Home » News » Currently Reading:

News 10/30/19

October 29, 2019 News 16 Comments

Top News


Facebook will use the demographics of its users to present them with preventive health information and reminders. It will allow them to search for providers, set appointment reminders, and mark the item as completed.

Facebook claims that it won’t use detailed user information, won’t use the data collected to present targeted advertising, and will store the information securely.

The functionality was developed by Freddy Abnousi, MD, MBA, MSC, a Facebook employee who previously designed a system in which de-identified hospital data provided to Facebook would be re-identified against its own user data to alert hospitals of potentially beneficial interventions. That project was killed off following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Reader Comments

From Down Low: “Re: GSI Health. Has been acquired by Medecision.” Unverified. DL left a message on my rumor phone line. GSI Health offers population health management technology and was founded by Lee Jones, MS in 2003. UPDATE: Medecision announced the acquisition Tuesday afternoon. GSI’s platform will become part of Medecision’s Aerial.




From Minibar Raider: “Re: HLTH. Received this Dilbert by email, which seems apropos. And Livongo has branded the room keys!” HLTH seems to have attracted a lot of expense account-flush C-level vendor and provider executives. Its glitz and VC-funded excess seems right at home in Las Vegas (it is ironic talking about health behaviors within lavish temples that were built on addictive gambling, smoking, overeating, high alcohol consumption, and most likely some sex-related risk factors). I guess I’m just cynical about wealthy C-level executives trying to sound convincing in proclaiming patients and humanity as their primary motivators, although at least a few presenters fit that description. John Halamka tweeted that HLTH is “a perfect hybrid of JPMorgan and Burning Man,” noting an attendance of 6,000. Bizarre: one HLTH attendee’s exhibit hall photo showed a booth consisting of an oversized barber shop with at least five chairs in which attendees were getting actual haircuts. That’s some original booth thinking. UPDATE: the thinking isn’t that original and its very much not the same as the non-commercial Burning Man – HLTH brought in London’s Pall Mall barbers to offer wet shaves and haircuts during conference breaks, which could be sponsored for $40,000 for each break. The same amount of sponsor money would place signage on the Drybar hair styling booth, or you could spend a little more to sponsor a restroom to “capture our attendees’ attention when and where they least expect it.” This is all amusing until you realize who’s paying.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I’m amused that stay-at-home people now report their gossip-focused findings (obtained by all-day peering through their windows or listening to scanners) via the new busybody networks of Nextdoor and Facebook neighborhood groups. I can summarize 90% of their poorly written messages as follows: (a) did anybody hear that big noise just now? (b) my power is out, anyone know why or when it will come back on? (c) where were all those police cars going out on the highway? (d) what’s with the traffic backup? Many posters seem incapable of Googling since they ask easily answered questions about business hours and school calendars. Then we have the paranoid neighborhood alerts that someone black, Hispanic, or under 21 was seen “acting suspiciously” (meaning: daring to exist close by). It’s hard to remember that before social media, you only knew how weird or downright disturbing neighbors are when you saw them in the driver’s license office or the ED.


None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Reuters reports that Google owner Alphabet has made an offer to acquire Fitbit, which has been attempting to turn itself into a healthcare technology business as its wearables market share slides in the face of stiff competition.


Revenue cycle technology vendor ESolutions acquires Medidal (Medical Data Logistics), which sells systems to help providers identify missed revenue opportunities in the areas of transfer DRGs, payer eligibility, and pharmacy claims. ESolutions CEO and industry long-timer Gerry McCarthy joined the company in 2018 after serving in executive roles at McKesson Provider Technologies, HealthMedx, and TransUnion Healthcare.

Walgreens will close 40% of its in-store clinics, but will keep the 200 clinics that it runs with health systems. Analysts say the in-store clinics aren’t profitable and face competition from telemedicine services. Walgreens will add Jenny Craig weight-loss sites to 100 stores.


