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HIStalk Interviews Mike Linnert, CEO, SymphonyRM

August 27, 2018 Interviews No Comments

Mike Linnert is founder and CEO of SymphonyRM of Palo Alto, CA.

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Tell me about yourself and the company.

The team and I have been doing customer relationship management solutions for large consumer service brands for 15 to 20 years. We’ve had the privilege to work with some of the biggest brands in the country, such as American Express, AT&T, Wells Fargo, and Verizon. We’re taking the learnings from those industries — how they take data, how they distill data down to action, how they use it to proactively engage their customers — and bringing that insight into healthcare. There’s a real opportunity for it.

How does healthcare compare to other industries in its use of customer relationship management systems?

We’re 10 to 15 years behind. You can see it in a few key ways. Healthcare is just starting to think about how to proactively reach out to our customers. Traditionally, the business model was that we waited for them to need us and call us, then we focused on providing good access. The paradigm is shifting. It’s both a competitive imperative and a business imperative, but it’s also a health imperative to drive healthier, happier customers. Health systems are beginning to aggressively reach out.

You see pockets of it starting to happen, in particular, with organizations that are looking at population health and starting to take some risk. They’re moving from “we have a lot of data” to “we have lists that we need to call or execute against.” We’re seeing it more aggressively by organizations that have taken more risk, or those that have the luxury of being able to be forward thinking. But they’re in the early stages. They haven’t thought about how to use technology to drive it, haven’t identified the business metrics that indicate that they’re doing well, and haven’t institutionalized the process.

Health systems historically didn’t want to make it obvious in a customer-facing way they were running a business. Is it a change for them to be behave like a for-profit business in going after new patients, upselling services, and measuring doctor loyalty?

I would say it’s less about thinking about being a profitable business and more about improving delivery to customers. Other customer service industries have found a way to take the business they have, distill it down to a few key metrics, and then take action based on those metrics. Can we distill all our data down to value, delight, loyalty, and next best action for every single customer we have?

The most important of those is the next best action. A health system should be able to answer the question of, if I had the privilege of talking today to any one of the million people that I have in my patient / customer database, what would be the most important thing I could say to them? That involves looking across the health system. We execute in different silos — the population health team, the primary care team, case managers, care coordinators, revenue cycle, and on and on. I need to grab all the data from all those different groups and distill it down to action. What do we want to do?

Then I need to the able to prioritize those actions by combining what it takes to keep my patients healthy and loyal, the capacity I have available to serve them, and the metrics that drive my business. The metrics I use to drive my business don’t have to involve profitability. Some look at growth. Some look at profitability, because no money, no mission, and I need to run the health system. But if my goal is delight, I’m measuring how happy my customers are with me. That’s an important metric and it impacts my next best actions as I allocate them.

People miss the concept of stirring capacity and business metrics into patient need. When I’m looking for the right patients to reach out to proactively, I don’t want to call a patient and extol the virtues of an annual wellness visit if their doctor doesn’t have any capacity to do annual wellness visits for the next three months. If I’m going be proactively reaching out, I need to prioritize who I can serve the best right now. That’s a fundamentally different way of metric-driven thinking.

How much overlap exists between pure analytics systems versus your system of using analytics to drive consumer engagement?

We think of ourselves as an algorithm-driven CRM company. It has two parts. Part one is getting all the data that we can, factoring in the corporate priorities or imperatives and the available capacity. Running algorithms that map the combination of those three variables into next best actions for everybody. That’s part one, the analytics.

Part two is how to engage customers around those next best actions. Engaging them is where a traditional CRM takes over, but they’re not well married to that next best action data analytics piece within healthcare. Once we inject those next best actions, we can start looking across the different silos of the business and saying, for this list of patients, the population health team is the most important next best action. The population health team might determine that their metrics are driven by the imperative around driving down per-member, per-month costs, which is really a proxy for making sure we’re seeing the right numbers at the right venues and the right times.

I’ll give you a tangible example. Some of our clients are coming to the conclusion that the next best actions that can help them bend the cost curve and drive patient delight are weekly or monthly phone calls. Maybe we take our high-cost, high-need patients and put them on a schedule. We’re not calling to say “you have a care gap” or “we have some coding gaps we’d like to get closed with you.” We’re calling to say, “Hey, how are you doing? We noticed that you’re consuming a lot of care. How can we help you better map into the services we have that are maybe more appropriate for you, making sure we’re seeing you in the right venue?”

We find that those weekly and monthly calls aren’t necessarily just health focused around how the patient is feeling, their pain, or their medications. They evolve to be things like, “How did you do last week? You were going to do a 5K, how did it go? How’s your family doing?” It’s in the context of those weekly calls that we discover the things that we can be doing to help. Referrals to job placement, referrals to food banks, getting a patient to see a primary care doc for an emergent issue before it turns into an ER visit.

This sounds like new ground for hospitals in having non-billable patient conversations. Do you coach them on what they should be doing?

We work together with our clients. Our business model is fewer, bigger clients. We talk to every one of our clients every day. As we learn things with different clients and we see things work, we’re constantly sharing.

But the driving force usually has to start within the medical group or the executive team. There has to be a metric or an imperative that gets reduced down to next best actions. Calling people with a potentially high need is not enough. You need a true metric that says, the way we’re going to measure success around this effort — and I’m grabbing a random one — is that we’re going measure per-member, per-month cost and customer delight. If we do that, then we can show that based on those metrics, we can identify the actions that drive those metrics. We can reduce our next best actions to a dashboard that we can manage against. It’s not spinning up an effort, but rather trying to drive a metric, and in service of that, here are the things that we’re going do.

Frankly, things go pretty fast. If you don’t see the metric moving the way you want within a month or two, then something’s wrong. If we’re doing a good job of tracking both activity and accomplishment, we can say that the metric is not moving because we didn’t get in touch with the patients we said we wanted to. Or, we got in touch with them, but our schedules are such we weren’t able to get them in for the appointments we wanted them to have. Or, we got them scheduled, but some of them no-showed the appointment.

If you’re tracking that, you can decide what to do differently. You should be able to be reduce whatever issue you’re tackling to next best action and what to do differently for each customer.

Are those health system and medical practice efforts segregated by whether a given patient is covered by a risk agreement versus being billed under fee-for service?

Some of those things get considered some of the time. We’re looking for the opportunities to create value for our customers. What do they need from us? You make a really good point that when people come to us, it’s easy. We just do the things that they ask for or the things that we believe they need. When we switch that and say we’re going to go to them and we’re in the proactive outreach business, we have a problem. If we have a million people in our customer database, we couldn’t call all of them today even if we wanted to. If somehow we could call all of them today, we don’t have appointments or services available for all of them today. Now we’re in the business of trying to figure out the most important people to call.

You’re correct that part of the decision involves corporate priorities. If we have a priority around our ACO and one of our priorities for our ACO patients is driving down per-member, per-month cost, then we look at those people who might have the the biggest impact and what things we can do for them, then call them first. Those things can range from consuming care in the right place to leveraging social determinants of health. If we know financial security is a challenge for you right now and that drives your health, then let’s make sure that we’re talking to you about referral to job training or job placement and engage around some of those things through the proper channels.

