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May 19, 2020 News 6 Comments

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Microsoft announces Cloud for Healthcare, its first industry-specific cloud offering.


The platform provides capabilities to deploy virtual visits, assessment chatbots, remote monitoring, referral management, patient engagement tools, and intelligent outreach.

The new Booking app in Teams allows providers to schedule, manage, and conduct virtual visits from inside Teams.

Microsoft is offering a six-month free trial of Cloud for Healthcare.

Reader Comments

From Nutter Round: “Re: Epic. I’m interested in how the company is responding to Wisconsin’s overturning of stay-at-home recommendations. Will it penalize employees who take advantage of the ‘right’ to congregate in bars?” I will invite Epic folk to weigh in, although I can’t imagine that the company is mounting an operation to surveil the after-work activities of its employees.


From Remote No More: “Re: returning employees to in-office work. I work in the IT department of a healthcare provider in a large city. I’d like to hear how other provider IT departments are planning for such a return. No sense in planning this in a silo.” Good question, thanks. I’ve created a quick response form for provider IT department folks to anonymously describe their policies and practices for bringing remote workers back to the office. HIStalk crowdsourcing is of high value to readers who are looking for ideas, so please take a moment to respond. I’m sure we would all be interested in general hospital policies about bringing at-home workers back to the office as well.

From Long-Time Reader: “Re: not HIT related. A piece of the GI snare broke off during removal of a polyp from my duodenum. My lawyer’s GI expert says standard protocol does not requiring examining the snare afterward to see if it broke since the assumption is that the patient will just pass it anyway.” This was not an anonymous submission and therefore represents a real request for help, so GI clinicians are welcome to comment.

From Media Horror: “Re: MedTech Breakthrough Awards. Seems like yet another shady healthcare racket.” The company is suspiciously protective of its privacy given that it claims to be a marketing intelligence organization even though it seems only to dispense awards. Its minimal online presence hides everything important: physical address, executive names, telephone number, and award judging methodology. It masks its website’s domain registrar and lists no employees on LinkedIn other than the “photo not supplied” and generically named managing director James Johnson. It seems to offer no products or services beyond handing out awards. I can’t say that it’s a health IT racket, but I can say that it at least bears a strong physical resemblance to others I’ve seen that typically involve offshore companies.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Narrative Shift. The Herbster, WI-based company crafts written and visual narratives for companies who understand the value of generating excitement and curiosity about their products and services with prospective customers. A powerful narrative builds the brand effectively, gets the attention of prospects, and establishes stickiness with current customers. The company has 23 years of healthcare experience and thus does not require customers to educate its team or to develop their own marketing and sales deliverables. Narrative Shift is especially interested in working with new and founder-led ventures. As the company concludes, “We’ve seen too much crappy marketing and design developed for health technology companies,” motivating it to take on the mission of delivering attractive, witty, creative, and effective messaging. Thanks to Narrative Shift for supporting HIStalk.


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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Cerner joins the Fortune 500 largest US companies by annual revenue, coming in at #498. 


PE Hub reports that Francisco Partners is looking for a buyer for medical practice scheduling platform vendor QGenda. FP made its growth investment in June 2016. The Atlanta-based company reportedly has EBITDA of $25 million on revenue of $75 million.


Omada Health, which offers a chronic disease management platform primarily to employers, acquires digital physical therapy solution vendor Physera for a rumored $30 million. Physera has raised $10.8 million, most of it in a March 2019 Series A funding round.


  • Collective Medical is providing the technology that Cigna uses to quickly identify and manage its customers who visit an ED with symptoms of possible COVID-19 infection.



Experity hires Kim Commito (WellSky) as SVP of product management.



A JAMA Network editorial says that the federal government could be collecting COVID-related patient data in real time using existing EHRs and HIEs rather than emailed worksheets and anonymous digital thermometer reports, but it would first need to overcome issues such as opt-in requirements, willingness of hospitals to participate given the possible alienation of their profitable patients, and lack of a national identifier. The authors recommend creating a national health IT infrastructure that would allow real-time, patient-level data collection as has been done in other countries (including using cell phone-based location data), but with its use limited to public health emergencies.


The geospatial expert who developed Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard that was touted as the gold standard by the White House says she was fired after refusing to “manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen.” Rebekah Jones was offered a settlement to resign after disagreeing with her bosses. They had ordered her remove a column containing the date in which patients said they first experienced symptoms since some of those occurred weeks before the state officially admitted that residents had been infected. Florida’s government has declined to provide race and ethnicity case details and won’t give scientists the underlying data that the site uses to allow them to perform their own analyses, while a graph published by the Georgia Department of Health that showed a continuous case decline was found to have been sorted in descending rather than chronological order.

