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November 10, 2020 News 15 Comments

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Managed care company Centene will acquire AI-powered healthcare analytics vendor Apixio for an undisclosed amount.

The acquisition comes at a time of strong growth for Apixio, which expects its annual revenue to increase by 50% and its staff to expand by 25% by year’s end.

Reader Comments

From UpAndComer: “Re: HIStalk. I look at it quickly each day or two, but it’s too long to read.” Some folks have short attention spans, where any block of text longer than a tweet creates an eye-rolling “TL; DR” that suggests writer incompetence. Spend 5-10 minutes per day reading the HIStalk headlines and scanning the news posts and you’ll be keeping up with the industry that employs you. About 90% of readers say reading here helps them do their job better, and not to be conveniently negative, their doing a better job might involve taking someone else’s because they are willing to put more effort into it.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Wednesday, November 11 is Veterans Day, where we celebrate the service of those American men and women who have – living or dead, in war or peace, and in assignments domestic or foreign – put on a uniform for our common good. Around the world, Commonwealth nations will honor their war dead Wednesday on Remembrance Day, which is more like our Memorial Day.


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 network infrastructure-oriented webinar will address overcoming the challenges of architecting a network to provide security, management, and monitoring for IoT, devices, and users using ALE’s Digital Age Networking blueprint, a single service platform for hospital networks. Digital Age Networking includes an autonomous network, onboarding and managing IoT, and creating business innovation with automated workflows. Specific use cases will describe enabling COVID-19 quarantine management, contact tracing, locating equipment and people, and ensuring the security of patients and more.

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


Digital health company Eko will use a $65 million Series C funding round to launch a remote-monitoring program for cardiopulmonary patients and expand clinical use of its devices and algorithms for disease screening.

Ambulatory surgery center software vendors HST Pathways and Casetabs will merge with the support of investments from Bain Capital Tech Opportunities and Nexxus Holdings.


OptimizeRx announces Q3 results: revenue up 110%, adjusted EPS $0.07 versus –$0.07. Shares jumped 10% on Tuesday, valuing the company at $350 million. OPRX share price is up 130% in the past year versus the Nasdaq’s 36% gain.


  • BrightStar Care joins Dina’s home care coordination network.
  • Townsen Memorial Hospital (TX) will implement CPSI’s Evident cloud-based EHR and TruBridge RCM software.
  • Allegheny Health Network (PA) will install Omnicell’s automated medication dispensing systems at its 13 hospitals.



Colleen Woods, MITM, MPA, MA (CMH Consulting Group) joins Integrity Health as CIO.


Rachel Feinman (Florida-Israel Business Accelerator) will join Tampa General Hospital (FL) in the new role of VP for innovation, which will include oversight of the hospital’s new InnoVentures fund, accelerator, and lab.


Mark McArdle (ESentire) joins Imprivata as SVP of product and design.


Impact Advisors promotes Kim Reitter, MBA to VP.


Cheryl Cruver, MPA (Sonifi Health) joins AGS Health as chief revenue officer.

Announcements and Implementations


The 673d Medical Group in Alaska, including the Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, goes live on Cerner as part of the DoD’s MHS Genesis program.

PatientPing connects to the MedAllies National Provider Directory to better enable providers to send patient care transition notifications via Direct messaging.


A new KLAS report on ambulatory patient intake management finds that top player Phreesia has improved its patient check-in tools with at-home forms and questionnaire completion that includes COVID-19 screening, while customers of Epic and Athenahealth-only Epion Health say they are receiving near daily, free COVID-19 self-service updates covering check-in and payment. AdvancedMD has stopped marketing its high-performing, EHR-agnostic solution outside its own EHR user base. Top rated for increasing office efficiency are Epion Health, Phreesia, and OTech Group. The report issues a marketing warning about CareCloud Breeze, which it says “consistently and significantly underperforms” with poor support and customer upselling under new owner MTBC, which acquired CareCloud for $36 million in January 2020.

Government and Politics


HHS OIG imposes additional Corporate Integrity Agreement terms on EClinicalWorks, which paid $155 million in 2017 to settle false claims act charges. OIG will require the company to:

  • Send a Patient Safety Issue Advisory to each customer’s patient safety contact, notifying them that ECW’s EHR creates a material risk of patient harm from reported incidents of data loss, prescription errors, and having the information of different patients display in the record of a single patient.
  • Enhance its Patient Safety Notifications to include a plain-language problem description and how customers can mitigate or correct the issue, also flagging those issues that place patient safety at risk.
  • Submit a monthly progress report describing the company’s progress on fixing known issues such as: (a) problems handling special characters, assigning incorrect data types, and truncating data; (b) displaying data from multiple patients on a single screen; and (c) failing to code allergens to they can be used to perform automated drug-allergy checks.



