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Morning Headlines 9/27/21

September 26, 2021 Headlines No Comments

Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital and Ally Bridge Group Lead $135 Million Investment in Elligo

Clinical research network vendor Elligo Health Research raises $135 million in a Series E funding round.

New health record data standard adoption remains stagnant, ONC finds

ONC has found that third-party apps have been slow to adopt the HL7 FHIR standard as mandated by the Cures Act, with adoption remaining close to 20% between 2019 and 2020.

Epic Systems develops tech to verify COVID-19 vaccine status, test results

Through its work with the Vaccination Credential Initiative, Epic has developed technology that enables organizations to verify COVID-19 test results and vaccination status.

Monday Morning Update 9/27/21

September 26, 2021 News 1 Comment

Top News

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Clinical research network vendor Elligo Health Research raises $135 million in a Series E funding round.

The company recently acquired research practice management organization ClinEdge.

Existing investor Cerner, which returned for this round, also acquired life sciences analytics vendor Kantar Health for $375 million early this year and created the Cerner Learning Health Network EHR-powered clinical trials service for participating health systems in 2019.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Poll respondents expect remote patient monitoring and telehealth to affect healthcare more than any other technologies.

New poll to your right or here: Should physicians and other healthcare providers be licensed nationally rather than state by state?


Webinars

October 6 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Solving Patient Experience Challenges Through a Strong Digital Front Door.” Sponsor: Avtex. Presenters: Mike Pietig, VP of healthcare experience, Avtex; Jamey Shiels, MBA, VP of consumer experience, Advocate Aurora Health; Chad Thorpe, care ambassador, DispatchHealth. Patients expect healthcare providers to offer them the same digital experience they get when banking, shopping, and traveling. This webinar will describe how two leading healthcare providers created digital front doors that exceed patient expectations, improve patient outcomes, drive loyalty and acquisition, and future-proof their growth strategies in competitive markets.

October 6 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “A New, Streamlined Approach to Documentation and Problem List Management in Cerner Millennium.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Deepak Pillai, MD, physician informaticist, IMO; David Arco, product manager, IMO; Nicole Douglas, senior product marketing manager, IMO. The IMO Core CSmart app, which is available for Cerner Millennium in the Cerner code App Gallery, helps providers document with specificity, make problem lists more meaningful, and improve HCC coding. This webinar will review the challenges and bottlenecks of clinical documentation and problem list management and discuss how streamlined workflows within Cerner Millennium can help reduce clinician HIT burden.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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I was curious about the performance of Teladoc Health stock since announced its acquisition of Livongo for $18.5 billion in August 2020. Shares are down 30% versus the Dow’s 27% increase, with the company’s market capitalization now being barely more than the acquisition price of what was touted to be a $37 billion merger (the company is now worth $21 billion). TDOC shares are 56% off their 52-week high. The company lost $134 million in Q2.

Definitive Healthcare’s IPO performance and its resulting multi-billion dollar valuation has piqued curiosity about what the company does. Check out an analysis of its IPO filings by Redpoint Ventures principal Jacob Effron, MBA, who describes how the company has succeeded in offering prospect analytics to support healthcare sales for life sciences and healthcare IT companies as well as provider analytics for health systems.


People

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Insurer technology vendor HealthEdge hires Anshul Pande, MS (Stanford Children’s Health) as SVP of R&D and Angelo Devita, MPH (Avalon Healthcare Solutions) as VP of enterprise account management.

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Dennis Sutterfield, MS (Temple Health) joins SUNY Downstate Medical Center as VP/CIO.

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RCM services vendor Savista (formerly NThrive’s Services Division)  hires Jan Grimm (Butterfly Network) as CEO and board member. He replaces Brenda Cline, who has retired and joined the company’s board.


COVID-19

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US COVID-19 numbers continue to improve, with cases, test positivity rate, and hospitalizations all down significantly in the past week, although deaths remain at nearly 2,000 per day.

CDC recommends boosters for some people who have received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine – those over 65, people who live in institutional settings, those with underlying medical conditions, and frontline workers. CDC did not follow its vaccine advisory’s recommendation to exclude at-risk workers. The advisory panel has not yet been tasked with reviewing the need for boosters for the Moderna and J&J vaccines, but some panel members urged a mix-and-match strategy in which those recipients could receive a Pfizer-BioNTech booster.

Anti-vaccine Facebook groups are urging people to remove their relatives with COVID-19 out of hospital ICUs, which they say are blocking the use of “miracle cures” such as ivermectin. Groups whose members have realized that ivermectin is not effective are now touting a “protocol” that includes gargling with iodine and inhaling hydrogen peroxide. A Harvard professor calls it “vigilante medicine” that is “being practiced by laypeople who are reading groups created by other laypeople in echo chambers and silos that, likely, someone in the anti-vax movement is profiting from.” Meanwhile, horse owners can’t get ivermectin paste for de-worming because it is being bought up from feed stores for human use.

A startup launched in October 2020 that runs a dozen COVID-19 testing sites is charging $380 for the same at-home rapid test that drugstores sell over the counter for $20 and for which Medicare pays $41. Omaha-based GS Labs, which has performed 500,000 of the tests, is using a CARES Act requirement that insurers pay a provider’s cash price. The company says it prices are high because it offers premium service, such as fast appointments and a nursing hotline. It is owned by a real estate and investment firm. UPMC Health Plan noticed that 91% of patient claims that included both an antigen and an antibody test came from GS Labs, insurance payment for which is also guaranteed by CARES Act.


Other

I don’t usually post job openings, but this one sounds good. CVS Health is recruiting for a physician to serve as senior medical director of health informatics.


Sponsor Updates

  • Nuance announces that it has again ranked highest in customer satisfaction by Black Book Research for AI-powered CDI, speech recognition, and clinical intelligence solutions.
  • The HCI Group releases a new DGTL Voices Podcast, “Future of Music in this DGTL Age.”
  • The Stevie Awards names Quil Health CEO Carina Edwards a Gold Winner for Most Innovative Woman of the Year in Healthcare.
  • RCxRules partners with Athenahealth’s Marketplace Program.
  • Spirion marks its 15th anniversary with a Great Place to Work Certification.
  • The Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare Podcast features Talkdesk VP of Strategy Greg Miller, “The Digital Front Door of Healthcare.”
  • Vyne Medical releases a new podcast, “Connecting with Today’s Consumer: A Closer Look into the State of Healthcare Consumerism.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
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Contact us.

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Weekender 9/24/21

September 24, 2021 Weekender 1 Comment

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Weekly News Recap

  • Athenahealth is reportedly considering a sale of the company or an IPO at a $20 billion valuation.
  • Clearsense acquires AI-powered predictive modeling company Compellon.
  • AGS Health acquires EZDI.
  • Former Teladoc executive David Sides joins NextGen Healthcare as president and CEO.
  • Apple’s latest operating system gives IPhone users the ability to share health data with their providers via EHRs.
  • Shares in Definitive Healthcare jump 81% in their first week of trading following last Wednesday’s IPO, valuing the company at $7 billion.

