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Weekender 6/8/18

June 8, 2018 Weekender No Comments


Weekly News Recap

  • Jonathan Bush resigns as CEO of Athenahealth, which will review its options to sell, merge, or continue operating as a private company
  • Apple releases an API that gives developers access to information stored in Health Records and HealthKit for building apps
  • Microsoft acquires open source repository GitHub for $7.5 billion in stock
  • A Stanford Medicine poll finds that more than half of doctors are dissatisfied with EHRs and desire short-term changes that include user interface redesign
  • Teladoc acquires virtual visit competitor Advance Medical to expand its international offerings
  • Illinois rejects Cerner’s challenge of the EHR selection of Epic by its customer, University of Illinois Hospitals

Best Reader Comments

Immelt’s comments are classic. Not a word about patients, clients, or employees. Sounds like my data is more valuable than my health. Certainly happy I am not a patient, client, or employee associated with Athena. (Duh)

For anyone at Athena to pretend this is a surprise is disingenuous at best. I have seen JB make inappropriate comments in person several times. The truth is that Athena stock value was served, or at least not harmed, by having a manic, headline-grabbing, consequences-be-damned CEO until now. (Healthcare Consultant)

“To ensure Athenahealth maximizes shareholder value.” Music to the ears of every current and future customer, right? (Sam Lawrence)

Dredging up every bad action in one’s past by a third party who wasn’t personally involved for the purpose of affecting public opinion negatively fits the definition of mud-slinging quite well. Especially when both the real women involved stated that they forgave and support him. (Dr. Gonzo)

Device overuse is like so many other issues: other people have the problem, but certainly not me! (Kevin Hepler)

Watercooler Talk Tidbits

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Readers funded the DonorsChoose project of Ms. H in Nebraska, who asked for gloves and hats for her third graders, many of whom are recently immigrated refugees who don’t have warm clothes for recess or waiting for the bus. She says, “This winter, we have been able to play outside more often than in the past. Being able to go outside to run and burn off energy keeps my students more focused during the school day and provides a time to interact with peers and practice social skills. The students take very good care of their hats and gloves. They were so excited when I told them they would be able to take them home when we didn’t need them at school anymore. Some of them said they would keep them safe so they would have them next year.”


Johns Hopkins University honors its MPH graduate Virginia Apgar on what would have been her 109th birthday. She graduated medical school from Columbia; was steered away from male-dominated surgery into anesthesiology (which was almost all nurses back in the 1930s); created the Columbia’s Division of Anesthesia and was the only member of it for several years; and as a medical school professor, developed the baby health-measuring and still universally used Apgar Score in 1952.


Bloomberg profiles billionaire dermatologists Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields, whose celebrity-endorsed and infomercial-pitched acne product Proactiv made them rich in the 1990s, after which they started skincare product manufacturer Rodan + Fields, sold it to Estee Lauder in 2002, and bought it back as a multi-level marketing company in 2007 that now does $1.7 billion in annual revenue. It’s fascinating when you go to a dermatologist’s office how much of their business involves peddling big-profit vanity products and procedures that have next to nothing to do with the curative arts. Some of them seem more like those white-coated cosmetics makeover people in the mall than real doctors.

CNBC runs Jonathan Bush’s goodbye email to Athenahealth employees, saying that “working for something larger than yourself is the greatest thing a human can do” but acknowledging that the qualities that made him useful to the company for 21 years “are now exactly the things that are in our way” and that the company will heal “whatever wounds my own weaknesses have inflicted.”

Medicare trustees, most of whom are Republican government officials, say the White House’s elimination of the individual mandate and the Independent Payment Advisory Board as well as its tax cuts will cause its hospital insurance trust fund to be depleted in 2026. It says that dismantling of the Affordable Care Act is causing more people to be uninsured, leaving Medicare to have to pay hospitals disproportionate share subsidies.


Delaware hospitals are storing photos and footprint scans of newborns in their EHRs and sending electronic copies to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The technology is provided by Fairfield, CT-based CertaScan Technologies, which charges a per-baby fee that the hospitals say is less than $10 and that eliminates the cost and aggravation of inkpad-and-paper capture. The company also provides 24×7 access to a specialist who can confirm a baby’s identity.


The San Diego paper covers the nascent bio-economy, where patients are paid “sequencing subsidies” by researchers who need more DNA. Today’s model is that consumer DNA testing companies like 23andMe and Ancestry sell the information directly to drug companies, while companies like Nebula Genomics  propose to create a marketplace between donors and buyers.


Puma and MIT Design Lab are working on Deep Learning Insoles, a shoe insert that analyzes sweat compounds to send real-time fatigue and performance information to the user’s smartphone. Under the hood (or foot) is technology from Penn startup Biorealize, which offers the Microbial Design Studio desktop bioprototyping studio for designing, growing, and testing genetically modified organisms.

A New York man CVS for HIPAA violations and for causing him “severe mental injury”of an unspecified nature when a drugstore employee mentions to his wife that their insurance won’t cover his new prescription for Viagra.

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