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December 17, 2020 News No Comments

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Cerner will acquire the healthcare division of Kantar Group for $375 million in cash, hoping to expand its clinical research capabilities by selling real-world evidence to drug companies. 

Cerner says that Kantar Health’s annual revenue is more than $150 million.

Reader Comments

From Mark: “Re: Donors Choose. Remind me how I can donate.” Thanks for asking – I’m not comfortable asking for donations, but I’ll happily accept them and find matching money, including a guaranteed dollar-for-dollar match from my Anonymous Vendor Executive (you’ve seen me mention AVE’s matching for years, so imagine how much money they have provided to make this possible while insisting on anonymity). Instructions:

  1. Purchase a gift card in the amount you’d like to donate.
  2. Send the gift card by the email option to mr_histalk@histalk.com (that’s my Donors Choose account).
  3. I’ll be notified of your donation and you can print your own receipt from Donors Choose for tax purposes.
  4. I’ll pool the money, apply all matching funds I can get, and publicly report here which projects I funded, including teacher follow-up messages and photos.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

My Gmail account was among the many that failed sporadically in the past few days, so if you sent me something and are wondering if I received it, feel free to resend. I also realized today that Gmail lost POP3 sync three days ago, probably due to the same outage, so it wasn’t catching up.

IPhone tip: if your charging cord seems loose or doesn’t connect reliably when you plug it into the phone’s jack, it is almost certainly a dirty port instead of a damaged one (especially if you carry your phone in your pocket). Just use a wooden toothpick to clean the schmutz out the port and be amazed by: (a) how solidly your cord now connects; and (b) how much stuff was impacted in that tiny space.

I checked the HIMSS21 exhibitor floor plan and it’s light on booths, with just 383 companies coming up in the exhibitor list versus the usual 1,300 or so. Quite a few booths are simply marked “on hold” and are presumably spoken for, some of those being big spaces right by Epic’s. The industry usually hits frantic activity levels right after New Year’s with the realization that the HIMSS conference is not far away, but I assume it will be eerily quiet this coming January.


None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Healthcare interoperability technology vendor Diameter Health raises $18 million in a Series B funding round, increasing its total to $30 million.


Business Insider reports that Amazon will expand its employee-only Amazon Care pilot project for online visits to other large employers. BI says that Amazon hasn’t had any luck hiring salespeople, including three it was recruiting from Doctor on Demand, and implies that effectiveness has been limited because of internal competition between Amazon Care and its Haven joint venture.


Curai Health, which offers an $8 per month chatbot-powered primary care service that is available only in California, raises a $27.5 million Series B funding round, increasing its total to $57 million.


H1, whose platform allows drug companies and health systems to target influential physicians, raises $58 million in a Series B funding round, increasing its total to $71 million.


Kyruus acquires the HealthSparq business of Cambia Health Solutions, which offers insurers provider search, cost estimates, reviews, appointment scheduling, and member behavior rewards.


  • Hendrick Health will deploy 2bPrecise for its cancer care precision medicine program.
  • State of Franklin Healthcare Associates chooses Emerge to optimize its Allscripts Professional EHR with solutions for search, population health management and emergency access.
  • Mount Sinai Health System will implement remote patient monitoring technology from Current Health for the at-home recovery of its cancer patients.
  • The VA will implement MDClone’s data discovery platform.



UC Davis Health hires Ashish Atreja, MD, MPH (Mount Sinai Health System) as chief information and digital health officer.


David Miller, MHSA (HCCIO Consulting) joins Bahrain’s American Mission Hospital as CIO.

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SOC Telemed promotes Hai Tran, MBA to president / COO and hires Chris Knibb (Agilis Systems) as CFO.

Announcements and Implementations

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital becomes the first hospital in England to allow NHS 111 operators to schedule patient appointments in a hospital’s EHR, in their case Meditech. The CareConnect-compliant solution also allows the operators to add their own caller notes in Meditech and supports the NHS’s support of NHS 111 as the first line of defense for managing ED capacity as COVID-19 demands increase.

Allscripts announces Sunrise 20.0, which includes the option for Microsoft Azure hosting.


Clinical surveillance platform vendor VigiLanz launches software to manage hospital mass COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, available at no cost to customers.

