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October 8, 2020 News No Comments

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Apple makes Health Records available to IPhone users in the UK and Canada in its first expansion outside the US.

Health Records has been integrated with Cerner, Epic, Allscripts, and InterSystems.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Listening: Van Halen, reminding myself how good the band was as the late EVH’s Frankenstrat howled and growled through my favorite tracks like “Ain’t Talking About Love,” “Panama,” and “You Really Got Me.” It’s easy to understand why he disliked the uber-annoying but occasionally entertaining David Lee Roth, who kept me from being a big Van Halen fan, but Eddie’s rationale was at least partly musical – he thought Roth’s vocals distracted from his guitar playing similar to someone singing over a Beethoven symphony.


October 28 (Wednesday) noon ET: “How to Build a Data-Driven Organization.” Sponsor: Newfire Global Partners. Presenters: Chris Donovan, CEO and founder, Adaptive Product Consulting; Harvard Pan, CTO, Diameter Health; Jason Sroka, chief analytics officer, SmartSense by Digi; Jaya Plmanabhan, data scientist and senior advisor, Newfire Global Partners; Nicole Hale, head of marketing services, Newfire Global Partners. The panel of data experts will discuss the opportunities that data can unlock and the challenges involved with becoming a data-driven organization. Attendees will learn why having a data strategy is important; how to collect, manage, and share data with internal and external audiences; and how to combat internal resistance to create a data-driven culture.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Health coaching app vendor Lark Health raises $55 million in a Series C funding round and $15 million in a venture debt credit facility, increasing its total to $100 million.


Prescription delivery company ScriptDrop raises $15 million in a Series A funding round, increasing its total to $27 million. Founder and CEO Amanda Epp, a veteran of CoverMyMeds, started the Columbus-based company in 2017 and reports a 220% increase in revenue so far in 2020 due to the pandemic. The company charges $8 for same-day delivery of prescriptions to patients who are located within five miles of the participating pharmacy. Drivers are the employees of partner courier companies rather than its own.


Healthcare data de-identification vendor Datavant – whose clients include 70 academic medical centers and 100 health technology and data companies — raises $40 million in a Series B funding round, increasing its total to $83 million.


Mental health telemedicine company Cerebral raises $35 million in Series A funding, proceeds from which will fund an expansion to all 50 states and development of a mobile app.


Avail Medsystems, which offers a surgery telemedicine system that allows OR teams to access external expertise, raises $100 million in Series B funding,

Building sensor vendor Lumenix acquires the prototype of the AI-powered handwashing monitoring system AIMS from Boston Children’s Hospital.


Google renames its G Suite business software package as Google Workspace, also adding video chatting capability to the document editing window and improving integration among Gmail, Docs, Sheets, and Calendar to better compete with Microsoft Office 365. The system was called Google Apps for Business until mid-2016. The basic business plan costs $6 per user per month.

Greenway Health announces availability of Greenway Telehealth.


  • Intermountain Healthcare chooses Vynca for Cerner-integrated access to advance care planning documents for clinicians, patients, and caregivers.
  • Prevea Health will implement the financial planning and analysis platform of Syntellis Performance Solutions, formerly known as Kaufman Hall Software. 


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Audacious Inquiry hires Edwin Miller, MBA (Aledade) as chief product officer; Sunil Chandran, MBA (FranConnect) as CTO; and Marie Crump, MsC (Mymee) as chief marketing officer.


American College of Medical Informatics names Harvard Medical School biomedical informatics professor and department chair Isaac “Zak” Kohane, MD, PhD as its Morris F. Collen Award of Excellence winner for 2020.

Announcements and Implementations


314e launches Speki, an EHR-embedded application help product that users invoke with a context-aware hot button that triggers micro-learning videos, tip sheets, and other documents that guide the user through completing the task at hand. The company will offer integration with EHRs such as those offered by Epic, Cerner, and EClinicalWorks.

Nephrology Associates goes live on Saykara’s  mobile AI voice assistant to automate physician charting.

UK patients can access information from providers who use InterSystems TrakCare via the Apple Health app, with integration with HealthShare to follow.

Epic will integrate Lyft ride-hailing into its product, allowing hospital staff to book transportation for patients.

