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Morning Headlines 2/26/19

February 25, 2019 Headlines No Comments

GE Healthcare IPO this year ‘looks unlikely’ after Danaher deal, CEO Culp says

GE shelves plans to IPO its healthcare business after selling its biopharma business to global conglomerate Danaher for $21.4 billion.

The FDA and Flatiron Health Expand Real-World Data Cancer Research Collaboration

Flatiron Health and the FDA’s INFORMED program renew their collaboration, which uses real-world evidence derived from de-identified EHR data to inform regulatory decision-making and enhance cancer research and treatments.

New milestones in helping prevent eye disease with Verily

Google and Verily launch an eye-screening program in India that uses a machine-learning algorithm to screen for diabetic eye disease.

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 2/25/19

February 25, 2019 Dr. Jayne 2 Comments

I spent the weekend with one of my healthcare IT mentors. He’s been around the industry for several decades and I’ve been the fortunate recipient of some of his knowledge as he’s shared it with me over the years. He taught me much of what I know about building relationships with clients and constituents, along with how to cut through the noise that some in the industry constantly generate.

Over time I’ve been his customer, later his co-worker, and even did a brief stint as CMIO at an organization he led. Most of all, I’m grateful for his friendship as I’ve moved through this wild and crazy industry. He’s helped me weigh the pros and cons of various opportunities and reminded me to be true to myself, because the industry and the people in it can change with not even a moment’s notice.

Following the whirlwind of HIMSS, it was good to be able to sit by the pool and do nothing. When the most major item on your agenda is determining which movie you’re going to watch after dinner, life is good. (Note to readers: “A Quiet Place” is not so quiet of a film.)

It was nice to have a glimpse of retired life, although I can tell he misses the industry at least a little bit. He spent the majority of his career on the vendor side. We played the “who did you see at HIMSS” game and it was a trip down memory lane talking about everyone we’ve known or worked with over the last 15 or so years. Very few of our mutual friends are in the same places in the industry, with many having made the rounds among multiple EHR vendors over time. Certain executives seem to bring their entourages with them as they move, which leads to an exodus when they ultimately leave. It seems like some people just follow each other around the industry.

The people we’ve worked with have ranged far and wide, landing full-time gigs at academic medical centers, health systems, and with cross-industry vendors such as Salesforce or AWS. Some work in lobbying or the healthcare policy arena. Others have left the healthcare IT world altogether – one raises pygmy goats and another owns a hot yoga studio.

It’s always fun to hear about their exploits and to wonder where various people landed in later phases of their careers while pondering one’s own future. I’ve been a bit restless the last several months. Running your own business is challenging and making sure that the people who work on your behalf are meeting client expectations can be exhausting even with a small group of people.

I’ve explored a couple of opportunities to return to life with a Big Health System, along with one to move into the vendor space. None of them were particularly conducive to staying in practice, which ultimately led me to cross them off the list. I’ve had a couple of periods during my career where I didn’t see patients and I did miss patient car,e although I didn’t miss dealing with insurance companies or landlords.

In reviewing my recent foray into job hunting, I was frankly surprised by the inability of the provider organizations to come up with a clinical situation that would work. Often the emergency department or urgent care work has been contracted out to a staffing company that is reluctant to take on a part time physician.

One offered to add me part time to an existing internal medicine group. Trying to work as a primary care physician but only be in the office half a day a week is very challenging. I did it when I first moved into the CMIO trenches and there was much patient dissatisfaction with the arrangement, as patients were used to having advanced access scheduling with me as their physician. Not to mention that my partner constantly grumbled about having to cover for me even though he was being compensated for the extra work.

I can’t imagine trying to be a new physician to a practice but only be in the office half a day a week unless you were just seeing acute or overflow visits, and none of the organizations I talked to were offering that kind of arrangement. I don’t think that seeing patients is essential to being a good clinical informaticist or physician leader, but I do enjoy it and think it provides valuable context for being able to serve the organization.

The vendor role was reluctant to let me stay in practice at all, for fear that I wouldn’t devote my full efforts to the job. I think that was short sighted and they shouldn’t care what I do on my weekends. It turns out they have a “no moonlighting” policy for all employees, which was a bit of a red flag anyway. I don’t think employers should try to dictate what people do in their off hours unless it reflects badly on the company or interferes with the employee’s ability to complete their responsibilities successfully. It seems like many people have a “side hustle” these days, probably due to the uncertain aspects of the healthcare IT economy.

I’ve been looking into some telemedicine opportunities because they seem to be flexible and might be a bit more easily worked around a full-time informatics role. However, it’s not anything I have ever done, so it’s hard to gauge whether it would be a good fit. My friends who have done telehealth either really liked it or didn’t. I’m used to being adaptable, so we’ll have to see how things unfold.

I’ve got a major volunteer commitment this summer that I need to schedule around, so I don’t want to upset the proverbial apple cart too much unless an amazing opportunity comes along. A wise man once advised me to always keep my mind open to new opportunities and his advice has been spot on so far. Until the universe drops something spectacular in my lap, however, I’m perfectly content to sit by the pool, contemplate a nice glass of wine, and be grateful for the life I’m living.

If you could re-engineer your career, what would you do differently? Leave a comment or email me.


Email Dr. Jayne.

HIMSS19 Reader Impressions

February 25, 2019 News No Comments


Fifty-five HIStalk readers provided their thoughts on HIMSS19, which they graded overall as a B- (2.5) on a four-point scale. I’ve excerpted some of their thoughts here.

What did you like best?

It was my first HIMSS conference and it met my expectations (expectations were implanted from co-workers and reading HIStalk to some degree). It’s a great opportunity to get a physical snapshot of the HIT industry in one place and just see what’s going on.

Not in Vegas and not in Chicago in February.

Precision medicine and pharmacogenomics sessions. There is growth in these areas as AI and analytics become more mainstream and mature. It’s interesting to see there is actual ‘precision’ or ‘personal’ in the offerings versus hype.

Some of the presentations / information sessions were very interesting and educational. As an interface developer, I was impressed and overwhelmed by the amount of FHIR/API sessions. I also made an effort to get out of my lane and attended some great sessions on AI and Innovation in the healthcare industry. The opportunities to network, see old friends, and meet new people is always a prime benefit of the conference.

Ability to network with wide range of people from across industry. More signal, less noise this year. Opportunity to meet with some of the smaller innovative vendors that in some instances, have pretty compelling models

Networking and meeting over meals.

Vendor floor seemed manageable. 


Odd, as it may seem: The education session provided by hospitals about their struggle with real problems and the solutions (organization AND technology) they found.

Did not have to walk through a stinky, overwhelmingly bright and tacky casino.

Plenty of meetups and breakouts for even the most obscure discipline

HIMSS organization is a well run conference running machine. Audio works, wayfinding is superb. It’s all the little things that you don’t notice; because they’re taken care of.

Quieter than previous years, more level-headed discussion and less hyperbole.

Fairly busy, good discussions and less hype than normal.

I liked not spending 30-50k and talking to myself in a booth.

I went into this with some very specific goals and focused on those the entire time. While I did make connections with current vendors, I came away with some good knowledge and answered questions.

Great chance to catch up with vendors that we use and explore potential vendors quietly.

Reconnecting with industry friends and colleagues.

The cybersecurity command center where so many of the niche vendors could co-mingle and you could visit them without hunting all over the showroom floor.

Loved attending CHIME. Period. Cross over scheduled education and focus group sessions Mon, Tues, and Wed. These were hugely beneficial and pulled us away from standard HIMSS client sessions that were mostly rushed and nonsensical. Even keynote speakers at CHIME were better than HIMSS.

Networking, networking, networking. It was great for introducing clients for partnerships.

Lots of CIO / VP level conversations on the show floor – it seemed more CIOs stuck around after CHIME.

Meeting a large volume of vendors in a short space of time. Saves admin time.

Easier to get around since it isn’t in the middle of a tourist crowd like Las Vegas.

Efficiency of seeing many vendor exhibits in one place, educational sessions with real customers, and networking with other attendees.

it was great to see real integration work with FHIR tech and payer/providers. Be interesting to see progress in real world.

Ability to interact with many colleagues and potential clients in one spot at one time.

Vendor exhibits.

It is what it is, and it brings a lot of people together which occasionally results in some useful side meetings.

There certainly is a lot of energy.

Seeing products I otherwise wouldn’t know of.

In contrast to recent past HIMSS annual conferences, it was very noticeable that none of the education sessions that I attended had vendor presenters. The educations sessions were very informative and valuable to me. There were no sales like presentations in the education sessions. I could have been lucky this year. Wondering if others noticed a difference.

A good place to knock out a lot of face to face meetings in a compressed time.

Networking opportunities. When you see people each year, then trust begins to build.

What did you like least?

I knew it was going to be big, but it’s too big. There are many large vendors, a goodly number of small vendors, but nothing in the middle. Seems like the fees from HIMSS cater to large corporations.

Sessions were a waste of time.

It’s over the top circus atmosphere of “Look at me, Look at me!” in both the vendor space and in the sessions. There’s too much chest-thumping and not enough serious, thorough, and thoughtful acknowledgment of where we are and where we need to go as an industry.

Another year of post-HIMSS cough.

There wasn’t a singular theme. Is our industry becoming boring?

The exhibit hall is WAY TOO BIG – you can’t tell me the ROI is there for the smaller booths and/or even the bigger booths. Dare I recommend that it goes back to one booth size so we can showcase innovation?

The one-hour queue on Thursday to pay $3 for someone to put your bag in a pile.

Keynotes were not as good (or as well known) as previous. Need to start looking for one or two more cities to have this. Attendance will be down next year due to Orlando AGAIN.

Long booth hours (as a vendor, there simply are no breaks) and after hours all the restaurants are loud. Voices seemed to be scratchy and fading by Thursday.

Transportation around Orlando is a pain because everything is so spread out, making 30k+ people arriving and leaving in the same ~1 hour window. Food options are terrible at the show (expensive, long lines, and bad food).

The late opening of the exhibit hall floor the first day to try to force people to go to the keynote. Keynote sessions that were the usual hype suspects but had no real stuff underneath.

The cost and waste of the trade show floor.

For the most part, the education sessions are a rehash of material we should have known about or read over the course of the previous 11 months.

Crazy hours and long days. Miss that break in the middle of exhibit hours of old.

Too many vendors and nothing really exciting.

Aggressive salespeople approaching you in the middle of the aisle and salespeople completely uninterested working in their phones (whoever told them to come to HIMSS, this is not helpful for those sales folks nor for your company).

Not dislike, but do think rules dropping Monday vs. the Friday before didn’t give many folks actually working at HIMSS time to digest and make actionable decisions / movements in what is already 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. days for many of us.

Had the feel of a very low energy, going-through-the-motions event. My informal analysis of the distribution of speakers by type for the “education sessions” indicates about 5 percent of speakers came from provider organizations, with the rest coming from vendors, HIMSS, and government (75 percent, 10 percent, 10 percent, respectively).

I find many of the sessions just to be vanity sessions. The presenters were all puffed up about how they have solved the latest whatever. And when you look honestly at what they are doing, it’s not far off from what the rest of us are doing.

Orlando and the shuttles.

Venue. Hosting in Orlando is impractical and frankly awful. Hotel options close enough to convention center book months in advance, forcing long commutes and traffic nightmares. Not enough food options, and even those nearby closed for events hosted by Google, Amazon, and the like. Vegas is truly the easiest location and we should be there annually.

The keynotes were ho-hum. I look to them for inspiration. My favorite was probably the closing with Susan Devore. I generally like ONC town halls, but might even put them above keynotes this year … not sure what that says.

Acres of concrete to walk on. Calves are still sore. Traffic congestion isn’t fun.

Walking miles among plastic palaces.

The size, but you take the good with the bad, so maybe it was my tired feet talking.

The opening ceremony was cringey, as was, frankly, the whole “Champions of Health Unite” theme. Totally absurd. Also, many of the talks I went to were pretty dull.

I miss having the daily morning keynote address from an industry expert. Many years ago I appreciated having the daily morning keynote address to kick off the day with some encouragement and purpose.

Feels like a death march.

Unproductive downtime.

Sadly lacking a dose of humility.

I firmly believe either HIMSS or the OCC was jamming data on the exhibit floor. I could take calls on my Verizon phone, but could not access data-driven services (e.g. email, text messaging) while on the exhibit floor.

Overwhelmed by the number of events and options. Probably cannot do much about that, but it takes planning to hit all the locations you want to attend.

The waste of healthcare money diverted to hype and glitz.

Fewer of my hospital clients attended this year. I had 11 scheduled client meetings in 2018 but only four scheduled this year. Nine of my clients who attended in 2018 did not attend this year; only one client attended that hadn’t in 2018.

Still too big. The focus is on selling products with each vendor trying to outdo the other. Less focus on actually sharing information.

Bus logistics and the organization of exhibitors.

Vendors are just out and out charlatans. Omg. The hype. There is too much hype overall for the conference to be serious.

As an exhibitor, it’s frustrating to see the attendee badge when I really want to see provider called out.

The size — it is just too much.