What best practices have you seen for health systems improving their relationships with physicians?

You have to be really clear if you’re going to have physician outreach. What’s the purpose? What is the definition of success? We see a lot of physician outreach teams meeting with providers and talking about referral patterns, but it’s not clear how you measure them. An executive team could say to the provider outreach team, we want you to make sure our providers are reducing leakage. That’s probably the most common one we see.

But some of our more sophisticated customers are also saying, we want to educate our providers about what’s going on in the system and where we think we’re moving forward. Or, we want to educate our providers about our solutions to help them drive their quality metrics. Or, we want them to understand that we have marketing programs they can take advantage of. That’s one aspect.

The other aspect is that if we do next best actions the right way, we’re having a pretty big impact on provider satisfaction. Systems that have moved into population health are using their population health system to surface lists for the primary care office, such as those people who need retinal exams or breast cancer screening. The lists help offices hit their quality scores, but they create another administrative burden for the office. Now the office has to figure out which lists move which metrics, which metric they are furthest behind on, and how they can find time to do outbound calling. That’s a challenge for them.

The right way to do that — and the way any other industry would do it — is to say, let’s look at those lists as yet another feed into our candidates for next best actions. Then go to the office and say, we have one list. We’ve run the algorithms for you. We’ve prioritized the most important people for you to reach out to.

If we’ve done that right, we can even offer to take that outreach effort out of the office. And if I’m really looking forward, instead of having you remain accountable for your quality scores, let us the central health system be accountable for reaching out, driving the right patients to you, getting them on your schedule and into your office, and letting you know the most important things to do with them while they’re there. That puts you in the business of engaging the patients, doing the things you see as most important. Just make sure to check our list of why this particular patient is in your office or why we reached out to them to come see you.

Do you have any final thoughts?

Healthcare is evolving really fast. If you look forward five or 10 years, most health systems are under-serving their customers today. They are under-investing in their customers and in proactive outreach. If they can generate these lists of next best actions, use the data and lists they have, inject their business imperatives and capacity availability, and map next best actions for every single patient, then they can engage in proactive outreach in a way that drives patient health, drives patient delight, and hopefully reduces provider burnout. It also drives financial performance.

That really is a big change because it requires rethinking about metrics and where they are going. We’ve taken in over five billion lines of data in pursuit of coming up with these next best action plans for every single patient in our universe.

The imperative we see is that if you don’t do it, somebody else will. There are a lot of people coming into healthcare today who are trying to compete with health systems. Their number one observation is that most patients are not tightly tied to those systems, so they have an opportunity to insert themselves between the health system and the patient and grab that customer relationship. If health systems can start mapping the next best actions and engage in proactive outreach, they can drive the relationship they want to have.

I would love people to think about us as the next best action guys. Being able to reduce all the data to actions, not just presenting more data, is the critical thing that will happen in healthcare. It has proven successful in every other consumer service industry.

Morning Headlines 8/27/18

August 26, 2018 Headlines No Comments

Genevieve Morris resigns from VA-focused CHIO role

Genevieve Morris, a key leader of the VA’s Cerner implementation, turns in her resignation less than two months into the job.

23andMe will no longer let app developers read your DNA data

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.

Epic Systems Corp. to draw huge crowd for its annual Users Group Meeting, starting Monday

Epic expects to host 8,000 users and 9,000 of its own employees at UGM this week.

This firm already microchips employees. Could your ailing relative be next?

Three Square Market is developing medical microchips with GPS tracking and voice activation aimed at dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.

Hospital’s coordination center brings patients more efficient care

Staff at Yale New Haven Hospital’s Capacity Coordination Center credit Epic dashboards with helping ambulances avoid overcrowding area hospitals during a K2 overdose crisis that saw 114 calls come in over a two-day period.

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.
Contact us.

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Weekender 8/24/18

August 24, 2018 Weekender No Comments

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Weekly News Recap

  • Medicaid Transformation Project signs up 17 leading health systems to develop solutions to improve the healthcare and social needs of the 75 million Americans who are on Medicaid
  • Employer-focused primary care clinic operator Paladina Health gets a $165 million investment
  • A New Yorker article describes the hostile shareholder attack launched last year on Athenahealth by activist investor Paul Singer’s Elliott Management and the company’s history of using shady tactics to pressure CEOs to cave
  • CNBC reports that primary care group One Medical is discussing a possible $200 million fund raise
  • The VA gives its providers the ability to automatically view the immunization and medication histories of those patients who are also Walgreens pharmacy customers
  • Anthem settles its huge 2015 data breach for $115 million

Best Reader Comments

New generations can learn from pioneers’ and predecessors’ successes and failures, not make same mistakes on new technology. A patient automated post-discharge call system is a part of larger business (financial, clinical, CRM) and technology ecosystems. Technology is key component of effective “solution,” but no more than culture, goals/metrics,org structure, supportive processes / technologies, and right staff (level, role, skills). Payments models are complex and in flux; Medicare and Medicaid future uncertain, human factors play a huge role in these processes. ROI is challenging. (Ann Farrell)

The IT vendors game the system, and with these scores submitted by profit-driven IT vendors, CMS seems to come up with comparative ratings. I’m hoping some sensible person can establish a true and accurate performance evaluation system. I wonder if all this has contained the rate of Medicare spending? (Mipsvendor)


Watercooler Talk Tidbits

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Readers funded the teacher grant request of Ms. F in Florida, who asked for action cameras and storage for her STEM charter school third grade class. She reports, “Thank you for donating to my students’ project. This project was one that they specifically asked me to write. They love taking pictures and videos and even more so they love watching or looking at pictures or videos of themselves and their friends. They were so excited when I told them this project was funded, and even more excited to start using the cameras. It has become a reward in the class to be the class photographer for the day. With this I have started to teach them how to upload their pictures, edit them and publish them. This project is one that will continue to be fun for my students and will be extremely useful for class projects, class field trips, and memories of our time together in class. Thank you for your support!”

A GAO report finds that while the perceived high cost of health insurance turned some consumers away from buying policies on Healthcare.gov, HHS also intentionally reduced the 2018 coverage numbers by slashing advertising by 90 percent, cutting navigator funding by 42 percent, and shortening the enrollment period.

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This week sees a second huge investment in primary care practices – Paladina Health (DaVita’s former employer clinic business that was sold this year for $100 million) raises $165 million for expansion and acquisition. One Medical has raised $350 million and Iora Health has taken in $100 million in investment. The Bloomberg article notes that UnitedHealth Group’s Optum now has at least 30,000 doctors on its payroll, while companies like Walmart and GM are contracting directly with health systems to provide employee health services. 

A New York Times article observes that while FDA requires drug manufacturers to prove that their products are safe and effective, that doesn’t answer the question of how their safety and effectiveness compares to that of similar drugs, which would help prescribers choose more wisely.

Another New York Times article says NYU’s elimination of medical school tuition for all students is noble but misguided, suggesting that the med school should follow the lead of NYU’s own law school in waiving tuition only for those students who commit to lower-paying public service jobs or who practice in underserved areas.

