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May 24, 2016 News 5 Comments

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NantHealth’s Patrick Soon-Shiong invests $70.5 million in newspaper publisher Tribune Publishing in a transaction arranged by another health IT billionaire. Tribune chairman Michael Ferro, who sold Merge Healthcare to IBM  for $1 billion last fall, enlisted Soon-Shiong’s financial help in fighting off a hostile takeover bid from USA Today publisher Gannett.

Chicago-based Tribune, which publishes newspapers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Orlando, South Florida, San Diego, and other cities, named former Merge CEO Justin Dearborn as CEO in February 2016.

Soon-Shiong says he will use healthcare-developed artificial intelligence to “bring together editors and reporters and create a completely new news network … where you integrate through fiber infrastructure and through cloud computing and you centralize a news network but actually take local news and bring it in on a daily real-time basis.”

Reader Comments


From Turkish Taffy: “Re: Tampa General Hospital. They’re live on American Well in offering $49 virtual visits. It’s interesting that they decided to outsource instead of using local physicians.” It probably makes sense to scale up quickly with an established provider rather than trying to organize local physicians to respond to instant-on video visits as part of their workday, not to mention the malpractice and billing considerations. They can always insource the service later. I don’t know how the revenue split works, but it’s probably not going to be a big money-maker for the hospital anyway unless it drives referrals.

From Hans Morefield: “Re: Fred Morefield. It’s with sadness but also appreciation that I share the May 22 passing of my father. He was an HIT veteran who established and led SMS’s international business starting in 1978, conceived of and led Healthcare Data Exchange (HDX) in 1990, and contributed to Denver Health’s turnaround during six years there. He was responsible for key industry innovations, and as I hear all the time, for launching many careers, including my own.” 

From Clinically Insignificant: “Re: HIT news. What topics interest you least?” I gloss over at press releases about:

  • Newly announced partnerships. Nobody cares when one company “partners” with another except customers who will be told directly of what is usually just cross-selling.
  • Appointments to advisory boards. If the company really respected that person’s value, they would put them on their real board.
  • Launch of yet another innovation fund. All the good companies have long since found a financial dance partner.
  • Company funding of less than $1 million. I’ll pay more attention when success generates larger investments and Darwinism has weeded out the pretenders.
  • The results of vendor surveys whose methodology is either unstated or indefensible.
  • Companies and publications hoping to milk exposure by giving some other company a questionably devised award. The only award that counts is being awarded business from customers.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


We funded the DonorsChoose grant request of Ms. Garris in providing headphones so that her students can focus on their learning station laptop exercises while she’s working with small groups. One of the students says the group learning has changed from “chaos” to “peaceful” as a result.

Listening: new from Mudcrutch, Tom Petty’s pre-Heartbreakers band from the early 1970s, which regrouped with Petty to make a 2008 album and has now done so again prior to a US tour that kicks off this week. I don’t particularly like the past music of 65-year-old Tom Petty or even Southern rock in general with its obligatory pedal steel and harmonica all that much, but Mudcrutch has a clean, strong sound with catchy touches of Dylan, the Byrds, and occasional 1960s-sounding throaty organ and fuzz guitar. It’s a good choice for a summer soundtrack.


None scheduled soon. Contact Lorre for webinar services. Past webinars are on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Orion Health announces FY2016 results: revenue up 26 percent, EPS –$0.23 vs. –$0.28.


Unstructured data analytics vendor Apixio raises $19 million in a Series D funding round.


Fired Practice Fusion founder and CEO Ryan Howard launches iBeat, which will offer a heart monitor and emergency notification watch.


Varian Medical Systems will spin off its imaging hardware and software business into a publicly traded company.


Forbes says Keith Dunleavy, MD, who founded data analytics firm Inovalon, is now a billionaire due to rising share price.

McKesson acquires Laboratory Supply Company.


Adventist Health (CA) chooses VitalWare for pricing intelligence, coding compliance, and charge master analytics.


image image

Columbus Regional Health (IN) hires Steve Baker (Indiana University Health System) as VP/CTO/CIO. He was CRH’s IS director for 11 years through 2010, seeing the IT department through the June 2008 flood that destroyed the hospital’s data center and closed the hospital for several months. He replaces CIO Diana Boyer, who will retire after 31 years of service.


Care coordination software vendor PingMD names Susan Driscoll (Wolters Kluwer Health) as president and CEO. She replaces co-founder Gopal Chopra, who will remain board chair.


SPH Analytics hires Bill O’Connor, MD (Orion Health) as chief medical officer.

Announcements and Implementations


SSM Health goes live with Surescripts National Record Locator Service to allow clinicians to retrieve the records of patients seen elsewhere and review them within Epic.

A Nuance study finds that its clinical documentation improvement customers improved their financial performance metrics quarter-over-quarter after implementing ICD-10.

Government and Politics

HHS clarifies an earlier statement involving a $6.50 flat charge for providing an individual with a copy of their medical records, saying that providers are allowed to charge a flat fee of up to $6.50 per request, but otherwise can still calculate their fees  based on the allowable labor costs for either a specific request or for an average request.

