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June 2, 2020 News 5 Comments

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Private equity firm Rubicon Technology Partners takes a majority position in patient access center platform vendor Central Logic.

Terms were not announced, but pre-deal rumors suggested a deal value of $110-125 million. The company had previously raised $14 million.

I interviewed President and CEO Angie Franks four months ago.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

This week marks HIStalk’s 17th birthday. I put together a snapshot of that summer of 2003 last year just to remind long-timers what was happening in the health IT world back then:

  • Some big healthcare names were George W. Bush, Tommy Thompson, Tom Scully, Dennis O’Leary, Erich Reinhardt, Linda Kloss, Anthony Principi, and Neal Patterson.
  • Hospitals were struggling with early CPOE implementations.
  • Kaiser Permanente had just chosen Epic.
  • Cerner had just made its first UK sales and opened its new headquarters.
  • HIMSS offered HIMSS03 in San Diego (with keynotes from Jeff Immelt, Rudy Giuliani, and Patch Adams) following Summer HIMSS in Chicago and also launched Solutions Toolkit, the predecessor to HIMSS Analytics.
  • Computers ran Windows XP while users licked their wounds caused by Windows ME and awaited / dreaded the promised magic of Windows Vista as the effects of the “every other Windows release sucks” rule were about to be felt.
  • People sent messages on BlackBerry devices and talked on the Nokia cell phones that dominated the market four years before the IPhone came out.
  • Companies such as MercuryMD, Misys, First Consulting Group, Per-Se, IDX, Healthlink, Quovadx, Alaris, and Sentillion were making a few sales.
  • Health IT news came slowly and with little critical review other than from expensive, low-circulation newsletters such as “Inside Healthcare Computing” and “HIS Insider.”


Readers whose primary news interest is one or a handful of companies occasionally ask for a separate “news feed” for just those companies. That’s not practical to do since each HIStalk news post contains a lot of unrelated news items to support convenient reading, but this sample page shows the most recent news mentions of Cerner (just as an example) that I’ve copied/pasted into a single page with original dates. It wouldn’t be too hard to keep company-specific pages updated, and the bonus to readers is that instead of just being a bunch of low-quality stuff from around the web, it would just be those stories that I’ve already vetted as being worthy of a news post mention. Let me know if you would find this useful, and if so, for which companies. I won’t bother creating more work for myself if it isn’t important to someone.


June 10 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “COVID-19: preparing your OR for elective surgeries.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Janice Kelly, MS, RN, president, AORN Syntegrity Inc.; David Bocanegra, RN, nurse informaticist, IMO. The presenters will cover the steps and guidelines that are needed for hospitals to resume performing elective surgeries and how healthcare information technology can optimize efficiencies and financial outcomes for the return of the OR.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Change Healthcare acquires retail pharmacy technology vendor PDX for $208 million.


Healthcare Growth Partners polls 80 private equity funds about COVID-19’s impact, concluding that those investors are slightly bullish on health IT for the long term compared to the overall market. About 25% of the firms are either pausing activities until the market stabilizes or are waiting to see how COVID-19 plays out, but companies are not generally targeting distressed or discounted opportunities. Many of their portfolio companies are applying for federal relief programs, delaying payables, and seeking additional capital. Most respondents expect a full economic recovery to be unlikely until a COVID-19 vaccine is introduced. All expect to continue closing deals, although half will be looking harder at pricing or strategic value.


NextGen Healthcare reports Q4 results: revenue up 1%, adjusted EPS $0.20 vs. $0.23, swinging to a GAAP loss that fell short of Wall Street expectations but still beating revenue expectations.


Netsmart acquires post-acute and behavioral consulting firm Quality In Real Time, adding the company’s OASIS, MDS, and coding and advisory consulting services to its McBee business.


Konica Minolta Precision Medicine acquires Backpack Health, which offers a personal health record and anonymized research data collection app.

Canada’s Well Health completes its acquisition of Indivica, which serves 1,900 primary care clinics in Canada and represents Well Health’s seventh EHR vendor acquisition.

Allscripts names retired KPMG executive Beth Altman to its board.


  • North Central Health Care (WI) will implement Cerner’s Behavioral Health EHR in three multi-specialty behavioral facilities.
  • Northwestern Memorial HealthCare (IL) chooses Visage Imaging’s Visage 7.
  • Hospital Sisters Health System will use Empiric Health’s AI-driven analytics to address unwanted clinical variation, mining operative notes with natural language processing to form surgical cohorts to identify outliers.



Cerner hires Jerome Labat (Micro Focus) as CTO.


Sandy Phillips (Analytic Intuition) joins HIE Networks as CIO.

