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Morning Headlines 3/2/20

March 1, 2020 Headlines No Comments

Cisco at HIMSS 2020

Cisco withdraws from HIMSS20 due to COVID-19 concerns.

Wellpepper acquired by Caravan Health in sign of growing market for digital patient treatment plans

ACO development company Caravan Health acquires Wellpepper, which offers technology to create digital patient treatment plans.

Health Catalyst Reports Fourth Quarter and Year End 2019 Results

Health Catalyst reports Q4 results: Revenue up 21%, EPS –$0.39 vs. –$16.33, beating Wall Street expectations for both and sending HCAT shares up 9.5% on Friday.

Thousands locked out of Pentagon and VA benefits websites

The Defense Department acknowledges that a problem with a common login system has prevented military members, retirees, veterans, and their families from logging in to the Tricare Online Patient Portal and to its MHS Genesis Cerner system for several days.

Coronavirus Reveals Limits of AI Health Tools

Vendors of AI-powered symptom checkers and chatbot struggle to update their algorithms with COVID-19 information.

Monday Morning Update 3/2/20

March 1, 2020 News 16 Comments

Top News


Cisco withdraws from HIMSS20 due to COVID-19 concerns.

HIMSS filed its most recent coronavirus update Thursday, reporting a registrant cancellation rate of 0.6%. This may be misleading, however, since the organization offers refunds only to registrants from specific countries, meaning that most people who have changed their minds about attending would not necessarily bother to notify HIMSS.

Any potential cancellation of HIMSS20 would probably need to be announced in Monday’s update to allow time to notify registrants. HIMSS has not given any indication that it plans to cancel the conference.

Several companies that are scheduled to exhibit have recently cancelled their own user and sales meetings. HIMSS20 exhibitor Workday, for example, cancelled its sales kickoff meeting that was scheduled for March 2-4 in Orlando. Readers have said that Intel, Salesforce, and Amazon won’t participate, although those companies have not made any announcements.

Most respondents to this week’s snap poll – which is not vetted — say they haven’t changed their HIMSS20 plans, although 15% of respondents indicate that they are US residents who won’t attend as planned after all.

Readers who are epidemiologists or public health experts and are registered to attend HIMSS20 – will you still attend, and if so, will you take any non-obvious precautions? I’m also interest in hearing from employees of companies who have decided not to send employees to Orlando.

Reader Comments

From Wizened Sage: “Re: MDLive. Changes at the top – chief medical officer, CEO, CFO.” Rich Berner is still listed as CEO on the exec page, but a reader said his resignation was mentioned on a medical directors’ call. CFO/COO Dan Monahan left in November after 10 months and Chief Medical Officer Lyle Berkowitz, MD moved on last month after a couple of years. Comparing the executive web page from April 2019 to the current version shows that seven of the 13 are no longer listed.


From Doc X: “Re: HIMSS exhibitor press release upload portal. My upload failed and I noticed that it accepts only .doc files, which were superseded in Word in 2003 by .docx. So a state of the art health IT conference is using 23-year-old information exchange infrastructure?” I’m actually surprised that the third-party service HIMSS uses accepts Word documents at all instead of requiring PDFs, where formatting is consistent and the threat of malware micros is zero. PR people sometimes email me announcements as Word documents, which even if I wasn’t worried about malware, would go right to my trash folder anyway because it means they are greenhorns. I’m not blaming HIMSS since the technology still works as long as the submitter is willing to do a “save as.” I also think there may have been a time when non-Microsoft word processors such as Open Office and maybe even Apple Pages could export only as .doc files, so this might actually be a commendable interoperability provision.


From Being There: “Re: ZDoggMD’s claim that patients can’t share their Epic data with providers that use a different EHR. I can say as a user of an Epic-enabled mobile app through my PCP that this is categorically untrue. The Share Everywhere option on the mobile app gives any provider one-time, limited access to meds, allergies, health issues, and immunizations. They can even write a clinical note to my care team.” ZDogg also ignores Carequality EHR-to-EHR data sharing, which in also being connected to CommonWell allows sharing information with just about any EHR whose vendor wants to support doing so. I wonder if the EHR that ZDogg designed for his failed Turntable Health had interoperability capability since he’s so passionate about it. 

From Midship: ”Re: HIMSS20. What is the financial impact to registrants if it is cancelled?” HIMSS policy is that you don’t get a registration fee refund – it rolls over to HIMSS21. Hotel reservations booked through HIMSS are non-refundable, so you’re out those costs along with flights unless you bought comprehensive travel insurance, which may or may not cover you anyway unless you got the expensive “cancel for any reason” coverage or purchased before COVID-19 became a known event that is therefore excluded. Employers pay the tab for most attendees, so the paperwork required will vary, but you’ll have all week to complete it.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Poll respondents say the best way by far to get people into your HIMSS booth is to deploy friendly, alert reps (hint: reps who stare longingly into the eyes of their phones are neither). 

New poll to your right or here, following up on the KLAS survey: Which of the following patient engagement technologies have you personally used in the past year? I probably should have excluded dentists since they are far better users of consumer-facing technology than their medical counterparts.

I’m looking for a few good companies that are interested in signing up for HIStalk webinar services and sponsorships. Startups get a first-year discount because Lorre decided that would be nice for the little guys. We always get more interest right before and after the HIMSS conference as companies are paying more attention to the comparative effectiveness of reaching an audience of actual decision-makers. Contact Lorre.


Geek gadget alert: I read that resetting your router occasionally will ensure good Internet speed. Mine isn’t in a handy location, so I thought about plugging it into a mechanical timer like you do for Christmas tree lights and having it power off early in the morning and then on again a minute later. I then ran across these smart plugs,  which allow you to control the plug over WiFi with a slick app, with Alexa or Google Home, and even IFTTT. I think it even has as one of its programmable elements sunset time, so that you might turn on a lamp at sunset and then turn it off at 11 p.m. A four-pack costs just $25, they were a snap to set up in just a few seconds, and they are working perfectly so far. The only caveat is that they work only on 2.4 GHz WiFi networks.

Listening: The Equatics, high school kids from Hampton, VA who recorded a single funk-soul album in 1972. I heard them on Hulu’s “High Fidelity,” which I’m enjoying a lot (Zoe Kravitz is excellent, at least while I’m waiting for Tony nominee Da’Vine Joy Randolph to steal every scene in which she appears.) The soundtrack is all deep cuts and oddities from obscure LPs like this one and the playlist is on Spotify.


March 4 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Tools for Success: How to Increase Clinician Satisfaction with HIT Solutions.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenter: Andrew Kanter, MD, MPH, FACMI, FAMIA, chief medical officer, IMO. Dr. Kanter will explore how striving to achieve the Quadruple Aim (by focusing on the provider experience) can improve clinician satisfaction and population health needs while also reducing per capita healthcare costs. Attendees will learn how to set providers up for success with new technology, the potential unforeseen consequences of purchasing without the clinician in mind, and the factors that are critically important to clinicians who are using new health information systems.

March 4 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Healthcare Digital Marketing: Jump-Start Patient Discovery and Conversion.” Sponsor: Orbita. Presenters: Victoria Petrock, MBA, MLIS, principal analyst, EMarketer; Kristi Ebong, MBA, MPH, SVP of corporate strategy, Orbita. Does your digital front door capture consumers who search for health-related information one billion times each day? Do you have actionable steps to convert them into patients? Do you understand voice and chat virtual assistants? The presenters will explore the consumer challenges involved with finding, navigating, and receiving care, discuss why healthcare marketers need to embrace conversational voice and chatbot technologies, and describe how new technologies such as conversational micro-robots can improve engagement.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Health Catalyst reports Q4 results: revenue up 21%, EPS –$0.39 vs. –$16.33, beating Wall Street expectations for both and sending HCAT shares up 9.5% on Friday.


  • Ontario Mental Health Partnership will upgrade its Meditech system to Expanse.
  • MatrixCare will integrate NVoq’s speech recognition solution to its home health and hospital EMRs.

Government and Politics

The Defense Department acknowledges – after initial denials – that a problem with a common login system has prevented military members, retirees, veterans, and their families from logging in to the Tricare Online Patient Portal and to its MHS Genesis Cerner system for several days. The ID platform DS Logon is working from inside the DoD’s network, but not from outside computers.

Privacy and Security


A Consumer Reports investigation finds that prescription discount coupon vendor GoodRx sends patient information to 20 online companies that include Google, Facebook, and a marketing firms. Most surprising is that consumers and doctors interviewed by the magazine somehow think that HIPAA protects medical information everywhere, missing the major point that it binds only covered entities and their business associates, not discount websites. GoodRx reacted to the unwanted publicity with an apology, the hiring of a data privacy VP, reduction in the information it shares with Facebook and Google, and new user options for opting out and deleting their data as required by California’s privacy laws. The company says it will make sure the third parties to which it sends patient data follow HIPAA standards, which I’m not quite sure I understand.

CNN resurfaces the two-year-old story in which a Facebook bug was found by health IT expert Fred Trotter as having exposed the membership lists of its closed, private groups – as was found with a breast cancer gene support group – to developers and marketers. Facebook changed its closed group settings, but denies that the existence of a privacy loophole even though it admitted that developers had access to membership lists, saying that users shouldn’t use its Groups product if they are worried about privacy. The Federal Trade Commission has not yet responded to the December 2018 complaint filed by Trotter and healthcare attorney David Harlow.

HHS will review the St. Louis Fire Department’s participation in the TV show “Live Rescue” following HIPAA-related privacy concerns about its depiction of accident victims in near-live broadcasts. The fire department accepted legally responsibility for any HIPAA violation in its deal with the TV show’s producers,  an agreement that pays the city nothing for its participation.


Vendors of AI-powered symptom checkers and chatbot struggle to update their algorithms with COVID-19 information.


A small Reaction Data survey of health system clinicians and C-suite leaders finds that most respondents expect HHS’s proposed interoperability rules to have a positive impact. Epic users are more favorable to the ruling than those of any other EHR vendor. The rule’s biggest health system supporters are clinicians and executives, and while IT leaders were less enthusiastic, they don’t feel all that strongly about it either way. Respondents were pretty much equally split as to whether patients should control their own information versus hospitals and clinics doing it for them.

Healthcare in America: a man and his three-year-old daughter who underwent mandatory US government quarantine after returning from Wuhan, China find a pile of hospital, radiologist, and ambulance bills waiting when they finally got home. The government didn’t have a plan for who pays for being forced into quarantine in a non-government facility, and since the man has no health insurance since his China-based employer doesn’t offer US coverage and he’s lived in that country for years, he’s looking at a $4,000 expense so far. The biggest chunk of the bill, $2,600, was from a short ambulance ride provided by American Medical Response, which was sold to private equity operator KKR in 2017 for $2.4 billion in cash. He was coughing and his daughter was blinking excessively in a TV interview, which he would like to have checked out if he can qualify for Medicaid.


I had a double gotcha on this story in the Venice, FL paper. The first was that I thought it was about telehealth – it’s actually about architects for a new hospital trying out the design on employees using virtual reality. My second thought is that those cataract sunglasses that are ubiquitous among Florida’s senior citizens have gotten awfully large.


Paging Weird News Andy: Maryland police arrest a man who stabbed a woman with a syringe full of semen in a grocery store. Tom Stemen (!) told the woman when she confronted him, “It felt like a bee string, didn’t it?”

Sponsor Updates

  • Meditech adds a Hypertension Management Toolkit to its Expanse EHR.
  • Health Catalyst announces that former UPMC CFO Rob DeMichiei will join its board as a strategic advisor.
  • Clinical Computer Systems, developer of the Obix Perinatal Data System, will exhibit at the AWHONN Missouri Section Conference March 5 in Chesterfield.
  • The Greenville Chamber honors OmniSys founder Jerry Ransom with its 2019 Worthy Citizen award.
  • Experian Health will exhibit at Quorom Solutions Expo March 4 in Litchfield Park, AZ.
  • Phynd adds six new health system clients in Q4.
  • Impact Advisors is named a Workday Alliance Services Partner.
  • Redox releases a new podcast, “Using transportation to improve healthcare access and outcomes with Ankit Mathur of Roundtrip.”
  • Relatient will exhibit at Nextech Edge March 5-7 in Orlando.
  • Surescripts will exhibit at the 2020 PBMI National Conference March 2-4 in Orlando.
  • Rare disease patient data platform Raremark partners with TriNetX to bring more clinical trials to its community.
  • SAS Health integrates Wolters Kluwer Health Language portfolio of data-quality solutions with its analytics software.

Blog Posts



Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
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Weekender 2/28/20

February 28, 2020 Weekender 1 Comment


Weekly News Recap

  • HIMSS announces that HIMSS20 will continue as scheduled with added on-site precautions to address coronavirus-related concerns.
  • Medical chat service K Health raises $48 million in a Series C funding round.
  • MIT Technology Review announces its 10 most promising breakthrough technologies, which include hyper-personalized medicine and AI-discovered molecules.
  • The VA says it hopes to go live with Cerner at its first site in July 2020, months after the originally announced date.
  • AMA releases a patient records access guide for medical practices.
  • HHS and ONC publish a report on reducing the provider burden of health IT.

Best Reader Comments

Shame on the state health system hiring Vendor A without a thorough background check of their employees and shame on Vendor A for hiring 1099 contractors who work for other companies that are bidding for the Epic work. I’m not an attorney; therefore, I don’t know if this is illegal vis-a-vis taxpayer’s or anyone’s money. However, it sure smacks of unethical practices. Independent HIT advisory consultants should have NO ties to any HIT companies, period. (Woodstock Generation)

Being in an enclosed space with 40,000 of your closest friends and their dirty germs with uncertain handwashing habits takes its toll. If they moved it to April I think we’d all be better off anyway, maybe something to think about for next year. (HIT Girl)

The entire clinical informatics community depends on places like Vanderbilt to advance the field. To see how they have restructured and refocused after their Epic implementation is exciting. We all benefit when an institution embraces their system and sets aside resources for clinical informatics research on it. (Andy Spooner)

Vendors should always compensate healthcare providers for their data with equivalent value in some form or another, including product discounts, in order to remain legally compliant. (Grant)

Watercooler Talk Tidbits


Readers funded the Donors Choose teacher grant request of Mr. L in New Mexico, who asked for programmable robots for his sixth grade class. He says, “From your generosity, students collaborated in learning coding software, developed an understanding that making mistakes can be fun, and that by sharing laptops and robots, everyone could participate. Students had to figure out and practice several math concepts such as angles, degrees and decimals. On Saturday, January 18, 2020, students participated in a Play Shop or Robotics Workshop on the Northern New Mexico College campus. At this Play Shop, a daughter managed to teach her father coding, and a son demonstrated how to navigate a robot through a maze to his father. This resource provided a positive moment for fathers to participate in the learning process. Moments like these will always be cherished by the family. And what about hanging out with your best friends in the classroom and on a college campus? As you can imagine, there were smiles and clapping when a student opened the package containing the robot. Everybody wanted to be the first to touch and code the robot. The next steps will be to continue to share the robot, learn much more of the coding during the day and after school, participate at a RoboRave Rally on the Northern New Mexico College in March, and to participate in the RoboRave Regional Competition.”


People are following homemade YouTube and Facebook instructional videos to perform at-home fecal transplants, which include instructions on how to find a donor and the proper use of kitchen appliances for mixing (you might want to pass on their dinner invitations).

