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EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 3/24/22

March 24, 2022 Dr. Jayne No Comments

I’m still recovering from HIMSS22. Between the Daylight Saving Time change and a couple of weeks of hopping across time zones, my sleep has been disrupted for days. After experiencing the new normal of conferences, I wonder what healthcare IT marketing budgets will look like in 2023 and beyond.

A recent Medical Marketing and Media article notes that medical marketing budgets increased by 15% in 2021, although they were still below pre-COVID levels. The data was drawn from pharma, biotech, and medical device companies. It looks like money is being funneled to digital channels as opposed to personal promotion. Those strategies include paid digital advertising, content marketing, social media, websites, and microsites. Physicians should be happy that paid traditional TV advertisements have dipped to around 5% of marketing budgets overall and more than half of respondents aren’t using any paid traditional media, such as TV, print, or radio.

Roughly half of the companies’ marketing budgets were being directed to engage healthcare professionals. While 46% of marketers trying to reach professionals used meetings or events in 2020, this dropped to 40% in 2021. Nearly 37% of respondents said they decreased their meetings and events budgets, and fully a third said they spent nothing on that channel. Those surveyed were positive on using social media to reach healthcare professionals, with 39% increasing their paid social media budgets. Consumer-focused marketing represented 31% of expenditures, with more than half of companies relying on social media.

Speaking of marketing: Anthem plans to change its name and rebrand to Elevance Health. The company says the new name will represent the non-insurance services it offers, including digital health, pharmacy, complex care, behavioral health, and more. It also notes that the new name highlights its “commitment to elevating whole health and advancing health beyond healthcare.”

I’m not a big fan of smashing words together to try to come up with something new, especially since using either word – elevate or advance – doesn’t really say anything about what the company stands for. Fortunately for consumers who are often confused by these rebranding efforts, the names of the Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans it owns will not be changing. Shareholders have to approve the name change at their May meeting, and if I had to vote, I’d want to know how much the rebranding effort will cost and what the company believes the return on the investment will be. Even if the ROI isn’t good, it will still stimulate the economy through countless print orders, website design efforts, and creation of promotional items. As a healthcare consumer, I’d rather see payers spend money on reducing administrative burden and compensating care providers fairly versus buying a bunch of new travel mugs and business cards.

I do a lot of consulting around patient engagement and getting patients to do many pre-visit tasks electronically prior to appointments. There’s always pushback from individuals who feel that patient questionnaires are too long and that they’re not worthwhile. A recent study in JAMA Network Open shows that patients prefer sharing sensitive information electronically rather than in face-to-face encounters. Disclosure of domestic violence, depression, and other conditions was twice as likely when inquiry happened in a tablet-based app compared to questions from a person. The app used in the study was integrated with the EHR, allowing clinicians to better follow up on positive responses to screening questions.

Hopefully this will help solution designers understand that pre-visit gathering can be useful rather than an annoyance to patients. I think more patients would be apt to participate with pre-visit questions if two things happened. First, patients deserve a better explanation of why the provider needs the information and how it can improve quality of care. Second, providers have to actually use the information the patient already provided and make it clear that they’ve reviewed it and might have a couple of follow up questions, rather than just proceeding on autopilot like they may have done for years.

I was interested to read about Amwell making its telehealth platform available through LG’s healthcare platform. It made me instantly think of a Jetsons-like interaction where one could be standing in front of their smart refrigerator having a healthcare visit. On the flip side, integration with smart appliances might be invasive, especially if my healthcare provider can get information on how often I restock the vodka in my refrigerator or how many vegetables are in the crisper drawer. No release date was available, which means either it’s still early in development or they’re just playing coy. If it’s the former and they’re looking for provider and patient opinions, I might know someone who’s interested.

I ran across this article while flying last week. Payers are apparently shelling out $979 million in excess healthcare expenditure due to turnover in the primary care physician ranks. The underlying study estimates that for each primary care physician who leaves practice, there is $86,336 in additional spending the following year. This may be due to patients going to the emergency department because their primary physician left or choosing more expensive specialists to manage problems that could be handled by primary physicians. More than a quarter of the spending was linked to burnout-related turnover.

From Jimmy the Greek: “Re: buzzword bingo. Check out this word salad masterpiece found in a Gartner report.” Gartner says:

Hyperautomation initiatives focus on ensuring that businesses and IT process workflows are as frictionless as possible. This task-level digitization is the foundation for process-level and cross-functional enablement of decision making for business agility and resiliency. Well-architected hyperautomation initiatives demand standardization of processes, which enables improved quality and cycle time. Additionally, digitalization enables accessibility and transparency, which catalyze both human and digital workers.

I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the idea of how one catalyzes a nonhuman worker. For those of us who were educated at a time when the art of diagramming sentence structures was still taught, this paragraph is a masterpiece. Thanks for sharing and for a bit of distraction during a busy day full of conference calls.

What’s the most obtuse thing you’ve read this week? Leave a comment or email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

Morning Headlines 3/24/22

March 23, 2022 Headlines No Comments

Eko expands algorithmic heart problem detection and lands $30M Series C extension

Digital stethoscope company Eko adds $30 million to its $65 million Series C funding round, and announces the launch of clinical decision support software.

Qualifacts + Credible Announces New Company Name

After merging in 2020, EHR vendor Qualifacts + Credible rebrands to Qualifacts.

PursueCare’s Virtual Addiction Treatment Program Adds In-Person Clinics, Continuing Rapid Expansion

Virtual behavioral healthcare provider PursueCare opens its first in-person clinic as part of a service expansion to Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Morning Headlines 3/23/22

March 22, 2022 Headlines 2 Comments

Antidote Health Raises $22 Million in Series A Funding

Membership-based telemedicine company Antidote Health will use a new $22 million investment to add primary and chronic care services, and to further develop AI screening and clinical decision support system capabilities.

Recora Announces $20M in Series A Funding and Unveils Cardiac Recovery Program for Health Systems, Medical Groups and Health Plans

Tech-enabled cardiac recovery startup Recora raises $20 million in Series A funding.

VA and Cerner to investigate cause of Spokane electronic health records outage

The VA and Cerner promise to perform a thorough root-cause analysis of the software bug that caused Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center to take its Cerner EHR offline earlier this month.

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Epic Systems’ bid to restore $280 mln jury award

The US Supreme Court will not take up Epic’s challenge to an appeals court’s decision to cut the amount of damages it won in its stolen trade secrets case against Tata Consultancy Services.

News 3/23/22

March 22, 2022 News 7 Comments

Top News

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Madison, WI-based DeliverHealth acquires PresidioHealth, which offers automated coding and revenue workflow capabilities for physician groups, urgent care centers, and freestanding ERs.

PresidioHealth founder and President Douglas Evans, MD CTO Tom Gregory, and VP of Client Success Carlie Richard will join DeliverHealth’s executive team.

The company’s last acquisition was in late 2020, when it purchased Nuance’s HIM and EHR go-live services businesses. DeliverHealth CEO Michael Clark, MBA was previously SVP/GM of Nuance’s provider solutions.


Reader Comments

From: ROI Healthcare Solutions. “Re: Changes in leadership. We’re continuing to experience tremendous growth both within the US and internationally and are excited for our future and our ability to better serve our customers. The ROI team has increased from a staff of 12 people in 2014 to over 160 today. With growth comes change, and change can be challenging. The leadership changes that have happened at ROI have taken place over time. Some were voluntary departures, while others were strategic and forward-looking. We are forever grateful for the contributions of each of these individuals. They each helped bring us to where we are today with a solid foundation upon which to grow.”


Webinars

April 6 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “19 Massive Best Practices We’ve Learned from 4 Million Telehealth Visits.” Sponsor: Mend. Presenter: Matt McBride, MBA, founder, president, and CEO, Mend. Virtual visits have graduated from a quickly implemented technical novelty to a key healthcare strategy. The challenge now is to define how telehealth can work seamlessly with in-person visits. This webinar will address patient satisfaction, reducing no-show rates to single digits, and using technology to make telehealth easy to use and accessible for all patients. The presenter will share best practices that have been gleaned from millions of telehealth visits and how they have been incorporated into a leading telemedicine and AI-powered patient engagement platform.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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TimeDoc Health raises $48.5 million in a Series B funding round led by Aldrich Capital Partners. The company, which has raised nearly $60 million, specializes in helping primary care physicians virtually manage the care of their patients between office visits.