President Trump tells reporters that he is taking the unproven malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus infection. Asked about the medical evidence that supports his decision, he replied, “Here’s my evidence: I get a lot of calls about it.” FDA softened its previous advice immediately after the president’s statement, moving from a position that consumers should not take the drug outside the hospital setting to advising that it’s up to them and their doctor to decide.

Fluid physics researchers determine that six-foot physical distancing is adequate as long as wind speed is zero, but saliva droplets can travel up to 20 feet in even a light breeze.

Moderna reports that the coronavirus vaccine it is developing has raised antibodies in the eight patients who are receiving it, with levels comparable to those seen in recovered COVID-19 patients. Experts warn that many drug trials look good in early phases but fail quickly afterward.

A preliminary, small study in South Korea finds that recovering COVID-19 patients do not spread infection, as the virus they shed is dead. The government will therefore allow patients who have been discharged from isolation to return to work or school without obtaining a final negative test.


COVID Exit Strategy maps the readiness of states to reopen safely based on the White House-issued gating strategy of disease spread, hospital capacity, and testing capacity.

Utah, North Dakota, and South Dakota have rolled out contact tracing apps without much success in generating participation rates of under 2%. Utah’s Healthy Together app has resulted in zero instances in which contracts were traced.

A health reform professor says she was wrong in calling for the federal government to require that private insurance pay for COVID-19 testing. Reasons: a huge number of people need to be tested, many of them retested repeatedly; providers can set whatever price they want with the cost ranging from $50 to $1,000 per test; it doesn’t help people who don’t have insurance; and insurers will need to reduce test access or raise premiums to cover the cost. She says a better approach is a testing and vaccination fund, overseen by the federal government, to provide free diagnostic and antibody tests for anyone who needs them to return to work or classes. That group could also negotiate pricing for a vaccine if and when one is developed.

Sponsor Updates

  • MassChallenge features CareSignal in its new video, “Innovation in the Age of COVID-19.”
  • Meditech AVPs Janet Desroche and Cathy Turner, RN speak with ANIA President Cheryl Parker, PhD, RN about the company’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Experian launches an interactive US map showing populations most susceptible to developing severe cases of COVID-19.
  • MedTech Breakthrough names Kyruus Provider Match for Consumers as its “Best Patient Registration & Scheduling Solution.”
  • Vocera Vina is named “Best Overall MHealth Solution” in the MedTech Breakthrough Awards.”
  • Clinical Architecture releases the latest edition of its Informonster Podcast, “A History and Analysis of ICD-10.”
  • ConnectiveRx will participate in a virtual job fair May 27 from 8:30-10 a.m.

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Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. Epic and stay at home…
    Yes the WI Supreme overturned the Govs rule but the same day Dane County and Milw county enacted their own stay at home rule based on the Govs original order.
    What I am curious about is how all those Epic-ites will react when the stay stay at home order goes away how much pressure will there be to not return to the office. And if Epic goes the route that many Silicon Valley companies seem to be (remote working can work), what happens to the billion dollar edifices in Verona?

  2. RE: Ousted FL Dashboard developer
    I’m not refuting any claims made but from a purely objective perspective I can’t see where a column showing the date a patient recalled first experiencing symptoms is in any way a scientifically significant data point because a) it relies purely on a person’s precise recollection of their past (which may vary wildly from one person to another) and b) said symptoms cannot be confirmed to be directly COVID-related (ie. could have been a common cold or flu). If this was her reason and this were me, that would not be the sword I’d die on. This whole story reeks of further cross-contamination between public health and political ideologies.

  3. Microsoft, Google, etc. will enter the market. Out goes the steaming 1990s code of Cerner and Epic. Of course will take a decade or longer, but this is the start.

      • and; IBM, Revlon, General Dynamics, Martin Marietta, McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed, Apple, NCR, Siemens, Honeywell, McKesson, Baxter, and of course 4 time loser: GE.

        If you look at all the ‘successful’ vendors ALL of them (Epic, Cerner, Meditech, CPSI…) started in HIT, and built a business solely around HIT. Seems to me there is significant message there.

  4. RE: Re: not HIT related: OK I’ll take the bait but you only gave me about 5% of the information. What was the background history? Why was the procedure done in the first place? What kind of a polyp was it? What exactly if any was the adverse outcome from the procedure?

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