Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes announces that the company will close all its clinical labs and wellness centers and lay off nearly half of its employees to focus exclusively on trying to commercialize its MiniLab testing platform.
Theranos investors continue their high level of cluelessness by inexplicably keeping Holmes as CEO, although at this point her train wreck behavior is about all that remains interesting about the former high flyer.
My bet: Theranos will bleed out all its remaining investor cash before it can get its machine through the FDA to market, and even if the company is successful, nobody’s going to buy a MiniLab given the company’s historical lack of transparency and shady business practices (would you really want to buy diagnostic equipment from someone who is federally banned from all lab involvement?)
From Tripp the Lite Fantastic: “Re: Drummond Group. A shakeup after it was sold – President Kyle Meadors has left.” Unverified. He’s still showing on the certification company’s executive page (which lists only two people), but his LinkedIn profile shows that he left the company in July. He took the job in November 2015 after the two co-founders stepped aside. I don’t recall that I knew (or cared) that the company was acquired. Drummond and CCHIT were named by ONC as the first authorized testing bodies for EHRs in 2010.
From Nasty Parts: “Re: NextGen. There’s a sales book on the street, according to contact there. The only insiders who will benefit are the Cardinal hires brought over by CEO Rusty Frantz, such as the new CFO whose package included 75,000 restricted stock units.” Unverified.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
Sixteen companies have joined my little HIStalk sponsor family in the past handful of weeks, motivated in part by the fall new sponsor special offer that throws in the rest of 2016 free for a full-year 2017 sponsorship. Contact Lorre to join them.
Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Learn on Demand Systems. The company’s OneLearn training management system allows organizations of all sizes to deliver experience-based training, software demos, and performance-based assessments in managing programs, instructors, classrooms, schedules, and metrics. Its OneLearn lab-on-demand platform automates the delivery of hands-on labs and product demonstrations, using the hospital’s custom EMR instance (a mirror image, not a simulation) to deliver an Interactive Digital Lab with testing to identify those departments that are (or aren’t) ready for an implementation or upgrade go-live. Everybody gets a sandbox to play in whenever their schedule allows – no more marathon classroom sessions. You can try a live preview of a training lab – I did and it’s very cool (scroll down on the page to launch a sample environment with no sign-up required). The company has reached users in 145 countries, launched 10 million labs, and trained 5 million students for customers that include Google, Microsoft, Citrix, and Caradigm. Thanks to Learn on Demand Systems for supporting HIStalk.
Here’s a screenshot of my playing around with a live preview of Learn on Demand Systems. It presented an exam on the right with links to resources such as a network diagram while in the middle of the screen was a virtual live session of Windows NT (browser based, no setup required), allowing the student to work on a live server while completing a test on how to configure user e-mail accounts.
We provided math games for the third-grade class of Ms. Burkett in Missouri in funding her DonorsChoose grant request. She says her students get excited about math every day because the activities are fun and allow them to work together to solve problems.
The industry’s most talked-about HIMSS party is on. Would your company like to help me pay for it since I’m otherwise personally on the hook for the rather shocking price tag in entertaining 800 or so industry notables? Contact Lorre for sponsorship options that can range from small to blow-out.
This week on HIStalk Practice: Central Virginia Coalition of Healthcare Providers selects CCM software from Smartlink. CityMD partners with Par80 for referral management. Survey shows patients want pricing up front, but providers aren’t prepared to comply. Internet icon advocates for an "NIH for Cybersecurity." AMA unveils new MACRA tools for physician prep. MTBC acquires MediGain and Millenium Practice Management. NHHIO ED Jeff Loughlin helps New Hampshire providers set up a centralized data repository now that they’ve gotten over the EHR implementation hump.
October 13 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Glycemic Control During Therapeutic Hypothermia.” Sponsored by Monarch Medical Technologies. Presenter: Tracey Melhuish, RN, MSN, clinical practice specialist, Holy Cross Hospital (FL). Using therapeutic hypothermia (TH) as a method of care can present risks of hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, and blood glucose variability. Maintaining safe glucose levels during the cooling and rewarming phases of TH reduces the risks of adverse events. Tracey Melhuish, author of “Linking Hypothermia and Hyperglycemia,” will share best practices for optimal glucose control during TH and the success Holy Cross Hospital sees while using a computerized glucose management software.
October 25 (Tuesday) 1:30 ET. “Data Privacy/Insider Threat Mitigation: What Hospitals Can Learn From Other Industries.” Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Robert Kuller, chief commercial officer, Haystack Informatics; Mitchell Parker, CISSP, executive director of information security and compliance, Indiana University Health. Cybersecurity insurers believe that hospitals are too focused on perimeter threats, ransomware, and the threat of OCR audits instead of insider threats, which are far more common but less likely to earn media attention. Attendees will learn how behavior analytics is being used to profile insiders and detect unusual behaviors proactively and to place privacy/insider risk within the risk management matrix.
