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January 5, 2015 News 1 Comment

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The American Medical Association includes EHRs, Meaningful Use, and ICD-10 in its list of top issues to watch for in 2015. The trifecta is part of a broader category of administrative load and competing regulatory programs the AMA feels is “pulling time away from patient care without a direct benefit to care delivery or health outcomes.”

HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests


Happy New Year! It’s nice to be back after taking a break to spend time with family and friends during the holidays. If you’re like me, you may be suffering from social jet lag as you attempt to get back into your normal work routine. Like me, you also may have fallen into the time-honored trap of making resolutions. Mine include getting more sleep (doubtful), finding interesting healthcare IT experts to interview for HIStalk Practice (already in the works), eating better (sigh), and exercising on a more regular basis (i.e. get fit for HIStalkapalooza). I must admit I was this close to downloading some sort of fitness/nutrition tracking app on New Year’s Day, but decided against it due to my record of abandoning such things after a week or two. I’ve decided instead to focus on finding resources that push healthy recipes on a daily basis. Feel free to send your favorites my way.

January always finds a plethora of annual reviews and predictions delivered to my inbox. My favorites so far include TechCrunch’s Healthcare Predictions for 2015 and HIStalk Connect’s Top 10 Digital Health Stories of 2014.



January 13 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “The Bug Stops Here: How Our Hospital Used its EHR and RTLS Systems to Contain a Deadly New Virus.” Sponsored by Versus Technology. Presenter: John Olmstead, RN, MBA, FACHE, director of surgical and emergency services, The Community Hospital, Munster, Indiana. Community Hospital was the first US hospital to treat a patient with MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). It used clinical data from its EHR and staff contact information from a real-time locating system to provide on-site CDC staff with the information they needed to contain the virus and to study how it spreads. Employees who were identified as being exposed were quickly tested, avoiding a hospital shutdown.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


UpSpring Baby partners with Doctor on Demand to incorporate its online lactation consultation services into the DOD telemedicine app. The deal came about via a pitch UpSpring Baby founder Julie Jumonville made via LinkedIn to DOD CMO Pat Batsu, MD. (Never has the “power of social media” been a more appropriate buzz phrase.) Given that I have had lactation consultants on speed dial for months at a time, I’m willing to bet new moms won’t blink an eye at spending $40 for an anxiety-reducing 25-minute video consult.


New data from Rock Health shows that 2014 digital health funding exceeded $4.1 billion, a sum greater than that of the past three years combined. This year will likely see that figure climb even higher, given the growing number of finally viable telemedicine business models, and the over-hyped yet continually expanding wearables market.


Healthcare analytics vendor Inovalon Holdings files for a $500 million IPO. The CEO and board chair is cardiologist Keith Dunleavy, MD. The company’s technology is used by NextGen, Greenway, Allscripts, and Walgreens.


Specialty EMR vendor Modernizing Medicine acquires Aesyntix Health, which offers dermatology practice RCM, inventory management, and group purchasing services.


Health management technology and remote patient monitoring services company Honeywell HomMed changes its name to Honeywell Life Care Solutions.

Qualcomm partners with Walgreens to integrate its 2Net Platform with the retail pharmacy’s mobile and web applications, and its Balance Rewards for healthy choices program. Novartis also selects the 2Net Platform to expedite the collection and aggregation of medical device data during clinical trials.

Private equity firm GI partners acquires Canadian healthcare IT company Logibec from OMERS Private Equity. US subsidiary MatrixCare will be retained by OMERS as a separate company.

Announcements and Implementations


Northern Ohio Medical Specialists ACO goes live on eClinicalWorks Care Coordination Medical Records for population health management.


Kentucky Health Center Network selects PopIQ software from i2i Systems to aggregate de-identified patient data from its 161 patient care sites across the state. The project is expected to wrap up in May 2015.


South Carolina Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center selects Phreesia’s point-of-service technology to expedite patient check-in. Phreesia’s solution will integrate with the center’s Athenahealth EHR.


