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EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 4/4/24

April 4, 2024 Dr. Jayne 2 Comments

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As usual, Epic put smiles on peoples’ faces with its annual April Fools’ Day webpage, stating that “the newest building on Epic’s campus will have the coolest theme, like, ever: Barbie Dream House.” It went on to say that the fictional building would include a pool slide and conference rooms named Beach, Girls’ Night, and Mojo Dojo Casa House.

The page also joked that Epic had been selected by television network ABC as the official EHR of “Grey’s Anatomy” to add more medical realism to the series. It wrapped up with a discussion of MyHeart: Epic’s New Dating Portal that “runs advanced searches to find patients near you who might be a good match based on hundreds of criteria, including your problem list, allergies, medications, and more.” Well played folks, well played.

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I’m in the middle of an onboarding process for a new position, and although I was dreading the experience, it’s one of the better ones I’ve been through. As a consulting CMIO, I’ve worked with dozens of health systems and care delivery organizations and have gone through either full onboarding processes (when I’m an employee) or through modified onboarding (when I’m a contractor.) The experiences have varied dramatically. One of the worst processes I’ve ever seen involved demands to sign documents attesting to the fact that I had received and read policies that didn’t exist, which I only found out after asking to see them. I wonder how many of their regular employees just signed blindly? Some of the better processes have a clear onboarding checklist to ensure that you’re doing everything in the right order, and the best have that plus the ability to ask questions real time.

I’ve been through dozens of HIPAA training courses, as well as education on fraud, waste, and abuse, to the point where I could probably teach the curriculum. For this position, even though the role is technically non-clinical, I had to go through training on proper lifting, ergonomics, and the importance of non-skid footwear, none of which I’ve gone through for patient care despite the fact that they would have been useful. If you’re looking for an example of training that will engage people rather than make them snooze, I highly recommend Skip, the workplace safety superhero. It will be interesting working in an actual office again. Even though I’ve done patient care in person, this will be a different type of environment, and I’m excited that it doesn’t require navigating a TSA checkpoint or wondering whether my rental car will be there when I arrive. It’s time to dust off my trusty lunchbox and pack my Thermos for what I’m sure will yield many good stories.

From Jimmy the Greek: “Re: telecommuting. I’m a fan, but also recognize that with privileges come responsibilities. Now that I’m fully entrenched in a hybrid model where employees within a one-hour commute of an office are required to be in the office three days per week, it’s been interesting to see how our remote employees still enjoy a certain relaxed atmosphere in their home offices. The company I work for has a strict tobacco-free policy on all company campuses, but it also covers remote work, where employees are prohibited from ‘smoking or using tobacco products’ while visible on a web conference. It was a bit jarring, therefore, when one of my fully remote co-workers stepped onto her front porch to enjoy a smoke while fully visible on a Zoom meeting. I don’t smoke, but if I did, seeing someone light up a Marlboro while I was stuck in a conference room almost a kilometer away from an area where I could smoke without fear of disciplinary action would definitely reduce my overall job satisfaction.” I’ve read a number of employee handbooks in my career and this is one place where the devil might be in the details and sentence structure is everything. The use of the phrase “prohibited from smoking or using tobacco products” implies that they are only blocked from smoking tobacco cigarettes and not others. Vaping, which is certainly as distracting as smoking cigarettes, isn’t mentioned, nor are marijuana cigarettes. Perhaps the human resources department might want to consider more specific language that includes all the different things one can smoke as well as vaping and/or use of other tobacco-containing products. For the employee in question, a refresher on learning how to operate camera controls might be in order.

I was excited to see that the Department of Veterans Affairs is implementing some solid use cases for artificial intelligence. One model called REACH-VET is designed to help identify veterans who are at highest risk for suicide. Another uses natural language processing to flag patient feedback for comments that suggest homelessness or other issues where human intervention might be appropriate. A third model looks as veterans with prostate cancer to differentiate those who will do well after initial treatment from those who need more frequent follow-up. Congressional subcommittee members responsible for VA oversight want to ensure that safeguards are in place when AI is used, with Technology Modernization Subcommittee Chair Matt Rosendale pushing the VA to make veterans aware of instances where their data is being used in AI models.

I was also pleased to see the US Senate looking into whether emergency department care delivery has been harmed by the involvement of private equity firms. The inquiry follows interviews with emergency physicians who are concerned about patient safety issues related to aggressive cost control activities. The most recent investigation falls under the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and follows one that is already in progress by the Budget Committee that is looking at hospital systems that are associated with private equity.

I’ve worked for some of the companies that are part of the investigation, and based on my experiences, I don’t think the Senate is going to like some of the things they uncover. It’s no secret that what are considered the most cost-effective ways of delivering emergency care often involve the least-trained and least-experienced clinicians. When things get wild, there is no substitute for a seasoned emergency department physician with decades of experience under their belt, but organizations are certainly eager to replace them strictly on cost alone.

How do you feel about the rise of private equity in healthcare? Have you seen examples of where it’s helping or hurting? Leave a comment or email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

Morning Headlines 4/4/24

April 3, 2024 Headlines No Comments

Aegis Ventures Announces Partnership with Nine Health Systems to Build and Deploy Healthtech Solutions

Nine health systems will co-develop and invest in solutions with venture studio Aegis Ventures.

FDA authorizes Prenosis software as first AI tool that can diagnose sepsis

FDA grants marketing clearance to the sepsis detection tool of Prenosis, which applies AI to biomarker and EHR clinical data to assess sepsis risk.

Epic plans to launch AI validation software for healthcare organizations to test, monitor models

The product will help health systems evaluate and monitor the performance of AI models, both third party and self developed.

Healthcare AI News 4/3/24

News

Plastic surgeon Robert Pearl, MD, who was executive director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group through 2017, predicts that ChatGPT’s eventual ability to remember and use information across multiple chat sessions — its “context window” — will be significant in healthcare. He says that while its current capacity won’t hold an average medical record, generative AI systems are expected to become 30 times more powerful in the next few years, which along with GPTs, will allow records from multiple providers to be consolidated to provide patients with diagnosis and treatment suggestions. He also expects the extended memory to improve patient monitoring with its capability to look back into historical clinical status and to issue real-time alerts when established best practices are not followed.

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The World Health Organization launches Sarah, an AI-powered health information avatar for consumers. Sarah replaces a previous WHO non-AI tool called Florence that provided public health information. Sarah is available online.

Epic is developing an AI validation suite to help health systems evaluate and monitor the performance of AI models, both third party and self developed.

OpenAI offers access to ChatGPT 3.5 without requiring registration, although functionality is limited and content safeguards are expanded over the paid version.

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A new KLAS report looks at early use of healthcare AI, concluding that:

  • ClosedLoop’s predictive modeling leads the market in performance, especially with ACO and health plan users.
  • Customers of second-place Epic are expanding beyond clinical use cases into operational and financial areas, with good employee adoption because of integration with EHR workflows. Some customers complained about Epic’s pricing and its subpar ability to incorporate outside data.
  • Oracle Health customers were split. Satisfaction was good with the company’s cloud plans and its use of clinical data, but some customers complain that support quality and nickel-and-diming has gotten worse since Oracle acquired Cerner.
  • Health Catalyst customers say the product is robust, but half of them believe that the product fails to deliver on its potential because of insufficient training and support.