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A Tincture article decries the healthcare expense of erecting billion-dollar hospital buildings such as those of Stanford, Boston Children’s, and the Denver VA hospital. A snip:

It is true that hospitals (excuse me, “health systems”) are diversifying — building/buying satellite locations, freestanding emergency rooms, urgent care centers, and physician practices — but those big buildings remain the locus, and their sunk costs weigh on hospitals’ finances …  What I want to see are images of services being delivered where I am, focused around me, aimed at my convenience — not at the convenience of the people delivering my care … Don’t donate money for hospital expansion / renovation plans. Don’t buy bonds for them, either. Don’t sit passively on hospital boards that push for them or expensive new equipment. Instead, we should be questioning: how can a “hospital” most impact our communities’ health? What kinds of investments in our communities’ health can they be making? How we do push healthcare and health down as close to where and how people live as possible?

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The Boston endocrinologist whose questionable claims that vitamin D deficiency is “pandemic” spawned creation a billion-dollar lab and supplement industry has been paid by companies that sell those products. Just about every other researcher has concluded that Americans get plenty of vitamin D and wouldn’t benefit from supplements or tanning beds.

A contract firm’s security guard is arrested at St. Francis Hospital (TN) after being caught having sex with the corpse of a patient whose body was being prepared for organ harvesting.

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TV news always tries to leave you laughing with a vapid, irrelevant story, so here’s one that’s hilarious yet relevant. A Deloitte survey of C-level executives finds that 74 percent of those in healthcare say their understanding of blockchain technology is “excellent” to “expert.” These are no doubt the same executives who can’t perform even basic laptop tasks unaided, who pay secretaries to print out their emails so they can read them on paper, and who sympathize with hospital departments who send an employee off to Best Buy with a procurement card to buy PC and networking equipment because the IT process isn’t immediately gratifying. Only 39 percent of executives in all industries think blockchain is overhyped and 43 percent say blockchain is among their top five strategic priorities. This is the greatest gift a blockchain snake oil salesperson could ask for – clueless yet overconfident executives anxious to get on a questionable innovation bandwagon despite a complete lack of a business case.


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Morning Headlines 8/24/18

August 23, 2018 Headlines 1 Comment

Your Office Doctor Is Getting a Big Push From Private Investors

New Enterprise Associates will invest $165 million in Paladina Health, an employer-focused primary care company acquired from DaVita in June for $100 million.

Cerner and Duke Clinical Research Institute Collaborate on Cardiac Risk App

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.

Mediware® Acquires Rock-Pond Solutions

Mediware buys Rock-Pond Solutions, an Arkansas-based provider of business intelligence and analytics for home infusion, home medical equipment, and specialty pharmacy businesses.

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.
Get HIStalk updates. Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 8/23/18

August 23, 2018 Dr. Jayne No Comments

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Big news for the clinical informatics community last week, as the American Board of Preventive Medicine announces that Diplomates no longer have to maintain a primary medical board certification when they apply to recertify for clinical informatics. This also applies to those certified in addiction medicine, and really is a win for those of us who don’t practice traditional clinical medicine any more but still want to remain board certified in clinical informatics. ABPM already allowed this to happen with the subspecialties of undersea / hyperbaric medicine and medical toxicology, so it’s not clear why there was a disconnect in the first place. The policy becomes effective on January 1, 2019.

I still practice and have to sit for a re-certification exam next year and am not looking forward to re-learning all the areas that will be tested that I no longer practice, such as obstetrics. It will also be my first time using a totally online prep strategy, so we’ll have to see how that goes.

From Change in My Pocket: “Re: NYU’s free medical school tuition offer. What’s your take on it?” I agree with some of the naysayers. I’m not sure it’s going to have the desired effect. I went to medical school with plenty of students who were from families that paid for their medical school expenses outright and it didn’t drive them into the ranks of primary care. Lifestyle is a major factor in choosing a medical career, as well as earnings potential. Those aren’t going to be significantly altered by free tuition, although it may reduce the number of 15-year-old Honda Accords in the physician parking lot since that seems to be the vehicle of choice for primary care physicians who are still paying off their student loans.

Being a primary care physician is extremely demanding  mentally and emotionally as well as temporally, especially if you practice full-spectrum primary care including hospital and taking your own after-hours call. Most of the PCPs I know don’t take the traditional day or half-day off each week like the proceduralists do. Yes, I know most workers don’t get a half day off each week, but that’s how it often works in the medical world (to make up for things like weekend call, after hours call, etc.) and primary care definitely feels the squeeze.

There’s also the lack of respect from colleagues who make comments about “you’re just the primary” or view us as simply gatekeepers who are there to make sure they have a referral base. Free tuition isn’t going to make being a primary care physician sexy, especially since a good chunk of the population is OK with receiving their care from nurse practitioners at retail clinics or from a revolving-door cast of primary physicians that they see over time as their insurance coverage changes.

For me, a few things would make bring a primary physician exciting again. First, salary potential. I have a number in my head that if I could make it as a primary care physician without working 80 hours a week, I would jump at it.

Second, wider networks that allow patients to actually remain with a continuity physician for 10, 20, or 40 years. I would see patients for a year or two, then they’d have to change to the other hospital in town’s network, then their insurance would change, and they’d be back again. I had a dream of seeing patients for their entire lifespan and it just wasn’t reality. But when you could keep a patient for five or more years, it was gold. I’m still friends with some of those patients even though I’m long past being their physician.

Third, fewer insurance hassles and more trust of honest physicians. In my career as a solo physician, I was never denied a treatment that I requested through pre-certification. My orders were justified 100 percent of the time, not only by medical evidence, but by the insurance reviewers. When you have a physician who meets the criteria, can’t we perhaps back off on the pre-certification nonsense? I could have slimmed down at least 0.5 FTE on my balance sheet if I didn’t have to deal with pre-certification and pre-authorization. Sure, there are bad guys out there, but find them and stamp them out — don’t punish the good guys.

I don’t even mind the CEHRT or reporting hassles as long as there are decent EHRs out there. I’d be willing to take those extra clicks if the above conditions could be met. I loved my patients and miss many of them dearly. I felt like I was doing good for my relatively underserved community. I got to do fun things like ride on a float in the Founders’ Day parade. I cried with them when it was sad, went to funerals and hugged their widows, and celebrated when their kids got married. I even caught some babies. But I also worked a lot of late nights dealing with bureaucracy and silliness until finally the siren song of healthcare IT lured me away.

I do have patients who try to have continuity with me in the urgent care environment and will call around to see if I am working at a particular location when they need care. I’m lucky that I can stay in the industry and try to work for change from another angle, but many primary care docs give up when faced with the career they have not being what they thought they signed up for.

The article brings up a couple of interesting points about NYU and their offer. Their freshman class is only 102 students, down from 120-130 previously. Its students are in the 99th percentile for both GPA and MCAT scores. These are not “average” medical students, and in my experience, students with that kind of street cred are typically bound for high-profile subspecialties like orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery, interventional cardiology, etc.

Medical school admissions are very competitive, with only 41 percent of applicants being admitted. My practice employs scribes and previously most of them were applying to med school. This year, nearly all of them applied to and were admitted to physician assistant school. It’s perceived as a way to basically do the same thing as a physician, but in less time and for less money.

