In Boston, Partners HealthCare plans to spend $100 million on a five-year digital health initiative focused on developing patient self-service technologies including online appointment scheduling, ED and urgent care wait times, and cost estimates; virtual care via text and video; and access to aggregated medical records including OpenNotes.
From Darth Vader: “Re: Optum/UHG layoffs. See UHG latest results? Talk about systemic risk. With all this talk about reducing healthcare costs, why isn’t anyone in Congress talking about UHG and in particular Optum? Just how ingrained is this organization in every nook and cranny of the US healthcare ecosystem?” Vader’s observation comes just a few days after OptumRx’s purchase of Diplomat Pharmacy for $300 million.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Tampa Bay Lightning owner and former hedge fund manager Jeff Vinik invests $5 million in health IT integration vendor Bridge Connector, bringing its total funding to $25 million. Vinik is also a minority owner of the Boston Red Sox.
Surgical automation and software vendor Caresyntax acquires OR analytics company Syus alongside a $45 million funding round.
Proteus Digital Health’s previously announced restructuring plans will include eliminating 292 jobs and closing several facilities by January 18. According to the local paper, the company will turn its focus from digital therapeutics for blood pressure, hypertension, and cholesterol to infectious disease and oncology, “expensive therapies that tie payments to the actual use of the drug.”
BJC HealthCare in Missouri lays off 200 employees as it outsources some IT services to an unnamed managed service provider. The health system cut about 10% of its IT workforce in July 2018 after wrapping up an Epic roll out.
NextGen acquires telemedicine vendor Otto Health.
LeanTaas raises $40 million in a Series C funding round led by Goldman Sachs. The Silicon Valley company has developed predictive analytics for optimal utilization of ORs, infusion centers, and labs.
Pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts develops a list of recommended digital health tools for payers and providers organized into treatment categories that include depression, anxiety, asthma, and diabetes. Products and services from Livongo, Omada Health, Propeller Health, and WellDoc are among the initial group of recommended solutions.
The Chartis Group acquires The Greeley Company, a consulting and staffing firm based in Boston.
- Lakeland Regional Health (FL) will implement care team coordination technology from Andor Health.
- The NC HealthConnex HIE will use CarePort Health’s real-time care notifications and reporting capabilities to improve care coordination at UNC Health Care’s 12 hospitals.
CynergisTek names Tony Douglas (Symantec) SVP of sales.
Gregory Adams becomes chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente after serving in the interim role since the unexpected death of CEO Bernard Tyson last month.
NIH names Joshua Denny, MD (Vanderbilt University Medical Center) CEO of the All of Us research program.
Charlie Greenberg (Merck) joins PatientPoint as SVP of campaign quality and compliance.
Announcements and Implementations
Faith Regional Health Services (NE) goes live on Epic.
Government and Politics
The Justice Department will look into Google’s $2.1 billion Fitbit acquisition for possible antitrust violations related to amassing data on American consumers.
Privacy and Security
Korunda Medical (FL) will pay OCR $85,000 to settle potential HIPAA violations related to multiple complaints from the same patient that it wanted an unreasonable fee for medical records, and failed to provide the records in the requested format in a timely manner.
Baxter Regional Medical Center (AR) will use a donation from community members to fund in-house development of an interface between its Cerner EHR and 400 smart IV pumps.
Avante Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers (FL) pilot the Furry Palz Program from Thrive Behavioral Sciences. Designed to rest in the laps of dementia patients, simulated breathing sounds from the robotic pets help to relieve symptoms of agitation, isolation, and depression.
- AdventHealth Waterman and Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital showcase reductions in hypoglycemia and glycemic practice variation utilizing Glytec’s glucose management technology and services.
- Healthwise receives a Gold Digital Health Award for a patient education video in the Health Information Resource Center’s 2019 fall competition.
- InterSystems releases a new PulseCast podcast, “Dave Menninger: Discovering the Hidden Dollars Within Your Data.”
- Vanguard profiles Intelligent Medical Objects General Counsel Charlotte Tart.
- Nordic releases a new podcast, “Avoiding common pitfalls of an affiliate extension program.”
- Arcadia congratulates its ACO customers in achieving over $423 million in Medicare Shared Savings Program savings in 2018.
- Wolters Kluwer Health adds Clinical Insights with enhanced content from UpToDate to its Lexicomp drug information resource.
- Key Benchmarks for Process Improvement & Success (EClinicalWorks)
- EPSi welcomes Mosaid Healthcare, Mercy and Texas Health Resources to AWS (EPSi)
- Healthcare data exchange increases access through Intergy (Greenway Health)
- Why Troubleshooting Tools are Important to Any Citrix Upgrade (Goliath Technologies)
- This Groundbreaking Program Proves the Value of Health Literacy (Healthwise)
- Rethinking IT infrastructure in healthcare (Hyland)