Pfizer announces that its coronavirus vaccine is showing 90% effectiveness so far in clinical trials, exceeding the expected 50% to 60% effectiveness level and potentially clearing the way for a mid-December emergency use authorization from FDA. The company has not published its data yet and cautions that it does not know how long the vaccine’s protection will last or whether new safety concerns will emerge as the study continues. Manufacturing and distribution challenges must be overcome, as do those involving consumer reluctance. The vaccine was not developed as part of the US government’s Operation Warp Speed — Pfizer decided to spend its own money instead of that of taxpayers to free its scientists from external involvement.

FDA gives emergency use authorization to Lilly’s antibody treatment for COVID-19, allowing its use for non-hospitalized patients as soon as possible after a positive test. Obese people over age 65 appear to benefit most from the treatment. Lilly says it can manufacturer enough doses to treat one million people by the end of the year, although the US is running 110,000 new infections each day.

A cell phone tracking study finds that a small number of “super-spreader” geographic points of interest account for most coronavirus infections, and limiting occupancy at those locations is more effective than broad lockdowns to prevent spread. The study of hourly cell phone movement of 98 million people also finds that the higher rate of infection among disadvantaged groups is associated with their inability to reduce mobility and their more frequent visits to crowded locations.

Tulsa health officials say that no ICU beds are available in the city. Meanwhile, El Paso is almost out of ICU beds, one in five coronavirus tests are coming back positive, and a single funeral home has 220 bodies waiting for burial or cremation, most of them due to COVID-19.

Patient safety organization ECRI finds that more than 50% of disposable isolation gowns it tested failed to meet even the lowest level of protection against pathogens that include coronavirus. They warn that gowns that are manufactured outside the US or obtained from non-traditional suppliers may not be safe and effective despite their appearance, labeling, or packaging. ECRI recently found that 70% of China-manufactured KN95 respiratory masks failed US standards.

Cleveland Clinic makes its COVID-19 risk prediction model available to any patient with access to Epic’s MyChart patient portal. Patient risk scores are then automatically shared with their providers.

AMA announces coronavirus vaccine-specific CPT codes to allow tracking, reporting, and analyzing use of the two likely products.



Sky Lakes Medical Center (OR) says that an October 27 recent ransomware attack from which it is still recovering will hit the 176-bed hospital’s bottom line hard even with business interruption insurance, as it has had to cut back on elective and outpatient services and will need to replace 2,000 computers.

Wired magazine notes that CMS will soon start paying for existing AI-powered diagnostic tools for retinopathy and for detecting strokes from CT scans, a milestone in having Medicare pay for software analysis rather than provider time alone. Providers say that CMS’s proposed payments may not be sufficient to encourage screening using the AI tools.


A Bloomberg Businessweek analysis ponders whether Hims – which offers telehealth-prescribed erectile dysfunction and hair loss drugs at prices much higher than those of local pharmacies – is misusing its “shiny veneer, wellness lingo, and ability to prescribe over the Internet” to make prescription medications too easy for people to obtain. The article notes that each Hims doctor cranks through hundreds of online patients per week, they often prescribe drugs for uses that FDA has not approved, and the company treats doctors like salespeople who are “leasing your license for $100 per hour” instead of clinicians who are looking out for the best interest of patients and adhering to medical ethics. The doctors say they are pushed to approve nearly every prescription and are lied to by patients who misrepresent their medical history just to get the drugs they want. State-level telemedicine restrictions have been mostly lifted, so telehealth companies are moving into other areas, such as psychology, in extending their business model of selling more drugs. Hims will go public by the end of the year with an expected valuation of $1.6 billion.