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Earlier this week I attended a Medicare Shared Savings Program webinar hosted by the Partnership to Empower Physician-Led Care, which advocates for independent physicians and practices as they transition to value-based care. They put together a nice summary of the proposed Medicare rule and the changes it will bring for independent practices. Overall it should be good for physician-led Accountable Care Organizations. Comments on the proposed rule are due October 16, 2018 and we expect a final rule in early 2019. Delays in rule-making could mean that programs can’t start until mid-2019, which should make for some interesting half-year reporting. According to panelist (and not-so-secret Dr. Jayne crush) Farzad Mostashari, it will probably take 100 pages of regulations to sort out the half-year issue.

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What’s your favorite bowtie? Send a pic – email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

Morning Headlines 8/23/18

August 22, 2018 Headlines No Comments

The Man Who Used To Run Medicaid Has A New Idea To Make It Better

Former CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt launches The Medicaid Transformation Project to help 17 hospitals improve care for Medicaid patients – efforts that will be aided by digital health firm Avia.

hc1.com Expands Focus on Precision Health Solutions, Completes Series B Round

Healthcare CRM and analytics firm HC1 wraps up a Series B funding round with $10 million from Health Cloud Capital.

Montgomery General Hospital Signs for MEDITECH Expanse with Subscription-Based MaaS Model

Montgomery General Hospital (WV) will become the first to launch Meditech’s cloud- and subscription-based EHR when it goes live in September.

Morning Headlines 8/22/18

August 21, 2018 Headlines No Comments

Paul Singer, Doomsday Investor

A New Yorker article describes the hostile shareholder attack launched last year on Athenahealth by activist investor Paul Singer’s Elliott Management, noting how the firm often uses questionably ethical tactics to pressure recalcitrant CEOs of targeted companies.

Alphabet-backed One Medical is in talks to raise more than $200 million 

CNBC reports that primary care group One Medical is discussing a possible $200 million fund raise from a private equity firm that will also buy $100 million of existing shares.

NCPDP Takes Ownership of NIST ePrescribing Testing Tool

NCPDP takes ownership of NIST’s ERx Validation Suite, an ONC-approved e-prescribing testing tool.

Recondo Acquires Reseller Client Base from Optum

Recondo takes over the contracts of customers who had purchased a subset of its EmpoweredPatientAccess patient access solutions from The Advisory Board Company via a reseller agreement.

How Facebook — yes, Facebook — might make MRIs faster

Facebook’s AI team works with New York University’s medical school to develop an algorithm that could speed up the MRI process.

News 8/22/18

August 21, 2018 News 3 Comments

Top News

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A New Yorker article describes the hostile shareholder attack launched last year on Athenahealth by activist investor Paul Singer’s Elliott Management, noting how the firm often uses questionably ethical tactics to pressure recalcitrant CEOs of targeted companies.

The investment firm denies – not very convincingly —  that it anonymously tipped off journalists about Athenahealth’s company culture, sent copies of Jonathan Bush’s divorce documents to a tabloid, or opened fake social media accounts that featured nude pictures and from which messages were sent to Bush’s girlfriend with the subject line, “Do you know where your man is?” Bush resigned shortly afterward from the company he had co-founded, leaving Athenahealth to choose its path forward without him.

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Elliott Management was previously alleged to have hired private investigators to tail the CEO of another targeted company in hoping to force him out for personal behavior and to present each board member of a targeted company with personalized, dirt-containing dossiers about themselves with the implicit threat that the information could find its way into public hands if Singer didn’t get his way.

A snip:

The idea that companies exist solely to serve the interests of shareholders—rather than also to serve workers, customers, and the larger community — has been dominant in the business world in the past 30 years. As the field of activist investing becomes increasingly crowded, many investors are going beyond their original mission of finding ailing or mismanaged companies and pushing them to improve. Instead, some have been targeting larger, financially prosperous companies … Throughout our conversations, Bush returned to a theme that consumed him. He talked about how investors like Singer — financiers who take the assets built by others and manipulate them like puzzle pieces to make money for themselves — are affecting the country on a grand scale. A healthy country, he said, needs economic biodiversity, with companies of different sizes chasing innovation, or embarking on long, hard projects, without being punished. The disproportionate power of the Wall Street investor class, Bush felt, dampened all that, and gradually made the economy, and most of the people in it, more fragile.


Reader Comments

From Lumbar Puncture: “Re: Optum’s acquisition of Advisory Board’s Crimson business. Optum is forcing customers to migrate to its Claims Analytics platform. Doesn’t seem like adequate notice to retire a product. Maybe they would change their mind if enough customers threaten to walk. They’re also dumping MARA score and switching to another risk score prediction model, probably because it costs them less.” Unverified. Customer comments are welcome.

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From Pin Drop: “Re: hearing aids. They have improved since 2016 in becoming smaller, stronger, more comfortable, and more technologically advanced. I can change the ‘directionality’ of mine via a smartphone app and tune them for the ambient noise. The power and ability to address feedback is far better than just three years ago. I paid $1,800 for them at Costco, much less than the $4,700 quoted in the magazine article. More competition and better technology will improve the market, as the article concludes, but the current situation isn’t as dark as it states.” The article predicts that Apple, Samsung, and other big consumer companies might jump into the market once FDA restrictions are removed. Aging baby boomers would probably flock to  “Hearing by Dre” in the Apple store even as they studiously avoid the audiologist’s waiting room.

From Doublemint Triplets: “Re: Twitter. Who other than HIStalk is worth following for industry news?” These are among the few Twitter accounts I follow: @EricTopol (for research and patient-centered news); @chrissyfarr (a prolific source of healthcare and technology business insight); @ASlavitt (for Medicare news, albeit left-leaning); @JohnsHopkinsSPH (for the public health perspective); @Cascadia (more patient-centered insight); @DrNic1 (he finds all kinds of oddball but usually related stuff); and @TheOnion (for a much-needed break from in-the-weeds discussions). These provide me with the highest hit rate for topics that interest me.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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CNBC reports that primary care group One Medical is discussing a possible $200 million fund raise from a private equity firm that will also buy $100 million of existing shares. The company was valued at over $1 billion even before the rumored investment. I admit that I’m not financially sophisticated enough to see the lucrative opportunities or efficiency improvement opportunities that a PE-owned primary care chain would offer, at least beyond slashing its highest labor cost (doctor salaries). Or maybe they’re sensing our unmet demand for receiving care in our most vulnerable moments from a private equity-owned business (my irony was not really ironic given that the moneychangers jammed their fingers into the healthcare pie long ago). Venture backers aren’t known for exhibiting patience in playing the long game, although PE owners have more patience than VCs. Both are always on the lookout for the greater fool.


Sales

  • The Iowa Clinic (IA) chooses MyHealthDirect for patient self-scheduling.

People

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Audacious Inquiry promotes Scott Afzal to president.

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University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics chooses as its new CEO Suresh Gunasekaran (UT Southwestern Health System). He started his health system career as UT Southwestern’s AVP of health systems affairs and CIO from 2004-2014.

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Analytics vendor Unissant promotes Ken Bonner to president and chief growth officer.

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GE Ventures Senior Managing Director and health IT angel investor Lisa Suennen leaves the company after less than two years on the job.

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Goliath Technologies hires Donna Grare (TrialScope) as EVP/CTO.


