Free Hospital EMR and EHR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to Hospital EMR and EHR for FREE!

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 HealthcareScene.com 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 InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. 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 One of the biggest challenges health systems continually face is poor and outdated communication technology – where analytics, security, reliability, speed and accuracy are all lacking.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  Halo replaces outdated pagers for providers and teams resulting in faster time to treatment, and importantly higher levels of provider and nurse satisfaction.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 HealthcareScene.com 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 InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. 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.

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.”

AND YET…

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 http://ctlin.blog.  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 www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

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.

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 HealthcareScene.com 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 InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. 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.