Providence forms Tegria, a healthcare services business comprised of nine companies that the health system has invested in or acquired. Providence SVP Anders Brown will lead the Seattle-based company’s team of 2,500. The companies involved are:
- Bluetree (Epic consulting)
- Engage (Meditech services)
- Navin, Haffty & Associates (Meditech consulting)
- Community Technologies (Epic Connect and services)
- MediRevv (hospital revenue cycle management)
- Acclara Solutions (hospital revenue cycle management)
- Medical Specialties Managers (ambulatory revenue cycle management)
- QuiviQ (machine learning for optimizing hospital operations)
- Lumedic (information exchange)
An executive of one of the companies says that they will continue to operate under their own names, which the announcement did not specifically say.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
Thanks to the several folks who suggested ways that hiring a new journalism grad (a friend of a friend) as a paid intern might add value to HIStalk while enhancing her career prospects. I’ll be talking to her soon to learn more about her interests and capabilities and I’ll use the comments I received to give her an idea of the possibilities.
Listening: new from Bob Dylan. I’ve liked a few of his songs over the years and little else from his long career because I find his nasal, country-leaning vocal stylings distracting no matter how profound his lyrics. But at 79 years of age, “Murder Most Foul” sounds great and tells a story that doesn’t require a coffee shop study group to figure out, which might explain why the old, unreleased song became his first #1 pop hit and has earned 4.4 million YouTube views. It is simple yet effective in a Nick Cave meets Steven King poetic kind of way, mixing the Kennedy assassination with a bunch of random song titles. The time around 1963 was important in Dylan’s career as a 22-year-old – he released his first album followed by another that included “Blowin’ in the Wind,” he changed his name from Robert Zimmerman, and he recorded his first protest songs.
October 27 (Tuesday) noon ET. “Don’t Waste This Pandemic (From a Former Healthcare CEO).” Sponsor: Relatient. Presenter: Monica Reed, MD, MSc, former CEO, Celebration Health. Some healthcare organizations are trying to get back to the normalcy of 2019, but tomorrow’s leaders are accelerating even faster in 2020. Two- or three-year roadmaps were accomplished in six months, so what’s next? The presenter will describe how technology was changing before COVID-19, how the pandemic accelerated plans, what we can expect to see as a result, how leaders and providers can adapt, and what healthcare’s digital front door looks like going forward and how it can be leveraged.
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.
October 29 (Thursday) 1 ET. “How Presbyterian Healthcare Services Is Preparing for a Post-Pandemic Future Using Digital Care Tools.” Sponsor: Bright.md. Presenters: Ries Robinson, MD, SVP/chief innovation officer, Presbyterian Healthcare Services; Ray Costantini, MD, MBA, co-founder and CEO, Bright.md. Presbyterian Healthcare Services changed the way New Mexico patients access healthcare with its pres.today digital front door, which has given patients easy access to care during a global crisis. The health system’s digital care strategy goes beyond simply offering virtual visits and instead makes every episode of care — regardless of where it is delivered — better by streamlining clinical workflows and by directing patients to the most appropriate venue of care. The presenters will describe how Presbyterian has continued to meet patient needs during the pandemic, how it is deploying digital tools to tackle the combined COVID-19 and flu seasons, and how the health system is innovating care delivery to prepare for a post-pandemic future.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Training and talent management platform vendor HealthStream acquires ShiftWizard, which offers systems for nurse and staff scheduling, productivity, and forecasting, for $32 million in cash.
In Australia, NSW Health begins accepting bids for a statewide, cloud-based health IT system that it hopes to have in place by 2026. The single system will replace nine EHRs from Cerner and Orion Health; several patient administration systems from Cerner and DXC; and laboratory information systems from Cerner, Citadel, and Integrated Software Solutions.
Israel-based Nym Health raises $16.5 million to expand its automated hospital coding and billing technology beyond the 40 providers it already serves in the US.
