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On the 3rd Day of #HITChristmas … Kelly Benning from Halo Communications

Posted on December 15, 2018 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Note: In case you missed the other 12 Days of #HITChristmas, you can start with the first day here along with the story behind #HITChristmas or read all 12 days here as they are published.

On the 3rd Day of #HITChristmas we’re excited to feature, Kelly Benning from Halo Communications.

Tell us a little about Halo Communications for those not familiar with the company.

Clinical communication and collaboration are the keys to better patient care and outcomes. One of the biggest challenges health systems continually face is poor and outdated communication technology – where analytics, security, reliability, speed and accuracy are all lacking.

Halo changes all of that. Providing fast delivery of actionable information across the acute and ambulatory environments, patients receive care faster, which leads to reduced length of stays and readmission rates. Better communication results in fewer errors, providing high patient and care team satisfaction.

What are some examples where the Halo Communications platform has improved patient care?

100% of our clients would buy from us again. We are extremely proud of this achievement! We know Halo improves a myriad of outcomes, so we typically begin helping organizations focus on the areas first that are an obvious impediment to patient care, such as pagers.  Halo replaces outdated pagers for providers and teams resulting in faster time to treatment, and importantly higher levels of provider and nurse satisfaction. The Halo platform allows providers to send and receive text messages that include complete patient information. The information provided means hospitalists can take action immediately to assist the patient. No need to call the operator for more details. And, no risk that there will be confusion about which patient needs care.  Pager replacement improves workflow efficiency and patient safety by reducing delays in care and ensuring treatment of the right patient at the right time.

Halo Communications seems to have a special place in their hearts for nurses.  For example, you’re hosting a “Most Interesting Nurse in the World” contest.  Where does this appreciation for nurses come from?

Jose Barreau, MD, founded Halo Communications because he wanted a better means of real time, mission critical communication between providers and nurses as well as between nurses or even nurse to patient, all from one easy to use platform. Dr. Barreau is passionate about nurses because he knows they are the backbone of real time patient care, which he witnessed each day in his oncology practice. When he noticed nurses carrying multiple devices and using multiple platforms to make calls or texts, combined with the amount of time they were spending in the EMR, he knew there had to be better solution. A solution which reduces nursing burnout and gives nurses more meaningful time with their patients.

What makes Halo Communications special in a pretty crowded healthcare communications space?

Halo is a clinical communications platform featuring Messaging, Voice and Alerts, powered by on-call Scheduling and Teams. As the only clinical collaboration company founded by a clinician, its sophisticated technology keeps the clinical experience at the forefront of mind, meaning we don’t hijack clinician and nursing workflows. And, because Halo is cloud based it is interoperable, highly configurable and scale-able for healthcare systems.

What can the healthcare IT community do to help Halo Communications?

The way healthcare organizations buy technology is primarily departmental, which leads to buying technology that is difficult to scale, pay for and manage. We see IT vendors, consultants and industry experts still focused on projects with tightly defined scopes, with one departmental buyer and one departmental defined end-user. While this does reduce risk for the healthcare systems, it also unfortunately leads to poor outcomes as they can never achieve the results that a true enterprise wide clinical collaboration platform can achieve.

IT vendors, consultants and industry experts can help healthcare systems focus on technology that is easiest to deploy, scale and maintain, which means system wide implementation and adoption. We have to help clients learn to assess risk better and take bigger risks that result in higher rewards associated with enterprise wide technology solutions.  We all need to help healthcare see the big picture.

Be sure to follow all of the 12 Day of #HITChristmas.

On the 2nd Day of #HITChristmas … Monica Stout from MedicaSoft

Posted on December 14, 2018 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Note: In case you missed the other 12 Days of #HITChristmas, you can start with the first day here along with the story behind #HITChristmas or read all 12 days here as they are published.

On the 2nd Day of #HITChristmas we’re excited to feature, Monica Stout from MedicaSoft.

Tell us about yourself and MedicaSoft.

