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April 26, 2016 News 5 Comments

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Nokia will acquire France-based consumer digital health device vendor Withings for $192 million to create Nokia Digital Health.


Finland-based Nokia, which sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft in 2013, sells telecommunications infrastructure and licenses its brand name and patents.

Microsoft announced last year that it would write down $7.6 billion on its Nokia phone business (for which it paid only $7.2 billion) and would cut 7,800 related jobs as it refocused on the Windows Phone, sales of which were announced last week to be continuing their steady descent into market share rounding error territory.

Reader Comments

From Day1Date: “Re: NextGen. The ongoing restructuring continues with a layoff of around 5 percent focused on corporate, RCM, and ambulatory. This is to further the goal of focusing the company on being the best PM/EHR vendor in the market.” Several  readers report that NextGen has let 150 people go.

From Femdom: “Re: the HIMSS HIT rag. They’re creating a ‘room of one’s own’ with a separate section of their website and a newsletter for women only. I’m not sure that’s a good idea or even necessary.” That sounds like an awkward, paternalistic grab for feel-good advertising eyeballs to me. I doubt that whatever gender disparity exists in healthcare IT was caused by lack of vapid, gender-specific faux news; retweeted links to generic articles under the guise of “awareness” of which everyone is already amply aware; and running feel-good profiles of women whose accomplishments they devalue in spreading the recognition collectively over all women and not just the achiever. Creating what is in essence a special interest group for any demographic group seems like a step backwards to me no matter how well intentioned. Perhaps the publication could start by launching a hard-hitting investigative report as to why six of the seven executives of its parent organization HIMSS are white males.


Disregarding my own cynicism for a moment, I will defer to HIStalk readers – take my poll as to whether a separate HIMSS-published site and newsletter for women is a good idea. Click the poll’s Comments link after voting to make your case.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Mrs. Lee says her Arizona kindergarten students are using the math puzzles and magnetic wands we provided in funding her DonorsChoose grant to further their STEM knowledge.

Here’s a reminder to prevent the appearance of cluelessness: do not refer to times as “EST” since we’re on “EDT” until November 6. I’m surprised at how many seemingly otherwise competent people can’t keep this straight, and additionally surprised at how much it annoys me when they don’t. Under the premise that it’s better to mumble than shout when you aren’t sure, you can simply say “ET” and be correct all year.


May 5 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Reducing CAUTI and Improving Early Sepsis Detection Through Clinical Process Measurement.” Sponsored by LogicStream. Presenters: Jen Biltoft, director of quality improvement, SCL Health; Marla Bare, EHR architect, SCL Health. This webinar will describe how SCL Health reduced catheter-associated urinary tract infections by 30 percent in just three months through clinical process measurement. The SCL Health presenters will also share their plans for applying a similar process to the early detection of sepsis.

Contact Lorre for webinar services. Past webinars are on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Augmedix, which offers a Google Glass-powered remote scribe service, raises $17 million from five large health systems that include Sutter Health and Dignity Health, increasing its total to $40 million. Google’s development of an enterprise version of Glass – which never graduated from beta status and has largely disappeared even within Google’s hierarchy — has not been announced, leading Augmedix to suggest that it may explore other technologies. The company has a few hundred California doctors using its services.


CMS releases the 45-page warning letter it sent to lab testing vendor Theranos last month, in which it individually addresses the company’s responses to dozens of problems at the California lab of Theranos with, “The laboratory’s allegation of compliance is not credible and evidence of correction is not acceptable.” The letter adds that the company’s responses “show a lack of understanding of the CLIA requirements.” CMS notes that Theranos diluted finger-stick samples so they could be processed on a standard Siemens lab machine, a practice that CEO Elizabeth Holmes had previously denied.


Verisk Analytics will sell its Verisk Health services business to Veritas Capital for $820 million. I ran a rumor of the sale in early October 2015 and the company announced later that month that it was exploring strategic alternatives for the business. Veritas has no other healthcare holdings, but the private equity firm cashed in big in selling the Truven Health Analytics business it bought from Thomson Reuters for $1.25 billion in mid-2012 to IBM, which paid $2.6 billion to acquire the company in February 2016.


Medical communications transaction platform vendor MEA-NEA-TWSG renames itself Vyne. Its newly created Vyne Medical business unit includes the former Medical Electronic Attachment (claims attachments) and The White Stone Group (healthcare communications management), while its National Electronic Attachment business unit offers electronic attachment management for dental practices.