Nickel-and-dime charges for many “extra” items. Many formal social and networking events scheduled for same time (lots on Tues late afternoon/early evening). Government session on ONC API regulations would bore the dead! Wow was that painful. Not crazy about that stretch of Orlando; very congested and hard to move around.

It seems to be getting more and more impersonal each year and the transportation capabilities of HIMSS and the convention center itself are a joke. The bomb scare on Wednesday that prevented people who entrusted their bags to the convention center for safekeeping kept them away from those bags for a couple of hours while explosives dogs sniffed each bag (albeit not evacuating the HIMSS floor, just above it), resulting in many people missing their flights out and unable to re-secure the rooms they checked out of earlier in the day (because they were now booked?), resulting in them having to find alternative lodging in most cases out by the airport or downtown. Perhaps they should partner with Disney to figure out how to effectively get thousands of people in and out of an attraction (aka HIMSS).

The HIMSS self-infatuation. For all that has been spent to date via taxpayer dollars, we have not moved the needle on costs and quality, ever so modestly. Social media ambassadors. Champions of Health mantra.

Getting nickeled and dimed for different sessions. Traffic on International and the closing of the West entrance ramp which exacerbated the traffic.

HIMSS and vendor hype about capabilities. Also, the tendency to announce things that are not really new, and using buzzwords like AI that are not applicable to their products and services.

Extremely crowded, poorly run – tough to get food and drink inside and outside the convention center. Overall not enough focus on the sessions and topics of interest in healthcare. need to find ways to link vendors to the topics healthcare feels are important. It’s a huge missed opportunity – that many healthcare staff in one place should be talking about and strategizing toward something.

What company made the best impression?

Epic. You actually can have productive meetings with them if you are a customer.

Ada Health – nice tech to enable consumer self-triage.

Collective Medical – compelling model to address the community of care and has landed some interesting clients (both payers and providers). vision is global, strategic, and relevant to patient health improvement.

Uber and Lyft – smaller, understated booths that are actually making a difference in healthcare costs.

Nuance: combining vision and reality in great way. Microsoft: showing solutions with partners.

Rhapsody. Spun from larger company just months ago and ran a booth / show of veteran quality.

IBM because they seemed to be on the right track with a solid direction.

Wolters Kluwer. Inspired by some of the work they’re doing in UpToDate with care pathways and integration with ordering.

Accenture simply for the fact they provided some good booth presentations like Orlando Health’s Digital Front door. Good access to their leaders and all just showed general care and interest in what I was asking about. No hard sell, just can we help you.

Healthbox. Still a ways to go, but a centralized approach to innovation at a national level is beneficial for more health systems, all essentially trying to do the same thing in providing better care to our patients through technology.

Well Health. Interesting little start up. I found their approach reasonable and smart. I found their pitch to be humble and cautious. They were focused on what they can do and how they can fit in the ecosystem. These guys may be on to something.

The HL7 booth really did have a lot of useful information sessions. AWS next door was packing them in also. There were several smaller companies who were pitiably dwarfed by the big players, but had some interesting ideas.

Nuance. Their ambient clinical documentation has come a long way, feels like it’s straight out of science fiction, but the representatives on the show floor talked about it in a sober, level-headed way.

Google. They didn’t oversell and spent time explaining their steady entrance into the healthcare IT space.

Hyland – very friendly and engaging vendor.

IBM. They’re still around.

Epic: Seeing Judy Faulkner still discussing with customers ten minutes before the exhibition closed on Thursday.

Cerner, because of their Epic-bashing poster.

HIMSS actually. Love it or hate it, this is an impressive gathering of people across all aspects of automating healthcare. Easy to get lost complaining about why we aren’t twenty years further into the future, but this is how we get there. Learning from each other, standing on the shoulders of others, etc.

Epic and IMAT Solutions. Epic, the people are friendly courteous, do not talk about other companies and focus on their products. IMAT because the technology they bring in the “data world” is far superior to other companies who are in limited areas (like Diameter Health) or overhyped marketing campaigns (IBM Watson).

Epic, because they are real.

Humana people seemed to be everywhere talking about real world interop work they are making progress on with partners.

I liked Intermountain Healthcare booth. Talked to a guy from GoodData — maybe he was blowing smoke, but the guy loves his job. Never talked to anyone who was so positive about an employer/ State of Georgia — had a booth highlighting some of their tech companies — no other state had a booth like that, at least that I saw.

Orbita is making great strides in voice interfaces and their work with the Mayo Clinic is impressive.

AT&T FirstNet. To be able to provide that connectivity for EMS or in natural disasters is impressive.

I accidentally stepped into an overview of the artificial computerized heart and brain work by HP and wow! Unexpected and amazing work presented in a sales booth.

Several population health vendors. This is the second year I’ve set up appointments and really looked at these vendors. Last year’s weren’t any better than what I’m using today. This year all four of them really wowed me. Of course I need to dive deeper, but last year at this time I wasn’t impressed.

Google clearly made a significant investment this year.

Epic. Friendly, approachable, comfortable space, and offering demos for all.

I was very impressed with the work that Nuance is doing with real time voice recognition of the provider and patient in the exam room. The system was then able to real time also populate with the appropriate medical language and yes, billing appropriate terminology into the EHR standardized format. While they are initially working in the outpatient specialty space (Orthopedics) at the moment, I could see this being very helpful with hospitalists patient visits in the acute care setting. This could be a very significant productivity and life/work balance enhancement tool for physicians, nurses, and other care givers.

What company made the worst impression?

It is a tie between Allscripts and IBM, wasting money on big booth space when both are empty suits.

Epic and its continual desire to bash competition with various signs rather than just focus on the long game and its ability to help improve the delivery of care. Such childish marketing. Sadly, Cerner seems to be co-opting that strategy

Nemours. Just didn’t get why they would have a booth. Altruism?

IBM. Big booth, nothing of substance to say.

Those in the exhibit hall that were too busy talking to each other and didn’t acknowledge I was roaming around their booth.

Cerner and Epic. It makes me wonder why anyone would pay for their software when they show a complete lack of fiscal discipline with those booths.

IBM. What were they thinking with that size booth?

Philips. Too much hype.

A number of unnamed ones that failed to engage visitors standing directly at their booth.

How does Epic maintain the same booth year after year with no changes (except the signs – can’t forget about the signs), without it falling apart? Perhaps they keep it in the purported hyperbaric chamber in the city of Epic – I mean on the Epic campus.

Cohesity had a game and a hawker with a microphone. It was so annoying.

Athenahealth. The company tone has changed. It feels like they are struggling to find their way with the change of leadership and the merger. I did not feel the excitement I have felt from them in the past.

IBM looked like a commercial for Trump’s wall. I didn’t see attendees trying to scurry over it much, either.

The printing companies as a whole — KM, Ricoh. They seem to be going backwards, not forwards. Still heavy on print, no clear interface engines that allow seamless work.


IBM is still overselling everything about Watson Health with little real progress to report.

NantHealth. So glad I did not buy their stock.

Multiple large and small companies who have no idea how to engage people in a meaningful discussion and seem to only know their sales pitch. Rule #1 of selling is sell yourself, then you can sell your product.

ONC and CMS. A simple thank you for the the otherwise pretty thankless job of automating a very complex domain against a very silly ONC rulebook now would be nice. Sick of being scolded, sick of being compared to banking (which is trivial by comparison), and very, very sick of being harassed by those who want to take the data by force and fiat now to monetize it in ways that patients won’t begin to comprehend. ONC crams garbage rules out and gets applause from its fan club without regard for what it really takes to do and for how it steals innovative time away from developers. And, you’ll get your butt sued if you make even the most minor transgression.

Velocity Technology Solutions. Just no-showed the entire thing and had an empty booth.

Nuance. Lots of hype and good things coming along, but lacking on follow through.

Cerner. Can they get any bigger?

Splunk. Staff were not friendly. Seemed to not care if you were there or not.

IBM. No one from the old Truven, Phytel, Explorys team went to the world’s largest digital health conference!

Epic ‘s booth kind of reminded me of the floor of a car dealership. I didn’t learn anything, which is what I think creates a good impression. I did learn that a rug can be too soft though. I almost turned an ankle on it.

Virence – who sponsored the bags?

Many. All those with magicians or paid entertainers who have speeches full of every buzzword in the book. It is annoying.

Leidos. Is this a military show? Pushing some crazy C2C software. Unfriendly reps (all salespeople). They should stick with military presence. Not sure why they are in our market at all.

What the hell was IBM Watson doing in their booth?

What conclusions did you take away?

Feel there could be some very interesting changes coming in the industry, moved forward by the gains made in utilizing API technologies to access / exchange data. FHIR/API’s look like they may actually have legs, not just flavor of the month. APIs also look to be helpful with some of the AI initiatives.

The EHR market is done. Ability to sell extension apps (RCM, PHM, etc.) is key for any EHR vendor, but unlikely to be enough and consolidation will continue. HIMSS itself will become a much smaller event over time. Healthcare organizations are now focused on value and ROI in purchasing decisions.

Healthcare CRM is so important for prevention and proactive patient health.

It’s just too big to matter any more.

Nobody is doing anything until the government mandates it.

The next wave of solutions will be consumer driven – the race is on for someone to own “the market place” and interoperability / coopetition will win in this world

AI is the new buzzword. No one is really doing it. Blockchain, thankfully, was barely mentioned.

EMR vendors are becoming less important in the grand scheme of things. MDM is where the $$ will be spent.

Waste of money. Won’t go next year.

Social determinants of health are bubbling to top of mind.

Half the companies shouldn’t be on the floor and a fourth of them won’t be around next year

We spend a lot of money at this convention that could be put towards patient care.

Bigger, crazier, and less beneficial year over year. Thankful for CHIME planners wrapping their meetings into HIMSS.

New focus is on the consumer and consumer apps – most notably CRM.

The era of EHRs is reaching a plateau as the market shifts to replacement with few net new installations. Also, little progress on interoperability demonstrates the tendency of the industry to place profits over patients.

FHIR interoperability really does have a chance to sit at the big boys table along with AI and blockchain.

If the industry can’t get its act together, then the Feds will step in.

Some – notably larger – hospitals are doing impressive IT development and showed real outcome improvements achieved through IT deployment

Healthcare wastes a ton of money on this conference. Booth sizes should be smaller for all, lessening the footprint to be more manageable. If the goal is to expose folks to as many new products as possible, you don’t need an “epic” sized space, no pun intended. Most booths were empty and i couldn’t shake the feeling that its just about appearing bigger and better.

It is worthwhile and I’m looking forward to next year’s conference.

Patient engagement is everywhere – but interpretation on what that means and why its important vary wildly.

Health system executives were not there. My opinion, people are growing tired of HIMSS.

AI, cybersecurity, and patient engagement were the themes this year and they dovetail with what I am seeing in real life.

EHRs and innovation for doctors is being choked off by ONC at the behest of those who wish to monetize the data for secondary uses. Doctors will still blame EHRs, but that’s part of ONC’s game plan while they serve the moneyed interests of Silicon Valley. Maybe the app makers will usher in a new era or maybe we’ll take a trip down memory lane to Best of Breed Gone Amok (BOBGA) again.

HIMSS tends to make you feel like we’re making huge progress in our industry and solving all of the problems. Then you remember that your mom, dad, siblings, kids, spouse, etc. couldn’t get their health info when they needed it, and you realize that we’re doing great when organizations have money to burn but we’re really not doing enough to effect the everyday lives of patients.

Fewer community hospital CIOs and I T directors are attending; We are not members of CHIME, but it appears that a number of CIOs left after CHIME. I got the impression that if you were not looking for a new EMR, you were less likely to attend than in the past.

The Meaningful Use trough is empty. The next areas of interest will be the democratization of data using blockchain between different entities. And so maybe HIMSS can become more if a learning conference again and less sales focused.

HIMSS is a huge waste of time and money. Let’s cancel 2021 and have everyone donate half of what they would spend on the conference to a not-for-profit to help fix healthcare!

ONC should be dissolved or made part of CMS. Cerner is a government affairs shop that happens to make software.

There was a lot less BS this year. PHM no long taking center stage and words like AI and blockchain were at an all-time low. Definitely back to basics for most vendors

After years of gorging on Meaningful Use dollars, this year felt sleepy, as if everyone was still digesting what they’ve acquired. Vendors offering proven, pragmatic technology to solve bread-and butter problems seemed to get the most attention.

There’s nothing special in the industry and everyone is waiting or trying to figure out the next big thing after MU2 and the ACA.

Need to pay more attention to physician fatigue, and evaluate in our investments.

278 and Auth integration is a large opportunity for improvement in the industry.

HIMSS has lost its way. It’s about the patient was lost in the real lack of consumer access and engagement. I would love to hear how organizations engaged patients in their health and healthcare. I find that ONC does not understand that APIs (FHIR) does not give patients access to their medical information. It gives companies access to patient information and in turn potential access to patient. The lack of discussion on privacy and validation / certification around apps and APIs was glaring. How can I trust an app in handling of my information? HIMSS, HHS and ONC need to get on the stick here if they want to ensure patients understand the levels of trust or lack thereof they will see.

ONC is doing the right thing and it is possibly the most stable thing in government over difference administrations. Patients should have access to their data. It’s the right thing – just a bit overwhelming to think about.