Best Reader Comments

The state medical boards don’t really care about patient safety or good physician practice. What they do care about is maintaining their cash flow from physician and other professionals licensing fees … There needs to be a national licensing organization. The NBME already deals with the licensing exam and they could just as easily have everyone do the background checks and other licensing paperwork when submitting your Step 3 application. States could maintain some of their revenue by collecting a nominal standard fee ($25-35) for every state where you want a license with automatic approval with a valid federal license. Disciplinary actions would be more consistent if centralized and unscrupulous health professionals couldn’t move from state to state and fly under the radar. Telehealth would be facilitated and continuity of care would be better as well. (State Board Skeptic)

Re: Feds charge 138, including doctors, with $1.4 billion in health-care fraud involving telemedicine, Covid, opioids. This includes 42 healthcare professionals and 23 physicians! 23 PHYSICIANS! That’s why we cannot have nice things in healthcare. Those who complain about too much coding related documentation in healthcare, go and read the history of Medicare and why all those guardrails needed to be put in place over time. (Ghost of Andromeda)

When you wrote “I can only guess that the physician didn’t know how to contact the vendor”, it reminded me of hearing years ago that for many hospital/health organizations, the staff often have to channel their queries through one or two people who are the liaison to the vendor. I (sorta) get the intent here, but this makes no sense. (JT)

Epic sells to two groups within healthcare organizations: administrators and high value doctors. Epic is not going to tell the rank and file to go badger the people that cut Epic checks or the doctors who pull in a few million a year for the org. (IANAL)


Watercooler Talk Tidbits

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Readers funded the Donors Choose teacher grant request of Ms. D in Arkansas, who asked for educational resources from the Teachers Pay Teachers program for her middle school class. She reports, “I cannot thank you enough for your generosity! With your donation I was able to purchase an online science curriculum that has helped me reach and engage my students this year. My students are so excited about the ‘scientist of the week’ package that I purchased, which includes information about a specific scientist that students get to explore and learn about for the whole week. This is just one of many resources that I was able to purchase that I can now use in my classroom moving forward. I was also able to purchase science stations and task cards which will help students use real world scenarios to learn science skills. Through this donation students have been able to engage in scientific thinking as well as see themselves as scientists, which has been very exciting for me to facilitate! Thank you!!!”

A North Carolina deputy is injured when a group of people who were fighting at a bingo hall resumed where they had left off in the hospital ED waiting room. The deputy was attempting to handcuff an armed participant when he was attacked by a juvenile female who charged him from behind. The deputy explains, “I hit her with my pepper spray, and I pepper-sprayed the gentleman that I’m fighting with. The gun falls out of his pocket onto the floor.” The melee started when one of those involved drove a car into the bingo hall, injuring several people.

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A federal court convicts a Michigan doctor of running a $100 million healthcare fraud scheme in which prescribed opioids for patients who agreed to falsely claim that he gave them expensive spinal injections instead. Frank Patino billed Medicare for more of the spinal injections than any US doctor from 2012 to 2017. He was also Michigan’s #1 prescriber of oxycodone in 2016 and 2017. He took kickbacks from labs to which he sent patient samples, then used the money to promote his diet, lifestyle, and wellness books and programs.

In Canada, police are seeking a man who punched a nurse in the face repeatedly for administering COVID-19 vaccine to his wife without his permission.

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New Hampshire’s health commissioner calls out the state’s highest-ranking lawmaker for spreading COVID-19 disinformation and placing federal vaccination funds on hold. Republican Rep. Ken Weyler claims without evidence that most NH COVID-related hospitalizations involve vaccinated people (when pressed, he cited his source as a talk radio show), federal government is being paid off by drug companies, the vaccine contains “something in the shot that’s going to help them control us,” and that he won’t receive the vaccine because his 25 years of flu shots – he’s 80 years old — make him immune from COVID-19. He adds that he gets his COVID-19 information from the Internet because “I don’t consider the CDC a credible source.”

A former concert pianist who completed her nursing degree when her father was diagnosed with liver cancer plays the piano in Mayo Clinic’s atrium as a volunteer after her shift as a Mayo non-vascular radiology nurse. The father of Genaida Benson, RN, who is cancer-free eight years after his first visit to Mayo, is among her audience when he returns for follow-up visits.   


In Case You Missed It


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Morning Headlines 9/24/21

September 23, 2021 Headlines No Comments

Veritas, Elliott Consider $20 Billion-Plus Athenahealth Sale

Bloomberg reports that Veritas Capital and Elliott Management are considering a sale or IPO of Athenahealth at a $20 billion valuation.

Astarte Medical raises $7.6M to advance technology platform that aids premature infants

NICU clinical decision support software vendor Astarte Medical raises $7.6 million in a Series A funding round.

Toward a smarter electronic health record

Researchers at MIT and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center develop MedKnowts, a problem-oriented EHR side panel that displays a patient information card and offers a note-taking editor with auto-complete for clinical terms.

Alphabet life-sciences unit Verily is pursuing a secret plan to untangle itself from Google as it readies for a potential IPO

Verily, the life sciences unit of Alphabet, is reportedly planning to separate from Google’s technology in preparation for an eventual IPO.

News 9/24/21

September 23, 2021 News No Comments

Top News

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Bloomberg reports that Veritas Capital and Elliott Management are considering a sale or IPO of Athenahealth at a $20 billion valuation.

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Veritas and Evergreen Coast Capital – a subsidiary of hedge fund operator Elliott — acquired the company for $5.7 billion in cash in late 2018, Veritas had previously acquired GE Healthcare’s value-based care solutions group for $1 billion and named it Virence Health, which was then merged with newly acquired Athenahealth, retiring the Virence Health name.  

Former Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush is among several CEOs who have lost their jobs following campaigns by activist investor Elliott. He reportedly received $142 million when the company was acquired five months after his departure.


Reader Comments

From Adjudicator: “Re: conference poll. Was it a surprise that HIMSS was the preferred conference of readers over HLTH by a two-to-one margin?” Not really. My thoughts:

  • Limited sample size (353 respondents) and a self-selected HIStalk poll audience probably favors the longstanding HIMSS conference, particularly among HIMSS exhibitors who have not attended HLTH.
  • HLTH is the venture-funded new kid on the block, but it has convened only a few conferences (I think it has offered just two in-person events). It made a shockingly ill-advised mistake in convening its first conference right after HIMSS18 in the same city (Las Vegas), then skipped to the fall of 2019 in hopes of avoiding the competition. It draws big-name presenters outside the usual HIMSS focus on health systems.
  • The direct competitor to HIMSS will be the VIVE conference, which is being co-developed by HLTH and CHIME. Its first conference will be in March 2022. Its model is a bit different, however, in offering a “Hosted Buyer Program” that corrals suppliers and prospects together in a matchmaking program in which buyers attend free if they agree to attend at least eight assigned vendor meetings. HIMSS is an unabashedly commercial boat show, but VIVE takes it to the next level in a way that I’ve seen work fairly well in other healthcare-focused conferences. The question there is scalability – how many health IT decision-makers will attend and buy product to draw exhibitor dollars? Does it really need to be a national, big-attendee blowout to support that format? CIOs switching their allegiance from HIMSS to VIVE and the CHIME Fall Forum would be tough on the HIMSS conference.
  • Nobody knows how the forced trend of virtual conferences will affect in-person attendance. Will those formerly large in-person audiences seek to reconnect in person, or will they reconsider the value of spending time and money to attend an in-person conference to sit in front of speakers who un-ironically extol the virtues of virtual healthcare?
  • We also don’t know how the cancellation of HIMSS20 and the underwhelming HIMSS21 will affect future HIMSS conferences. I can’t say I have a lot of enthusiasm for doing it all over again in March, I get zero value from being a HIMSS member, and their high executive salaries and purely revenue-seeking actions seem a bit tone deaf (although to be fair, I feel the same way about most healthcare systems). I wouldn’t attend if I weren’t covering it for HIStalk.
  • It’s not hard to see the appeal or value of user group meetings. All they are missing is the opportunity for broader networking with users of other systems.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

The HIMSS22 exhibit hall floor plan shows just over 500 vendors signed up so far, with the big-booth exhibitors being Optum, Epic, and Cerner. I’ll probably ask companies about their HIMSS22 plans in the next few weeks since the conference kicks off in 171 days.


Webinars

October 6 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Solving Patient Experience Challenges Through a Strong Digital Front Door.” Sponsor: Avtex. Presenters: Mike Pietig, VP of healthcare experience, Avtex; Jamey Shiels, MBA, VP of consumer experience, Advocate Aurora Health; Chad Thorpe, care ambassador, DispatchHealth. Patients expect healthcare providers to offer them the same digital experience they get when banking, shopping, and traveling. This webinar will describe how two leading healthcare providers created digital front doors that exceed patient expectations, improve patient outcomes, drive loyalty and acquisition, and future-proof their growth strategies in competitive markets.