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Cardiac recovery startup Recora raises $20 million in Series A funding. The New York City-based company offers cardiac rehab programs to health systems and payers that incorporate virtual care, remote patient monitoring, and dedicated care teams. Co-founder Abhi Chandra’s previous venture was Spring Health, where he and his two other Recora co-founders developed a mental healthcare platform for employers.


People

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Davis Medical Center (WV) physician James Gainer, MD takes on the additional role of CMIO at Davis Health System.

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Sansum Clinic (CA) promotes Sean Johnson, RN to CIO.

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Summer Brown (Feedtrail) joins CipherHealth as chief customer officer.


Announcements and Implementations

Rush Health (IL) has implemented Arcadia’s population health management software across its four hospitals and 140 practices.

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Heritage Valley Health System (PA) leverages Bluestream Health’s virtual care integration capabilities to offers its patients a more seamless digital experience.

Hicuity Health announces GA of standalone virtual nursing services.


Government and Politics

The US Supreme Court will not take up Epic’s challenge to an appeals court’s decision to cut the amount of damages it won in its stolen trade secrets case against Tata Consultancy Services back in 2017. A judge had initially awarded the company $940 million in damages, but that figure was later deemed unconstitutionally high and slashed to $420 million.

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The VA and Cerner promise to perform a thorough root-cause analysis of the software bug that caused Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center and associated clinics in Washington and Idaho to take their Cerner EHR offline and revert to paper records earlier this month. The troubled roll-out of the new system at Mann-Grandstaff, the VA’s initial go-live site in its projected $16 billion facility-wide Cerner implementation, has prompted several lawmakers to call for the postponement of future implementations.

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Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center (TX) at Fort Hood, the 71st Medical Group at Vance Air Force Base (OK), and Womack Army Medical Center (NC) at Fort Bragg have gone live on Cerner as part of the DoD’s MHS Genesis EHR overhaul. The new system will be deployed in several more waves this year to 54 facilities, the DoD’s largest group in any calendar year.


Other

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The trial of a former Vanderbilt University Medical Center nurse accused of reckless homicide and impaired adult abuse begins this week. The charges stem from a medical error in which she injected an elderly patient with the paralyzing agent vecuronium (Norcuron) instead of the ordered sedative midazolam (Versed), which was intended to to overcome the patient’s claustrophobia before having a PET scan. As I mentioned when she was first charged, the nurse withdrew the wrong medication from the automated dispensing cabinet after typing in the letters VE for versed, then after not finding the drug’s name, overrode the system to gain access to the vecuronium. The patient was left alone in the scanner for up to 30 minutes where she experienced cardiac arrest and brain death, then died the next day after life support was turned off. In testifying before the nursing board last year, the nurse said that Vanderbilt encouraged overrides when necessary to overcome cabinet delays and constant technical problems caused by the system-wide transition to Epic.


Sponsor Updates

  • NTT Data Research publishes a new report, “Innovation Index: Digital Strategies for an Era of Constant Disruption.”
  • AdvancedMD recognizes Channel Marketing Manager Carri Hamilton with a FIT Award.
  • AGS Health exhibits at the OHIMA 2022 Annual Meeting & Trade Show in Columbus, OH through March 23.
  • Ascom welcomes David Gutillo (Spok) as senior key accounts manager.
  • Availity partners with Vim to connect payer data to clinical workflows at the point of care.
  • Azara Healthcare earns ONC-Health IT 2015 Edition Certification from the Drummond Group.
  • Baker Tilly releases a new edition of its Healthy Outcomes Podcast, “The value of cybersecurity in the healthcare industries.”
  • Bamboo Health publishes a new case study, “How the Mass League is Increasing Interoperability & Coordinating Care with Pings.”
  • Cerner congratulates customer Intermountain on achieving HIMSS Stage 7 status for the third time.
  • Optimum Healthcare IT announces that Red Lake Nation College has joined its CareerPath health IT apprenticeship program.
  • CHIME will host a Clinical Informatics Leadership Boot Camp May 15-18 in Salt Lake City.
  • CMS certifies Netsmart’s electronic visit verification system as the state solution in Georgia.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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Morning Headlines 3/22/22

March 21, 2022 Headlines No Comments

Fresenius Medical Creates Kidney-Care Business With InterWell, Cricket

Fresenius Medical Care will create a kidney-care business valued at $2.4 billion by combining its US business with InterWell Health’s providers and Cricket Health’s technology.

DeliverHealth Acquires PresidioHealth, Expanding its Software Platform to Speed Up Appropriate Reimbursement

Health IT vendor DeliverHealth acquires PresidioHealth, which offers automated coding and revenue workflow capabilities for physician groups, urgent care centers, and freestanding ERs.

TimeDoc clocks in $48 million

Virtual care management company TimeDoc Health raises $48.5 million in a Series B funding round led by Aldrich Capital Partners.

HIStalk Interviews Christopher Molaro, CEO, NeuroFlow

March 21, 2022 Interviews No Comments

Chris Molaro, MBA is co-founder and CEO of NeuroFlow of Philadelphia, PA.

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Tell me about yourself and the company.

I come from healthcare as a patient, first and foremost. I am an Army veteran, a West Point graduate, and went to the Wharton School for an MBA. I met a psychiatry professor there and that’s where NeuroFlow got its start. NeuroFlow is a digital health platform that helps assess and triage a population of behavioral health conditions in non-behavioral health settings, like primary care, and helps patients get to the right level of care, keeping them engaged and measuring outcomes over time.

You were deployed to Iraq as a platoon leader in combat. What is your experience with the military’s system for behavioral care?

A lot of people are probably intimidated about the military, or the government healthcare system, because of lack of knowledge or experience with it. In reality, it’s just a giant integrated delivery network, a giant at-risk payer-provider system. It’s obviously the biggest in terms of resources and so forth. When I was serving from 2006 to 2015, there was a tremendous amount of resources and investment, in particular on the mental health side. We were a number of years into the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. PTSD was well known and it was discussed and talked about. There wasn’t a shortage of investments and resources or the supply of those resources.

The challenge is similar to what you see in the non-government space, which is identifying those issues, getting people with those issues engaged, providing them access, and offering them ongoing support at the right time and at the right place. It’s a challenge, especially because of the stigma that is associated with the mental health space. People are, for whatever reason, ashamed, embarrassed, and maybe concerned about their job security or their ability to succeed professionally, so there was a reluctance to get that care. That was a challenge in the military, but from my NeuroFlow perspective in  working with a lot of commercial partners, we see that same thing transcend into the civilian population.

How can technology help bridge the chasm between physical and mental well-being, which involves different providers and insurance requirements?

In the world today, 40 to 50 million people a year have a behavioral health issue. Looking at claims data, we know that two-thirds of them will never get it treated. That’s a huge problem. Imagine if we said that two-thirds of people with cancer never get it treated. That would be a tragedy. That same thing is happening in mental health today.

The highest prescribers of antidepressants in the country are PCPs. They don’t have that nuanced understanding about where to send someone. Maybe psychiatrists have a long wait time, which is true across the country, so PCPs fill that gap. The problem is that no one ever follows up. There’s no continuity of care.

The good news is that there’s a ton of integrated care models, specifically the psychiatric collaborative care model, whose outcomes and significance has been proven through 80 or more randomized controlled trials. The challenge is that it’s incredibly difficult to scale and it’s incredibly expensive. You hire psychiatrists, you train them, and you integrate them with PCPs or other providers like OB-GYNs and pain management doctors. It adds to the work and the workflow.

That’s where we think technology can help. Technology can help automate a lot of the workflow that is required for collaborative care, allowing the providers to operate at the top of their licensure. You can reach more people without needing more resources, scaling something that historically only the best-funded academic medical centers could do. Now you can make it more accessible throughout the healthcare system.

How does the psychiatric collaborative care model work in real life?

