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February 23, 2016 News 2 Comments

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Sleep apnea technology vendor ResMed will acquire home health and durable medical equipment billing software vendor Brightree for $800 million in cash. ResMed, which also gets a $300 million tax benefit, will pay seven times revenue and 19 times earnings for Brightree.

Battery Ventures was an early Brightree investor and expanded the company with several acquisitions. It announced in December that it was exploring a sale of the company.

Reader Comments


From Pointed Commentary: “Re: Practice Fusion. Tough times, per the Wall Street Journal. While the article doesn’t focus specifically on health IT, I believe the current investment environment will be brutal on startups and companies working to scale. I predict we are going to see accelerated consolidation of the space and private equity players are going to have a field day picking up companies that are struggling.” The article, titled “For Silicon Valley, the hangover begins,” gives Practice Fusion as its opening example of venture capital drying up and forcing cash-challenged companies to frantically change their business before their financial runway ends. That isn’t really surprising — it’s the usual cycle where innovative startups strike amazing business gold, the VC money flows in indiscriminately chasing the Next Big Thing before it takes someone else’s cash, and flawed startups ruin the party by going up in flames fueled by the money investors poured into them. It’s a cruel but necessary Darwinian process.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor ECG Management Consultants. The Seattle-based, healthcare-only, full-service management consulting firm has offices in eight US cities. Its technology practice supports achievement of strategic, financial, and operational goals. The company has industry-leading expertise in system strategy, selection, implementation, and optimization, with a particularly notable history of helping ambulatory clinics improve their operations via technology, revenue cycle, and EHR systems. The company just announced formation of its bundled payments practice. Give their Value-Based Readiness Quiz a try or scroll through its impressive list of experts. Thanks to ECG Management Consultants for supporting HIStalk.

I found this ECG Management Consultants intro video on YouTube.

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Ms. Stitt from North Carolina says her second graders were so excited when our DonorsChoose package came with a library of books that they insisted she immediately read one of their new volumes, voting to skip recess.

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Also checking in was Ms. Tyler from California, whose Algebra 2 students are enjoying the eight scientific calculators we provided for students who can’t afford to buy their own.


CenterX donated $1,000 to DonorsChoose to attend my CIO lunch at the HIMSS conference next Wednesday, which funded these projects:

  • A programmable robotics kit for Mrs. Buchanan’s K-5 technology classes in Fort Mill, SC.
  • Electrical components for a student-led project at Ms. Read’s all-girls school in Austin, TX.
  • Eight motorized robot kits for the third-grade class of Mrs. Cespedes in Arcadia, FL.
  • Pizza gift cards to feed the after-school robotics team and their college engineering student advisors of Mr. Chen’s high school in Boston, MA. The student who is leading this project explains, “We are not trying to use the gift cards to start a feast, but we plan to use it slowly throughout the season. Also, Vivian sees that I, as the coach teacher, often provide my pocket money for getting the team food. As a result, she wants to take the lead to write this student-led project to get food for our team.” They emailed me to say, “Wow! Thank you so much for funding our project! We are writing to confirm with you that we have got the funding from you! We cannot be more excited to know about this! In the near future, we will share some pictures with you on how your donation helps our Robotics program! There are times that we hope that we can go easy on expenditures on food! Your help truly makes a huge difference! We cannot thank you enough for all this!”
  • An iPad Mini, case, and headphones for Ms. Alley’s elementary school class in Richmond, VA.
  • A 18-book STEM library for Mrs. Ochoa’s elementary school class in Phoenix, AZ.
  • A listening center and audio books for Ms. Bolinger’s elementary school class in Indianapolis, IN.

A couple of CIOs had to cancel their plans to attend the lunch. If you are a health system CIO who can spare a couple of hours next Wednesday to socialize and enjoy a delicious lunch (on me) with my donating vendors who are supporting DonorsChoose, contact Lorre.


Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor Audacious Inquiry. The Baltimore-based information policy and technology company helps government, private, and non-profit organizations share, manage, leverage, and protect information. Its implementation of master data management tools for health information exchange set the standard for HIEs throughout the US. Its Encounter Notification Service has securely delivered 10 million real-time event notifications and clinical summaries to patient hospitalization stakeholders in three years and powers FLHIE’s Event Notification Service, DHIN’s Encounter Notification System, UHIN’s cHIE alerts, CRISP’s Encounter Notification System, and HSX’s Encounter Notification Service. Here’s an overview of Audacious Inquiry’s Event Notification Services that I found on YouTube. Thanks to Audacious Inquiry for supporting HIStalk.

HIMSS Conference

The HIMSS ramp-up in HIStalk page views has started, with 8,700 of them in 6,700 unique visits Monday. The 52-week high is 13,500 page views on the Wednesday of HIMSS15. It would be cool to break the record this year.

I was looking over the HIMSS education schedule, which is indistinguishable from the exhibit hall stage talks given the number of sessions that have been turned over to vendor presenters, some of them using an entire slot just to talk about their products. It’s remarkable how the once-vital educational track has degraded into a lot of lame-sounding sessions presented by people I’ve never heard of. I’m clicking through the awkwardly designed session list on the HIMSS site trying to find something worth the time, but following my rule of never attending anything with a vendor presenter, there’s really not much left. Maybe providers are too busy cruising the exhibit hall for freebies to present.

I get this feeling that once I’m at the conference, I’ll just skip the education sessions and cruise the exhibit hall. The online guide shows 1,285 exhibitor booths, staffed by thousands of bored employees using them as the world’s most expensive telephone booths in screwing around with their phones instead of paying attention to attendees (although I admit that most of those attendees aren’t prospects or decision-makers anyway). I’m feeling sorry for the vendors banished to the downstairs Siberia that is Hall G (Booths # 9900 – 15209), which at HIMSS12 would have had few casualties if a bomb had leveled it. HIMSS must feel bad, too since they’re opening up only Hall G during Monday’s opening reception, giving it a few hours of undivided attention. We’ll be on the main floor in #5069 with our usual parade of interesting people sharing our area rug-sized space.

I doubt I’ll be the only attendee leaving Las Vegas long before Peyton Manning takes the mop-up snap after lunch on Friday to end the lamest set of keynotes I can recall. At least there’s no insurance company executives, Clintons, Bushes, Dana Carvey, or mountain climbers who hacked off their own arm this time around.

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I was reading over my HIMSS12 Las Vegas coverage and decided I liked this line I wrote best: “Here’s a shot taken from the Venetian looking out to Las Vegas Boulevard. Inside, it’s a fake canal under a fake sky, women with fake breasts, and men with fake tans. Finally the exhibit hall isn’t the only place where things aren’t as they seem.” I opined that Las Vegas is like Orlando except with obnoxious adults instead of obnoxious kids.

DrFirst will be doing video interviews again at the HIMSS conference in the DrFirst-HIStalk “Roving Reporter” series. Healthcare IT leaders willing to share their experience, challenges, and perspective with their HIStalk-reading colleagues can schedule an interview time with Wendy Johnson.


HIStalkapalooza Sponsor Profile – NEC


Being the first enterprise communications technology provider in healthcare, NEC is proud to be part of HIStalk and the dedicated professionals who have grown with us and made this the most exciting, challenging and rewarding vertical industry. Leveraging 65,000 patents and over 100 years, NEC continues to develop healthcare industry-focused applications in communications infrastructure, IT/networking solutions, and award-winning biometrics. Want to learn more about NEC’s mission to orchestrate a brighter world through optimized solutions for healthcare? Follow us @NECHealthcare or #NECHIMSS16 and join our traveling “meet and greet!” We will post our positions to host you for coffee or a libation several times a day throughout HIMSS.