October 6 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “A New, Streamlined Approach to Documentation and Problem List Management in Cerner Millennium.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Deepak Pillai, MD, physician informaticist, IMO; David Arco, product manager, IMO; Nicole Douglas, senior product marketing manager, IMO. The IMO Core CSmart app, which is available for Cerner Millennium in the Cerner code App Gallery, helps providers document with specificity, make problem lists more meaningful, and improve HCC coding. This webinar will review the challenges and bottlenecks of clinical documentation and problem list management and discuss how streamlined workflows within Cerner Millennium can help reduce clinician HIT burden.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Analytics platform vendor Clearsense acquires Compellon, which offers a plug-and-play AI predictive modeling solution.

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Users of Apple mobile devices can download and store their COVID-19 immunization and test results in Wallet with the just-released IOS 15.1 update.

Verily, the life sciences unit of Alphabet, is reportedly planning to separate from Google’s technology in preparation for an eventual IPO.

Ascension Technologies will outsource the jobs of 330 remote tech support employees in the areas of application and platforms, collaboration and end-user engineering, network and telecom, and field services.


Sales

  • TransformativeMed and partner Red One Medical will provide the VA Puget Sound Health System – Seattle Division with the CORES Work Manager suite of clinical decision support tools and the CORES Diabetes Module.
  • Cancer Treatment Centers of America connects to the MedAllies HISP platform to develop technology to meet CMS requirements to send patient event notifications to primary and post-acute care providers.
  • UC San Diego Health chooses the Unifier platform of Dicom Systems for imaging interoperability.

People

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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital hires Shannon Dean, MD (UW Health) as CMIO.

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Medical imaging AI vendor Mirada names Mark Crockett, MD (Verge Health) as chief medical officer.


Announcements and Implementations

Renown Health announces that it has answered 57,000 questions and completed 700 COVID-19 risk assessments via its rollout of Loyal’s AI healthcare chatbot and live chat solution on its website.

Researchers at MIT and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center develop MedKnowts, a problem-oriented EHR side panel that displays a patient information card and offers a note-taking editor with auto-complete for clinical terms.

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Salesforce launches Health Cloud 2.0, which includes a COVID-19 management platform for in-person events, contact tracing, vaccine management, and virtual visits. The product is not specific to healthcare organizations and will be available to all businesses. I’m confused by the product name since Salesforce Health Cloud offers solutions for providers and other healthcare organizations. The announcement’s link to Health Cloud 2.0 refers to a Health Cloud page that doesn’t mention anything new. UPDATE: I reached out to the company, which explained that Health Cloud hasn’t changed, while Health Cloud 2.0 is a bundle that includes Health Cloud plus the new COVID-related functionality. My confusion remains.

Intrado adds SMS-based referral management, along with integration with Cerner and Meditech, to its HouseCalls Pro digital patient engagement platform.

Children’s Health of Orange County joins Cerner’s Learning Health Network research consortium.

Meditech will hold its Physician and CIO Forum September 29-30 as both an in-person and virtual event.

Canada-based Well Health Technologies will acquire specialty EHR vendor Aware MD for up to $8 million.

Bizmatics enhances its PrognoCIS EHR to support the correct scheduling of virtual visits based on the individual time zones of patient and provider.

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Prescription discounter GoodRx rolls out GoodRx Health, which will answer the most commonly Googled questions about health. The company says the new site is a cross between NerdWallet and Wirecutter for healthcare.

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A new KLAS report on data and analytics platforms finds that Cerner, Epic, and Health Catalyst have the deepest adoption among established analytics solutions, while Innovaccer has high adoption as a newcomer. Dimensional Insight customers report high satisfaction and see the company as a partner, while Cerner has a 40% overall dissatisfaction rate mostly due to overpromising. Click the graphic above to see KLAS’s data and analytics platform framework and the underlying components.


Government and Politics

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A GAO review of the DoD’s Cerner implementation finds that the system is live in six of 24 planned waves, system performance has improved, and early issues have been addressed. However, testing and resolution of the issues it raises remain unresolved, users say the training system doesn’t match production, and system change information isn’t being disseminated well.


COVID-19

FDA approves booster shots of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for those 65 and over who received their second dose at least six months earlier and for high-risk people. CDC’s advisory committee is meeting this week to determine those high-risk criteria and to discuss how the new recommendation affects people who received the Moderna or J&J vaccines.


Other

University of Toledo Medical Center will use its $4 million fiscal year surplus to create a $21 million capital reserve that will help pay for its Epic implementation, among other projects.


Sponsor Updates

  • Wolters Kluwer Health will combine its Medi-Span Clinical drug-screening solution with Ecaresoft’s Cirrus EHR to offer a fully integrated NPHIES-compliant solution to providers in the Middle East.
  • The HCI Group will sponsor the CHIME Innovation Summit September 23-24 in Chicago.
  • Everbridge CEO David Meredith wins the 2021 Globee CEO World Award in the visionary category.
  • Health Catalyst CFO Bryan Hunt and SVP of Investor Relations Adam Brown will present during the Cantor Global Healthcare Conference September 30.
  • Healthwise celebrates its staff in a new video, “Celebrating Healthwise Yesterday & Today.”
  • Intrado offers new capabilities within its HouseCalls Pro digital patient engagement platform, including automated referral management.
  • Kyruus opens registration for its Annual Thought Leadership on Access Symposium November 9-10.
  • National Coordinator Micky Tripathi will keynote Meditech’s 2021 Physician and CIO Forum September 29-30.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
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Contact us.

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EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 9/23/21

September 23, 2021 Dr. Jayne 5 Comments

Hospitals in my city are in lockstep as far as requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for employees, with compliance upwards of 98% for most facilities. Employees who aren’t compliant and don’t qualify for a religious exemption are finding that there isn’t anywhere to work unless they want to relocate or leave healthcare, so difficult choices are being made. In that context, I was interested to read about the approach being taken by Conway Regional Health System in Arkansas.

The system asks that those employees claiming a religious exemption attest that they understand that the same fetal cell lines they object to being used during development of the vaccine were also used in the development of commonly accepted medications such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Tylenol. They go further in asking employees to confirm that their “sincerely held religious belief” prevents them from taking those medications as well. Many of my physician colleagues and I have had ongoing conversations about the fact that so many of the world’s major (and often fractious) religious groups have found common ground on recognizing COVID-19 vaccines as permissible and often encouraged. If only they could find common ground on other topics as well. Kudos to the system’s leadership for making sure its employees understand the science behind their exemption requests and what it might mean for non-vaccine products.

I left my most recent in-person clinical employer for a variety of reasons, including such factors as inadequate personal protective equipment, hellacious hours, short staffing, and cultural issues. Regarding the latter, we had reached a point where the mentality of “the customer is always right” had come to interfere with patient care by creating an environment where physician judgment was being questioned, and where leadership was turning a blind eye to clinicians who were prescribing non-evidence-based therapies like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin for COVID prevention. A recent MSN article brought back some negative memories. The headline “Entitled consumers have terrorized service and retail workers throughout the pandemic” also applies to healthcare.

In checking with my former colleagues, patients are still throwing fits that they can’t be accommodated quickly for pre-travel testing due to the extremely high demand for testing. Patients register at 6 a.m. and often aren’t able to be seen until 2 or 3 p.m., so they take their anger out on the staff when they arrive. Never mind the fact that my county has free drive-through testing at the county health department, where test turn-around time is about 4 hours – patients don’t want to drive to what they perceive as “the wrong side of the tracks” for testing for a variety of preconceived notions. When you do the math, it would be more efficient even with the crosstown drive, and it’s certainly cheaper since my former employer is requiring a full physician visit (and urgent care co-pay) even for testing. However, the perception of convenience or quality or service is everything, apparently.