An ophthalmologist sues a former employee for $2 million for posting a negative Yelp review that accused the doctor of making patients return for unneeded extra visits to inflate bills. The employee, who left after two months on the job, had signed an employee confidentiality agreement (thus the breach of contract part of the lawsuit) and refused to take her review down.

Digital health: police arrest a Gulf Coast Hospital (FL) employee after an elderly patient wakes up to find him licking her toes. The man, who was a sitter in the patient’s room, said he dropped his phone under her bed and accidentally touched her while retrieving it. Meanwhile, a woman sues the Florida hospital where she had received emergency mental health treatment, claiming that a male employee groped her and then asker her how much money and drugs she would need to have sex with him.


HIMSS coronavirus recommendations or not, this is way too weird for me to even consider at HIMSS20. I would prefer the Namaste gesture, Japanese-style bowing, or that up-and-back-once head nod acknowledgment thing, if indeed any physical gesture is really needed to greet a colleague or exhibitor when you’re already looking at each other and saying hello.

Speaking of HIMSS20, Orlando weather is all over the place, with highs around 70 on some days and then 90 degrees expected mid-week. Last year’s weather on March 9 was overcast with a high of 77 and low of 64. You won’t need a coat unless you’re going home somewhere cold.

In Case You Missed It

Get Involved



Morning Headlines 2/28/20

February 27, 2020 Headlines No Comments

HIMSS Update on the Coronavirus

HIMSS will proceed as scheduled March 9-13, though it will be a handshake-free meeting.

K Health raises $48 million to apply AI to telemedicine

K Health, which offers consumers an AI-powered review of their symptoms and then paid telehealth visits, raises $48 million in a Series C funding round.

New EHR go-live date is July 2020, VA secretary says

The VA gives a new planned Cerner go-live date of July 2020, although Secretary Robert Wilkie has not committed to a specific date.

News 2/28/20

February 27, 2020 News 9 Comments

Top News


HIMSS provides a coronavirus update for HIMSS20:

  • The conference will proceed as scheduled March 9-13.
  • CDC has deemed the coronavirus health risk for the general public as low.
  • The conference will be a handshake-free meeting, with appropriate education and reminders. In a breaking news development, HIMSS recommends the “HIMSS elbow tap” instead of handshakes, apparently deciding that the Ebola fist bump was due for an upgrade.
  • HIMSS is allowing registrants from Level 3 alert countries (China and South Korea) to cancel. Orlando International Airport will not allow foreign nationals who have traveled to China 14 days before their US arrival into the country, per President Trump’s February 3 proclamation.
  • The cancellation rate is at 0.6%.
  • CDC-established screening will be conducted on site, although details of what than entails weren’t provided. Attendees whose screening suggests risk will be immediately isolated.
  • The conference will have health professionals on site and hospitals available.
  • Hand sanitation stations and wipe-down disinfection wipes will be provided.
  • Information booths will provide medical-grade face masks to anyone who wants them.
  • Facilities will be disinfected throughout the conference.

Reader Comments


From Takeoff U. Hoser: “Re: UCSF Health. Has sent a letter to HHS supporting the proposed interoperability rule. The same organization provides de-identified patient data to Google for AI training of potentially highly profitable technologies, as was made public this week. That’s an interesting coincidence.”

From Hirepower: “Re: Allscripts. Online rumors say this is Day 2 of three days of layoffs. Any info?” I’ve seen nothing firm, although those unverified rumors say a few folks were let go from TouchWorks and Veradigm. The quarterly earnings report comes out Monday.

From Dollar Bill: “Re: COVID-19. What impact will it have on health systems?” I’m interested in hearing the financial impact that health systems expect. Most people who think they have (a) a life-threatening attack of COVID-19; and (b) insurance that covers their ED visit at minimal personal cost actually have; (c) neither. I think the biggest impact will be on people with insurance who will be left with crippling out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance, out-of-network costs, etc. It’s early in the insurance year to be running up a big ED tab when your deductible is thousands of dollars. The US healthcare system is rarely your friend, but is definitely your enemy when your expectations of invincibility are expensively dashed. I expect all the usual healthcare profiteers – including health systems – to make pandemic profits. China’s telemedicine companies are enjoying a stock boom from recent coronavirus-fueled usage growth, so there’s that.


From YouBoob: “Re: ZDogg MD’s Epic criticism. He talks over the CBS news profile.” ZDogg’s music parodies were pretty good back in the day when his Turntable Health clinic hadn’t yet failed and forced him to transition into an Internet celebrity selling “sponsorship, speaking, influencer, and video production packages.” He wields the scalpel of dripping sarcasm clumsily in this anti-EHR video in which he attempts impish cleverness in insulting Epic, its competitors, health systems, doctors, patients, and CBS. I couldn’t stand watching it all, but his main points seem to be:

  • Judy’s $3.6 billion fortune came from patients and health systems that bought Epic at a high cost, “whereas you can pick up an IPhone and pretty much do anything you want, anywhere.” The IPhone reference is just plain stupid (and last time I checked, the folks who sell those do pretty well financially, too) but the question might be what health systems should have implemented if it wasn’t Epic, Cerner, or Meditech (he complains about all three).
  • He scoffs at Judy Faulkner’s statement that Epic has to compete for technical talent against YouTube, Google, and Facebook in hiring developers for its “1990s era software” and built a great campus in the cow fields of Verona, WI to help do that. Every self-appointed expert thinks that anything written before Facebook must be useless by definition, but can never explain why the underlying technology matters one iota to anyone except a programmer who sees the actual source code.
  • “They haven’t made it usable. The client is not a doctor, the client is a health system.” I’m not sure what point he was making here, unless it’s that his peers should stop accepting paychecks from health systems that insist that they use software that meets their business needs.
  • “The only way you can share data from an Epic chart, your data – you’re the patient, you own this data – the only way is if you go to another health system that has Epic.” I’ve never tried this as a patient, but I would be seriously shocked if Epic data has never been shared with a hospital or practice that uses a different EHR.
  • He said this: “If Athenahealth or Modernizing Medicine, both of whom I’ve worked with, or Office Practicum, who I’ve worked with, I’ve done talks for, if they were the largest electronic health vendors in this country, I’d be picking on them too.” I interpret this as meaning that ZDogg cashed promotional checks from other EHR vendors without complaint and they get a free ride because they aren’t as successful as Epic.
  • He also said this: “When we were running Turntable Health, we had our own EHR that we built from scratch with our partners Iora, and patients had access to it, it was problem based, you could have a health coach and a doctor writing in it at the same time, there wasn’t a billing component to it, t was pure patient care. And it wasn’t perfect but it just worked. That’s what we need.” That would be a great supporting argument if (a) Turntable was more than a small primary care practice that didn’t accept insurance; and (b) it hadn’t gone belly up after three years. I share his admiration for Iora Health and the tools that work for them, but to compare their needs with those of health systems is unrealistic. Epic, Cerner, and Meditech have dozens to hundreds of specialty modules that support lab, anesthesia, labor and delivery, surgery, ED, oncology, etc. so any design must accommodate all of those services, not just ambulatory primary care visits.
  • ZDogg is right that EHRs weren’t designed to bring joy to doctors and that the CBS profile is a silly fluff piece (although it was just filler aimed at people sitting around on Sunday mornings watching network TV, to be fair). He’s wrong in forgetting that the job is the problem, not the tools that are required to support it. Doctors sold their independence and thus their right to have software designed to meet only their needs, while health systems are like any other business in being free to buy whatever IT systems they think are best for their organizations and patients. 

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Snap poll for HIMSS20 registrants: how will coronavirus concerns change your attendance plans? I included a fake vote option so curious folks can see the poll’s results without having to make a misleading choice. Add a comment after voting if you like.


I’m always puzzled by HIMSS’s “Conference Deal” emails, which I think they rolled out years ago when Groupon was still a big thing. What’s the “deal” in being invited to see a booth demo?


March 4 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Tools for Success: How to Increase Clinician Satisfaction with HIT Solutions.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenter: Andrew Kanter, MD, MPH, FACMI, FAMIA, chief medical officer, IMO. Dr. Kanter will explore how striving to achieve the Quadruple Aim (by focusing on the provider experience) can improve clinician satisfaction and population health needs while also reducing per capita healthcare costs. Attendees will learn how to set providers up for success with new technology, the potential unforeseen consequences of purchasing without the clinician in mind, and the factors that are critically important to clinicians who are using new health information systems.

March 4 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Healthcare Digital Marketing: Jump-Start Patient Discovery and Conversion.” Sponsor: Orbita. Presenters: Victoria Petrock, MBA, MLIS, principal analyst, EMarketer; Kristi Ebong, MBA, MPH, SVP of corporate strategy, Orbita. Does your digital front door capture consumers who search for health-related information one billion times each day? Do you have actionable steps to convert them into patients? Do you understand voice and chat virtual assistants? The presenters will explore the consumer challenges involved with finding, navigating, and receiving care, discuss why healthcare marketers need to embrace conversational voice and chatbot technologies, and describe how new technologies such as conversational micro-robots can improve engagement.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


K Health, which offers consumers an AI-powered review of their symptoms and then paid telehealth visits, raises $48 million in a Series C funding round. The system, which was trained on patient data from an Israel health fund that is one of its investors, is rolling out a co-branded version for Anthem so that patients can “text with a doctor for less than a co-pay” at $19 for a single visit or $39 for unlimited chats for a year. The company says it has served 3 million users and is now available in all 50 states.


Spok reports Q4 results: revenue down 9%, EPS –$0.50 vs. $0.01.


  • Northside Hospital (GA) will implement sepsis-monitoring software from Ambient Clinical Analytics.



Fax and documentation automation vendor Concord Technologies hires Christopher Larkin, MS (Elsevier) as CTO.

Announcements and Implementations


KLAS surveys 300 people about the patient engagement technologies they use and the changes they would like to see. Patients who see their provider relationship as collaborative value patient portals and technologies that allow them to stay connected without a face-to-face visit, while patients who are more transactional are happier with online bill pay, automated prescription refill requests, provider search, self-scheduling, and eventually price transparency tools. The patient portal is most impactful today because Meaningful Use money got them deployed, but patient adoption is limited and patients would prefer a consolidated version that includes all of their providers and all common functions related to lab results, billing, appointments, and secure messaging. Their second-most desired technology is telehealth. Most interesting to me is that money has driven the process – providers rolled out the minimum patient portal that earned them MU money for “having” rather than “using,” they aren’t about to share information with competitors, and they haven’t shown much interest in making themselves available outside of face-to-face visits because nobody pays them otherwise. They also don’t offer telehealth, leaving patients to use standalone services with doctors they don’t know, which is one possible reason for low usage.

The Providence healthcare system opens an innovation center in Hyderabad, India.

Government and Politics


The inspectors general at the DoD and VA announce that they will begin conducting a joint audit of efforts by the departments to roll out an interoperable EHR from Cerner. Government officials insist the audit isn’t the result of complaints, but rather an effort to ensure that the EHR modernization will enable interoperability among the departments and private sector providers.

The VA gives a new planned Cerner go-live date of July 2020, although Secretary Robert Wilkie would not commit to a specific date to a House VA committee. Programming has been completed for just 19 of the 73 required interfaces.



In Canada, Vancouver-based RealWear partners with Chinese technology company Tencent to adapt its headsets for medical use, giving healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak in China access to hands-free, voice-activated software that offers remote viewing and connects to Tencent’s WeChat app.


MIT Technology Review announces its 10 breakthrough technologies for 2020.


Georgia’s lieutenant governor says it’s not improper that he talked about selling a health IT application to health and wellness platform vendor Sharecare, which is paid $14 million per year to run a digital health program for state employees. The talks didn’t pan out. Geoff Duncan is a former CEO of employee wellness technology vendor Wellview Health and remains a company director.


Wired looks at the ways Chinese radiologists are relying on AI from Infervision to screen for COVID-19 symptoms, especially pneumonia. Software originally developed to detect cancerous nodules in lung scans has been repurposed by hospitals that are overwhelmed with patients.

Sponsor Updates

  • Elsevier will use Global Medical Device Nomenclature data to provide important clinical and vigilance information on medical devices.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the AAPM Annual Meeting through March 1 in National Harbor, MD.
  • Redox partners with Welldoc, giving providers the ability to view data from users of Welldoc’s BlueStar diabetes management app from within their EHR workflows.
  • The Chartis Group names David Howard (Grant Thornton) director and practice leader for its ERP and Technology Innovation practices.
  • Hayes Management Consulting will work with search and AI-powered analytics vendor ThoughtSpot to develop revenue cycle and compliance solutions for providers.
  • Wolters Kluwer Health Language publishes a new executive brief, “Unlock Your Data: Prepare Your Organization for the New Era of Transparency.”
  • Healthcare Growth Partners advises Symplr in its acquisition of The Patient Safety Company.
  • Healthwise will exhibit at the HealthTrio User Group Summit March 2-4 in Tucson.
  • Hyland completes its acquisition of Streamline Health’s enterprise content management business.
  • Imprivata further expands identity and access management capabilities for the UK healthcare market with the launch of its new Identity Governance solution.
  • VentureFizz features a “CxO Briefing” with Kyruus CEO and co-founder Graham Gardner, MD.

Blog Posts



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


EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 2/27/20

February 27, 2020 Dr. Jayne 1 Comment

I’m always on the lookout for good outcomes from all the work that goes into EHRs. I enjoyed reading about an EHR “nudge” that was shown to reduce inappropriate testing for the nasty C. difficile infection. The system flags patients with contraindications to testing and the authors looked at data across four hospitals ranging two years before and after the intervention. The percentage of inappropriate orders fell by 2% with the intervention, and overall orders were down 21%.

I attended a medical seminar this week and was surprised that no one is modifying their behavior in response to flu season or even fears of coronavirus. Still a lot of hand shaking going on and a couple of people gave me the side eye when I declined to shake hands. I guess everyone has forgotten the pandemic flu of 2009 when everyone was doing elbow bumps instead. CDC has raised their level of dialogue around coronavirus preparedness and HIMSS has followed suit by announcing it will be a handshake-free meeting. I anticipate some other behavior changes around whether people will accept samples of food or candy and whether people will even want to travel to such a large event. HIMSS notes that registrations are up over 2019 and the cancellation rate is below 0.05%.

Still, HIMSS has announced its preparedness plan, including collaboration with ED physicians, onsite support from the Florida Department of Health, onsite screening and isolation as needed, and more. They plan to have three medical offices at the convention center, with one of them dedicated to flu-like symptoms. There will also be an increased number of hand sanitation stations, increased wipe-down of commonly used surfaces, and the availability of medical-grade face masks at the information booths.

That’s more masks than I currently have at my office, which makes me sad. I’m a bit of a prepper already, so making sure I have enough personal supplies stocked in wasn’t a stretch, and I’ve warned my younger colleagues who rely on DoorDash and GrubHub for every meal that they might want to consider having at least a small ramen noodle supply at home. The next couple of weeks should be interesting.


CDC is also circulating their infographic about the proper fit for high-end masks. I had no idea some of these facial hair styles even had names.

Anyone who has ever worked in hospital IT knows the fear that an upcoming visit from The Joint Commission strikes into the hearts of coworkers. There are many accrediting organizations out there, and often they are cited as the source of rules and regulations that don’t actually exist, leading to frustration for operational and technology teams alike. A recent report notes that CMS plans to strengthen oversight of accrediting organizations due to concerns about conflicts of interest. Some of the organizations provide both accreditation and consulting services which can be an issue, and CMS Administrator Seema Verma also called out accrediting organizations that use standards that are different from the CMS conditions of participation. The Joint Commission is one such organization that has created requirements above and beyond the CMS standards.