Medicare and Medicaid technology vendor Centauri Health Solutions releases a pricing transparency solution for Epic that allows customers to comply with CMS price list publishing requirements that take effect on January 1, 2021. It offers similar products for non-Epic users.

A Central Logic-commissioned independent survey of health system executives finds that 96% will address patient leakage as one of their priorities this year, but only 31% report having the tools they need to keep patients within their networks.

Government and Politics


Dignity Health’s St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center (AZ) will pay $160,000 to settle federal charges that it violated HIPAA’s right-of-access provision. The hospital ignored a mother’s request for copies of her son’s medical records, finally delivering them 22 months later and only after OCR got involved.



Most states are seeing a rise in coronavirus infection and nine have set seven-day records, with Wisconsin being among the worst in doubling case counts in the past month. The US has seen 212,000 deaths in 7.6 million cases, with both numbers representing about 20% of the world’s total. 

Nevada orders state nursing homes to stop using quick COVID-19 antigen tests from Quidel and Becton Dickinson for routine screening due to a high number of false-positive results. Both companies claimed zero false positives in their application for FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization. Experts note that FDA’s authorization for the tests cover only those people who are in their first five days of showing symptoms – they were not evaluated for screening people who don’t have symptoms. HHS required routine testing of residents and staff in late August, including those who don’t have symptoms. National testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir responded by saying that the use of antigen tests is acceptable for nursing homes despite lack of FDA authorization given the cost, delays, and material shortages in conducting PCR tests, also noting that it isn’t unusual for false positives to outnumber true positives in areas that have low coronavirus activity.

Regeneron applies for FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization for the antibody mixture that was administered to President Trump. The company says that initial supplies will be limited to 50,000 patients, but it will produce 300,000 courses of therapy within a few months and 250,000 doses per month sometime next year. Regeneron’s agreement with the federal government calls for the first 300,000 doses to be provided at no cost. Eli Lilly is also seeking authorization for its antibody product.

Moderna won’t enforce its coronavirus vaccine patents while the pandemic is underway and will license them to others afterward, explaining that “we’re not interesting in using that IP to decrease the number of vaccines available in a pandemic.”


NEJM’s editors say in its first-ever editorial involving a political candidate in its 208 years of existence that the Trump administration has “taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy” in being “dangerously incompetent” in its COVID-19 response, urging Americans to vote them out of office.

JAMA Network profiles a clinic whose “plain old phone calls” made up 75% of appointments during the area’s COVID-19 lockdown, with none of them involving video apps such as FaceTime. Lack of technology, comfort with its use, lack of broadband availability, and work or family conflicts leave phone calls remaining as a vital tool for vulnerable populations, for which physicians would like to see temporary reimbursement made permanent.


Epic confirms to a Northwestern University news site that 45% of its employees have returned to on-campus work. (note: the 43,000 employee number is obviously a mistake and should have been 4,300).

Sponsor Updates

  • Healthcare Growth Partners advised Ontellus in its acquisition of Intertel and MasterTrace.
  • Wolters Kluwer and Meditech join forces to deliver integrated healthcare solutions across the Middle East and Africa.
  • MDLive Institute publishes a new report showing changes in consumer attitudes toward telehealth and corresponding behaviors since the start of the pandemic.
  • Elsevier launches Transition to Practice, a virtual learning and support platform for new nurses.
  • Ingenious Med adds missing clinical documentation identification functionality to its Charge Note Reconciliation.
  • First Databank Health network partner Hearst Health and the Jefferson College of Population Health honor Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Healthy Neighborhoods Health Families program as the winner of the 2020 Hearst Health Prize.
  • CHIME’s Digital Health Leaders Podcast features The HCI Group’s CEO Ricky Caplin.
  • Health Data Movers publishes a new white paper, “Patient Monitor Deployments: How We Make It Happen.”
  • Spirion wins an Outstanding Information Security Company award for securing the information of work-from-home and another for most valuable corporate response for providing meals to restaurant staff during the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • Ingenious Med introduces new Charge Note Reconciliation capabilities, including automatically identifying missing clinical documentation and charges.
  • Healthcare organizations using InterSystems TrakCare in the UK can now offer patients a secure way to access medical data using Apple’s Health Records app.
  • Jvion CMIO John Frownfelter contributes to “Intelligence Based Medicine” by Anthony Chang.

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