The HLTH conference’s non-profit foundation acquires CSweetener, a IT executive mentor matching platform for women. The organization’s staff consists of three women named Lisa, with investor and co-founder Lisa Suennen being the most recognizable.


Albuquerque-based patient engagement app vendor Twistle raises $16 million that it will use to expand its office space, increase headcount, and bring on new employees in Seattle. Founder and CEO Kulmeet Singh was formerly VP of strategic planning for Nuance before starting Twistle in 2010.


  • Netsmart signs a 10-year deal with pediatric home care provider Aveanna Healthcare, whose 30,000 clinicians and employees across 200 locations in 23 states will use Netsmart’s MyUnity EHR, analytics, and learning management systems.  
  • Adirondack Health Institute chooses Netsmart’s CareManager population health management platform for its New York Health Homes initiative.
  • Primary care house call vendor and DaVita subsidiary provider Vively Health will implement Cerner Millennium, HealtheIntent, and HealtheLife.



Industry long-timer Michael Lovett, MBA (Formativ Health) joins Northwell Direct, Northwell Health’s new direct-to-employer health services business, as COO. 


Voice- and AI-powered virtual physician assistant vendor Saykara hires Graham Hughes, MBBS (Sutherland Healthcare Solutions) as president.

Rob Anthony (CMS) transitions to director of certification and testing for ONC’s office of technology, where he will oversee health IT certification. He replaces USPHS Captain Alicia Morton, DNP, RN, who will become senior advisor to Deputy National Coordinator Steve Posnack, MS, MHS.

Announcements and Implementations

An InterSystems survey finds that private hospitals in Southeast Asia will dramatically expand their health IT capabilities over the next five years to support value-based care and care coordination. Hospital executives expect to see big gains in the use of analytics and AI as paper records are replaced with their electronic counterparts.


A new KLAS report on global vendor-neutral archive finds that Philips (via its August 2019 acquisition of Carestream HCIS) and Fuifilm deliver scalability and geographic breadth, while Agfa, Sectra, and Hyland run in region-wide deployments with inconsistent delivery. Customers of GE Healthcare report lack of support and partnership, while those of Siemens (deployed mostly in Europe) complain about third-party implementers and inconsistent customization expertise. Mach7 and Intelerad show promise given limited customer data. KLAS notes, however, that it surveyed each vendor’s list of their own best customers, which may not be representative.

Nuance adds The Sullivan Group’s risk mitigation and safety content to a new Dragon Medical Advisor ED solution.


Digital-first national medical group Crossover Health will offer self-insured employers the ability to deliver primary care services, care management, and secondary care coordination in its Connected System of Health  program. Crossover supplies the provider team and a proprietary EHR that includes customer relationship management, secure messaging, and project management. Comcast NBCUniversal is the first customer. CEO Scott Shreeve, MD co-founded the company in 2006 after leaving EHR vendor Medsphere, which he also co-founded, in 2006.

Mastercard announces Healthcare Solutions, extending the capabilities of its healthcare account payment cards to help hospitals offer more effective billing methods for a given patient, for payers to identify potentially fraudulent claims, and to provide biometric mobile access to accounts.

Government and Politics

The Federal Bureau of Prisons issues an RFI for an EHR and patient management system, 


The Verge notes that California’s electricity blackouts are forcing hospitals to decide which equipment – such as refrigerators vs. EHRs – to run on backup generators. That is a real-life example from FQHC Winters Healthcare, which decided to keep some lights on and its EHR running for a planned outage that could last anywhere from one to five days. Hospitals switching to generator risk lengthy system reboots, equipment damage, and potential patient harm caused by drug dispensing cabinet downtime, patients stumbling in the dark, and in influx of patients from homes and skilled nursing facilities without power who use medical equipment such as ventilators and IV pumps. The executive director of Winters Healthcare headed out once power was restored to buy more emergency lighting and another generator since he is worried that power outages could be “the new normal.”


