Cerner announces that its annual conference, scheduled for October 12-14, will be conducted as a virtual event.
The conference, one of Kansas City’s largest, is among 78 that have cancelled so far during the pandemic. City officials estimate that the cancellations will cost the local economy $137 million in lost hotel room bookings alone.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor Pure Storage. The Mountain View, CA-based, NYSE-traded company gives technologists their time back. Pure delivers a modern data experience that empowers organizations to run their operations as a true, automated, storage-as-a-service model seamlessly across multiple clouds. One of the fastest-growing enterprise IT companies in history, Pure helps customers put data to use while reducing the complexity and expense of managing the infrastructure behind it. Healthcare organizations enjoy always-available EHR information with always-on encryption and quality of service, with no performance impact and no tuning required. Virtual desktop infrastructure applications are accelerated with <1 ms latency and 99.9999% FlashArray availability. With a certified customer satisfaction score in the top one percent of B2B companies, Pure’s ever-expanding list of customers — which includes Atlantic Health System, Carilion Clinic, and Intermountain Healthcare – are among the happiest in the world. Thanks to Pure Storage for supporting HIStalk
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Health Catalyst reports Q1 results: revenue up 28%; EPS -$0.06 vs. -$0.23, beating analyst expectations for both. The company said in the earnings call that uptake of its free, rapidly developed COVID-19 analytics package is strong, including its patient and staff tracking solution and capacity planning tool. Health Catalyst expects its professional services revenue to dip due to hospital financial challenges and says it may discount those services as a long-term partner. The company will consider acquisition of capital-struggling startups that have developed apps that could help hospitals with revenue, cost, or clinical quality.
Health IT entrepreneur Tim Peck, MD launches Curve Health to help hospitals and nursing homes coordinate and manage patient care. Peck’s previous venture, Call9, shut down last summer after raising $34 million with help from investors that included 23andMe’s Ann Wojcicki and Ashton Kutcher.
- Boston Children’s Hospital will implement KyruusOne provider data management and Kyruus ProviderMatch for Consumers.
Wolters Kluwer moves Stacey Caywood, MBA, who is CEO of the company’s Legal & Regulatory division, to CEO of its Health business. She replaces health IT long-timer Diana Nole, MBA, who has joined Nuance as EVP/GM of its healthcare division.
Trinity Health names Eileen Matzek, MBA (Amita Health) as CIO of Loyola Medicine (IL).
Recently hired Haven Healthcare COO Mitch Betses will manage the company’s operations until a replacement is found for Atul Gawande, MD, who confirms that he will step down as CEO and transition to board chair. Betses is a pharmacist and has spent most of his career as EVP of CVS Health.
Nordic promotes Sriram Devarakonda to advisory services managing director and practice leader; Ian Mamminga to SVP of managed services solutions; and Andy Mueller to SVP of managed services operations.
Announcements and Implementations
True Women’s Health (MI) deploys a menopause virtual care and support app that it built using OptimizeRx’s RMDY digital health tools. The app provides educational videos, trackers, surveys, coaching and telehealth consults, appointment scheduling, and progress and symptom tracking.
NHS Trusts in southwest England will set up a temporary hospital using Epic software from Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.
Change Healthcare offers de-identified COVID-19 claims data for analysis of disease progression, intervention effectiveness, and overall health system impact.
HBI Solutions develops an EHR-friendly fall risk assessment algorithm for elderly patients.
Meditech adds Apple Health support to Magic and Client/Server, making the app usable by all of its customers.
Government and Politics
Thirty amicus briefs were filed from both sides of the political aisle with the US Supreme Court on Wednesday in support of the Affordable Care Act, which Republican state attorneys general and the White House are seeking to repeal. Economic scholars warn of the damage that would be caused by eliminating what could be the only health insurance option that is available to the 37 million newly unemployed Americans, along with the many billions of dollars worth of uncompensated care that struggling hospitals would be forced to provide.
The New York Times looks at why some city hospitals were being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients even as others had 3,500 open beds, sometimes under the same corporate umbrella of Health & Hospitals. Governor Andrew Cuomo concludes, “We don’t really have a public healthcare system. We have a system of hospitals.” Load-balancing challenges include moving unstable patients and overcoming the hospital ethos of treating every patient who arrives there. The state basically took over capacity and transfer management to fix the problem of competing, brand-obsessed “independent duchies” that couldn’t overcome their cultural differences to work together voluntarily.
Experts question the accuracy of COVID-19 testing numbers given the lack of federal reporting guidelines. Some states track the number of samples rather than the number of patients, some do not report racial or ethnic breakdown of cases and deaths, and others have switched methods midstream to make past versus present comparisons impossible. Virginia just started combining the results of viral tests and antibody tests, which is indefensible statistically and epidemiologically but expedient politically, with the chief of staff of the state’s Democratic governor (a pediatric neurologist) explaining that Virginia wants to move ahead of other states in its number of tests per capita. Virginia joins Colorado and Arizona in using the questionable numbers to justify re-opening and to allow bragging on improving testing numbers that still lag much of the developed world.
A study finds that just 4.4% of the population of France, which was hit hard by COVID-19 with 27,000 deaths, has been infected, making it unlikely that countries can reach herd immunity to avoid a second wave of infection as social restrictions are eased
CNBC interviews Epic CEO Judy Faulkner, who made these points in response to some inexpert questions:
- Epic customers have increased their telehealth business by an average of 100-fold, with some going from 20 daily visits to 8,000.