I’m Monica Stout and I’m the Michigander Marketing Director at MedicaSoft. I have a 2.5-year old who keeps me on my toes and have traded my (breakable) vintage glass collections for LEGOs, monster trucks, and board books. I came to MedicaSoft 3.5 years ago from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) where I was a consultant at the US Department of Veterans Affairs for many years. MedicaSoft is a healthcare IT software company specializing in an HL7 FHIR-based product offering spanning an open API platform, personal health record, electronic health record and reporting & analytics. We are also an accredited HISP. MedicaSoft took a look at some of the vexing problems in healthcare and designed software to solve those problems with open, modern, interoperable, and user-friendly software.

You were recently named as a partner on the VA EHR Project with Cerner.  Tell us about your involvement in that project.

Yes, we are really excited to work with Cerner and the VA on this important initiative. At MedicaSoft, we have long expertise with VA health IT systems and expertise in industry health information exchange and data interoperability. We are looking forward to participating as a Cerner team member as they roll out their EHR in an environment where exchanging health information between VA and community care providers is increasingly important. Expect to hear more about the Cerner/VA project in 2019 as the project gets underway!

What’s a patient story that epitomizes the impact of the work that MedicaSoft is doing?  

There’s a common thread we hear from patients, especially patients dealing with complex medical diagnoses and conditions, that they have so much information and no single source of truth or place to put all of their health information that can be easily accessed and shared with their care team. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to hear of hundreds upon hundreds of pages of health data that patients are forced to carry back and forth to appointments. This is an area where MedicaSoft provides tangible benefits to patients. All of a patient’s health data can be loaded into MedicaSoft’s PHR, HealthCenter, and it’s there to share (electronically) and provide a complete medical history to whomever the patient chooses.

You also provide the PHR for the Delaware Health Information Network.  Tell us about that and what services you offer them.

The Delaware Health Information Network (or DHIN) is a health information exchange that serves all acute care hospitals, major laboratories and radiology facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and medical providers in Delaware and several surrounding areas such as Maryland and Washington, D.C. DHIN utilizes our PHR/patient portal, HealthCenter, which is branded “Health Check Connect” for DHIN provider practices. DHIN also uses our open NXT Platform to manage all of its clinical and claims data.

Is interoperability real or is it talk?  Can you share any numbers that help us get an idea of how much interoperability is happening?

Interoperability is real. It’s hard to put numbers on it, but healthcare providers and payers are moving beyond the talk to real applications that require the secure exchange of reliable, usable clinical and claims information. Putting those applications into play is why we all talk about interoperability. At MedicaSoft, we “walk the walk” by providing a platform that harmonizes data and makes it available in an open, standards-based way. That means that using our platform lets you integrate applications from any vendor, or build them yourself, with the assurance that they all access high quality data. The open platform approach is the way of the future!

Some recent numbers in ONC in October showed that the industry as a whole has a long way to go when it comes to interoperability, but this is a good start –

41% of hospitals reported they were able to engage in all four functions of interoperability (electronically finding, sending, receiving, and integrating data from outside their own organizations) in 2017. Numbers are increasing each year:

2014: 23%

2015: 26%

2016: 29%

2017: 41%

What can the healthcare IT community do for you and MedicaSoft?

The healthcare IT community has already done so much for me in providing such great collegial relationships and friendships over the past couple of years. #HITMC, #HITsm & #HCDLR are phenomenal Twitter communities comprised of smart, thoughtful, motivated individuals really striving to improve healthcare. As far as helping MedicaSoft, continuing to connect us to folks who need our products or services is always super helpful as is helping us get out the word about the great (new) work we’re doing at our company.

Be sure to follow all of the 12 Day of #HITChristmas.

On the 1st Day of #HITChristmas … Joy Rios from ChirpyBird and HIT Like a Girl Podcast

Posted on December 13, 2018 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

One day as I was thinking about the holiday season, I was inspired by some people who had sent us 12 gifts to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. I’ve always loved the 12 days of Christmas ever since someone secret santa’d our family with big boxes of 12 gifts. I’ll never forget that really nice red backpack I got that Christmas.