November 9 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “How to Create Healthcare Apps That Get Used and Maybe Even Loved.” Sponsored by MedData. Presenter: Jeff Harper, founder and CEO, Duet Health. Patients, clinicians, and hospital employees are also consumers who manage many aspects of their non-medical lives on their mobile devices. Don’t crush their high technology expectations with poorly designed, seldom used apps that tarnish your carefully protected image. Your app represents your brand and carries high expectations on both sides. This webinar will describe how to build a mobile healthcare app that puts the user first, meets their needs (which are often different from their wants), creates "stickiness," and delivers the expected benefits to everyone involved.
Contact Lorre for webinar services. View previous webinars on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
ICU surveillance monitoring technology vendor Sotera Wireless, which offers the ViSi Mobile wireless sensor, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company had raised $84 million in nine funding rounds, but none since early 2014.
Consumer wellness software vendor Welltok raises $33.7 million in a Series E funding round, increasing its total to $164 million.
In an unpleasant health IT flashback special, Vista Equity Partners will take England-based Misys public again on the London Stock Exchange, valuing the company at $7 billion in England’s largest IPO of 2016. Vista bought the company for $1.6 billion in 2012, five years after the banking software company sold off its Sunquest and CPR product lines as well as its majority stake in Allscripts in its hasty exit from the healthcare market (they’ve since added “financial software” to their logo to remind themselves of their unsuccessful sector unfaithfulness). I remain amused even now that two British banking software vendors – Misys and Sage – nearly simultaneously made a major mess in their pathetic and fortunately short-lived attempts to milk a US healthcare IT market that they clearly didn’t understand.
Evolent Health completes its acquisition of Valence Health, paying $219 million rather than the originally announced $145 million since the sale price was tied to Evolent’s share price. Evolent says Valence will generate revenue of around $85 million this year.
UPMC Enterprises makes an unspecified investment in RxAnte, a UPMC vendor that uses analytics to predict medication adherence. The company reports $4.6 million in fundraising, all of it in 2012.
Xerox, preparing to split itself into two publicly traded companies, names its business process services segment (which includes healthcare) Conduent. You’ll either be inspired or appalled by the lengthy, marketing-heavy explanation of what every aspect of the made-up word and logo signifies other than that they let creative types run expensively amok (“A bold typeface conveys stability and complements the symbol while acknowledging a 30-year history supporting the critical operations of businesses and governments. A connection between the ‘N’ and the ‘T’ in the typeface of ‘Conduent’ reinforces that the constituent is at the core of the company’s business model. The connected letters also draw the reader’s eye to this unique pronunciation of the coined name.”) Apparently the most important factor in the new company’s eventual success is allowing those last two letters to touch.
Harrison Memorial Hospital (KY) chooses Santa Rosa Consulting’s InfoPartners subsidiary as its Meditech 6.1 Ready implementation partner.
Island Hospital (WA) chooses Meditech.
In England, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust selects Cerner, sharing its implementation with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
In Canada, William Osler Health System will implement Extension Engage for unified clinical communications and collaboration.
Choosing Wellsoft’s EDIS are Angleton ER (TX) and the third freestanding emergency center of Cypress Creek ER (TX).
Harry Greenspun, MD (Deloitte) joins Korn Ferry as chief medical officer and managing director of its KF Health Solutions business.
PM/EHR vendor InSync Healthcare Solutions promotes Roland Therriault to president, replacing Tom Wilson.
Gregg Waldon (RedBrick Health) joins Kareo as CFO.
Government and Politics
CMS discloses that it (meaning we taxpayers) paid over $1 billion per year for the past five years buying Mylan’s EpiPens for Medicare and Medicaid patients. The government also claims that Mylan misclassified the allergy injection as a generic drug –which earns CMS only a 13 percent rebate– instead of a brand name product for which CMS would have received at least a 23 percent discount. CMS indignantly tells the press that it has repeatedly warned Mylan that they were mischaracterizing the drug, but doesn’t explain why it kept paying the inflated price anyway.
CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt describes the state of healthcare insurance marketplaces in a Wednesday speech:
We’ve chosen to address the need to transform in most traditional American way possible– through the private sector. Which means we’re relying on innovation and competition to serve consumers best … If anyone’s premise was that by passing one law, we would fix the affordability of health care all at once, that’s just not how it works. We’re here because the law sets a path in motion … Particularly if you see churn in your book– as people move in and out of jobs and struggle with affordability, how do you build loyalty? Are you building on-boarding processes, monthly touch points, and other initiatives that create “stickiness?” Remember, consumers don’t like churning any more than you do … do you have your first tier hospitals contracted to manage aggressive ER utilization so people can get care in the right setting? Have you set up telemedicine, nurse lines, and other convenient forms of both coaching and steerage? Is there free primary care and other incentives to detect health concerns early?
CMS opens a search for a replacement for former CIO David Nelson, who was brought on to save Healthcare.gov before moving to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in August.
CMS adds hospice payment information to its publicly available datasets.
Privacy and Security
In England, an NHS security official provides a specific example of how far hackers will go to penetrate a hospital. They targeted an employee, looked up his background on LinkedIn to find that he played college rugby, spoofed an email account using the name of the team captain he played with, and included an attachment claiming to be an old team photo of the two of them together. The victim clicked on the attachment, clicked OK to allow it to open, and in doing so permitted the installation of Trojan spyware that probed the network for two weeks until it was discovered. NHS’s particular problem is that 15 percent of its PCs still run the insecure Windows XP either because old apps and devices require it or that money is too tight to upgrade everything.
