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News 4/6/18

Top News


JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon provides shareholders high-level details about the employee healthcare venture the company is undertaking with Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway. He notes that “high deductibles have barely worked” to improve costs and outcomes.

A bipartisan group will “start very small” in working on issues that include:

Judging from these and prior comments, Dimon seems to be much less knowledgeable and motivated than Bezos and Buffett and his leg of the stool is the weak one with the most to lose from disrupting the status quo. I wouldn’t necessarily assume that his description of the plan is how it will play out, nor would I rule out Amazon and Berkshire going individually further than the combined venture.

Reader Comments


From Not from Monterey: “Re: GE exiting health IT. Does that mean that existing GE/IDX customers will now be dealing with Veritas Capital rather than GE? If so, what does that mean for the future of GE/IDX?” I would expect Veritas to create a new company and name for its acquisition like they did with the Thomson Reuters business (renaming it Truven Health Analytics). GE will surely want its name off everything and Veritas probably has equal but different incentive to downplay the GE connection (every year it’s GE Healthcare and Allscripts vying for “worst vendor” in the HISsies voting). I don’t see much future for the aging, GE-mismanaged product line, so I’m assuming Veritas will just milk the maintenance fees until everybody transitions off the products. The one bright spot is the former API Healthcare, which GE has had only four years to screw up. If I were Veritas, I’d make that labor management software business its own company since it’s the only part of the portfolio that’s likely to generate acquisition interest down the road.

Trivia: according to Vince, this is the second time that GE has bailed out of health IT, the first being in 1971. Some of its acquisitions – again, per Vince – were Loral (renamed to Centricity PACS), Marquette Medical (renamed Centricity Perinatal), Per-Se (Centricity RIS), ORMIS (Centricity Perioperative), BDM (Centricity Pharmacy), MedicaLogic (office EMR), Millbrook (office PM), Triple G (Centricity Lab), and IDX (Flowcast, Groupcast, Carecast, and Imagecast, all renamed to Centricity, including the former PHAMIS product that IDX had acquired). Vince called the shot in his 2013 review of GE Healthcare:

We estimate GE has fallen several positions since their post-IDX peak. They even sold their RX system back to BDM in March! Is it the start of a second retreat from the HIS biz?

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


It’s the wind-down of this week’s “Wish I’d Known” question, so answer now and you’ll see your comments in this weekend’s recap.


April 10 (Tuesday) 3:00 ET. “Using Socioeconomic Data, Not Just Demographics, to Create a Healthier Patient Population.” Sponsor: LexisNexis. Presenters: Erin Benson, director of marketing planning, LexisNexis Health Care; Eric McCulley, director of strategic solutions consultants, LexisNexis Health Care. Did you know that 25 cents of every healthcare dollar is spent on health conditions that are caused by changeable behavior? Use of social determinants of health (SDOH) — including information on households, neighborhoods, relatives, and assets — can directly improve care management and risk stratification. However, it’s important to first define what SDOH is and isn’t. A recent LexisNexis Health Care CIO survey found that only 50 percent of organizations are using SDOH data at all, and even then, they have only limited information from their EHR or from patient surveys. The question is: what are you going to do about it? This webinar will reveal the myths and truths that will help you avoid answering, “Not enough.”

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Welltok raises $75 million in a second Series E round, bringing its total to $252 million.


Care coordination software company SCI Solutions acquires patient engagement vendor DatStat for an undisclosed sum. SCI acquired competitor Clarity Health Services in 2015.


Virta raises $45 million in a Series B funding round. The San Francisco-based company has developed a clinical treatment and continuous remote monitoring technology for the prevention and reversal of type 2 diabetes.

Microsoft assures customers it will not engage in joint technology ventures with them and then set up competing businesses. It cites as an example 365mc Hospital in South Korea, which has partnered with Microsoft to develop motion-tracking AI software to improve surgeon performance.

A newly filed Allscripts 8-K SEC form seems to say that Netsmart will acquire Barista Operations from Change Healthcare for $168 million. I take to mean the former McKesson Homecare software system that was sent to Change Healthcare as part of McKesson’s technology business.



Diameter Health hires Kim Howland (Omnicell) as chief product officer.


Digital therapy vendor Vida Health hires Randy Forman (Livongo Health) as chief commercial officer.



Kern Medical (CA) chooses Cerner Millennium and HealtheIntent. I assume they are replacing Medsphere OpenVista.

Announcements and Implementations


Mercy Technology Services launches a VMware-powered healthcare cloud for hosting EHRs, imaging systems, and office applications. 

Government and Politics


Veterans groups voice their lack of confidence in acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie and his ability to keep the yet-to-be signed Cerner contract on track.


ONC publishes a consumer-friendly guide to obtaining and using digital health records.

Privacy and Security


Virtua Medical Group (NJ) will pay $418,000 to settle allegations that it exposed medical records of 1,650 patients. Discovered during a patient’s Google search, the exposure occurred when the group’s transcription company, Best Medical Transcription, misconfigured its server, allowing the records to be accessed via FTP site without a password.


A NEJM op-ed piece says we may be approaching the limits of how much impact changes in process, culture, and narrowly-focused technology can have on patient harm, suggesting that AI-powered computer vision – such as that used in Google’s experiments with self-driving cars – could improve the screening of medical images, evaluate patient mobility, and monitor handwashing compliance.


GPs in London protest NHS England’s decision last fall to offer patients text-based care via the Babylon Health-powered GP at Hand app, the use of which automatically de-registered users from their local NHS surgery. Patients are now attempting to re-register, creating extra work for clinicians who also feel the app “cherry picks” healthier, less-costly patients. Babylon Health, meanwhile, has signed a deal with Chinese Internet technology vendor Tencent to incorporate its virtual care tools into WeChat, a social messaging app with 1 billion users.

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