A lot of people will say they do integrative care or co-located care. They physically embed a social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist with the primary care provider. That’s a great first step, but according to the academic model that was first studied and researched at University of Washington, that is not the collaborative care model. 

The collaborative care model is a triangular, team-based approach, where a behavioral healthcare manager works hand-in-hand with a primary care provider, or other medical provider, to help identify patients who have mild or moderate behavioral health issues. Then if appropriate, they keep them in the primary care clinic instead of referring them out. They refer them if they are higher risk or if they need a higher level of care, but then there’s a psychiatric consultant there to help guide the PCP in how and what to prescribe.

This removes the burden placed on the dedicated behavioral health providers who are already in short supply. It gets the highest-risk patients to the dedicated behavioral health providers while keeping the lower-risk people treated within the medical provider, the PCP or otherwise. It’s a better allocation of resources and better continuity of care.

Does the traditional model create a blind spot for PCPs who refer patients who don’t follow up, leaving the PCP unaware that behavioral care never happened and leaving no electronic trace in claims data?

In a lost referral, I’m a PCP, I refer you to a therapist, and after you leave my office, I have no idea if you followed up, if you’re getting the care that you need, and how that’s impacting your other chronic conditions. Think about someone who has hypertension or diabetes. Most of those people have a co-occurring behavioral health issue. They are four times more expensive on an annual basis – they are higher healthcare system utilizers or have higher prescription spend than someone with just the chronic medical condition. 

The collaborative care model tries to close that loop. Without technology, that’s a very manual process. I have to call everyone who is enrolled in the model and do monthly follow-up and assessments. It gets burdensome and time-consuming. Technology allows you to do that in a more automated fashion so that those resources connect over voice or in person only with the people who need that higher level of touch.

Employers bear some of the cost of behavioral health issues in the form of abseentism and lost productivity. Does the market address those people, who are probably insured and may receive behavioral health benefits, from others whose needs are similar but who don’t receive employer or insurer support?

That’s precisely it. If there’s a silver lining of the last two years in the pandemic, it’s that as a society, there’s a light that is shining on this mental health conversation. More than ever, people are acknowledging that there are challenges here. We have all felt them at home, and we’ve seen that in the workplace now. The ability to have this more integrated care model not only helps the cost of care, it improves the outcomes. The interesting thing is that we measure not only improved mental health outcomes, like a decrease in depression or anxiety, but you also see improved A1C levels, pain levels, and outcomes on the physical health side.

On the employer side, NeuroFlow does work, some of which is public, with groups like Aflac and Prudential to support their short-term and long-term disability business. That’s relevant because even if people aren’t in disability for mental health reasons, the mental health aspect of being lonely, away from your work, depressed, or recovering has a huge impact on their productivity and getting them back to work. We help their disability claimants and beneficiaries get better faster with the integrated care model.

Behavioral health is the one inarguable success story of telehealth, where both patient preference and outcomes have been documented as well served. How does telehealth fit into the model you described?

It’s great. It’s the best thing that could have happened in the behavioral health space. It is removing those barriers of adoption, engagement, and access. However, it doesn’t fix the problem that a tele-therapist is still a finite resource. If I’m providing teletherapy, whether it’s over the phone, video, or in-person, I still can only see one patient at a time. I’m still a limited resource.

There’s still the question of getting the right people to the right level of care. Not everybody needs a tele-therapist. Some people would benefit from digital self-service tools alone, working on mindfulness and exercises. It’s still a matter of triaging effectively. 

Telehealth services also don’t help with the identification of these issues in primary care or in other types of settings. While telehealth is an enormous step in the right direction, in terms of improving access and so forth, there’s still a huge component that it doesn’t address, which is the way that we think about behavioral health from a behavioral health integration lens as opposed to just the services.

What developments do you expect to be most important to the company and your niche in the next few years?

For the company, we think of ourselves as an augmentee to the providers. We are a clinical decision support engine, and to use a military term, we are a force multiplier to the system. We’re not competing with the therapy companies. Quite the contrary, we are helping get the right people to them. We’re investing a lot into open API structures, making interoperability easier with appointments and making that user experience more seamless from primary care to therapists and back to primary care. I think that will be a huge trend as we move forward in the industry.

In terms of the industry overall, the jury isn’t even out any more. The data is unequivocal that the impact of physical and mental health combined is astounding. I think you’ll see more value-based care contracts that are aligning the payers and the providers to provide holistic care to the patient, ultimately getting the patient better on both sides of the spectrum and making sure that we are reducing unnecessary utilization and improving costs, which I’m excited about.

Readers Write: What We Can Learn from Nurse Mobility

March 21, 2022 Readers Write No Comments

What We Can Learn from Nurse Mobility
By Richard Watson, MD

Richard Watson, MD is the co-founder of Motient of Greenwood Village, CO.

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I’ve always been envious of our nursing credentialing and licensing system. I’m not easily given to professional jealousy, but over the years, I’ve worked through the process of becoming credentialed in three states and six hospitals. The mere thought of the effort required is enough to dissuade one from changing locales. Nurses, however, have compact licensing agreements, and a good two-thirds of the states accept licensing across state lines. This is a great idea, and it’s long overdue for the physician credentialing process.

When I applied for licensure in Alaska, I was warned about the protracted time frame. I had long dreamed of working in the remote areas of the state, and I assumed that since the need for healthcare access was significant, the credentialing process would be easy. Au contraire, my friend! Evidently, there is a whole cohort of medical professionals with difficult pasts who expect Alaska will be an easy reentry point into the profession. In any case, the length of time between communications led to an almost nine-month process. In the mean time, my nursing colleagues were freely moving and working from state to state.

During the nascent stages of COVID, nurse mobility became an absolute necessity. While the news reported on the explosion of coastal cases, the rest of the country remained almost free of contagion, yet people were deeply hesitant to seek urgent and emergent care. Emergency room and EMS volumes plummeted, and hospitals experienced record low capacity.

Because of the great disparity in COVID prevalence, hospitals on the coasts were struggling with staffing crises, while most other states were laying off staff. Compact licensing agreements allowed nurses to step in to fill urgent needs in the system. The number of travel nurses expanded rapidly, rising by 40% in 2021. As cases spread nationwide, the need for staff became much more uniform. Now, with nursing attrition rates at an all-time high and nursing staffing levels at an all-time low, agency nursing has moved into position as the primary broker of nursing resources.

To add fuel to the fire, the massive influx of COVID relief funds has only multiplied the problem. Nurses are readily being poached from one state to another—and often back to locations closer to their home base—at several times their original salary. No one could fault nurses for capitalizing on this unique circumstance, and there is a longstanding, valid argument that nursing salaries have lagged far behind even salaries for medical professionals who have no patient contact whatsoever. But where is this really headed?

Surely hospitals are doing the math, calculating the percentage of agency nurses they’re using versus their incoming revenues for floor and ICU beds; presumably, they’re tracking how the influx of agency nursing is impacting overall costs and revenues. Or maybe not. In this artificial world of COVID dollars, where the gates are open and entry is relatively easy, the actual fallout of these short-term relief programs is poorly calculated.

Agency nursing is set to expand by another 40% in 2022. Some healthcare organizations have called for the FTC to examine these practices and policies, but the rate of expansion far outstrips the analysis. Some have called for a moratorium on agency nursing, as well as for a centralized staffing commission and other bureaucratic solutions. But honestly, once the COVID dollars are closed, the revenue incentives for the high staffing costs will be gone. To my mind, three points stand out in this quagmire:

  • Nurses are one of the most important components of our healthcare system. Without a doubt, nurses are those in closest proximity to patients experiencing a health crisis. We must provide them with an environment that fosters the genuine compassion and agile intelligence we will all need at our bedside at some point.
  • We must begin to understand that every problem in healthcare—from the minor to the pandemic-sized—doesn’t necessarily benefit from sweeping edicts and centralized solutions. The COVID story is rife with examples of unintended consequences.
  • Our government agencies must stop throwing money at everything that seems difficult in healthcare. Shoring up a dysfunctional system with an influx of ready cash just solidifies that dysfunction. The difficulty of a strong central regulatory system is the lack of knowledge about what constitutes real solutions at a regional level.

