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May 21, 2020 News 3 Comments

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Optum acquires post-acute care management company NaviHealth.

The company’s private equity owner gets $1.1 billion in cash after buying a majority stake in the company for $400 million just 21 months ago.

The deal values NaviHealth at $2.5 billion.

Reader Comments


From Dumas: “Re: Epic’s COVID-19 immunity passport. They didn’t name the organization they are working with, but I think it’s probably Bluetree, which is owned by one of Epic’s biggest shops in Providence. They are working with Lumedic, which is also owned by Providence, to create an app that stores COVID-19 test status and immunity status that Bluetree specifically calls an immunity passport that is being considered by other organizations.” Unverified, but Lumedic has published screen shots of such a credential (above). I assume that Epic’s role is to provide results of COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody tests.


From Serrano Seed: “Re: HIMSS20. A group of exhibitors is petitioning for a refund of exhibit space fees.” The group of a couple of dozen companies, most of which I admit I’ve never heard of, hopes to shame HIMSS into refunding their exhibitor money for the cancelled conference. I suspect their efforts will be futile since (a) big-name exhibitors aren’t included; (b) their leverage is minimal given that HIMSS already has their money and, short of legal proceedings, seems unwilling or unable to return it; and (c) the cost of every company that is listed bailing on HIMSS21 (not likely) is minimal compared to the cost of refunding all exhibitors. I suspect that their polite petition will be far less effective than an impolite lawsuit.

From Nasty Parts: “Re: IBM Watson Health. I hear they are cleaning house, with some saying up to 80% of employees have been let go and a number of products (minus the employees who support them) being sold to Vizient.” Unverified. IBM Watson Health’s PR contact did not respond to my inquiry.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


It’s my lucky day, y’all! I have learned from Mr. Prashant Kumar via LinkedIn that I have been “shortlisted for the Top 100 Healthcare Leaders award,” where I (fingers crossed!) will stride humbly across a Las Vegas stage later this year for my bestowment at a conference that is conveniently operated by Mr. Kumar’s employer, with my award consisting of a registration fee discount. I am especially grateful that the judges recognize my global healthcare leadership, given that I don’t actually lead anyone and despite the fact that my only job that is listed on LinkedIn is “Cynical Blowhard Healthcare IT Blogger.” Above is the upscale Wilmington, DE headquarters of the conferring organization Prism Events, in which the fate of my esteemed award rests in the capable hands of several dozen all-Indian employees who conduct their deliberations in a rented PO box.


Provider IT folks, help your peers by describing your department’s plan for bringing employees back to the office (or not, as the case may be), even if you’re just following organization-wide policies and would like to summarize those. I’ll post a recap this weekend. Thanks to those who have already provided some good (and sometimes surprising) ideas.


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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Amwell will use a $194 million Series C funding round to further scale its telemedicine technology and services. Reports of delays and crashing calls due to record utilization during the COVID-19 pandemic had already forced it to upgrade its hardware and software, in addition to onboarding new providers. The Boston-based company has raised over $700 million since launching in 2006.


  • The Idaho Health Data Exchange selects 4medica’s enterprise master patient index software and data-cleansing service.
  • Pathos Clinical Solutions will implement OpenText’s EMR-Link for secure EHR integration and CPOE between its lab and clinicians.
  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto signs a seven-year contract with Allscripts for managed services of the company’s Patient Flow software.
  • Texas-based GI Alliance selects Modernizing Medicine’s EHR for gastroenterology.
  • University of Alabama Birmingham Medicine will deploy sepsis-monitoring software from Ambient Clinical Analytics.



EHR vendor Casamba promotes Billie Nutter to CEO.

Announcements and Implementations


Valley Children’s Healthcare (CA) goes live on Epic with virtual support from Optimum Healthcare IT.

Engage offers a free version of its WaitTimes app customized for COVID-19 testing sites for 90 days.


Carequality announces that 1 billion clinical documents have been exchanged via its interoperability framework since it launched in 2016. The organization will soon add image-sharing to its HIE capabilities.

Valley Community Healthcare (CA) rolls out virtual visit software from Otto Health.


Patient engagement software vendor Conversa Health launches Employee HealthCheck, an automated COVID-19 screening app for employers that was developed with help from UCSF Health.

Flagler Health (FL) and consumer digital health company Healthfully develop a similar app that also includes virtual visit capabilities.


A KLAS report on go-live support finds that engagement size is decreasing as the large health system market for new systems has matured. CSI Healthcare IT, Engage, and Medasource excel at executive involvement, while HCI Group and Nuance draw the most customer complaints about employee quality.