Digital heart health company Qardio launches the QardioMD multi-patient monitoring tool and QardioBase smart scale at CES, which takes over Las Vegas for most of this week. The annual Digital Health Summit at CES kicks off today, featuring such speakers as HIStalk contributor and Cedars-Sinai CIO Darren Dworkin; Withings CEO Cedric Hutchings; Walgreens VP of Digital Health Adam Pelligrini; former ONCer Lygeia Ricciardi, now digital health expert at Clear Voice Consulting; and Dr. Phil, who will likely tout Doctor on Demand, the telemedicine company he started with his son in 2013.


Medical practice performance management company GloStream chooses DrFirst’s EPCS Gold 2.0 controlled drug e-prescribing system to comply with New York’s I-STOP mandatory e-prescribing requirement.

Government and Politics


CMS announces a second ICD-10 end-to-end testing period that will run from April 26 through May 1. Over 800 volunteer submitters will be selected to participate in testing with Medicare Administrative Contractors and the Common Electronic Data Interchange contractor. Volunteer forms are due January 9.


HHS is on the hunt for vendors to run its National Data Warehouse, which captures, aggregates, and analyzes information related to beneficiary and customer experiences with Medicare and Healthcare.gov. Potential contractors must be able to demonstrate experience with “scalability and security in protecting data and information with customer, person-sensitive information including Personal Health Information and Personally Identifiable information (personal health records, etc.).” Interested parties have until January 19 to respond.


Core Pediatrics (NH) physicians express their frustration over the state of New Hampshire’s stymied efforts to create a functioning vaccine registry. Opponents and proponents alike are in dispute over how people would choose to participate in the system and how their decisions would be recorded. The state, which has been working for the last 20 years to create VaxNH, is the only one in the country without such a registry.

Politico reports that the Office of Management and Budget has received proposed rules for Stage 3 of Meaningful Use, as well as a proposed rule changing ONC’s EHR certification program to “make it more broadly applicable to other types of health IT health care settings.” OMB will likely clear both proposals in the coming months.



OB/GYN EHR vendor DigiChart promotes Rodney Hamilton, MD to president and CEO.

Forbes releases its 30 Under 30 list of entrepreneurs making a difference in digital health. Healthcare IT-related names include Nat Turner, Flatiron Health; Jason Bornhurst, Patient IO; Katelyn Gleason, Eligible API; David He, Quanttus; and Pelu Tran, Augmedix.

Research and Innovation


A Xerox poll finds that 64 percent of respondents don’t use patient portals due in large part to a lack of communication about portal availability on the part of their physician. Over half of those non-users would be “much more interested and proactive in their personal healthcare” if given online access to their medical records.



HealthTap CEO Ron Gutman brings the concept of telemedicine back down to Earth in a PC Magazine interview: “I’ll be a bit contrarian and say that I don’t think telemedicine is changing anything. Telemedicine is a feature. We’re not feature-thinkers. We’re system-thinkers. We think about virtual care as a continuum, where telehealth is a feature in that. It’s necessary, but not sufficient.”


This article highlights emerging trends in biometric identification that involve the nose, ears, heart rhythm, body odor, and even the gluteus maximus (cheekily referred to as “butt biometrics”).


Journalist Steven Brill releases a new book, “America’s Bitter Pill,” detailing his views on why Obamacare won’t change the high prices of healthcare. Here’s hoping the book is as compelling a read as his similarly titled 2013 piece for Time Magazine, the longest story the magazine has ever run by a single author.


In case you missed it, Fortune describes Athenahealth’s “More Disruption Please” conference as “the Animal House of corporate gatherings,” and contrasts the party atmosphere to skeptical investors who believe that Athenahealth shares are massively overvalued.

Tennessee doctors are diagnosing and treating people with flu by telephone or telemedicine, telling them not to come to the office for fear they’ll spread the virus to other waiting patients. The CDC has formally classified this season’s flu outbreak as an epidemic. Walgreens, which tracks prescriptions for antiviral medications, reports that the top areas for flu as of January 2 are cities in Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, and S.C.


JenniferMr. H, Lorre, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis

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Comments 1
  • I work in IT at a New Hampshire medical center and the state of NH is practically hopeless when it comes to any health IT initiative. They didn’t get their MU Medicaid program up until a year or so ago, so my organization, which sees a fair number of Vermont patients, has been attesting through VT Medicaid since 2011. VT also has a functioning immunization registry. NH has a history of voting in state legislators who are very sensitive to patient privacy, so that may explain part of their delay. But surely other states have worked out the issue of participation and documentation.

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