We are rapidly moving toward the time where we will need to rebuild a healthcare system that is begging for renovation. Much of what is good about our healthcare is the direct result of the nurses and other frontline professionals who compassionately care for others. We need to take advantage of these seminal moments to strip away the obstacles for those who are doing that irreplaceable work, so that it becomes easier for them to follow their calling within a sustainable system.

Morning Headlines 3/21/22

March 20, 2022 Headlines No Comments

Murray, McMorris Rodgers demand VA stop computer system launch in Walla Walla after reports reveal problems persist at Spokane hospital

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) demands that the VA delay its planned March 26 Cerner go-live at the Walla Walla VA following VA OIG reports of continuing problems at the first live site at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane.

Healthcare tech platform Doctolib reaches $6.4 billion valuation

France-based Doctolib — which offers doctor search, scheduling, virtual visit booking, and document sharing — becomes the country’s highest-valued startup at $6 billion based on a new funding round.

Canopy Launches Out of Stealth With $13 Million to Help Oncology Practices Adopt a Proactive Care Delivery Model

Canopy (formerly Expain Health) launches its EHR-integrated technologies for oncology practices alongside securing a $13 million funding round.

Monday Morning Update 3/21/22

March 20, 2022 News 6 Comments

Top News

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Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) demands that the VA delay its planned March 26 Cerner go-live at the Walla Walla VA following VA OIG reports of continuing problems at the first live site at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane.

VA OIG issued a report Thursday in which it substantiated several user complaints related to medication management at Mann-Grandstaff, along with deficiencies in migrating DoD patient information to Cerner.

OIG substantiated reports that Cerner was not configured to accept future clinic orders for subsequent outpatient visits, so it cancelled them without notifying the provider. They also noted that if RNs entered multiple medication orders, only the first one was held pending physician authorization.


Reader Comments

From RFT: “Re: ROI Healthcare Solutions. Jason Berry left as president in February and not replaced. Marketing VP Danielle Watson, Controller Don DeHaven, Sales VP Brent Prosser, VP Lane Tucker, and CFO Jimmy Haddad all gone.” I compared the leadership page to its year-ago cache to note that four of the eight listed executives are no longer there, and all of the folks that the reader named have indeed left. I’ve omitted some of the reader’s other comments because I have no way to verify them as factual or to ascertain what that person’s connection is to the company.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

End-of-winter alert: it is officially spring as of yesterday (Sunday), it’s getting dark later, and the HIMSS conference is over. That’s two long, dark COVID winters down, hopefully none to come. Another noteworthy day from last week, in addition to St. Patrick’s Day and sporting events, was Friday’s Match Day, when medical students learn where they will be spending their next few years as residents (or begin their panic over not matching and thus being dumped into the last-chance maelstrom of The Scramble).

Dear vendors, as a “Start at Zero” zealot, I won’t publish your graph whose X axis doesn’t begin at zero. Otherwise, you are intentionally misrepresenting a trend as being more significant than it is. I also won’t run poll or survey results that don’t include the number and type of respondents, a description of how those respondents were chosen, and preferably the exact wording of the questions that were asked. It’s easy to turn science into marketing fiction via shaky statistical methods.

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Most poll respondents, whether attending HIMSS22 or not, expected to be working harder last week.

New poll to your right or here: Do patients get their money’s worth for indirectly paying the cost of providers and vendors to attend conferences like ViVE and HIMSS? It’s easy to forget that all those expensive hotels, lavish parties, and eye-popping exhibits are funded on the backs of sick people and taxpayers. Those sumptuous trappings also serve as the unintentionally ironic backdrop for brow-furrowing discussions about why the underperforming US healthcare system is the world’s most expensive.

Speaking of those conferences, I’m interested to hear from people who attended both as either an exhibitor or attendee. What were their strengths and weaknesses? How did the first “real” HIMSS conference since 2019 deliver? How well did the CHIME program integrate with ViVE compared to when it was offered with HIMSS? Which one(s) will you attend in 2023? Email me.

I found little value in most of the HIMSS22-related tweets last week. Conference tweets would ideally recap educational sessions for the benefit of those not attending, but most of what I saw was (a) endless mugging “look at me with my pals” selfies; (b) party photos; (c) overtweeting from people who were running around making pointless videos or podcasts; and (d) exhibitor booth staff photos or announcements. I actually kind of enjoyed (d) anyway since those people who worked the booths deserve some recognition and sometimes the company announcements were useful.


Webinars

April 6 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “19 Massive Best Practices We’ve Learned from 4 Million Telehealth Visits.” Sponsor: Mend. Presenter: Matt McBride, MBA, founder, president, and CEO, Mend. Virtual visits have graduated from a quickly implemented technical novelty to a key healthcare strategy. The challenge now is to define how telehealth can work seamlessly with in-person visits. This webinar will address patient satisfaction, reducing no-show rates to single digits, and using technology to make telehealth easy to use and accessible for all patients. The presenter will share best practices that have been gleaned from millions of telehealth visits and how they have been incorporated into a leading telemedicine and AI-powered patient engagement platform.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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France-based Doctolib — which offers doctor search, scheduling, virtual visit booking, and document sharing — becomes the country’s highest-valued startup at $6 billion based on a new funding round. The 2,300-employee company plans to enhance its provider-only, subscription-based offerings, which start at $140, with physician-to-physician instant messaging.


Sales

  • In the Netherlands, Erasmus University Medical Center will implement Sectra’s digital pathology solution.
  • Legacy Health chooses Pivot Point Consulting, a Vaco Company to provide Epic help desk support.

People

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Jonathan Lloyd (Epic) joins AccessOne as VP of implementation.


Announcements and Implementations

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Data warehouse as a service vendor Snowflake launches Healthcare & Life Sciences Data Cloud, which it says will allow organizations to centralize, integrate, and exchange sensitive data. Customers include Anthem, IQVIA, Spectrum Health, and Siemens Healthineers. SNOW shares jumped 6% Friday following the announcement, valuing the Bozeman, MT company at $68 billion, although they’re down 45% since mid-November 2021. Director Carl Eschenbach of Sequoia Capital Operations holds shares worth $3.4 billion, while  CEO Frank Slootman’s stake is worth around $7 billion.

InterSystems announces HealthShare Health Connect Cloud, a platform as a service for interoperability and data integration among clinical applications.

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Salesforce announces enhancements to Customer 360 for Health to include Slack-powered patient care coordination, virtual care, unified health scoring, patient data platform, and a patient commerce portal.

Connecticut Children’s goes live on Nym Health’s autonomous medical coding system for RCM in its emergency department.

Secure transaction exchange among Surescripts network users increased 17% in 2021, with huge jumps in the use of Clinical Direct Messaging, Medication History, and Record Locator & Exchange. Electronic prescribing increased from 84% of all prescriptions to 94%.

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A survey of 240 physicians, most of them PCPs, finds that most of them have used telehealth and expect to continue doing so. Most of them conducted telehealth visits by video or phone, with much smaller percentages using secure messaging, email, and text messaging. More than half or providers were frustrated by the quality of care they can provide via telehealth, the unrealistic expectations of patients of what can be accomplished virtually, and the quality of the technology.

Cerner will integrate Nuance’s DAX ambient clinical documentation with Millennium. It’s interesting that a company that is about to be acquired by Oracle – which made integration of Millennium with its own hands-free voice interface as the acquisition driver — would tout integration with Microsoft-owned Nuance and its Azure-hosted voice solution. Somehow I doubt that this latest announcement will come to fruition unless the acquisition deal falls apart since I don’t see Oracle playing all that nice with Microsoft, Google, or anyone else.


Government and Politics

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Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune is among several DoD locations in North Carolina that are going live on Cerner this week.


Other

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Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said in leaked audio from a November all-hands company meeting that he considers Amazon Care primary care business as one of the company’s most innovative projects. He said that Amazon is a “significant disruptor” in healthcare and that the cumbersome process of seeing a doctor in a traditional visit would seem “crazy” 10 years from now. The company plans to integrate and expand its three major healthcare businesses – primary care, online pharmacy, and diagnostics – into a one-stop shop that will offer “a much better value” than the usual primary care experience. Amazon is reportedly considering an entry into the Medicare Advantage market, working with health plans such as BCBS to become an in-network benefit, and to partner with startups and health systems. It is also considering launching a brick-and-mortar pharmacy that uses its cashierless technology and also adding pharmacies to its Whole Foods locations.

