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October 20, 2020 News 3 Comments

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LabCorp will use the capabilities of its recently acquired mobile nursing provider GlobalCare and remote clinical trials software vendor SnapIoT to connect patients with its Covance drug development contract research organization business.

Covance will offering tools that include consents, patient-reported outcomes, clinical outcomes assessments, telehealth, connected devices, and digital mobile nurse visits and sample collection.


LabCorp says its technology platform will reduce administrative tasks, improve trial resiliency, and maintain drug study continuity to improve patient-centric trial experiences. 

LabCorp’s clinical trials design includes direct-to-patient recruitment, telemedicine, and access to its 2,000 patient service centers and its contact center.

Reader Comments


From Slightly Advanced Member: “Re: HIMSS. Looks like they need money — they are selling certificate frames.” HIMSS is offering advanced members expensive frames for their HIMSS certificates. Those with inflated egos must be the target audience since I can’t imagine putting a HIMSS-issued certificate on an “I’m so proud of me” wall, with or without a $150 frame. Selling frames via a partner is common for schools and member organizations, however, and I don’t have a problem with them doing so since the market will validate the idea.

From You Do You: “Re: HIMSS. I’m going to demand that HIMSS refund my three HIMSS2020 registrations since I don’t think they’ll have another conference soon, and even if they do, I’m not sure that my employers or I will want to attend. I’m already out hotel fees (due to the poor communications from HIMSS) and airfare for all of us. I’ve had no luck with anyone at HIMSS, so I’m wondering if other vendors or attendees would be interested in a class action suit?” HatchMed filed a class action lawsuit in June, but that covered only exhibit hall costs. I’m out two HIMSS20 registrations as well (for Dr. Jayne and me), but I guess we’ll need to attend HIMSS21 to cover it even if it looks unpromising.

From HLTHISNOTHIMSS: “Re: HLTH conference. It’s crazy to call HLTH another HIMSS-type of conference. It would be more appropriate to call it another JPMorgan conference or even Health 2.0 (which I guess technically HIMSS owns now, too). There is a slight overlap with the main HIMSS conference, but not really. The comparison is just not there. As to the event, the sessions were fine, but pretty bland. Take for example John Halamka, who could do a great talk, but ended up just announcing the new Mayo partnership. Disappointing. I guess you could set up meetings, but the interface for that was kludgy and the motivation virtually to do so was tough. Otherwise, the meeting lacked any sort of attendee engagement which was sad since that’s where 80% of the conference value lies.”

From CareManagerIT: “Re: HLTH conference. Our sales team saw the most value in the 1:1 meetings, with the caveat that there were some logistical hurdles in terms of coordinating rescheduled meetings. It would have been nice to incorporate some SMS messaging that sends notifications to the meeting requestor’s phone when changes happened rather than having to check the portal continuously and risk missing important scheduling updates. I also think the virtual booth was more of an asset that was helpful in allowing our meeting targets to check us out, but not very useful by itself because there were so many exhibitors and attendees likely prioritized the agenda sessions and meetings over actually taking the time to see who had a booth. Scheduling and rescheduling should have some sort of feature that makes both parties agree on a meeting time. Having an SMS feature sounds like a great idea. There really is no way of knowing when someone reschedules or cancels a meeting without accessing the portal constantly. Meetings ended abruptly, followed by immediately starting another session. Five-minute intermissions between some time blocks for bathroom breaks, water, food, etc.”

From IANAL: “Re: Olive’s use of the term cybernetics. Olive and other operational improvement companies (like SAP) have to market this way. Who is the buyer of Olive? Managers. What does Olive do? Work around bad process or existing implementation at healthcare organizations. Who is responsible for the process or implementations being bad? Managers. Bad managers generate bad process and are susceptible to buzzword-based initiatives, so Olive’s marketing cleanly targets both the people who have the need and are able to buy. It’s like how scammers leave typos in their emails – they only want to catch the dumb ones.”

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Listening: Miley Cyrus, covering “Zombie” by the Cranberries in a virtual fundraiser for Save Our Stages. I was listening to the original as I occasionally do and ran across this new version by accident, which along with her “Black Mirror” appearance makes me appreciate Cyrus even more. She can definitely belt it out and I appreciate that she didn’t feel the need to personalize the original with her own embellishments (see: the B-list musicians who murder “The Star-Spangled Banner” before sporting events, where its appropriateness was already in question).


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.

November 11 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Beyond the Firewall: Securing Patients, Staff, and the Medical Internet of Things.” Sponsor: Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Presenter: Daniel Faurlin, head of network solutions for healthcare, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. The biggest cybersecurity risk for healthcare IoT isn’t the objects themselves, but rather the network door they can open. This webinar will address meeting the challenges of security, management, and monitoring using ALE’s Digital Age Networking, a single service platform for the network infrastructure that includes an autonomous network, onboarding and managing IoT, and creating business innovation with automated workflows. Specific use cases will be described, including COVID-19 quarantine management, locating equipment and people, and ensuring the security of patients.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


I missed this previously: Google Glass-powered remote scribe service Augmedix secures $25 million in private placement financing and completes a reverse merger with Malo Holdings, which will rename itself to Augmedix, Inc. and list shares on the OTCQB market for early-stage companies. The San Francisco-based company has raised $107 million since launching in 2012. Here’s some interesting analysis by Kevin O’Leary:

Augmedix, the startup that uses Google Glass for medical documentation, is going public via a reverse merger that includes a $25 million investment into the company. The Form 8-K filed as part of the detail is full of interesting details on Augmedix’s business and the medical documentation space in general, if it’s your jam. The business overview starts at page 8 of this SEC filing. The filing highlights how hard it is to build digital health companies – Augmedix has been working on this company for eight years and it currently has 510 providers on the platform (as of June 2020). Average revenue per doc currently sits at $30k – they did around $14 million of revenue in 2019. Their gross margin is only at 33% for 2019 as they’re paying other vendors to do the remote documentation services. What started off as a super cool tech story (Google Glass for AI scribing!) has become a very human labor intensive service (remote medical scribes). It appears they’re currently in a precarious financial spot as their debt obligations exceed cash reserves.