Business

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Amazon ends its Just Walk Out checkout-free experience at its Amazon Fresh grocery stores, which will be replaced by in-cart scanners that customers use themselves. A report by The Information says that while the Just Walk Out system seemed automated and AI powered, 1,000 offshore workers served as low-paid remote cashiers in monitoring shoppers via video camera and manually ringing up items. Social media wags labeled the failed experiment as API – A Person in India. Amazon rolled the system out to hospitals in January 2024 for cashier-less employee purchases, with St. Joseph’s / Candler as its first customer.

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Healthcare AI company John Snow Labs releases a no-code solution that allows healthcare domain experts to train, tune, test, and share models without help from data scientists. The company says that creating small, task-specific models can be used to train other models, are cheaper to run, and can operate behind an organization’s firewall. They can also include human-in-the-loop oversight.

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FDA grants marketing clearance to the sepsis detection tool of Prenosis, which applies AI to biomarker and EHR clinical data to assess sepsis risk.


Research

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Penn researchers find that AI analysis of Facebook postings is three times less likely to accurately predict depression among black American users as compared to white. The model uses prior findings that white people who have higher levels of depression use more first-person singular pronouns — along with words that suggest isolation, self-criticism, worthlessness, anxious-outsider, and despair — but the model performed poorly when analyzing posts from people who are black. The authors note that their study illustrates the need for caution when applying AI in mental health settings.


Other

HFMA notes the “battle of the bots” as hospitals that have been outgunned by payers that used technology to deny or delay payment are implementing AI to beef up revenue cycle management. Examples of provider use of AI:

  • Using robotic process automation to ensure that claims are clean and to manage work queues (Luminis Health).
  • Reducing RCM headcount by 30 FTEs by using AI bots (Mayo Clinic).
  • Reducing authorization-related denials by using bots to notify payers when patients are admitted (Care New England).
  • Increasing administrative efficiency by using Copilot for Microsoft 365 and using RPA to save labor in authorization, registration, credentialing, and billing workflows (Corewell Health).

Contacts

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

Morning Headlines 4/3/24

April 2, 2024 Headlines No Comments

Risant Health completes acquisition of Geisinger

Kaiser-backed hospital operator Risant Health completes its acquisition of Geisinger, which will become its inaugural health system.

HealthArc Secures $5 Million in Growth Funding to Revolutionize Healthcare

Virtual care management company HealthArc announces $5 million in funding.

Electronic prescribing giant Surescripts is exploring a sale

Surescripts is reportedly exploring a sale of its business, the ownership of which is evenly split between pharmacy benefit managers CVS Health and Express Scripts and pharmacy trade groups.

Providence Spins Out Praia Health with $20M in Oversubscribed Series A Funding led by Frist Cressey Ventures to Scale New Consumer Platform for Health Care

Praia Health, which offers automated personalization of a patient’s care journey, secures $20 million in Series A funding.

News 4/3/24

April 2, 2024 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Risant Health completes its acquisition of Geisinger, which will become its inaugural health system.

The non-profit Risant Health, which will focus on value-based care, expects to acquire up to five community health systems in the next five years.


Reader Comments

From Anonymous IT: “Re: Intermountain Health. Layoffs of 500+ last week in the Nevada Region, plus demotion offers to others.” Unverified.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present or promote your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Business Insider reports that Surescripts is exploring a sale of the business, which is 50% owned by pharmacy benefit managers CVS Health and Express Scripts and 50% owned by pharmacy trade groups. Insiders say the ownership structure could complicate the sale, adding that a private equity firm is the most logical buyer because of transaction’s expected high price and the need to balance the needs between the PBM and pharmacy owners.

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Praia Health secures $20 million in Series A funding. The company, which was spun out of the Providence health system in October 2023, offers automated personalization of a patient’s care journey for improved engagement.

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3M spinoff Solventum, which includes health information systems among its four business segments, begins trading on the NYSE.

Axios reports on the “economic and operational nosedive” of Amwell, whose valuation has dropped from $10 billion in late 2020 to $235 million now. The article says that Amwell overpromised, botched product rollouts at big clients like CVS Health and Memorial Hermann, and failed to develop a post-pandemic strategy. AMWL shares took another drop when the article ran, down 66% in the past 12 months.


Sales

  • Intermountain Health (UT) will use Sensorum Health’s remote patient monitoring technology as part of a house calls pilot program for homebound seniors who have chronic conditions.
  • Hartford HealthCare will implement Axuall’s clinician onboarding system.

People

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Alan Tam (Actium Health) joins Reveleer as chief marketing officer.

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Harmony Healthcare IT names Kelly Hahaj (Indiana Health Information Exchange) VP of corporate development.


Announcements and Implementations

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Commure launches Scribe, a free ambient documentation tool for its users that integrates with EHRs such as Epic, Athenahealth, and Meditech.

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Availity announces Predictive Editing, an AI claims denial prediction tool for its Availity Essentials Pro RCM platform.

Ascom launches RemoteWatch, a remote monitoring service for its Ascom Healthcare Platform that allows hospitals to identify technical issues.

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Eko Health earns FDA clearance for its AI-powered heart failure detection for its stethoscopes. The technology — which will be added to the company’s Sensora Cardiac Early Detection Platform that diagnoses atrial fibrillation and heart murmurs — identifies low ejection fraction. Mayo Clinic developed the algorithm and is an investor in Eko.

Greenway Health integrates DrFirst’s RxInform prescription notification and patient engagement software with its Intergy EHR.

Connect Oregon, the state’s coordinated social care network, adopts payment software from Unite Us to improve Medicaid billing amongst its nine Coordinated Care Organizations.

Verato develops its Identity Data Management Maturity Model to help healthcare organizations assess, benchmark, and improve their identity data management processes.

Carium and CareDirections announce a commercialized version of StrokeCP, a post-discharge management system for stroke survivors that was developed by Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist.

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Microsoft unbundles Teams from Office globally to address anticompetitive regulatory pressure. The company added Teams to its business software suite in 2017 and saw its usage soar in the pandemic’s early days, triggering a Slack complaint to the EU three months before Slack sold itself to Salesforce for $28 billion.

Change Healthcare has not updated its cyberresponse page since March 27. Its dashboard shows 117 of Optum’s 137 applications remain down from the February 21 cyberattack.


Government and Politics

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The US Coast Guard hopes to finish scanning paper medical records into its MHS Genesis / Oracle Health system by the end of the year, but in the mean time, it is advising service members that obtaining medical records copies will take longer.


Other

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Epic will probably never top the sheer cleverness or sassiness of its years-ago April Fool’s post in which it claimed to have changed its name to EPIC since people mistakenly all-caps it regularly, but this year’s spoof was pretty good:

  • Epic gets construction approval for the Barbie Dream House campus.
  • The company is chosen as the official EHR of “Grey’s Anatomy.”
  • A recipe for a carrots and wings dish called Roots & Wings, which is a subtle reference to Judy’s charitable foundation Roots & Wings that will get the proceeds of her Epic shares.
  • My personal favorite – MyHeart, a dating app that uses MyChart messages and patient history to suggest romantic matches based on clinical factors.