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Bloomberg Businessweek questions whether ADHD drugs are too easy to obtain online, focusing on investor-backed online mental health provider Cerebral. Snips:

  • The growth-obsessed startup targets patients with social media ads. Google “buy Adderall” and a Cerebral-sponsored result is headlined with “ADHD Meds Prescribed Online – First Month $30.”
  • The company’s revenue comes from subscriptions that cost up to $325 per month.
  • Providers are assigned high numbers of daily patients and are required to prescribe medications such as Adderall, amphetamines, and Xanax to 95% of patients, but not 100% since that might make the service look like a pill mill.
  • A former Cerebral coordinator says she was assigned 1,000 patients on her first day and received 100 messages from them each day, some of them in crisis.
  • Patients who are angered by Cerebral providers who choose not to prescribe what they want are offered a “second opinion” from a more prescription-friendly company provider.
  • Former nurse employees of the company say they fear that not only is Cerebral meeting demand, it is creating it and likely fueling a new addiction crisis.
  • One former employer said of 30-year-old founder and CEO Kyle Robertson, “Whenever he talks about ‘providing quality mental health care,’ his eyes are dead. He does not care.”
  • Cerebral’s biggest fear is that DEA will go back to stricter pre-pandemic rules for prescribing controlled substances. The company has joined 300 others in calling for Congress to extend telehealth waivers.

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I didn’t know that UTHealth’s School of Biomedical Informatics offers the country’s first DHI (doctorate in health informatics) degree, which is a practice degree rather than a research doctorate like a PhD. Joe Bridges is its first graduate.

England’s chief nursing officer calls for every healthcare organization to employ a CNIO to give nurses a stronger voice in healthcare change.


Sponsor Updates

  • PatientBond publishes a new case study, “Recovering Missed Patient and Insurance Payments.”
  • Redox releases a new podcast, “The Return to HIMSS.”
  • West Monroe promotes 13 employees to managing directors and appoints new office leaders to continue scaling its next stage of growth.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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From HIMSS with Dr. Jayne 3/17/22

March 18, 2022 News No Comments

Today was the last one for the exhibit hall. I was pleasantly surprised by how many attendees stuck it out through the afternoon. Usually by noon on Thursday, the hall is a ghost town filled with bored booth reps, some of whom are trying to pack up their goods without looking like they’re packing up. This year, people were still combing the halls and reps were largely engaged, which is a testament to how desperate people were to return to in-person conferences.

Booth swag was being freely given nearly everywhere except for Salesforce, which was insistent on requiring participation in their quest around the booth before they would grant anyone a pair of socks.

Intermountain Healthcare had several different styles of shirts they were clearing out. I was happy to score one that says “Talk Data to Me.” Their reps were friendly and didn’t act annoyed even when there was a feeding frenzy of attendees coming at them.

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Intelligent Medical Objects again brought their A-game to the footwear contest, winning the day with these Lion King-themed socks featuring Pride Rock along and also with this eye-catching Oxford/sock combination.

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The best sandals of the show were submitted by a reader who spotted them at the opening reception and sent along a photo.

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Get Real Health had a leprechaun at their booth in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

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Mr. H mentioned the EK USA booth earlier this week and featured their Cat Crap lens defogger. I stopped by to check it out and learned that it works not only to mitigate the glasses / mask issue, but also for motorcycle helmet visors, which should come in handy given some of my upcoming activities. The company also manufactures badge holders and reels designed for high-risk environments such as the US military, nuclear power providers, manufacturing, and healthcare. Organizations are at risk if employees lose their ID badges, especially if they allow proximity access to sensitive systems. Replacing lost badges is both a materials and personnel cost, not to mention lost time and productivity by the employee who is temporarily without a badge. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a certified card holder, but I do now. This is their first time at HIMSS, but clearly not their first trade show – the booth reps were some of the most engaging I encountered this week and I brought several people by to visit them. The company has been around for decades, and I hope they do well in the healthcare space.

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I must have walked by the Welt booth a dozen times this week but didn’t notice it since it was on the main aisle, which was generally busy Tuesday and Wednesday. They have a smart belt that can track gait and look for signs of deterioration that can indicate worsening of status for patients with movement disorders. They are a spinoff of Samsung. I’m looking forward to learning more about them.

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IBM’s color-changing booth was pretty cool, although when it was flooded with white light, it looked a bit bland. My booth crawl companion and I think they should project movies on it next year.

I’m glad I stayed till Thursday, but after lunch I reached the point where I was done and headed to the airport early. My airline is handling so many bags due to spring break that they had to split how they were accepting checked bags and sent passengers to a secondary bag drop to try to maximize capacity. The airport was fairly chill except for the man in front of me who refused to remove his Air Pods for TSA. When they forced the issue and asked him to place them in a bin to go on the conveyor (he wanted to just put them on top of his loose driver’s license so they wouldn’t touch the belt), he started demanding “something to sanitize this bin with” and they pulled him aside. Sounds like someone needs to start carrying some cleaning wipes or perhaps a bag in which he could have put his loose items. I wonder how long he was detained with whatever secondary screening they decided he needed.

That’s a wrap for HIMSS22. Thanks for going on this journey with me, and I’ll see you next year in Chicago!

Morning Headlines 3/18/22

March 17, 2022 Headlines No Comments

$23M in Series B funding to enable Embold’s continued growth​

Healthcare analytics and provider performance transparency company Embold Health increases its Series B funding round to $23 million, bringing its total raised to $53 million.

Serious issues with VA electronic health records system remain unresolved, watchdog says

A new report from the Office of the Inspector General finds ongoing patient safety issues with the VA’s Cerner roll-out, including problems with scheduling appointments, errors in importing medication lists and orders, and missing suicide risk alerts.

Nuance and Cerner Working to Improve Clinician and Patient Experiences

Cerner will integrate Nuance’s Dragon Ambient Experience voice-enabled automated documentation software with its Millennium EHR.

News 3/18/22

March 17, 2022 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Healthcare analytics and provider performance transparency company Embold Health increases its Series B funding round to $23 million, bringing its total raised to $53 million.

The Nashville–based company offers solutions for physicians, payers, employers, and benefits companies. Founder and CEO Daniel Stein, MD previously served as chief medical officer for Walmart Care Clinics.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Curation Health. The Annapolis, MD-based company was founded by a team of healthcare veterans and clinicians to help providers and health plans effectively navigate the transition from fee-for-service to value-based care. Its advanced clinical decision support platform for value-based care drives more accurate risk adjustment and improved quality program performance by curating relevant insights from disparate sources and delivering them in real time to clinicians and care teams. With Curation Health, clinicians enjoy a streamlined, comprehensive clinical documentation process that enables better clinical and financial outcomes while simultaneously reducing clinical administrative burdens on providers. The company takes pride in combining the flexibility and speed of a startup with decades of leadership experience and know-how from roles in leading services companies including Clinovations, Optum, Evolent Health, and The Advisory Board Company.  Thanks to Curation Health for supporting HIStalk.


Webinars

April 6 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “19 Massive Best Practices We’ve Learned from 4 Million Telehealth Visits.” Sponsor: Mend. Presenter: Matt McBride, MBA, founder, president, and CEO, Mend. Virtual visits have graduated from a quickly implemented technical novelty to a key healthcare strategy. The challenge now is to define how telehealth can work seamlessly with in-person visits. This webinar will address patient satisfaction, reducing no-show rates to single digits, and using technology to make telehealth easy to use and accessible for all patients. The presenter will share best practices that have been gleaned from millions of telehealth visits and how they have been incorporated into a leading telemedicine and AI-powered patient engagement platform.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Avive Solutions has raised $22 million in a Series A round of funding. The company has developed automated external defibrillator technology that wirelessly connects to local 911 and EMS services, and other medical professionals.