The practice is still fighting the most basic of battles, including patients who refuse to wear their masks properly despite being in a healthcare facility where known COVID-19 positive patients are present, and clinicians aren’t permitted to refuse to see patients who refuse to mask up. Patients who haven’t planned adequate turnaround time for their pre-travel PCR testing are permitted to complain to leadership, who will allow them to take their specimen swabs and personally drive them to the lab vendor for expedited service. This adds extra steps for the already overburdened staff. The organization still has approximately 20% of its locations closed due to lack of staffing and has even started its own emergency medical technician training program in an effort to bolster reserves. However, they seem unwilling to look at evolving the practice culture as a way of improving staff retention and satisfaction.

Unfortunately, many healthcare organizations will continue to confront these types of scenarios (and others which may be even more challenging) as the pandemic continues to rage. Healthcare has changed so much in the last 18 months; I can’t even imagine what it might look like if we ever make it out the other side of this. The reality is that we are one vaccine-resistant variant away from going back to square zero, and it feels like clinical teams are constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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The IT arm of Ascension plans to outsource an additional 330 technology jobs in the next few months, according to a Missouri state filing. The organization had already planned to lay off over 600 workers during the bottom half of the year. It’s hard to understand the true economic impact of these cuts because Ascension had transitioned earlier this year to allowing all employees to work remotely, which makes it more challenging to understand where the impacted positions are based. Functions being outsourced include application support, end user engineering, network services, and telecom. I always enjoy looking at primary source materials and, in this case, nearly 30% of the text of the document was redacted, so I will have to use my imagination to conjure up what I might have missed.

Today ONC awarded more than $73 million in Public Health Informatics & Technology Workforce Development Program funding to 10 college and university consortia. The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan and is targeted to providing training in public health informatics and technology for over 4,000 individuals. Organizations receiving funds include Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, and other higher education organizations. I’m pleased to see the diversity of recipients as we move forward addressing social determinants of health, as there are many underrepresented demographics in the public health workforce.

The funds will help provide support for curriculum development, recruiting, training, paid internships, and career placement assistance for those seeking positions in public health organizations. Having come up through the informatics ranks in a large hospital system, I didn’t have a lot of exposure to public health informatics. As I studied for my clinical informatics board certification, I found it to be one of the more interesting domains of the subspecialty. I’m excited to see it receiving more focus and hope that the funding helps attract some of the best and brightest to the discipline.

News of the weird: The State Medical Board of Ohio has given a two-year renewal to a physician who claims that vaccines cause people to become magnetic. The board has the opportunity to discipline a physician for false statements by a vote of at least half its members, yet it has failed to act in this case. The article goes on to mention that another notorious physician, this one of ivermectin fame, has his license coming due October 1. He has openly admitted to clinical wrongdoing, and it will be a travesty if the board continues to allow him to practice.

One of the reasons that state licensing boards are fighting against national licensure is their claimed need to police their own physicians. I’d recommend that if they’re going to continue to make that claim, that perhaps they start stepping up surveillance of those spreading dangerous misinformation.

Do you think state medical boards are living up to their responsibilities for physician discipline? Leave a comment or email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

Morning Headlines 9/23/21

September 22, 2021 Headlines No Comments

Clearsense Acquires Plug-and-Play AI Analytics Firm

Health data management and analytics vendor Clearsense acquires AI-powered predictive modeling company Compellon.

Unite Us acquires NowPow to address health and social needs nationwide

Care coordination and social services referral company Unite Us acquires NowPow, which offers similar community care and services referral technology.

Defense Logistics Agency Is Building an EHR to Track Occupational Health

The Defense Logistics Agency prepares an RFP to fulfill its need for enterprise occupational health services and corresponding EHR software.

A new cybersecurity center wants to protect medical devices against hacks

The University of Minnesota launches the Center for Medical Device Cybersecurity to help organizations involved with medical devices understand and manage their cybersecurity risks.

Morning Headlines 9/22/21

September 21, 2021 Headlines No Comments

AGS Health acquires AI-based clinical documentation and medical coding technology provider, EZDI

RCM vendor AGS Health acquires EZDI, a clinical documentation improvement, computer-assisted coding, and auditing business based in Louisville, KY.

What Our Latest Fundraise Means to the eVisit Team

Enterprise virtual care vendor EVisit raises $45 million in a Series B funding round.

Pager Secures $70M in Funding to Drive Expansion of Virtual Care in United States, Latin America and Worldwide

Virtual care navigation and collaboration software vendor Pager raises $70 million in a Series C funding round.

News 9/22/21

September 21, 2021 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Former Teladoc executive David Sides joins NextGen Healthcare as president and CEO. Sides spent 17 years as SVP of worldwide consulting at Cerner, and had a shorter, more recent stint as president and CEO of Streamline Health.


Webinars

October 6 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Solving Patient Experience Challenges Through a Strong Digital Front Door.” Sponsor: Avtex. Presenters: Mike Pietig, VP of healthcare experience, Avtex; Jamey Shiels, MBA, VP of consumer experience, Advocate Aurora Health; Chad Thorpe, care ambassador, DispatchHealth. Patients expect healthcare providers to offer them the same digital experience they get when banking, shopping, and traveling. This webinar will describe how two leading healthcare providers created digital front doors that exceed patient expectations, improve patient outcomes, drive loyalty and acquisition, and future-proof their growth strategies in competitive markets.

October 6 (Wednesday) 1 ET.  “A New, Streamlined Approach to Documentation and Problem List Management in Cerner Millennium.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Deepak Pillai, MD, physician informaticist, IMO; David Arco, product manager, IMO; Nicole Douglas, senior product marketing manager, IMO. The IMO Core CSmart app, which is available for Cerner Millennium in the Cerner code App Gallery, helps providers document with specificity, make problem lists more meaningful, and improve HCC coding. This webinar will review the challenges and bottlenecks of clinical documentation and problem list management and discuss how streamlined workflows within Cerner Millennium can help reduce clinician HIT burden.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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RCM vendor AGS Health acquires EZDI, a clinical documentation improvement, computer-assisted coding, and auditing business based in Louisville, KY.

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Xealth raises $24 million in a Series B funding round led by Advocate Aurora Enterprises, bringing its total raised to $53 million. The Providence Health & Services spin-off has developed software to help providers find and prescribe digital health apps and programs.

Clearlake Capital Group launches the Vive Collective, a program to help foster and potentially invest in digital health companies. Clearlake’s portfolio includes Bamboo Health (the newly merged and rebranded PatientPing/Appriss Health), NThrive, and Symplr.

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Pager secures $70 million in financing. The company has developed virtual care navigation and collaboration software that it markets to providers, payers, and employers.

Surgical data analytics vendor Caresyntax adds $30 million to its $100 million Series C investment round, bringing the company’s total funding to $208 million.

Flywheel, a medical research data management company, raises $22 million in a Series C funding round led by 8VC. It has also acquired Radiologics, an imaging research data management and analytics business based in St. Louis.

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Enterprise virtual care vendor EVisit raises $45 million in a Series B funding round. The Arizona-based company plans to nearly double its workforce in the coming months.


People

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Jeff Gartland (Anthem) joins Relatient as CEO. He takes over from Michele Perry, who will become vice chairwoman.


Sales

  • The VA Puget Sound Health System’s Seattle Division will implement TransformativeMed’s Core Work Manager clinical decision support tools and diabetes module.
  • Dignity Health’s Yavapai Regional Medical Center (AZ) selects digital front door technology from Phunware.
  • Nicklaus Children’s Health System (FL) will deploy wayfinding technology from Gozio Health.

Announcements and Implementations

InterSystems announces GA of its Iris FHIR Accelerator Service for storing and retrieving FHIR data.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (TN) develops a remote patient monitoring program for COVID-19 patients using MD Revolution’s clinical experts and RevUp technology.