Sponsor Updates

  • Ascom launches RemoteWatch, a remote monitoring service for the Ascom Healthcare Platform designed to help hospitals proactively identify technical issues before they impact patient care.
  • Findhelp and Uber Health support patients beyond the four walls of a medical office.
  • Censinet offers NIST Cybersecurity Framework 2.0 enterprise assessments, which include support for compliance with HHS Healthcare and Public Health Sector Cybersecurity Performance Goals.
  • Artera adds dashboards for patient engagement benchmarking and no-show revenue recovery estimates to its Harmony Analytics solution.
  • Spok’s mobile clinical communications software earns the top ranking for customer satisfaction for the seventh consecutive year in Black Book Market Research’s recent survey of 7,000 end users.
  • Waystar extends its Accelerated Implementation Program through April to help healthcare organizations process claims in the wake of the Change Healthcare cyberattack.
  • CereCore publishes a new e-book, “In Sync with Care: The Future of Clinical IT Service Desks.”
  • Arrive Health sponsors the Health Evolution Summit April 3-5 in Dana Point, CA.
  • QGenda, Wolters Kluwer, Elsevier, SnapCare, Symplr, and Care.ai will exhibit at AONL 2024 April 8-11 in New Orleans.
  • AvaSure publishes a new Use Case Spotlight, “Expand the Reach of Care Teams with Virtual Nursing.”
  • Clearwater names Jackie Mattingly (Coker Group) senior director of consulting, small and medium hospitals.
  • The Pinnacle Take Podcast features Direct Recruiters Managing Partner of Health IT and Life Sciences Mike Silverstein, “A Network of Friendlies.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

Morning Headlines 4/2/24

April 1, 2024 Headlines No Comments

Solventum Begins Trading on the New York Stock Exchange

Solventum, a 3M spinoff that includes health information systems among its four business segments, begins trading on the NYSE.

Walmart Health Clinic Expansion On Track For 70 By Year’s End

Walmart will open 22 new health clinics within Walmart Supercenters this year, bringing its total to 70 across the country.

New Valley Hospital ready to welcome patients with state-of-the-art tech

New Jersey-based Valley Health System will open a new hospital in Paramus equipped with smart beds, bedside infotainment systems, and AI-powered fall-prevention technology.

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 4/1/24

April 1, 2024 Dr. Jayne 1 Comment

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I’ve spent the last couple of weeks catching up on some reading, after my library “hold” list went rogue. I typically keep several dozen books on hold but in a frozen status so that I sit at the top of the wait list and can release them when I’m ready.

For some reason, a cluster of them released unexpectedly, dropping on top of my already planned reading. Unfortunately, at my library there isn’t a way to send a book back to the hold list once it’s in transit, unless you want to start over at the end of the line. I dutifully picked up my books and dug in for some intense reading, since you can’t renew them if others have them on hold and I wanted to make sure I was able to read them all. One of the books was “The Chaos Machine: The Inside Story of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds and Our World” by Max Fisher.

Being in healthcare and taking care of adolescents, teenagers, and young adults, I’m acutely aware of the impacts social media has had on these groups in recent years. Even before the societal disruptions of the COVID pandemic, research tied use of social media to sleep issues, which are in turn associated with depression, memory issues, and poor school performance. As we became physically isolated during the pandemic, many young people turned to social media to fill the void, with varying results. In many communities, cyberbullying has been on the rise, and concerns about social media have increased to the point where the US Congress is stepping in.

“The Chaos Machine” is full of meticulous details, many of which are pulled from interviews with Silicon Valley executives, social media experts, gaming experts, academics, and those who have been negatively impacted by social media. It references scholarly works, court records, and other primary sources that tell a story that most of us can’t even fathom. Given the subtitle, I expected it to dig heavily into the physical and psychological impacts on individuals with the concept of world impact as an abstract. I’ve read about the impacts on social media on US politics but wasn’t aware of many of the details the book provides about how the technology has directly impacted other countries, such as Myanmar and Brazil.

Parts of the book are difficult to read, including descriptions of online mobs threatening whistleblowers with violence ranging from swatting to rape or murder. Even more difficult to read are the descriptions of indifference by social media executives when confronted with evidence that their products are causing harm. Surprise, surprise, internal Facebook documents from 2018 reveal that systems were intentionally designed to deliver “more and more divisive content in an effort to gain user attention & increase time on the platform.” The book covers the rise of medical misinformation on social media and some of its harms, but having been a frontline physician, it doesn’t really explain the magnitudes of harm that we see when people use social media for medical advice.

Especially interesting was the description of the growth of Silicon Valley, comparing it to the Galapagos Islands as far as providing a unique evolutionary environment for technology development. However, instead of the isolation leading to the development of unique animal species, it led to “peculiar conditions” that “produced ways of doing business and of seeing the world that could not have flourished anywhere else – and led ultimately to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.” I see some of the same conditions in healthcare IT, where people still believe that you can just throw money at problems and somehow they’ll get solved, and where the people calling the shots often have only a rudimentary understanding of how healthcare is delivered in the US.

The book takes a walk down memory lane, talking about strife that took place in 2006 as Facebook introduced its News Feed. It was one of the first documented episodes of internet outrage becoming action, complete with protesters and the side outcome of dramatically expanding user engagement. “The Chaos Machine” covers the so-called casino effect, where social media platforms use the human dopamine system to hook users with intermittent variable reinforcement. It chronicles the rise of social media “like” buttons, which provide additional reinforcement through validation from other users.

I don’t’ want to give away the rest of the book, but I think it’s worth the read. I would recommend it for anyone who is trying to raise children in this crazy world and who thinks it’s OK to just let them play on a parent’s phone or that it’s a good idea to help a child falsify their age to obtain a social media account.

I met a new neighbor whose children attend a Waldorf school, which holds the philosophy that “exposing children to computer technology before they are ready (around 7th grade) can hamper their ability to fully develop strong bodies, healthy habits of discipline and self-control, fluency with creative and artistic expression, and flexible and agile minds.” In thinking about adolescent patients, I’m supportive of this stance, although I know that for parents it’s a nearly impossible battle unless the rest of the “village” around your child is similarly aligned. In thinking about some of the adults I know, it might have been a good idea to keep them away from social media even longer because they’re apt to behave badly even though they’re of age and should know better.

The book was a fairly quick read, as well as something different from my recent binge reading of murder mysteries and detective novels. Next on the list are two novels from Stacy Abrams, followed by chef Iliana Regan’s memoir “Burn the Place.” I enjoy reading about strong and determined women who have made their mark in industries that aren’t supportive. If it’s a good read, her second book “Fieldwork: A Forager’s Memoir” also threw itself out of my rogue hold queue. After that will be “Symphony of Secrets” by Brendan Slocumb, which I’m auditioning for a potential book club selection. If you’re in a book club with a sassy CMIO, you might want to hold on reading that one for now just in case.

