Home » News » Currently Reading:

News 10/28/20

October 27, 2020 News 2 Comments

Top News


Blank-check company Health Assurance Acquisition Corp. prepares for an IPO of up to $500 million.

The SPAC is sponsored by General Catalyst and is backed by former Livongo executives who didn’t make the jump to its acquirer Teladoc, including former chairman Glen Tullman and former president Jennifer Schneider, MD; as well as Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health CEO Stephen Klasko, MD, DuPage Medical Group Board Director Anita Pramoda, and several General Catalyst executives.

HAAC is looking for companies that are involved in health assurance, have high growth potential in expanding addressable markets, and are led by mission-driven CEOs who are committed to responsible innovation. Its SEC filings state, “We know that health assurance companies can generate both positive clinical outcomes and outsized shareholder returns because our team built the first one—Livongo Health, Inc.”

It further defines the companies it will consider: “Health assurance companies deliver modern consumer health experiences while decreasing the overall healthcare GDP and are rooted in partnership with existing care providers. In a world built on health assurance, care is continuous, proactive, personalized, and available everywhere. Health assurance companies will be rewarded based on patient outcomes, enabling free-market economics to perform their important role in creating best-in-class solutions.“ It predicts that the digital health sector will eventually command more dollars and time than the physical sector.

HAAC’s chairman and CEO will be Hemant Taneja, a 45-year-old General Catalyst partner and Livongo lead investor who has written books about AI-based innovation and healthcare innovation. His Livongo shares are worth more than $2 billion.

Reader Comments

From Bubonic Relationship: “Re: Teladoc. I’ve never seen so many top execs bail when their company was acquired, especially one as new as Livongo.” The departing Livongo senior suits could spend their days making snow angels in the Teladoc-provided cash avalanche, but instead they’re off on a new venture to create another company to take public. I’m also surprised that Teladoc didn’t make the acquisition contingent on the whole management team signing up for a year of transition while the new owners figure out how their $18.5 billion acquisition works. Still, it’s inevitable that an acquired company’s leadership team won’t last long after the deal is done, even though they are the ones who created the value for which the acquirer paid a big premium, and Teladoc is keeping enough folks to keep the lights on.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Katie, freshly graduated from college with a journalism degree, started working as a paid HIStalk intern this week, earning her the sobriquet “Katie the Intern.” She and I are figuring how to ease her into the industry and put her to productive use given some limitations: (a) neither of us has internship experience; (b) I work alone and am not accustomed to explaining what I do or how I do it; and (c) we’ll be communicating remotely. I’ve given her some assignments to introduce herself in an upcoming HIStalk post, write a weekly column about what she’s learning, and review other health IT sites to see how they approach industry news. She’s also reviewing the comments of readers who suggested what I should have her do. You’ll hear from her shortly, but in the mean time, contact her if you would like to tell her about your job and how HIStalk fits into it because she has no idea. 


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 Healthcare 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.

November 12 (Thursday) 5 ET: “Getting Surgical Documentation Right: A Fireside Chat.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Alex Dawson, product manager, IMO; Janice Kelly, MS, RN, president, AORN Syntegrity; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO; Lou Ann Montgomery, RN, BSN, nurse informaticist, IMO; Whitney Mannion, RN, clinical terminologist, IMO. The presenters will discuss using checklists, templates, the EHR, and third-party solutions to improve documentation without overburdening clinicians. They will explore the importance of surgical documentation in perioperative patient management, the guidelines and requirements for surgical documentation and operative notes, how refining practices and tools can improve accuracy and efficiency, and the risks and implications of incomplete, inconsistent, and non-compliant documentation.