February 24 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Is Big Data a Big Deal … or Not?” Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Dale Sanders, EVP of product development, Health Catalyst. Hadoop is the most powerful and popular technology platform for data analysis in the world, but healthcare adoption has been slow. This webinar will cover why healthcare leaders should care about Hadoop, why big data is a bigger deal outside of healthcare, whether we’re missing the IT boat yet again, and how the cloud reduces adoption barriers by commoditizing the skilled labor impact.

February 25 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Clinical Analytics for Population Health: Straddling Two Worlds.” Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Brian Murphy, lead analyst, Chilmark Research; Jody Ranck, senior analyst, Chilmark Research. The Chilmark Research clinical analytics team will be sharing some of their key findings from the recently released “2016 Clinical Analytics for Population Health Market Trends” report. This will be followed by a Q&A session to make sure everyone goes to HIMSS16 well informed.

We’re running a HIMSS special on webinars – 25 percent off produced and two-for-one on promoted. Contact Lorre or see her at our booth next week.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


CTG announces Q4 results: revenue down 14 percent, EPS $0.16 vs. $0.08, beating earnings expectations but falling short on revenue and guiding down.  

Insurance startup Oscar Health receives a $400 million investment that values the company at $2.7 billion, up $1 billion since its last round in September 2015.



Northwell Health (NY) chooses SigmaCare’s EHR for its skilled nursing facilities.



Raj Sundaramurthy (Equifax) joins Catalyze as chief product officer.


Huntzinger Management Group hires Ed Fisher (E.L. Fisher Consulting) as practice executive of technical services.


PM/EHR vendor MedEvolve names private equity investor Jim Crook and Jon Phillips (Healthcare Growth Partners, above) to its board.


Tim Zoph (Northwestern Memorial Hospital) joins Impact Advisors as strategic advisor and client executive.


Former Merge Healthcare CEO Justin Dearborn is named CEO of Tribune Publishing, which owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and several other newspapers. Merge Healthcare was controlled by Michael Ferro, whose investment company bought a $44 million stake in Tribune Publishing in February. Ferro’s $20 million Merge investment in June 2008 netted $190 million when IBM acquired the company  in October 2015 for $1 billion.

Announcements and Implementations


St. Clair Hospital (PA) launches a cost transparency portal, powered by Experian Health’s Patient Estimates, that allows patients to determine their estimated out-of-pocket cost for services using actual contracted cost.


EClinicalWorks announces that it will develop a cloud-based, single patient record EHR called EClinicalworks 10i that will span inpatient, ambulatory, and allied health. Tidelands Health (SC) will serve as development partner. The initial release in 2017 will focus on operations modules such as CPOE, bed management, inventory management, ED, surgery, and analytics. The CIO/SVP of Tidelands Health is Todd Rowland, MD, who completed a medical informatics fellowship at Harvard. I believe Tidelands is using Meditech.


Epic will integrate genetics-powered drug ordering clinical decision support from Genelex into its product. Genelex’s YouScript Precision Prescribing software provides alerts if the patient’s genetic profile places them at higher risk for drug-specific adverse events. I see that Genelex will be exhibiting at the HIMSS conference, suggesting that it may be seeking additional EHR partners.


Forward Health Group’s PopulationManager achieves Oracle Validated Integration with Oracle Enterprise Healthcare Analytics.


FormFast announces its Mobile Bedside Consent Solution.


Clinical Architecture launches a natural language processing application for converting free text to discrete data, with the SIFT for Meds Web API service translating free text from clinical documents into RxNorm codes. It can also be used in real time to suggest coding as free text is being entered.


ZeOmega and Vivify Health will integrate their respective population health management and remote patient monitoring technologies.


Zynx Health announces a new release of its Knowledge Analyzer for management of clinical content and documents.

Government and Politics


ONC announces the ONC Tech Lab that will coordinated interoperability standards, work on testing tools, conduct standards implementation pilots, and run challenge contests.


The Healthcare Leadership Council calls for six immediate steps to improve US healthcare, including setting a firm date of December 31, 2018 for achieving nationwide health IT interoperability.