What kind of books do you read when you have free time? Or do you accumulate a list or stack that you might never make it through? Leave a comment or email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

Morning Headlines 4/1/24

March 31, 2024 Headlines No Comments

U.S. Attorney Announces $3.1 Million False Claims Act Settlement With Radiology Company And Its CEO For Fraudulent Billing Practices

Teleradiology vendor The Radiology Group pays $3.1 million to settle False Claims Act charges that its US-based radiologists rubber stamped draft image interpretations that were performed by India-based contractors who are not licensed in the US.

QuickMD Expands Healthcare System with Acquisition of Project Recovery

Telemedicine provider QuickMD acquires South Dakota-based addiction treatment clinic Project Recovery.

Hume AI Announces $50 Million Fundraise and Empathic Voice Interface

Hume AI, which has developed an emotionally intelligent voice interface for AI chatbots and other digital applications, raises $50 million from a spate of investors that includes Northwell Health’s venture capital arm.

Monday Morning Update 4/1/24

March 31, 2024 News 5 Comments

Top News

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Atlanta-based teleradiology vendor The Radiology Group pays $3.1 million to settle False Claims Act charges that its US-based radiologists rubber stamped draft image interpretations that were performed by India-based contractors who are not licensed in the US.

Highlighted in the complaint is Radiologist A, who signed more than 10,000 reports in a single month, approved drafts in as little as 16 seconds, and did not check the “critical” tag when it was indicated.

The company notes on its technology page that all of its software is powered by AI.


Reader Comments

From Bollinger’s Band: “Re: Oracle Health. You mentioned Larry’s age and his cheerleading for the former Cerner. They may be re-architecting the former Cerner offering and that will let them come roaring back.” I don’t see that happening, for these reasons:

  • A key reason that Cerner was getting kicked out of hospitals was fallout over its deficient RCM product and its “solution” of rolling out a spiffed-up Soarian offering.
  • I don’t think that most hospitals that moved to Epic did so because of Cerner’s architecture, so Oracle’s whiz-bang technology may not prove to be competitive differentiator.
  • Epic is so far ahead of Cerner in customer KLAS rankings that Oracle Health will never catch up. I don’t see Oracle making the huge investment that would be needed to make their product more competitive.
  • Layoffs and attrition has likely caused a big loss of industry knowledge at Oracle Health, and putting a bunch of hotshot technologists in charge of a complicated, industry-specific critical application has never worked that I can remember.
  • They’re not getting all those former customers back from Epic, so there’s nobody left to sell to. The only potential greenfield is outside the US, and product localization is always a challenge even for more focused vendors.
  • The DoD business isn’t as lucrative as it sounds since Cerner wasn’t the prime contractor, and the VA may or may not ever get widely enough implemented to unleash the gravy train.
  • Oracle paid way too much for Cerner and expresses near-embarrassment about its latest jewel in every earnings call. Customers were already sprinting for the Epic door, and raising prices or lowering costs to increase margins to “Oracle standards” will only hasten the exodus.
  • Oracle Health is lucky that the company is printing money overall from its cloud business and that Larry Ellison is still enamored with it. At some point, Safra is going to get tired of making excuses for Larry’s plaything, at which time Oracle could strangle it financially or sell it for parts, such as the government business. The Larry-funded Project Ronin had noble aspirations, but was shut down without notice in early March.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Most of us who have posed health inquiries to an AI tool were just Dr. GPTing, but two poll respondents took its answer to their doctor who changed their advice or orders as a result.

New poll to your right or here: What single factor would be most attractive in considering a change of employers? I recognize the urge to check more than one option, but pretend you are reading a job posting – what would get your attention first?

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Here’s a bonus survey, as suggested by a reader. What single, realistic first step would you take to improve US healthcare outcomes, cost, and accessibility? You get one sentence.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present or promote your own.


Announcements and Implementations

A study finds that patients who were forced by their employer to switch to a high-deductible health insurance plan were more likely to experience diabetes complications.


Other

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DrFirst gets the April Fool’s jump on Epic in rolling out the Magic Med Mash-Up, which squashes all your individual pills into one big capsule. Paging Martin Shkreli for the Daraprim play.


Sponsor Updates

  • Vyne is recognized as a Becker’s Top RCM Company in 2024.
  • Optimum Healthcare IT adds Mike Jackman (Leidos) to its boards.
  • PerfectServe announces several 2023 milestones, including awards and recognition from industry analysts, 10% revenue growth, and a 107% enterprise net customer retention rate.
  • QGenda will exhibit at AONL 2024 April 8-11 in New Orleans.
  • WellSky launches a Medicare Certified Home Health certification for clinical teams.
  • SnapCare and Incite Strategic Partners partner to provide clinical workforce solutions for the senior living and senior care segments.
  • Waystar publishes a new e-book, “4 opportunities for healthcare revenue cycle improvement.”
  • Wolters Kluwer Health launches Lippincott Ready for NCLEX to help prepare nursing students for the National Council Licensure Examination.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

Morning Headlines 3/29/24

March 28, 2024 Headlines No Comments

US offers $10 million bounty for info on ‘Blackcat’ hackers who hit UnitedHealth

The US State Department offers a $10 million reward for information leading to the Blackcat ransomware group that hijacked Change Healthcare’s systems last month.

YC-backed Pelago, a virtual clinic for addiction treatment, raises $58M Series C

Virtual addiction clinic Pelago raises $58 million in Series C funding, bringing its total raised to $151 million.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Reports Fiscal 2024 Second Quarter Results

Walgreens beats Q2 revenue and earnings expectations, but reports a $5.8 billion impairment charge related to its VillageMD primary care business, which will close another 160 locations versus the previously planned 60.

News 3/29/24

March 28, 2024 News 3 Comments

Top News

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An Optum dashboard shows that 115 of the 137 Change Healthcare applications remain down 37 days after the company was hit by a cyberattack.


Reader Comments

From Former Epic: “Re: Epic. There has always been a board of directors, which includes outside directors from the community. Judy has voting shares (51%) but the foundation has the stock cash value. The family will be comfortable, but not Walton or SC Johnson wealthy. The foundation will sell stock back to the company to distribute donations. No public sale.”

From Diatom: “Re: disruption. Three technologies could disrupt health services delivery – surgical robotics, AI-powered drug discovery and development, and FHIR as a technology enabler for innovators. However, I share your skepticism about technology’s potential. We will continue to have a low-value, intervention-based system unless we change our agricultural policies, education policies, taxation and subsidies, and cultural habits related to food and work-life balance. Also, even if technology could significantly improve healthcare delivery, it wouldn’t necessarily reduce the cost of our system, which is one of its greatest travesties. Blockbuster drugs and robots aren’t cheap.”


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present or promote your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Walgreens announces Q2 results: revenue up 6%, EPS –$6.85 versus $0.81, beating expectations for both. The loss includes a $5.8 billion impairment charge related to its VillageMD primary care business, which will close another 160 locations versus the previously planned 60. The company said when it invested $5.2 billion in VillageMD in 2021 that it planned to open 1,000 new locations by 2027 – VillageMD had 230 practices in 15 markets then — and that it expected the standalone VillageMD to conduct an IPO in 2022. From the earnings call:

  • CEO Tim Wentworth says that US customers are seeking value due to inflation, depleted savings, and record household debt and delinquency, so its drugstore division is investing in key value items and pushing its own brands.
  • The pharmacy group’s outperformance was led by its vaccine portfolio.
  • VillageMD has issues with slower than expected patient panel growth, multi-specialty productivity, and Medicare payment changes.
  • The company has decided not to follow through on plans to create a new pharmacy technology platform and instead will modernize its existing systems, leading to a $455 million impairment charge for software and development assets.
  • The company will review its businesses and recommend to the board that they be sold if they don’t offer growth opportunities, with that work to be presented at the end of April.