Blockchain technology vendor Gem launches Gem Health, which is partnering with Philips to build a healthcare blockchain ecosystem.


Roper Technologies – whose healthcare IT holdings include Sunquest and Strata Decision – reports Q1 results: revenue up 4 percent, EPS $1.48 vs. $1.54, missing expectations for revenue and non-adjusted earnings but beating on adjusted earnings. CEO Brian Jellison said in the earnings call that Strata’s growth is “really exceptional” and that Roper will make more acquisitions.

Patient payments and check-in software vendor Inbox Health acquires the consumer health expense management technology of CakeHealth, which seems to have accomplished little beyond spending its tiny 2011 funding ($150K) despite aspirations of becoming “the Mint for healthcare.”

Apple reports Q2 results: revenue down 13 percent, EPS $1.90 vs. $2.33, missing expectations for both and guiding down as the company records its first revenue decline since 2003. It was also the first quarter in which iPhone sales dropped as Apple produced little innovation beyond offering bigger iPhone screens. AAPL shares dropped sharply in after-hours trading following the announcement. They’re down 20 percent in the past year.

Also turning in crappy quarterly numbers is Twitter, shares of which are tanking in after-hours trading Tuesday as the company misses revenue and earnings expectations wildly and reports slowing user growth despite its desperation-smelling rollout of Periscope and Moments.



Baylor Scott & White Health (TX) will implement the Pieces surveillance and population health management system and will make an unspecified investment in the company. Pieces raised a $21.6 million Series A round last month.



Switzerland-based healthcare wireless and security technology vendor Ascom names Holger Cordes (Cerner) as CEO.

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John Driscoll (Care Centrix) and John Glaser (Cerner) join the board of Press Ganey.

Announcements and Implementations

InterSystems will interface its TrakCare information system to the blood ordering and inventory management system of the Australian National Blood Authority to allow its users to automate blood ordering and distribution.

CareOne LTAC Hospitals (NJ) completes its implementation of NTT Data’s Optimum Clinicals.

Government and Politics


India passes a law requiring cell phone manufacturers to add a panic button and satellite-based locating technology to their smartphones, hoping to improve the country’s widely publicized rape problem. India doesn’t have a 911-type emergency number but hopes to introduce one soon. Companies sell several personal safety apps (such as My Safetipin, above) to India-based customers, most of which notify an emergency contact and share the user’s location.

In Australia, the state of Victoria will spend $23 million to develop a real-time database to help doctors and pharmacies identify patients who overuse prescription drugs. Victoria recorded 330 deaths from prescription drug overdoses last year, more than the number of people killed in car accidents or from overdoses of illegal drugs.

Parents of children with muscular dystrophy testify to the FDA about the benefits their children receive from taking a drug with questionable proven effectiveness. Afterward, the FDA declared that the drug company’s poorly designed, 12-patient study was not sufficient to prove the drug’s value, but three of the 10 panel members abstained from voting after being moved by the comments of the parents. Following the “no” vote, some of the audience members shouted at the advisory panel. The FDA says it will “take the views of the community into account.” I can’t decide if that’s an admirable move toward patient empowerment that shows the value of “little data” or an uncomfortable vaccine-like abandonment of science in allowing laypeople to argue with emotion rather than documented facts.

The FDA warns drug companies that it won’t accept clinical studies that use data prepared by India-based Semler Research Center after an FDA inspection turns up evidence of intentional data tampering.


New York Mayor Bill de Blasio will propose big changes and $2 billion in subsidies to bail out money-hemorrhaging NYC Health + Hospitals that include reducing ED visits, turning inpatient space into ambulatory facilities, and developing vacant property, all while closing no facilities or laying off any employees to avoid $6 billion in losses over the next five years. The consultant’s report is here.

Innovation and Research

A study of the 46,000 Maryland residents who had a least five ED visits in 2014 finds that 70 percent of them used more than one hospital, meaning that most hospitals won’t be able to identify those high ED users or coordinate their care using their own data alone.