Verma also mentioned the upcoming Meaningful Measurement 2.0 program, which is a follow-up to the 2017 Meaningful Measures program. (Language nerd side note: Why did they have to change it from Measures to Measurement? That’s going to be annoying.)


There are strong feelings out there about the way that technology is escalating the medicalization of things that were previously “normal” physiological process. From smart toilets that analyze stool patterns to diet and nutrition trackers, technology is everywhere. I’m part of an online group that mentors young mothers and nearly everyone either has or wishes they had a multi-hundred dollar smart bassinet to help their babies sleep better. A recent Washington Post article looked at the impact of AI baby monitors on nervous parents. It’s gone beyond the walkie-talkie style units of the past, with camera systems that transmit data to parents while they are away and also those that process the video to determine whether infants are in risky positions or getting tangled with blankets. Privacy advocates are concerned about the sharing of such private data and clinicians are worried that monitor companies are promising a level of safety that is not supported by research.

I’ve definitely noticed a heightened level of anxiety in the moms in my group, although I recognize that to some degree it might self-select anxious mothers since they’re participating in the group in the first place. Some of them are desperately trying to track and quantify every element of their babies’ existence, from feeding to diapers, sleep, and developmental milestones. I’ve seen mothers who have lost the ability to trust their instincts and are relying too much on data.

It’s similar to when physicians are in training and have to learn to “treat the patient, not the numbers.” The privacy issue is certainly a big one, with parents having no control over the images of their children once they’re transmitted to the vendor. Definitely food for thought.

Speaking of the quantified self, approximately a third of fitness trackers are abandoned after a while, winding up in nightstand drawers or the landfill. Recycle Health, affiliated with Tufts Medical School, has collected more than 5,000 wearables for redeployment to exercise and nutrition programs for low-income patients. Vendors have gotten into the act, with Fitbit, Fossil, and Withings sending excess inventory. Apple has not donated. In addition to individual donations, they also gather unclaimed lost devices from theme parks and tourist sites, which is a novel approach. Corporate wellness programs donate as well.

In other wellness news, recent research shows that odd-shaped parks may be better for public health. The authors used satellite imagery, cause of death statistics, and residence near a green space larger than 900 square feet as indicators. They found a decrease in deaths for every percentage point increase in green space. They found that irregular parks were beneficial because they might be more appealing to be in, or might be easier to stumble upon compared to formal parks with limited entrances. Complex-shaped parks were also linked to reduction in chronic health conditions. Recommendations for civic planners include finding ways to connect small or fragmented parks via greenways or other natural features.


I always enjoy when a scholarly publication has a sense of humor, and a recent article in the Journal of Surgical Education did not disappoint. In “The Sorting Hat of Medicine: Why Hufflepuffs Wear Stethoscopes and Slytherins Carry Scalpels,” the authors surveyed surgical coordinator and residents to score various personality traits that tend to define medical specialties. There were more self-reported Slytherins in surgical subspecialties, particularly in orthopedic surgery. Family medicine had no Slytherins, which is not surprising. I don’t think students are going to start selecting their specialties based on their Hogwarts sympathies, but it was an amusing read.

Lots of chatter among the scribes in our office this week as the folks at Mayo Clinic Medical School mistakenly sent acceptance letters to 364 applicants. The school is blaming it on a technical glitch and said that as soon as they knew about it they withdrew the offers via email. Everyone affected has also been contacted by phone. The letters went to everyone who had interviewed, and there are typically only 46 actual spots available for students, with initial offers usually being made by phone.

The medical school admissions process isn’t something I would wish on anyone. It’s an emotional roller coaster and it’s expensive. Based on the fact that they were invited to interview, the applicants affected are generally qualified to attend, and I feel bad for them.


I got a chuckle out of reader Matt’s comment on my post about HIMSS shoes. He recommends HOKA, but notes that “they’re not inexpensive so you may have to add laser hair removal to your practice, add retail vitamin sales, or go into orthopedics.” You have to love a company that has a shoe named “Speedgoat” and their color combinations are certainly appealing.


Email Dr. Jayne.

Morning Headlines 2/27/20

February 26, 2020 Headlines No Comments

Joint Audit of the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs Efforts to Achieve Electronic Health Record Interoperability

Inspectors general at the DoD and VA will conduct a joint audit of efforts by the two departments to roll out an interoperable EHR.

Ribbon Health Raises $10.25 Million; Launches Cost And Quality Solution

Ribbon Health raises $10.25 million and announces GA of health data aggregation software that can be used to bolster provider directories, referral management, and care navigation for providers, payers, and digital health vendors.

Spok Reports Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2019 Operating Results; Wireless Trends Continue to Improve; Sequential Improvements in Software Operations Bookings and Expense Management Trends

Clinical communications vendor Spok reports a slight dip in software bookings and revenue on the heels of the launch of its Spok Go technology.

First-Time HIMSS Attendee Tips

February 26, 2020 News 3 Comments

From Mr. H (reader thoughts follow)

“What tips do you have for a first-time HIMSS conference attendee?” a physician researcher asked me via LinkedIn after her employer approved her attendance at the last minute.

I instantly thought of Vietnam war movies, where the fresh-faced recruit asks the battle-hardened veteran (he looks like R. Lee Ermey from “Full Metal Jacket” except unshaven and gaunt), what’s it like to be in combat? I’m not sure anything I can say will prepare her for the front lines. You just have to experience some things firsthand and do the best you can.

The biggest and truest cliché about the HIMSS conference is the “three blind men describing an elephant” analogy. The conference offers many tracks, experiences, and opportunities to network. Your HIMSS20 won’t be similar to my HIMSS20 except for some keynotes (assuming I go, which I usually don’t) and way too much time spent roaming aimlessly in the exhibit hall. It’s like one of those hipster-trendy food halls crammed with wildly different restaurants and bars that share only a common seating area. HIMSS20 will be 25 unrelated conferences that share only an exhibit hall.

Which is my first observation. The conference is really a boat show that is surrounded by just enough semi-educational opportunities to convince provider attendees that they aren’t stealing from their employers when they expense the whole junket. Exhibitors foot the bills, so it’s like a Las Vegas hotel – no matter where you want to go, you have to walk the intentionally winding path through the casino, or in this case, the exhibit hall.

I tell attendees to set their dials on three conference activities that compete for their time — education, exhibit hall, and socializing. Decide upfront what you would like to gain from each, hopefully with your expense-bearing provider employer and their patients in mind. What combination of  new industry education, specific product and company knowledge, and fond memories of eating, drinking, and shouting too much would make HIMSS20 a success? Are you really planning to accomplish actual work there, or is it just your employee bonus with few strings attached?

I admit that I nearly always leave HIMSS conferences feeling guilty that I mostly goofed off, or at least used my time inefficiently despite higher initial ambitions. I always vow to attend an ambitious list of education sessions and to perform serious vendor research, but I end up walking zombie-like miles of deep exhibit hall carpet filling up my trick-or-treat bag with vendor ChapStick and pondering just how cheaply I value my time. Or I sign up for some vendor party in picturing a grand evening under swaying Orlando palms that sounds swell in winter’s dark back home, but realize once I’m there that parties really aren’t my thing and I’d rather feed my introversion some quiet time.

I’m too lazy to put a lot of thought into my HIMSS conference advice, so I’ll divide it into two parts. First are my off-the-cuff thoughts, then the suggestions of readers who chimed in at my behest (because it’s less work to ask them to come up with ideas than me doing it myself.)

Before Leaving Home

I’m speaking to my fellow males here. Get a pedicure the week before the conference. I admit that I was squirming with discomfort the first time Mrs. HIStalk insisted that I get a pre-HIMSS foot tune-up. She made me a bourbon and lemonade in a Solo cup that I brought in with me for liquid courage (which was actually pretty cool at 11 a.m.) She had her nails done in the adjacent chair and tolerated my trite newbie observations about why nail techs are always from VIetnam and how it’s odd seeing a roomful of women all staring longingly at their phones while having their feet worked on by another woman. But it was shocking how much calloused, dead skin they shaved off with the cheese grater and how my walking and balance improved in return for my $30, which included a sugar scrub and hot stones that seemed pointless but felt good.

Pack a backpack or briefcase. You’ll get a free one when you pick up your badge, but the one they handed out last year was useless. Your bag will serve as a temporary home for vendor collateral, which you take in a moment of either camaraderie or temporary interest and then toss into the trash when packing for home.

Bring a phone charger battery. Phone batteries drain fast when slugging it out for a signal in packed rooms. Use low-power mode if you think of it.

Wear comfortable clothes, especially shoes, unless impressing someone is on your list of activities. Don’t wear anything that won’t get you through 10 miles of walking and standing each day. Forget high fashion unless you’re working a booth or interviewing for a job — nobody will be impressed that you busted out your high heels or best suit for walking a half-marathon each day (literally in many cases) on exhibit hall carpet.

Bring business cards, especially if you are among the significant percentage of attendees who are hoping to get a better job than the one provided by the organization that covered their attendance expense (ironic, isn’t it?) 

Getting There

Drive your own car instead of flying if you’re within a 12-hour car ride. I dislike the inefficient stress of flying for business, crammed into tiny seats surrounded by sugared-up, screaming kids wearing Mickey Mouse ears or testosterone-jacked tire salesmen heading off to their Las Vegas hooker and machine gun getaway. The elapsed time from leaving for the airport to setting foot in your Orlando lodgings may not be much less than driving, especially if your flight isn’t direct.

I think of driving as an extended meditation session, where I let Waze tell me what do while I reflect on life in general. I don’t worry about overweight or lost luggage, missed connections, security lines, and the mile-long cab line at MCO. I can leave the conference for home whenever I want, which is important since I usually bail out even earlier than I planned.

I hate milling around sterile HIMSS hotels with all the other nerdy, badge-wearing lemmings, so I always book a condo via Aibnb or VRBO. It feels much more like home or a vacation than solitary confinement and it costs less than a hotel.

Staying There

Hit the nearest Publix for full week’s worth of food and drinks. You’ll spend about the same as you would for one hotel dinner or room service. Then come back to your condo, savor the attendee-free quiet, and enjoy time in front of Netflix, the lake, or a local bar where tourists never tread (having your car provides options).

When you buy those groceries, get breakfast items and snacks. You’ll save time and money eating breakfast before you head out each morning and a granola bar will get you through the mid-morning, low-glucose woozies. You’ll save even more time and money by drinking your coffee while relaxing in your condo instead of staring at the suited butts of 500 of your fellow caffeine addicts who are ahead of you in the Starbucks line. Bonus points if you bring an insulated cup and take extra coffee to the convention center for more deliberate slurping.

Check out the HIMSS bus routes since your rental place may be near a stop and thus your chariot will await. HIMSS says the buses are only for people who booked their hotel through HIMSS, but the driver doesn’t care. Prepare for frustration, however, especially on the first day of the conference when everybody is headed to the convention center at the same and the full buses drive by without stopping. Going home can be a chore if your stop is way down on the list. Bus stops aren’t usually covered, so if it’s raining in the morning, call an Uber or Lyft to avoid starting your day bedraggled and wet.

Once you’re on your way home to your hotel or condo, take off your badge and put it in your non-HIMSS backpack to create an instant shield of anonymity. Breathe deeply as a traveler, not as an identically labeled conventioneer or obvious tourist. That smell is freedom.

Education Sessions

I don’t attend sessions in which any speaker is a vendor (sorry, “market supplier.”) I don’t doubt their commitment or intelligence – I have just been burned too many times by speakers who recited the company line or whose world view bore little resemblance to my reality. Seek them out in the exhibit hall presentations instead, where the audience is smaller, the topic is more focused, they can talk more about their company and competitors, and you don’t waste a full hour in a packed conference room. I sometimes enjoy those exhibit hall talks, which is rarely true of the big room sessions.

Choose sessions based on who’s presenting rather than topic. Interesting, insightful presenters can make any topic worthwhile, while under-accomplished slide-readers can’t save even the most contemporary presentation from becoming a snooze-fest. It’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, however, since the native language of some big industry names is “platitudes,” while some fearless no-names might actually express some original thoughts.

Attendees get audio recordings of most sessions after the conference at no charge, so you don’t have to physically attend everything. Or anything, for that matter. Just play back what seems interesting afterward at double speed. You don’t even have to climb across 50 sets of legs to escape a dud session. Try not to think about the cost and effort involved in traveling to the conference that brags on “education” that could have been distributed as MP3 files.

Sit where you can escape easily if the session bombs in the first five minutes, which is usually the case. Remember that the presenters had to submit their talk many months in advance, so not only is their content stale, they have over-rehearsed and end up reading their slides like a “follow the bouncing ball” monotone sing-along. I have no patients for presenters who write out full sentences as bullet points, read them in a grade schooler sing-song, turn their backs on the audience to look at the screen, and add zero value to just reading the PowerPoint printouts on your own.

Leave as soon as the presenter is finished since the Q&A attracts suck-ups who have no questions, only statements in which they attempt to demonstrate the depth of their knowledge. You’ll see them creeping up to the microphone before the speaker is even finished, oxygenating with deep breaths so they can at first opportunity rattle off a multi-minute pontification without coming up for air or asking an actual intelligent question (I’ve seen them spew their self-congratulatory nonsense and then leave the room before the speaker even finished answering them, seriously). Don’t try to make your way to the podium for glad-handing the speaker when they launch their uninvited monologue because you’ll get run over by the masses who are running faster for the doors than if someone shouted “Fire!”

Have a backup session in mind in case the room is packed or the handout looks less interesting that you thought. I usually just pick something randomly in a nearby conference room since it won’t disrupt my planned, miles-long route from one room to the next. Some of the best sessions I’ve attended were ones where I just stumbled into the first room with a lot of empty chairs.


Bring something from your rental condo refrigerator or plan to eat really early. Every convention center food outlet will be mobbed throughout the hours that might be considered lunch, say from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. You will pay $12 for a chicken Caesar salad in a plastic coffin that is handed over by a clearly unenthused worker, after which you will sit on the floor in an unused corner of the building because every single table, chair, or flat surface on which you or your food might have been placed has been appropriated by an equally desperate attendee seeking horizontality. It’s the casino analogy again – vendors want you roaming the exhibit hall, not lingering over your sandwich and telephone on a comfy chair, so chair-seekers outnumber chairs by about 100 to one. On the other hand, feeling like an outcast grade schooler in the cafeteria is humbling, and quite a few attendees could use a serious dose of that.

Lunchtime frustrates me more than any other time during conference week. It takes way too much time, the food is mostly not good and usually unhealthy, I hate scouting for a freshly vacated seat at a debris-laden table full of people screwing around on their laptops trying to look important, and I end choosing the food venue with the shortest line and quickly realize why the crowds went elsewhere. On the other hand, one Orange County Convention Center food stand remains easily the best I’ve ever had at a conference, with food that is fresh, ample, and more cutting edge. Its existence is binary – it is either closed or packed with people – but I still think of that place years after I last ate there. I’m not telling you which one because longer lines will send me fleeing to yet another greasy personal pizza from a chain I would never patronize at home.