I’m a new fan of health IT guy Kevin O’Leary, MBA, JD for his shockingly insightful analysis of the $3.7 billion valuation of Medicare Advantage startup Clover, which emphasizes its PCP contracting tool called Clover Assistant. Clover is going public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), a shell company that is formed to raise capital through an IPO while avoiding some SEC reporting. It’s a fascinating read, with this spoiler offered in the second sentence: “It’s obviously a great exit for everyone associated with Clover, but you’ll have to forgive me if I’m a bit befuddled that a 3-star Medicare Advantage plan with an MLR of 98.8% in 2019 and ~57,000 lives is somehow being valued at $3.7 billion (roughly equaling $65k per life covered).” He also notes that the company has been fined by CMS for misleading marketing, withheld payments to labs in hoping to force them to provide detailed patient data, and laid off 25% of its headcount in admitting that it needed more people who understand healthcare. The CEO previously ran a chain of hospitals best known for going out of network with all insurance and increasing prices to the point that one was the most expensive in the US in 2013, earning him and his investors $150 million in management fees.
- UAB Medicine will offer tele-ICU services from Advanced ICU Care.
Darin Ryder (UF Health) joins Continuum Health IT as EVP of client services.
Announcements and Implementations
Through its Mayo Clinic Platform, Mayo Clinic (MN) and Safe Health Group establish Safe Health Systems to improve access to efficient, affordable virtual treatment for common conditions using the SAFE digital health platform. Initial efforts have focused on enabling COVID-19 testing and app-based health status verification for employees and students, and will expand to testing for STDs and common conditions.
Imprivata develops a touchless version of PatientSecure, a biometric palm scanner healthcare organizations can use to correctly identify patients and match them to their medical records.
Non-profit public trust The Commons Project partners with LabCorp to make test results, including COVID-19 screening, available on the CommonHealth Android app. It makes Apple Health type functionality available to the vast majority of the world’s mobile phone users whose devices run Android rather than IOS. I’m surprised they misspelled “Immunizations” in the app as depicted on the Google Play screen shot.
A new KLAS report on implementation consulting finds that S&P Consultants, Impact Advisors, Cumberland, and Ettain Health (formerly known as Leidos Health) are strong in Cerner projects. Health systems whose Epic implementations are complex give high marks to Impact Advisors, Nordic, and Optimum Healthcare IT. Engage tops the list tops the list of firms that provide strategic and technical expertise for Meditech projects, which also includes its fellow Tegria company of Navin, Haffty & Associates.
Government and Politics
ONC publishes a questionnaire for EHR users that would allow it to publish product comparisons. However, ONC notes that the questionnaire was developed using Cures Act funding, no money was appropriated to do anything with the tool after its development, and ONC has no plans to use it. They also note other potential problems, which would seem to have been obvious before ONC handed taxpayer money over to the contractors who happily did pointless work in designing a survey that no EHR user could ever complete accurately:
- Only the happiest and least-happy customers submit reviews.
- QA methods would need to screen for duplicate responses, incomplete submissions, and outlier responses.
- No method was designed to ensure that users and the EHR they claim they use are valid.
- The user’s evaluation may reflect their own organization’s customization or deployment rather than the design of the base product.
- The more detailed the questions, the harder it is for a single respondent to answer them all since they span everything from clinical usability to contractual terms.
- Voluntary participation is unlikely to generate good results.
Use of masks in New Zealand as a coronavirus mitigation measure reduced its flu case count over its April to August winter to just six, saving an estimated 1,500 lives.
Surgeon, author, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health professor Martin Makary, MD, MPH says in a USA Today opinion piece that a top national priority should be to support at-home COVID-19 testing using telemedicine to avoid sending potentially infected people out in public. He advocates having trained professionals supervise a patient’s at-home testing in a virtual visit, then having an app send the de-identified information to a national tracking database. The federal government is starting distribution of 100 million Abbott BinaxNow kits this week.
Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD says that antibody treatments for COVID-19 will need to be rationed given the current infection rate that will require up to 400,000 doses per month.
Brown University’s medical school and Lifespan develop MyCOVIDRisk, which allows people to specify their location, describe their plans for the day, and understand how much risk is involved and how they can reduce it. A two-person, 45 minute lunch in my area with no masks creates a small risk, with the site concluding that it’s a good idea for my mental health, while a two-hour hair appointment for Mrs. HIStalk in a salon with eight unmasked people creates a high risk. A subtle point is that the site is optimistic and helpful rather than just doling out gloom and doom that will force users into the false binary choice of doing whatever they want versus locking themselves in their homes.
Public health departments and colleges are struggling to perform contact tracing because students aren’t sure whether to put their home address or their campus address on COVID testing forms. Students are also less likely to answer phone calls from an unknown number to verify their location. The address issue also affects campus outbreak counts since some cases are being sent to their home addresses, especially if the student didn’t specifically identify themselves as attending college, and those addresses may be in a different state.