Innovation and Research

Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company is focused on health and its entry point is Apple Watch, to which new sensors will be added.



Chromebooks (of which I have one) outsold Apple Mac desktops and laptops (of which I have none) for the first time in Q1, with sales of at least 2 million units. I’m very happy with my recently purchased Asus that cost around $200 – it’s like a tablet with a really nice keyboard built in since it’s instant-on, instant-off with a battery life of around 10-12 hours, no need for antivirus or other add-ons, and software that is automatically updated from the cloud. It’s perfect for travel and doing keyboard-intensive tasks (like ordering stuff) while relaxing on the couch with a small, lightweight device with a decent-sized screen in your lap. Just about the only negative is the maddeningly clunky Google apps (like Docs) that it uses by default, even to make a simple list or to edit an emailed Word document. It only works when connected to the Internet, although most parts of the country have adequate cell phone coverage to tether anyway. I’m taking both the Chromebook and my iPad Mini next time I travel to see which one I find more useful – I would bet on the former.


Mike Lynch, the billionaire who sold big data company Autonomy to HP for $10 billion during the latter’s disastrous Leo Apotheker years (not to be confused with the company’s only slightly disastrous Carly Fiorina years a bit earlier), says Google mishandled its patient data deal with England’s NHS. On the other hand, Lynch is an investor in DeepMind competitor Sophia Genetics, which offers hospitals genomics-powered diagnoses.

I’ve written several times about the phenomenon in India of friends and family members forming an angry mob to attack doctors and hospital officials following the death of their hospitalized loved one. The Washington Post says it’s getting worse as medical residents at underfunded government-run hospitals, who work up to 20 hours per day, are requesting permission to carry guns to defend themselves from people who blame them for poor care or long delays.

Iatric Systems President Frank Fortner creates a song parody about virtual visits in which he channels Daughtry in declaring “I’m staying home in the place where I belong, where telehealth is often good enough for me.” For my money, Frank’s version is better than the original.

Sponsor Updates

  • Aprima will exhibit at the Practice Management Institute June 2-3 in New Orleans.
  • Catalyze launches Change Agent, a new publication on Medium.
  • Besler Consulting’s latest podcast focuses on comprehensive care for join replacement quality measures.
  • CapsuleTech will exhibit at the 2016 International MUSE Conference May 31-June 3 in Orlando.
  • Frost & Sullivan recognizes Validic with its 2106 visionary innovation leadership award, calling the company “an industry leader and de facto standard in health data interoperability.”
  • Forbes names The Chartis Group as one of America’s best management consulting firms, with “best firm” distinction in healthcare, data analytics, and digital transformation.
  • CitiusTech founder and CEO Rizwan Koita authors an article about healthcare technology in India for LiveMint.com.
  • ZeOmega will integrate its Jiva population health management solution with McKesson’s InterQual Connect.
  • Crossings Healthcare Solutions will exhibit at the Cerner Great Lakes RUG May 31-June 2 in Chicago.
  • CTG receives a marketing excellence award from its partner, Dynatrace.
  • DrFirst presents  “What good is secure text messaging if no one uses it?” at MUSE 2016.
  • Direct Consulting Associates will exhibit at the Northern Ohio Chapter of HIMSS Regional Conference May 26 in Cleveland.
  • Elsevier Clinical Solutions and FormFast, Galen Healthcare Solutions, and HealthCast Solutions will exhibit at the 2016 International MUSE Conference May 31-June 3 in Orlando. 
  • Extension Healthcare will exhibit at the AAMI Annual Conference June 3-6 in Tampa, FL.
  • HCS will exhibit at the ONC Annual Meeting May 31-June 2 in Washington, DC.
  • HDS and Healthwise will exhibit at the Cerner Great Lakes RUG May 31 in Chicago.

Blog Posts


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

  1. “Soon-Shiong says he will use healthcare-developed artificial intelligence to ‘bring together editors and reporters and create a completely new news network … where you integrate through fiber infrastructure and through cloud computing and you centralize a news network but actually take local news and bring it in on a daily real-time basis.'”

    Translation: “We’re going to fire all the journalists and replace them with minimum-wage 18-year old high school drop-outs who will manage algorithms that condense all news stories into 140-character tweets.”

  2. Did you know that Iatric laid off 25 people yesterday, in what is an ongoing hemorrhage of talent? Senior leadership is driving the company into the ground and crying about it.

  3. Seriously: Doesn’t look like Sr leadership is doing much crying. The man in charge seems to be focused on his rockstar image instead. This was the 3rd round of major layoffs for Iatric Systems. I’d say a change in management is long overdue. Losing great talent because of mismanagement. Shame.

  4. The same day he lays off 25 longtime employees, Frank posts some self-indulgent tripe to YouTube. Seems a bit ‘tone deaf’ if you ask me.

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Reader Comments

  • HIT Observer: What I find most interesting here, is people defending their common practices rather than truly taking this as invaluabl...
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  • Peppermint Patty: Veteran - can you clarify what was "fake "? Was something made up (definition of fake) or did you disagree with Vapo...
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