Exhibit Hall

Decide what do you need from your exhibit hall experience. Fake adulation from booth people who see you as either a sales prospect or an insufferable bore who is fun to jack around? A celebration of your admirable existence that allows you to earn a salary for wandering through neon gulches of unreality while fueled by free snacks? Actual information in the form of product and vendor research, at least while waiting for exhibit hall happy hour to kick in?

What I like about the hall is that whatever you learn there sticks. You probably won’t forget what you were told. I also like that I’m in charge of choosing what interests me and walking away when I lose interest (just tell the overzealous rep that you’re running late for a scheduled meeting, never mind that it’s 9:43 a.m.) Most of the reps are nice people and are just as bemused as you by the futility of creating a meaningful exhibit hall experience, at least when they aren’t staring at their phones in boredom or in anger that they have no chance of earning commission given the heavily non-decision maker HIMSS attendance. Just don’t let the time get away from you in wandering around. It’s easy to feel like you are networking and learning while high on carpet glue and salesperson cologne, but afterwards realize that it was mostly an illusion.

I’m a contrarian in refusing to schedule meetings with vendor people. Schlepping a mile to their booth can eat up more time than it’s worth. Just show up when you feel like it and risk that you’ll have to talk to a lesser god, knowing that it’s their job to be flexible when a customer or prospect is involved. They’ll find you.

Seek out the little booths in Siberia, or at least stop paying lip service to disruption and innovation if you are embarrassed to be seen in a booth that doesn’t feature an attended espresso bar and foot-deep carpet that’s crawling with glad-handing suits. Visit booths whose size is inversely proportional to the degree of risk your organization historically accepts  — employees of risk-averse health systems (was that redundant?) might as well stick to the main aisles because there’s no way they are buying anything from people in 10×10 booths like I used to pay for.

The exhibit hall is a meat market for people trying to get new jobs. Reason: because it works, especially if you work for a vendor or would like to.

Social Events

I long ago decided that I’m not willing to sacrifice an entire evening jostling around strangers just to earn a couple of beers and to hear the most inoffensively white-bread music imaginable, but that’s just me. Social events abound, and listen closely through the day and you’ll heard about them. Some require a vendor’s invitation and thus a sneaky strategy to obtain one as a non-prospect. Vendor employees aren’t welcome to most events since nobody wants to pay to entertain competitors, which is why HIStalkapalooza was such as success even if it was a huge pain to manage.

I usually skip the HIMSS opening reception because it’s too big, too loud, and too boring, especially when the conference is in Orlando and the entertainers are Disney day-jobbers channeling Cirque du Soleil. Still, it’s like the clock in Grand Central Terminal as being a good place to pre-arrange meeting colleagues on fly-in day, and with the retirement of the old two-drink ticket system, it’s fun to watch ever-louder attendees getting hammered before they’ve even checked in to their hotels.

Don’t do anything that would embarrass your employer if you are wearing  a badge with their name on it. Whether that means behaving or taking your badge off is your call.

The Last Day

I rarely stay for the final day since it’s short and usually pointless, especially since the exhibit hall isn’t open (and HIMSS without the exhibit hall isn’t exactly a thrill ride). However, it’s also a relaxing, no-pressure day and maybe you’re sticking around to avoid the departing masses. I usually enjoy it, although my expectations are modest. It’s tougher to find food venues, though. An even better idea is to take a two-hour drive over to Florida’s west coach beaches and eat a grouper sandwich on a restaurant’s Gulf-front patio, then leave at your leisure over the weekend.

Wear your most obnoxiously casual (and therefore comfortable) clothes on the last day you’re attending. Nobody cares at that point, assuming they ever did, and you may be heading straight to the airport. Now’s the time for shorts, Hawaiian shirts, and sandals since it’s Florida (change into warmer clothes in the bathroom if you’re going home to freezing weather). Plus people might mistake you for an investor — a valuable HIMSS lesson is that the startup guys who need investor money dress look like children whose parents made them dress up for a formal British wedding, while the people who actually have money look like they just popped in from a members-only golf course or a bottomless mimosa breakfast buffet.

Back Home

Don’t be depressed because you think that you or your employer are underachievers compared to the swaggering experts you saw riding the podia or vendor lecterns. Most of those people are harmless blowhards working for organizations that are just as clueless as yours. Being an effective, innovative provider organization in the dysfunctional US healthcare non-system is like being the tallest jockey. You are probably just as effective as anyone else, just less skilled at bragging.

Make up a convincing answer when your boss and co-workers ask you how the conference was. You have to make them think you were working as hard in Orlando as they were back home.

The Part Where I Get Less Cynical

Go home with new energy and commitment. If watching an A-Rod keynote or eating too many exhibit hall pastries does it for you, then that’s your business.

Embrace the diversity of attendees who are young, from other countries, and who consider themselves caregivers first. It wasn’t that way for most of the formative years of HIMSS.

Expect vendors and their employees to be enthusiastic about their products and services. Agree or not, you wouldn’t want them there otherwise.

Perfection is the enemy of good. Don’t get dragged down because EHRs, interoperability, the government, and your employer aren’t perfect. Don’t let anyone convince you that they offer something perfect, either. We are all making it up as we go and nothing about your careers is likely to earn a spot on your tombstone.

Respect the truly remarkable result of HIMSS people who spend years planning every conference so well that you don’t even notice the work involved. Nothing you will see or do happened without a lot of planning, arguing, executing, and monitoring. Every memory you take home was made possible by someone who sweated the details.

Patients make the industry, the conference, and your job possible. Be a good steward of the resources with which you’ve been blessed and always ask yourself, what would patients want? Find another job if it’s just another job.

From HIStalk Readers (add your own comments below)

Set up meetings ahead of time.

Search out patients or patient advocates.

Go to as many educational sessions as you can.

Make the most of interactions – in line, on the bus, while grabbing coffee, when attending sessions. So much of HIMSS is about making connections, sharing interest and becoming engaged with one another and the opportunity to do so is all around you. Follow up with a LinkedIn connection request or a Twitter follow.

Plan for curiosity. HIMSS is hectic and a pre-planned schedule will help you remain focused but do schedule time to be engage with last minute vendors, sessions, conversations that spark your interest.

Let vendors know you want to demo or attend in-booth activities to maximize your time on the show floor. Most vendors offer pre-scheduling tools via email and/or their website to facilitate this; use it.

You’ll miss many things. Sign up for post-HIMSS webinars and seek out blogs for what you missed and insights on this year’s topics- HIStalk of course being among the most useful sources of HIMSS coverage.

Many vendors offer breakfast briefings, lunches and social events, all of which are additional means of expanding your learning and networking without missing educational sessions.

Follow #HIMSS20 across LinkedIn and Twitter.

Attend your HIMSS chapter event.

Hand sanitizer is your friend. Apply frequently and liberally.

It has become a humble-brag for established companies, a hot air balloon ride for smaller ones. I genuinely think they forgot about mid-sized ‘buyers’ along the way, especially end-user doctors. It’s insular, it’s full of self-promoting blow-hards, it really lacks any actual value from almost any perspective.

If you see someone on jeans, they are probably financing most of the ‘cool’ startups you are seeing. People in suits have the real jobs.

As a researcher, just let us all know when you find novel technology that has actually conducted research on the outcomes / benefits of their solution. Because in 14 years of attending, I never once saw actual research, just a bunch of cherry-picked stats provided by a ‘beta’ client that was generously compensated for the data. (and yes, reduced fees for a product is compensation, IMO).

Morning Headlines 2/26/20

February 25, 2020 Headlines No Comments

AMA playbook to aid record-sharing with patients

The American Medical Association releases its Patient Records Electronic Access Playbook, which aims to dispel HIPAA myths and help practices understand their patient records request obligations.

Prepared Health is now Dina

Prepared Health rebrands as Dina, the name it previously used for its digital assistant that analyzes patient assessments from home and makes evidence-based recommendations.

Nuance Announces the General Availability of Ambient Clinical Intelligence

Nuance announces GA of Dragon Ambient Experience (DAX), its “exam room of the future” where “clinical documentation writes itself.”

News 2/26/20

February 25, 2020 News 8 Comments

Top News


The American Medical Association releases its Patient Records Electronic Access Playbook, which aims to dispel HIPAA myths and help practices understand their patient records request obligations. Some points:

  • Physicians must allow patients to connect their health apps to the practice’s EHR.
  • Deploying a patient portal don’t necessarily make a practice HIPAA compliant.
  • Medical images must be provided if they are stored in the practice’s system, even if they originated elsewhere.
  • Practices are required to provide patient information only in the “readily producible” form; they are not obligated to pay an EHR vendor for new capabilities. However, they cannot give paper or PDF copies just because they don’t know how to use available electronic options.
  • EHRs that are certified under 2015 Edition criteria must provide API access, the ability for patients to view and download their information online, and an option to send information via secure email.
  • Practices cannot refuse to send information to a patient via unsecure email or insist that they choose another delivery method, as long as the patient acknowledges the security risk verbally or in writing.
  • Information should not be copied to the patient’s own USB drive because of malware risk.
  • Patients must be given the ability to view, download, and transmit their information within four business days of their request and to receive copies within 30 calendar days (with an optional 30-day renewal). More stringent state laws are common and override HIPAA defaults.
  • Third-party requests, such as those from life insurance companies, are not subject to the HIPAA right of access requirements.
  • Patients can be charged the lessor of state-specified “reasonable” fees or the practice’s actual copying costs, including employee time, media costs, and postage. Practices should not charge a retrieval or records maintenance fee.
  • The report includes forms to calculate the cost of providing medical records copies, a list of state-allowed medical records copying charges, and sample forms for patient requests and the practice’s response.

Reader Comments

From Concerned Vendor: “Re: HIMSS20. Companies across the globe are pulling out of industry conferences. The vendor and provider community needs to put pressure on the HIMSS organizers to cancel or at least postpone HIMSS20.” I don’t think that cancelling HIMSS20 two weeks out is logical, from either a public health or a business point of view. I’ll defer to epidemiologic experts, but avoiding public gatherings and using US border security as a protective moat probably won’t help much (HIMSS says less than 1% of registrants are from countries that are under a travel ban). It’s late in the game to consider cancelling or rescheduling when it’s a domestic trip for the majority of attendees and the odds of problems are low. The conference is the primary money generator for HIMSS; people have already paid for hotel rooms, flights, and other non-refundable travel items; and conferences stay on schedule during much deadlier epidemics, such as the flu. There’s no way HIMSS20 could simply be rescheduled given the years of planning required. HIMSS should:

  • Offer free respiratory masks and perhaps handkerchiefs (exhibitors, there’s your last-minute giveaway idea, especially if you put fun slogans on the masks to make them less ominous). It’s going to be weird to see the convention center full of people whose faces aren’t visible, at least if you aren’t from Asia where masks have been common for a long time, but we’re medical people after all.
  • Put out plenty of handwashing stations and hand sanitizer squirt stands.
  • Encourage attendees to use Ebola-nostalgic fist bumps instead of handshakes.
  • Suggest that immunocompromised registrants consider the possibility of added risk.
  • Make sure people know that medical teams will be on site and hospitals will be on call.
  • Urge attendees to stay in their hotel rooms if they have flu-like symptoms. The good news is that unlike some other infections, transmission risk seems to run parallel with symptom severity, so COVID-19 being spread by people who don’t know they are sick seems unlikely, and few examples of person-to-person transmission have occurred in this country.
  • Avoid checkpoints and mandatory thermometer gun inspections since they don’t work well.
  • Calm everyone down with a reminder that our only majorly deadly communicable disease outbreaks in the past 100+ years US were AIDS in the 1980s and Spanish flu in 1918 (which wiped out a third of the world’s population). Hysterical media coverage aside, swine flu, bird flu, Ebola, SARS, MERS, Zika, etc. were not big killers and have been mostly forgotten. Worry more about interruption of our drug supply chain, which is more driven by China’s steps than ours.

Meanwhile, feel free to cast unpleasant looks at anyone who sneezes or coughs without covering – droplet exposure is the biggest risk. Skip the theme parks if you have global paranoia. The latest sitreps show that we’ve had only a few dozen COVID-19 cases in the US, nearly all of those being returnees from Diamond Princess or recent trips to China, and nobody has died. Meanwhile, the media-unsexy plain old flu has this season caused 29 million US illness episodes, 280,000 hospitalizations, 16,000 deaths, and zero calls to cancel HIMSS20. Perhaps a measured, long-term approach would be to question whether the cost, effort, and carbon footprint involved in dragging people to a specific building to talk about technology (such as remote visits and online digital services, ironically) are worth it even without outbreak threats.


From Illuminati: “Re: Atrium Health. All of Atrium’s primary enterprise (Carolina Medical Center and most of Atrium-owned facilities) have been using Cerner Millennium EMR for years and added Epic revenue cycle about four years ago. That last piece, allowing Atrium to use revenue cycle without Epic clinicals, is unique. It allowed Atrium to buy licenses to all Epic products, implement the full suite in some managed facilities, and then offer it to Navicent. It was also attractive to the full primary enterprise. It’s a big loss for Cerner, but it took a few years and Epic was already more widely deployed on the acute care side than Cerner.”

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

A reader who is a physician, researcher, and professor got last-minute approval to attend the upcoming HIMSS conference as a first-timer. She messaged me for any tips I might have. Your assignment is twofold: (a) send me useful, lesser-known tips — we all know to wear comfortable shoes – of the type that clickbait sites might refer to as “hacks,” especially anything that is pertinent to her specific background; and (b) let me know if you want to extend an invitation to her for whatever velvet ropes you control, be they social or educational, that would enrich her experience. I’ll write up the tips I receive plus my own in the next day or two. I admit that my ego soared in an impostor syndrome kind of way when I saw her wealth of clinical credentials on LinkedIn along with her being in the HIStalk Fan Club group that reader Dann set up forever ago (and noticing that the group has 3,700 members).

Give me some advice here. A reader alerted me to a potential conflict of interest with large, state-funded RFP in which Epic consultants are to be engaged. The health system hired Vendor A in an advisory role to manage the selection, and quite a few of Vendor A’s people were involved in various committees and oversight groups. Some of Vendor A’s employees are actually 1099 contractors who work for other companies that are bidding for the Epic work. Neither Vendor A nor the health system’s compliance department have responded to my inquiries, but my question is this – what line would you draw in describing a situation like this as either unethical or illegal versus just how business works when taxpayer money is involved? I assume (maybe incorrectly) that Vendor A doesn’t have people on the selection team and won’t be allowed to bid on the services work, but is sending the employees of bidding companies on site while wearing Vendor A badges unusual? I’ve seen the bidder list and quite a few companies have a vested interest in the outcome.


March 4 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Tools for Success: How to Increase Clinician Satisfaction with HIT Solutions.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenter: Andrew Kanter, MD, MPH, FACMI, FAMIA, chief medical officer, IMO. Dr. Kanter will explore how striving to achieve the Quadruple Aim (by focusing on the provider experience) can improve clinician satisfaction and population health needs while also reducing per capita healthcare costs. Attendees will learn how to set providers up for success with new technology, the potential unforeseen consequences of purchasing without the clinician in mind, and the factors that are critically important to clinicians who are using new health information systems.