Inspired by that memory, I decided to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas here at Healthcare Scene by featuring 12 amazing people in healthcare IT. I just tweeted out a request for interesting healthcare IT people, companies, initiatives, etc that deserved a Christmas gift. So, for the next 12 days, we’ll be featuring a different one each day for our #HITChristmas. We hope you enjoy this spectrum of the broad Healthcare IT Community. We have some amazing people.

On the 1st Day of #HITChristmas we’re excited to feature, Joy Rios from ChirpyBird and HIT Like a Girl Podcast.

Tell us about yourself and ChirpyBird.

I’ve been working in healthIT since 2010, first with the EHR Incentive Program and later with PQRS. Now I work mainly in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) domain of CMS’ Quality Payment Program. Over the years, as I have learned about each of these programs, I’ve made a real effort to share my findings in the hopes of setting healthcare professionals up for success as they transition to value-based care. I’ve created several online and in-person training programs to help others navigate MIPS. I’ve also written 3 books, outlining the changes to each year’s rules for quality reporting.

Chirpy Bird Health IT Consulting is an extension of this effort. Our mission is to accelerate the adoption of value-based care through MIPS consulting. You can read more about us here:

People often ask where we got our business name. It’s a mix of the founding partners first names, Joy and Robin, so it made us think of a happy, or chirpy bird.

What are the good and the bad parts of the MACRA/MIPS government programs?  

The good: 
I think that there’s an opportunity to drive massive, bold changes in healthcare. For example, MACRA, along with the quality reporting programs that came before it, have contributed to the mass adoption of EHR technology nationwide, and is currently using its forces to push for interoperability.

In 2019 and going forward, MIPS has been modified to better address behavioral health issues, and specifically the opioid epidemic. I’m very excited to see what impacts can be made through a national focused effort to address the healthcare industry’s part in the opioid crisis.

The bad: 
Change on the scale of the value-based-care magnitude is going to take time. The transition should be looked at like a marathon, not a sprint. And unfortunately, we are a country with a hyper-focus on short-term gains.

As we transition to a more connected digital healthcare arena, we are at risk of doing more harm than good if the time isn’t taken to consider patient safety or quality during technology implementations.

A methodical approach, with a goal for continuous improvement rather than perfection will go a long way.

Where do you think all of these government regulations are heading?  Will they continue on their current course or do you expect big changes in the future?

If I could use my crystal ball, I’d predict that the MIPS program will be around at least through 2025, and in that time the number of private insurers will continue to dwindle, likely not to a single payer model, but it may potentially come close. Value-based care is here to stay as the fee-for-service model cannot be sustained.

The biggest changes will be in interoperability, tracking outcomes, as well as in patient engagement and experience.

You also do the HIT Like a Girl Podcast. Tell us about that and your goals for the podcast.

I have been incredibly inspired by the contributions and accomplishments of women in healthcare and yet when I got to health conferences, I just don’t see as much of their work displayed or their voices heard on stage.

If I could outline the HIT Like a Girl podcast ingredients, there’s a little “being the change you want to see in the world” mixed in with “empowered women empower women,” and a touch of “start before you’re ready.”

We want to highlight the role women play in the many areas within healthcare, learn from them, and share their experiences with our listeners. We strongly feel that knowing that there are ladies out there pushing their personal and professional boundaries allows others to follow their lead.

Our goal is to amplify their efforts and accomplishments to change the narrative and recognize more openly what women are bringing to the table in the health IT arena.

If you’ve missed an episode, check out

What would you like to see happen to better help women in healthcare IT?

It’s pretty simple. We believe that it’s time to end the age of the male heavy panel or “manel,” as it is often called and that women in healthcare should be recognized for their efforts, expertise, and contributions.

There is no shortage of smart women working in health IT.

Personally, I’d like to see more women in leadership roles of large corporations.

You are one of the nicest people in the world.  Is it hard to be that nice?

LOL. Thanks for this complement. I’m a pretty positive person – my name is Joy, after all – and in general, I find that being nice takes little effort. When I smile while on the phone, I truly believe that the person on the other end can tell. Taking a kind posture has definitely helped me have more open and meaningful interactions with people and it’s quite possibly led to more opportunity.