November 16 (Monday) 1 ET. “COVID-19 and Beyond: A CISO’s Perspective for Staying Ahead of Threats.” Sponsor: Everbridge. Presenter: Sonia Arista, VP and global chief information security officer, Everbridge. While hospitals worldwide work to resume elective care amid COVID-19, they’re quickly adapting and responding to a variety of emerging risks that have tested their resilience, including a surge in cybersecurity and ransomware attacks. This webinar will highlight emerging IT vulnerabilities and best practices designed to help hospitals anticipate and quickly mitigate cybersecurity risks. A former hospital CISO will share her expertise in responding to high-impact IT incidents and mitigating risks during critical events given the “new normal” that COVID-19 has created.

November 18 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Do You Really Have a Telehealth Program, Or Just Videoconferencing?” Sponsor: Mend Family. Presenters: J. D. McFarland, solutions architect, Mend Family; Nick Neral, national account executive, Mend Family.  Healthcare’s new competitive advantage is telehealth, of which a videoconferencing platform is just a small part. This presentation will describe a comprehensive patient journey in which an organization can acquire new patients, reduce check-in time, reduce no-shows, and increase patient satisfaction, all using virtual care. Health systems did a good job in quickly standing up virtual visits in response to COVID, but telehealth and the digital front door are here to stay and now is a good time to re-evaluate tools and processes that support patient scheduling, digital forms, telehealth, and patient engagement as part of a competitive strategy.

November 18 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Leveraging a Clinical Intelligence Engine to Solve the EHR Usability Crisis.” Sponsor: Medicomp Systems. Presenter: Jay Anders, MD, MS, chief medical officer, Medicomp; David Lareau, CEO, Medicomp. Healthcare is long overdue for a data makeover. Clinician burnout is fueled by inaccurate, inconsistent, and incomplete clinical data, but that can be improved without scrapping existing systems. The presenters will describe the use of tools that work seamlessly with EHR workflows to deliver actionable data, improve interoperability; support the clinician’s thought process; and improve usability for better decision-making and accurate coding.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Harris acquires UK-based  maternity ward software vendor K2 Medical Systems.


Lux Capital’s newly formed SPAC, Lux Health Tech Acquisition, launches a $300 million IPO in hopes of eventually merging with or acquiring a health IT company. CEO and Director Josh DeFonzo comes from the Robotics & Digital Solutions division of Johnson & Johnson.

Intermountain Healthcare and Sanford Health will merge, with the combined organization having 89,000 employees, 70 hospitals, 435 clinics, and 1.1 million insurance customers.


  • NCH Healthcare System (FL) will implement EVideon’s Patient Smart Room technology across its two hospitals.
  • Baptist Health (KY) selects provider online search and appointment-scheduling software from Kyruus.
  • Virginia Health Information chooses Collective Medical to provide hospital ADT notifications to a patient’s provider as required CMS starting May 1, 2021.



James Lawson (Verge Health) joins Sectyr as CEO.

Announcements and Implementations


Freeman Health System (MO) develops a text-based messaging app to update family members on a patient’s surgical status.

WellSpan Health implements Epic at several facilities that were previously part of Summit Health. The two health systems merged in late 2018.

Baptist Health (FL) deploys LifeLink’s chatbot software to expedite ED-to-PCP referrals and COVID-related care.

Population health management vendor Arcadia becomes a reseller of PatientPing’s real-time care notification technology.


A new KLAS report on health system AI purchases finds that that they are seeking specific solutions rather than concentrating on a single AI vendor, with the expected results taking longer than they expected. Jvion has a large client base but declining client satisfaction; Epic Cognitive Computing is growing fast, especially with readmission and sepsis prediction, but organizations need to drive outcomes on their own; and Cerner’s HealtheDataLab is early in its life cycle, with few live sites and little consideration in the market. Among products that allow customers to develop their own models, KenSci has high client satisfaction, DataRobot’s customers express concern about lack of completeness and the company’s lack of healthcare expertise; and Health Catalyst has weak customer satisfaction as its product is slowly maturing. Big tech firm offerings are seen as average, with Microsoft’s healthcare expertise and partnerships taking it to the top of the list, as Google and Amazon are perceived as light on healthcare knowledge and IBM Watson Health is seen as over-promising, under-delivering, and offering low value.