March 4 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Healthcare Digital Marketing: Jump-Start Patient Discovery and Conversion.” Sponsor: Orbita. Presenters: Victoria Petrock, MBA, MLIS, principal analyst, EMarketer; Kristi Ebong, MBA, MPH, SVP of corporate strategy, Orbita. Does your digital front door capture consumers who search for health-related information one billion times each day? Do you have actionable steps to convert them into patients? Do you understand voice and chat virtual assistants? The presenters will explore the consumer challenges involved with finding, navigating, and receiving care, discuss why healthcare marketers need to embrace conversational voice and chatbot technologies, and describe how new technologies such as conversational micro-robots can improve engagement.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Bloomberg Businessweek visits a Walmart Health center in Georgia, which offers a $30 medical checkup, $25 teeth cleaning, and $1 per minute psychological counseling, with prices clearly displayed in the 12-room, 6,500 square foot facility that has its own entrance. Walmart changed direction after opening just 19 Care Clinic urgent care centers because they provide little value, especially for chronic conditions. It accepts insurance, but patients often save money by paying cash given high deductibles and co-pays. Beyond medical, dental, and eye care, the center also performs X-rays, hearing checks, and lab tests. Walmart says patient volume is running above expectations and that it has lowered costs by 40% by reducing “all that administrative baloney,” with one of its doctors saying that paperwork takes her 25% less time than in hospitals.


  • Arizona’s Health Current statewide HIE chooses NextGen Healthcare’s Health Data Hub for sharing and aggregating patient information. It includes clinical content management, an API-first design, a user portal, consent and data protection, and AWS cloud hosting.



Continuous monitoring solutions vendor EarlySense hires John Dragovits (Allscripts) as SVP of strategic partnerships.


Price transparency and provider rating vendor Healthcare Bluebook hires Scott Paddock (GuideWell Connect) as CEO. He replaces founder Jeff Rice, who will become executive chairman.

Announcements and Implementations

Nuance announces GA of Dragon Ambient Experience (DAX), its “exam room of the future” where “clinical documentation writes itself.” Dig deeper by reading my interview with Nuance CTO Joe Petro a few weeks back, including the interesting tidbit – the company got the idea 5-6 years ago from Epic President Carl Dvorak, who “floated the notion of a room being able to listen.”


Prepared Health renames itself to Dina, the name it previously used for its digital assistant that analyzes patient assessments from home and makes evidence-based recommendations. The company is a first-time exhibitor at HIMSS20 and will co-present with Jefferson Health. I interviewed CEO Ashish Shah — who worked a long time at Medicity before co-founding what is now Dina in 2015 —  last year about the concept of “healthcare with no address.”

Medhost adds COVID-19 screening tools to its systems, including travel-related screening questions in its Enterprise EHR and EDIS.

Allscripts announces GA of TouchWorks EHR 20.0.

Waystar launches Hubble, an AI and robotic process automation platform that will reduce the labor required for revenue cycle management. It is being used in 10 of its RCM solutions so far.


Apple and drug company Johnson & Johnson launch a study to see if people on Medicare who use the Apple Watch have a lower risk of stroke via early detection of atrial fibrillation. It’s a two-year study, so expect the same lack of conclusive results that have plagued similar studies because their study group wasn’t representative and dropout rates were high, not to mention that Android phone users are excluded even though they outnumber the IPhone crowd.

Government and Politics


ONC publishes its health IT priorities for research (full report).


CBS runs a flattering, consumer-oriented review of “Epic, the software company that’s changed the sharing of medical records (including, probably, yours.” They got nice shots from a campus visit, interviews and demos from staff, and a rare on-camera extended interview with the “76-year-old genius behind Epic” Judy Faulkner, who “built this curious place in her own curious image.” It’s a decent overview, Judy came across well, and the look back at the era of paper records flying around a hospital via pneumatic tube is fun. Judy also mentioned the “Hey, Epic” voice assistant that the company is developing.


A Twitter war erupts between UK healthcare chatbot and doctor referral vendor Babylon Health and user @DrMurphy11 (oncologist David Watkins, MBBS), who called out problems with its symptom checker that offers advice for chest pain and other conditions. Babylon Health, which was founded by an investment banker, says its “anonymous detractor” (who has since revealed himself) found just 20 serious errors in 2,400 tests in “trying to trick our AI.” Interestingly, the company footnoted its document with its standard warning that “Our AI tools provide information only and do not provide a medical diagnosis, nor are they a substitute for a doctor.” The company has apparently expanded to the US.


Healthcare in America. A Miami guy fresh off a China work trip develops flu-like symptoms and heads to the hospital ED. He asks them to run a flu test first since he had purchased non-ACA (aka “junk”) insurance as allowed by White House policy changes and didn’t want to run up extra charges. The blood draw and nasal swab proved that he had the plain old flu. He then received a bill for $1,400 from his insurance company, which discounted the hospital’s charge of $3,270 on the condition that he provide three years’ worth of medical records to prove that his flu wasn’t a pre-existing condition. Meanwhile, the hospital says more bills are headed his way but couldn’t explain when or for what (like $3,270 wasn’t enough for a couple of low-cost items). The big finish is this – he works for a medical device company that doesn’t offer its health insurance to its employees.

Sponsor Updates


  • Kyruus team members help out at Cradles to Crayons Massachusetts.
  • Avaya wins the 2020 Channel Influencer Award from Channel Partners and Channel Futures.
  • CoverMyMeds will exhibit at the 2020 American Glaucoma Society Annual Meeting February 27-March 1 in Washington, DC.

Blog Posts

Sponsor Spotlight


At CloudWave, we’re on your team. It’s your mission to provide the technology and tools your caregivers need to delivery quality care. That’s our mission, too. CloudWave helps hospitals bring public, private, and cloud edge resources together into a single operating environment with hosting, disaster recovery, security, backup, and archiving services. Let us help you fulfill the promise technology makes to healthcare – by enabling and empowering the delivery of care to your community. (Sponsor Spotlight is free for HIStalk Platinum sponsors).



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


Morning Headlines 2/25/20

February 24, 2020 Headlines No Comments

Verizon and Emory Healthcare light up nation’s first 5G healthcare lab

Emory Healthcare will use 5G capabilities supplied by Verizon to help its Healthcare Innovation Hub partners develop connected ambulances, remote physical therapy, and next-generation medical imaging.

National health information technology priorities for research: A policy and development agenda

ONC publishes its policy and development agenda for better enabling healthcare research through the use of healthcare IT.

Sharecare acquires Visualize Health to drive better patient outcomes

Digital health engagement company Sharecare acquires Visualize Health, which offers quality reporting, practice analytics, and value-based care program management.

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 2/24/20

February 24, 2020 Dr. Jayne 2 Comments

A new report from the UPMC Center for Connected Medicine finds that only four in 10 providers feel that digital technology is being successfully integrated into the overall patient experience. The team at UPMC surveyed more than 130 health systems and found that many of them are experiencing challenges around the costs associated with purchasing, implementing, and maintaining digital tools. Integration remains a concern due to interoperability issues with third-party applications. Unsurprisingly, organizations are ranking patient engagement tools as high priority projects and hope they will assist with major clinical initiatives such as chronic disease management.

According to Katie Scott, vice-president of digital strategy and innovation, UPMC Enterprises, “Patients now assume they’ll have the same digital experience in healthcare that they get everywhere else in their lives, and they’re dissatisfied when we don’t deliver. Increasingly, if hospitals and health systems can’t provide a feature-rich and seamless digital experience for their patients, those individuals are going to look elsewhere for care.”

Based on recent experiences with two patient portals, I can’t say I disagree. One of the portals took me in circles as I tried to figure out what was going on with a bill for a date of service that occurred more than eight months ago. Apparently the organization’s Division of Ophthalmology follows billing rules from some other universe, and according to the folks I had to call for help, these delayed bills are pretty much routine.

The other one allowed me to access data from two practices, both of which had different access settings for my information. While one practice had shared full office notes and lots of discrete data to the portal, the other only had lab results, but there were no annotations on the results. I ended up clicking dozens of links trying to figure out what my blood pressure might have been running over the last couple of years, and ultimately wound up with two useful data points and a lot of frustration. Although more than 80% of organizations cite the patient portals as one of the top three currently implemented technologies, it’s unclear how much benefit patients and practices are truly receiving from them.

The UPMC Center for Connected Medicine is a joint venture between UPMC, GE Healthcare, and Nokia. Other findings of the survey include: more than 75% of organizations are offering at least one digital health tool to patients, with 25% offering four or more tools; of the quarter of organizations who haven’t deployed digital health tools, 97% of them have plans to do so; half of respondents labeled digital tools as critical or high priority, with larger organizations more apt to call them critical; and less than one-third of organizations agreed that their organizations are able to deliver a digital experience that is “on par with the best digital consumer experience.”

There have been a couple of articles discussing the results of the report, and all of them focus on the perceived advantages held by organizations that are leading with digital health tools. They also predict that organizations that don’t embrace digital tools will be left behind as patients vote with their feet to move to organizations with a more seamless experience.

This reminds me of how hospitals were behaving years ago as they all competed based on their beautiful birthing suites, on-demand dining, and bedside entertainment systems. They may have gotten people to look twice, but I’m not sure it really made a difference in how patients selected their hospitals,since often that decision is driven by insurance contracts or where physicians have chosen to be on staff.

As patients have become consumers and people are increasingly sensitive to the cost of healthcare, I’d like to propose a new paradigm in hospital competition. Rather than pushing for just price transparency and infection rates, let’s get some real competition. Let’s get hospitals to publish their data on accurate billing, clean claims, and responsiveness to patient inquiries. In addition to your wait time in the emergency department, what is your wait time when you have to call about a bill from six months ago that finally dropped? How quickly can you deliver medical records upon request? How do your score on the ability to deliver those records in the format patients want?

Let’s create some metrics for care team communication with families, adequate discharge planning, and appropriate end-of-life decisions and get them circulating in the community. As far as other metrics, how quickly does someone answer the patient call light/bell, and how efficiently can someone help an elderly or immobilized patient to the bathroom? Let’s get that metric up on a billboard just like the emergency department wait times.

For anyone who has ever been an inpatient or had to closely take care of a hospitalized family member, let’s add some other ones like timeliness of medication administration, the percentage of time that handwashing is done properly, and the speed with which staff can silence or otherwise address the alarm on an IV pump.

I’m now at the point in my career where I’ve spent more time as a clinical informaticist than I did as a “regular” physician, and trust me, I do love the technology side of things. But as we are with so many things in our society, we’re focused on the wrong things. Is digital technology just a distraction from other issues? Are we trying to use it as a proxy for the actual healthcare that our patients deserve? Do patients really want an interactive, immersive experience or do they just want to get out of the hospital without a hospital-acquired infection? Do they really need online bill pay or would they be much happier with a bill that was simply understandable and accurate?

I’m curious what others think about this and what your organization’s relative spend is on digital patient engagement versus what many of us would consider the staples of running a healthcare organization. Do you spend more on technology than infection control? How does it compare to salaries for nursing staff and other critical patient care resources? Are we just experiencing the healthcare equivalent of bread and circuses? Leave a comment or email me.


Email Dr. Jayne.

Morning Headlines 2/24/20

February 23, 2020 Headlines No Comments

Strategy on Reducing Burden Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs

HHS and ONC publish “Strategy on Reducing Regulatory and Administrative Burdens Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs,” meeting the requirement of the 21st Century Cures Act that HHS address government-imposed burdens on EHR use.

Queen’s notifies 2,900 patients their medical information was inadvertently shared

Queen’s Health Systems (HI) notifies 2,900 patients that their information was exposed by an employee who emailed an attachment to the wrong address.

MO HealthNet receives $9.3 million to help hospitals and providers electronically connect patient information

The MO HealthNet HIE will use $9.3 million in federal funding to develop a Provider Health Information Exchange Onboarding Program, which will subsidize connection and subscription fees for member providers.

MTBC Announces Telehealth Division, Appoints Leadership Team to Drive Growth

Health IT vendor MTBC launches a telehealth division and announces its three-member leadership team.

Monday Morning Update 2/24/20

February 23, 2020 News No Comments

Top News


HHS and ONC publish “Strategy on Reducing Regulatory and Administrative Burdens Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs,” meeting the requirement of the 21st Century Cures Act that HHS address government-imposed burdens on EHR use.

HHS was looking at strategies that could be achieved in 3-5 years and that HHS could implement under its existing or expanded authority or as a influencer.

I noted these specific items, although it’s not clear how HHS and ONC see themselves being  involved beyond calling out the status quo as undesirable:

  • Use existing EHR data to reduce re-documentation and work with stakeholders to promote clinical documentation best practices.
  • Streamline the prior authorization process via standardized templates, data elements, and transactions.
  • Improve EHR usability by aligning design to clinical workflow, improving the usability of clinical decision support, and improving the presentation of clinical data.
  • Harmonize basic clinical operation across EHRs.
  • Standardize medication information and order entry displays.
  • Optimize end user log-on.
  • Simplify scoring of the Promoting Interoperability performance category.
  • Standardize data mapping across systems and implement a standards-based API approach for HHS’s electronic administrative systems.
  • Consider a first-year test reporting approach for new ECQM clinical quality measures.
  • Improve interoperability between health IT and state PDMP programs.
  • Increase electronic prescribing of controlled substances.

CMS Administration Seema Verma said in announcing the report, “The taxpayers made a massive investment in EHRs with the expectation that it would solve the many issues that plagued paper-bound health records. Unfortunately, as this report shows, in all too many cases, the cure has been worse than the disease. Twenty years into the 21st century, it’s unacceptable that the application of health IT still struggles to provide ready access to medical records,  access that might mean the difference between life and death. The report’s recommendations provide valuable guidance on how to minimize EHR burden as we seek to fulfill the promise of an interoperable health system.”

Reader Comments

From No More Tangles: “Re: Atrium Health. It’s a bigger deal than the commenter says, pretty much a rip-and-replace. They are Cerner’s first and largest hosted customer and this was a big decision for them even beyond acquiring Wake Forest. They are almost entirely Cerner, with some miscellaneous Meditech and old McKesson. They were using Epic only for professional billing in a subset of their physician practices. Navicent also had an urgency to move and passed on Cerner for their long-term future and chose Epic.” Atrium Health released its 2019 financial report last week that showed a $284 million profit on $7.49 billion in operating revenue (not including that of its regional partners) and CEO compensation of $7.25 million.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

We’re in that pre-HIMSS quiet period, where companies – wisely or not – hold their announcements for opening day, when they are likely to get lost among the others. It will therefore be light reading today.

HIStalk sponsors sent some cool write-ups for my HIMSS guide – descriptions of what their company does, what they will be demonstrating, fun giveaways and donations to charities, and in-booth events such as whiskey tastings, happy hours, podcasts, presentations, and Google Cloud’s “Build with a Googler.” I’ll make a downloadable PDF shortly.  I’ve done zero prep for the conference, but I’m starting this weekend by making a list of booths I want to visit from this list of 60 or so. You can text me during the conference at 615.433.5294.

Lorre wants to spice up our webinar calendar with new entries, so contact her and you’ll get a pre-HIMSS deal. Another sponsor thing I just remembered: fill out the form to be featured in my reader-requested Sponsor Spotlight. Hey, it’s free, so why wouldn’t you?


Most poll respondents have little faith in organizations keeping their health information private, but some trust medical practices and health systems.

New poll to your right or here: What would most entice you to interact with a HIMSS exhibitor that you don’t know much about?


March 4 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Tools for Success: How to Increase Clinician Satisfaction with HIT Solutions.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenter: Andrew Kanter, MD, MPH, FACMI, FAMIA, chief medical officer, IMO. Dr. Kanter will explore how striving to achieve the Quadruple Aim (by focusing on the provider experience) can improve clinician satisfaction and population health needs while also reducing per capita healthcare costs. Attendees will learn how to set providers up for success with new technology, the potential unforeseen consequences of purchasing without the clinician in mind, and the factors that are critically important to clinicians who are using new health information systems.