Announcements and Implementations

Epic partners with its local county agencies to implement Coordinated Care Management, a technology platform that streamlines healthcare and community services to address social determinants of health. Epic is waiving part of its license and implementation fees.

A study finds that 88% of acute hospitals send information to HIEs at the patient’s transition of care, but only 56% of inpatient psychiatric units provide that information electronically.

Surescripts releases Real-Time Prescription Benefit for Pharmacy, which allows pharmacists to advise patients on out-of-pocket costs and alternatives using pricing, coverage, and prior authorization information from the patient’s insurance.


CMS reports that COVID-19 has hit US nursing homes hard, with the first publicly announced count (which is likely underestimated) count showing 60,000 confirmed cases and 26,000 deaths, with 450 staff members also dying of the infection. Meanwhile, USA Today analysis of state-reported data that, unlike CMS’s numbers, includes assisted living facilities places the number of deaths at nearly 41,000.

A WHO-conducted meta analysis of 172 studies confirms that frontline medical workers should be wearing N95 masks, which offer 96% protection against coronavirus versus 77% for surgical masks. Eye protection appears to offer additional benefit. For public spaces, distancing of at least three feet and wearing of cotton masks were associated with protection. Experts are frustrated CDC was slow to recommend masks and later downgraded its recommendation of N95 masks to surgical masks on the basis of supply rather than effectiveness.

A China-based manufacturer of N95 masks misses a deadline for earning US federal safety certification, voiding its $1 billion deal with the state of California for which it has already been paid $495 million. The company was supposed to provide 300 million masks, but NIOSH turned down its certification due to “concerning” issues with its design, manufacturing, and quality inspection. Electric vehicle manufacturer Build Your Dreams opened a plant in China in March that it said would allow manufacturing 5 million masks and 300,000 bottles of disinfectant per day, leading to a deal with the state that critics called “secretive.”

Experts remind that temperature checks aren’t very useful for COVID-19 screening since most patients who test positive don’t have fever, especially before they start showing symptoms.

White House coronavirus testing czar Admiral Brett Giroir has been reassigned back to his regular HHS job as of mid-June and will not be replaced.


The state of Nevada contracts for COVID-19 testing from G42, an artificial intelligence company whose ToTok messaging app is used to spy on civilians in the United Arab Emirates. University Medical Center is performing tests provided by G42 and is considering using its product for population health management and genomics studies. ToTok became popular in UAE because the country bans Internet calls and the app provides a seemingly government-approved way to conduct video and text chat, which security experts say is the government’s covert way of getting users to install spyware voluntarily instead of hacking their phones.

Sponsor Updates

  • Collective Medical end users can now sponsor home health organizations to rapidly onboard and begin collaborating on care for shared patients.
  • Impact Advisors is recognized in KLAS’s }Clinical Optimization Services 2020” report.

Blog Posts


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Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. Love all of the content and read through the pages each M,W,F. The first thing I do is a ctrl+f and search for Cerner (I work there) and Epic…either way I’ll get the info, but I’d definitely visit the separate news feeds.

  2. Happy Anniversary! It is my 17th year in business as well, on 6/18. It was a fun walk down tech memory lane you provided. I remember being at my first ‘Connectivity’ conference in the fall of 2003, all the experts were certain we’d have all healthcare entities connected in 5 years. Either my sense of time is out of whack (completely possible these days) or it’s proof that nobody knew what the real challenges would be, cuz here we are! Patch Adams, I was expecting the energy of Robin Williams. I will say that I’m not sure if it was HIMSS or another conf I was at where he gave a keynote, many of the docs in the room were offended and didn’t stick around, in a nutshell he told them the way they practice medicine is the problem with the system. Oh the good ol’ days. And the other rags we all used to get, never as helpful or insightful as this blog. Thanks for keeping us in the know and all the work you put into this.

  3. 2003 was also the year that HIPAA Business Associate Agreements were required for covered entities. I remember all too well my anxiety when the BAA I wrote was released by Meditech to its thousands of customers! Congratulations on 17 years!

  4. Congratulations on 17 years ! Thank you for always being a quality source of HIT information while maintaining the perfect balance of objectivity and snark.

    Re: Epic Coordinated Care Management. This must make NowPow, Healthify, etc. nervous , though typical of Epic ‘s MO.

  5. Before we were Quovadx, we were HCDC ( Healthcare.com). I can remember talking to you and complimenting the job you were doing and continue to do all these years later. I still read you religiously! After being acquired, we spent close to $500K to a company to help us rebrand and the Quovadx was the decision. What a waste of $500K! Keep up the great work. Mike

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