In the sense that “it takes one to know one,” I am very grateful to work not only with smart people, but also kind ones.

What can the healthcare IT community do for you?

Great question! If you work with doctors or other MIPS eligible clinicians, talk to them about the electronic exchange of health information among their provider networks and with their patients. Encourage them to get the technical capabilities such as a Direct address (aka HISP address) in place and are using 2015 Edition certified EHR technology for the 2019 performance year .On a practical level, these are the building blocks needed to be in place for interoperability to be achieved.

Be sure to follow all of the 12 Day of #HITChristmas.

Ukulele Serenade for a Thankless Healthcare Job

Posted on December 12, 2018 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by CT Lin MD, CMIO at University of Colorado Health.

I just spent some time on the phone with an informatics colleague going through a particularly tough time with an EHR replacement and upgrade. Some bad things had happened at the organization: a major visionary physician leader had quit, a department chair had assumed control and was tightening the control on “physician productivity”. Furthermore, a major EHR upgrade had gone wrong resulting in a major multi-day outage and highlighting glaring gaps in “down-time procedures.” Morale was very low.

This physician informaticist was reflecting on their ability to make a difference in an incredibly challenging environment- “Am I still up for confronting all the challenges of this job?” This person pointed out that “decisions are made and I’m left holding the bag.” “Physicians are angry and I have no good news to tell them and no resources to do anything about it.”


When I asked the pointed question- “Is it time for you to quit?” The response was telling.

“Actually, even if they asked me to step down from this informatics position, I LOVE getting in there and solving complicated problems so much that I would probably still do this work. Even for free.”

This eloquent statement reflects the core drivers of an effective and valuable physician informaticist.

Friedman, in a recent New York Times article, talks about the triple acceleration: climate change, globalization, and technology acceleration.  These are upending our world, rewriting the rules, and causing us to re-evaluate everything we thought we knew.

Our informatics work in healthcare is very similar. The rules change all the time- leaders change, visions change, vendors and products are always changing. Informaticists are the nexus between IT and clinicians, and are often blamed for anything that goes wrong. True story, when the WannaCry virus struck and took out the server farms at our transcription vendor last year (for SEVERAL WEEKS, our physicians and surgeon could not dictate their notes), the rumor within our organization was “You know, I heard that CT Lin shut that down because he just wants us to TYPE in his #*$&#$’ing EHR.”

If only I was that powerful. We often deal with problems not of our own making, limited or non-existent resources, and a lot of ambiguity.  So, “What can I do?” Here is my advice after walking a mile in my colleague’s shoes.

  1. Being a physician informaticist (PI) is often a thankless job. The quiet work we do: creating collaboration, understanding both IT and healthcare deeply, we translate and often avert disasters (avoiding bad design in templates, order sets, automated tools) that only we can see. When it works, the response is “Of course it was going to work. It is so simple.” When it doesn’t work, everyone knows it was you, even if it wasn’t.
  2. Your value to the leadership of the organization becomes more apparent over time- stay the course. When the PI stands up and helps calm the masses, when the PI can send email broadcasts or go to meetings and explain WHAT happened, and more importantly WHY and what is going to be done about it, he/she is usually more clear than the technologists and can speak the medical language of clinicians and patients. Over time, his/her value grows from being clear, steadfast, and a calming influence. Maybe the executives start including him/her in higher level decisions because they remember that value.
  3. Your value to the front line physicians and nurses is also incalculable. One time, a physician presumed that “Oh, the EHR project is going terribly… see how CT was walking with his head down and with that frown. Bad news.” On the other hand, being clear and concise (even if you can’t fix it) and being transparent about what is happening now and why, allows the PI to be a beacon in a storm, and the go-to person for clarity. PI’s often become a valued representative for physician interests.

As we talked this week, I had flashbacks of my years on the front lines doing this work. Over time, these memories are less like PTSD attacks and more like valued battle scars that one shows off proudly.