Consolidation continues. I noticed many booths that were recently acquired, likely only as standalone because they already paid for a separate space. Moving to value is happening slower than I think most expected. Still a lot of work/effort to support fee for service.
Huge international push from HIMSS. I noticed much more attendees from overseas than I can ever remember. Going to be interesting what the vendor community makes of it since budgets are a fraction of what they are here.

This felt like the first year that the conference was a near exact repeat of last year.

Value of HIMSS in post-MU world is questionable. Value in the past was hearing from leading organizations that had the resources to be early adopters or seeing a product that you didn’t know about. Seems like the industry is in a rut that we can’t get out of due to the number of masters that control our industry (Gov, Payers, Pharma, etc). Innovation is dead due to the narrow lanes we have to stay in to get paid.

(1) Voice recognition ubiquitous adoption is very near or finally hit the tipping point in healthcare but only after the consumer market (Alexa, Google Home, etc.) has become commonplace for the providers of healthcare in their personal space. (2) AI and/or its sub component technology is gathering steam as more real world applications to productivity enhancement within healthcare are popping up. Not so sure yet about how quickly the usage of AI in diagnosis of ailments and diseases will achieve widespread usage. (3) Blockchain in healthcare has mostly vaporized. (4)  We all need to focus on the patient, not just about their ailments and diseases, but how we interact and communicate with them on the technology platforms that are in widespread use in our society. Today it is smartphones. Could be something totally different in the future. My thinking is the home based voice devices like Alexa and Google Home will become more a part of the healthcare ecosystem.


Hadn’t been to HIMSS in about 15 years; last time I went was at Orlando as well. Was impressed by the content. Don’t know if I had stars in my eyes or how much of the potential discussed is real. I’m more from the techie side and felt some of the technologies talked about have the potential to solve some major problems that the industry faces. Overall I had a great conference. The networking opportunities were great and about 75-80 percent of the sessions I attended were interesting or had some value.

Medical device firms have got to go. Keep it pure IT hardware, software, and services.

HIMSS has gotten too large. The HIMSS marketing effort and the desire to generate revenue seems to have outpaced the content. HIMSS needs to define what constitutes healthcare IT and limit exhibitors those companies that make IT used for patient care in some way.

After six years in health IT, I finally sat across the table from an Epic VP.  I now exist.

Need a better way to share really cool stuff fast. I spoke to colleague from other hospital on Thursday. He pointed out a solution that Imprivata launched at the show with physicians walking away from desktop, desktop automatically locks, and when they come back unlocks. If I would have known on Tuesday would have brought my CIO to the Imprivata booth to show. On Thursday he had already left.

ONC is finally taking concrete action on information blocking. Looking forward to seeing the first “wall of shame!”

Wonder if vendors all really need to be there. Isn’t it possible to be more selective?

Make the anchor vendors move to the end. Move the end to the middle. Make it easier/ mandatory to see the important things. Vegas makes you walk through the casino to get to your room.

It would be great to get a summary of the education sessions – these seem to get forgotten and I’m not even sure of the themes. One thing I noticed was that vendors could sponsor sessions. This does not seem aligned with the HIMSS mission.

I have been going to HIMSS since 1995. I can’t decide if it is more of a circus or zoo, but a little of both. Disheartened by how big and useless it has become.

As a vendor, I was torn about attending. I have attended for several years, but the last 3-4 were really disappointing in terms of customers and leads. We opted not to go this year, no regrets and with more budget for activities that will net us some revenue.

I think the trade show is a pterodactyl taking its final few flights.

If all the money spent on HIMSS was used to help patients pay down medical debt instead, it would be money well spent.

More sessions like the precision medicine summit. Focused content with appropriate buyers and sellers.

As I was leaving the exhibit hall on Thursday afternoon, the thought that crossed my mind was, “How many promises were made that will never be realized?”


Morning Headlines 2/25/19

February 24, 2019 Headlines No Comments

U.S. judge will not block Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan health venture’s new hire

A federal judge denies Optum’s efforts to prevent former executive David Smith from working for the Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway-JPMorgan Chase healthcare venture, despite the UnitedHealth subsidiary’s allegations that Smith could share trade secrets.

Warner Seeks to Advance Information Security in the Health Care Sector

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), co-chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, calls on a dozen healthcare organizations to work with him to develop short- and long-term strategies that will reduce cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Plan OK’d for patient access to 2 closed Arizona hospitals’ records

A judge approves a plan that will take $92,000 from the assets of two closed Arizona hospitals for a 90-day reactivation of their EHR so that patients can get their medical records.

Premier Health creates pilot program to transfer patient data from first responders to hospital

As part of a new six-month pilot program, Premier Health (OH) rolls out an interface that enables emergency responders to send patient data to its Epic EHR while en route to the hospital.

Monday Morning Update 2/25/19

February 24, 2019 News 6 Comments

Top News


Allscripts shares closed down 11 percent Friday following its quarterly revenue and earnings miss.

A $10,000 investment in Allscripts on the day Paul Black was hired as CEO in 2012 would be worth $9,925 today vs. around $13,200 if you had instead bought a Nasdaq index fund.

From the investor call:

  • The company in Q4 signed three new Sunrise clients, one Paragon expansion, six FollowMy Health sales, and six new 2BPrecise clients.
  • The revenue and earnings problems were spread equally between the now-divested Netsmart and the rest of the Allscripts business, the latter primarily driven by delayed upgrades.
  • Black says the company will continue to look for “strategic assets” to acquire, as “the marketplace is littered with undersized companies, some of which have some pretty good technology.”
  • President Rick Poulton said that the company has spent a net zero amount on its acquisition winners and losers, including the turnaround acquisition of McKesson’s business and the “very speculative investment” the company made in NantHealth. He added that it’s frustrating to watch MDRX share price performance and further commented that the company needs to “balance why we buy somebody else’s earnings at a big premium when ours are trading so cheap.”
  • Poulton said that Allscripts will exploit its access to capital to bring technology to market faster, as opposed to “some of our larger competitors who have shunned acquisitions and have a model where they tend to want to do everything on a native, integrated basis.”
  • Poulton said that providers have stopped “spending money like drunken sailors” and it’s tough to assume that provider spending can drive revenue scaling, which is why the company is focusing on the faster revenue growth offered by payers and life sciences.
  • The Avenel EHR was not mentioned.

Reader Comments

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From Clippy: “Re: site. You love sites deceptively pretending to be American that clearly are not. Here is one you may have missed.” Thanks, it’s a gem – reading Healthcare Herald’s attempts to explain medical and technology issues in its comically fractured English (obviously written by folks whose origins lie in India) makes it a must-read for all the wrong reasons. The “Our Team” page lists several fake employees with their credentials. The photo of the chief content writer was lifted from news story, while that of her PhD co-editor is a widely used stock art JPG that they didn’t even bother to rename from “mature model man.” But the write-ups are pure poetry – the editor’s bio says, “I have been working in this company for seven long years. Since my day of joining till now, I have seen the company going through many thorns and pebbles.” The “About Us” proclaims, “The field of healthcare is also not an exception. There has been mass upgradation in this sector. Thorough research and in-depth studies have made it possible to even fight with disastrous chronic diseases. There is large-scale use of Artificial Intelligence and IoT in treatments which make it easier and more comfortable and hence also quite useful in most of the cases.” I like the word “upgradation,” which experts say is used only by India-based outsourced technologists, so I will try to work that into casual conversation, such as asking a server, “May I request an upgradation to the Caesar salad?”  

From Bone Apatit: “Re: HIMSS19. I am questioning the value.” I’ll recap what my survey respondents said soon, but my working thesis is this. Some people obviously want to spend a week away from work socializing, attending parties, and feeling important, so they at least fool themselves into thinking that their employer benefits so they can keep coming back. Others, especially vendor employees, attend because their employer requires them to, thinking that sales will result. Still others say they receive actual value, most likely in meeting with their vendors and fellow customers rather than sitting in educational sessions. HIMSS justifiably assumes that a heavy registration count (growing, at least until the last couple of years) is evidence that they don’t need to change much, especially in the exhibit hall that drives the entire trade show. Complaining after attending doesn’t reverse your already-cast vote for the status quo – you would have to do that by skipping HIMSS20.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


A majority of poll respondents like the draft of the federal government’s new interoperability policies. Recovering CIO says they will end up being toothless, however, unless the feds are willing to de-certify non-compliant EHRs and to eliminate the existing economic incentives for hoarding patient data. Nick says it’s an incremental first step,  especially the part that would prevent providers for charging to deliver care and then charging the patient again to provide a record of that care. George is happy that the proposed rules are patient-focused, force payers to the table, and include post-acute care.

New poll to your right or here: have you sent or received information via fax in the past year?

I rented “Bohemian Rhapsody” this weekend, and Oscar recognition aside, it failed to meet my low expectations. It’s a shame that Freddy Mercury’s extraordinary life, his unfortunate death, and Queen’s musical contributions were dumbed down to a sing-along cartoon in which nearly every important detail was either fictionalized or omitted, especially since dim moviegoers will think they have seen an authoritative, objective documentary.


March 6 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Pairing a High-Tech Clinical Logistics Center with a Communication Platform for Quick Patient Response.” Sponsored by Voalte. Presenters: James Schnatterer, MBA, clinical applications manager, Nemours Children’s Health; Mark Chamberlain, clinical applications analyst, Nemours Children’s Health. Medics at Nemours Children’s Health track vital signs of patients in Florida and Delaware from one central hub, acting as eyes and ears when a nurse is away from the bedside. Close monitoring 24 hours a day integrates data from the electronic health record, such as critical lab results, and routes physiological monitor and nurse call alerts directly to the appropriate caregiver’s smartphone. This session explores how the Clinical Logistics Center and more than 1,600 Zebra TC51-HC Touch Computers running Voalte Platform connect care teams at two geographically dispersed sites for better patient safety and the best possible outcomes.

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


  • Four Winds Hospitals (NY) will move from an Askesis Development Group EHR to Streamline Healthcare Solutions in March 2020.
  • Samaritan Hospital (WA) will replace Meditech with Epic this year.
  • Cherokee Medical Center (SC) will replace Allscripts with Epic this year.

These provider-reported updates are supplied by Definitive Healthcare, which offers a free trial of its powerful intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and healthcare providers.



Ryan Walsh, MD, MMM (University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston) joins Memorial Hermann Health System as CIO of ambulatory services and population health.


Sumit Nagpal (Accenture) joins Comcast NBCUniversal as SVP/GM of health innovation.


Cambridge Health Alliance (MA) promotes Brian Herrick, MD from CMIO to CIO.

Government and Politics

A judge approves a plan that will take $92,000 from the assets of two closed Arizona hospitals for a 90-day reactivation of their EHR so that patients can get their medical records.

Privacy and Security

UConn Health says that an unauthorized third party access employee email accounts in December 2018, some of which contained patient information, potentially compromising the information of 326,000 people. 



In Japan, an alternative healing group that urged its followers to avoid vaccinations apologizes and recommends that its members adhere to normal vaccination schedules after nearly all of the 49 new cases of measles that were reported in one area involved its unvaccinated members.

Mount Carmel Health System (OH) – where 35 patients received pain medication overdoses under the care of a since-fired ICU intensivist – says five of those patients who died could have lived with proper treatment. The hospital has set maximum pain medication doses in its EHR, implemented an escalation polity for orders that do not follow approved protocols, restricted the ability to bypass pharmacy order review, and increased clinician education.


This is good technology on top of bad policy. In China, Beijing hospitals are using facial recognition technology to identify known scalpers who make hard-to-get outpatient clinic appointments, then sell their tickets to others at inflated prices. The government says it will take legal action against the scalpers, including banning them from high-speed trains. The guy above was arrested for scalping an appointment for Beijing Children’s Hospital during winter vacation, when more parents bring their children for treatment.

Sponsor Updates


  • Practice Velocity team members raise $10,000 for Rockford Rescue Mission.
  • Medicomp Systems announces a new solution to monitor and present hierarchical condition codes (HCCs) at the point of care.
  • Lightbeam Health Solutions releases Version 3.0 of its population health management software.
  • Mobile Heartbeat will exhibit at the Texas Organization of Nurse Executives conference February 28- March 1 in Dallas.
  • NextGate and IDology partner to mitigate patient identification risks.
  • Medhost features Clinical Computers Systems Inc.’s Key Account Manager John Murray in a podcast, “The Future of Healthcare, Worn on Your Wrist.”
  • Flywire Health (formerly OnPlanHealth) will exhibit at the 2019 HFMA Region 5 Dixie Institute February 24-27 in Mobile, AL.
  • CloudWave and Acmeware partner to offer data repository and SQL support services.
  • Experian Health will exhibit at the HFMA MD Beyond the Hospital Walls Conference February 25-26 in Annapolis.
  • PatientSafe Solutions adds integrated rounding and patient handoff capabilities, plus enhances user physician user experience on its PatientTouch Platform.
  • Sansoro Health adds FHIR support to its Emissary API platform.
  • TriNetX adds a Treatment Pathways analytic to its clinical, genomic, and claims data platform.
  • Vocera will present at the SVB Leerink Global Healthcare Conference February 27 in New York City.
  • NCQA certifies ZeOmega’s Jiva population health management software for 10 HEDIS 2019 measures.