Wound imaging vendor Spectral AI announces Q4 results: revenue down 13%, EPS –$0.22 versus –$0.13, beating expectations for both and valuing the company at $35 million. The company’s income came entirely from government research contracts, as commercial product sales launched in Q1 2024.

Toronto-based Healwell AI, which pivoted to AI-powered disease detection and changed its name from MCI Onehealth Technologies, announces Q4 results: revenue down 37%, EPS -$0.10 versus –$0.05. Shares are at $0.90, valuing the company at $129 million.

Financially teetering Steward Health Care sells its physician network to Optum pending government approval.


Sales

  • Sutter Health chooses Abridge for drafting visit notes from encounter audio.

Announcements and Implementations

Five9 announces GenAI Studio, which allows organizations to apply off-the-shelf generative AI models such as OpenAI and customize them for use in their contact center.


Government and Politics

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ONC releases the draft of the 2024-2030 Federal Health IT Strategic plan for public comment.


Privacy and Security

In England, computer systems at the University of Cambridge’s medical school remain down a month after an apparent cyberattack. The university’s systems previously went offline for a short time on February 19 from a hacker group’s DDoS attack.

in Scotland, hackers post sample data from the several terabytes they claim to have stolen in last week’s ransomware attack against NHS Dumfries and Galloway. 

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Experts say that the technology of startup HeHealth, which claims that its app can diagnose sexually transmitted infections from penis photos, is a “privacy disaster.” The company – whose tagline is “your intimate bestie for unprotected sex” — markets one product variation as a sexual wellness tool for women, who are encouraged to submit photos of the genitals of their prospective partners in claiming to have their permission. Forbes also notes that the system was trained on just five conditions but the company lists 10 that it can diagnose, also determining that the source of the app’s reference data is free Internet pictures and those that early participants were required to provide. TechCrunch observes that most STIs are asymptomatic and calls out company disclaimers that its results should not be considered medical advice, with the author adding, “You should not take a picture of anyone’s genitals and scan it with an AI tool to decide whether or not you should have sex.”


Other

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Eight physicians from Israel’s Hadassah Medical Center apparently didn’t bother to read their own radiology article, which contains nonsensical ChatGPT output, before submitting it for publication. The piece appears in Elsevier-published Radiology Case Reports, an open-access journal that charges authors $550 to run whatever they submit. Elsevier notes that 80% of submitted articles are accepted and are posted online in an average of 19 days, which isn’t exactly a bragging point given this example. The authors ignored publication guidelines that require that any use of AI to be disclosed as a footnote. Surprisingly, the uncorrected article remains online. Thanks for reminding everyone that you can’t count on clinicians to catch AI’s mistakes.


Sponsor Updates

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  • Findhelp’s Customer Success Division delivers 30 bags of food and hygiene items to the little free food pantry at Padron Elementary School in Austin, TX.
  • Availity announces a comprehensive suite of technology solutions and services designed to assist health plans and providers with achieving compliance with the CMS Interoperability and Prior Authorization Final Rule.
  • Experity will exhibit at SPUC 2024 April 3-6 in Norfolk, VA.
  • FinThrive releases a new Healthcare ReThink Podcast, “Trailblazing the Next Generation of Healthcare Analytics.”
  • Healthcare IT Leaders releases a new Leader to Leader Podcast, “Transforming Community Health.”
  • Inovalon supports the California-based Integrated Healthcare Association’s Align, Measure, Perform Program with its Converged Quality quality measurement and improvement solution.
  • Laudio will exhibit and present at AONL 2024 April 8-11 in New Orleans.
  • Medhost will exhibit at the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals Spring Conference April 1-4 in Dallas.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
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EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 3/28/24

March 28, 2024 Dr. Jayne 2 Comments

I attended a recent online forum focused on a telehealth topic. I was surprised to find that some of the participants really didn’t understand the idea of a virtual-first practice. The only way they could conceptualize it was as part of a brick and mortar organization. When I started talking about ordering labs from services that would come to the patient’s home or using patient-provided data from connected devices, I got some blank stares.

The participants were from large health systems and other well-established organizations. I wonder if they’re outliers in their organizations or whether there is really a lack of interest in trying to deliver care outside of traditional office-based settings. Being able to offer services like that isn’t just about convenience. It’s also about serving patients in remote areas and helping those who have other reasons they can’t leave their homes. I hope they take the ideas back to their organizations for discussion.

I receive a ton of marketing emails and spammy-sounding connection requests on LinkedIn. It’s guaranteed that I won’t accept your request if you use made-up words to try to sound cutesy about the serious problems facing physicians today. Case in point: one vendor positioned their product as “the cure for documentitis and physician burnout.” It went on to further define “documentitis” as “inflammation caused by burdensome documentation requirements imposed by EMRs, billing systems, etc.” I’m sure their marketing folks thought it was amusing, but it shows a complete lack of regard for the true causes of documentation fatigue, including out of control regulatory requirements, expanding quality measurement, and lack of regard for the professionals in the system. As someone making purchasing decisions, this kind of messaging takes a company to the bottom of my round file.

Another one of my pet peeves seemed to be everywhere this week — the presence of large microphones in front of the participants on conference calls. I sympathize with the need to have clear audio and to want to use nice equipment, but when you’re a healthcare professional communicating with other healthcare professionals, it’s important to remember that you’re not a DJ and this is not a podcast. The majority of people I take calls with use integrated laptop microphones, earbuds, or something higher tech but unobtrusive, and they sound just fine. I’m hoping this was just a freak occurrence this week and it’s not a new trend. However, as a licensed amateur radio operator, I’ve got some solid options to put into play if it does become the hot new thing.

One of my favorite readers sent me an article about AI nurses, referring to the idea as “cray-cray.” The phrase has been added to the Oxford Dictionary, so I’m not afraid to quote it. The premise on AI nurses is that they’re designed to deliver non-diagnostic nursing care, such as education, which would help mitigate the ongoing nationwide nursing shortage. The idea was dissected recently in The Hustle, which offered some interesting commentary, including the fact that the hardware needed to run such an offering isn’t cheap.

I would add to that the fact that nursing is regulated by the states and licensure is required, so it’s going to be a hard sell that this is actually nursing care versus something else. Organizations will have to look closely at quality metrics that have been shown to be improved through effective nursing education, such as readmission rates, and understand whether AI-delivered education will meet the mark or cause other downstream consequences.

Speaking of potential unintended consequences, I was glad to see a recent article that looked at whether the hospital at home movement could be a double-edged sword. Although positive outcomes have been reported in the literature, such as reduced costs and improved patient experience, some areas haven’t been fully researched. I’ve talked about some of these in the past, including equity and the fact that patients with lower socioeconomic status might not have a caregiver in the home or a safe home environment compared to those in higher socioeconomic categories. The article brings up the idea of safe storage of medications, availability of food particularly in areas that are food deserts, and the ability to safely store meals that may be delivered in advance. Reliable and cost-effective utilities may also be an issue in some situations, as is the presence of broadband for communications and device connectivity.