Thank you to our physician informaticists and our many colleagues working to adopt new technology- this song is dedicated to YOU.

Dear Burned Out Colleague (to Dear Theodosia, from Hamilton, the musical)

About CT Lin
CT Lin is a technophile, father, husband, ukulele enthusiast, and practicing physician. Dr. Lin is the Chief Medical Information Officer at University of Colorado Health. He writes a weekly blog on informatics and physician leadership at  CT uses creative and memorable techniques to help his organization through change from ukulele parodies to Haiku poems.

About Atos Digital Health Solutions
Atos Digital Health Solutions helps healthcare organizations clarify business objectives while pursuing safer, more effective healthcare that manages costs and engagement across the care continuum. Our leadership team, consultants, and certified project and program managers bring years of practical and operational hospital experience to each engagement. Together, we’ll work closely with you to deliver meaningful outcomes that support your organization’s goals. Our team works shoulder-to-shoulder with your staff, sharing what we know openly. The knowledge transfer throughout the process improves skills and expertise among your team as well as ours. We support a full spectrum of products and services across the healthcare enterprise including Population Health, Value-Based Care, Security and Enterprise Business Strategy Advisory Services, Revenue Cycle Expertise, Adoption and Simulation Programs, ERP and Workforce Management, Go-Live Solutions, EHR Application Expertise, as well as Legacy and Technical Expertise. Atos is a proud sponsor of Healthcare Scene.

Will Chatbots Be Embedded In Health IT Infrastructure Within Five Years?

Posted on December 10, 2018 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or

Brace yourself: The chatbots are coming. In fact, healthcare chatbots could become an important part of healthcare organizations’ IT infrastructure, according to research released by a market analyst firm. I have my doubts but do read on and see what you think.

Jupiter Research is predicting that AI-powered chatbots will become the initial point of contact with healthcare providers for many consumers. As far as I know, this approach is not widespread in the US at present, though there are many vendors developing tools that they could deploy and we’ve seen some success from companies like SimplifiMed and big tech companies like Microsoft that are enabling chatbots as well.

However, Jupiter sees things changing rapidly over the next five years. It predicts that the number of chatbot interactions will shoot up at an average annual growth rate of 167%, from an estimated 21 million per year in 2018 to 2.8 billion per year in 2023.  By that point, healthcare will represent 10% of all chatbot interactions across major verticals, Jupiter says.

According to the market research firm, there are a number of reasons chatbot use in healthcare will grow so rapidly, including consumers’ growing comfort level with using chatbots to discuss their care. Jupiter also expects to see healthcare providers routinely use chatbots for customer experience management, though again, I’ve seen little evidence that this is happening just yet.

The massive growth in patient-chatbot interactions will also be fueled by a rise in the sophistication of conversational AI platforms, a leap so dramatic that consumers will handle a growing percentage of their healthcare business entirely via chatbot, the firm says. This, in turn, will free up medical staff time, saving countries’ healthcare systems around $3.7 billion by 2023.  This would prove to be a relatively modest savings for the giant US healthcare system, but it could be quite meaningful for a smaller country.

As healthcare organizations adopt chatbot platforms, their chief goal will be to see that information collected by chatbots is transferred to EHRs and other important applications, the report says. To make this happen, these organizations will have to make sure to integrate chatbot platforms with both clinical and line-of-business applications. (Vendors like PatientSphere already offer independent platforms designed to address such issues.)

All very interesting, no? Definitely. I share Jupiter’s optimistic view of the chatbot’s role in healthcare delivery and customer service and have little doubt that even today’s relatively primitive bots are capable of handling many routine transactions.

That being said, I’m thinking it will be more like 10 years before chatbots are used widely by providers. If what I’ve seen is any indication, it will probably take that long before conversational AI can truly hold a conversation. If we hope to use AI-based chatbots routinely at the front end of important processes, they’ll just have to be smarter.

Lumeon secures $28M To Accelerate US Expansion

Posted on December 7, 2018 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

Lumeon, makers of a care pathway management (CPM) platform that helps patients receive the appropriate follow-up care, recently announced $28M in new funding. The investment was led by Life Sciences Partners (LSP) one of Europe’s largest healthcare investment firms.