Announcements and Implementations

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A new KLAS physician scheduling report names Shift Admin and QGenda as the most impactful with high “money’s worth” scores, while Amion offers an easy-to-use, well-supported system that doesn’t provide comprehensive scheduling algorithms and rules engines. 

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A new KLAS nurse and staff scheduling report gives ShiftWizard and Kronos high marks for reducing overtime and agency costs, although Kronos comes with a higher learning curve and cost. The needs of larger health systems are best med by Kronos, Avantas, and Change Healthcare despite their average scores, while some Cerner customers struggle to get even its basic functionality implemented and complain about its manual processes and underwhelming support. The report notes that predictive scheduling isn’t living up to its hype.

NCPDP takes ownership of NIST’s ERx Validation Suite, an ONC-approved e-prescribing testing tool.

AdvancedMD announces GA of its EPayments patient-managed electronic payments solution.

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Recondo takes over the contracts of customers who had purchased a subset of its EmpoweredPatientAccess patient access solutions from The Advisory Board Company via a reseller agreement with that company, with Recondo acquiring the client base from Optum (which acquired Advisory Board’s healthcare business in August 2017). The transaction increases Recondo’s installed based by 33 percent and quadruples the company’s profitability.

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The Dallas business paper profiles Tech Titan Awards finalist Leah Miller, CIO at HCA’s Medical City Healthcare (TX). The article notes that her team came up with the idea of 3-D printing ultrasound images so that blind parents-to-be can visualize their babies.


Government and Politics

The VA announces that its providers will be able to see the Walgreens-maintained medication and immunization histories of patients in a collaboration between the organizations. Criteria for participating in the Veterans Health Information Exchange are here.


Privacy and Security

A small executive survey finds that 70 percent of US healthcare companies don’t carry cybersecurity insurance.


Other

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Forbes profiles UK-based Cambridge Bio-Augmentation Systems, which plans a USB-type interface between the human nervous system and external devices. Co-founder and CEO Emil Hewage explains, “We are focused primarily on these peripheral nerves – not the brain or the spine – as we think the impact starts by listening to the signals that go back and forth to our heart, pancreas, or diseased limb and learning how to decode those signals. The idea is to learn where the hallmarks of a disease or sudden adverse event are being picked up, and then using machine learning tools to send signals back in to immediately treat or triage something.”

In China, a pharmacist who wasn’t willing to burden his parents financially with his newly diagnosed stomach cancer goes into hiding. Despite a $130 billion healthcare reform program, people can’t afford treatments, insurance coverage is poor, and governments don’t have the money to offer free care. The pharmacist’s father, a rice farmer, makes just $150 per year. A government advisor says (referring to China but equally relevant in the US), “China’s healthcare system must find a way to reduce its costs. It is too expensive now and has surpassed what most ordinary people can afford.” Eighty percent of rural cancer patients die within five years.

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St. Louis University will install 2,300 Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers to cover every dorm room with a centrally managed skill (no individual setup required) that will allow students to ask campus-specific questions related to hours of operation, sports schedules, or upcoming events.

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Eric Topol, MD says his short trial of Seqster has given him his first aggregated view of his information from his four Epic-using providers, 23andMe, and fitness trackers, although he notes that it doesn’t accept PDFs (so no scanned paper records), users can’t edit incorrect information. and it doesn’t collect data from very many sensors. The San Diego-based company, which is in early access mode, says it has raised $4 million in seed funding. 

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Facebook and NYU School of Medicine collaborate on a project that will attempt to speed up MRI scans tenfold by using AI. They hope to take a faster, lower-quality MRI that can then be enhanced via a neural network.

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A Politico Florida reporter’s writes her first article in a planned series titled “I’m Coping With Cancer by Reporting On It” after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis at 31.


Sponsor Updates

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  • Over the past four years, attendees at Aprima’s annual user conference have made more than 1,700 blankets and gift bags for the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.
  • Colorado’s CORHIO deploys Health Language interoperability and data normalization solutions from Wolters Kluwer Health.
  • Bernoulli Health, CoverMyMeds, and Culbert Healthcare Solutions will exhibit at Epic UGM August 27-30 in Verona, WI.
  • Casenet publishes a new report, “The Reasons Why Care Management Platform Implementations Fail.”
  • Griffin Health enhances their FormFast Capture solution with FormFast Go for speedier e-signatures at the point of care.
  • Collective Medical joins the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC) as a strategic business and technology partner.
  • Diameter Health and Zen Healthcare IT partner to deliver comprehensive clinical data connectivity, integration, and normalization.
  • Dimensional Insight will host a regional user meeting August 23-24 in Chicago.
  • DocuTap publishes a new case study, “MedAccess Urgent Care Averages Wait Times Under 15 Minutes with Clockwise.MD.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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Morning Headlines 8/21/18

August 20, 2018 Headlines No Comments

VA, Walgreens collaborate to improve care coordination for Veterans

The VA gives its providers the ability to automatically view the immunization and medication histories of those patients who are also Walgreens pharmacy customers.

SOC Telemed Acquires JSA Health, Becomes Largest Acute TelePsychiatry Provider in the U.S.

Acute virtual care company SOC Telemed acquires behavioral health telemedicine vendor JSA Health for an undisclosed sum.

Audacious Inquiry Announces Promotion of Scott Afzal to President

Healthcare software, services, and strategy company Audacious Inquiry promotes Scott Afzal to president.

Amazon hires a star cardiologist to help its push into health

MIT lecturer and cardiologist Maulik Majmudar, MD joins Amazon in an unstated role.

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 8/20/18

August 20, 2018 Dr. Jayne 1 Comment

Now that we’re in the bottom half of 2018, CMS has published the 2016 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) Experience Report. The report summaries the reporting experience of eligible professionals and group practices, including historical trending data from 2007 to 2016 covering eligibility, participation, incentives, adjustment, and more. I was curious to get a look at the data because it is broken down both by specialty and by state. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Participation in the program was 69 percent in 2015 and 72 percent in 2016
  • Of the providers eligible in 2016, 31 percent were flagged for a payment adjustment in 2018. This represents over 435,000 providers

Of those receiving a penalty (I’ll call that payment adjustment what it is) almost 85 percent didn’t participate in the program. They literally did not submit any data. That means that 370,000 providers essentially said, “no thank you” and walked away from the program. My practice falls into that cohort, and I don’t think our CEO was that polite in deciding to walk away from PQRS. Other tidbits:

  • Being a provider in a small practice was a marker for receiving the penalty, with 71 percent of “adjustments” being levied on practices with fewer than 25 providers
  • Having a low volume of Medicare patients was associated with the penalty – 69 percent of those providers saw 100 or fewer Medicare patients

Having worked with dozens of practices trying to make sense of the value-based payment scheme, those numbers validate what we already knew, which was that to be successful, you need dedicated resources to help you (which small practices typically don’t) and it’s not worth the effort if the penalty is going to be relatively small due to your patient mix. Of course, 2016 was the last year for PQRS, which transitioned to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) which of course now has transitioned yet again. Since it’s been a couple of years since some of us have handled PQRS data (and many of us have blocked out those painful memories), remember it may use claims data, so it may not match your EHR data if you’re trying to look through the retrospectoscope.