Black Book announces its top-ranked vendors in RCM software and services. Software winners include Optum, Waystar, AdvancedMD, Hayes, and Avadyne, while its top outsourcing companies are Optum360, Parallon, Ensemble Health Partners, R1 RCM, and Athenahealth.

Wolters Kluwer Health launches Reference Data Management for Claims Processing, a Health Language solution to help health plans keep claims processing systems updated.

Payments solution vendor Sphere acquires Health IPass, which offers patient engagement and RCM technology.

Home health, hospice, and palliative care EHR vendor MatrixCare adds voice recognition technology for provider documentation.


A new KLAS report on patient accounting solutions finds that Epic leads with the most functional solution, Meditech’s product is seen as sturdy and reliable and has the highest customer satisfaction, Cerner’s customers are “deeply discouraged” as promised improvements haven’t materialized, and the patient accounting solution of Allscripts is “not ready for prime time” despite sales rep promises.



Wednesday’s COVID-19 records include 113,069 Americans hospitalized and 3,400 new deaths. The overall US death count is now at 308,000, exceeding the country’s combat deaths in World War II.

Moderna’s vaccine got a 20-0 thumbs-up from FDA’s external advisory panel, making it likely that FDA will grant Emergency Use Authorization Friday to bring a second vaccine to market. 

Pfizer will remotely disable the GPS-connected temperature monitoring sensors that are embedded in its vaccine shipping packages once they have been delivered, leaving providers unable to determine if the doses have thawed during storage at their own sites. Operation Warp Speed paid a company $25 million to develop a temperature monitoring system, which the contract says will be turned off by Pfizer upon delivery and then turned back on by the federal government for monitoring. HHS has not disclosed how that monitoring handoff will occur.

A San Diego judge grants an injunction that prohibits the county from shutting down strip clubs under new stay-at-home orders, also giving restaurants (with uncertain authority) the green light to reopen. The judge says that no evidence exists that restaurants that operate under health and safety restrictions increase COVID-19 spread. He also ruled that strip clubs and restaurants “enliven the spirits of the community” and provide income to employers and employees.

Orange County, CA suspends ED diversion, noting that every hospital is over capacity due to COVID-19 and ambulances would have no available EDs for emergency patients.

Pharmacists discover that Pfizer vaccine vials contain enough overfill to squeeze a sixth or even a seventh dose from a five-dose vial, with FDA giving its approval to use all full doses from a single vial but warning against combining the contents of multiple vials.

The New York Times notes that some of the people who were spreading election misinformation online have moved on to publishing lies about COVID-19 vaccine on social media, including conspiracy theories about government surveillance, implanted microchips, and their belief that Bill Gates created the virus and is profiting from it. Experts say that purveyors of political misinformation are choosing other controversial topics to keep themselves in the limelight with the same audience.


FDA gives Emergency Use Authorization to an a no-prescription, at-home quick test for COVID-19. Australia-based Ellume, which developed the test with a $30 million NIH grant, plans to deliver 20 million of the $30 tests in the first half of 2021. FDA recommends that symptom-free people who test positive confirm their results by taking a different kind of test.


UCI School of Medicine’s Center for Artificial Intelligence in Diagnostic Medicine creates an online tool to predict if a COVID-19 inpatient will need ventilator support or admission to the ICU.

Sponsor Updates


  • Jvion donates toys to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
  • Fortified Health Security publishes the “2021 Horizon Report,” highlighting COVID-19’s impact on healthcare’s cybersecurity infrastructure in 2020 and what’s to come in 2021.
  • Glytec publishes the results of a new study, “Association Between Achieving Inpatient Glycemic Control and Clinical Outcomes in Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19: A Multicenter, Retrospective Hospital-Based Analysis.”
  • Investor Refinery Ventures profiles Halo Health.
  • Healthcare Triangle releases a new case study, “Fort Madison Improves Resiliency of Meditech EHR Through HTI’s Backup and Disaster Recovery Powered by AWS.”
  • Healthwise donates to the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights after the vandalism of its Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial.
  • Imprivata joins Google’s Modern Computing Alliance.
  • Meditech adds a new FAQs page to its COVID-19 vaccine guidance.
  • Home care software vendor Axxess offers its customers integration with the Surescripts health information network.
  • PerfectServe announces that its Optimized Provider Scheduling, powered by Lightning Bolt,  is available on Epic App Orchard.
  • England’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital adds patient-friendly discharge reports to its Lumeon-powered postnatal digital solution.

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