Home » News » Currently Reading:

News 1/8/20

January 7, 2020 News No Comments

Top News


Physician directory and patient scheduling vendor Healthgrades acquires Evariant, which sells patient and physician relationship management systems.

Reader Comments

From New Bjork: “Re: privacy of health data. An article says it’s already a lost cause.” I agree since our health data is everywhere. The only hope is for a US GDPR-like law that would at least make it unattractive for companies and people to share that personal information inappropriately. Either that or we just all come clean and post our own medical records to the Internet (like Bella Thorne did her nude photos when blackmailed) in hopes of eliminating the stigma that is attached to our health flaws. It’s interesting that we will accept huge corporations buying and selling our consumer habits, browsing habits, and financial records to be used against us, but we draw the line at someone learning that we have chronic sinusitis or high blood pressure that doesn’t reflect any particular lifestyle or choice. I wonder if the cultures elsewhere are so fiercely protective of human frailty? I suppose health records are similar to social media – we  don’t want reality intruding on the carefully constructed illusion of our perfect lives.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


I’m thinking a lot lately about a comment Judy Faulkner once made in describing why Epic doesn’t create departmental operating budgets. Instead, she expects the company’s managers to spend money responsibly on what they truly need, subject to some degree of oversight. I’ve always enjoyed creating and managing IT department budgets, challenging the status quo of recurring expenses with zero-based budgeting, and tying budgets to strategic planning and manager goals, so the idea of a $3 billion company tossing those concepts out is intriguing. Maybe budgets are just another form of management laziness (like layoffs and hiring freezes) that encourages undesirable behavior – spending money in the wrong places, always depleting the whole budget to avoid losing funds next year, timing expenses to make the numbers look good, and encouraging managers to upsize their fiefdoms with larger allocations even if that requires some intentional obfuscation. I’m just trying to picture how manager accountability works since budget compliance is usually a top criterion given the hard-walled departmental silos most organizations create.


It’s time to commence the HISsies 2020 process, the first element of which is the nomination form, where you convey your choice for last year’s best and worst vendors, most overused buzzword, and other categories ranging from scandalous to respectful (Lifetime Achievement Award is my favorite, especially since Cerner’s Neal Patterson won it just a few months before he died in July 2017). It’s like the primary election – the most-chosen nominees will move on to the final ballot that will be delivered to the inbox of HIStalk subscribers in a couple of weeks, thereby triggering dozens of folks who skipped the nomination process to complain to me about the poor choices made by their more responsible peers.


I thank my sponsors regularly, but here’s an extra shout-out to the HIStalk Founding Sponsors, Health Catalyst (since 2007, going back to Medicity)  and Medicomp Systems (since 2017). I have just two of those spots available and only one company has ever given theirs up, so I appreciate the support.


Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor CI Security. The Bremerton, WA-based company helps healthcare IT people sleep at night by defending their network against cyberthreats 24x7x365. The company’s Managed Detection and Response team of expert security analysts uses best-in-class technology to perform full-cycle threat detection, investigation, response, and recovery, while its consulting services include performing HIPAA risk assessments and penetration testing. For the cost of one employee, organizations get a team of US-based, world-class threat hunters who catch hackers in minutes instead of months to minimize harm. Everybody knows industry long-timer Drex DeFord, who co-presents on  its “2020 Outlook for Healthcare Security” webinar. They’ll be in Booth 413 at HIMSS20 and immediate cybersecurity incidence response is available at 800.604.4810. Thanks to CI Security for supporting HIStalk.

I found this CI Security explainer video on YouTube.


January 29 (Wednesday) 2:00 ET. “State of the Health IT Industry 2020.” Sponsor: Medicomp Systems. Presenters from Medicomp Systems: Dave Lareau, CEO; Jay Anders, MD, MS, chief medical officer; Dan Gainer, CTO; James Aita, MBA, director of strategy and business development. Despite widespread adoption of EHRs, healthcare professionals struggle with several unresolved systemic challenges, including the lack of EHR usability, limited interoperability between disparate systems, new quality reporting initiatives that create administrative burdens, and escalating levels of physician burnout. Join the webinar to learn how enterprises can address current industry roadblocks with existing market solutions and fix health IT’s biggest challenges.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Dallas-based clinical analytics vendor Pieces Technology raises $25.7 million in a Series B funding round, increasing its total to $58 million. The founder and CEO of the company, which began as a Parkland Hospital internal program, is informaticist Ruben Amarasingham, MD, MBA.


Ride Health, which offers providers a patient ride coordination service with Uber and other providers, raises $6.2 million in a seed funding round.


The Montreal paper profiles the global ambitions of 65-employee, Montreal-based EHR vendor Medfar, which hopes to grow to a $5 billion valuation by 2030.


Non-profit accreditor URAC acquires the programs of ClearHealth Quality Institute, which offers accreditation for telehealth, mental health and substance use disorder parity, and remote patient monitoring.

Specialty EHR vendor Provation acquires MD-Reports, which offers EHR and practice management systems for ambulatory surgery centers and specialty practices.


