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February 5, 2015 News 2 Comments

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Anthem announces that the information of 80 million of its health insurance customers has been stolen in a “very sophisticated cyberattack.” Luckily for the company, the breach didn’t include either medical information or credit card numbers, or so it says so far. The FBI is investigating. It stands to reason that every breached organization will always claim that the attack was “sophisticated” – nobody would admit that they were hacked by primitive methods that exploited their poorly implemented security.

Reader Comments


From Laura Petri: “Re: Roper acquiring Data Innovations. This is interesting because Sunquest has traditionally disliked DI and wrote their own interfaces instead. DI was viewed as a competitor. Wonder how much they paid?” The announcement didn’t break out the $450 million Roper paid for two companies. The company did announce that its three recent health IT acquisitions cost $590 million and will contribute $100 million in annual revenue, which would be a similar multiple as the $1.4 billion it paid in 2012 to buy Sunquest, which had annual revenue of only around $200 million. Apparently Roper doesn’t mind paying six times revenue. Battery Ventures bought Data Innovations in 2010 for an undisclosed price from founders looking to retire, so it surely pocketed some nice gains.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

This week on HIStalk Practice: Dr. Gregg sheds light on finding HIE successes. ICD-10 expert David Freedman, DPM offers best practices for making the switch by October 1. Rite Aid RediClinics debut – could Whole Foods clinics be far behind? ONC announces new funding for HIT workforce training. Hawaii moves forward with island interoperability. At-risk practices fall into the "digital divide" thanks to IT costs. Researchers offer physicians think-twice tips on Googling patients. Thanks for reading.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Under Armour acquires calorie-counter app MyFitnessPal for $475 million and fitness coaching app Endomondo for $85 million. The acquisitions will bring 100 million active users into Under Armour’s growing digital health ecosystem. ONC publishes a draft version of its ten-year, API-based interoperability roadmap. HIStalk Connect’s newest series Ramp Up kicks off with interviews from early-stage digital health investor Robert Greenglass of Waterline Ventures, and early-stage digital health startup CEO Jacob Sattelmair of Wellframe.

Listening: Australia-based indie rocker Courtney Barnett, who just announced a US tour.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock



Roper Industries, which owns Sunquest and which acquired Strata Decision Technology two weeks ago, buys two more health IT companies for a combined $450 million. South Burlington, VT-based Data Innovations is the largest laboratory middleware company and has 4,500 customers using its 1,000 laboratory instrument interfaces, giving Sunquest an interesting position among LIS vendors who rely on the company’s products. SoftWriters, based in Allison Park, PA, sells specialty pharmacy software.


Rite Aid announces that it has opened RediClinics inside 24 of its drugstores in the Baltimore, Washington DC, and Philadelphia markets and will expand next in Seattle and Texas. Rite Aid acquired RediClinic in April 2014 when it had 30 grocery store locations in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.


Under Armour acquires two fitness tracking apps with a combined 100 million users — MyFitnessPal and Endomondo — for $560 million. The company acquired MapMyFitness for $150 million in 2013 and will “continue to redefine and elevate the Connected Fitness experience for millions of people around the world.”


Cognizant releases Q4 results: revenue up 16 percent, adjusted EPS $0.67 vs. $0.59, beating expectations on both and sending shares to an all-time high. Increased healthcare demand and the company’s $2.8 billion cash acquisition of TriZetto in September 2014 drove the results. Healthcare makes up 25 percent of the company’s business and was its fastest-growing segment in 2014.


McKesson announces Q3 results: revenue up 37 percent, adjusted EPS $2.89 vs. $1.48, beating expectations. Technology Solutions revenue was down 7 percent due to product retirements.


Athenahealth announces Q4 results: revenue up 24 percent, adjusted EPS $0.58 vs. $0.57, beating estimates on both. Epocrates revenue dropped 32 percent quarter over quarter.



Five-hospital Adventist HealthCare signs an eight-year IT outsourcing agreement with CareTech Solutions and General Dynamics Information Technology.



Dave Cassel (Epic) joins Healtheway in an unspecified position overseeing its Carequality initiative.


Industry long-timer Mike Etue, EVP of global sales at MModal, died Monday of pancreatic cancer. He was 62.

Announcements and Implementations


Rauland-Borg announces that a new interface for its Rauland Responder provides the first instance of integration between a nurse call system and hospital’s EHR, allowing nurses to chart from patient rooms and to receive notification when important EHR information changes.

The Advisory Board Company will convene the sold out “Future of Health Care Summit” on February 18, 2015 in Washington, DC, with speakers that include National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo and executives from CMS and drug store chains.

Vocera releases a free secure texting solution for its healthcare customers and their affiliated providers.

Government and Politics

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FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD will resign in March, with her mostly likely replacement being newly hired internist and cardiologist Robert Califf, MD (Duke Medicine).


The VA rolls out online tracking of prescriptions ordered from its mail order pharmacy, implementing an idea offered by VA employee Kenneth Siehr.

In England, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announces that the Department of Health will create an online consumer diagnosis tool within two years that he hopes will reduce ED volumes.

Privacy and Security


Students of all-female Bryn Mawr College plan to demonstrate after the college uses its student health records to send emails inviting 100 high-BMI students to enroll in a weight loss program.

MIT Review warns that 2015 will see a  big increase in “ransomware,” software that spreads to PCs via malicious emails or websites, locks all files with unbreakable encryption, and requires users to pay a ransom using untraceable Bitcoin to regain access to their information. The recommended solution: use antivirus software and make backups so that documents can be restored.