Netsmart acquires Tellus, an electronic visit verification and claims processing company that is focused on home health, long-term care, and human and state services. Netsmart will incorporate its EVV capabilities into the CareFabric population health management portfolio.

Clinical services telemedicine provider SOC Telemed, which will be going public in a Special Purpose Acquisition Company merger and begin public trading on November 2, says 2020 bookings will increase 100% year-over-year to $12.5 million. The SPAC transaction values the company at $720 million.


  • Five orthopedic groups choose MedEvolve for revenue cycle management and workflow automation.



Stephanie Reel (recently retired from Johns Hopkins University) will serve as interim CIO of Washington University in St. Louis.


Matt Dinger (Central Logic) joins Solutionreach’s SR Health business as VP of professional services.


Zac Jiwa (Zeem Consulting) joins Olive as EVP/GM.

Announcements and Implementations

Cerner is seeking health systems to help test its Nuance-powered Voice Assist technology for clinician EHR interaction, joining St. Joseph’s Health and Indiana University Health. 


A report by the Center for Connected Medicine and KLAS finds that eased regulations and increased reimbursement have made telehealth an increased priority for health systems, jumping from 26% of them pre-pandemic to 49% now. Nearly all respondents say their telehealth ramp-up fully met demand, but also exposed integration weaknesses, especially when their chosen technology was not purpose-built for healthcare. Respondents say they will continue to focus on telehealth in 2021, but post-pandemic regulation and payment remain as obstacles — only 20% of health systems say they will continue doing virtual care if reimbursement returns to pre-COVID levels. Volume of use is the top metric being used to evaluate telehealth programs. The pandemic has also increased interest in AI, with clinical decision support and dictation being the most common use cases. Respondents said that revenue cycle management is the area that is most in need of disruption and innovation, especially in the areas of coding and billing and accounts receivable, and new efforts will revolve around increasing telehealth revenue, allowing more employees to work remotely, and using technology to monitor revenue cycle data.


CDC says that the pandemic has seen 285,000 more deaths than the historical baseline from February 1 to September 16, two-thirds of those caused by COVID-19 and the rest from other causes. The 25-44 age group had the largest excess death rate of any age group at 26.5%.

President Trump said in a campaign call Monday that, “People are tired of hearing from Fauci and all these idiots” and toyed with the idea of firing him. He also told attendees of his political rally that CNN is “dumb bastards” for continuing to cover the pandemic, adding that CNN’s intention is to keep people from voting. Meanwhile, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, MD was almost simultaneously receiving the National Academy of Medicine’s Presidential Citation for Exemplary Leadership, which also issued him its 2020 leadership award for his “deft, scientifically grounded leadership in shaping an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

A Kansas nursing home reports that all of its 62 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, of which 10 have died and one is hospitalized. Some staff members have also tested positive.

Several Southern California health systems refused or delayed COVID-19 patient admissions because of their insurance status, a Wall Street Journal report finds, adding to the strain of the hospitals that were already overrun.

KFF and Epic Health Research Network say that hospital admissions dropped one-third during the peak COVID week in mid-April, with the total decline from March through August representing 6.9% of the total expected admissions for 2020. Admissions for patients under 65 dropped only 10% from the expected number, while those involving patients 65 and older dropped in half during March and April. Hospitalization numbers bounced back to 94% of that expected by mid-July.


The UK government awards pharma contract research organization Open Orphan a contract to develop a model for a COVID-19 human challenge tests, in which people who have received vaccines that are being developed will then be injected with small amounts of coronavirus to see how well the vaccines protect them. Open Orphan’s HVivio operates FluCamp, where paid volunteers are studied in a two-week residential program for cold, flu, COVID-19, and other viral respiratory infections.



The University of Virginia Health System makes news once again for its debt collection practices. The health system, which made headlines last year for suing patients 36,000 times over six years, continues to rely on property liens to collect on old bills. Though liens in the state expire after 20 years, UVA Health often renews them, giving it the ability to seize properties through 2039 for bills dating back to the last century.

Dickinson County Healthcare System in Michigan recovers from a ransomware attack over the weekend that compromised access to some of its computer systems.

Sponsor Updates

  • Cerner shares insights from its first virtual healthcare conference.
  • Change Healthcare exhibits at MGMA’s virtual Medical Practice Excellence Conference through October 21.
  • CloudWave and Neptuno partner to deliver cloud services to hospitals using Meditech in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
  • PatientPing commends its community of MSSP ACOs for generating over $527 million in shared savings – a 20% improvement over last year.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

    • I felt old when my 16 year old daughter asked me “Do you know that song, Heart of Glass?” Apparently Miley’s cover of that is also great.

    • I was struck that Zombie doesn’t have much dynamic volume range. It’s a bit of a test of vocal power. The singer is required to really belt it out, for almost the entire song.

      Never noticed that before! But then I consume most music via audio-only, with music videos a “nice to have” add-on.

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