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SCL Health implements Nuance Dragon Ambient Experience automated clinical documentation software for its telehealth and in-person exams for cardiology, orthopedics, and primary care across its facilities in Colorado and Montana.


COVID-19

Ellkay resolves a software programming glitch that mistakenly inflated the state of Vermont’s COVID-19 case count by 109 and delayed the reporting of positive test results to 237 patients. Ellkay’s analysis also determined that the slow-down may have impacted reporting in several other states.

COVID-19 has overtaken the 1918 Spanish flu as the deadliest disease event in US history, with 675,400 Americans succumbing to the disease.

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Pfizer reports favorable results in its trial of a COVID-19 vaccine for 5 to 11 year-old children.


Other

Apple’s latest operating system gives Health app users the ability to share health data with their providers through EHRs. Six vendors are participating in the initial launch of the feature, first announced this summer, including Cerner and Allscripts. Pilots with several provider groups have shown the data-sharing feature to be well received by patients monitoring their blood pressure from home. 


Sponsor Updates

  • Arcadia CMO Rich Park, MD and VP of Enterprise Partnerships Anna Basevich will present at the NAACOS Fall 2021 Conference October 1.
  • CereCore has been recognized by Securance Consulting as a Best Practice Meditech Infrastructure as a Service provider for more than five years running.
  • Cerner releases a new podcast, “Moving from data connectivity to real provider usability.”
  • CHIME releases a new Digital Health Leaders Podcast, “A Conversation with William Hudson, SVP and CIO, John Muir Health.”
  • Bluetree, Cerner, Clearwater, Divurgent, Optimum Healthcare IT, Imprivata, Clearsense, and the HCI Group will sponsor CHIME Fall Forum October 27-30 in San Diego.
  • CloudWave Director of Sales Engineering Mike Donahue will present at the Meditech Users Network Conference September 23.
  • CEO Magazine features Meditech International CEO Charlotte Jackson.
  • Chris O’Brien Lifehouse has become the first hospital in Australia to upgrade to Meditech Expanse.
  • CarePort parent company WellSky announces that former CMS administrator Seema Verma has joined its Board of Directors.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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Morning Headlines 9/21/21

September 20, 2021 Headlines, News No Comments

NextGen Healthcare Appoints David Sides President and Chief Executive Officer

NextGen Healthcare names David Sides (Teladoc Health) president and CEO.

Oncology Analytics Announces Rebrand to OncoHealth

Oncology analytics and benefits management vendor Oncology Analytics changes its name to OncoHealth.

iOS 15 will give doctors a window into Apple Health app data

Apple’s latest operating system gives Iphone users the ability to share health data with their providers via EHRs.

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 9/20/21

September 20, 2021 Dr. Jayne 2 Comments

I was recently invited to join a physician forum centered on EHR optimization. It sounded like a great opportunity to share what I know about getting the most out of your EHR and to help colleagues who might not have access to clinical informaticists.

I decided to familiarize myself with the group by going through old posts and was surprised at how many physicians had posted questions that didn’t receive any responses. I felt bad for those docs, sending their questions into the wind without anyone answering. I wish I would have been there for many of them because it would have been easy to point people in the right direction at the time. Here are some of the main themes that we as tech enablers should be aware of:

First, despite what we might think at times, physicians often want to learn more about what they can do with their EHRs and want to be better users. However, they might not understand the resources that are available to them, even if they are free or included in the cost of their system. There were a number of highly specific questions about a particular EHR, such as “How do I document XYZ procedure in my EHR?” Those were the types of questions that most frequently went unanswered by the forum. In my experience as an EHR champion, they would have been easy questions to answer had the physician contacted the EHR vendor’s help desk or online help mechanisms.

I’ve done consulting work for several of the vendors mentioned and they all have robust help desks and client support structures, and one has a lot of searchable hands-on videos that would have answered the questions. I can only guess that the physician didn’t know how to contact the vendor. Perhaps they are an employed physician and their organization’s internal help desk didn’t give them the assistance they needed, or maybe they’re part of a group where a managing partner or office manager tightly controls the information. I felt bad for them though, wondering if they ever found answers to their documentation questions.

Second, many of the physicians showed a high level of interest in ideas that went way beyond EHR optimization. One hot topic on the forum was that of bias in artificial intelligence. The discussion also covered ways that physicians could advocate to their institutions to try to minimize bias in their systems. Of course, this topic is likely much more relevant to those at academic medical centers rather than small primary care practices, but it certainly got a lot of conversation. Physicians care deeply about whether technical systems could be harming their patients and want to know more about predictive rules or algorithms that they might be presented with.

Third, the physicians were vocal about how vendors, including EHR and third-party vendors, might be using their patients’ data for profit. There was a near-universal lack of enthusiasm for cloud-based patient data being sold, whether it was for research or not. One particularly spirited discussion revolved around an EHR vendor who was alleged to have sold patient data to a nutrition and supplement vendor. Whether it’s explicitly allowed in a vendor contract or not, the physicians had negative feelings about anyone profiting off of their patients. There was particular opposition to the supplement vendor since supplements are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. It’s also a $40 billion industry that causes a lot of confusion for patients and may require physicians to spend significant time on counseling and education, so I can see why they felt this way.

Overall, it looks like an interesting opportunity to be able to contribute, so I am looking forward to the next round of posts and seeing if I can be of assistance. Hopefully their moderators will be more flexible than those of a group I tried to participate in last year – I was kicked out of the group for “self-promotion” for mentioning that I worked for a chatbot vendor while answering a question about chatbots. Never mind the fact that I never mentioned the name of the company I was working for and didn’t try to solicit business, or that I was simply trying to establish credibility and provide transparency before giving a very specific answer to a question. It’s always interesting to see how these groups police themselves, so we’ll have to see how the new one runs.

Other than my foray into the physician forum, I spent most of the weekend heads-down on a big client project. They’re getting ready to go live with some new content this week and didn’t finish building it until Thursday afternoon. They had hired me to do their user acceptance testing so their crunch time became my crunch for the weekend.

Typically, I encourage organizations like theirs to have their actual end users participate in user acceptance testing, because only their end users know what their daily workflows look like. We all know that users are creative, and depending on the number of workarounds in a given system, they might not follow the prescribed workflows all the time if at all. I’m more than capable of testing the new content against the organization’s published best practice workflows, but even if everything passes my review, there is still a risk that they might have broken a workflow that they didn’t even know was in use.

“Document, document, document” is my middle name these days, so if things do go awry, I will have plenty of backup for the fact that I warned them that their plan was not ideal. So far, nearly everything I’ve tested has met the specifications although I’ve found some issues with the training materials and documentation that need to be addressed before go-live. They’re going to have the virtual equivalent of a fat stack of markups waiting for them when they arrive Monday morning, so I hope they had a restful weekend. I’m sure they’ll be throwing it back over the fence to me shortly thereafter, so I’m going to spend Monday resting up myself.

When’s the last time you had to work on a crunch time project? What’s your beverage of choice for all-nighters? Leave a comment or email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

Morning Headlines 9/20/21

September 19, 2021 Headlines 1 Comment

Feds charge 138, including doctors, with $1.4 billion in health-care fraud involving telemedicine, Covid, opioids

The Department of Justice files criminal charges against 138 defendants for their alleged participation in healthcare fraud schemes that generated $1.4 billion, the bulk of which involved telemedicine.

Cyberattackers Target Missouri Hospital At Epicenter Of COVID Outbreak, Post Patient Data

Hackers post stolen patient data online after launching a ransomware attack on Missouri Delta Medical Center.

Hinge Health Acquires the Most Advanced Computer Vision Technology for Tracking Human Motion

Digital physical therapy company Hinge Health acquires Wrnch, which has developed 3-D motion-tracking technology to capture full body movement.