A Reuters survey of 23 top hospitals finds that 14 are piloting connectivity to HealthKit, giving Apple the jump over similar offerings from competitors Google and Samsung. BIDMC CIO John Halamka, MD says the health system has collected wearables-generated data from 250,000 patients, adding that, “Can I interface to every possible device that every patient uses? No. But Apple can.”


The New Yorker profiles Crisis Text Line, a 24×7 crisis intervention hotline for teens that uses SMS text messaging exclusively and handles 15,000 messages per day with as many as 50 home-based counselors on duty. The service is data driven, using the information collected from 5 million texts to create counseling algorithms and to determine when crises are most likely to occur, information the founder plans to provide at no charge to school districts and police departments. Nancy Lublin (who uses the title “Chief Old Person”) also runs DoSomething.org, which helps people launch volunteer campaigns, and while still in college used a $5,000 inheritance from her great-grandfather to start Dress for Success, which provides job interview suits for underprivileged women. I guarantee that her 2012 TED talk above on texting-based crisis intervention is worth every second of your five minutes. The hurt she feels when describing teen abuse is palpable.



Healthcare Growth Partners releases its “2014 Market Review,” which is always brilliant. Eighty-nine percent of health IT-related business survey respondents said their companies are looking for 2015 acquisitions, with the most popular categories being population health and analytics and care coordination and telemedicine. Only 29 percent said they believe health IT is in a bubble. It also reflects back to 2007, when most startups incorrectly predicted that they would be acquired by an EHR vendor, to the reality that transactions often involve non-traditional acquirers looking to take an existing relationship deeper or to disrupt the market. The survey methodology is self-selecting and therefore somewhat biased toward respondents interested in acquisitions, but it’s still interesting.


Carolinas HealthCare paid all of its 10 top executives more than $1 million in 2014 — including $5.3 million for its CEO — in a year the health system said it had to reduce expenses due to Medicare cuts.


Baltimore Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook is indicted on 13 charges related to the death of Johns Hopkins Medicine software engineer Thomas Palermo, who was run over while bicycling on December 27. Cook is charged with drunk driving, texting while driving, and leaving the scene of an accident.

Sponsor Updates

  • Caradigm Care Management is named winner of “Most Innovative Product of the Year” by Best in Biz Awards International.
  • A PerfectServe guest blog post by physician collaboration expert Kenneth Cohn, MD addresses “The What and Why of Physician Engagement.”
  • Extension Healthcare reports a 273 percent bookings increase quarter over quarter and 54 new hospitals serviced in 2014.
  • Nordic releases a white paper titled “Return-Driven Optimization.”
  • Aspen Advisors announces that it was ranked among the top three overall IT services firms in KLAS’s annual report.
  • PatientSafe Solutions CNIO Cheryl Parker, PhD, RN publishes “Update Clinical Communication Strategy, Not Just the BYOD Policy” in PSQH. 
  • Kenneth Rashbaum of Logicworks publishes a blog post on “2015 HIPAA Audits & Implications for Healthcare Cloud Computing.”
  • InterSystems will exhibit at the iHT2 Health IT Summit February 10-11 in Miami.
  • Healthfinch has fun with EHR and brain surgeon analogies in its latest blog, “Time to Call in a Specialist.” 
  • Steven Botana writes about “The Art of Paying it Forward: Credit Balances” in the latest Hayes Management Consulting blog.
  • Senior VP Molly Mettler advocates for giving family caregivers a break in the latest Healthwise blog.
  • Maria Greger offers advice on “How to Avoid 5 Common Hiring Mistakes Startups Make” in the latest Greythorn blog.
  • Harris Corp. will also exhibit at the iHT2 Health IT Summit February 10-11 in Miami.
  • HealthTronics will participate in “The Evolving Role of MRI in Prostate Cancer Management: Detection, Staging, Surveillance, Follow Up, and Reporting” course February 7 in Santa Monica.
  • HDS posts a new blog on “Champions, Change & Culture: 3 Things the Medical Device Industry Needs Now.”
  • The HCI Group posts a new blog entitled, “6 Key Reasons Why Hospital IT Outreach Projects Fail.”
  • Andy Smith, president and co-founder of Impact Advisors, offers a new blog on the company’s recent “Best in KLAS” award.
  • HCS will exhibit at the NASL 2015 Winter Legislative & Regulatory Conference February 9-11 in Washington, D.C.
  • Brian Manning offers tips on how to thrive in a paperless office in the latest DocuSign blog.


Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan.

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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Dr. Hamburg was a good leader of the FDA. The abruptness suggests she was asked to say good bye. As for this theory that R. Califf is the heir apparent, he seems too Republican in my interactions with him, but he is an HIT zealot pushing CES and accumulating huge databases via EHR.

  2. re: bryn mawr

    sorry rudrani and other student who were “offended”. we are living in a world where obesity is one of the top health and wellness issues. seems to me that the college was being pro-active toward its students by inviting them to take a weight loss class. while we can all debate the PC’ness of the email, lets not hide behind the issue.

    lastly i know its just a college kid but “email setting me back years of counseling and self-esteem work” makes no sense, unless she didnt know she was overweight (which i highly doubt) one can choose to delete email / not attend the class, but preventive measures, especially for young adults can have big, positive implications down the road.

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