An op-ed article in a British newspaper says idealistic young Americans should work on domestic problems instead of trying to save the world in addressing overly simplified issues in exotic locations. It explains the “reductive seduction of other people’s problems” as being no different than if an idealistic, naive student in Uganda traveled to America for the first time, confidently expecting to win fame and maybe an award for fixing our gun violence problem. In a related item, a new book questions whether healthcare volunteers who trek off to developing countries for short stints help or hurt those communities, with the author concluding after analyzing the available data that the net effect is probably slightly positive if the volunteer has the right attitude. The problems with medical volunteers include that they may be tempted to perform tasks that exceed their skill level, they may try to impose unrealistic US standards,  and that they could hurt local doctors by undermining confidence or offering free services that put them out of business.


Western Australia’s health department, which hasn’t had a permanent CIO since 2010, gives up after finding no suitable candidates and instead creates a support services organization led by a procurement specialist who will oversee IT. WA Health’s troubled IT implementation delayed the opening of newly built 783-bed Fiona Stanley Hospital in 2013.

Sponsor Updates

  • AirStrip announces that 4 million US births have been monitored using its system over the past 10 years.
  • Interactive patient TV vendor PDi will provide patient education videos from Elsevier.
  • Aprima will exhibit at the American College of Physicians Internal Medicine Meeting May 5-7 in Washington, DC.
  • Audacious Inquiry’s Team Ai took first and second place at the Port to Fort 6k.
  • Team EcoBase from First Databank and Zynx Health wins second place at the FHIR Connectathon in Indianapolis.
  • Besler Consulting releases a new podcast, “Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Target Pricing & Episode Spending Calculations.”
  • CenterX will exhibit at the NCPDP May Work Group Meetings May 1-2 in Scottsdale, AZ.
  • Obix posts a video covering the use of its perinatal data system at Norman Regional Hospital (OK).
  • CitiusTech will exhibit at the LHC Executive Briefing with Milton Johnson, chairman and CEO, HCA, May 4 in Nashville.
  • Crossings Healthcare Solutions releases its Spring 2016 e-letter.
  • Direct Consulting Associates will exhibit at iHealth 2016 May 5-6 in Minneapolis.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the American College of Physicians Internal Medicine Meeting May 5-7 in Washington, DC.
  • Extension Healthcare will exhibit at the IONL Mid-Year Conference April 29 in Bloomington-Normal, IL.
  • HCS will exhibit at the NALTH 2016 Spring Clinical Education & Annual Meeting April 28-29 in Memphis, TN.
  • Healthwise will exhibit at the ZeOmega Client Conference May 2-4 in Plano, TX.

Blog posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
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Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. HIMSS should have Eliz Holmes be chief blogger for its new website. First topic: What not to do…even if you are a women.

  2. “you can simply say “ET” and be correct all year”

    While true, if would be ambiguous for 2 hours in the fall.

  3. RE: FDA will “take the views of the community into account.”

    We sure don’t need to bring back the days of Lydia Pinkam and other snake oil salesmen. We already allow enough of that within the nutraceutical space.

  4. Re: The report on the New York City Health and Hospitals

    No mention of who the “consultants” were and no mention of spending precious dollars to “rebrand”.
    With respect to losing dsh monies, hospital across the country have been losing those dollars since the enactment of ACA and some have had closed (some in areas where there is no alternative care) why should New York City government feel they should be treated any different?

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Reader Comments

  • jp: I'm with you on the icebreakers and other "interacting for the sake of interacting" types of things....
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  • Drivin' and Cryin': I witnessed a noted health IT leader do the same "tears after telling a story about how he didn't treat his wife well en...
  • Mr. HIStalk: I agree for a class, where an ongoing relationship is important -- you'll be spending time with the instructor and fello...
  • jp: On the whole conference thing and engaging the audience. If the purpose of a conference (or one of the main purposes) is...
  • MerryMe: Anyone besides me disturbed by the title of the Healthwise webinar listed? "Converting Consumers into Patients" -- Shoul...
  • Justa CIO: Wholeheartedly agree with System CIO's comment. I like him/her do not have time for HIMSS, CHIME, etc., as I am heads d...
  • shh bby is ok: I was taken by the tongue-in-cheek wit of your cartoon above Stealthily Healthily's comment. Then I clicked on it an...
  • Fourth Hansen Brother: My God, 60 is too old? Hint- rapidly aging population. He's not anywhere near retirement age, and CEO tenures are pretty...
  • Lisa Hahn, RN, Org Management/Clinical Strategist: I have seen a mixed bag of tricks for these situations. There is no specific singular “path” for for every organiza...

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