The company was part of the third cohort of startups that came through the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator in the fall of 2017. At the time Lumeon already had 1,800 healthcare sites live on their platform in the United Kingdom, where they maintain their European headquarters. The company’s US headquarters is in Boston.

Lumeon’s platform automates many parts of the patient journey, saving time, eliminating gaps and reducing frustration for both staff as well as patients.

The $28M raised will help accelerate Lumeon’s expansion in the US healthcare market. In an exclusive email interview with Healthcare Scene, Robbie Hughes, Founder and CEO for Lumeon, explained how the funds would be used.

“Our priority is hiring the best people to allow us to keep delivering for our customers. We’ll focus initially on building out our deployment and customer support teams to accelerate new customer implementations. The funding will allow us to grow our business rapidly and take advantage of this critical moment in the healthcare market.”

The company anticipates hiring 25 new staff to support their US market expansion.

When asked why Lumeon is well positioned to succeed in a crowed market, Hughes pointed to the company’s strong user base in Europe and clear ROI.

“We have proven our solution at scale in a market with significant cost constraints, and these initiatives have resulted in a series of key insights that help us stand out from competitors. Our customers see the immediate reduction in costs brought by automating manual tasks. They also see a revenue increase from attracting new patients.”

Lumeon was recently named a Gartner Cool Vendor for 2018.

More information about the funding announcement can be found on the company’s website.

The FHIR Backpedal, Voice Interfaces, OpenNotes, and Complacency – Twitter Roundup

Posted on December 6, 2018 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Let’s take a quick trip around the Twittersphere and share some of the best healthcare related tweets we’ve seen recently. Plus, we’ll add a little commentary for each tweet as well. We hope you’ll add your commentary on Twitter with @healthcarescene and in the comments.

This might be a media back pedal. Everyone I’ve talked to that really understood FHIR has always said that the FHIR standard was not the end all be all interoperability solution. In fact, they specifically noted its limitations. Of course, that didn’t keep many outlets from reporting FHIR as the cure all. Glad to see they’re finally reporting on FHIR accurately. It’s good, but not a cure all interoperability solution.

Anyone that’s heard Colin Hung speak knows this is going to be a great webinar. Voice search and voice interfaces have become extremely popular. If you want to learn how they’re impacting healthcare, sign up for Colin’s webinar.

Powerfully simple story.

I think Aimee underestimates the power of complacency. However, I hope she’s right since long term complacency will feel really bad.

Amazing Nurse Story

Posted on December 5, 2018 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Nurses are amazing and they are often the unsung heroes of healthcare. When I think about the times I’ve spent in hospitals I have almost zero memories of the doctors, but I have a lot of great memories of the nurses.

I was reminded of this fact when reading this pretty untraditional nurse story that @rn_critcare shared. I wonder how many times healthcare IT developers think about these kinds of unique situations that nurses face. Ok, they aren’t all this large, but they are just as nuanced.

As told by @rn_critcare:
Today in my role as nurse I wore many hats. Let me tell you a story about how the day went… #NurseLife

Came in this am to discover my pt from yesterday had imaging overnight that revealed catastrophic injuries, along with her sepsis and multi-system organ failure

Within 1/2 hr her fiance approached me about calling in a chaplain, which I assume is to do final prayers. He informs me that he wants to marry her. Today.

I’m not sure b/c pt is sedated and fully ventilated, with no hope of waking up.

Spend next few hours calling chaplains/priests/ministers. Keep in mind it’s Sunday AM and church is happening soon.

I find out that if we can show “intent to marry” that a ceremony can be performed. Photos of pt trying on dress are used. A minister agrees to come after church.

Preparations are being made. Family is happy that we can do this for their loved ones.