  • FastMed Urgent Care, which operates 109 clinics in North Carolina, Arizona, and Texas, will implement Epic, the first independent urgent care company to do so.



Cleveland Clinic promotes neurologist Lara Jehi, MD to the newly created position of chief research information officer.


Sumit Nagpal (LumiraDx) becomes co-founder and CEO of healthcare sensor and AI vendor Cherish Health.


Augusta University Health System (GA) hires informatics nurse Mallary Myers, RN, MSN (Baptist Health) as VP and chief innovation officer.


Spok promotes CFO Michael W. Wallace to COO, where he will continue to serve in the CFO role. 

Bluetree hires Julie Walker (Navigant) as SVP of client services.

Announcements and Implementations


A new KLAS report reviews enterprise imaging and how well vendors of universal viewers and vendor-neutral archives support wider image viewing capabilities and increased clinician productivity. KLAS says market leader IBM Watson Health (the former Merge Healthcare) is holding steady, although support and development has lagged since the acquisition. Agfa Healthcare is improving with release of a new platform. while customers of Hyland say the company’s contribution has stalled following its acquisition of Lexmark. GE Healthcare is the most-improved vendor since 2018 but offers limited influence because of its radiology-only focus. Fujifilm “struggles to deliver” because it offers limited guidance beyond using the VNA for disaster recovery.


Philips announces consumer-focused digital health solutions at CES 2020 that include a connected electric toothbrush that shares real-time consumer brushing data with dental insurer Delta Dental in return for free brush heads and coupons. The $280 Sonicare DiamondClean Smart includes sensors and an app that automatically orders replacement brush heads. Philips also offers teledentistry services that include app-based questions and recommendations for $10 and an in-depth assessment for $35.


Also from CES: Omron announces a wearable blood pressure monitor and a device that combines both a blood pressure monitor and EKG. The company will launch a new digital service this summer to offer users heart health coaching and incentives for changing behavior, combining its two existing apps HeartAdvisor and Omron Connect.


Change Healthcare launches an API marketplace through Amazon Web Services.

ROI Healthcare Solutions develops a solution that allows Infor Lawson users to process both just-in-time and traditional orders using a single purchase order vendor record.

Privacy and Security

Aspen Valley Hospital (CO) shares its experience with a Christmas morning ransomware attack that took its systems down until the afternoon of December 26.


Nurses top Gallup’s annual list of most honest and ethical professions by far, with doctors coming it at #3, pharmacists at #4, and dentists at #5. Finishing last were advertising people, insurance salespeople, Senators, Representatives, and car salespeople. Big losers over time are journalists and clergy members.


Former National Coordinator Vindell Washington, MD, MS has apparently been hired by Google as chief clinical officer on the Verily Health Platforms team, given this tweet by recent Google hire and former National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, MSc, MPH.

Sheba Medical Center, Israel’s largest hospital, expands its chat service to Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging platform, allowing digital phone callers to also receive information and documents during the their call. The hospital says 20% of all calls to its call center are already coming from WhatsApp, which was implemented in a pilot project in September. Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014 for $22 billion.


Weird News Andy assures us that there’s a kernel of truth somewhere in this story from England. A 41-year-old firefighter who tried over several days to dislodge a piece of popcorn stuck between his teeth using a pen cap, a toothpick, a piece of wire, and finally a metal nail gets a toothache as a precursor to life-threatening infective endocarditis, repair of which required open heart surgery. The patient says he should have gone to the dentist, adding, “I won’t be going near popcorn again.”

Sponsor Updates

  • Pivot Point Consulting creates an advisory board that includes Aspen Advisors founder Dan Herman and former MaxIT Healthcare President and CEO Mike Sweeney.
  • Central Logic opens a call for speakers (due January 17) for its Patient Flow Summit, to be held September 21-14 in Las Vegas. 
  • Health Catalyst and Bluetree will present at the JP Morgan Health Conference January 13-16 in San Francisco.
  • Impact Advisors announces a strategic partnership with Chicago Pacific Founders.
  • Bluetree will present at the Relatient Customer Panel January 9 in Nashville.
  • Clinical Architecture releases a new podcast focused on SNOMED.
  • CompuGroup Medical streamlines its laboratory software.

Blog Posts



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


HIStalk Featured Sponsors


Text Ads


  1. I share your concerns about a lot of similar projects, but I think this one's an outcomes comparison thing, not…

  2. "Ascension Via Christi sent several ICU nurses home after they raised concerns about inadequate staffing." Nice. That'll show em.

  3. Thank you for sharing the full HIStory file. What a great tribute to Mr. Ciotti. “Those who cannot remember the…

  4. "Epic will roll out a “patients like this one” type tool to its users in Indiana this summer. It will…

  5. I don't see Cerner winning employee satisfaction surveys. I can't see VHA pivoting to Epic. It's going to be some…

Founding Sponsors


Platinum Sponsors








































Gold Sponsors









RSS Webinars

  • An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.