Blog Posts



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


Weekender 2/22/19

February 22, 2019 Weekender 1 Comment


Weekly News Recap

  • Allscripts announces Q4 results that fall short of revenue and earnings expectations.
  • Provider management and credentialing software vendor Symplr will acquire workforce management tech company API Healthcare from Veritas Capital
  • Unsealed testimony reveals that a focus of the Amazon – Berkshire – JPMorgan healthcare organization will be to make health insurance and prescription drug prices easier to understand
  • Healthcare experts file a Federal Trade Commission complaint against Facebook over security problems with its Groups functions that exposed the personal information of patient advocacy groups
  • A patient of a closed Arizona hospital is prevented from obtaining life-saving surgery because her medical history is stored in an EHR that was shut down as creditors argued over payments
  • HIMSS gives a preview of the “evolution of the HIMSS Brand”
  • Virence Health will retire the company name it created in October 2018 and will instead operate as Athenahealth after acquiring that company five weeks later

Best Reader Comments

A Kaiser Permanente medical school makes a lot of sense for them to train physicians in how Permanente medicine works. (The Permanente Medical Groups are the for-profit physician partnerships that pair with the Kaiser Health Plans in various regions.) The KP group practice model is a different beast. They also have a mature and well-supported Epic implementation. They are able to do high-volume medicine with good quality because of the “system-ness” of how they approach things and the fact that most of their physicians don’t fight it. (KP Alum)

We have gotten a lot of value from CommonWell and have access to data in our region which is supporting care transitions. It would be helpful if folks like eCW would actually play ball with others to improve care. I am not worried about Cerner and Epic but rather the small players’ ability to share. (Patient advocate)

It’s almost shocking that hospitals in the US support their employees attending a sales show for a week, paying for expensive hotels and booze while hospital margins are slim to non-existent. (Donald Lyons)

[Pink Socks] is just a form of self-promotion and attention-grabbing that is legion at HIMSS. If you can name one objective and tangible thing Pink Socks has done, I’ll possibly change my opinion. (Lazlo Hollyfeld)

I almost feel a little bad and embarrassed for Cerner. It’s notable that MEDITECH’s “re-branded” and “old” EMR has scored higher in KLAS than Cerner’s flagship for the last two years. And celebrating your first plug and play exchange in the year 2019?! Two brave, pioneering Cerner sites are now connected to the world. Is the $5 billion DoD connected? (Vaporware?)

Watercooler Talk Tidbits

image image

Readers funded the DonorsChoose teacher grant request of Ms. W in Minnesota, who asked for MakerSpace supplies for her elementary school’s library. She reports, “Your generous donation has helped stock our MakerSpace for the next year. They enjoyed building robots and making them move with Littlebits, as well as building bird’s nests out of paper and fabric to hold eggs when suspended from boxes. They look forward to building new things that continue to teach them about the engineering process.”

A plastic surgeon covering a New York hospital’s ED stitches and splints a woman’s mashed mashed finger, complaining to her that he’ll make only $200 for his 15 minutes of work. He then bills her insurance company $56,000 for “exploring wound extremity” and “complex repair of finger” and he doesn’t accept the woman’s insurance. The hospital said it doesn’t control what he charges because he’s not an employee. The patient is lucky to be in New York, which protects patients from surprise ED bills caused by out-of-network doctors working in EDs.

Google adds drug disposal locations to its Maps app, hoping that drug abuse will be reduced by people securely discarding their unused medications.

Nebraska hospitals complain that law enforcement agencies all over the state are releasing people who are in custody while they are hospitalized, allowing the agencies to skip paying the individual’s bill because they are no longer under arrest and are thus responsible for their own charges. A newly introduced bill would prohibit releasing a person from custody just to avoid paying for their medical care.


University of Iowa’s children’s hospital loses its second arbitration case brought by contractors that demanded more money, increasing the cost of the project that was budgeted at $271 million in 2011 to at least $370 million. The 190-bed hospital spent millions of dollars on temporary facades and overtime to prepare for its grand opening after making on-the-fly design changes that had already inflated the cost. Swapping the already-installed doors in some areas with automatic sliding doors required flying the new doors from Switzerland and operating a round-the-clock convoy to transport them from California in time for the grand opening, increasing the cost of the doors from $122,000 to $1.2 million.

The Medical Center, Navicent Health (GA) offers its heart patients the chance to donate their replaced pacemakers to dogs being treated at the University of Georgia’s veterinary school, which has implanted the refurbished devices in six dogs so far. 

In Case You Missed It

Get Involved



Morning Headlines 2/22/19

February 21, 2019 Headlines No Comments

Allscripts announces fourth quarter and 2018 full-year results

Allscripts announces Q4 results: revenue up 17 percent, adjusted EPS $0.20 vs. $0.18, falling short of Wall Street expectations for both.

The U.S. government and Facebook are negotiating a record, multibillion-dollar fine for the company’s privacy lapses

The FTC is in negotiations with Facebook over a multi-billion dollar fine that would put a stop to the agency’s nearly year-long investigation into the social media giant’s privacy practices.

China Uses DNA to Track Its People, With the Help of American Expertise

Thermo Fisher will stop selling its DNA testing equipment to China after discovering its government is secretly collecting the DNA of a predominantly Muslim ethic group and adding it to a surveillance database.

“She Never Looks Back”: Inside Elizabeth Holmes’s Chilling Final Months at Theranos

Vanity Fair recounts the icy atmosphere at Theranos during its final months, including the eerily chipper mood and lavish spending habits of CEO Elizabeth Holmes.

News 2/22/19

February 21, 2019 News 2 Comments

Top News


Allscripts announces Q4 results: revenue up 17 percent, adjusted EPS $0.20 vs. $0.18, falling short of Wall Street expectations for both.

Shares dropped 8 percent in after-hours trading following the announcement.

MDRX shares are down 12 percent in the past year vs. the Nasdaq’s 3 percent gain.

Reader Comments

From Dr Ølsson: “Re: Epic in Denmark. Majority of doctors want to get rid of the Epic platform according to this January 23 article. Heaps of problems with medications and patients harmed. I do not understand how this company is the best of America.” Planned health reform in Denmark pushes the idea of a single IT system for the country instead of five regions making their own decisions, with 62 percent of doctors polled in the Capital Region where Epic is installed saying they are dissatisfied. The Central Denmark region of the Danish health service uses Systematic, and some think it has fewer problems and should therefore become the single hospital system.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

We’re down to half a full complement of Monkees (aka “the pre-fab four” that were cast as TV actors while leaving the musical work to session players) as bass player Peter Tork has died at 77, presumably of the adenoid cystic carcinoma with which he was diagnosed in 2009.


March 6 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Pairing a High-Tech Clinical Logistics Center with a Communication Platform for Quick Patient Response.” Sponsored by Voalte. Presenters: James Schnatterer, MBA, clinical applications manager, Nemours Children’s Health; Mark Chamberlain, clinical applications analyst, Nemours Children’s Health. Medics at Nemours Children’s Health track vital signs of patients in Florida and Delaware from one central hub, acting as eyes and ears when a nurse is away from the bedside. Close monitoring 24 hours a day integrates data from the electronic health record, such as critical lab results, and routes physiological monitor and nurse call alerts directly to the appropriate caregiver’s smartphone. This session explores how the Clinical Logistics Center and more than 1,600 Zebra TC51-HC Touch Computers running Voalte Platform connect care teams at two geographically dispersed sites for better patient safety and the best possible outcomes.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Inovalon announces Q4 results: revenue up 19 percent, adjusted EPS $0.05 vs. $0.06, missing Wall Street expectations for both. Shares dropped 13 percent Thursday after the midday earnings announcement. They are up 15 percent in the past year vs. the Nasdaq’s 3 percent gain.


Health IT’s web of vendor consolidation grows more tangled. A week after announcing it was looking for a buyer, Veritas Capital sells workforce management software company API Healthcare it to Symplr. API Healthcare has run through a number of hands, selling to Francisco Partners in 2008, nearly selling to competitor Kronos in 2011, and then to GE Healthcare in 2014. Veritas acquired it last year when GE sold off its Value-Based Care Division for $1 billion.

Stat reports in a paywalled piece that the main goal of the Amazon – Berkshire Hathaway – JPMorgan Chase joint healthcare venture is to make health insurance “more intelligible” and prescription drug prices less opaque. COO Jack Stoddard, testifying at a hearing on trade secrets brought about by Optum, said, “You can imagine our employers are … incredibly allergic to market inefficiencies.”


Garfield County Hospital District (WA) CEO Julia Leonard says a nearly $1 million shortfall caused by the billing inefficiencies of the hospital’s new EHR has contributed to her decision to drastically cut staff and operating hours. The 25-bed rural hospital – the smallest in the state – seems to have consistently faced financial difficulties over the last several years, including MU penalties. It appears the district uses Athenahealth for inpatient and NextGen for outpatient services.


Harris Computer Systems acquires long-term and post-acute care health IT vendor Collain Healthcare.



Dan Monahan (Change Healthcare) joins MDLive as COO and CFO.


  • Mon Health will implement InteliPass RCM software and services from PatientMatters across its facilities in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Announcements and Implementations


Imprivata announces GA of Proximity Aware, a Bluetooth-enabled solution that ensures PHI is protected on shared workstations.


A new KLAS report on legacy data archiving lists MediQuant, Harmony Healthcare IT, and Legacy Data Access as having broad expertise, with MediQuant scoring highest in customer satisfaction. Ellkay scores high in customer satisfaction as it gains experiencing in moving beyond its initial focus of ambulatory clinical data.

Marshfield Clinic Health System (WI) launches a telehealth program for patients at its Heart Failure Improvement Clinic using software from Health Recovery Solutions.

Government and Politics


HHS is hiring for a director of its information security and privacy group, who will also act as CMS CISO. The Baltimore-based position pays between $126,000 and $189,000.

Privacy and Security

In Ontario, the Toronto paper notes that an unnamed vendor of a EHR system used there is selling anonymized patient data to IQVIA, which uses it in pharmaceutical marketing.

UW Medicine (WA) notifies 974,000 patients of a data breach that occurred when internal files were inadvertently made public on the Internet via an unprotected server. A patient Googling themselves found the files and notified the health system.


In Arizona, legal disagreements between the creditors of shuttered Florence Hospital at Anthem and Gilbert Hospital keep medical records wrapped up in red tape, preventing many patients from moving forward with treatment elsewhere. The records have been in limbo since the hospitals, both owned by New Vision Health, declared bankruptcy and closed last summer. Medhost, which repossessed the EHR servers after the hospitals closed, claims it gave patients access to their records six months after terminating its contract. Patients, however, say Medhost is holding the files hostage in lieu of an estimated $100,000 payment. The judge overseeing the legal wrangling says the records can’t be given to patients because of “the estate’s lack of funding, unilateral actions taken by creditors, technological challenges associated with migrating electronically-stored medical records, and other factors.”


The Washington Post reports that the FTC is in negotiations with Facebook over a multi-billion dollar fine that would put a stop to the agency’s nearly year-long investigation into the social media giant’s privacy practices. The biggest fine the FTC has ever imposed for similar infractions was the $22.5 million Google paid in 2012.



Kaiser Permanente’s new School of Medicine in California will offer its first five graduating classes free tuition in an effort to attract future professionals who won’t feel financially obligated to opt for higher-paying positions after graduation. NYU’s medical school announced similar plans last fall. Both organizations hope to encourage more students to pursue lower-paying callings like primary care that are facing nationwide staffing shortages.

China is offering “Physicals for All” to a predominantly Muslim ethnic group in one region that involves secretly collecting their DNA and adding it to a surveillance database. The program collected and catalogued DNA samples from 36 million people, some of them told by the government that participation was not optional. Hundreds of thousands of ethnic group members have been held in what the government calls job training camps, where DNA was also taken. Massachusetts-based DNA testing company Thermo Fisher will stop selling its equipment to the part of China that is conducting the tracking campaign. The company was receiving DNA samples in return that were added to a global database, raising consent issues. 

Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the American Academy Allergy Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting February 22-25 in San Francisco.
  • EPSi will exhibit at the Region V Dixie Institute February 24-27 in Mobile, AL.
  • The HCI Group publishes a new white paper, “Designing Smart Hospitals and Patient Rooms with 5G.”
  • Healthgrades announces America’s Best Hospitals.
  • Imat Solutions launches new health data platform Imat 8.0.
  • SyTrue creates an explainer video covering medical record audits for health plans.
  • Imprivata partners with Google Cloud to enable single sign-on access to Chrome devices.
  • The InterSystems Iris for Health Data Platform is now available on the AWS Marketplace, and on all major cloud providers.
  • IMO announces availability of Periop IT content through Epic’s Foundation System.
  • Herb Smaltz (CIO Consult) joins The Chartis Group’s Information & Technology Practice as director.
  • E4 will offer NextGate’s Enterprise Master Patient Index as part of its HIM and data-cleanup services.
  • Humana’s North Carolina Medicare Advantage plan will use PatientPing’s real-time patient alert technology.
  • Cooper University Health Care (NJ) renews its care management contract with CarePort Health and adds CarePort’s Connect and Insight capabilities.
  • Health Catalyst congratulates Thibodaux Regional Medical Center (LA) on being named a Top Innovation winner in its Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare Innovation Award program.
  • Meditech will host its Strategic Leadership Summit April 3-4 in Marina Del Ray, CA.