Sales

  • Baptist Health will implement PatientBond’s psychographic segmentation model and leverage its Insights Accelerator to enhance its patient engagement strategies.
  • The VA will use medical imaging workflow technology from Laurel Bridge Software during its transition from VistA to Cerner.
  • UNC Health selects Oncology Pathways software from Philips.
  • Newman Regional Health (KS) will connect its Meditech Expanse EHR to nearby Coffey Health System.
  • Cerner will integrate Nuance’s Dragon Ambient Experience voice-enabled automated documentation software with its Millennium EHR.
  • Novant Health (NC) will implement EVideon’s Vibe Health smart room technology, incorporating Caregility’s virtual care capabilities.

Announcements and Implementations

Southeast Iowa Regional Medical Center has implemented Healthcare Triangle’s Elastic Recovery Service on AWS to ensure the stability of its Meditech system during a natural disaster or cyberattack.

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Fisher-Titus Medical Center in Ohio has integrated RevSpring’s PersonaPay and IVR Advantage payment data and communications technologies with its Cerner system.


Government and Politics

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Reynold’s Army Health Clinic at Fort Sill in Oklahoma will go live on Cerner this weekend as part of the DoD’s MHS Genesis deployment.


Other

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Grant Memorial Hospital (WV) will launch a telemedicine cancer care program this summer using connected medical devices and technology from Elekta.


Sponsor Updates

  • Health Data Movers promotes Alex Janssen to senior consultant.
  • Healthcare Growth Partners has advised Symplr during its acquisition of GreenLight Medical.
  • Healthcare IT Leaders publishes a new case study featuring OSHU-Tuality Healthcare.
  • Intelligent Medical Objects publishes a new case study featuring its efforts to help HIE CORHIO standardize data from a variety of sources.
  • Kyruus will work with government-focused digital care navigation company WellHive to make it easier for veterans to find and schedule appointments with the Veterans Health Administration.
  • Mach7 Technologies will offer analytics from Biologics as part of its enterprise imaging solution.
  • Medhost publishes a new infographic, “An EHR Implementation Timeline Model: Layering for a Strong Foundation.”
  • Meditech releases a new podcast, “Preventing Violence Against Healthcare Workers.”
  • NTT will donate $2.5 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and other organizations to support humanitarian efforts for Ukraine.
  • Get Well, VitalTech, Current Health, Twistle, Biofourmis, PeriGen, and CareSignal earn spots on Avia Connect’s list of Top 50 Remote Patient Monitoring Technologies.
  • The latest release of the Philips Capsule Surveillance solution has received 510(k) market clearance from the FDA.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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From HIMSS with Dr. Jayne 3/16/22

March 17, 2022 News 1 Comment

Today was a whirlwind of activity. I hit the exhibit hall as soon as the doors opened. I was looking for a few specific solutions for my clients, so I had to make the day count.

One of my first stops was eMedApps to check out their EHR archive solution. I think we’re starting to see a new wave of people migrating away from legacy EHRs who don’t want to tackle conversions. Archiving data but linking to it within the patient chart seems like a nice compromise.

From there, I visited First Databank for a deep dive into the FDB Targeted Medication Warnings solution. I had a great conversation with their experts about finding the balance between presenting adequate alerts to clinicians and not killing them with too many. Sometimes people think it’s a bad thing when alerts aren’t being surfaced very much, but their team brought up the fact that it’s a good problem to have – it means clinicians are doing the right thing the majority of the time, allowing the alerts to catch the edge cases where they really matter. Given the diversity of FDB’s products, the conversation was wide ranging, and we touched on pharmacogenomics as well. Finally, we talked a bit about FDB Vela, which was announced this week. It has the potential to shake up the world of e-prescribing and I’m looking forward to seeing how things unfold over the next few months.

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Then I met up with Nordic Chief Medical Officer Craig Joseph, who is possibly one of the most entertaining booth crawl partners I’ve had in a while. He has so many funny stories and kept me laughing. We were distracted by this shirtless model at Butterfly and stopped in to learn more about their point of care ultrasound solutions. I didn’t know exactly why their technology was so affordable, but their rep Melissa explained it to us, then took us to a workstation for a deeper dive. She was one of the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic reps I have interacted with the show and handled our wacky questions with ease as we put on our “cranky doctor” and “cranky CFO” hats to explore the solution. I wish I had been able to have one in my pocket when I was in the in-person urgent care trenches.

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Juno Health had a booth with t-shirt artists printing creations that said, “Kiss me, I’m a Provider.” Not sure which audience I’d want to wear that around, so I took a pass.

Socks were a big giveaway in the exhibit hall this year, and I was trying to pick up a few cool sets for someone at home. I noticed the Skyflow booth, not only for their well-displayed socks, but also for their sales team, which was facing out and engaging the crowd. I loved their “excuse me, but could you tell me what that orange sticker is on your badge?” play as a way to start conversations. They gave me a straightforward rundown on their product and also humored me with some conversation about the cost of living in Palo Alto. Props to the team for a job well done.

From there, I learned about Prescription Digital Therapeutics courtesy of Pear Therapeutics. What they’re doing with substance abuse treatment is fascinating and they’ve also launched a solution for chronic insomnia. There is a huge need for the latter, especially with the small number of cognitive behavioral therapists who specialize in treating the condition. I was excited to see migraine therapy on their road map and will be keeping an eye on them.

Onward I went to Healthwise to check out the Healthwise Advise solution that they’ll be taking live this summer with their Epic clients. I’ve been a fan and a user of their products for quite some time and am an even bigger fan of solutions that make the clinicians’ lives easier while helping patients better manage their health conditions.

I stopped by the Epic booth for some conversation about telehealth solutions and patient engagement as well as to check out their Cheers customer relationship management system. The booth was smaller than previous years (as were many vendors’ booths) but the artwork was great as always, including a carousel-style unicorn covered in bottle caps and a supersized dog.

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I always enjoy a spin through the innovation area and the team at Skedulo was spot-on at engaging prospects and getting them to stop and listen. They work in other industries beyond healthcare and made my list of companies to read about on the flight home.

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I also enjoyed chatting with the team at VisiQuate and learning about their solutions. They were channeling blue and yellow in support of Ukraine, including both shoes and shirts.

Continuing to stroll the booths with one of my HIMSS BFFs, we stopped by the Arcadia “Sips and Socks” happy hour so I could complete my sock collection and learn about what they’re doing to support managed care. They’ve got some great success stories and serve a diverse client base, which always makes doing business more interesting.

The Wednesday party scene was a good one, starting with Redox at Taverna Opa. Attendees were greeted by performers in stilts wearing LED lights, which was a fun reminder of how HIMSS used to be. Years ago, you might see those kinds of antics in the booths. They also had a custom cocktail that was being poured through an ice sculpture, which was fun. We ended up there at the end of the night and the sculpture was ceremonially smashed, which was really something.

I also dropped in on the Lightbeam Health event at Cuba Libre, which featured hand-rolled cigars as well as the chance to visit with the team from CareSignal, which the company recently acquired. I’ve worked with both teams in a variety of capacities and it was fun to catch up.

From there, I met up with friends and we ended up splitting into two groups, those who headed out for karaoke and those who knew when to call it a night. The fact that today’s walking total was close to nine miles made a member of the latter, so I was glad to get back to the hotel, put my feet up, and start the mental game of Tetris as I contemplate repacking my suitcase.

What’s the best thing you’ve seen this week? Leave a comment or email me.

Morning Headlines 3/17/22

March 16, 2022 Headlines No Comments

House Rx Secures $30 Million in Financing to Improve the Specialty Pharmacy Experience for Patients and Their Care Teams

Specialty practice-focused House Rx, which offers technology that helps prescribers and pharmacists ensure patients have timely access to specialty medications, raises $25 million in a Series A funding round.

Avive Secures $22 Million in Series A Funding to Advance Intelligent AED and Lifesaving Platform for Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest

Avive Solutions, which has developed wirelessly connected automated external defibrillator technology, has raised $22 million in a Series A round of funding.

Startup behind menopause app Stella targets US market

UK-based menopause care app developer Vira Health will use a $12.1 million investment to grow employer adoption in the US, and support clinical trials and the addition of telemedicine.