March 4 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Healthcare Digital Marketing: Jump-Start Patient Discovery and Conversion.” Sponsor: Orbita. Presenters: Victoria Petrock, MBA, MLIS, principal analyst, EMarketer; Kristi Ebong, MBA, MPH, SVP of corporate strategy, Orbita. Does your digital front door capture consumers who search for health-related information one billion times each day? Do you have actionable steps to convert them into patients? Do you understand voice and chat virtual assistants? The presenters will explore the consumer challenges involved with finding, navigating, and receiving care, discuss why healthcare marketers need to embrace conversational voice and chatbot technologies, and describe how new technologies such as conversational micro-robots can improve engagement.

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



World Wide Technology promotes Justin Collier, MD to chief healthcare advisor.

Privacy and Security

Queen’s Health Systems (HI) notifies 2,900 patients that their information was exposed by an employee who emailed an attachment to the wrong address.


A health reporter for The Atlantic writes up “the Uber for BS” of corporate buzzwords, calling out “stakeholders,” deep dives,” “optics,” “growth hacking,” “value-add,” and “synergy. She quotes an author who says people use buzzwords for the same reason they wear ties or Ann Taylor clothes to the office – to tell the world they are working. An anthropologist takes a more cynical view, saying that people use buzzwords when they aren’t really doing anything. Stay tuned for the HISsies “most overused buzzword winner – will it be “artificial intelligence,” “social determinants of health,” “cloud,” or “disruption?” I’ll circle back shortly after I’ve leveraged consensus in preparation for moving the needle among thought leaders.




Larry Tesler, who invented such computer functions as cut-copy-paste and search-replace in the early GUI days at Xerox, is Control-X’ed at 74.

Sponsor Updates

  • Meditech adds Staff Gateway, a Web-based HR solution portal, to its Human Resources Planning solution.
  • Clinical Computer Systems, developer of the Obix Perinatal Data System, will exhibit at the Kaleidoscope Conference February 24 in Houston.
  • OmniSys will exhibit at the PDS Super Conference February 27-29 in Orlando.
  • EHealth Radio features StayWell President Pearce Fleming.
  • Vocera celebrates 20 years of innovation.
  • Spok creates an infographic titled “3 Challenges That Affect Care Team Well-Being.”

Blog Posts



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


HIStalk’s Guide to HIMSS20

February 21, 2020 Uncategorized No Comments

Access EForms


Booth 3071

Contact: Cody Strate, VP of marketing

Access EForms converts frustrating, paper-based forms into Epic/Cerner/Meditech-integrated and tablet-enabled EForms that patients electronically sign. We’re a Meditech partner, and our technology powers Cerner’s new “Cerner Forms Suite.”    At HIMSS, we will put a particular focus on the paper-based informed consent problem that causes expensive delays/cancellations in the OR, frustrates the surgical team, and makes for a very poor patient experience. Our paperless, EHR-integrated Informed Consent solution feels like an inherent part of your clinician’s EHR experience, which promotes user adoption. In the end, we eliminate the paper, we reduce OR delays and cancellations, we improve the lives of the surgical team, and we improve the patient experience. Stop by booth 3071 and we’ll show you what’s possible with eliminating your difficult, paper-based processes.

Agfa Healthcare


Booth 3745

Contact: Miriam Ladin, director, marketing and communications – North America

We at Agfa HealthCare believe that the ability to optimize resources through a consolidated imaging management platform will become a competitive advantage for our clients. The CIO and IT functions typically support as many as 70 distinct  service lines that capture and consume medical imaging. Learn how to reduce complexity with a converged single platform technology and bring order and value to these disparate systems, workflows, and behaviors across the enterprise. We believe that consolidated clinical alignment will better enable high-impact, data-driven, cost-conscious care, compared to the complexity of maintaining multiple and redundant systems.

Visit Agfa HealthCare to discuss how to create a controlled environment for managing and sharing images, including a secure, single sign-on framework that provides context-controlled and audited access to data. The genuine, standards-based consolidation platform facilitates security hardening, thus reducing multiple points of security failure. Single platform technology arguably enables your team to guard fewer gates. Enterprise imaging enables accurate attribution of metadata to episodes of care, providing actionable information and a trail of documentation for use in revenue and risk mitigation gains. With patient safety in the forefront of quality care delivery, easy access to secure and accurate patient data becomes a necessity to clinical and fiscal excellence. Support busy clinicians with clinical confidence in the records they view and drive both their productivity and satisfaction.

Learn how to reduce complexity and TCO while you enjoy the virtual reality (VR) video experience in our Virtual Reality Lounge. Enter to win your own Oculus VR headset in booth 3745.

Black Book Market Research


To arrange a meeting, contact Doug Brown.

Contact: Doug Brown, president



Booth 2487

Contact: Ryan Hill, marketing manager

Bluetree was named the top-ranked Epic Systems Strategy, Support, & Implementations firm according to Black Book Market Research in August 2019. If you visit Bluetree’s booth this year and fill out a leaf, the National Forest Foundation will plant one tree in your name or your organization’s name. One daily grand prize winner will receive 100 trees planted in their name.


To arrange a meeting, contact Ray Costantini.

Contact: Ray Costantini, CEO and co-founder

Founded in 2014 and based in Portland, OR, is a leading healthcare automation company dedicated to modernizing direct-to-patient telehealth for healthcare systems with its AI-powered virtual-care platform, SmartExam. partners with premier healthcare organizations in North America, including three of the top five not-for-profit health systems in the United States. These partners offer SmartExam to more than 10 million patients who are seeking convenient urgent and primary care online. has been named the Leader in the “Forrester New Wave: Virtual Care Solutions for Digital Health” report, a Gartner Cool Vendor in Healthcare, a Vendor to Watch by Chilmark Research, and is the preferred choice of Avia’s Virtual Access cohort. is venture-backed by B Capital Group, Seven Peaks Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Oregon Venture Fund, and the Stanford-StartX Fund. For more information, visit

Capsule Technologies


Booth 2441

Contact: Sam Larson, head of global marketing

Capsule continues ‘making the complex simple and the simple insightful.’ Whether you’re considering unlocking the power of medical device data to automate clinical documentation workflows in critical care for the first time, interested in simplifying patient vitals acquisition and utilization for overloaded med-surg staff, or investigating ways to identify at-risk patients sooner hospital-wide, we can help you make change happen. Stop by our booth and speak directly with a representative to find out how our new Capsule Medical Device Information Platform can make the complex simple and simple insightful for your facility. The Capsule Medical Device Information Platform captures and contextualizes clinical data, providing real-time patient information that can facilitate early intervention and enable better clinical outcomes.



Booth 8200, kiosk 8200-45 and Booth 680, kiosk 680-09

Contact: Jason Roche, director, marketing

With 10 peer-reviewed publications, CareSignal is an evidence-based, remote patient monitoring platform without the headache of devices or apps. Standardized, automated text messages scale patient engagement and monitoring, collecting real-time patient-reported health data to prioritize patient intervention.

We will be raffling off hundreds of dollars worth of Visa gift cards each day for those who visit the booth and complete the demo.

CareSignal will co-host a CIO Reception Monday, March 9 from 5-7pm at Urban Tide in the Hyatt Regency Orlando. RSVP here.

The Chartis Group


To arrange a meeting, contact Gregg Mohrmann.

Contact: Gregg Mohrmann, director and Informatics & Technology Practice co-leader

Chartis provides comprehensive advisory services and analytics to the healthcare industry. With an unparalleled depth of expertise in strategic planning, performance excellence, informatics and technology, and health analytics, Chartis helps leading healthcare organizations achieve transformative results. Connect with us at HIMSS to learn about some of the results our clients have achieved in these, among other, areas: 

  • Using technology-enabled innovation to unlock new potential and accelerate digital transformation. 
  • Using ERP to improve margin, cost, satisfaction, and differentiation.
  • Harnessing the power of data and analytics. 
  • Leveraging the EHR to improve cost, quality, outcomes, and satisfaction. 
  • Ensuring IT, as a strategic partner, delivers high impact and high value.

CI Security


Booth 413

Contact: Vivian Zhou, healthcare program director

CI Security protects and defends healthcare organizations from cyber threats with HIPAA-compliant Managed Detection and Response solutions and expert consulting services. CI Security was founded by the CISO of a major city and a co-author of the HIPAA Security Rule because they saw a need for cybersecurity solutions built to protect and defend critical services, patient care, and protected data. Ten years later, CI Security is the MDR leader proven in healthcare, and has been recognized in Gartner Research’s Guide for Managed Detection and Response Services in 2018 and 2019. Hospitals and clinics trust CI Security to monitor networks 24/7, protect patient care and EPHI, and manage risk in a rapidly evolving cyber threat landscape. Find out more at

Clinical Architecture


Booth 1629

Contact: John Wilkinson, EVP, sales and partnerships

Clinical Architecture was founded in 2007 by industry veterans, clinicians, and informatics experts to deliver innovative solutions that maximize the effectiveness of healthcare. We work with industry-leading organizations, four of the top five health systems, leading EHR/HIE vendors, the Joint Commission, the CDC, and others to solve challenges around healthcare data quality, interoperability, and clinical documentation. Visit our booth (1629) to find out who the Informonster is, pose for a picture with him, and grab a stuffed version of the Informonster to take home with you.



Booth 1021

Contact: Bryan Blood, EVP, sales

CloudWave is the healthcare cloud transformation company. We create solutions that embrace the full cloud continuum – from the Cloud Edge, to managed private cloud services in our OpSus Healthcare Cloud, to seamless federation with public cloud services. CloudWave’s focused portfolio of OpSus Healthcare Cloud services includes hosting over 100 healthcare applications, disaster recovery, systems management, security, backup, and archiving services. CloudWave architects healthcare IT solutions with the goal of operational sustainability. Our engineers and consultants have long-standing, successful track records designing and implementing solutions for hospitals. For more information, please visit

Collective Medical


Booth 8200-31 

Contact: Wayne Grodsky, chief revenue officer

Collective Medical empowers care teams to improve patient outcomes by closing the communication gaps that undermine patient care. With a nationwide network engaged with every national health plan in the country, hundreds of hospitals and health systems, and tens of thousands of providers, Collective’s system-agnostic platform is trusted by care teams to identify at-risk and complex patients and facilitate actionable collaboration to make better care decisions and improve outcomes. Based in Salt Lake City, Collective is proven to streamline transitions of care, improve coordination across diverse care teams, and reduce medically unnecessary hospital admissions. Learn more at

CompuGroup Medical


To arrange a meeting, contact Tillmann Schwabe.

Contact: Tillmann Schwabe, VP of sales, CGM US

CompuGroup Medical is one of the leading e-health companies in the world. With a revenue base of approximately EUR 717 million in 2018, its software products are designed to support all medical and organizational activities in doctors’ offices, pharmacies, laboratories, and hospitals. Its information services for all parties involved in the healthcare system and its Web-based personal health records contribute toward safer and more efficient healthcare. CompuGroup Medical’s services are based on a unique customer base of more than 1 million health professionals including doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and other service providers in inpatient and outpatient facilities. With locations in 19 countries and products in 56 countries worldwide, CompuGroup Medical is the e-health company with one of the highest coverage among e-health service providers. More than 5,500 highly qualified employees support customers with innovative solutions for the steadily growing demands of the healthcare system. For more information, please visit



Booth 7950

Contact: Mark Mosebrook, senior director, EHR business development

Leading technology-enabled pharmaceutical services company that simplifies how patients get on and stay on complex medications. We work with biopharmaceutical manufacturers, EHRs, pharmacy systems, and others to help patients afford medications, increase adherence, and simplify the patient-provider experience. We do this by leveraging our technology-enabled services to accelerate speed-to-therapy, and by expertly navigating the complexities in accessing innovative therapies and improving outcomes. Based on our experience pioneering co-pay programs, managing awareness/adherence communications, and establishing a state-of-the-art hub service, we help customers overcome barriers to access and use so patients can experience better health. Visit us at booth 7950 to learn how we touch each critical stage of the patient journey.

Culbert Healthcare Solutions


To arrange a meeting, contact Brad Boyd.

Contact: Brad Boyd, president

Culbert Healthcare Solutions provides high-value, professional services focused on improving clinical, operational, and revenue cycle performance and the overall patient experience. Our experienced healthcare professionals help group practices and hospitals optimize technology and navigate the change-management process. For more information about Culbert Healthcare Solutions, visit

Cumberland Consulting Group


To arrange a meeting, contact Praneet Nirmul.

Contact: Praneet Nirmul, partner

Cumberland is a leading healthcare consulting and services firm providing strategic advisory consulting services, IT professional services, and outsourced managed services to clients in the payer, provider, and life sciences markets. We deliver solutions that advance the business of healthcare. Our comprehensive suite of services includes:

  • Advisory and IT strategy.
  • System selection.
  • M&A support.
  • Systems implementation.
  • Systems optimization and upgrades.
  • Application service desk.
  • Advanced maintenance support.
  • Advanced application support.
  • IT service desk.
  • Legacy systems support.

For more information on Cumberland, visit

Diameter Health

diameter health

Booth 7461

Contact: Tom Gaither, VP of marketing

Diameter Health identifies and fixes systemic clinical data quality issues so you can put clinical data to work to improve care and lower costs. Diameter Health automatically turns clinical information into a structured, clinical data asset optimized for use in downstream applications. Built on a foundation of hundreds of millions of patient records, deep clinical expertise, and adherence to national standards, our scalable, API-driven technology is the critical success factor for clinical data integration. Diameter Health will be part of a use case demonstration in the Da Vinci booth, 7972. Diameter Health President and Chief Strategy Officer John D’Amore and Health Current CIO Keith Parker will present “How to Tame Your Data Dragon: A Statewide Approach” on Wednesday, March 11, from 10–11am. Visit Diameter Health’s website and check out our video testimonials.

Direct Recruiters

direct recruiters

To arrange a meeting, contact Frank Myeroff.

Contact: Frank Myeroff, managing partner

For over 37 years, Direct Recruiters has been recognized as the relationship-focused search firm that assists top-tier organizations with recruiting, acquiring, and retaining high-impact talent for mission-critical positions. Direct Recruiters services clients across North America and has years of experience placing candidates internationally. What does relationship-focused mean to us? We get to know you, we have in-depth knowledge of your industry, and we understand our candidates, helping you make the right decisions that will positively impact your organization.



Booth 4071

Contact: Auna Emery, director of marketing communications

As a nationwide leader in healthcare connectivity, Ellkay has been committed to enabling interoperability for more than 15 years. With connectivity to over 50,000 practices across over 700 EHR/PM systems, Ellkay builds the data pipeline for hospitals, health systems, practices, EHR/PM systems, laboratories, payers, HIEs, ACOs, and other healthcare organizations. At HIMSS, Ellkay will demonstrate its innovative connectivity solutions. Ellkay is hosting happy hour at its booth, 4071, on Tuesday and Wednesday from 4-6pm.