Beijing-based Lepu Medical — which offers an FDA-approved, $2-per-day heart attack risk warning system that was trained on the publicly available data of 500,000 hospitalized patients in China – says its system isn’t selling well in the US because hospitals that are paid well for visits and surgeries see it as a threat to their profits. He also blames malpractice fears and the expensive, time-consuming process of researchers who conduct studies and wait for the results to be published. The company is basically giving up on US hospital sales and will instead work with an online medical visit provider and an ECG company.


Former college offensive lineman T. J. Abraham, DO was forced to finally retire from his OB-GYN practice when his football-related chronic traumatic encephalopathy left him unable to prescribe drugs or perform surgeries without first covertly checking an app.


A hospital in China suspends several nurses and employees who were captured on video lining up to pose on the bed formerly occupied by a celebrity singer from Singapore. Afterward, someone listed his used IV bag and syringe for sale online.

Sponsor Updates

  • OptimizeRx integrates its solutions into a single platform, including those from its recent acquisition of digital therapeutics vendor RMDY Health and its partnership with e-prescribing software vendor NewCrop.
  • Pivot Point Consulting, A Vaco Company is named to Consulting Magazine’s 2019 list of fastest-growing firms, rising to #15 in its fifth consecutive appearance.
  • Also on Consulting Magazine’s fastest-growing firms list: Impact Advisors.
  • Surescripts recognizes a dozen leading health system, pharmacy, and EHR vendors with its White Coat Award for their improvements in e-prescription accuracy.
  • Spok’s Connect 19 Conference provides attendees with insights into healthcare communication in the cloud.
  • AdvancedMD will exhibit at the APTA PPS event October 30-November 2 in Orlando.
  • Divurgent launches an internal department that will focus on expending into new markets and nurturing client and consultant relationships.
  • Arcadia publishes a new white paper, “Measuring Care Management: Maximize the Value of Your Care Management Program.”
  • Datica releases a new edition of its 4×4 Health podcast, “International Health IT.”
  • Cumberland Consulting Group will exhibit at the CHIME19 Fall CIO Forum November 3-6 in Phoenix.
  • Dimensional Insight will exhibit at the ACHE Fall Conference November 1 in Needham, MA.

Blog Posts



Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates. Send news or rumors.
Contact us.


HIStalk Featured Sponsors


Currently there are "16 comments" on this Article:

  1. I find it slightly unsettling that HLTH will trumpet their acquisition of CSweetener while spending a no doubt excessive amount of money on British barbers offering male attendees a “shave and a haircut.”

    On a side note, anyone attending the conference notice any charitable endeavors in the exhibit hall? I enjoy seeing those at HIMSS.

    • Just to be clear, HLTH had spent a ridiculous amount on women on the other side of the booth where women could have a salon experience with their hair being styled and I think some makeup done. So, they were equal in their overspend it seems.

  2. Re your remarks about “…expense account-flush C-level vendor and provider executives.”

    Somebody is enviousssss.

    • Not me since I dislike going to conferences, I don’t see the value or appeal, and I even turn down comp offers because I’d rather be doing something more productive. I wouldn’t go to HIMSS if I didn’t need to write about it. But that’s just me — the halls are filled with people happy to be at any or all conferences they can get someone else to pay for.

  3. Why so cynical re: HLTH? I’m here now, and am finding it refreshingly relevant, compared to HIMSS or Beckers. For goodness sake, the keynote presentations actually focused on current issues, and didn’t just include big name politicians, sports stars, or actors. Sure, there’s glitz, and the caricatures, etc… – but for conferences, I’ve found it to have more of a “finger on the pulse of what’s coming” than any other major conference out there…

  4. Re: Facebook claims that it won’t use detailed user information, won’t use the data collected to present targeted advertising, and will store the information securely.

    Yeah, sure, I believe ’em. What could go wrong, right?

    • Delete your Facebook. It’s easier than you think. You’ll realize most of the content on there is garbage clickbait, vanity posts, MLM schemes, and polarizing politics with little substance.

      After you delete your Facebook, start voting for candidates that are serious about consumer privacy. Facebook, Equifax, and on and on make loads of money off your data, and with dubious consent from you.