Government and Politics

HHS will award $5 million to support research into the ways healthcare organizations are responding to COVID-19, including the impact of expanded telemedicine services and digital care tools.


HHS issues an RFI on re-developing the IT strategy behind its Strategic National Stockpile of items associated with coronavirus-like pandemics. The new strategy would include greater use of analytics to forecast requirements. Comments are due May 29.



Alabama, North Dakota, and South Carolina become the first states to publicly commit to using contact-tracing technology developed by Google and Apple in their respective COVID-19 exposure notification apps.

The FDA launches a research project into the origin, treatment, and diagnostic patterns of COVID-19 using Aetion’s Evidence Platform, which aggregates data from EHRs, claims, registries, and clinical trials.

UC San Diego Health develops a remote patient monitoring program for COVID-19 patients recovering at home that includes a wearable to track vital signs, and activity and sleep levels; and an app through which they can report symptoms and communicate with their providers. The next phase of the program will use machine learning to predict a change in symptoms.


The Atlantic reports on the CDC’s practice – and that of four states as well — of combining the results of viral and antibody tests, which produces misleading metrics that governors are using to develop their re-opening plans.

The federal government will pay AstraZeneca up to $1.2 billion for the development and delivery of 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by October.


Officials in Iceland are underwhelmed by the impact the national contact-tracing app has had on COVID-19 containment efforts, stressing that, despite its high adoption rate, manual techniques like phone calls have been more effective: “The technology is more or less … I wouldn’t say useless. But it’s the integration of the two that gives you results. I would say it has proven useful in a few cases, but it wasn’t a game changer for us.”


Current and former government and health system leaders collaborate on a national #OpenSafely plan that calls for, among other things:

  • Following already documented plans to open communities up after two weeks of declining case counts.
  • Ensuring adequate diagnostic testing is available.
  • Implementing contact tracing and voluntary isolation.
  • Improving and implementing safety standards and protocols.
  • Protecting populations most at risk.
  • Ensuring adequate PPE.
  • Widespread use of telemedicine.
  • Screenings and symptom monitoring.



Researchers develop a wearable they hope can successfully predict the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. The patch tracks coughing and respiratory activity, heart rate, and temperature, and then transmits the data to cloud-based data management software, where algorithms transform it into graphical summaries.

Sponsor Updates

  • Elsevier’s Clinical Path wins Best Computerized Decision Support Solution award from MedTech Breakthrough for the second year in a row.
  • Ellkay offers a customer testimonial featuring its COVID-19-related interoperability work with Acutis Diagnostics.
  • Infusion service company Option Care Health expands its use of Wolters Kluwer’s compounding compliance solutions for patient care.
  • Healthwise celebrates its 45th anniversary.
  • Omni-HealthData adds new data visualizations and interactive dashboards to its COVID-19 Resource Center.
  • InterSystems publishes a new case study, “Helping Care Teams on the Front Lines: Providence St. Joseph Health.”
  • Kyruus ProviderMatch for Consumers wins the Best Patient Registration & Scheduling Solution award from MedTech Breakthrough.
  • ROI Healthcare Solutions launches an EDI Benchmarking and Health Check Eligibility Survey for Infor (Lawson) users.
  • The Healthcare Technology Report includes Waystar CEO Matt Hawkins, AdvancedMD CEO Raul Villar, and CompuGroup Medical Chairman Frank Gotthardt on its list of “The Top 50 Healthcare Technology CEOs Of 2020.”
  • Wolters Kluwer Health will publish the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s portfolio of five medical specialty journals.
  • InterSystems adds support for AWS Graviton2-based Amazon EC2 M6g instances for IRS and IRIS.
  • Relatient expands availability of its solutions in Athenahealth’s Marketplace to include patient self-scheduling, patient intake, and secure two-way messaging.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. “Cynical Blowhard Healthcare IT Blogger”

    After a quick Google search, I’ve finally figured out your real name, Mr. Tim Histalk!

  2. Re: Optum Buying Navihealth

    “Optum are the healthcare Borg. Now they add Navihealth’s service and technological distinctiveness to their own. Resistance is futile.”

  3. As one of the couple dozen companies sending a petition to HIMSS, I’ll just say that some large companies (some very large) who were originally signatories to the petition have dropped out, possibly when they saw their logos on the letter. Regardless, HIMSS should continue to be made aware just how unhappy the industry is about their actions. Just trying to do our part.

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  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…

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