Booth 1585

Contact: Rich Robinson, director of marketing

With more than 20 years of experience solving the most complex IT challenges, Engage is an innovative IT services and consulting company with exceptional expertise in Meditech Expanse and other supporting technologies. With a unique IT delivery model, Engage has a proven history of delivering projects on time and within budget. Engage provides EHR and ERP implementation and optimization, support, cloud-hosting services (private, public, and hybrid) and consulting to more than 170 hospitals and clinics across the US. By developing long-term relationships, Engage helps customers achieve impressively high EHR adoption and satisfaction rates, along with reduced risks and total cost of ownership. Visit for more information. Visit us at booth 1585. Also, stop by our Bourbon Tasting with Pure Storage Tuesday and Wednesday from 3-5pm at booth 1529.

Ettain Group


To arrange a meeting, contact Dawn Wasson.

Contact: Dawn Wasson, senior marketing and communications manager

Ettain group is the talent solutions company that delivers recruitment solutions and managed solutions in five practice areas – technology, healthcare IT, digital, professional, and government. Ettain health, a division of Ettain group, is led by business, technology, and clinical experts with deep expertise to support our customers in selecting, implementing, and optimizing their IT investments. We are committed to providing customized solutions and connecting talent to meet the critical needs of healthcare customers nationwide. With expertise across Epic, Cerner, Meditech (certified Meditech Expanse consulting firm), and other majors EHRs, Ettain health is the partner you can trust to provide expertise and deliver and manage top talent across the full spectrum of healthcare IT projects.

First Databank


Booth 2559

Contact: David Manin, senior director of marketing

FDB is the leading provider of drug and medical device knowledge that helps healthcare professionals make precise decisions. With thousands of customers worldwide, FDB enables our information system developer partners to deliver valuable, useful, and differentiated solutions. We offer more than four decades of experience in transforming medical knowledge into actionable, targeted, and effective solutions that help improve patient safety, operational efficiency, and healthcare outcomes. For a complete look at our solutions and services, please visit

HIMSS Highlights:

  • FDB CDS Analytics – Introducing a new solution to evaluate and improve the efficacy of clinical decision support for meds and beyond.    
  • FDB Specialty Pharmacy Module – Interactive scripts – Coming in 2020 to Epic’s Coordinated Care Management.
  • Lehigh Valley Health Network Case Study – LVHN successfully leverages hyperkalemia and pharmacogenomics-related decision support content in FDB Targeted Medication Warnings.
  • Session: Friday, March 13 at 10:45am in room W300.
  • Meducation Receives Cerner Award – FDB’s SMART on FHIR app wins Cerner Open Developer Experience (code) Program Member Adoption Award.   
  • FDB Drug Info Now in Amazon Alexa – Drug information authored specifically for Alexa now provides answers to consumers’ medication questions.   
  • Wine Reception and $1,000 Amazon Gift Card Raffle – Join us for a glass of wine and a chance to win $1,000 Wednesday, March 11, from 4:30-6pm in booth 2559.

Get-to-Market Health


To arrange a meeting, contact Steve Shihadeh.

Contact: Steve Shihadeh, CEO and founder

Get-to-Market Health is a specialized consultancy focused exclusively on accelerating sales and driving revenue growth for our healthcare technology clients. We work with business leaders to simplify the complexity and unique buying patterns of the healthcare technology market. We help our clients overcome the challenges they face as they work to drive revenue and market innovation. We bring deep, broad experience and valuable network connections across multiple levels of the healthcare technology industry. The partners at Get-to-Market Health are industry experts, having worked at and with dozens of healthcare technology businesses ranging from small startups to large, established companies. We’ve helped private, seed stage, VC-backed, PE-owned, and public companies develop successful teams in all major commercial disciplines.

HBI Solutions


To arrange a meeting, contact Laura Kanov.

Contact: Laura Kanov, SVP, product strategy

HBI Solutions, a precision health analytics company, provides machine learning as a service to better predict, prevent, and personalize treatment before a condition becomes acute, chronic, and costly. Additionally, our acute surveillance and transition risk solutions help hospitals and health systems identify and mitigate event and utilization risk to reduce costs and improve outcomes. Come visit us in the InterSystems booth, 3301.

The HCI Group


Booth 4467

Contact: Chris Parry, VP of business and talent development

The HCI Group is a global leader in healthcare digital transformation. We are committed to improving healthcare globally through a combination of disruptive innovation, design thinking, and cost optimization. HCI offers a broad scope of digital transformation solutions in nearly 20 countries in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific. Join us on Tuesday and Wednesday at 11am and 3:30pm at booth 4467 for insightful and practical 20-minute talks with Ed Marx. He’ll share a digital transformation model with expert guests who have helped cross-industry organizations around the globe with world-class human-centered and physical design.



To arrange a meeting, contact Brenna Davis.

Contact: Brenna Davis, marketing manager

HCTec is the trusted partner to more than 250 hospitals and healthcare systems across the US for highly specialized health IT staffing, project-based consulting, and application managed services support. With HCTec’s HIT solutions, hospitals are able to reduce operating costs, improve quality, and optimize labor forces.

Health Catalyst


Booth 2428

Contact: Sarah Stokes, marketing director, events

Health Catalyst is a next-generation data, analytics, and decision-support company committed to achieving massive, sustained improvements in healthcare outcomes. We are the leaders in a new era of advanced predictive analytics for population health and value-based care with a suite of machine learning-driven solutions, decades of outcomes-improvement expertise, and an unparalleled ability to unleash and integrate data from across the healthcare ecosystem. Visit us at booth 2428 to see how the Health Catalyst Data Operating System (DOS) — a next-generation data warehouse and application development platform powered by data from more than 100 million patients and encompassing over 1 trillion facts — can help improve your organization’s quality, add efficiency, and lower costs.

Healthcare Growth Partners


Booth 4490

Contact: Christopher McCord, managing director

Healthcare Growth Partners (HGP) is an exceptionally experienced investment banking and strategic advisory firm exclusively focused on the transformational health IT market. We unlock value for our clients through our Sell-Side Advisory, Buy-Side Advisory, Capital Advisory, and Pre-Transaction Growth Strategy services, functioning as the exclusive investment banking advisor to over 100 health IT transactions representing over $2 billion in value since 2007. With our focus, we deliver knowledgeable, honest, and customized guidance to select clients looking to execute high-value health IT, health information services, and digital health transactions.



Booth 2079

Contact: Dawn Burke, director of marketing
608.561.1844 x17

Healthfinch develops Charlie, the healthcare industry’s most trusted, most used prescription renewal delegation engine. Charlie’s unique combination of EHR-integrated technology and protocol content enables health systems across the country to deliver a better, safer patient experience while also achieving lower rates of provider burnout, improved quality metrics, and significant time and cost savings. Learn more at or at booth 2079.

Stop by anytime during exhibit hall hours to see a demo and get a “Charlie the Healthfinch” plush! Healthfinch will also host an in-booth happy hour at booth 2079 on Tuesday, March 10 from 4-6pm. RSVP for the happy hour here.



Booth 2533

Contact: Jim Watkins, VP

Healthwise has set the standard for patient education since 1975. Nonprofit and independent, we’re a trusted resource for health content, technology, and services. Discover new ways to connect with your patients and save your clinicians time. Stop by booth 2533 to learn how.  

  • Explore new longitudinal programs that digitally connect patients with education resources for critical health interactions, saving care teams time and strengthening patient engagement.  
  • See how savvy healthcare marketers are using plug-and-play health education to create rich digital experiences for patients in less than half the time it used to take.    
  • Preview how industry-leading medical illustrators are using 3-D animation to bring medical concepts to life in a way that’s engaging and easy to understand.

Hyland Healthcare


Booth 2759

Contact: Megan Phelps, global programs manager

Hyland Healthcare provides connected healthcare solutions that harness unstructured content from all corners of the enterprise and link it to core clinical and business applications such as EHRs and ERP systems. Hyland Healthcare offers a full suite of content services and enterprise imaging solutions, bringing documents, medical images, and other clinically rich data to the healthcare stakeholders that need it most. This comprehensive view of patient information accelerates business processes, streamlines clinical workflows, and improves clinical decision making.

Join us for daily happy hours in our booth from 5-6pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, and from 3-4 pm on Thursday. Enter our drawing for a chance to win Apple AirPods.

Impact Advisors


To arrange a meeting, contact Keith MacDonald.

Contact: Keith MacDonald, VP and client relationship executive

Impact Advisors is a nationally-recognized healthcare consulting firm that is solving some of the toughest challenges in the industry by delivering strategic advisory, technology implementation, and performance-improvement services. Our comprehensive suite of digital health, clinical optimization, and revenue cycle services spans the lifecycle of our clients’ needs. Our experienced team has a powerful combination of clinical, revenue, operations, consulting, and IT experience. The firm has earned a number of prestigious industry and workplace awards, including Best in KLAS for 12 consecutive years; Healthcare Informatics HCI 100; Crain’s Chicago Business Fast Fifty; as well as “Best Place to Work” awards from: Modern Healthcare, Consulting Magazine, Becker’s Hospital Review, and Achievers. For more information about Impact Advisors, visit

Legacy Data Access


Booth 1473

Contact: John Hanggi, director, business development

Running old applications just to get to the data? STOP – We need to talk! For organizations retiring or replacing healthcare systems, Legacy Data Access offers the industry’s most comprehensive set of software tools and solutions for working with data from retired systems. Our solutions provide comprehensive functionality for the storage, access, management, and reporting of retired healthcare data. No time-consuming, labor-intensive, and risk-filled data conversions are required. The data is seamlessly accessible in its original format, with no loss of detail or integrity. Please visit us to discuss how we have successfully retired 304 different healthcare applications – a total of 863 applications.

Giveaways include key chains and the best dark chocolate in the exhibit hall. Drop a card for a chance to win one of three AirPod Pros.



Booth 2131

Contact: Brian Grant, senior director, marketing

Medhost has been providing products and services to healthcare facilities of all types and sizes for over 35 years. Today, more than 1,000 healthcare facilities nationwide partner with Medhost and are enhancing their patient care and operational excellence with its clinical and financial solutions including an integrated EHR. Additionally, its unparalleled support and hosting solutions make it easy for healthcare facilities to focus on what’s important – their patients and business.

At HIMSS 2020, Medhost will showcase its comprehensive and cloud-based technology solutions that include but are not limited to EHR, EDIS, general financials and revenue cycle solutions and services, patient engagement, and ambulatory integration solutions.

Giveaway: Thought Leaders Wanted! Visit Medhost at booth 2131 and record a podcast with us. For each podcast recorded, we will give away a $25 gift card. Sign up for a 15- to 25-minute slot today and share you expertise about HIT and the healthcare environment in a guided interview.



Booth 3128

Contact: Stephanie Fraser, director of communications and media relations

NextGate is the global leader in healthcare identity management. With over 250 customers in five countries, our solutions are deployed at the world’s most successful organizations and HIEs. NextGate will have two exciting in-booth events this year: 

  • Whisky Tasting on Tuesday, March 10 at 4:30pm: Join Whisky Librarian Dr. Nick van Terheyden for a four-flight whisky tasting as he takes us through an introduction of Scotch Whisky Regional Styles. Register to secure a Glencairn whisky glass (first 50 people). We will also raffle off a bottle of whisky and a whisky dictionary.    
  • Let’s Talk About a National Patient Identifier on Wednesday, March 11 at 1pm: Join our expert panelists Ben Moscovitch, Pew Charitable Trusts; Julie Dooling, AHIMA; and policy wonk Mark Segal for an engaging discussion on patient matching and universal patient identifiers.    

Stop by our booth to enter for a chance to win two backpack giveaways filled with a hoodie and $50 Amazon card, or pre-register for our whisky tasting for a Glencairn whisky glass and a chance to win a bottle of Scottish whisky.



Booth 2879

Contact: Samantha Tiller-Schenck, experiential marketing manager

Healthcare organizations are challenged to deliver higher quality care at a lower cost. Our award-winning team provides health IT staffing, advisory consulting, and managed services that result in a stronger business with better patient outcomes. Stop by for open and direct conversations, meet new CEO Jim Costanzo, and learn how Nordic has evolved to better serve you. If that’s not enough, we’ll also have a custom tea blend gift that may help calm the common stresses of HIMSS.

Obix by Clinical Computer Systems


Booth 7273 and 8300

Contact: John Murray, key accounts manager

Embracing Mothers and Babies Throughout Birth – The Obix system is a clinician-focused software solution supporting integration, compliance, communication, and patient care. The clinical decision-support features and tools promote critical thinking by reinforcing experience and knowledge. Tour a smart hospital where the Obix system is monitoring a patient in the Labor and Delivery room, inside the Intelligent Health Pavilion. Also at HIMSS, Obix and Epic will demonstrate the exchange of data in real time in the Interoperability Showcase’s Maternal and Newborn Health use case.



Booth 8300-29

Contact: Maira Alejandra, media relations manager

OptimizeRx is a digital health technology company, connecting life sciences, payers, providers, and patients using the largest point-of-care communications platform and disease-specific digital health frameworks. The cloud-based solutions support affordability and adherence efforts directly within the provider workflow, as well as after the patient leaves the care setting, providing a true omni-channel treatment experience and advancing positive outcomes. Come see us in action at the Interoperability Showcase.

Optimum Healthcare IT


To arrange a meeting, contact Larry Kaiser.

Contact: Larry Kaiser, VP, marketing and communications

Optimum Healthcare IT has a dedicated meeting space (MP122). If you are interested in learning how our services can help your organization meet its healthcare IT needs, please visit and contact us today!



Booth 2006

Contact: Cristina Christy, senior events manager

PatientKeeper’s EHR optimization software solutions streamline physician workflow, improve care team collaboration, and fill functional gaps in existing hospital EHR systems. With PatientKeeper as the “system of engagement” complementing the EHR, physicians can easily access and act on all their patient information from PCs, smartphones, and tablets. At HIMSS20, visitors can see demos of the complete range of PatientKeeper’s physician workflow applications, as well as the new Clinical Communications Suite, which enables care team members to securely communicate anytime, anywhere, through HIPAA-compliant messaging with embedded patient context. PatientKeeper is used by more than 70,000 physicians at hospitals and health systems across North America.

HIMSS giveaway: PatientKeeper will raffle off one Apple Watch each day to a qualified visitor who watches a demo at booth 2006.



Booth 3721

Contact: Bob Abrahamson, VP, marketing

PCare’s interactive patient engagement solution helps healthcare providers educate and collaborate with patients across the care continuum. The PCare open platform integrates with existing EHR systems, patient portals, and mobile health applications to connect patients and caregivers. PCare is the partner healthcare organizations trust to improve care quality, patient outcomes, and financial performance.

Visit PCare at the Spectrum Enterprise “Powering Innovations Across the Continuum of Care” booth, 3721, to learn about the PCare approach to patient engagement across the continuum for value-based organizations.



Booth 4346

Contact: Guillaume Castel, CEO

PerfectServe’s unified platform for clinical communication and collaboration helps physicians, nurses, and care team members improve patient care. The PerfectServe and Telmediq solutions automate communication-driven workflows, eliminate non-clinical tasks, promote nurse mobility, and engage patients in their own care, resulting in quicker time to treatment and enhanced patient safety. The Lightning Bolt provider scheduling solution automatically generates optimized shift schedules to reduce burnout and increase patient access. PerfectServe’s scalable, cloud-based solutions allow 135,000 physician users and 230,000 nurse users to focus on delivering the best patient experience possible.