The comments section on the article brings up additional points. One commenter who used RN in her name described it as “just a fancy earlier discharge scenario. We already have post-ops shoved out the door half awake, unable to dress themselves and throwing up the whole way home. What a crazy, cruel system we have created.” Another referred to the concept as “quite the pipe dream given today’s realities and limited resources.” Another commenter with experience as a home health RN noted, “I have been in extremely low income homes that were kept in immaculate condition and were exceptionally clean and have been in other homes that were in extremely well to do neighborhoods that were so dirty on the inside that I had concerns with even placing my bag on the floor.” That’s an interesting point and creates an additional burden on organizations to ensure suitability of the environment regardless of its ZIP code or other identifiers. I’d be interested to hear from organizations who are already managing hospital at home to understand how they assess potential care environments and what percentage of candidates are deemed suitable once there is a deeper dive.

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I’ve always been interested in public health, so I was glad to see the US Food and Drug Administration publish information on egg safety for those who celebrate spring religious holidays such as Easter and Passover. Salmonella is always a concern where eggs are involved, and the press release offers tips on safe handling, cooking, and storage. Deviled eggs are a staple for family gatherings in our family, but I do enjoy the holiday clearance aisle at Target for all my post-Easter cravings.

What’s your favorite springtime food? Leave a comment or email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

Morning Headlines 3/28/24

March 27, 2024 Headlines No Comments

Goodbill raises $2M and expands customer base to unearth and challenge medical billing errors

Goodbill, a Seattle-based startup that has developed software that detects medical billing errors, raises $2 million.

InStride Health Raises Oversubscribed $30 Million Series B to Expand Access to Best-In-Class Specialty Treatment for Pediatric Anxiety and OCD

Tech-enabled pediatric mental healthcare provider InStride Health announces a $30 million Series B funding round.

New Federal Health IT Strategy Sets Sights on a Heathier, More Innovative, and More Equitable Health Care Experience

ONC seeks public comment on the draft “2024-2030 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan” so that federal agencies can better align their health IT policies, programs, and investments.

Healthcare AI News 3/27/24

March 27, 2024 Healthcare AI News 1 Comment

News

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OpenAI files a trademark application for a voice engine and digital voice assistants, possibly signaling that the ChatGPT developer plans to complete with Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa voice assistants.

An official with the Congressional Budget Office says that AI could reduce healthcare costs by identifying patients who could benefit from early treatment, but it could also increase costs by spurring the development of beneficial but expensive technologies or identifying more patients who need treatment.


Business

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Amazon will invest another $2.75 billion in generative AI startup Anthropic, which it had already backed with $1.25 billion, valuing the maker of the Claude chatbot at $18 billion.

Healthcare business process technology vendor Sagility acquires BirchAI, which offers AI-powered call center technology.

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Tennr, which use AI to extract and route data from faxes, raises $18 million in Series A funding.

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The London-based non-profit Institute for Public Policy Research makes a worst-case prediction that AI could eliminate 8 million jobs with no gain in gross domestic product. The authors predict that a Phase 2 of AI implementation in which AI is allowed to execute tasks could affect financial workers, shop owners, and IT managers, while advancing to Phase 3 – where processes are built around AI and people accept interacting with avatars – could transform the work of teachers, doctors, and hospitality workers. They recommends creating policies that protect tasks where human involvement is valued, consider imposing wealth taxes or social security assistance, and raising taxes companies that replace people with AI.


Research

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NIH provides funding for Treatment.ai to develop a culturally sensitive AI approach for collecting family medical history. The company says that approaches for collecting medical histories for African-American families are biased because they do not adequately capture information about blended families, non-traditional relationships, and the lack of patient information about the health of relatives.

Researchers find that AI can successfully design new drugs to overcome bacterial resistance.

ChatGPT generates discharge documents for orthopedics case that are comparable in quality to those that are created by junior orthopedic surgeons and orthopedics residents, but 10 times faster. Interestingly, while reviewers found hallucinations in four documents that ChatGPT created, that was fewer than the six that were found in the physician-generated notes.

A West Virginia University School of Pharmacy study will look at using AI to collect patient medication information from clinical and billing systems, including clinician notes, to help with medication reconciliation and to determine the risk of readmission.


Other

The National Bureau of Economics Research publishes a grant-supported book titled “The Economics of Artificial Intelligence: Health Care Challenges” that analyzes barriers – incentives, management, data availability, and regulation – that will impact the efficiency and cost disruptions that are possible in the 20% of the US economy that involves healthcare.


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
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Send news or rumors.
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HIStalk Interviews Kelly Boyd, SVP/GM, Sonifi Health

March 27, 2024 Interviews No Comments

Kelly Boyd, MBA is SVP and general manager of Sonifi Health, the healthcare division of Sonifi Solutions of Sioux Falls, SD.

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Tell me about yourself and the company.

I’ve been working in healthcare technology for about 20 years. The bulk of that time has been in product development and operations. I have spent time with the customer success and sales aspects.

Sonifi Health is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sonifi Solutions. Our parent company serves hospitality and other commercial markets. Sonifi Health focuses exclusively on the healthcare market. Within Sonifi, both the parent company and our subsidiaries, we have an underlying theme that our goal is to simplify the delivery and operation of technology so that our customers can accomplish all that’s possible when technology works. Technology is great, but it needs to complement the organization where it’s being deployed. Our role and our goal is to simplify that process, make it seamless, and make it valuable to the organizations that deploy it.

We still fundamentally align ourselves with the Triple Aim initiative that was launched by IHI back maybe 2007 and later modified to the Quadruple Aim. We want to enhance the patient experience, improve health outcomes, and drive operational efficiencies. That translates to both cost reductions and staff satisfaction. That is where we live. All of our technologies — smart room technology, staff technologies — are built fundamentally to go after those initiatives. 

You emphasize that healthcare is hospitality. Do you think that most hospitals see it that way and invest accordingly?

I do. We’ve doubled down on this, because in technology and healthcare tech, we can get so caught up in technology itself. The hospital’s mission is patient care, and at the root of that is compassion, comfort, and health outcomes. That essentially is the real meaning of hospitality.

We have launched with that messaging, both to remind ourselves internally and also message to our clients that we get that technology doesn’t exist for technology’s sake. At the end of the day, everything that we are doing is about the human experience. Creating an environment that is comfortable to the patient and that reduces anxiety has a direct impact on outcomes.

Patients aren’t necessarily capable of judging the clinical aspects of the care that they receive. Does the hospitality aspect of their stay carry an outsized importance in their perceived satisfaction?

It’s interesting, because patients aren’t able to perceive different levels of true clinical care. They can attribute that “I survived that surgery, therefore it was good,” but they can’t really assess where that surgery ranked on the spectrum. What they can definitively create is the perception about how they felt were treated and the hospitality side of the care that they received. People can articulate those things more than they can the true clinical aspects of healthcare.