In California, San Francisco and Alameda counties sever ties with Google’s sister company Verily seven months after the state signed a multi-million dollar contract with the company to expand COVID-19 testing sites. They are concerned about racial disparities because Verily requires people to sign up using a Gmail account, uses confusing two-factor authentication, and asks health questions whose answers could be exposed to Google or third parties. A community health center CEO who shut down the Verily-run program after just six days summarized, “From where we sit, this is an old story. Corporations that are not really invested in the community come helicoptering in, bearing gifts, but what they’re taking away [user data] is much more valuable.” 

A New York Times opinion piece written by the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation says that most of the useful COVID-19 data that the federal government collects isn’t being made available to public health researchers. This includes county- and city-level counts of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths as well as implementation dates of mandates for testing, distancing, and mask-wearing. It notes that the Times had to sue CDC under the Freedom of Information Act to get a case breakout by race and ethnicity, which revealed major societal implications. HHS also doesn’t release individual hospital data; break out hospitalization totals by age or sex; or indicate how many hospitals reported data on a given day. Unanswered questions that the data could answer include whether transmission is moving to younger people, whether death rates improved because of better treatment, and how local mandates have affected cases and admissions.

HHS data shows that only 60% of hospitals are fully complying with its COVID-19 reporting requirements, potentially exposing them to being banned from billing Medicare and Medicaid.



Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park hints at the wearables company’s telemedicine plans, saying that adding a virtual visit benefit could be key to bolstering its subscription service. The company was acquired by Google last year for $2.1 billion.

In Finland, hackers who breached a national psychotherapy provider are emailing individual patients and threatening to disclose their personal information publicly unless they send a bitcoin payment. The organization fired its CEO Monday after discovering that he failed to disclose two breaches going back to November 2018 and did not act quickly to fix identified security vulnerabilities.

Sponsor Updates

  • Startup.info profiles Saykara founder and CEO Harjinder Sandhu.
  • Clinical Architecture releases a new podcast, “A FHIRside Chat.”
  • Kettering Health Network expands its use of Nuance’s Dragon Medical One physician documentation software with the addition of emergency department guidance.
  • Surescripts VP and CISO Judy Hatchett joins the EHNAC Commission.
  • Ingenious Med publishes a white paper titled “Rising to the Challenge: How Leading Healthcare Organizations are Thriving in an Evolving Revenue Environment.”
  • Unified Communications Today features Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise’s efforts to transform healthcare during the pandemic.
  • Change Healthcare releases a new podcast, “Capital Connection: 2020 Year-End Outlook.”
  • Clinical Computer Systems, developer of the Obix Perinatal Data System, will exhibit at the virtual AWHONN Convention November 1-4.
  • InterSystems adds Adaptive Analytics to its IRIS for Health data aggregation and app development platform.
  • Allscripts recognizes Healthfinch’s prescription renewal delegation engine Charlie as its App of the Month for October.
  • Virginia Health Information adds Collective Medical’s ADT-based care coordination and notification capabilities to its HIE services.

Blog Posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.


HIStalk Featured Sponsors


Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

    • I feel like this is just the first in a series of hospital acquisitions for Intermountain. With the recent purchase of Saltzer in Boise and Healthcare Partners in NV it would make sense that a hospital acquisition in those states would be coming next.

Founding Sponsors


Platinum Sponsors


























































Gold Sponsors












Reader Comments

  • Eat Bubbles: Just another bubble waiting to burst......
  • IANAL: They display pharmaceutical ads to doctors. Similar to how practice fusion made money but doximity has lower risk becaus...
  • DoximityDoubter: Though I was good at math in engineering school, my skills have obviously atrophied with the transition to medical train...
  • Neil Young Remembers: Judgement is okay in life and death matters like this, especially since tolerance and forbearance with guys like that di...
  • J Brody Brodock: I think the thing I am more concerned about than the belittling of a state or the "silly"ness of posting it on social me...

Sponsor Quick Links