Visit the PerfectServe booth to learn more about our leading Clinical Communication & Collaboration, Nurse Mobility, Provider Scheduling, Contact Center, Answering Service, and Patient & Family Communication solutions. Book a meeting and find more information at



Booth 1775

Contact: Rebecca Jones, content marketing specialist

Phynd 360, an innovative provider data platform, serves as health systems’ central hub for all provider data. Phynd enables optimization for provider data – people, places, and services – in EHR, marketing, and claims systems via platform tools for provider enrollment, management, outreach, and search across the enterprise. Phynd is a member of the Epic App Orchard. Phynd clients include some of the most progressive and innovative in the country, with seven of the top 20 “Best Hospital Honor Roll” hospitals, as ranked by US News and World Report, using the Phynd platform to power their provider data. Phynd serves as a vital enterprise data platform for digital marketing teams seeking to optimize their digital front door experience for consumers. It offers real-time provider enrollment into Epic and other EHRs, used by patient access and registration teams to eliminate the dual, never-ending streams of provider data maintenance and claims tickets backlog. 

Schedule a short appointment with Phynd, and we’ll reward you with a $100 Starbucks gift card!



To arrange a meeting, contact Ryan Sciacca.

Contact: Ryan Sciacca, director of sales
800.587.4989 x2

PMD provides healthcare teams with a suite of powerful, intuitive, mobile software that streamlines communication, enhances productivity, and increases revenue. With PMD’s mobile communication, data capture, and care navigation platforms, healthcare teams finally have an elegant and simple technology to streamline communication and revenue cycle workflows while maximizing efficiency and collaboration. PMD interfaces with all major EHRs, hospital systems, and medical billing systems, enabling the efficient sharing of data and cutting down on medical errors. PMD is committed to developing the best solution and providing superior customer service. Visit our website or contact us today for more information or to schedule a free workflow consultation.

Prepared Health


Booth 4126

Contact: Monica Ginsburg, marketing manager

The Prepared Health platform simplifies senior care coordination. We empower hospitals and health plans to:   

  • Build post-acute and home care networks – organize high-quality providers across the care continuum.      
  • Enable real-time communication – smarter care transitions and coordination at every level of care.     
  • Activate home-based insights – leverage predictive models to increase healthy days at home. 

“Create Value for the Buyer and the Innovator to Support Emerging Technologies,” session 319, will be held on Friday, March 13 from 10:45-11:45am. Speakers include innovation leaders from Jefferson Health, an 18-hospital system with nearly $6 billion in revenue; and Ashish Shah, CEO of Prepared Health.



Booth 421

Contact: John Skowlund, VP of business development

The QliqSoft team is excited to share many new patient and provider communication technology solutions at HIMSS20. Stop by booth 421 to participate in:

  1. Customer conversations – Hear from our customers, such as CAN Community Health and the University of Florida, about how QliqSoft solutions deliver results.    
  2. Education sessions – Let our customer success team share all they have learned in the field. Subjects include chatbot use cases, operational effectiveness, the personification of technology, and more!   
  3. Build your own bot: Earn your Build-a-Bot certification – You’ll leave with some sweet QliqSoft swag and your custom bot that you can take home and share with your team.    
  4. Demo for donation – We’re donating $100 to CHIME for each CHIME member who stops by booth 421 to build a bot or demo any other QliqSoft product.   
  5. Bots and Brews (Wednesday, March 11 at 4pm – booth 421) – Join us as we raise a toast to our most engaging team member, Quincy. Bring your healthcare chatbot questions. Bring your healthcare chatbot ideas. Let’s see where the conversation takes us.



Booth 2193

Contact: James Kanka, VP of marketing

Come chat with us at HIMSS, booth 2193, and learn what makes Relatient different. Customer feedback recently made us the 2020 KLAS Category Leader in Patient Outreach, for a platform that can flex to your needs and offers robust PM/EHR integration.

Swing by to enter for a chance to win in our promotions and giveaways.

Relatient’s CTO, Kevin Montgomery, is co-presenting an Essential Conversation with Oklahoma Heart Hospital’s Jonathan Minson to talk about “Achieving Patient Engagement in a Mobile-First Market.” Don’t miss out on a chance to participate in this discussion about changing patient expectations, healthcare IT dynamics, best practices for patient engagement, and insight from Oklahoma Heart Hospital, which is using patient engagement to save close to $1 million annually. This session will take place Thursday, March 12 at 1pm in room W303A.

ROI Healthcare Solutions


Booth 1213

Contact: Brent Prosser, VP, sales

ROI Healthcare Solutions is a trusted EHR, revenue cycle, and ERP consulting firm dedicated to the success of hospital and health systems across the US. Our goals center around driving cost savings, user adoption, business transformation, system performance, and operational excellence. ROI is a KLAS award-winning partner, with a unique approach to working with clients. We use old–fashioned communication, relationship cultivation, deep knowledge, and integrity to create successful on-time, on-budget outcomes. Our role varies from project to project; we are well equipped to assess, implement, upgrade, support, and staff for technology- and process-related engagements.

Our team is excited to meet with you at HIMSS this year in Orlando. We will have several raffles (wireless headsets, speakers, and more). Come by the Georgia Pavilion in Hall A for face-to-face time with our industry experts. Also, join us for a reception in our booth on Tuesday at 4:30 pm.



Booth 2579

Contact: Derek Kiecker, solutions adviser, team lead

Spok representatives and senior executives will be on hand to show you how Spok is pioneering a new era of care collaboration. Our cloud-native, clinical communication platform gives hospitals the best in security, agility, and breadth and depth of services. Please stop by our booth to learn more about how Spok can help you achieve your hospital’s mission. 

Spok will select one $500 gift card winner per day, at random, and notify them via email. Starbucks gift cards will be distributed in the booth following your demo, while supplies last. Spok will also host a social media contest: Tweet tagging @Spoktweets and using #HIMSS20 for your chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card each day of HIMSS20.



Booth 3521

Contact: Eileen Faas, marketing manager

StayWell is a health empowerment company that uses the science of behavior change and technology-driven programs to help people live healthier, happier lives. At this year’s HIMSS, StayWell will reveal its latest advancements in its health management solutions that connect the digital health universe among multiple points of engagement.

Using high-touch, high-tech solutions to present a progressive yet balanced approach to managing health risks, StayWell’s newest updates integrate the latest achievements in AI, interactive learning, and online health engagement to improve care, enhance provider knowledge, and advance care management.

Summit Healthcare


Booth 5558

Contact: Christine Duval, marketing manager

We’re here to help you tackle any integration or automation challenge your organization is facing! Stop by to see our Robotic Process Automation (RPA) offerings LIVE. You will also have the chance to experience the company’s other advanced systems integration, automation, and business continuity offerings. These include Summit Exchange, which enables hospitals to manage systems integration at an enterprise level; and Summit All Access, the powerful, Web-enabled platform for 24/7 data exchange and availability. Attendees will also be able to explore the possibilities of utilizing Summit All Access as a business continuity tool in the event of planned or unplanned downtime, as well as resolving patient matching and duplicate record issues with the new Summit EMPI, powered by Dedalus.



Booth 2030

Contact: Komita Primalani, director, marketing events

HIMSS20 invites health IT stakeholders to “be the change,” and Surescripts will be showing up with lots of practical guidance on transforming healthcare interactions for the better. From helping patients get affordable medications to navigating the shifting landscape of interoperability and information sharing, we’ll partner with experts from across the Surescripts Network Alliance to dig into some of the biggest developments in health IT. Visit us at booth 2030 to find out how we can make an impact together.



To arrange a meeting, contact Rodrigo Martinez.

Contact: Rodrigo Martinez, chief growth and clinical officer

TransformativeMed is thrilled to once again attend HIMSS – such an exciting venue to learn about the latest and greatest in technology. We’re already providing EHR-embedded solutions that are solving some of today’s most challenging problems – physician burnout, satisfaction, and efficiency, thus enabling better patient outcomes. We’d enjoy connecting with our current and future clients. Our specialty-specific clinical workflows are rich in content by specialty, intuitive to the clinician’s natural workflow, and deeply embedded in the EHR. Our disease-specific workflow platform provides the care team with disease-specific workflows such as diabetes management, thrombolytics, etc., enabling more effective management of their patients across the care team(s). We will also have a CHIME focus group on Tuesday, March 10 from 4-5:30pm on the next generation of mobility for the health system and clinician.



Booth 1421

Contact: Tina Newman, events director

Waystar provides next-generation, cloud-based technology that simplifies and unifies the healthcare revenue cycle. Our platform removes friction in payment processes, streamlines workflows, and improves financials for providers in every care setting. Waystar has scored Best in KLAS for claims and clearinghouse every year since 2010, and has earned multiple #1 rankings from Black Book surveys since 2012.

Waystar is proud to introduce Hubble, its new AI + RPA platform. We look forward to sharing how Hubble can help our clients achieve more efficient workflows, fewer rejected claims, and a better bottom line. Stop by booth 1421 to see a Hubble Demo!

Zen Healthcare IT


Booth 8145

Contact: Brian KIsanov, solutions manager

Zen Healthcare IT is 100% focused on the challenges associated with moving data through the healthcare ecosystem. We simplify interoperability by bringing our expertise together with our Gemini Integration as a Service Platform. Designed for big or small healthcare messaging problems, Gemini offers a very flexible platform to meet a wide variety of healthcare interface needs. Zen’s clients include providers, hospitals, HIEs, healthcare vendors, agencies, and payers.

Interested in learning more about the national trusted exchange networks? We will have our EHealth Exchange/Carequality experts in the booth to answer your questions. Zen is a Carequality Implementer and has onboarded many healthcare organizations to IHE-based exchange.

Weekender 2/21/20

February 21, 2020 Weekender 2 Comments


Weekly News Recap

  • Publicly traded patient survey company NRC Health falls victim to a ransomware attack.
  • Atrium Health confirms that it will replace Cerner and other systems with Epic.
  • Indian Health Services says it will replace its RPMS system, which is based on the VA’s VistA, with one or more commercial EHRs.
  • Cerner promotes Don Trigg to president and expands John Peterzalek’s customer relationship role to include services, consulting, support, and hosting.
  • Health Catalyst announces plans to acquire Able Health.
  • New York’s Department of Health says Glen Falls Hospital tried to cover up $70 million in lost revenue that was caused by a “catastrophic” Cerner billing system rollout in documents it filed in exploring a potential affiliation with Albany Medical Center.
  • Merged interoperability vendors Rhapsody and Corepoint make Lyniate their corporate name.
  • China uses virtual visits and app-based medical consultations to address COVID-19.
  • HHS OIG finds that lack of CMS oversight allowed companies to capture the information of Medicare Part D beneficiaries from its database for potential use in telemarketing scams.

Best Reader Comments

HHS is basically acting as the caricature of a bad middle manager. Micromanaging EHR vendors despite the fact that they themselves have not been successful in performing the mandated task (Medicare Part D database, DoD project, etc.); no clear line between why they’re asking you to do something and the task itself; and ignoring both internal evidence (their own OIG) and external evidence (public comments) that contradicts their stated goal. (Elizabeth H. H. Holmes)

CPSI mentioned in their earnings that they are seeing less interest from Cerner in the small hospital market and they can sell at a higher price now that Athena is gone. (What)

Once Carolinas made the transition to Atrium, the process of implementing Epic was coming, as the other system that was acquired was running Epic. It’s not really a rip and replace like AdventHealth. It was a merger of Epic and Cerner and they determined that they wanted Epic as the integrated system. (Associate CIO)

What the authors get wrong [in urging that EHR vendors not be allowed to offer continuing medical education] is trying to compare the pharmaceutical industry to the EHR industry. With pharma, there’s a direct relationship between the pharma activity and the opportunity to influence the decision maker. If a pharma company offers CME at a fancy hotel in a desirable location, I can learn about their drug and go home to my practice and prescribe their drug immediately. With EHRs, that isn’t remotely possible. Physician input into the healthcare IT budgeting process certainly is not a direct relationship, and in most organizations, at best can be considered something we may influence but rarely have purchasing authority. (Mark Weisman)

Watercooler Talk Tidbits


Readers funded the Donors Choose teacher grant request of Ms. L in Wisconsin, who says of the programmable robot mouse kits her class received, “Thank you so much for supporting this project! The materials arrived so quickly! My students were really excited to see the boxes arrive. We opened them together and they were gleeful when they saw the mouse robots. We spent about 20 minutes together to learn how to program the mouse robot. There was a lot of excitement. On Friday, I placed them in our robot centers. My students had a great time setting up mazes for the mouse. They then programed the mouse to reach the cheese. They still needed reminders that if the code didn’t work. They needed to start over a try a different code. With time they will get better at it.”


The newspaper of a Shawnee, KS high school profiles sophomore Madison Vosburg’s Cerner Scholar Experience, where she is working on fine tuning Cerner’s voice assistant Gina. She works at Cerner every school day from 1 to 3 p.m. and hopes the experience will help her land a technology job, maybe even at Cerner.


An uninsured freelancer couple who live part-time in Mexico describe their experience with having the husband’s ankle repair surgery in Tijuana for $2,000 instead of the $27,000 quoted at NYU Langone. The private practice surgeon assured the wife that his clinic was safe, his infection rate low, and his success rate high, and when asked whether a higher-priced clinic would do a better job, he said, “It’s just a foot.” The couple had qualms about the building’s shabby exterior, its lack of air conditioning, and the surgeon’s use of epidural anesthesia instead of general. The surgeon became gruff when they called him for better post-op pain control, but he explained afterward that he was frustrated at the clinic’s undertrained employees and Americans who keep showing up wanting opioids. The couple says they were sometimes frustrated with cultural differences that left them unsure how to proceed or unable to communicate with staff, but are happy with the outcome. Their doctor admitted that Mexico is like the US – you get better medical care if you have money.

A former hospital pharmacy technician pleads guilty to stealing 13,000 pills, mostly opioids, from the hospital. She found a loophole in the automated dispensing cabinet’s software that allowed her to withdraw meds for a closed unit and then delete the administration record, which bypassed the system’s tracking function.

A home inspector finds jars of human tongues stored in a house’s foundation, later determined to have been placed there by a former University of Florida professor and dental researcher who forgot them when he moved out.

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Morning Headlines 2/21/20

February 20, 2020 Headlines No Comments

Cloudbreak Health Attracts $10M Growth Investment

Telemedicine and medical interpretation vendor Cloudbreak Health raises $10 million, increasing its total to $25 million.

Cyberattack on NRC Health sparks privacy concerns about private patient records stored by US hospitals

A ransomware attack forces patient survey company NRC Health to shut down its systems, including client-facing reporting portals.

Indian Health Service CIO Gets Ready to Update One of Government’s Oldest Systems

Indian Health Service CIO Mitchell Thornbrugh says its VistA-based RPMS system will most likely be replaced by a commercial EHR next year.

Second big health system drops Cerner EHR

The Kansas City business paper confirms earlier HIStalk reports that the 40-hospital Atrium Health system will replace Cerner with Epic.

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Reader Comments

  • ex-epic: It's been awhile since I left Epic in 2012, but reading these stories has brought a rush of memory around the company cu...
  • Former Cult Member: The culture of fear is real at Epic. There have been multiple instances during staff meetings (sometimes lovingly called...
  • TenuredEpic: So you "would struggle to return to campus work as an Epic employee if I were high risk and otherwise fastidiously isola...
  • ex-HHC: Great take. It's amazing how many errors there are in address information in EHRs , which makes geocoding quite a challe...
  • Gonepostal: re: "Politico also reports that two senators have introduced legislation that would make the post office’s address mat...

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