Sponsor Updates


  • HCTec supports Operation Stand Down in Nashville, helping the group prepare for its Veterans Day Heroes Breakfast by assembling medical and dental hygiene kits.
  • CoverMyMeds and Cosi Science Museum distribute 500 Learning Lunchboxes at a local elementary school in Franklinton, OH.
  • Forbes recognizes Cerner as among the world’s best employers.
  • CereCore will present during the virtual NCHIMSS Fall Conference November 17.
  • Forbes includes Cerner on its 2020 list of World’s Best Employers.
  • Change Healthcare releases a new podcast, “CommonWell’s Paul Wilder on Interoperability, Healthcare Policy, and the Pandemic.”
  • CI Security will exhibit at the virtual Dallas Cybersecurity Summit November 11-12.
  • CareSignal will participate in a virtual showcase of remote patient monitoring solutions for safety-net populations on November 18 as part of the Remote Patient Monitoring Innovation Challenge.

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Currently there are "15 comments" on this Article:

  1. Hey “UpandComer”, you are going nowhere. Quickly. The nerve. Someone told you this is the site to follow, so you don’t want to miss out with your millennial “FOMO”, but you think you are above actually reading and participating in this rich information exchange? Naturally, you have the nerve to imply the news needs to change to fit YOUR needs? Good luck in your entitled bubble. May we never do business with one another, so help me God. God knows you’ll never read this ‘comment’ because you only see soundbyte push messages and are too busy ‘innovating’ and ‘transforming’ with your magical greatness and practiced jargon

    • As a millennial who’s been working in the healthcare IT industry for nearly a decade, I’d like to politely remind you that the majority of millennials are now in their thirties. Recent college grads are part of Gen Z.

      While I fully agree that “UpandComer” is willfully throwing away one of the best ways to say informed about our industry, Mr. HISTalk has chronicled requests for “just give me the highlights” for years. That’s why the daily headlines and, more recently, the Weekender exist (https://histalk2.com/2018/01/12/weekender-1-12-18/).

      If you feel the need to be rude on the internet, at least be accurate. Okay, boomer?

      • And what precisely am I inaccurate about? I didn’t state this person was a recent college grad. I referenced a key trait that was introduced to the world via Millennials (FOMO) and the prevaling trait of entitlement (they are owed the information but feel they have better things to do than invest the requisite time). This site is designed very deliberately to attract and engage true industry contributors. It is also designed in a pretty brilliant way to not be so obvious to a sales person who just wants quick intel. This community is earned, not given.

  2. Perhaps assumptions are dangerous? Mr. HIStalk provided a respectful response. Some individuals respond to more negative feedback, but many do not. I do believe the time spent reading the summary, checking links when provided and thinking about the implications for one’s position, goals and organization is wise and it presents an opportunity for self-directed learning. People are unique, dare I say diverse, and that brings about well-rounded thinking (the avoidance of group think). If individuals choose to pursue the approach we’ve used to learn and better the community from our interactions, great. If not, maybe there is another way to learn or they don’t have the same goals?

  3. I remember being in London on Remembrance day about 10-15 years ago. I was with a friend and in a tube station waiting for the next train. At 11:10am they announced that in a minute, all trains would stop for the minute of silence at 11:11am. Everyone stopped talking and just stayed in place. It was silent (but my friend started to say something and I gave him a good elbow in the ribs, which was well justified). I will always remember that scene. I wish we could do that here…

    • Most likely they have to replace computers that are outdated, running an unsupported operating system with security holes that cannot be fixed on the hardware platform on which they are sitting.

      • Yea, I understand an organization might use the situation to force needed upgrades, but is replacing HW after a ransomware attack really a thing? Isn’t the usual route of attack to upgrade the existing HW…not replace it?

        • Could be like they say, the upgrades to visit each device aren’t worth it. Pretty much it is RAM anymore and that is a person visiting each device. That is costly. The cost-benefit could come-down to buying a lot of new hardware or looking at the complex world of VDI vs. Citrix vs. DaaS. The Board can also play a role where they don’t want ANY risk left in the environment so rid yourself of the entire infected environment.

    • Likely, the drives are encrypted.

      Whether or not the organization can decrypt them, there’s a question whether the ransomware can be entirely removed. The pure security (and often management) perspective is, it’s risky to assume the malware is 100% gone.

      Once you have to touch every workstation, you have to ask the larger questions. Is it worth the risk of using cleaned computers? What is the average age and suitability of the fleet, leaving aside residual security concerns?

      However if the drives are encrypted and cannot be decrypted, then the decision is largely made for you. It’s game over for those computers. You can pull the drives and just replace those but the cost isn’t usually worth it. Better to replace the whole system.

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