Except Pt starts to deteriorate. Cushing triad. Call family in and discuss options. They have a family member willing to perform ceremony, if only for symbolic reasons now…

Hair is washed and braided. I give the sisters some sheets and scissors for a makeshift wedding dress (new) while I go collect flowers from other rooms around the unit. (borrowed)

Flowers are placed in braids along with headband & veil. A blue blanket is draped at end of bed.
Everyone lines up outside the unit and begin the parade into the room. So. Many. People. Can hardly make my way around but secure a post at the med pumps and monitor.

Music is being played, someone has a guitar and another has a drum.

The chaplains words are brief but loving. Asks him does he take her… I do. Asks does she take him, bridesmaids all reply “she does”

Everyone in tears

They are now all in song with only the drum being played, which I feel is shaking my entire soul
Everyone singing Stand by Me and I’m in tears.

Pt stabilizes somewhat. I realize it’s now afternoon and I haven’t had a break or worse, my coffee! I decide to step away for a few minutes. Go outside for air. Find myself at grocery store across the street…

Purchase cake and have 2 hearts drawn with their initials, some bubbly (sparkling juice), and plastic champagne flutes. There was a wedding after all… New groom takes bottle outside with fam, pops the cork & comes back for mini reception.

So much love

I decide to get some charting done. Post-op comes back across the hall and I’m called to help. CRRT machine beeping next door and tend to that. Realize I still haven’t eaten. Grab a cookie from the desk (weekend tradition from consultants)

Pt begins to fail again.

Family called back in, this time the air has changed. It’s heavier and somehow feels hotter than hours before.

The guitar is being played and everyone is singing Amazing Grace. Am I singing along? Maybe. Not sure with this lump in my throat.

Have to turn away and pretend like I’m tending to something very important, which turns out is the wall, but it’s holding me up now, and the singing and drumming is getting louder and I’m just trying to keep it together, keep her comfortable… Won’t be long now…

Her children are at her side now telling her they love her, how wonderful she is, how much they love their step-dad, don’t worry they will take care of him.

A tear falls down her cheek and now everyone is sobbing. My sobs are internalized and I keep my eye on the monitor…

New groom is by her side and I whisper in his ear that she has passed, as this sacred news is shared with a spouse first.

The new groom is now a widow.

One by one the people exit the room, each one reaching out for a hug. Each hug brings me a little closer to the inevitable spill over of tears. My heart aches for them. There are no words, my eyes pleading with them to accept my sincerest condolences…

They need help with funeral home. Explain of course I can help guide them, this is unchartered territory and I do this all the time. My insides are screaming ALL THE TIME!

Call funeral home, with request to leave braids untouched… Veil and flowers too.

I finish my charting. Realize there’s no supper break happening either. Wash my pt up. Gently remove the countless tubes and IVs. Use hushed tones as I explain to her what I am doing, because even in death we deliver honour and dignity.

Take a new nurse down to morgue with me, because it’s a teaching hospital after all. Carry on chatting as though my spirit isn’t weeping inside.
Get back to unit.

Take a long overdue drink of water.

No time for tears.

There’s an admission on the way.


A Digital Roadmap to Improved Patient Access – An Interview with Richard McNeight

Posted on December 4, 2018 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

We recently interviewed Richard McNeight, Executive Vice President & Chief Digital Officer at Health First, to learn about there efforts to implement new patient access and provider data management solutiuons from Kyruus.
In this interview, Richard McNeight offers some great insights into patients’ expectations and ways his organization is trying to meet these expectations.

What led you to the decision to invest in more patient access technologies?

“Dramatically improved consumerism” is one of our key Integrated Delivery Network (IDN) digital strategic goals. The first and most important consumer priority is to “Find a Provider.” Not just any provider, but the right provider that can best treat the exact condition, has significant experience treating it with high-quality outcomes and has performance ratings for success.

What kind of buy-in did you need to go in this direction?

As Chief Digital Officer, my first responsibility was to develop an IDN digital strategic plan, which identified provider search as the most demanded customer request. The digital strategy was first approved by our Strategic Planning Council. Once adopted by our Executive Team, the initial collaboration was with our Marketing Department, which confirmed the most important consumer initiative was to “Find a Doctor.” A requirements specification was then developed for a provider portal, with input from all major IDN stakeholders, and a request for approval (RFP) process solicited bids for the provider portal solution, ultimately resulting in the selection of Kyruus.