Monday Morning Update 9/20/21

September 18, 2021 News 3 Comments

Top News

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Definitive Healthcare shares end the week at $48.99, up 81% from their IPO price Wednesday. The company’s valuation is $7 billion.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Poll respondents value their vendor’s user group meeting more than any other conference, while HIMSS has twice the interest as HLTH. A couple of folks mentioned that they would have chosen CHIME Fall Forum if I had included it as a choice.

New poll to your right or here: Which technology will have the most impact on healthcare in the next five years? My list isn’t exhaustive, but it would have been a long poll otherwise.


Webinars

October 6 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Solving Patient Experience Challenges Through a Strong Digital Front Door.” Sponsor: Avtex. Presenters: Mike Pietig, VP of healthcare experience, Avtex; Jamey Shiels, MBA, VP of consumer experience, Advocate Aurora Health; Chad Thorpe, care ambassador, DispatchHealth. Patients expect healthcare providers to offer them the same digital experience they get when banking, shopping, and traveling. This webinar will describe how two leading healthcare providers created digital front doors that exceed patient expectations, improve patient outcomes, drive loyalty and acquisition, and future-proof their growth strategies in competitive markets.

October 6 (Wednesday) 1 ET.  “A New, Streamlined Approach to Documentation and Problem List Management in Cerner Millennium.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Deepak Pillai, MD, physician informaticist, IMO; David Arco, product manager, IMO; Nicole Douglas, senior product marketing manager, IMO. The IMO Core CSmart app, which is available for Cerner Millennium in the Cerner code App Gallery, helps providers document with specificity, make problem lists more meaningful, and improve HCC coding. This webinar will review the challenges and bottlenecks of clinical documentation and problem list management and discuss how streamlined workflows within Cerner Millennium can help reduce clinician HIT burden.

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


Sales

  • US Dermatology Partners chooses the RCxRules Revenue Cycle Engine to automate charge import and review.

People

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Aaron Miri, MD (Dell Medical School, UT Health Austin) joins Baptist Health (FL) as SVP / chief digital officer / CIO.

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Wellbe hires Darcey Nett (DotCom Therapy) as chief growth officer.

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David Finn, MA (CynergisTek) joins CHIME as VP of affiliated professional groups.

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Christopher Logan (VMware) joins Censinet as SVP / chief security officer.

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Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare hires Patrick Woodard, MD, MHA (Renown Health) as VP/ chief digital officer.


Announcements and Implementations

In England, Royal Stoke University Hospital goes live with Vocera Badge in its ED.


Government and Politics

The Department of Justice files criminal charges against 138 defendants, 42 of them licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in healthcare fraud schemes that generated $1.4 billion. Telemedicine fraud contributed $1.1 billion of the total.


COVID-19

FDA’s vaccine advisory panel rejects the broad rollout of Pfizer vaccine booster shots, recommending their use only in patients who are over 65 or at high risk for infection. The panel said that despite White House plans to encourage booster shots for most people and Pfizer’s recommendation that they be approved, evidence shows that two shots protect people from hospitalization and death and that the goal should instead be to get more people vaccinated. FDA is not required to follow the committee’s recommendation and will announce its decision this week. The issue has raised opposing public viewpoints among FDA scientists who reviewed contradictory data from CDC, Pfizer, the government of Israel, and independent experts on whether a booster dose is needed.

St. Luke’s Health System (ID) won’t enforce its employee vaccination mandate because the state is under crisis standards of care and the health system can’t afford to lose employees.

The New York Times reports that the “nervous affluent” who can afford concierge medical services are having their COVID-19 antibody levels tested regularly even though experts warn that the number is mostly meaningless and the tests don’t measure the important T cell response. FDA doesn’t recommend such testing because the results may encourage some people to take fewer precautions. The article notes that concierge medicine providers are paid to do whatever the customer wants, even in the absence of medical evidence, while poor people have the opposite incentive in avoiding testing for fear that undesirable results could get them fired.


Other

Guardians accessed more than half the patient portal accounts of patients aged 13-18 years in an study of three children’s hospitals. Natural language processing was used to determine how many outboard portal messages were sent by guardians, as evidenced by referring to the child in the third person or containing phrases such as “my daughter.” The authors note that federal and state regulations require that a mechanism be provided to share information with adolescents without the knowledge of their guardians, but effectiveness is limited by these challenges: (a) institutions may not always configure the portal account correctly; (b) adolescents and their parents may not understand the portal’s design; (c) adolescents may voluntarily share their log-in with guardians; and (d) guardians may coerce the adolescent to provide portal access or may use their credentials without permission. They also note that limitations of NLP analysis, as well as inability to detect access in which guardians didn’t send messages, means that actual numbers are probably higher. They suggest that the perspectives of adolescents and guardians be studied to determine how they impact confidentiality.

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A UCSF review of national Epic data finds that patient-to-physician messages jumped as the pandemic began and remained at high levels through the January 2021 review period. Twitter comments pondered whether forced use of MyChart to participate in virtual visits drove the increase or whether virtual visits themselves result in more patient messages. It seems that quite a few interesting studies could be performed – the number of messages that were sent just before virtual visits, the number sent immediately after (suggesting that some need was unmet by the virtual visit), the number sent by first-time portal users, message count compared to the number of active portal users, the number of messages sent by patients of varying acuity or chronic condition levels, and message time of day that might indicate access problems.


Sponsor Updates

  • ChartSpan publishes a new white paper, “Follow the Money: Medicare’s New Gold Mine is Chronic Care Management.”
  • Nuance launches its AI-powered, cloud-based PowerScribe One radiology reporting platform and MPower Clinical Analytics in Australia and New Zealand.
  • OptimizeRx names Andy D’Silva SVP of corporate finance.
  • Netsmart has been inducted into the Kansas City Business Journal’s Hall of Champions after being recognized as a Champion of Business for three consecutive years.
  • EClinicalWorks releases a new podcast, “Caring is Sharing (Data) at Innova Primary Care.”
  • CHIME applauds the FTC’s actions to secure consumer health data.
  • Pure Storage appoints Operator Collective founder Mallun Yen to its Board of Directors.
  • RxRevu founder Carm Huntress will present “Staying True to Your Values During Massive Growth” on October 6 as part of Den Startup Week.
  • SOC Telemed announces that David Fletcher will become interim CFO upon the departure of Chris Knibb at the end of the year.
  • Spok Holdings postpones its Investor Day Program due to an ongoing strategic alternatives review process.
  • Summit Healthcare publishes a new client success story, “Doctors Community Hospital Continues Partnership with Summit Healthcare Post-Epic Migration.”
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers feature their use of the TriNetX Research Network in “Advancing clinical research and population health with real-world data.”
  • West Monroe will invest $250 million in the expansion of its digital consulting services.
  • Zynx Health celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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Weekender 9/17/21

September 17, 2021 Weekender No Comments

weekender 


Weekly News Recap

  • Commure’s latest funding rounds reportedly value the healthcare data exchange platform vendor at $3.5 billion.
  • FTC warns digital health app developers that they must notify consumers if their health information is exposed.
  • Definitive Healthcare shares soar after the company’s IPO Wednesday.
  • DOJ says a now-closed analytics company allowed insurers to overcharge Medicare Advantage by mining EHRs to create new diagnoses months after the fact.
  • Zane Burke joins Quantum Health as CEO.
  • Symplr announces its intention to acquire Halo Health.
  • The VA reportedly issues a $1 billion RFP for remote patient monitoring.
  • Two of the three researchers who developed the SAFER Guides for EHR safety call for vendors and ONC to share responsibility.