Blog Posts



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


EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 2/21/19

February 21, 2019 Dr. Jayne 9 Comments

We’re officially post-HIMSS, because the emails have started arriving thanking me for my interest in various vendors’ products after I stopped by their booths at the show. Folks have had time to decompress and begin sorting through various business cards that were traded and notes that were made about follow up. 

I have my own stack of cards to go through, following up on new connections and seeing what opportunities might arise from the conference. As summer approaches, I tend to start putting together my strategic plan for the upcoming year. I’ve had some tempting offers to go back into the hospital trenches as well as some interest from the vendor side, so this might be a year full of change.

Normally I don’t spend a lot of time reading things from Healthcare IT News, but their interview with Judy Faulkner caught my eye. Part of the conversation was around physician burnout and relative happiness (or unhappiness) with EHRs. She brought up some good points that many of us in the trenches already know, but that large organizations seem to tune out at times. One of those points is that although EHR use can be associated with physician burnout, it’s not necessarily causal. There are burned out physicians that are happy with their EHRs, and EHR-haters that aren’t burned out. Other factors influence burnout including administrative burden, leadership issues, patient load, and work-life balance issues.

She also notes that clients need to stay current with their EHRs, installing the latest versions so they can benefit from usability enhancements that followed the post-Meaningful Use programming era. I’ve found that to be true with nearly all the vendors I’ve worked with, not just Epic. Once they cleared the certification hurdles, vendors often went back to customer enhancement request lists and started making good on old promises.

Another point she made was around training. Physicians that tend to do better with EHR adoption are likely to have had better training. That doesn’t always mean more hours of training, but it could mean more focused training or role-specific training, using the physicians’ time wisely and training them on the tasks they are most likely to perform in their work.

She calls for physician subspecialists to train their peers. That’s great in theory, but it’s not very easy to find physicians who want to dedicate themselves to learning how to train other physicians how to use the EHR. I’ve worked to mentor multiple CMIOs in this regard and not everyone has the aptitude or personality to be a trainer even if they want to do it, even when the hospital is willing to compensate them appropriately. In too many cases the compensation, isn’t remotely adequate, so it becomes a non-issue.

Faulkner does mention the idea of EHR personalization as a positive factor towards EHR happiness. She notes that it’s a challenge to convince health systems to do that for their physicians. My take on it is that it’s not just an Epic issue, but happens with most vendors and most health systems. It can also vary based on the degree of autonomy held by physicians outside the EHR.

One hospital I work with keeps its employed physicians on what many would consider a short leash. They’re fanatical about quality and reducing unnecessary variation, so physicians are expected to use order sets and standardized workflows. They’re incented on following the rules. Generally, people comply or they leave. The users tend to be satisfied with the EHR because they know what to expect and they know the rules of the game they’re playing.

At other organizations where there may be lots of competition for attending physicians’ patient volumes, I’ve seen hospitals bend over backwards to customize the EHR on an individual physician basis for fear that someone will take their surgical business elsewhere. This can lead to redundancy and confusion in order sets and workflows and costs more to maintain, but the organization feels it’s worth it. There’s definitely a need for vendors to make their systems easier to personalize and to allow user-level configuration rather than having to have IT teams involved in making small adjustments.

She goes on to note some data from KLAS that looks at EHR happiness and whether the health system is “agile,” meaning “If a physician wants a change made and talks to an IT person, how many committees does it have to go through? And if the answer is zero, that’s good.”

I understand the sentiment, but for those who haven’t waded into the muck that is EHR or IT governance, it’s an oversimplification. I’ve done hundreds of hours of work for hospitals and health systems “undoing” various changes that were made without any level of approval (and often without any documentation). Oversight isn’t a bad thing, but has to be crafted carefully to support the needs of the user and the goals of the organization. There should be a decision matrix that shows what kind of changes need what kinds of approval, and from whom. Simple things that don’t have downstream ramifications should happen quickly, where more complex issues that might have far-reaching consequences might need multi-level oversight.

Assuming the interview is a relatively straight transcription and didn’t go through much editing, it shows the level of understanding and insight that Judy Faulkner has into some of the issues her clients are facing. I’ve interacted with C-levels at many vendors and some of them don’t seem to have as much understanding of the challenges their clients are facing and how it impacts the end users. Many of them are good at using sound bites, but when it comes to getting into the details, they become quiet.


I’m approaching a milestone reunion for my medical school class, and one can’t help but think about how much it cost to get here. Some of my classmates are still paying off their loans. A recent planning committee get-together led to some conversation about free tuition being offered at some medical schools. The brand new Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine in California has announced that it will waive tuition for all years for the school’s first five classes of students.

This led to quite a bit of discussion on the fact that Kaiser Permanente is opening its own medical school, unaffiliated with any university. Depending on how much influence Kaiser Permanente has on the students and what facilities they rotate through, there may be significant difference from the educational opportunities received at other schools. The first class will be relatively small (48 students) and the school names three academic pillars: foundational science, clinical science, and health systems science (which they describe as focusing on care delivery including population health, quality improvement, and social inequality). Students will participate in longitudinal clerkships starting in year one, hosted in Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics along with community health centers. It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out.


I was in the office yesterday treating lots of folks with influenza. At one point, all nine of our exam rooms were occupied by people receiving IV fluids. The flu is hitting people hard. I had a great team working with me. However, at one point, I noticed that probably all of them were young enough to be my children.

This thought came back to me later in the day, when one of them was using the EHR to print a label for a blood draw and asked aloud, “What did we do before we had Dymo printers?” They looked at me like I was from Mars when I started to tell them about the Addressograph machine, with which we used to print headers on patient chart pages and various labels. One of my jobs as a Candy Striper on the mother-baby unit was to stamp new chart pages for all of the patients on the floor. It’s funny the things you forget as technology moves on, but I think I can still smell the ink when I think hard enough.

What’s your favorite piece of extinct technology? Leave a comment or email me.


Email Dr. Jayne.

Morning Headlines 2/21/19

February 20, 2019 Headlines No Comments

Clearlake Capital-Backed symplr To Acquire API Healthcare

Provider management and credentialing software vendor Symplr will acquire workforce management tech company API Healthcare from Veritas Capital for an unspecified amount of money.

Unsealed testimony reveals a goal of Atul Gawande venture: ‘Make health insurance intelligible’

Jack Stoddard, COO of the Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway-JPMorgan Chase healthcare venture, reveals that one of its main goals is to make health insurance and prescription drug prices easier to understand.

Letter from the CEO: Proposal for Change

Garfield County Hospital District (WA) CEO Julia Leonard says a nearly $1 million shortfall caused by the billing inefficiencies of the hospital’s new EHR has contributed to her decision to drastically cut staff and operating hours.

Data error exposes patient information

UW Medicine (WA) notifies 974,000 patients of a data breach that occurred when internal files were inadvertently made public on the Internet via an unprotected server.

Arizona college student could die because she can’t get copies of her medical records

In Arizona, legal disagreements between bankrupt Florence Hospital at Anthem and Gilbert Hospital keep red tape wrapped around medical records, preventing many patients from moving forward with treatment elsewhere.

Readers Write: EMR Direction Changes in the Post-Growth Era

February 20, 2019 Readers Write 1 Comment

EMR Direction Changes in the Post-Growth Era
By John Kelly

John Kelly is principal business advisor for Edifecs of Bellevue, WA.


Healthcare acquisitions and mergers tend to give the industry an indication of where investors will go in pursuit of new revenue streams to secure growth in future business. The $5.7 billion sale of Athenahealth is no different. This EMR vendor consolidation represents a significant milestone in what might be a segue toward an end state for the major electronic medical record (EMR) vendor market.

What does this mean for the rest of the EMR market? At the highest level, we may anticipate EMR technology to evolve as a commodity, while the services revenue enabled by the technology will emerge as the primary source of long-term sustainability for EMR vendors. The Athenahealth and Veritas Capital move is an indication that venture investors are thinking just that. This will have long-lasting implications for healthcare technology vendors industry-wide.

The Athenahealth acquisition specifically highlights the fact that the path for growth in software sales in the EMR market continues to narrow, as the vast majority of providers with meaningful spending power have already made the transition to electronic records. The rip-and-replace phase by providers dissatisfied by their first-generation EMRs will continue steadily, but will not compensate for the major decline in new sales opportunities for the industry at large.

With the GE / Athenahealth consolidation of assets, the growth outlook for the five major EMR vendors left in the space (Epic, Allscripts, Athenahealth, Meditech, and Cerner) looks a little different.

Though Athenahealth’s high profile as an EMR vendor provides the primary brand recognition, the revenues associated with its revenue cycle management (RCM) line of business still represents the major portion of its value. The future for EMR vendors will mirror other industries, wherein technology is provided at a small margin in order to capture the high value and healthy profits generated by the information and business processing services tied to the use of that technology.

Early evidence of an emerging trend was seen in the $2.7 billion 2016 acquisition of MedAssets by Pamplona Capital Management. There we witnessed how strategic investors are keenly aware that administrative inefficiencies in healthcare still present big opportunities for gain-sharing on significant cost elimination initiatives. Veritas Capital has doubled down on this opportunity by recognizing the value in merging the RCM book of business at Athenahealth with the clinical software footprint from its GE assets acquisition. Further signaling this industry shift to garner new revenue by the top EHR vendors are the recent announcements by Meditech and Allscripts of their intention to implement consolidated managed services across their EMR and practice management software and services stacks.

The fact is, providers are paying billions of dollars to third-party vendors in outsourcing their RCM activities. Bill-and-chase is costing the providers between 6 percent and 13 percent of receivables (varies by practice setting and size). If the industry can bring those costs closer to the 2-3 percent spread, seen in industries like retail, both vendors and providers would be extremely happy. Outside investors see substantial opportunity here. As a result, EMR vendors left scrambling from the sharp decline in new system sales are beginning to consider a very different view of the future.

While there are many business decisions and regulatory changes that will impact revenue streams for payers, providers, and technology vendors alike, success and growth for EMR vendors in particular will be limited if they don’t embrace creative consolidation. The combination of Athenahealth’s medical records and revenue cycle technology with the existing Virence Health assets is not just a venture firm buying a major revenue cycle company with a great brand, but rather an intentional strategic move to change the nature of the EMR market, one that fosters continued growth and furthers technology stability across the industry.

Readers Write: Measuring to Drive Continuous Improvement in Digital Health Management

February 20, 2019 Readers Write No Comments

Measuring to Drive Continuous Improvement in Digital Health Management
By Mohammad Jouni

Mohammad Jouni, MS is is vice-president of engineering for Wellframe of Boston, MA.


As health plans implement digital health management solutions to support the comprehensive needs of people outside the four walls, measurement is an increasing priority in order to quantify every aspect of the business and demonstrate tangible value. But measurement can also enable organizations to continuously identify areas for improvement, implement changes, and measure the effect.

The following examples are tangible ways data-driven improvements can take place from the individual patient level up to the executive board room.

Real-time interventions. A care manager noticed one patient’s falling medication adherence and reached out to ask about the issue. The patient explained she didn’t take her pills when she traveled on the weekends. The care manager mailed a new pill box, and her patient’s medication adherence rebounded to normal.

Daily improvements. Population reports indicated low comprehension of safe acetaminophen dosage. This finding, combined with the risk of misunderstanding medications, prompted a change in health education delivered directly after discharge to focus on safe dosing, resulting in an increase in patient-reported level of understanding.

Weekly staffing optimizations. Supervisors reduced the number of care managers focused solely on outreach for gaps in care when they noticed low patient satisfaction compared to a population in which care managers worked with patients more holistically, closed gaps more effectively, and saw higher satisfaction.

Monthly outreach adjustments. Claims and patient self-reports revealed falling attendance at PCP appointments. Care managers addressed this issue by switching to mobile channels to contact members before appointments and increase the frequency of reminders. Attendance rebounded to a higher rate than the baseline.

Quarterly care team reassignments. With newly-implemented technology, supervisors recognized tech-savvy staff early on and embedded them among less adept peers to share their tactics, bringing the whole group up to speed faster and with more camaraderie.

Yearly reinvestment in health management. After showing thousands of dollars in cost savings per member, executives increased the budget for health management to support increased recruitment efforts and extend health management services to more members in order to double down on those results across a broader population.

When your organization measures rigorously to demonstrate effectiveness and to continuously improve, executives will pay attention. Leadership will be able to not only justify increased investment to grow digital health management programs even further, but also apply the same data models to effectively predict the return on additional funding.

Ultimately, measurement allows health plans to make data-driven decisions that elevate the stature of care management from baseline requirement to strategic value center. In doing so, health plans will be able to amplify the effect of their programs and extend services to more members, doing incrementally and continuously better by each member.

Achieving these goals creates new opportunities to focus on member support by strengthening provider partnerships, differentiating to employers on service and outcomes, and driving retention and new sales. Through rigorous measurement and continuous improvement towards these goals, health plans are poised to quantify impact and capture significant value from the powerful data of digital health management.