What benefits do you expect to achieve from the implementation of ProviderMatch?

The key benefit we will achieve using the Kyruus ProviderMatch tool is meeting our customer’s goal to find the “right provider.” This is achieved by allowing the patient to complete a robust search by entering their “clinical condition” in simple, easy-to-understand textual language. ProviderMatch leverages a taxonomy of more than 18,000 clinical terms, which helps match the patient’s condition to a provider who specializes in treating that condition. This is in addition to the normal search criteria and qualifiers such as geolocation, insurance network, provider gender and more.

Which challenges do you still face when it comes to patient access?

The biggest challenge we see in implementing Kyruus is appropriately defining the “Scope of Practice” for each provider, narrowing it to only the top conditions that provider specializes in treating. Related to that is the discussion we will be having with our providers as to acceptable and accurate provider quality rating, frequency of procedures performed and outcome results that will be displayed in the search results profile for the provider.

How have your providers reacted to the idea of allowing online appointment booking to patients?  What did you do to get them on board?

Over the last year, we have methodically been preparing for online scheduling by standardizing and minimizing the number of appointment templates for our employed providers, initially for primary care providers, and by the end of this year, for most specialists.

Where are you looking next when it comes to improving the patient’s experience?

As defined in our IDN digital strategy for consumerism, after “Find a Doctor,” the next three online features our customers want most are:

  • Make an Appointment – Online scheduling, providers (Kyruus DirectBook), diagnostic procedures, urgent care and more than 20 additional online scheduling activities
  • Price Transparency – Cost estimation, ease of payment and bill simplification
  • View my Medical Record – Easy, single mobile-enabled access to their unified health record

Once our customer finds the “right provider,” they will have the option to either immediately schedule an appointment online using ProviderMatch DirectBook or be shown a phone number to call to schedule the appointment. Our digital roadmap addresses technology solutions and implementation timelines for all of the other consumer experience features listed above.

What If You Live Tweeted an EHR Go Live?

Posted on December 3, 2018 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Have you ever wondered what an EHR go live is like? Ok, those of you who have been through one probably don’t want to relive that experience and may even have a little PTSD from the experience. However, as an EHR addict myself, I couldn’t resist watching the Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare (GVMH) in Clinton, MO live tweet their MEDITECH Expanse go live on the @gvmhe Twitter account.

I loved this kind of transparency and documenting of a go live. Pretty cool to see the process. The only thing I wish they would have done is used a hashtag throughout and shared it with others that were tweeting about the go live. If they had, then it would have been easier to find great tweets like this one from their CMIO Bill Dailey, MD:

I won’t share the full go live stream since you can go and read it on the @gvmhe account. However, here were some tweets that stood out.

This is an exciting and nerve wracking part of any go-live.

I’m sure the team will look back on this picture fondly. Plus, they’ll probably note all the people who were too busy to get in on the picture.

One of the best and worst parts of a go-live. The countdown clock which shows you how long until the real work begins and how much time you have left to finish your preparations. It’s always ironic that there’s always more prep that could be done, but you have to go live anyway.

You have to have a little fun during the go live.

The stress is real. Is there an ICD-10 for EHR go lives?

It’s like New Year’s, but less champagne and kissing. I like the matching shirts though.

Another stressful clock

War room in action!

The inevitable issues of getting your vendors on the phone. I wonder how effective this tweet was in helping the vendor respond. Especially since the tweet above was the 2nd one.

The moment before go live.

15 minutes later!

Don’t forget the power of food during a go live.

Must be a pretty happy Christmas gift to have the go live done and with relatively few hiccups.

The reality of the first few days.

I wonder how they measured this, but pretty interesting to consider.

Monday with a full day of patients. Congrats GVMH!

I left off a number of things, so go and check out the full @gvmhe Twitter feed. Plus, you can follow along to see how the first few weeks on MEDITECH Expanse goes for them. I hope they keep tweeting once all the go live staff leave. That’s usually a challenging time as well.