Patients sometimes complain that technology, such as a physician charting in the EHR, is distracting. How do they see in-room technology and smart rooms?

There is no downside to the technology from the patient perception side. We have seen bumps in hospital patient experience scores simply from bringing in smart room technology. Patients translate high tech, cutting edge, state-of-the-art automation technology to better care. Whether that is a fair translation or not, it happens.

People are human, and investments on the hospitality side impact our perception of the quality of care that we are going to receive. Is my room nice? Is the furniture nice? Is the TV nice? Anything that a hospital does to to move to a smart room to enhance the environment impacts the patient’s perception of their quality of care, and to some extent, how they will perceive their outcomes.

Your website cites a study that found that patients who use an interactive, in-room system are more likely to also use it to follow education recommendations. How can hospitals use that finding?

We found that the entertainment side of it draws people into the system. You want to watch that movie, listen to the music, engage with spiritual content, or whatever those entertainment pieces are that bring the patient into the system. The system is then designed to capitalize on the fact that the patient is engaged with the system.

We will strategically prompt the patient to engage in their care as well. That can be learning about their condition, how the recovery will go once they go home, things that they should watch for once they leave the hospital, and what they need to do to plan and prepare for their discharge. We leverage the entertainment side as a way to pull the patient in, but once they’re in the system, you have all kinds of opportunities to put the important information in front of them.

Do you engage family members in that process?

We love involving family members. When you’re a patient, there is a little bit of anxiety. You’re unsettled. Your ability to grasp the information is much different than a family member. We encourage the family members. We know that the the information lands and and sticks a little bit better when the family members are the ones participating, especially when you’re talking about young children or the adult caregivers of their elderly parents. The family members play a big part of it.

As a parent, I’ve been in the hospital with my kids and I was starved for information. What’s next? What should I expect when I take my son or daughter home? We see a lot of engagement with family members with the system.

How will patient engagement technologies be used outside the four walls of hospitals, such as with hospital at home or virtual hospitals?

This is a trend based on initiatives to reduce costs. It’s clear that the more comfortable the patient is, the better healing, recovery, and outcomes that you’re going to see. The challenge for everybody in healthcare — healthcare tech providers, payers, all of that — is educating patients across the board on health literacy, recovery, lifestyle changes, behavior, and all those things. Companies like Sonifi are trying to increase the engagement and activation of patients so that they can be successful in a home care or hospital at home environment.

How widely are hospitals using digital signage and way-finding?

Most hospitals have some type of digital signage in play. There is a need to continue to get information into the hands of patients and visitors. This could be population health content, where you have people sitting in waiting rooms and have an opportunity to get the right controlled messaging content in front of patients and family members. Signage is everywhere. There’s a lot with branding and marketing of the health system’s mission and vision.

With way-finding, you’re talking substantial institutions that exist on campuses and multi-building setups, where they are trying to make it easier for patients to navigate the campus and get where they need to go.

For Sonifi, we have the nationwide field service organization. We are already providing technology, the breadth and depth of our knowledge of infrastructure, and these type of messaging tools. This becomes a complementary solution for us that we can deliver alongside our more clinical applications.

What are your thoughts about having worked for the same company for nearly 30 years?

When it comes to Sonifi and Sonifi Health, I really love the people that I work for. We’re based in the Midwest, so we have an organization of people who are really committed and care. That “Midwest nice” thing really comes through with the group. I have people in my team who have been here 30 years as well. I have people who have been here 15 years and they joke that they’re the newbies. 

The group believes in what we do. They care about the patient. They care about the the nurse and the clinician. They care deeply about the operations person who is trying to run and manage the distribution system. Everybody is behind what we’re doing, which makes it easy to come to work every day and makes it easy to stay and commit with the organization.

What factors will be important for the company over the next few years?

We are tracking the movement away from inpatient new construction dollars to the outpatient side, with more short stay-focused, hospital-led home initiatives. Interoperability, security, data exchange, and seamless experiences across multiple facilities are big on our radar as well.

Morning Headlines 3/27/24

March 26, 2024 Headlines No Comments

Brightside Health Raises Strategic Series C, Welcomes Trip Hofer to Board of Directors

Virtual mental healthcare company Brightside Health announces a $33 million Series C investment, bringing its total raised to over $107 million.

Sagility Acquires BirchAI, a GenAI Company in the Healthcare Space

RCM and business process engineering company Sagility acquires BirchAI, a startup that offers AI-powered call center automation technology.

Tennr Raises $18M in Series A Funding

Tennr will use $18 million in Series A funding to further develop and market its AI-based document automation software geared towards providers who rely on digital faxing.

News 3/27/24

March 26, 2024 News 4 Comments

Top News

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Masimo considers spinning off its consumer business, which includes personal health and audio products, while retaining its healthcare and telehealth solutions.


Reader Comments

From Disingenuous: “Re: Judy Faulkner’s giving pledge. It’s shallow since she’s giving her share of Epic to a foundation that will still have majority control, someone who will carry on her legacy and maintain her vision from the grave.” I read that years ago, thinking that the question then becomes who’s on the foundation and how it interacts with a company that has always had one focused leader who is also the majority owner. Epic has always had a board, I hear, although I know nothing about its members and level of control.

From Psych MD: “Re: VA OIG’s report. The report identifies quite a few problems with the patient’s follow-up mental health care, but using root care analysis leads organizations to identify a single failure among several, to recommend corrective actions even when it seems likely that they would not have affected the outcome, and in this case looks to the EHR as a source of blame or a magical fix. I don’t know why root cause analysis has become ascendant over FMEA or other approaches to optimize care and safety.” The full VA OIG report puts a lot of blame for the patient’s death — which was not determined to be a suicide even though the patient had a history of suicidal ideation — on Oracle Health, but these points seem relevant:

  • The EHR failed to issue the VA-specified number of staff reminders to schedule new behavioral health appointments for no-shows or cancellations. 
  • The patient had changed their phone number and didn’t respond to appointment scheduling messages.
  • The VA contacted family members, who told them the patient was doing OK and didn’t provide the new telephone number, at which time the patient’s flag for being at high suicide risk was turned off, which prevented ongoing suicide prevention reach-outs.
  • The patient died of cardiac arrhythmia after using inhalants, of which they had a documented history but denied current use, two months after their most recent visit. 
  • This  complex case resulted in some EHR changes involving missed appointments, but the patient was not cooperative despite VA employee efforts and no evidence exists that any changes would have improved this patient’s unfortunate outcome.

From AT: “Re: Epic’s succession plan. What’s yours? I’m hoping that you will post an obituary. My career and even my passion for health IT are forever indebted to everything you have provided me and the entire industry.” I appreciate that, but I want no part of limelight, prehumous or posthumous, for doing what I consider an empty-room hobby. You probably won’t even notice my bucket-kicking absence anyway since Jenn can keep the news coming until existing sponsorships expire and the site can go gracefully dark without stiffing anybody (no pun intended).