Readers Write: Why Integrated Behavioral Healthcare is More Important than Ever

February 20, 2019 Readers Write No Comments

Why Integrated Behavioral Healthcare is More Important than Ever
By Christopher Molaro

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


The pieces are starting to fall into place. Mental health is becoming an integral part of the overall conversation around health. Mental health is discussed in sync with physical health.

It makes sense, too. One affects the outcomes of the other dramatically and the extra costs associated with mental health co-occurrences is staggering.

The question remains: how do we effectively integrate appropriate behavioral healthcare for individual patients when they need it and do so in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner? In other words, how can we align the interests of patients, providers, and payers?

The market is indicating that now is the time to integrate mental and behavioral health into the patient journey. Physical health and mental health are merged into just “health,” patients get the holistic care they need and deserve, and providers are empowered with the tools to improve outcomes and payers save in costs. The triple win is attainable.

Multiple leading commercial payers are reimbursing for certain collaborative care CPT codes released in 2017 and 2018, highlighting the growing awareness around the importance of mental health. As we shift towards a value-based care system, a focus on patient engagement, satisfaction, and outcomes will add visibility to the benefits – and cost savings – of integrated behavioral health.

Also, considering the enormous behavioral health expenses of employees — mental illness costs the US $193.2 billion in lost earnings every year, according the American Journal of Psychiatry — employers are equally willing to find new ways to provide their employees access to tools to address mental health.

The awareness efforts of non-profits, advocacy groups, and healthcare organizations to normalize the conversation around mental health have been invaluable. At the same time, leading athletes and entertainers opening up about their mental health conditions is eroding the historical stigma surrounding those who struggle with behavioral health. Heightened awareness begets healthier, more frequent discussions around treatments and solutions for the one in five Americans experiencing mental illness.

Aetna’s recent “Health Ambitions” study highlights that healthcare consumers recognize the importance of mental health. Over one-third of respondents say digital messaging would make them more likely to communicate with their doctors, and the majority of people ages 18-50 say they would be likely to use a confidential website or app to track health information.

This new narrative around mental health is getting louder, and it will only help to bridge the gap between mental and physical health and the solutions patients need. But numerous studies indicate that we still have a long way to go when it comes to providing digital health technologies that meet the expectations of the modern healthcare consumer.

The digital doctor’s office is no longer a future vision, but a present-day reality. While adoption of these innovative tools can be slow, healthcare providers are rapidly warming up to technologies that can improve patient outcomes while absorbing it into their workflow and existing EMRs.

With behavioral health integration, we’ve arrived at an alignment of incentives and mechanisms among payers, providers, and patients that is rare in the modern healthcare landscape. This is an exciting opportunity for the future of mental health and one that we as a community can’t afford to pass up. The data supports the opportunity as well. Decades of research highlight the effectiveness of collaborative care in psychiatry, and when patients stay engaged with behavioral health treatment, outcomes are improved drastically.

Eighty percent of people with a behavioral health disorder will visit a primary care provider at least once a year, yet we know that treatment and access are still major issues, as nearly 60 percent of adults with a mental illness didn’t receive mental health services in the previous year, according to the National Institute on Mental Illness.

While there is much work ahead, we are encouraged by the progress we’re seeing in hundreds of clinics around the country from pediatric / school settings to geriatric and Medicare populations. Mental health knows no bounds — it can affect anyone. As a health system, our effort in addressing mental health access and engagement should also show no bounds.

Morning Headlines 2/20/19

February 19, 2019 Headlines No Comments

FTC Complaint: Multiple Ongoing Patient Privacy Breaches in the Facebook PHR (Groups Product)

Healthcare data expert Fred Trotter, health lawyer David Harlow, JD, MPH, and several patient advocates file a Federal Trade Commission complaint against Facebook over security problems with its Groups function.

Ochsner Health System and Pfizer Partner to Develop Innovative Models for Clinical Trials

Ochsner Health System (LA) partners with drug company Pfizer to make it easier for patients to participate in clinical trials via the use of digital tools.

China Could Use Medical Data to Blackmail Americans, Report Says

A Congressional report says that Chinese investments in US biotechnology firms potentially gives China’s government access to American patient data that could be used for nefarious purposes.

Collain Healthcare Joins Harris Computer Systems

Harris Computer Systems acquires long-term and post-acute care health IT vendor Collain Healthcare.

NHSX: new joint organisation for digital, data and technology

In England, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announces NHSX, a technology-focused initiative that will work with public and private organizations to help the NHS improve patient access and care through digital tools.

News 2/20/19

February 19, 2019 News 1 Comment

Top News


Healthcare data expert Fred Trotter, health lawyer David Harlow, JD, MPH, and several patient advocates file a Federal Trade Commission complaint against Facebook over security problems with its Groups function. They say Facebook used AI to encourage users to sign up for private patient support Groups (based on their search history) knowing that their information (including real name, email address, city, employer) could be publicly downloaded.

The complaint also accuses Facebook of allowing its advertisers to target people using their identifiable health information.


The complaint says Facebook Groups fits the legal definition of a personal health record, so Facebook as a PHR vendor should have notified users and the FTC that their protected health information had been exposed. It offers as evidence CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s endorsement of Groups for patient care collaboration and coordination.

It concludes that Facebook violated the FTC’s 2012 consent order and could face billions of dollars in penalties for failing to notify under FTC’s breach notification rule.

House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and ranking member Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) have asked Zuckerberg to provide a staff briefing by March 1.

Reader Comments

From Sampan: “Re: Jonathan Bush. Did you see him at HIMSS? You should interview him again.” I didn’t see him there, but I would certainly enjoy interviewing him since it’s been awhile.


From Waiting to Exchange: “Re: Cerner’s HIMSS19 slide bashing Epic over CommonWell. There are only 16 CommonWell sites available to query (see list above), although this is double the number of sites available in December. New sites are coming on board gradually. None of these organizations are in our region, so while our referring sites have an EHR capable of exchanging data, we are still waiting for the ‘marketplace’ to evolve.”

From Dyn Doc Diva: “Re: Cerner. Leadership is constantly undermining things with hype and hoopla versus functionality and usability. Cerner used to have a way for organizations to innovate with custom builds within Cerner and then sell those innovations to other clients, but I don’t think it was very successful. It will be interesting to see if the app experience is any better. Having a bunch of apps is just another fragmented way of getting people to pay more for extra modules instead of incorporating the features that people want and need into the base build. The adoption of Dynamic Documentation would not be languishing if it really did a credible job of reducing burnout – it was touted as revolutionary when still in the widely-promoted vaporware stage, but our organization has it and it’s good for quick dictated notes but requires a lot of upfront provider work to use for complex patients. Our department suggests that people not use it because it doesn’t do everything we need for regulatory and billing purposes, but Cerner isn’t fixing minor things in Powernotes that would go a long way to improve productivity. Cerner is trying to drive adoption of one half-baked solution over another.”

From Engine Brake: “Re: HIMSS. Maybe the demise of HIStalkapalooza had an impact on attendance. I always enjoyed the HISsies voting and pictures, especially shoes.” I doubt many people made their HIMSS conference attendance decision based on HIStalkapalooza, but maybe some did. Had I not also mercy-killed our expensive and ultimately pointless HIMSS19 booth, I could have designated a “shoe day” in which I would invite everyone to wear their finest footwear to the exhibit hall, then proceed to my “selfie station” of a downward-pointing camera that would catalog their feet for posterity and perhaps for online crowdsourced judging afterward.


From InteropNerd: “Re: Epic App Orchard. Closed to new membership with no timeline on reopening.” A source tells me its open again after Epic updated processes related to safety, privacy, and security policies.

From Unbroken Yolk: “Re: HIMSS19. How were the logistics?” They were invisible, which is the goal. The only gripes I heard involved the convention center’s food vendors, which weren’t particularly inspired (or high value) and unlike in Las Vegas, you can’t easily go elsewhere. That’s not inconsequential since anyone running a conference will tell you that the major factors impacting attendee satisfaction are the quality of the food and having enough networking time built in, but given the scale of HIMSS19, it was mostly a good experience. It’s just a very different environment from Las Vegas, where the convention is just one small part of the Strip, but each city has its fans. Personally I like Orlando better (even without bringing along family members for doing tourist stuff) because costs are reasonable; I don’t end every day smelling like cigarette smoke; I can sleep without hearing drunken screaming and sirens all night; and there are no strippers, panhandlers, or barkers clogging up the walkways. Plus the sun-deprived can spend time at the beaches of either Florida coast before or after the conference. Both convention centers struggle with squeezing too many exhibitors into the hall, however, leaving those with low HIMSS point counts in the basement (Las Vegas) or back past the food court (Orlando).

From A Sheen Warlock: “Re: hospitals losing money after EHR implementations. Why isn’t this bigger news?” The headlines always claim that hospitals “blame” losses on their EHR implementations. However, most of them (the smart ones, anyway) had planned for the obviously higher short-term costs — much of it the labor expense of training employees — and the temporarily lower revenue due to intentionally reducing appointments to give ambulatory users time to get used to the system. It’s not all that different from a big construction project that involves high costs and business interruption, but that hopefully pays for itself for years afterward. Assuming, in both cases, that it is used wisely.

From Confused Parent: “Re: Epic. In MyChart under Health Trends, there’s an option to graph a patient’s vital signs. We clicked the button for our son and here’s what rendered.” I’m not including the screen shot since I know Epic goes crazy over that, but it’s just a bunch of vital signs trended onto a single graph. The reader didn’t say what they were looking at specifically, but I’m guessing that it’s the body surface area trend line, which shows up as close to zero. That’s a graph scaling issue since the child’s BSA would be 1 or less throughout and the single graph’s X axis runs 0-100 (so BSA is always going to be near the Y-axis line). Parents probably don’t care about BSA anyway since its primary purpose is to calculate drug doses, so displaying it is somewhere between pointless and misleading.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Here’s one last chance to tell me your thoughts about HIMSS19. I’m also looking to ride the wave of enthusiasm it created by interviewing health system CIOs, CMIOs, CISOs, or caregivers interested in technology. Email me at —  the interview takes only 20 minutes by phone, no prep is required, and you can remain anonymous if you like.


The reader who was randomly chosen as a $50 Amazon gift card winner for completing my reader survey asked that I instead use the money to fund teacher projects. With some careful application of a couple of layers of matching funds, the prize funded these DonorsChoose teacher grant requests: (a) math and English manipulatives for Ms. H’s kindergarten class in Fresno, TX; and (b) word games for Ms. G’s elementary school class in Denver, CO. Ms. H responded immediately to say, “My students will be so surprised and happy to know that they will receive new learning materials thanks to an awesome donor! I am super excited to see their reactions. We will use the station materials for both reading and math. Thank you again for your kindness!” Ms. G also responded in expressing excitement that she can share the news with her students that they will soon have new resources to use for their sight words.


I decided to keep my burner phone active for now. Add 818.722.1903 to your phone’s contacts and you can text me stuff quickly and easily. I appreciate the information and photos sent to me at HIMSS19.

Listening: new from Strand of Oaks, a project of Indiana-born Tim Showalter that spans indie rock, Americana, and mainstream pop.


Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor OptimizeRx. The Rochester, MI-based company gives life sciences companies a digital communication channel to healthcare professionals with a single connection point to 500 brands of EHR, allowing them to alert the prescriber within their workflow of available patient prescription financial support, such as co-pay offers and vouchers, that can improve prescription affordability. The EHR user can print or email the information to the patient or send it electronically to the pharmacy, also providing the patient with customized patient education materials. OptimizeRx helps drug companies launch new products by getting them added into e-prescribing and EHR drug data files. It recently announced its acquisition of CareSpeak Communications, which engages patients and families using multimedia text, chatbot, and other platforms to optimize adherence, support dose titration, provide fill and refill reminders, and manage side effects. Case studies found an 83 percent reduction in transplant rejection, a 50 percent decrease in asthma symptoms, and a 15 percent increase in heart drug adherence. Thanks to OptimizeRx for supporting HIStalk.


March 6 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Pairing a High-Tech Clinical Logistics Center with a Communication Platform for Quick Patient Response.” Sponsored by Voalte. Presenters: James Schnatterer, MBA, clinical applications manager, Nemours Children’s Health; Mark Chamberlain, clinical applications analyst, Nemours Children’s Health. Medics at Nemours Children’s Health track vital signs of patients in Florida and Delaware from one central hub, acting as eyes and ears when a nurse is away from the bedside. Close monitoring 24 hours a day integrates data from the electronic health record, such as critical lab results, and routes physiological monitor and nurse call alerts directly to the appropriate caregiver’s smartphone. This session explores how the Clinical Logistics Center and more than 1,600 Zebra TC51-HC Touch Computers running Voalte Platform connect care teams at two geographically dispersed sites for better patient safety and the best possible outcomes.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


CPSI announces Q4 results: revenue down 7 percent, adjusted EPS $0.78 vs. $0.63, beating earnings expectations but falling short on revenue. Shares are up 8 percent in the past year vs. the Nasdaq’s 4 percent increase. From the earnings call:

  • 18 Centriq and Classic clients moved to Thrive in 2018.
  • The company added 29 new community hospitals for the year and expects the same for 2019 as “the acute EHR replacement market continues to experience churn.”
  • CPSI says new hospital sales are driven by hospitals that made bad long-term decisions based on Meaningful Use and clinicians aren’t happy with the systems they chose.
  • Quarterly MU3-related revenue dropped $9.2 million year over year.
  • The company expects ONC’s proposed information blocking regulations to benefit the company as those actions usually drive smaller competitors out of the market.
  • President and CEO Boyd Douglas says HIMSS19 was “a typical HIMSS” that provided little traffic from either existing or potential customers, adding that customers in CPSI’s market don’t have a lot of travel money and that they would be better off attending the company’s user conference. He also added that while more international visitors dropped by, you never know if any business will result from that.