- The company analyzed its database of 100 million patients to see if any of 30 targeted drugs might protect patients against COVID-19, finding that none did. They will next look at outcomes from convalescent plasma therapy, the use of remdesivir, and whether patients who recovered from COVID can become infected again.
- Faulkner says, “We were actually the originators of interoperability” in the early 2000s, first among Epic users, then with all EHR users via Share Everywhere.
- Epic is working with an unspecified group to develop a phone-based “immunity passport” that indicates that the user has tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies (though the unmentioned challenge is that nobody has proven that the presence of those antibodies ensures immunity and quality of the tests is all over the place in the absence of FDA approval of the predominantly China-developed tests).
- Asked about whether Epic will develop contact tracing phone apps, Faulkner cited a healthcare blog’s poll (presumably the one I just ran on HIStalk) that showed two-thirds of people wouldn’t participate.
The state of Utah opts for contact-tracing app technology from Twenty, a social media startup that pivoted from developing a meet-up app to the Healthy Together app in just three weeks. Once out of beta, the app will become part of the state’s contact tracing program.
23andMe enlists hospitals to help it recruit patients for a study of severely ill COVID-19 patients. The consumer genetics testing company hopes to find genetic correlations that could explain why some patients become sicker than others.
Collective Health, which offers insurance administration tools for self-funded employers, develops an evidence-based return-to-work app that performs worker risk assessment, screening, and testing. The company notes that the app protects employees because their information isn’t shared with their employer, who only sees a completed “pass” that can be used to allow the employee to return to work.
Kaiser Health News shares a story of a restaurant worker who tested positive for COVID-19 in late March, after which her co-workers were notified immediately that they should self-quarantine. The woman’s second job was as a cafeteria cashier at University of Washington Medical Center, which did not notify co-workers or even require the infected employee to wear a mask while working. Employees of other hospitals say they either aren’t notified or aren’t told who the infected co-worker is, which means they don’t know the extent of their exposure.
President Trump tells employees of a medical equipment distribution center Thursday that COVID-19 testing is “overrated” in suggesting that the US’s world-leading number of cases is due to over testing. He said, “When you test, you have a case. When you test, you find something is wrong with people. If we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases.”
Australia’s NSW Health reduces patient wait time to receive negative COVID-19 test results from several days to several hours by using a text messaging bot to send them electronically to those who opt in.
Former National Coordinator CEO Farzad Mostashari, MD and former CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH say in a CNN editorial that the crisis-created bias toward action is encouraging tech companies like Apple and Google to push proximity-based contact tracing apps as an “overreaction of surveillance,” as low usage could then encourage the next step of hiding the apps or coercing users to run them. They say tech companies should improve the accuracy of information they allow on their social media platforms, open up access to de-identified user data to help public health officials understand the response to shelter-at-home and distancing strategies, and support human contract tracers, all while “first doing no harm.”
Strata Decision Technology’s newly launched National Patient and Procedure Volume Tracker shows that 55% fewer Americans sought hospital care in March and April at the 51 health systems studied. Some areas with the largest drops potentially involve life-threatening problems, such as cardiology and oncology. Volumes dropped by more than half for congestive heart failure, heart attacks, and strokes, raising again the ongoing question of what is happening with those patients. The health systems that were studied reported a staggering average revenue drop of $1.35 billion each in the two-week study period.
Akron Children’s Hospital (OH) will use a $1 million donation to endow the country’s first chair in telehealth, to be held by CMIO and oncologist Sarah Rush, MD.
- Ellkay’s LKCOVID-19 lab connectivity package that supports testing, results, and state reporting processed 1.6 million COVID-19 tests in April.
- Hyland offers free subscriptions to its ShareBase cloud-based sharing and collaboration tool.
- Imat Solutions releases a new podcast, “Reliance EHealth Collaborative Leverages IMAT for COVID-19 Response.”
- Veradigm will incorporate Specialty Patient Enrollment software from Surescripts into its AccelRx specialty medication fulfillment solution.
- Optimum Healthcare IT publishes a white paper titled “ Targeted Training: Promoting EHR Efficiency.”
- A 2020 US EMR Market Share report from KLAS highlights Meditech as one of two EHR vendors that saw significant market share growth in 2019.
- Wolters Kluwer Health releases a new report, “Next-Generation Nurses: Empowered + Engaged.”
- Telehealth: Healing Action at a Distance (EClinicalWorks)
- How Sesame pivoted during COVID-19 to support local healthcare providers (Google Cloud)
- The Importance of Informed Audits in the Time of COVID-19 (Hayes Management Consulting)
- The Evolution of the Chief Information Officer (The HCI Group)
- Dang, wish I’d have had a good automated IGA system … (Imprivata)
- 5 areas to consider when reopening your operating room (Nordic)
- Protecting and Supporting Clinicians Fulfills a Nurse’s Call to Caregiving. (Infor)
- Interoperability’s Role in Fighting the Pandemic (InterSystems)
- Preparing for the Return of Elective Surgeries (Intelligent Medical Objects)
- What April’s Consumer Search Behavior is Telling Us About Coronavirus & How to Prepare for Recovery (Kyruus)
- Navigating Pandemic Relief Options (Meditech)
- Medical Device Integration: Essential Infrastructure (Capsule)