Best Reader Comments

The thing that caught my eye from the Aaron Martin article was the quote about health tech companies compared to health systems. Talking about Apple and Amazon or whatever is how you get CEOs to pay attention to you, because CEOs eat up those business book-style quotes from Jeff Bezos. Big tech companies aren’t interested in changing healthcare, but they have so much cash that it is coming out their ears, so they’ll try whatever. Healthcare services companies with tech dressing are the ones who are really taking a run at traditional payers and providers. (IANAL)

[At Epic] it was pretty imperative that if you were supporting a go-live at a customer you did not implement at, that you were careful not to mention unimplemented features to end users since those decisions were made at a higher level than a frontline nurse, for example. That doesn’t mean we just ignored these findings – there were mechanisms to bring these requests back to implementation / technical support teams, which were then laddered up to customer leadership to assess and prioritize. (HITPM)


Watercooler Talk Tidbits

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Readers funded the Donor Choose teacher grant request of Ms. M in Alabama, who asked for STEM kits for her elementary school class. She reported in February, “It has been amazing to see students happy and excited to come to school at 6:30 a.m.! Many students who attend before-school care were not excited to be there so early. These materials have made a huge impact. They are excited and learning so much both before school and after school. When students saw the materials, they were shocked and could not believe these materials were for them. They have explored, worked together, had amazing conversations, and have become problem solvers. Second grade students are now mentoring younger students using these resources. This is an amazing benefit that I did not plan. They are investigating and using collaborative conversations and posing their own problems and working toward solutions. Thank you for your willingness to support students!”

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A Louisiana man who became impatient that a hospital wasn’t seeing him quickly enough following a car accident steals an EMS ambulance that is parked outside, drives it to another hospital to seek care where he was also not seen promptly, then is pursued by police officers in a 10-mile chase down Interstate 10. He was arrested inside the office of his primary care physician, where he had driven the ambulance and hit a parked car before going in.

A VA hospital anesthesia department employee tweets a screenshot of a 72-year-old veteran’s pre-op note to mock his government-paid penile implant surgery. The DC hospital hasn’t said that it has fired the employee, but indicated that their medical records access has been revoked.

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Conway Regional Health System (AR) requires employees who claim a religious exemption to mandatory COVID-19 vaccination to attest that they won’t use the many other products that are derived from fetal cells.

A Nevada man’s 100-day, $2 million COVID-19 hospital stay leaves him with a bill for $80,000 of insurer-denied payments because the doctors who treated him were out of network. Dignity Health says it can’t get involved in disputes between insurance companies and its contracted intensivist company.

Lewis County Health System, a small hospital in upstate New York, will stop delivering babies now that six of its 18 maternity department employees have refused mandatory COVID-19 vaccination and another seven haven’t said either way. The conservative county has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state at 44% and 30 of the hospital’s 464 employees have already quit ahead of the September 27 vaccination deadline. The hospital says its plans could change if it can hire agency nurses or if a legal challenge against its vaccination policy is successful.


In Case You Missed It


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Morning Headlines 9/17/21

September 16, 2021 Headlines No Comments

Cured Raises $10M Series A; Launches Next Generation Healthcare Digital Marketing & CRM Solutions

Health system digital marketing and CRM vendor Cured raises $10 million in a Series A funding round.

Digital health startup Commure just hit a $3.5 billion valuation as it raises fresh cash to unlock healthcare data

Healthcare data exchange technology vendor Commure has reportedly raised $500 million in funding through a Series D round, valuing the company at $3.5 billion.

Statement of the Commission On Breaches by Health Apps and Other Connected Devices

The Federal Trade Commission issues a notification that health app vendors must notify consumers if their health information is exposed.

News 9/17/21

September 16, 2021 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Shares of healthcare commercial data and analytics vendor Definitive Healthcare open at 38% above its IPO price on Wednesday and close for the day up 59%, valuing the company at $4 billion. DH shares rose another 9% Thursday.


Webinars

October 6 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Solving Patient Experience Challenges Through a Strong Digital Front Door.” Sponsor: Avtex. Presenters: Mike Pietig, VP of healthcare experience, Avtex; Jamey Shiels, MBA, VP of consumer experience, Advocate Aurora Health; Chad Thorpe, care ambassador, DispatchHealth. Patients expect healthcare providers to offer them the same digital experience they get when banking, shopping, and traveling. This webinar will describe how two leading healthcare providers created digital front doors that exceed patient expectations, improve patient outcomes, drive loyalty and acquisition, and future-proof their growth strategies in competitive markets.

October 6 (Wednesday) 1 ET.  “A New, Streamlined Approach to Documentation and Problem List Management in Cerner Millennium.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Deepak Pillai, MD, physician informaticist, IMO; David Arco, product manager, IMO; Nicole Douglas, senior product marketing manager, IMO. The IMO Core CSmart app, which is available for Cerner Millennium in the Cerner code App Gallery, helps providers document with specificity, make problem lists more meaningful, and improve HCC coding. This webinar will review the challenges and bottlenecks of clinical documentation and problem list management and discuss how streamlined workflows within Cerner Millennium can help reduce clinician HIT burden.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Health system digital marketing and CRM vendor Cured raises $10 million in a Series A funding round. The company’s founding team members all spent time at Epic.

Biopharma solutions vendor Syneos Health acquires StudyKIK, which offers tech-enabled clinical trials recruitment and operation tools.

Healthcare data exchange technology vendor Commure has reportedly raised $500 million in funding through a Series D round, valuing the company at $3.5 billion. 


Sales

  • Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust selects Hyland Healthcare’s OnBase content services platform.

People

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Healthcare benefits navigation and care coordination platform vendor Quantum Health hires Zane Burke (Livongo) as CEO and board member.

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Peter Embí, MD, MS (Regenstrief Institute) joins Vanderbilt University Medical Center as chair of its biomedical informatics department. He will also hold the title of senior VP for research and innovation.

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AdaptX hires Lisa Counsell, RN (Imprivata) as chief commercial officer.


Announcements and Implementations

Intermountain Healthcare and SCL Health sign a letter of intent to merge into a 33-hospital, $14 billion system.

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Penn Presbyterian Medical Center goes live on the PCare Ambulatory digital health and patient engagement system that was jointly developed by PCare and Quil. The system suggests next best action with personalized videos, articles, check-ins, and reminders for therapy, also supporting the participation of family and friends.

The first hospital goes live on a service from Ob Hospitalist Group  and SOC Telemed in which patients receive 24/7 onsite care from OBHG’s physicians and have access to SOC Telemed’s maternal-fetal medicine physicians.

The ProMedica health system launches its Healthcare Redefined Initiative, which includes social determinants of health, senior care, programs specific to its individual markets, and an innovation program.


Government and Politics

The Federal Trade Commission issues a notification that health app vendors must notify consumers if their health information is exposed. FTC, clarifying its Breach Notification Rule, says companies that aren’t covered entities under HIPAA are still accountable when sensitive health information is exposed. It also notes that sharing covered information without the individual’s permission constitutes a breach. FTC says the apps that are mostly likely to be affected by the update are those that track diseases, diagnoses, treatment, medications, fitness, fertility, sleep, mental health, and diet.

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The Department of Justice files a fraud complaint against a New York health insurance plan and its analytics company for overcharging Medicare Advantage. The now-closed data mining company DxID, owned by Independent Health Association of Buffalo, analyzed electronic medical records to find missed diagnoses to boost the insurer’s risk score. Another health plan that hired DxID to increase revenue billed $30 million new claims, many of which were not valid or supported by the medical record, such as depression and renal failure. The company pitched its services by requiring no upfront payments and instead taking 20% of paid claims worth tens of millions of dollars, which the whistleblower’s lawsuit described as “trolling patient medical records to gin up, in many cases, new diagnoses exclusively from information derived from impermissible sources.” Independent Health closed the company in June 2021.

A 55-year old Louisiana doctor who has claimed to have been a hired assassin and Medellin Cartel leader at 16 is charged with writing opioid prescriptions totaling 1 million doses for cash, resulting in $5 million in fraudulent insurance billings. Adrian Talbot, MD, JD operated a clinic but didn’t work there because he had a full-time VA job, so he left pre-filled, pre-signed prescriptions for employees to sell without examining the recipient. He self-published a bizarre book a few months back in which he says he’s working on a cure for Alzheimer’s.