CMS has also put together a document called the Value-Based Payment Modifier Program Experience Report, which looks at program results from 2015 to 2018 and includes the upward, downward, and neutral adjustments. In looking at the section on clinical performance rates, CMS admits that there have been numerous reporting mechanisms over the years and that it created a hierarchy that would be applied if the provider participated through multiple means so that only one performance rate for each provider would appear in the results. It’s a rigid hierarchy, so if a provider performed better through a mechanism that is lower in the list, they would retain the lower performance rate.

The report also notes that there have been numerous changes to the PQRS program over the years, with individual measures being added, removed, and redefined. Additionally, providers who shifted from individual to group reporting may be impacted by data artifact, resulting in the ultimate caveat: “It is unclear the extent to which any observed changes in measure performance were artifacts of the aforementioned changes or trends in provided care.” It goes on in true governmental fashion: “Nonetheless, this section of the report aims to describe clinical performance rates and trends.”

I have to admit, I looked at the report pretty quickly, it’s 96 pages long and there are a lot of tables. I would love to talk to someone knowledgeable to dig into why some of the measures that seem easily attained have declined so much over time. For example, measure 317 is screening for high blood pressure and documented follow-up. It dropped from 91.5 percent in 2013 to 62.9 percent in 2016. There were 4,200 providers reporting that measure across the timeframe, which seems like a reasonable sample. On the other hand, measure 310 for chlamydia screening dropped from 100 percent to 83.3 percent, but only 10 providers were reporting across the timeframe, so a change there could be due to sample size.

On the positive side, cervical cancer screening rose from 41.3 percent to 79.8 percent, but only 103 providers reported that measure. As a primary care provider, I think that’s a sad commentary on the state of preventive care in the US today. The clinical data starts on page 51, if you’re interested in taking a peek.

If you’re not on the clinical or operational side of the house, you may not have seen the decision-making process that practices go through when they try to decide what clinical measures to report. It used to be a little more straightforward, with practices wanting to report the measures where they do the best. Everyone likes to earn an A, so being able to show that you were doing something 95 percent of the time is a feel-good move.

Now that we’ve moved into an “adjustment” phase where there are winners and there are losers and the penalties essentially pay for the bonuses, it’s a different game. Providers are incented to report not on measures where they do the best, but where they do better than the next guy. If you’re doing something 50 percent of the time (which feels like a failing grade) but the rest of the population is only doing it 35 percent of the time, you win! It makes the analysis of measures much more challenging, because providers have to analyze their own performance against the performance of their peers, using a multitude of reports and benchmark data sets.

Smaller organizations may not be savvy enough to figure that out and may end up reporting on the “wrong” measures if they don’t understand how the game is played. I’ve seen a couple of EHR vendors that offer education around this, but the larger vendors seem to think their clients understand it or have enough staff to do that analysis. Even where education is offered, it’s not clear that practices are absorbing the information or that they feel they have the tools needed to make good decisions about quality reporting. Some specialties don’t have options for measures that are truly applicable to them, which puts them in the quandary of choosing measures that don’t make clinical sense just so they can get good numbers.

It might feel easier to just opt out rather than doing something that they know is just “checking the box.” I’ve worked with a couple of clients who have trouble getting the data they need to make good decisions – maybe they don’t have ready access to reporting modules in the EHR, or maybe the reports aren’t run on a frequency that allows the practice to drive change. Usually there is concern about the accuracy of the reports, with organizations having different interpretations of some of the measures than what the EHR might be pulling. That results in an unpleasant back-and-forth with the vendor, where it rarely feels like anyone wins.

I certainly don’t have the answers to this one, but would be interested to hear from readers on how their organizations are coping and whether they’re using any of the recently released data. What do you think of the new CMS reports? Leave a comment or email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

Morning Headlines 8/20/18

August 19, 2018 Headlines No Comments

Anthem $115 Million Data Breach Settlement Approved by Judge

Anthem settles its huge 2015 data breach for $115 million, of which it will make $15 million available to reimburse the resulting out-of-pocket expenses of its 19 million customers who were represented in the class group.

Mayo Medical Laboratories, National Decision Support Company team up to develop CareSelect™ Blood, a comprehensive approach to patient blood management

Mayo Clinic and National Decision Support Company develop CareSelect Blood, which offers 100 Mayo-maintained transfusion guidelines integrated into EHR ordering workflows.

Choosing Wisely Clinical Decision Support Adherence and Associated Inpatient Outcomes

A Cedars-Sinai study finds that failing to use available real-time clinical decision support was associated with a 7.3 percent increase in encounter cost, a 6.2 percent increase in length of stay, and a higher incidence of readmission and complications.

Monday Morning Update 8/20/18

August 19, 2018 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Anthem settles its huge 2015 data breach for $115 million, of which it will make $15 million available to reimburse the resulting out-of-pocket expenses of its 19 million customers who were represented in the class group (you can do the per-person math here).

The judge also scolded the plaintiff’s lawyers for excessive billing, awarding them $31 million of the $38 million they billed. The judge previously said she was “deeply disappointed” that the plaintiff’s four leading lawyers brought in an additional 49 law firms and an external review suggested setting their hourly rate at $156 instead of $360, with the judge choosing $240.

Anthem’s breach impacted 78 million people.

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The agreement also binds the company to implement better security, including data encryption, that will triple its data security costs for the next three years.

The judge also noted that data breach litigation isn’t yet mature and therefore taking the case to court – which would involve a long, expensive trial in which the laws of all 50 states would need to be studied — could have resulted in the class group getting nothing.


Reader Comments

From Inquiring Mimes: “Re: post-discharge contact. We were working with a vendor who said they would contact discharged patients via an automated system to ask a series of yes-no questions that would then notify our care team for prioritizing contact. They achieved almost none of their promises, so we aren’t going live. Do any of your sponsors handle automated calls with patients?” HIStalk sponsors (since the reader specifically asked for my sponsors), please let me know if you can handle this and I’ll pass your contact information along.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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I’m fascinated with responses to my recent polls that looked at health insurance. The great majority of respondents believe that (a) insurance companies shouldn’t use social and lifestyle data to price your policies; (b) people shouldn’t be forced into bankruptcy over medical bills; and (c) from last week’s poll, sicker people shouldn’t pay higher premiums or be denied coverage. Those respondents are apt to be disappointed by the health system we have (or are hurtling toward) since everybody refuses to address the key issue of healthcare costs and instead tries to squeeze their end of the balloon to push the cost problem off onto someone else.

Responses this week included that of Dave, who says enrollees who don’t control their own risks (obesity, smoking, drinking) should pay more. Loss Ratio says insurance can work only if everyone carries it without having their pre-existing conclusions excluded since any of us could be seriously injured or disabled, while Jeremy thinks risk should be priced into premiums like other insurance, no different from homeowners who pay higher premiums to live on the beach. PFS_Guy hopes for Medicare for all with a secondary insurance market to manage out-of-pocket risk, adding that we can choose just two items from the list of price, quality, and service. Inclusive OR also argues for universal coverage since health “insurance” is really not that at all and instead is more of a discount plan. Healthcare Idiot Savant thinks people who make bad health choices should pay more, but worries about the resulting privacy issues, concluding that we need mandatory coverage and to get away from private pay inequities that cause a lot of wasted time and money chasing revenue cycle and other healthcare administrivia.