HIMSS24 Comments Review

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Several folks have said it will be hard for HIMSS / Informa to figure out what needs fixing about the annual conference based on the comments that I received. I’ll take the counterpoint in summarizing the list as being mostly minor and personal gripes, with few underlying themes that indicate mass, irreparable dissatisfaction. My thoughts:

  • Attendance and exhibitor count are the ultimate benchmark. Those were just fine for HIMSS24. Informa isn’t forced to rescue a conference whose relevance and reach has slipped beyond repair.
  • HIMSS20 and the HIMSS23 carpet debacle soured a lot of people on HIMSS, so hopefully Informa’s acquisition cost reflected the value of the tarnished jewel and the company has the vast experience that is needed to improve it. It also means that Hal Wolf has relinquished a lot of power to Informa, which his critics will celebrate.
  • HIMSS conference educational presentations and keynotes mostly draw yawns, but HIMSS can improve those now that Informa is managing the exhibit hall logistics.

My suggestions:

  1. Steal ViVE’s “refreshments and meals included” idea, although that will be hard to scale up to a HIMSS-sized conference due to physical space limits. Requiring highly paid executives to fight for space to sit on dirty carpeted floor to dribble dressing from their $20 salad on themselves instead of networking with fellow attendees is absurd. If money is the problem, sell $50 daily vouchers for access to a private area near the exhibit hall that offers food (including fresher and healthier options) and coffee for most of the day, an expanded model of the now-dead HIMSS Bistro offering that I have always thought worked really well when I paid for a ticket. The other limitation here is that convention centers impose their monopoly powers on F&B to charge astronomical prices, such as $73 for a gallon of Starbucks coffee and $29 for a boxed sandwich or salad in Orlando, all plus a mandatory 21.5% service charge plus tax. 
  2. Dial back the chirpy influencers and HIMSS Media cheerleading unless the target audience is non-decision makers who like that sort of self-aware gushiness. 
  3. Limit the conference to three days and keep the exhibit hall open during all show hours. Nobody enjoys the last-day ghost town, and HIMSS could save money on facilities and let people get back to work by declaring that three days is enough. HIMSS25 will do exactly that, although HIMSS26 sees the return of Tumbleweeds Friday.
  4. Get better keynote speakers, schedule them early in the week, and announce them before attendance decisions have already been made. Pay one celebrity speaker, if you must, who packs star power while knowing and caring nothing about the work of audience members (hello, Nick Saban), but otherwise get non-vendor insiders on the big stages.
  5. Take advantage of ViVE’s weak spot of high registration fees by using HIMSS clout to lower them, attracting more provider-siders. That won’t necessarily stem the C-level migration from HIMSS to ViVE, but could correct the inflated vendor-provider ratio and draw in health system directors, managers, and clinicians who have influence on technology decisions but who have limited travel money. I would argue that HIMSS can do fine without CIOs since they rarely emerged from their HIMSS VIP sequestration to hit the show floor anyway.

Webinars

March 27 (Wednesday) 3 ET. “Houston Methodist: Deploying clinical AI at scale for improved outcomes.” Sponsor: Health Data Analytics Institute. Presenters: Khurram Nasir, MD, MPH, chief of cardiovascular disease prevention and wellness, Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center; Brenda Campbell, RN, senior consultant, HM Health System Innovations; Nassib Chamoun, MS, founder and CEO, HDAI. The presenters  will share how an interdisciplinary team collaborated to successfully use predictive models and a novel AI-driven approach to address post-discharge mortality. They will also describe how they expanded use of the platform to reduce clinician time spent digging through the EHR with a one-page risk profile, including codes extracted from notes using generative AI, and targeting their highest risk patients for extra attention. They will speak to how they overcame barriers to bringing AI at scale to support clinicians across the care continuum.

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


Sales

  • Nebraska Medicine will implement EVideon’s Vide Health smart room technology within its Innovation Design Unit.
  • The Medical University of South Carolina will implement Flatiron Health’s Flatiron Assist oncology clinical decision support software at its cancer center.
  • Prisma Health will extend its use of Bamboo Health’s Pings, Spotlights, and Discharge Summaries across its organization and InVio Health Network.
  • Samaritan Health Services (OR) will provide virtual urgent care services via Epic MyChart from KeyCare.
  • Children’s Hospital Los Angeles offers Nabla’s Copilot AI assistant to its pediatric specialists following completion of a pilot project.
  • Community Health Network (IN) will use Ferrum Health’s reference AI architecture to deploy radiology algorithms.

People

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CompuGroup Medical will promote Benedikt Brueckle to US CEO in January 2025. He will take over from Derek Pickell, who will retire at the end of this year.

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Heather Dunn, MBA (Vanderbilt University Medical Center) joins The SSI Group as president.

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Collette Health names Christine Gall, DrPH, MS, BSN (Gall Consulting) chief nursing officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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OhioHealth Van Wert Hospital goes live on Epic as part of a system-wide transition that was first announced in early 2021.

Black Book Research announces winners of its awards for highest hospital user satisfaction and clinician satisfaction, as determined by 14,000 respondents.

Malaysia’s health ministry says that it will rejuvenate Selayang Hospital’s Cerner EHR, which was the country’s first paperless system, that has deteriorated to the point that the hospital went back to paper.

Amazon expands its same-day prescription delivery, which is already offered in five cities, to New York City and Los Angeles. The company also notes that it is using AI behind the scenes to prepare prescriptions for pharmacist review to increase efficiency.

A study by The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic finds that its virtual second opinions save the patient or their payer $8,705. Two-thirds of its second opinions recommend a change in diagnosis or treatment, while 85% of patients who had been told that they needed surgery were instead recommended an alternate treatment. The $1,850 program includes a video call with an RN, concierge collection of medical records, and referral to a Cleveland Clinic expert who provides a written second opinion.

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A new KLAS report on clinical communications interoperability concludes that no vendor connects consistently across all use cases — which include communication with outside physicians; integration with staff scheduling; timely alert and alarm routing; integration with EHRs, dietary, and transport systems; and communication of after-hours needs — but deep adopters are starting to unify their communications.


Government and Politics

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Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) introduces the “Health Care Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2024.” If passed, the bill will enable eligible providers to receive advanced and accelerated payments in the wake of a cyberattack, provided they and, if applicable, third-party vendors meet certain cybersecurity standards. Warner launched the Senate Health Care Cybersecurity Working Group last November.


Privacy and Security

Petersen Health Care, one of the country’s largest nursing home operators, files bankruptcy due to a double whammy of cybersecurity incidents — an October 2023 ransomware attack that delayed bills and then the Change Healthcare cyberattack that reduced receivables. The company operates 90 nursing homes in the Midwest and reported $340 million in revenue in 2023.


Other

UK HealthCare’s Chandler Hospital (KY) opens a new ICU floor equipped with remote patient monitoring technologies, including bedside patient engagement software from GetWell and video monitoring from Caregility.

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Forbes Hospital (PA), part of the Allegheny Health Network, will equip a 47-bed unit with smart patient room and virtual nursing technology in the coming weeks.


Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks becomes a HRSA-approved EHR vendor for UDS+ submissions.
  • Availity and Bamboo Health will exhibit at the State HIT 2024 Connect Summit April 1-4 in Baltimore.
  • Divurgent publishes a new success story, “Divurgent Consolidates Over 120 EHR and IS Applications After Hospital Acquisition.”

Blog Posts


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