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Monday Morning Update 5/18/20

May 17, 2020 News 1 Comment

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Cerner will begin moving employees back on campus Monday, starting with 10% of its workforce and aiming for no more than 50%.

Employees will be encouraged to wear masks, fitness centers and cafeterias will be closed, elevators will be limited to two passengers, and staircases will be designated as one way.

The company says positions in its consulting and client support areas may remain virtual permanently.

Reader Comments

From Allscripts Insider: “Re: Allscripts layoffs. About 60 people on Monday, several of whom I know.” Unverified, but reported by several folks.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Few poll respondents have been tested for COVID-19, although a significant percentage tried but couldn’t get access to a test. Maybe I should ask about antibody testing now that those are more widely available.

New poll to your right or here: How do you expect your family’s financial security to look on January 1, 2022 compared to the same day in 2020?


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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

In Asia, health tech giant Ping An Healthcare, whose market cap is $15 billion, removes Wang Tao as chairman, executive director, and CEO.

Announcements and Implementations


Banner Health launches chatbot-powered “virtual waiting rooms” from LifeLink to collect patient check-in information before all telehealth and in-person office visits.


Microsoft and UnitedHealth Group offer their self-developed ProtectWell coronavirus symptom screening app, which they will use for their own employees, to all US companies at no charge.


Few of the 1,200 LifeBridge Health employees who have been tested for COVID-19 antibodies are positive, suggesting that most of its employees do not have immunity.

In England, BBC looks at the healthcare technologies that have changed in response to COVID-19:

  • One hospital developed a “call for help” app for ICU workers who need assistance and who otherwise would need to leave a patient’s room and use another set of PPE, with the app featuring large fonts for viewing through visors and sensitive buttons that respond to double-gloved fingers.
  • Expanded staffing of the NHS’s 111 national non-emergency medical help line.
  • Creation of machine learning models that predict demand for ICU beds and ventilators, now being extended to estimate length of stay.
  • Rapid rollout of video consults, with 88% of GP practices in Wales offering them within a month, after which their use was extended to hospitals, mental health services, and nursing homes.


Former National Coordinator David Blumenthal, MD, MPP and his brother, Senator Richard Blumenthal, JD (D-CT) warn that COVID-19 contact tracing – whether by app or by human contact tracers – is intrusive by definition, as identifying contacts requires reviewing social media posts, text messages, credit card statements, and other personal records. They say that while the notification system that Apple and Google are rolling out limits contains privacy-preserving technologies, the US is overdue for a federal consumer privacy law. Senator Blumenthal and several other Democratic senators and representatives introduced on Thursday the Public Health Emergency Privacy Act, which would require individuals to opt in, require that data that is collected for pandemic efforts be deleted afterward, and prohibit using the data for purposes outside of public health.


FDA orders the shutdown of a broadly supported Seattle COVID-19 population testing program pending federal government review. Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network ran afoul of FDA by telling participants the result of their tests, which places the program within the realm of diagnostic – rather than surveillance – testing, requiring a different FDA group to review the safety and accuracy of its at-home collection kits. A predecessor program that identified the first US cases of COVID-19 infection using patient swabs from a previous flu study was ordered closed by federal and state officials because the researchers did not have patient consent for the new use of their samples and their lab was not certified for diagnostic testing.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio chooses Health and Hospitals to run the city’s COVID-19 contact tracing program instead of the Health Department, which has extensive experience in doing the same work for tuberculosis and HIV. Health and Hospitals CEO, Mitchell Katz, MD had previously urged the mayor to avoid mitigation measures, arguing that most people recover and will then contribute to herd immunity. Katz’s predecessor says, “Just because they both have ‘health’ in the name doesn’t mean they’re in the same business … this is a job for the Health Department.”

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD notes that the pandemic has slowed dramatically in the US after a long plateau, a trend that could be boosted by seasonality as summer sets in. Cases are declining or flat in most states, but a handful have an expanding case count and relaxation of mitigation steps will cause growth. He also notes that 40% of states don’t report COVID-related hospitalization, so the national count is incomplete.

Sponsor Updates

  • Health Catalyst appoints Mark Templeton (DigitalOcean) to its board.
  • Clinical Computer Systems, developer of the Obix Perinatal Data System, releases the latest edition of its Clinical Concepts in Obstetrics podcast, “Team Skills.”
  • Spirion raises over $9,000 for local restaurant workers impacted by COVID-19 closures through its This One is On Us restaurant relief program.
  • StayWell publishes a new infographic, “Content marketing strategies to recharge from COVID-19.”
  • Surescripts publishes a new report, “Pharmacist Perspectives on the Specialty Fulfillment Process.”
  • TriNetX adds the Brazil-based Techtrials integrated, real-world dataset to its global health research network.
  • Vocera publishes a new CNO Perspective, “Nurses Have Stepped Up. Now It’s Time to Support Them as We Move Forward.”

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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Sometimes I despair about the lack of will there is to collaborate e.g. around contact tracking apps for COVID-19, It also never ceases to amaze me that the first thought for many seems to be how to make a quick buck from this disastrous situation.

    In Australia we have ONE tracing app called COVIDSafe. It is completely voluntary, provided by the federal government. and is available in 63 languages. Contact data is stored on the phone and state and territory health officials can only access the information if a) someone tests positive and b) agrees to the information in their phone being uploaded. By law it is illegal to use the data for any other purpose than COVID-19 tracing. The app recognises other devices with the COVIDSafe app installed and Bluetooth® enabled. When the app recognises another user, it notes the date, time, distance and duration of the contact and the other user’s reference code. The COVIDSafe app does not collect your location. The information stored on phone is encrypted (the phone owner cannot even access it) and it is deleted on a 21-day rolling cycle (this takes into account the incubation period and time it takes to get tested). If you test positive and have the app you will be asked permission to have the contact data uploaded and health officials take it from there. After the pandemic is officially declared over each person with the app will be asked to delete it and the data that was uploaded (positive cases only) will be destroyed.

    I personally feel good about this approach and chose to upload the app when it first launched. As at 15th May 23% of the population had downloaded the app, ideally we need that number to be 40%.

    Info on the app

    Couldn’t we all just use the same approach globally?

    We been very lucky here so far but a second wave cannot be ruled. For the most part federal and state governments are working very well together. Here is how we are going.

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