A Harvard Business Review op-ed piece by David Blumenthal, MD and Aneesh Chopra calls for penalties “for providers and vendors that slow-walk the digital revolution to protect their economic interests” and a payment system that rewards improved quality and cost. It says, “If healthcare markets functioned well in the US, HITECH would have been unnecessary. The industry would have wired itself like our financial, travel, and retail sectors.”

The Wall Street Journal says New York’s hospitals and physicians will struggle to meet the state’s mandatory e-prescribing law that eliminates paper prescriptions as of March 27, 2016. Some providers are demanding an extension to the date that had already been moved back a year.

In Western Australia, the Labor party calls for the resignation of the health minister following an auditor’s report released last week that concluded that a $32 million data center contract has run $58 million over budget. The agreement with Fujitsu was amended 79 times, often by employees who were not authorized to make changes. The case has been referred to the state’s Corruption and Crime Commission.

Privacy and Security


Dartmouth College researchers announce a commercial prototype of a digital “magic wand” that allows non-technical home users to easily and securely configure new Wi-Fi devices, such as medical monitoring tools.


St. Joseph’s Healthcare (NJ) notifies 5,000 employees that their information has been exposed in a phishing scam.


Child activity tracker uKnowKids announces that its database was breached by a white hat hacker who was trying to convince the company that its security systems were inadequate, exposing 6.8 million text messages, 1.8 million images, and the names and addresses of its young users.

Office of Personnel Management CIO Donna Seymour resigns two days before she is scheduled to face a House committee on the massive China-based theft of government personnel records last year. OPM’s OIG warned the office that the systems were insecure and therefore operating illegally, but Seymour overrode those concerns.

Innovation and Research

A small study funded by the Gates Foundation finds that fingerprick-drawn blood can give wildly different hematology results compared to venipuncture due to significant drop-by-drop variability. This could be important for point-of-care hospital testing and certainly adds another question mark to the nanotainer draws used by Theranos.



Google announces a Watson-like service called Cloud Vision API, which will generate insight from images. It can detect common objects, analyze the emotional attributes of people in the photos, and extract text using optical character recognition. Pricing is $2 per 1,000 images for label detection and $0.60 for 1,000 images for OCR.


A man’s lawsuit against the nursing home in which his mother was killed by her roommate will test the legal validity of the arbitration clauses nursing homes insert into their contracts. Judges have consistently ruled that the clauses, which are also common in cell phone and credit card contracts, are binding if signed by the purchaser, even in cases where purchaser can’t read or write. The woman’s son argues that the contract he signed was not binding on his mother since he did not have power of attorney.

Alibaba Health shares drop 14 percent when the Chinese government’s version of the FDA decides to allow alternatives to its drug supply chain tracking system, support of which generates half of Alibaba Health’s revenue.

Healthgrades announces its top hospitals for 2016.

Sponsor Updates

  • Awarepoint customer Zion Medical Center (CA) – a Kaiser Permanente organization – wins the IHA 2016 Award for Innovative Healthcare.
  • Besler Consulting releases a podcast on the future of bundled payments.
  • Bottomline Technologies wins a Killer Content Award in the Agency/Publisher Partnership category from Demand Gen Report. 
  • Divurgent publishes a new white paper, “Improving Your ICD-10 Program: Preparing for Oct. 1 2016 & Beyond.”
  • CTG Advisory Services delivery directors Vivian Chun and Patricia Newcomb achieve the Patient-Centered Medical Home Certified Content Experts certification from NCQA.
  • Extension Healthcare is nominated for a Mira Award honoring the “Best of Tech in Indiana.”
  • SK&A publishes a market profile of US orthopedic surgeons.

Blog Posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Regarding this statement: “that most of those attendees aren’t prospects or decision-makers anyway”
    Don’t underestimate the value of the non-decision-makers perusing the HIMSS exhibits as many are sent by and influence the decision-makers.

  2. Loved your comment about keynote speakers. If they handcuffed me to the chair I think I might hack off my own arm to avoid listening to another one of them.

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