Innovation and Research
The American Heart Association, Verily Life Sciences (Google), and drugmaker AstraZeneca award a $75 million, five-year grant to Calum MacRae, MD, PhD, chief of cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (MA), for a big data-powered study in which he will apply engineering, computing, and genomics expertise to the data of heart study participants to look for early markers for heart disease. His team will use data from wearables and patient-reported information in attempting to answer the question of why so many patients get heart disease despite having none of the currently known risk factors.
The RWJF-funded project The Mood Challenge names the finalists of its competition to use Apple’s ResearchKit to assess mood and its relationship to PTSD. BiAffect tracks and predicts mood episodes by the speed and accuracy of the user’s typing, while Aware Study administers weekly surveys and two daily tasks.
In Australia, doctors at Cairns Hospital request an independent review of its Cerner rollout after learning that 48 mislabeled blood specimens have been identified this year vs. nine in all of 2013. Employees say the specimen collection workflow is convoluted and that printing tube labels for multiple patients on a single printer has caused mixed-ups.
The AMA publishes new MACRA tools for doctors: a calculator to predict the impact of payment changes on a given practice, new MACRA tools for its STEPS Forward practice redesign program, and a podcast series.
Internet pioneer and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen says in an interview that rising-cost sectors (mostly healthcare and education) are dragging down the economy in canceling out the benefits and lower prices created by technology, leading to stagnant incomes, loss of jobs, and a bigger chunk of personal income spent on those sectors:
You have the sectors in which prices are rapidly rising: healthcare, education, construction, prescription drugs, elder care, and child care. Here there’s very little technological innovation. Those are sectors with insufficient productivity growth, innovation, and disruption. You’ve got monopolies, oligopolies, cartels, government-run markets, price-fixing — all the dysfunctional behaviors that lead to rapid increase in prices. The government injects more subsidies into those markets, but because those are inelastic markets, the subsidies just cause prices to go up further … The problem is insufficient technological adoption, innovation, and disruption in these high-escalating price sectors of the economy. My thesis is that we’re not in a tech bubble — we’re in a tech bust. Our problem isn’t too much technology or people being too excited about technology. The problem is we don’t have nearly enough technology. These cartel-like legacy industries are way too hard to disrupt.
Odd: a closed Ohio bridal shop sues a Texas Health Resources hospital for $1 million, saying it lost hundreds of thousands of dollars after one of the two THR nurses who contracted Ebola in 2014 tried on dresses there before she knew she was infected, after which the stigma of being known as “the Ebola store” caused the store’s failure.
I would say drug pricing and profits are way too complicated when I can’t even understand a dumbed-down graphic of where prescription money goes. I do understand, however, that despite the title that suggests middlemen are raking it in, the last line shows that the brand-name manufacturer still keeps 75 percent of whatever made-up price they choose (thus encouraging them to price accordingly).
A writer whose 34-year-old wife died in CHA Cambridge Hospital (MA) pens a moving letter to the ICU employees who cared for her:
When I needed to use a computer for an emergency email, you made it happen. When I smuggled in a very special visitor, our tuxedo cat, Cola, for one final lick of Laura’s face, you “didn’t see a thing.” And one special evening you gave me full control to usher into the ICU more than 50 people in Laura’s life, from friends to co-workers to college alums to family members. It was an outpouring of love that included guitar playing and opera singing and dancing and new revelations to me about just how deeply my wife touched people. It was the last great night of our marriage together, for both of us, and it wouldn’t have happened without your support.
- VMware shares its vision for intelligent analytics from VMware AirWatch.
- Impact Advisors volunteers with SCARCE DuPage as part of its annual Operations Team meeting.
- Catalyst’s HITRUST CSF certification is extended to customers using Microsoft Azure.
- InstaMed recaps its event at Epic’s UGM.
- HCI Group will exhibit at the Ministry of Health & HIMSS Middle East conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia next week.
- Glytec is named an innovation award finalist for its diabetes management solution.
- John Yurkschatt of Direct Conulting Associates is named to “2016 Millennials in Staffing.”
- MedData will exhibit at the ACEP Scientific Assembly October 16-19 in Las Vegas.
- A Spok survey finds that most hospitals are formalizing their mobile strategy, often with the help of outside experts, but are challenged by deficiencies in Wi-Fi and cellular coverage.
- Meditech celebrates October’s health literacy heroes.
- Wellsoft will exhibit at ACEP October 16-18 in Las Vegas.
- Medicity President of HDMS Analytics Patrice Wolfe will keynote the New Jersey & Metro Philly HFMA Annual Institute taking place this week in Atlantic City.
- Obix Perinatal Data System will exhibit at the Tennessee State AWHONN Conference October 7-8 in Memphis.
- Experian Health will exhibit at the HFMA SoCal/Imperial Chapters Fall Conference October 9-11 in Newport Beach.
- Red Hat will host its North America Partner Technical Exchange October 10 in Chicago.
Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
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