      • I am a FB marketer. What is interesting is that deleting your account does not actually stop any tracking. All your web activity is still tracked via pixels and linked back to your deactivated FB account (example: I still would know you are a 40 year old woman with two kids over 8 who lives in a specific zip code and has certain interests from your old FB activity). I can still target ads to you through websites who publish ads through Facebook, “audience network”. What is more interesting is that FB is rolling out a way to delink FB and web activity, but you need to have an active FB account to use it!

        I do agree there are many other benefits of getting off FB, but don’t do it because you think you will no longer be tracked. Once you sell your soul it’s hard to get it back.

        • Yeah my opinion is that all of that should be illegal without clear consent, hence my comment about voting for people who are serious about consumer privacy.

        • Correct that just deleting your Facebook account doesn’t stop any tracking. But there are all kinds of ways to stop the tracking once you’ve deleted the account. The thought that you are powerless, and you may as well just give up on protecting your privacy, is as ludicrous as it is widespread. And it’s necessary for sites like Facebook to thrive.

          The more tech-savvy folks can look into script-blockers that block all scripts from running on Web sites (or prompt you, asking whether you’re ok with each script). That includes Facebook scripts and many others. It introduces some friction into Internet browsing, but it’s a choice you can make.

          Scores of plugins like Disconnect are available to track which Web sites are sending your data (and to whom), and DuckDuckGo offers a number of free privacy tools that block trackers, grade Web sites on their security, and provide information on active tracker networks across the Web. As an internet user, you can use that information to make informed decisions that do, in fact, protect your privacy.

          Take that “privacy is doomed” nonsense somewhere else. People just need to be willing to sacrifice some convenience to keep it.

          • Elizabeth: everything you mentioned is actually outlined in the TOC when you register with FB. They are smart enough to protect themselves, especially with data privacy.

            It’s all a numbers game. I care about cost to reach 1,000 people. Everything you mentioned may be picked up be 0.01% if the market, which does not impact me at all. Also, even with all those safeguards I can still target you because of your browsing history.

  5. RE: KLAS VNA “global” survey – sample sizes….I get that the intention of KLAS is to provide customer feedback on vendor performance (the broader method is a debate for another day), but using such small samples for major global businesses with diverse international reach is really pushing the limits of statistical relevance.

    It’s more galling that those surveyed with n=5 or less responses count as “*limited data” yet any with n=6 is ok?

    Considering most of these vendors will have 00’s if not 000’s of customers for their VNA’s, there should at least be some mention of size of installed base of each vendor and sample size in comparison to provide context. How can the responses of 6-7 customers out of 000’s be classed as “global” insight and customer feedback?

    And no, I’m not part of any vendor with beef about their results.

  6. Couldn’t agree more Mr. HIStalk; had similar thoughts the other day Re: Nextdoor/Facebook Neighborhood – “can summarize 90% of their poorly written messages as follows: (a) did anybody hear that big noise just now? (b) my power is out, anyone know why or when it will come back on? (c) where were all those police cars going out on the highway? (d) what’s with the traffic backup? Many posters seem incapable of Googling since they ask easily answered questions about business hours and school calendars.” Funny recent post – My house shakes everyday. Someone responded that they live their an active quarry. Of course, your house is going to shake everyday, because they’re blasting everyday. Ha!

Founding Sponsors


Platinum Sponsors

























































Gold Sponsors












Reader Comments

  • HIT Girl: My recollection from my EHR- and patient-portal building days is that restrictions vary by state, with some of the state...
  • IANAL: This company will face competition from Australians doing Outback Healthcare....
  • Mr. HIStalk: The official exhibitor count -- which includes those who just booked meeting rooms and aren't really "exhibiting" -- is ...
  • Socal: I’m pretty sure that Nuance pulled out as well as I had an email from them yesterday. I know last year there were list...
  • HIMSS No More: @Andy, Salesforce is out...

Sponsor Quick Links