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News 8/17/18

Top News


Best Buy acquires GreatCall for $800 million.

GreatCall is perhaps best known for its senior-friendly mobile phones currently being hyped in TV ads by vice chairman and former “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh.

The San Diego-based company also offers medical alert wearables, emergency response services, and apps that offer medication reminders and connect a user’s GreatCall device with family members.

This is not the big box retailer’s first foray into healthcare. It launched its smart phone-based Assured Living service for seniors and their family members last fall and added health and wellness content and symptom checking capabilities from Mayo Clinic to the companion app in January.

Reader Comments


From I’ve Been Everywhere, Man: “Re: US News top 20 hospitals. You are correct (in a technicality) that all 20 use Epic. Mayo Phoenix was one of Epic’s first ambulatory sites in the early 1990s, then was forced off in a Mayo corporate decision to self-develop in hacking Phamis Lastword to try to work in ambulatory. Meanwhile, Mayo Rochester, WI, and MN are live on Epic and Mayo Phoenix will go back on Epic this fall.” 

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

The paucity of interesting news will confirm that we’re in the Summer Doldrums, when everybody is focused on getting the kids back in school and squeezing in those last summer vacations and family cookouts. That’s also the time when I get bored and offer new sponsors a special deal just so I don’t feel ignored as page views and reader interaction take one last break before Labor Day. Contact Lorre, get on board now, and spend that budget money on something useful before it evaporates.


None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Patient payments company AxiaMed raises $12.4 million.


The USPTO awards Zynx Health a patent related to using machine learning to analyze clinical decision support documents. The company will incorporate the technology into its Knowledge Analyzer clinical content management solution for EHRs.



Patient safety expert Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD has left his position as chief medical officer of UnitedHealthCare after three months on the job. He resigned after seven years at Johns Hopkins Medicine in February 2018 to become UHC’s SVP of clinical strategy, then became CMO in June.


Healthwise promotes Jay Reynolds to CTO.


Dan Speicher (Omnitracs) joins Medecision as CTO.


Fortified Health Security hires William Crank (Medhost) as COO.


Michael Cantor, MD, MA (Pfizer) joins Regeneron Pharmaceuticals as head of clinical informatics.


Announcements and Implementations

Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services implements 4medica’s master patient index.


MedStar Health implements several FormFast form management technologies across its facilities in Maryland and Washington, DC.

Privacy and Security


In an effort to cut through the “white noise” of data breach news, HGP publishes a concise review of cybersecurity incidents in healthcare since 2010. Items of interest include:



A Black Book report on health IT consulting predicts firms will rake in $53 billion by the end of this year, with the bulk of that coming from software implementation, optimization, integration, and support. The top three consulting needs are for cloud technology adoption, increased digitalization, and to supplement a lack of internal resources. Top wish-list engagements include help with transitioning to value-based care, cloud infrastructure, compliance, and decision support and analytics. The Chartis Group, ECG Management Consultants, Huron, and Impact Advisors top the list of favorite consulting firms, according to survey-takers.


A new KLAS report on business intelligence finds that Epic leads the pack by far in deep adoption despite immature native functionality and a lack of cost effectiveness, while HBI Solutions and Health Catalyst have the highest overall score and Dimensional Insight is #1 in driving outcomes and delivering value. Health Catalyst’s combination of software and services places it high on the list, especially for those looking for help with readmissions, opioid use, length of stay, and sepsis. Cerner’s offering is “still immature” as most clients are just getting started, with users telling KLAS that it lacks a testing environment, it doesn’t bring in external data easily, and it doesn’t yet offer predictive analytics. IBM, Microsoft, and SAS declined to participate.

Google is developing an AI-powered wellness assistant for smart watches that will proactively encourage users to make healthy choices based on their appointments, recorded activities, reminders, and location.

Sponsor Updates

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