A New York Times opinion piece says “the medical cavalry is coming” and says that coronavirus optimism is warranted for these reasons:
- Experts say that the pandemic will end here sooner than expected, possibly by mid-2021.
- Americans have been mostly cooperative with shutdowns, distancing, and mask requirements despite high-profile exceptions.
- Every COVID-19 survivor and vaccine recipient breaks another chain in the transmission.
- The percentage of people who die of the infection has fallen dramatically as older Americans exercise more caution, nursing homes improve their protections, and hospitals use treatment techniques such as proning and ventilator avoidance.
- At least two vaccines will likely be approved by early January, and despite distribution challenges, enough doses should be available vaccinate every American by June.
Stat looks at how population health analytics software inadvertently adds racial bias in identifying patients who should receive more involved care, which happens because those platforms use medical spending data as a proxy for health need. White patients are scored up to four times higher for preventive care that similar marginalized patients because they have had more tests and visits. The article notes that the algorithms deliver the promised benefit — reduced hospitalizations and cost — but don’t consider that the data of black patients includes the effects of racism, lower incomes, less insurance coverage, and fewer provider choices.
UC San Diego Health provides a “how to” model for rapidly deploying telemedicine, which includes roles and responsibilities, user technology support, a provider checklist for video visits, patient support, and billing and credentialing.
In Australia, a health district will review the case of a woman who died of gastrointestinal rupture after arriving by ambulance at Gulgong Multi-Purpose Service, which no longer employs doctors. The hospital decided in June to use telehealth services instead. The family, which didn’t find out until the next day that the woman died without a physician being present, says it is reasonable to expect that ambulance-transported patients will see a doctor in person.
- AGS Health will present during AHIMA’s virtual conference October 15 and 16.
- OptimizeRx expects Q3 revenue to increase 100% to $10 million.
- Ryan Engle (TT Capital Partners) and Navid Farzad (Frist Cressey Ventures) join Audacious Inquiry’s Board of Directors.
- Change Healthcare offers tips for interviewing virtually as part of its new Candidate Corner series.
- Clinical Architecture releases a new Informonster Podcast, “The Architecture of Intolerance: Discussing How Healthcare IT Documents Substance Intolerances and Allergies.”
- HIMSS SoCal features CloudWave President and COO Erik Littlejohn.
- Dimensional Insight congratulates customer Konza on its HHS grant, which the HIE will use to establish better connectivity with local public health agencies.
- Cerner Chairman and CEO Brent Shafer announces new offerings at its virtual Cerner Health Conference: Unite (usability), Discover (intelligence-integrated products), and social disparity dashboards.
- In England, Cerner will work with Induction Healthcare Group to develop patient engagement offerings for NHS facilities.
- Spok welcomes more than 550 attendees this week to its Connect 20 Virtual conference.
- 314e Corporation launches “Speki” EHR Help (314e)
- Top 5 Concerns Driving Your Contactless Check-In Initiatives (Access)
- Impressive research by Agfa RSNA R&E Grant recipient (Agfa HealthCare)
- US News & World Report Analytics: Showcase Your Successes (Bluetree)
- Patient Event Notification CoPs: Understanding the Regulatory Landscape (CarePort Health)
- A Full Virtual Care Strategy is More Than Telehealth: Achieve Outcomes, Scale, and ROI with Deviceless Remote Patient Monitoring (CareSignal)
- ServiceNow Workflows: Best Practices for Maximizing Your Investment (CereCore)
- Improving Healthcare Access and Orchestration by Aligning Providers and Health Systems (Central Logic)
- Cerner’s Commitment to Innovative and Cost-Effective Associate Health Care (Cerner)
- Navigating Cybersecurity Challenges in Healthcare (ChartLogic)
- Recent Spike in Healthcare Breach Reports Due to Blackbaud Ransomware Attack (CI Security)
- 9th Annual Rock Health Summit 2020: Delivering Digital-First Collaborative Care for Vulnerable Populations (Collective Medical)
- Beyond the Coat: CoverMyMeds Pharmacists Share Their “Why” (CoverMyMeds)
- CMS: Home Care-Related MA Benefits are Booming (Dina)
- Online Doctor’s Appointment Booking Made Easy (EClinicalWorks)