FDA reorganizes its IT functions into the Office of Digital Transformation, with newly promoted Vid Desai serving as CEO with a budget of $750 million and staff of 2,500.


COVID-19

FDA meets this week to decide whether to approve the use of COVID-19 booster doses even as two of its top vaccine officials join a group of global scientists who say in a Lancet article that boosters aren’t needed. FDA is also facing pressure to approve doses for children.

The US hits a grim milestone as one of every 500 residents has died of COVID-19.

A KHN review finds that 26 states have permanently curtailed public health authority since the pandemic began. The most common actions were to prohibit mandate masks or quarantines and to ban COVID-19 vaccine mandates or proof of vaccination.

The New York Times finds that India’s government forced its scientists to downplay the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak that eventually killed hundreds of thousands of people, suppressing and even falsifying data to support the re-election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A scientist who was reprimanded for his less-rosy predictions says, “Science is being used as a political weapon to forward the government narrative rather than help people.” A recent study estimates India’s COVID-deaths at 3 million, 10 times the official government number.

Idaho, which has one of the lowest rates for COVID-19 vaccination, implements Crisis Standards of Care statewide as hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.


Other

Financial Times reports that Houston Methodist hospitals are using Alexa-type voice assistant commands from Amazon Web Services in a prototype OR of the future. The system announces steps that need to be completed and records the results in the EHR. It also records audio of the procedure, with the patient’s permission, that it analyzes to present treatment options.

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Vanderbilt Clinical Informatics Center and its director Adam Wright, PhD publish an annual report covering its first year. A key project was its burnout reduction project Clickbusters, which evaluates Epic Best Practice Advisories to remove those that clinicians find unhelpful.


Sponsor Updates

  • LexisNexis human resources employees volunteer with Trees Atlanta.
  • First Databank publishes research led by two of their pharmacists that further refutes the concept of iodine allergies.
  • Gyant publishes a new case study, “Christus Health Launched Virtual Assistant Supporting Vaccinations Across Four States.”
  • Health Data Movers names Marissa Lewis (Invo HealthCare) and Peter Squire (Centauri Health Solutions) account managers.
  • Healthcare Growth Partners advises Symplr in its acquisition of Halo Health.
  • InterSystems will exhibit at the Hack MIT event September 18-19 in Cambridge, MA.
  • Jvion drives adoption of prescriptive intelligence and clinical intelligence with peer-reviewed results, platform integrations, and SDOH solutions.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 9/16/21

September 16, 2021 Dr. Jayne 7 Comments

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This was a rough week on a number of fronts, and I had to resort to some pastry therapy. I wasn’t sure what to think about sopapilla cheesecake initially, but it made my house smell amazing. I’m a big fan of butter, but I think it’s actually possible this recipe had too much, if that could even be a thing. Now to wait for three hours for it to chill, and then I’ll be able to give the final verdict.

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The best thing about the week was hearing from my friends at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, in response to my earlier post covering topics such as information blocking, the 21st Century Cures Act, and patients’ access to their notes. They brought up some really good points in response to the post and I wanted to share them, since there are some good clarifications as well as links to resources, FAQs, and more.

Hi Dr. Jayne,

Your August 23 post was shared with ONC and we want to share some information that we hope will be helpful to your readers. Some general resources that might be helpful to your readers are:

Regarding some of the specific issues raised in your post:

Re: Open Notes

  • The ONC Cures Act Rule does not specifically point to “Open Notes,” which is a branded industry initiative.
  • However, the rule does require availability of electronic health information (EHI), which includes notes. From April 5, 2021 through October 5, 2022, the definition of EHI is limited to eight note types, but it expands to include more notes thereafter.

Re: Types of notes

  • As noted above, eight specific types of notes are included in the EHI definition through October 5, 2022, and more notes are required thereafter.
  • During the current period of the more narrow EHI definition, note types are determined by the content and function of the notes, not by the names assigned by any particular organization or vendor.

Re: Health care providers subject to the rule

  • The regulations apply to an array of health care providers, including hospitals and ambulatory physicians (as well as health information networks/exchanges and developers of ONC-certified health IT).
  • We have a resource that providers may find helpful in assessing whether the regulations apply to them (Health Care Provider Fact Sheet).

Re: Exception for harm

  • There is indeed a Preventing Harm Exception
  • However, it does require an individualized determination of risk of harm and a reasonable belief that the exception is needed to substantially reduce an individual patient’s risk of harm or, as applicable, another individual’s risk of harm

Re: EHR certification

Re: Scope of medical record

  • The regulations focus on EHI, the scope of which is initially more narrow, as described above.
  • EHI is the electronic portion of health information that would be included in the Designated Record Set (DRS). The DRS is defined by HIPAA regulations and includes any information in the record used to make decisions about individuals.

Finally, we’re making every effort to help the industry with this transition. Let us know how we can help!

Thanks!

ONC

I appreciate their input and the open lines of communication. It’s always good to know that the powers that be are reading and are willing to help us better understand the work that we’re all trying to do together.

I got a chuckle out of a headline in an email that talked about Epic looking to grow its Twitter presence after noticing that its customers use the platform “quite a lot.” The Wisconsin State Journal reports that Epic has created a Twitter account for its new website, epicshare.org, which is designed for client organizations to share ideas and receive information from the vendor. The site also features a “Hey Judy” page that shares “Thoughts and Stories from Judy.” So far, @EpicShares has 215 followers, yours truly included. It will be interested to see how the software giant fares on Twitter since this is its first foray into that social media space.

I was curious about a quote from Leela Vaughn, Epic senior executive, regarding patient use the site. Vaughn noted that “Anybody can be reading these and showing them to their doctor” and that the site was written in a way where they “really worked hard on getting rid of the jargon” so that it could be useful “to people who aren’t super tech savvy.” Physicians already have to worry enough about patients who take the “ask your doctor” advice seriously for every TV commercial they see for a new drug – I can’t imagine what physicians will think when their patients come in and begin quoting things that they read on an EHR vendor website. For one, the vast majority of physicians are not attuned to what Epic is doing as a company – they’re just trying to keep their heads down and see patients, while surviving the pandemic. I’d be curious to see what others think about this approach.

Mr. H previously mentioned the MyMountSinai app, designed to offer patients additional features that aren’t available in their Epic MyChart mobile app. One of the features that is included is the ability to upload COVID-19 vaccine cards. It would be interesting to know if the app allows the data from those vaccine cards to populate the patient’s medical record and function in the same way that vaccine data would function had the vaccines been natively documented in the health system’s record. I have multiple physicians on different instances of MyChart and it still surprises me that they don’t recognize each other’s data. For example, one system continually prompts me for vaccines and services that are documented in the other record, even though I know they have the capability to recognize those care elements behind the scenes. That’s the kind of information blocking we need to get rid of at the patient level, and doing so would make things easier for both patients and providers. The app also includes the ability to schedule visits with new providers and wayfinding assistance for some of its facilities.

Sobering statistics: 1 in 500 people in the US have died of COVID-19. As of Tuesday, more than 663,000 people have been lost to the disease. I remember the early days of the pandemic when we hoped that interventions might cap the deaths at 60,000 or 70,000 and how horrified we were at those numbers. Now we’re exceeding that by a factor of 10 and plenty of people don’t bat an eye. Every one of those casualties was something to someone – a mother, father, sibling, grandparent, friend, or neighbor. As a physician, I’m tired of hearing from people that this is no big deal, or that people didn’t really die “from” COVID-19 they just died “with” it, etc. Frankly, your healthcare teams no longer want to hear it. It’s exhausting and it just needs to stop.

Email Dr. Jayne.

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