Healthstream announces Q4 results: revenue up 8 percent, EPS $0.09 vs. $0.10, beating Wall Street expectations for both. 



Huntzinger Managment Group names John Hendricks (Residual Point Technology) as CTO.


Computational pathology vendor Paige.AI hires Leo Grady, PhD (Heartflow) as CEO.

Announcements and Implementations


A new KLAS report on patient engagement technology finds that it’s a “wide but shallow field” in which only CipherHealth, GetWellNetwork, and Press Ganey rise above the fray. Epic leads by far in EHR vendor patient portals and 92 percent of customers say it plays a significant role in their patient engagement strategy. Providers are looking beyond HCAHPS retrospective patient surveys in considering technologies for rounding, patient self-scheduling, care coordination, and targeted educational content delivery.

HFMA and Strata Decision Technology release the free, open-source L7 Cost Accounting Adoption Model, intended to help health systems measure their adoption and use of advanced cost accounting methods.

Privacy and Security


Authorities in Sweden find that audio recordings of 2.7 million calls made to the country’s 1177 health information line were stored as .WAV files on a Web server that did not use authentication or encryption, allowing anyone to play them back on their browser. The service is operated by Thailand-based, Swede-owned MediCall, which says it will “soon release a statement” following the CEO’s initial denial that the breach occurred. MediCall recruits experienced nurses from Sweden who want to work “in an unusually sunny place.”


HIMSS seeks comments on its proposed update to the definition of “interoperability.” My only observation is that it sees interoperability as a technical capability rather than a provider requirement. Every one of us has examples of our providers not sharing information, but let’s make Phase I simple – look only at hospitals and grade them (maybe in yet another Maturity Model) on how well they provide their patient information to other providers, how they accept and use information sent by other providers, and how well they perform in giving patients their own information quickly and inexpensively. Create the demand for interoperability and the technology will quickly follow.


Israel’s national EMS service and tech startup MDGo develop a system that uses existing car sensors to analyze the impact of a crash, determining with 92 percent accuracy the extent of occupant injuries and then immediately calling for an ambulance with the accident’s location. The company estimates that non-pedestrian deaths can be reduced by 44 percent because the system eliminates the 5-7 minutes that elapses before a passerby reports an accident and also alerts EMS personnel of its severity so they can deploy the right resources. Co-founder and CEO Itay Bengad recently earned an MD degree and an MS in oncology and cancer biology.


Connection provides a video update for the children’s bags filled at their booth by HIMSS19 attendees, introducing those who will take them to the children of their respective organizations —  Dan Lim, PhD (VP, AdventHealth University, which offers a children’s summer camp) and Kim Barkman, RN, MSIT, MBA (VP/CIO, Community Health Centers).

The physician humanities editor of Neurology resigns following retraction of an article that the editor-in-chief admits contained “racist characterizations.” The journal will also discontinue the Humanities section; require all articles to be reviewed for diversity; hire a deputy editor for equity, diversity, and inclusion; and offer awareness training. The retracted article by William Campbell, MD, MSHA (cached copy here) described Reggie (“a 60-year-old black man”) and digressed into a side story in which the author wrote, “I once shared a table at a fried chicken fast food establishment with a nice African American lady. Immensely enjoying her fries, she sat with the shaker in one chubby fist and liberally salted each individual fry. I knew the various ways lead could get into moonshine. And I was fluent in the lingo.” The author is a widely published 1970 medical school graduate of Medical College of Georgia and a retired US Army colonel who practiced in a Richmond, VA HCA practice.

Ochsner Health System (LA) partners with drug company Pfizer to make it easier for patients to participate in clinical trials via the use of digital tools. The organizations tested exchanging mock patient information between Ochsner’s Epic system and Pfizer’s clinical trials data capture platform to reconcile gaps and variances. The project will publish a model for using FHIR standards to collect clinical trials data from hospital EHRs.


Vox runs another example of city-owned Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital sticking patients with high bills because it intentionally stays out of all private insurer health networks to maximize its ED revenue. A 19-year-old football player who was hit by a city bus is taken to the city hospital – also its only Level I trauma center — for six stitches and CT scan. Despite having insurance through his father, the hospital billed him for his $28,000 portion of the bill after his insurance paid $2,000. The hospital then turned his bill over debt collectors and placed a lien. He sued the city, finally getting a favorable ruling two years afterward in which San Francisco was ordered to pay his hospital bill (to itself, apparently) along with economic damages. This would be the point where rational people would demand that hospitals offer their lowest accepted prices to everyone, or at least prevent them from chasing private-pay patients for amounts exceeding what they are willing to take from Medicare or other insurers.


Intel publishes a white paper describing its experience running a five-location, technology-powered employee ACO.  Health outcome improvements were modest, but user retention was high and employees benefited from better choices for appointments and faster responses to their medical advice requests. The company says its key strategies are contracting directly with providers, using health IT and measuring its use, and working with delivery systems to improve quality of care. Technology components vary by state, but include:

  • Data-sharing via EHealth Exchange and Direct messaging, connected to Kaiser’s Epic and Premise Health’s Greenway Health PrimeSuite (which has since been replaced with Epic at Premise).
  • Waiting for the HIE situation to resolve in Arizona and then using the Connected Care to connect with 125 provider EHRs.
  • Connecting to its partner IPA in California, which replaced NextGen Healthcare with Epic.
  • Using Epic’s Care Everywhere and Carequality connectivity in its San Francisco Bay region.
  • Using Direct messaging in Oregon to coordinate referrals with unaffiliated practices, then working with Epic to accelerate functionality development with regard to closing the loop with providers.
  • Using Providence’s Collective Medical’s EDie to obtain patient opioid prescription histories and PreManage ED and to send alerts to providers when their patients are seen in the ED, admitted, or discharged.


Weird News Andy only wishes this guy lived in the UK to support his fantasy headline “Doctors Remove a Third of a Stone of Stones.” Doctors in South Korea resort to surgery to resolve the stomach pains of a man who had ingested 4.4 pounds of coins and pebbles, which he admitted was his practice when feeling anxious.

Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD will exhibit at the Association of Dermatology Administrators and Managers event February 26-28 in Washington, DC.
  • The Channel Company’s CRN brand names Avaya’s Mark Vella to its list of 2019 Channel Chiefs.
  • Bernoulli Health CNIO Mary Jahrsdoerfer, RN publishes a study on the key attributes of continuous clinical surveillance.
  • CarePort Health will exhibit at the Population Health Management Summit February 21-22 in Miami.
  • The National Cancer Institute awards Carevive with the only Fast-Track Phase I/II contract supporting the development of an innovative symptom management and electronic patient-reported outcome solution.
  • Staffing Industry Analysts names CTG President and CEO Bud Crumlish to its 2019 North American Staffing 100.
  • The VA issues an Authority to Operate for Diameter Health’s health data quality technology.
  • Divurgent publishes a new white paper, “Application Rationalization.”

Blog Posts



Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
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Morning Headlines 2/19/19

February 18, 2019 Headlines No Comments

Missoula health care execs get $1.2M in venture capital for tech startup to better prepare patients

In Montana, PatientOne attracts $1.2 million in venture capital to hire additional staff and further develop its remote monitoring software for surgical patients.

USDA Prioritizes Investments in Telemedicine to Address Opioid Crisis in Rural America

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Reader Survey Results 2019

February 18, 2019 News No Comments

I survey HIStalk readers each year right around HIMSS conference time, soliciting feedback and ideas for both the short and long term. I appreciate every comment and find them valuable, especially since as an anonymous spare-bedroom writer I don’t get the chance to receive feedback in other ways.

My readership is diverse, so it’s hard to please everyone, and even if I did, and the result would be so bland that nobody would be reading anyway. I also realize that my readers are self-selected and keep coming back because they get something out of HIStalk, so I favor incremental change that can improve their experience rather than major changes that would be disruptive for readers and for me.

Each year’s survey has many responses that give me a warning of the “if it ain’t broke” variety. In fact, that is always the most common response by far.

Thanks to the 520 readers who responded. One randomly chosen of those readers won a $50 Amazon gift card, which he or she has asked me to donate to DonorsChoose. I’ll report shortly how I spent the money.

I have a few to-do’s from the comments below. I’ve also asked Lorre to review for action items since she can be more objective than I.

The TL;DR Summary of To-Do’s

  1. Investigate creating a subreddit for extending the discussion without having to take on user management myself.
  2. Redesign the bulk email that indicates when I’ve published something new.
  3. Consider summarizing the top news items in the email update like I used to do.
  4. Try to recruit some new contributors, especially from the provider front lines (CIO, CMIO, CISO, etc.)
  5. Consider whether HIStalkapalooza could be restored in a simpler form.
  6. Think about whether I should try harder to get new readers, especially those newer to the industry, via some sort of marketing.
  7. Consider writing longer-form pieces such as editorials.

Respondent Characteristics


  • 81 percent of readers have worked in the industry for at least 10 years
  • 26 percent work for a provider organization
  • 7 percent are CIOs, 2 percent CMIOs, and 7 percent CEOs
  • 25 percent have provider purchasing influence of at least $10,000
  • 83 percent say they have a higher appreciation for companies that they read about in HIStalk
  • 41 percent say they have a higher appreciation for companies that sponsor HIStalk
  • 89 percent say reading HIStalk helped them perform their job better in 2018 (this is the statistic I care most about)

What Features Readers Like Most

The scored, weighted results give the top items in order as:

  1. News
  2. Humor
  3. Headlines
  4. Rumors

Suggested Changes

I should first say that every year’s survey contains one overwhelmingly prevalent response – don’t change anything. I’m open to ideas, but I also know that most readers who keep coming back like things just as they are. I have to resist the urge every year to change things just because someone suggested it.

Try to say something more productive about companies, especially startups.

I give an honest opinion based on what I see as an industry everyman. It isn’t always analytical, but I always check a company’s website, interviews, leadership, etc. before I comment (assuming I don’t already know that company). I think I say positive things when I like the product or marketing approach.

Parts I like, some I am indifferent to, navigating around them is easy.

You’ve neatly explained how I try to give everyone something they can use. Not everybody cares about sponsor updates, people moves, reader comments, etc. and I make it easy to skip those sections. I run the sponsor updates at the bottom of the page as a courtesy, but everything else on the page is something I thought interesting enough to mention. I have no incentive to pad out a given day’s news post with something I don’t think is useful. I try to earn reader trust that I won’t waste their time.

Explore an alternative website format to keep it fresh and in line with current website formats. A refresh every 2-3 years would be nice.

I’ve always waffled on doing this because it wouldn’t change the content, just the presentation, and I hope readers aren’t fickle enough to read or not based on initial appearance. Politics aside, Drudge Report is the ugliest website in the world, yet one of its busiest, because people want to read the content and have become comforted that the site will always look the exact same.

Write less about start-up financing.

I eliminated announcements involving funding of less than several million dollars, thinking that those companies that receive bigger investments are worthy of mention because they are likely to be up-and-comers, and to skip announcements of companies whose product isn’t purely health IT related.

You are jaded and paint every topic with your negative bias. Sometimes things aren’t as negative as you might think.

I admit that having been in the industry for a long time, I’m skeptical and sometimes cynical and my opinions reflect that. But I’ll also say that one of the reasons I started HIStalk was because the cluelessly cheery publications and websites didn’t reflect reality and I offered an alternative. I should make a sign for my desk reminding me to be more positive.

Add more commentary.

I’m challenged here because some readers want straight news and no commentary. I also don’t claim to be an expert in everything and therefore hesitate to provide what might be a poorly informed pinion. But I will consider the options.

Put the news bullets in the email update without requiring a click to see it on the website.

My goal isn’t to send out yet another industry newsletter that nobody reads. I can’t squeeze the dozens of items contained in a typical HIStalk post into an email and I’ve already culled out the 95 percent of items that aren’t worth running. I post everything in aggregated form, so all the links are going to take you to the same page anyway – I don’t write separate posts for each news item because that would be a flood of individual stories. I understand the argument that, “Maybe I won’t bother clicking over to the website if nothing sounds interesting,” but I’m willing to lose readers who find that onerous since I’m not doing them a favor by dumbing down the teaser. The thrice-weekly news posts are either worth 15 total minutes of your time each week to skim or they aren’t. 

Seek out more rumors. I started reading HIStalk to find about my competitors. Not all employees can be happy with Epic and Cerner.