From HIMSS 3/16/22

March 16, 2022 News 3 Comments

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It was quieter and cooler in the exhibit hall today, which was more enjoyable to me. I expect it will be really slow and laid back Thursday, but I’ll remind booth reps that the last day is when decision-makers sometimes emerge to roam unfettered among the thinned exhibit hall crowds. Also, the HIMSS conference is a great place for companies to find partners, and that too is easier and thus possibly more likely on the last day. Don’t just pile up luggage and clock-watch.

I saw very few booth reps immersed in phone-land yesterday and today, which was encouraging. It felt like more reps were not only more heads-up in noting their surroundings, but also making eye contact and offering greetings. As basic as it sounds, sometimes you pass a booth and feel unwelcome because nobody looks up or acknowledges that you are standing there clearly waiting for assistance while reps look phoneward or gab with each other.

I realized today that I’ve yet to see even one instance of HIMSS22 fist- or elbow-bumping as handshaking is back as the standard. Also rarely seen is attendees picking up hand sanitizer giveaways. COVID-19 spread is almost entirely via the respiratory route, so it makes sense to worry less about spreading by touch. Wearing masks would be a theoretically good idea given that HIMSS didn’t require a negative COVID test, but sightings of those are rare.

Another item that is MIA – at least in my limited convention center travels – were those ball cap-wearing people sticking Healthcare IT News print copies in your face at every opportunity. Maybe they don’t do that any more.

I asked several exhibitors how the conference was going for them. Most common answer: “slow,” but they were trying to be upbeat about it. One exhibitor who was worn out from doing ViVE last week and said they didn’t feel that conference was worth it because few providers came to the exhibit hall, so they were a lot happier with HIMSS22.

I’ve heard from attendees of recent conferences that some people are annoyed with the member organization CEO inserts themselves into scripted entertainment or oratory in the opening session. I’ve also observed this over the years and have been kind of turned off. I think the CEOs of those member organizations forget that 99% of members don’t know or care who they are, so trying to serve as a highly visible host or presenter causes eye-rolling because that’s not why people attend. Certainly an organizational update or report is welcome if it’s short and not too “insider,” but the conference is a separate entity from the group’s leadership to most people and taking a self-congratulatory victory lap as the group’s executive doesn’t play well. I don’t go to a concert expecting to see the CEO of the band’s record label make a speech.


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Curation Health was excited about becoming a new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor, so I feel bad that I forgot to mention them in Tuesday’s various posts because it was late and I was tired. Jenn will give them the full introduction in Thursday night’s news, but I’ll acknowledge them now with thanks. Curation Health was founded by a team of healthcare veterans and clinicians to help providers and health plans effectively navigate the transition from fee-for-service to value-based care. Its advanced clinical decision support platform for value-based care drives more accurate risk adjustment and improved quality program performance by curating relevant insights from disparate sources and delivering them in real time to clinicians and care teams. With Curation Health, clinicians enjoy a streamlined, comprehensive clinical documentation process that enables better clinical and financial outcomes while simultaneously reducing clinical administrative burdens on providers. The company takes pride in combining the flexibility and speed of a startup with decades of leadership experience and know-how from roles in leading services companies including Clinovations, Optum, Evolent Health, and The Advisory Board Company. Thanks to Curation Health for supporting HIStalk.


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People from Mississippi-based Howard Medical were giving out Moon Pies in various flavors. My flavor choice was yellow.

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Alan from EK USA explained that Cat Crap is a crazy good cleaner and anti-fogger for glasses that has boomed lately because masks-wearers always struggle with fogged-up specs. I checked out their website and an ingenious offering is Not A Lock, a massive padlock that doesn’t actually lock – bad guys don’t usually actually test a padlock and this fake one prevents the owner from locking themselves out. Problems will always encourage people to create interesting solutions.

The people at Kit gave me a review of their mail-out lab test offering, where patients are sent sampling kits that they then return for lab processing. The list of available tests is short since most labs require venipuncture, so until someone invents a “blood draw at home” technology, they can only go so far in eliminating that particular last mile problem. The company was acquired by Ro last year just 17 months after its founding, with one of the draws (no pun intended) being Kit’s procedure for monitoring the test process so that life insurance companies, for example, can use the results to approve policies without sending someone into the applicant’s home to verify that their testing process was followed.

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Alpesh from Vayyar gave me a demo of the company’s senior monitoring solution, in which a small device is mounted to a wall or ceiling (it looks like a small smoke alarm) to monitor a patient’s movement without cameras or wearables. The radar-type device uses AC power, covers about 13×16 feet, and updates itself over the air. It can check for falls, room presence, in and out of bed status, and respiration (coming later this year). Providers or companies can design their own alerts and analytics per their specifications. I like this way, way better than phone-powered wearables.

I looked at Visier, which offers “people analytics” that can analyze various HR systems to answer questions about nurse retention, for example, to determine which employees are motivated by career advancement or educational opportunities instead of other benefits such as free parking.

I now know that Innovaccer’s name comes from “innovation accelerator.” It manages data for population health management and pay-for-performance programs.

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EClinicalWorks has a new product called Prisma that’s like a search engine and singular view for patient records, including those collected through Carequality and claims data. It can also collect and display data from wearables.

ESRI has theater presentations that cover a wide variety of interesting use cases for GIS in healthcare.

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I thought the Silex people were kidding with the “free beer” cooler since it was 11 a.m., but it was the real thing. The beer came from a microbrewery in the company’s Nashville home and the unfamiliar can design meant that one could (theoretically, you understand) roam the hall sipping a cold one around folks who still had egg on their breath. Silex was exhibiting with AbacusOne to offer RCM automation. They weren’t aware that ViVE is coming to Nashville next March and seemed pretty excited about it, as I kind of am since I’ve never been to Nashville except to visit one of my health system’s hospitals near there a few times many years ago.

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SkyFlow explained its Healthcare Data Privacy Vault, a quickly implemented API solution that manages role-based and policy-based access, consent-based sharing, IP and geolocation controls, and time-based access.

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That’s one big fireplace. Or being in the pun-heavy world of health IT, is that FHIRplace?

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Maybe the two saddest days in health IT were Neal Patterson dying and now to see what is likely the final exhibit of Cerner as an independent company.

From HIMSS with Dr. Jayne 3/15/22

March 16, 2022 News 1 Comment

Day 1 is in the books, and let me tell you it was a blur like I’ve not experienced in a long time. I’m sure my conference attendance muscles have atrophied over the last couple of years, but it was good to be back in person. I’m pretty sure I’m going home with COVID, though – virtually no one is masked. There are a lot of comments about people doing ViVE all week and being OK, but usually their expressions change when I remind them that attendees at ViVE had to show a documented negative COVID test, unlike at HIMSS.

The opening keynote was moderately attended, with plenty of empty seats in the back of the room. Attendance figures were quoted at 26,000 but it wasn’t clear whether that included both in-person and digital attendees. After greetings from the HIMSS team and the mayor of Orlando, Jonathan Bush delivered a brief keynote. He had some great analogies about HIMSS being like Hogwarts of Harry Potter fame, as well as it being like “the savanna” where prospective customers visited a feeding ground where vendors could hunt them. He skewered organizations for how much money they spend on HIMSS, and putting on my patient hat, it’s entirely appropriate to question the funding. People forget that every dollar spent at or on this show came from a patient or a taxpayer in one way or another.

The main keynote speaker was Ben Sherwood of Disney fame. He gave a great history of Walt Disney World and what it did to the growth of the Orlando economy. As someone who does a lot of work on sustainability and the environment, I noted that he completely left out the impact on the land and other downsides of the vast growth of tourism. He also talked about the Battle of Trafalgar and how Horatio Nelson had the ability to see the world differently as he planned his strategy for the battle. Sherwood noted that Nelson was killed in the battle and his body was taken back to England in a barrel of spirits, which is a detail that always reminds me of my days in gross anatomy lab.

He closed with some comments on E. M. Forster’s novel “Howard’s End,” which happens to be not only one of my favorites, but one upon which I did some scholarly work during my undergraduate years. He urged people to heed the advice given at the end of the book, and in thinking of how we all need to work together to solve the many problems facing healthcare, I agree with the wisdom: “Only Connect.”

