October 17.

An American Journal of Public Health investigation finds that bot-powered Russian election meddling in 2016 included sending wildly partisan pro- and anti-vaccine tweets to erode public consensus and to sow discord. Sample tweets: “I don’t believe in #vaccines I believe in God’s will,” “Don’t get #vaccines. Illuminati are behind it,” and “You can’t fix stupidity. Let them die from measles, and I’m for #vaccination.”


Privacy and Security

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Black Hat conference organizers discover a security vulnerability in attendee badges after a security researcher notifies them that he was able to access registration data using a conference badge reader and business card-sharing app.

Wired points out the privacy issues users may face once birth control apps like Natural Cycles — newly cleared by the FDA — start selling de-identified patient data to pharmaceutical companies and other third parties. While such transactions aren’t in the cards right now, according to co-founder and former CERN physicist Elina Berglund, “I can’t say we’ll never share data. There’s no guarantees in life of what will happen.”

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Delaware Health Information Network will launch an identity theft protection product for consumers in Delaware and Maryland that combines its Health Check Alert system with LegalShield’s identity theft protection services.


Other

ECRI Institute (whose name seems to be redundant since the “I” originally stood for “institute”) publishes the first in a three-part podcast series covering safe practice recommendations for test tracking and changing medication orders. This one is titled “Diagnostic Error and the Importance of Closing the Loop.”

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A study of prescribing practices for surgical patients at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (NH) finds that introducing mandatory access to a PDMP did not alter the opioid prescribing habits of physicians. Prescribing rates stayed the same, as did the number of pills prescribed. Time spent on checking the prescription drug database and obtaining informed consent took up an extra 13 minutes of the physician’s time.

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A report on physician referrals and patient retention from Kyruus finds that:

  • 40 percent of physicians know whether or not their referral was appropriate for their patient
  • 72 percent tend to refer to the same physician, giving no consideration to others outside of their traditional referral circles who may have more expertise
  • 45 percent feel they don’t have the necessary information to make in-network referrals
  • Though 60 percent of physicians feel in-office appointment scheduling is necessary, 42 percent of patients leave an office without a referral appointment booked

Sponsor Updates

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  • CTG staff volunteer at the Weinberg Campus retirement home for United Way of Buffalo and Erie County’s Day of Caring event.
  • Nuance expands its presence in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Asia-Pacific, and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
  • Impact Advisors earns top honors in Black Book’s “2018 State of the Healthcare Technology Advisory and Consultants Industry Report.”
  • Ellkay joins the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC) as a strategic business and technology partner.
  • Black Book names Hayes Management Consulting a top firm in RCM optimization consulting, and clinical optimization and workflow consulting.
  • HBI Solutions advisor Terry Fouts, MD joins BridgeHealth as CMO.
  • The VDI Design Guide features Goliath Technologies.
  • Healthfinch, Healthwise, InterSystems, and Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at Epic UGM August 27-30 in Verona, WI.
  • Imprivata will exhibit at VMworld August 26-30 in Las Vegas.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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