This week’s poll question: how much impact will result from five big technology companies announcing their support last week for healthcare interoperability? Click the poll’s Comments link after voting to elucidate your thoughts further (beyond just choosing the safe middle option).

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I considered a different poll question – will medical students really flock to lower-paying specialties just because NYU has eliminated medical school tuition? My experience is that people and companies invariably take whatever action pays them the most, so I’m cynical that altruistic med students will happily pass up surgery, cardiology, and dermatology residencies to become PCPs who are endlessly monitored, benchmarked, and regulated away from developing those patient relationships that drew them to primary care in the first place. I’ve known a few people who took lower-paying jobs just for the service and satisfaction aspects while fresh out of school, but not many.

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I suppose it’s hiatus time for my “Wish I’d Known Before” series since I can’t seem to cajole people into responding. Check out responses to the final one about taking time off to do something enriching.

HIMSS is tweaking its annual conference dates yet again, I’m reminded when looking something up on the registration site, with HIMSS19 kicking off with pre-conference sessions on Monday, February 11; the opening session will be Tuesday, February 12; and the exhibit hall will be open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. That’s 1-2 weeks earlier than previous Orlando iterations.

I was thinking that, for the first time, I’m on a version of Windows (10) that gives me nothing to complain about. This is as close to an invisible operating system that I’ve seen, and that includes IOS and Android on mobile devices .


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Here’s a “healthcare is really a business” case study. Hospitals are petitioning Medicare to pay all hospitals to perform the TAVR heart value procedure instead of limiting payment to those hospitals that have high cardiac procedure volumes. Interesting facts:

  • Medicare pays $45,000 for the effective, safe, and quickly recoverable procedure, including the $30,000 that goes to the device’s manufacturer.
  • Hospitals that obtained a TAVR franchise want the policy to remain since it stifles competing hospitals that are anxious to obtain a share of the ancillary revenue and to gain marketing cachet.
  • Hospitals and medical device manufacturers say limiting Medicare payment to specific hospitals discriminates against minorities and rural residents and that Medicare imposes no volume restrictions for other heart procedures.
  • Patient advocacy group Mended Hearts wants access expanded, but that organization gets funding from the device makers.

Announcements and Implementations

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University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston’s School of Biomedical Informatics will offer the country’s first Doctorate in Health Informatics (DHI) degree for working professionals who have executive-level healthcare experience, with the program focusing on solving real-world problems instead of performing a research dissertation. The 63-credit-hour program requires a master’s in health informatics or equivalent.

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Mayo Clinic and National Decision Support Company develop CareSelect Blood, which offers 100 Mayo-maintained transfusion guidelines integrated into EHR ordering workflow to improve outcomes and cost.

A Cedars-Sinai study finds that failing to use available real-time clinical decision support (Choosing Wisely guidelines presented to clinicians via Stanson Health) was associated with a 7.3 percent increase in encounter cost, a 6.2 percent increase in length of stay, and a higher incidence of readmission and complications.

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Respondents to a new Reaction Data survey of mostly C-level health system leaders expect the biggest healthcare disruptor to be Amazon, followed by Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Executives asked about emerging technologies say the biggest impact will be caused by telemedicine (mostly for care delivery to rural or remote areas), artificial intelligence, interoperability, and data analytics.

Aprima will integrate Dolbey’s cloud-based speech recognition solution, which includes voice-powered screen navigation and prompting, with its EHR.


Other

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CNBC’s Chrissy Farr catches up with former ED physician Matthew Wetschler, MD, who was profiled as a “holiday miracle” in November 2017 after a surfing accident made him a temporary quadriplegic. He was saved by aggressive, innovative hospital treatment, but the not-so-feelgood part of the story is that he was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, which isn’t in the network of his insurer (Oscar), and he’s on the hook for the portion of the $500K bill that Oscar wouldn’t pay. The hospital turned his bill over to collections, his credit is shot, and he’s getting daily calls demanding that he pay up. His wheelchair was never delivered and he spent months trying to get his rehab approved to start even though he was pre-approved. As Farr says, “his story is the best and worst of the US medical system.”

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Friday night’s episode of CBS’s “Whistleblower”profiled Brendan Delaney, the former implementation specialist at NYC’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene who filed a whistleblower lawsuit against EClinicalWorks that the company settled for $155 million in May 2017 (Delaney got $30 million of that).

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The American Nurses Association seeks public comment by September 10 on its draft “Core Principles of Connected Health.” I don’t have any issues with the content, so I’ll focus proofreading: correct the inconsistent use of commas (especially the Oxford comma); stop saying “utilization” when “usage” is synonymous without being pompous; eliminate the word “current” since it is superfluous; and review incorrect hyphenation (such as “in-person” when not used as an adjective).

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Here’s an interesting tweet from Mario Molina, MD, former CEO of insurer Molina Healthcare.

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The St. Augustine, FL newspaper interviews Flagler Hospital CMIO Michael Sanders, MD about its pilot project of Ayasdi, which uses AI for clinical variation management (although the paper’s headline writer might need algorithmic assistance to spell “Flagler” correctly). 

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Mike Funderburk, formerly of Charlotte, NC-based benefits app vendor Novarus Healthcare, writes a Business Insider article covering his experience with the company. He took a 50 percent pay cut to join the small startup team in sales, landed a few customers and potential investors after an initial $750,000 investment, but saw the company shut down after less than a year due to lack of revenue. He says it wasn’t hard to return to a corporate job afterward and still urges people to give their dream a shot. The company’s web page and social media accounts remain active, but frozen in time.

Scientific American covers the planned FDA deregulation and ensuing innovation of hearing aids, noting that they:

  • Haven’t changed since the 1950s
  • Cost $4,700 per set and aren’t covered by most insurance plans
  • Must be obtained through an audiologist or physician
  • Are manufactured by just six companies (who are, predictably, not enthused about new competition)
  • Are used by just 20 percent of people with hearing loss
  • Could be enhanced by big-name tech vendors like Apple or Bose to include a phone interface for reading directions or messages

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New Zealand’s Minister for Women Anne Genter, an avid cyclist, rides her bike to the hospital to give birth, explaining that there “wasn’t enough room in the car.”