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From there it was straight into the craziness of the exhibit hall. I stopped by to see the Dash offering by Relatient (booth 4879) and to catch up with the team about how the tool brings communication and scheduling solutions together for better patient care.

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Bandwidth (booth 1927) caught my eye with their sparkly sequined jackets and their plush unicorn giveaways (also wearing sequined tops). Their staff was friendly and engaged, but I’m glad they turned away for a moment so I could capture the picture.

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Pure Storage (booth 2421) kicked off the exhibit hall social hour with a fantastic bourbon tasting. I was happy that Dr. Nick van Terheyden @drnic1 spotted it during our first annual booth crawl. It certainly made the afternoon more smooth. He had a lot of great things to say about the newest evolution of DAX (Dragon Ambient eXperience) at Nuance (booth 1941). Apparently, it’s come a long way since the last time I saw it in a demo, so I’ll be sure to see it before the week ends.

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There was a strong footwear game happening at Intelligent Medical Objects (IMO, booth 3849) during the social hour as well. IMO is one of my favorite companies and I was glad to see some longstanding colleagues for a catch-up.

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I managed to score a Pink Socks scrunchie courtesy of my most longstanding HIMSS pal. Based on the humidity and the rain, I’ll need it tomorrow. Other giveaways that caught my eye included socks, cotton candy, and of course hand sanitizer. Less thrilling was the booth rep who was leaping at people in the aisles asking “would you like a light-up pen” and he asked me at least three times in the span of 10 minutes. There were of course plenty of disengaged booth reps, which is sad for Day 1 of the conference. If they couldn’t make it through 2 p.m., I have no idea how they’ll have the stamina to do it again tomorrow.

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Edifecs (booth 5171) is again running their #WhatIRun campaign to support women in healthcare IT. The initiative highlights the fact that women are estimated to be involved in 80% of healthcare decisions but continue to be underrepresented in leadership roles. For each social share of the #WhatIRun hashtag, they’ll donate $1 to brightpink.org. I’ve been a long-time fan, so please stop by and give them a shout out. I met some fascinating women today, including some cybersecurity experts, and had the chance to learn about one’s experience with the Chief membership network. HIMSS is always a great place to learn things you never expected and to make new connections.

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Tonight was my big dinner out for the week, courtesy of Nordic (booth 3965) at the Sharks Underwater Grill at Sea World. It was great to have the opportunity to talk with other CMIOs and people who are directly working in healthcare IT and to hear their experiences and challenges. The conversation was great and the drinks were flowing, and of course the sharks were fascinating. After dashing through the rainstorm at the end of the night and trying to find my Uber at the mysterious rideshare pickup point, I was starting to feel like these two chaps that I spotted at the bottom of the tank. My feet were done for the night, so I was glad to just head back to the hotel to recharge and prepare for Wednesday.

What were your personal highlights from the show floor? Anything particular I should check out? Leave a comment or email me.

From HIMSS 3/15/22

March 15, 2022 News No Comments

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From Fault Line: “Re: HIMS22. Not sure about others, but for me, it was 45 minutes for cab at airport, then and outside and inside line to check in at hotel. Why did we miss traveling again?”

I added some reader comments to the ViVE attendee reactions from last week.

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Tuesday’s commingled lines for health check, registration, and badge pickup snaked forever through the convention center with nobody from HIMSS directing folks where to line up. It’s a rare logistical slip-up by HIMSS that caused folks to be late for their sessions or for the 10:00 a.m. exhibit hall opening. Someone behind me said the lines were like Space Mountain, snaking down the hall and around corners. I guess that’s a good thing for HIMSS, which supposedly announced in-person attendance of 26,000 in the opening session that I didn’t attend.

I secretly want to be a bus driver as my next job. Every time I attend a HIMSS conference, I’m envious of their bouncy seats and horizontal steering wheels.

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It felt like a pre-HIMSS20 conference, as the exhibit hall was packed with no extra spacing, masks were optional and therefore rarely seen, and the booths featured snacks, performers, and throngs of people. I’m sure the exhibitor and square footage count were down from their pre-pandemic prime, but the energy was excellent. It’s like a band that could either fill a 1,000-seat theater or half-fill an arena – the theater wins on vibe and excitement.

I threw smoked brisket away for the first time in paying $19 for a horrible lunch from the 4 Rivers Smokehouse exhibit hall stand. I love barbeque in nearly every form, but this was inedible. I should have known this from the non-existent line and their use of homey skillets to hold badly prepared smoked meat and macaroni and cheese. I threw half away and still felt queasy for hours after.

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Know what we have? A truck. A big one. So there.

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Salesforce had an impressive booth. I don’t really understood its point, but it was like summer camp for technology folks.

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I tend to like booths that while phony, imitate life. So I was more than OK with 3M’s.

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And Intelerad’s, which was like a homey restaurant booth with cushions.

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My favorite booth was that of McKessson-owned CoverMy Meds. It was beside the booth of Redox. I feel some parental pull toward both companies because they sponsored HIStalk before anyone had heard of them and are now a big deal. I don’t usually call out favorite companies, but CoverMyMeds is a spectacular success story and co-founder Matt Scantland has impressed me both times I’ve interviewed him.

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Nice summary, Experian Health.

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Tax-advantaged provider, investor in for-profit-companies, and vendor? Correct answer — all of the above. Big booth.

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Epic claims to have no marketing people, but someone’s doing an excellent job regardless of their title.

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The Epic booth person told me that its Cheers CRM is just the same old products like MyChart overarched with a new name. I’m not sure if that’s correct, but they would know better than I.

The Vocera booth was quite busy.

Change Healthcare was taking headshot photos, which judging from the LinkedIn profiles of some attendees, are desperately needed.

The nicest exhibitors are always the folks from the Philippines, who not only provide more nurses to the US than any other country, they offer advantages for outsourcing health IT companies in various forms. I have never been to that country in my somewhat limited world travels, but they always make a positive impression at HIMSS conferences.

I liked Glooko’s remote patient monitoring platform for diabetes.

The folks at Pro Forma were cool in describing their promotional products. They agreed with me in wondering where the out-of-the-blue trend came from of exhibitor employees wearing outdoor-type vests, which I saw all over the hall. Other sartorial trends – light brown shoes with suits of any color, tennis shoes with suits, and semi-dress shoes worn without socks.

I took a look at HPE’s Zerto ransomware testing and recovery tool.

UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group) had a big booth, which I would guess at times was invaded by customers irate at its weeks-long cloud payroll system downtime that left hospitals in endless arguments with employees who weren’t paid correctly.

Palo Alto Networks gave me a nice overview of their system that monitors the network, finds and fixes performance problems, and evaluates the network problems of individual users such as those trying to participate in a Zoom call. They’re giving away a home appliance that does the same thing while looking cool.

I don’t know if I detected any particular HIMSS22 trend, but candidates would be cybersecurity and interoperability.

I saw people riding on Segways who were not G.O.B. Bluth.

Vendors – make your booth people disperse within the confines of your booth. It is off-putting to have them talking with each other in a closed circle that is unwelcome for prospects to penetrate.

Sphere is giving away ring lights for those who don’t have them for their Zoom or Teams sessions.

I went to a session in which Meditech and Google Health laid out their partnership to make Google Health’s Care Studio search tool available in Expanse. Meditech EVP/COO Helen Waters suggested that perhaps EHR vendors should focus on their platform and assume that companies like Google Health are amply equipped to overlay their products with consumer-grade UI. Meditech is looking for Care Studio to integrate its legacy products with Expanse.

Pondering – are booth reps playing with their phones because nobody is there, or is nobody there because booth reps are playing with their phones? I didn’t see nearly as much “expensive phone booth” time as in years past, so good job, folks.

I tried to use the HIMSS22 app, but it kept freezing on the title screen.

I skipped out early because my regrettably untested shoes weren’t up to the carpet-trodding task and therefore my back and legs were paying dearly for exhibit hall miles, but I’ll be back Wednesday. If you’ve seen something amazing that I should check out, let me know.

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