Reader rumors are polarizing – most people like them, some hate them, and some like them only until their company is mentioned in a negative light and then suddenly rumors are evil non-journalism. I make it easy to submit rumors anonymously and I never divulge a source anyway, so the opportunity is there for anyone willing to contribute.

Reduce vendor-written Readers Write pieces.

This one is always hard to resolve. Anyone can send me a Readers Write article and I’ll post it if it passes the test of being informational and not a sales pitch, but the only people who send those articles are vendors and their PR firms. My biggest lesson learned from writing HIStalk is that everybody complains that too few people aren’t contributing articles or comments, failing to count themselves among them. I should be thankful because if everyone was wiling and able to write about the industry, I would be made redundant.

I love reading the comments, but wish there was an easier way to see them without clicking the comments link for each article. Maybe a “latest comments” ticker on the side or have them go to a subreddit? I realize you don’t want to have to deal with having readers sign up for accounts.

I’ve tried a lot of things over the years to raise the visibility of comments. There’s already a “latest comments” widget to the right, but it’s one of many things crowded in there. I’ve looked at Disqus and other commenting tools and wasn’t thrilled.

One challenge with comments is understanding how they are displayed on the site. Clicking the email link goes to the specific article (like yesterday’s news post, for example) and you see the comments on that same page and can enter your own. When you just go to the home page ( however, comments are not displayed and you can’t enter them without clicking the specific article’s title. That takes you to the same page as if you had clicked the email link.

I know next to nothing about Reddit, but I’ll check it out.

Emails don’t always include links.

This is a can of worms that I’ve opened and re-opened countless times over the years without being able to fix it. Companies and your own email client use all kinds of tools to block emails, block links, strip images, etc. and those wreak havoc on my emails that always contain links. Not to mention that overly aggressive email filters often categorize anything with an image or link as spam, meaning that (a) it won’t get delivered to your inbox; or (b) it gets delivered, but dropped into your spam folder where you’ll never see it. I don’t really have an answer except that I publish on a predictable schedule (news M-W-F, Dr. Jayne MF, weekender F, and irregular items like interviews or Readers Write usually on M or W) so email or not, you can expect to see something new every day except on the weekends.

Maybe others see value in the Weekender, but I never read it.

I started the Friday morning post because people were complaining about reading DonorsChoose updates and other non-news items in the regular posts, so I thought that was a good place to put them (being clearly labeled) and to put in some fun and sometimes upbeat items. It also contains the week’s best reader comments (which respondents in last year’s reader survey asked for) and a link to all the other items I posted for the week. I’m happy to stop writing it if nobody cares, though, since it’s just extra work for me.

Do away with the morning headlines. Seems duplicative and there are plenty of websites and emails that do this already.

The headlines are by definition duplicative – those who read the full news posts don’t necessarily read the headlines and vice versa. I wanted to give the skimmers a quick way to catch up the most important news items in just a few seconds each weekday, but I also make then invisible to those who don’t care by not sending them out as an email update. No changes here, sorry. Personally I love reading the headlines each morning since Jenn writes them and I never know what she has found.

Start blogging! You already do when you comment on a news piece, but maybe once a month pour out your thoughts on a health IT issue.

I will consider that.

Try not to become a walking advert for KLAS or Chilmark.

I don’t really mention Chilmark at all, but I do think KLAS reports contain some insights worth recapping and their analysis often makes good sense even though I gripe plenty about their methodology and business model. I skip mentioning any of their reports that I don’t find interesting.

Find some new columnists, especially those in the hospital trenches.

I offer regularly, but the folks who have the most to say don’t have the time or interest to say it, and those who have tried didn’t last long. Usually I hear nothing more once I say, “Sounds fun – send me a sample column and let’s see how it fits.” But if you are a provider IT person who is interested in writing (I can even keep you anonymous), then let’s explore.

Add interviews to the YouTube channel, do podcasts, and add commentary and engagement on LinkedIn.

I’m biased since I don’t watch YouTube interviews, listen to podcasts, or use LinkedIn, but maybe you can help me see the broad reader benefit. These might be areas where I need to enlist some help, perhaps some junior person who is good at social media but who wants to gain industry knowledge.

Appreciate the music recommendations.

Thanks. Several people said that, even being nice enough to say which bands they loved after I mentioned them.

Bring back HIStalkapalooza.

I might, but it would have to be in a radically different form that requires less financial risk and work. People told me at HIMSS19 that its biggest feature wasn’t the band or the expensive food and drink, but rather the chance to meet like-minded people – regardless of whether they work for a vendor, provider or other – in a setting where nobody is buying or selling something. Facilitating that networking opportunity without necessarily spending a bunch of money is certainly possible. I will think about how it could work.

Reduce the sponsor mentions.

I think the compromise I’ve reached is a good one in recognizing that they pay the bills. Sponsors gain no editorial advantage except that I include their less-newsy items (which I ordinarily wouldn’t mention at all) in the Sponsor Updates section, where you can easily skip them if you want. They have to earn mentions in the regular news sections like everyone else.

I would love to see a review of health and health IT books.

I do that sometimes if I think it’s worth me buying the book first since I don’t get free copies. The only problem I have is that I appreciate that someone wrote a book in the first place and I struggle with criticizing their effort (probably since I go through that myself).

You should start a conference.

I don’t have the time or expertise to do that alone, although I suppose I could hire someone to do something on a small scale. It seems we have a lot of conferences already, so I would have to find an unserved niche that I’m not envisioning at the moment.

Offer a weekly, high-level news summary for those who can’t keep with the regular emails, like a CEO version.

I could do that, although I kind of already do it in the Weekender, where I list the most important news items of the week with a one-sentence summary. I don’t know what I can add beyond that except maybe to make that a separate email.

Offer more thoughts from the investment community.

I would love to, but I suspect those folks are making too much money to spend time writing articles. The Healthcare Growth Partners folks are very good at it, for example, but they have their own audience.

The email format could be improved.

Good idea. That was on my list of to-do’s. It’s definitely a homebrew format that I threw together in about five minutes when the email service changed its editing tool unexpectedly, so I’ll get someone more artistic to help. I may revisit the idea of including news snips in some form, although the ironic consequence is that I would be convincing some readers not to bother visiting the site that day.

If I were Mr. H, I would retire to the soft sands of a private island knowing my work to expose the real health IT world has been completed in remarkable fashion, then turn over the site to someone else to live behind the lab coat in anonymity. Otherwise, enjoy life more and insert straight comedy, which might just be my warped sense of humor.

This is my favorite comment, although “retiring” suggests doing something I would enjoy more and there is no such thing. Writing HIStalk is still my favorite activity even after 16 years.

Representative Comments

Keep up the great work. And the music references. I spent a good hour catching up on Rival Sons the other week.

Love the snark, but more importantly how you cut through the bs to get to the core of an issue. That coupled with your ability to clearly communicate is priceless.

Gosh do I love this site. I love the people, I love the news, I love the interaction and decade+ learning. I am constantly amazed that there is more to learn, there is so much news, and that someone has the stomach to put it all together on a regular basis. Bravo HIStalk team, you had another marvelous year.

I just want to offer appreciation from a long time reader.  Your commitment to the daily grind of putting out material in a thoughtful, “call it as you see it,” and almost always objective manner is very much appreciated.

Useful and well balanced, I find it a reliable source at a time where stories are either too curated or not curated enough. It would be interesting to have deep dives on some stories, to help understand where a given story really goes or ends up, especially relative to competing solutions. I often have to go to KLAS or Definitive or other resources to get the context to a given story. I also appreciate that is a difficult task given the time required.

As a vendor person, I’ve always liked understanding who we are competing with and how our solutions are fairing out there in the real world. I wish more of my associates would understand the landscape better by reading HIStalk. I’ve been reading it for a long time, and I’ve been at three different vendors (but haven’t moved from the building ;). BTW, I’m a senior techie person, so I’m not directly selling anything, but understand that we are all really part of making a client / customer happy, which is in a way, sales. And I’ve always liked trying to help healthcare do better, since that affects all of us in the end. I do enjoy my daily fix of your stuff, so thank you.

HIMSS is stale. Pretty clear to all of us, but seems not clear to HIMSS because the org is not doing anything to change itself. Seems to me that your blog and to a lesser degree KLAS (because the data is warped too easily) is doing a lot of the work that HIMSS should be doing. How can that be fixed? Could you have any role in that?

Just curious, given the current M & A craze with health systems, maybe an occasional focus on the displaced CIOs or IT leaders out there. Where are they landing, do they choose retirement? It took me 11 months to land in another healthcare IT role, this time with a vendor.

Website design isn’t sexy, but who cares? (because the news is great)

I greatly appreciate the ruthless efficiency of HIStalk – very high signal-to-noise.

I’m surprised when I ask co-workers/peers if they go to your site and most say “no”. After they go, they tell me they go regularly. I’m not sure how big you want your site to be (unique visitors), but if you want to grow, then some marketing may be needed. I was trying to remember how I found out about you and honestly can’t remember, but you are at the top of my regular reading list!

Much of HIStalk still concentrates on hospitals and providers (inside the walls). Would like to some expansion to consumer engagement, telehealth, etc. Mentioned sometime but would like to see regular news, interviews, articles, etc.

Tone down some of the jaded comments. I always agree w/the sentiments you express, but the editorial comments border on bitter sometimes.

I love the non-news like music suggestions, Donors Choose, etc. News is usually a downer, so having some levity makes life better.

It is harder for the hospital side to buy and much harder for the vendors to sell these days. I would love it if we could get some articles from each (people that you pick that could write in, or volunteers?) on how we could better partner with each other, to help this sales cycle and process. Maybe this could be a regular series, every other month?? Just a thought.

You are my single source of truth and only source I depend on for keeping up to date on US news. That said, I’m continually impressed that you report Australian news before the local guys do. Keep up the good work.

As a healthcare sales rep, I find your website invaluable in staying up to date with industry trends and news. I always feel smarter after working my way through a Monday update and yet feel guilty because clearly, you spent a good portion of your weekend writing it. I would be fine with a Tuesday update if that freed up some of your precious weekend.

Weird News Andy is the best! I can’t wait for your HIMSS coverage. I love how you keep it real each year with your commentary.

Appreciate the fact that you are querying your reader audience.

I have worked for healthcare IT vendors for my entire career. I love your neutrality regarding the vendors, even your sponsors. I read your blog for the focus on healthcare delivery as a goal of healthcare IT. That is refreshing. If you doled out not-so-subtle marketing ads masquerading as news I would stop paying attention, like has been done with anything HIMSS touches (and I’m a HIMSS member).

I have always found your Sunday afternoon / evening news roundup extremely helpful to add some insight heading into the week. I have forwarded many of these news stories over the years to colleagues or followed them up myself. For someone who takes a dim view of healthcare journalists as a whole, you do a great service to them in addition to the rest of your audience. The harsher you are on us journalists, especially when you point out mistakes we have made, the more I respect you. A former editor loved it that you highlighted a colleague’s [multiple] mistakes and used it to remind us to be extra cautious that we double check proper nouns, source material, etc.

Set a time horizon for when HIStalk will end. I honestly wonder where I will go for solid news when you retire. I am afraid you will just power off some day. Or maybe Mrs. HIStalk secretly pulls the plug.

Just don’t turn into an over advertisement funded HIMSS or CHIME like service – you’re our only hope for honest reporting in the industry.

Don’t assume all vendors are ‘the bad guy’ – just because we’re selling something doesn’t mean it isn’t coming from a place of concern for patients or that we can’t offer intelligent solutions by collaborating with hospitals and healthcare systems.

As a former healthcare analyst and investor turned operator (I run a BU at a healthcare technology company), I absolutely respect and admire what you have done and the way you deliver content. Love your thoughtful insight, the way you filter through and interpret inbound content from readers (with the occasional shredding of an ask or perspective) and your wit is right up my dry wry alley. I have enjoyed your site for years and will continue to do so–hopefully for a long time. I also really appreciate your effort to make the world a better place through raising money and donating to kids/schools. Means a lot to me. I have long been meaning to reach out to say thank you, and this is the first time in 10+ years that I have done so. I apologize for the long delay. Seriously, way to go, I’m very happy for you!!!

Thank you for years of what I can only describe as virtual mentoring. You’ve made me a much better health IT professional and maybe even a little better person. I am truly grateful.

Improve the job section HIStalk is big enough in terms of audiences — help others find their dream jobs via your site: connect employers with potential employees.

I know the English language enough to get me to where I am, but I’m regularly in awe of your anal retentive approach to grammar. One of the many reasons I like reading your work! I always learn something. And I very much appreciate your sense of humor.

Thank you for what you do, it’s really appreciated. I most appreciate the various studies that you bring attention to as I don’t normally wade into those waters.

Love what you do and will hear colleagues discussing articles you’ve feature. Most recently that gem on mining system issues through alert comments.

I love the format, it’s very digestible, even on a busy day! I trust you, because you seem to seek balance, pursue the truth when possible, and consider things from many angles. You have a voice of independence, which includes the low budget no frills approach, but also the consistent attention to the charity donations to fund teacher projects. Keep it up!

Thanks for making me smarter about the industry without having to invest a lot of time.

In general it’s still routinely very good and occasionally hits great. Which after 15 years is pretty amazing. No one else does what you do.

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