Sponsor Updates

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  • Lightbeam Health Solutions employees donate school supplies to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America of Greater Dallas.
  • HCI Group parent company Tech Mahindra will provide the Jacksonville Jaguars football team with next-generation digital technology expertise in areas such as AI and analytics.
  • Medicomp Systems will exhibit at HIMSS AsiaPac18 in Brisbane, Australia November 5-8.
  • Chartis Group posts a white paper titled “Rethinking the Role of IT: The Second Curve of Health IT Value.”
  • Philips Wellcentive publishes a white paper titled “Are You a Data Blocker?”
  • Forrester includes Liaison Technologies in its new report, “Now Tech: iPaaS and Hybrid Integration Platforms, Q3 2018.”
  • MDLive will present at Health:Further August 28 in Nashville, and at the Connected Health Summit August 29 in San Diego.
  • Meditech releases a new video, “How do doctors want to spend their free time?”
  • Netsmart adds MyStrength’s digital, evidence-based content to its EHR.
  • Clinical Computer Systems, developer of the Obix Perinatal Data System, will exhibit at the AWHONN Indiana Section Conference August 24 in Indianapolis.
  • Pivot Point Consulting will exhibit at the NCHFMA Summer Conference August 22-24 in Myrtle Beach, SC.
  • Sunquest will exhibit at the Public Health Informatics Conference August 20-23 in Atlanta.
  • Frost & Sullivan recognizes Surescripts with its 2018 North American New Product Innovation Award.
  • Vocera publishes a new report, “Co-Architecting Healthcare Transformation: How Leading Health Systems Put Patients and Families at the Forefront of Design.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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What I Wish I’d Known Before … Taking Time Off for Doing Something That Turned Out to Be Motivating, Enriching, or Transformative

I wish I’d known that it was something I shouldn’t have been afraid to do sooner. I was always worried that it would be an issue with my employer. Even though I had to burn several years worth of accumulated vacation, it was well worth it.


I tripped into an amazing pseudo-volunteer experience in Spain after taking some time off between jobs, and I think your readers would love looking into it if they have even a week to immerse in another world. The organization Diverbo is an English immersion program for Spanish-speaking professionals looking to further their English. “Volunteers” (native English speakers from all over the world) join the participants for a week at a resort where everyone is prohibited from speaking Spanish, and we spend meals and activities conversing, interacting, developing relationships, and learning about each other, all in the spirit of helping the Spaniards advance their language skills in support of career growth. It was a blast and free for volunteers (English speakers), aside from the cost of getting to in Madrid (transport to the resort, lodging, and meals were all covered by the program). Hoping I can go back soon.
https://www.diverbo.com/


Work isn’t everything.


Everyone else that didn’t have the experience didn’t understand. And I didn’t know how to manage the feeling of frustration that they didn’t get how great the experience was when I tried to explain. Reinserting myself into routine took awhile, but the lessons learned were lifelong and I’d do it again.


That taking more than the standard one business week off for a vacation offers much more opportunity and rejuvenation. I was able to spend 6 weeks in Europe (combined all my time off after a large project- thanks to my boss) and spent a minimum of two weeks off for several years. Most coworkers thought they couldn’t or the office couldn’t survive without them. Not true.


Time off – regardless of what you do – is itself motivating, enriching, and transformative. It isn’t so much about what you do rather, about your attitude while doing it. Time away from work is time well spent; for you, your employer, everyone.


To make sure that there is some type of follow-up plan in place to keep a proportion of the positive momentum going forward once you get back to “reality.”


That you have to make time to grasp opportunities and sometimes planning too far in advance limits special trips. About 15 years ago, we planned to go to Yellowstone because Uncle Tom lived in a big house close to the park. Never made it and Uncle Tom has moved so can’t stay at his place but could still visit. Had an opportunity to visit a special place given to me in January. Pushed my family to do this — one daughter in medical school and the other just starting PA school. Glad we did the trip as that person no longer works in the special place and if we had not taken the opportunity it would be gone.


Weekender 8/17/18

August 17, 2018 Weekender No Comments

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Weekly News Recap

  • Best Buy acquires GreatCall, which offers emergency response services and digital health devices for seniors, for $800 million
  • Alphabet invests $375 million in data- and technology-focused insurance startup Oscar, following participation by two Alphabet subsidiaries in a funding round a few months ago that valued the company at over $3 billion
  • Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Oracle pledge to support interoperability at Monday’s Blue Button 2.0 Developer Conference
  • The Wall Street Journal posts another critical review of IBM Watson Health for oncology, saying that “the diagnosis is gloomy” for Watson’s ability to improve cancer treatments.

Best Reader Comments

What do Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Oracle have in common? No impact in healthcare interoperability despite multiple attempts. (Fourth Hanson Brother)

How does their “support” of interoperability actually translate into something meaningful? Are they going to somehow put the screws to organizations (both vendors and healthcare groups) who are have a greater incentive to protect their own revenues? (RobLS)

The 10% of reality that isn’t perception trumps the 90% at the most inconvenient times. (LFI Masuka)

Watson for Oncology isn’t an AI that fights cancer, it’s an unproven mechanical turk that represents the guesses of a small group of doctors. (Mechanical Turk)


Watercooler Talk Tidbits

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Readers funded the DonorsChoose teacher grant request of Ms. C, who asked for LCD writing boards for her Tennessee kindergarten class. She reports, “We have been using our LCD Writing Tablets every day! My students love to use these boards to practice writing sight words, short vowel CVC words, their names, numbers, and so much more. They have eliminated the mess of dry-erase markers and promote student engagement. They allow me to check my students’ answers and work easily, provide corrections, and allow students to make necessary corrections quickly. These boards are currently one of our favorite things in the classroom. Thanks so much!”

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In Spain, a woman who is growing tired of her ED wait (does that make her an impatient patient?) torches the place by igniting an oxygen bottle, requiring the hospital’s evacuation.

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A new University of Vermont Medical Center federal filing is published in the middle of heated negotiations with unionized nurses who are working without a contract, likely to be emboldened by the news that it pays two executives more than $2 million, or 29 times the average RN salary. The health system says what health systems and universities always do when huge salaries are made public – we have to pay competitively compared to other academic medical centers to attract and keep executive talent.

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New York University will make its medical school tuition-free regardless of financial need, hoping that graduates saddled with reduced debt will consider less-lucrative jobs in primary care and research. Students won’t have to pay the medical school’s $55,000 tuition, but they will still need to cover their estimated $29,000 in living expenses. The announcement was made at the med school’s white coat ceremony, drawing a standing ovation since the change takes effect immediately.

A New York hospital requires visitors to show ID to get an ID badge – which contains their photo and destination — printed with invisible ink that disappears after 24 hours. I’m always surprised that hospitals have few visitor-related incidents other than in the ED since visiting hours have been extended, anyone can wander the halls unmolested (except for the nursery), and security guards rarely wander patient floors. I’ve seen visitors fighting with each other and with employees, family members who tried to kill a patient in their bed, and gang or romantic rivals launching beat-downs at the nursing station. I once talked a newly hospitalized patient out of the gun he was waving around in his room, although I’m still not sure why I thought that was a good idea. It was a small hospital without real security guards and I was the only male on the floor at the time, ill-advisedly succumbing to the impulse to help the frightened the nursing staff and hoping that I had accurately characterized the patient as confused but harmless.


In Case You Missed It


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Morning Headlines 8/17/18

August 16, 2018 Headlines No Comments

Cerner to take over MCHS IT department

Cerner ITWorks will take over the IT department of Medical Center Health System (TX) beginning September 10.

Google is reportedly developing an AI assistant that recommends workouts and meal plans

Google is developing an AI-powered wellness assistant for smart watches that will proactively encourage users to make healthy choices based on their appointments, recorded activities, reminders, and location.

Black Book Releases 2018 State of Healthcare IT Consulting Report, Triple Digit Growth Projected for High Demand Expertise

A Black Book report on health IT consulting predicts firms will rake in $53 billion by the end of this year, with the bulk of that coming from software implementation, optimization, integration, and support.

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