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February 11, 2021 News 5 Comments

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Providence and several other big health systems form Truveta, a Seattle-based startup that will provide its hospital owners, drug companies, and researchers with anonymized patient data for approved research projects.

The company notes that its information spans health systems and thus, unlike that offered by insurance companies, does not disproportionately represent white and insured patients. 

Truveta, which is run by former Microsoft executive Terry Myerson, has hired 53 employees.

As with all such companies, patients do not share in the profit of having their information sold or used and are not required by HIPAA to be notified of the arrangement.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I ran across the latest HIMSS tax filings, for the year ending June 30, 2019, and provided a brief summary. The version that includes the first half of 2020 – and thus some of the HIMSS20 damage – will be posted in July.


Thanks to PatientKeeper for quickly snapping up the top-of-page banner spot for a long-term run. They have been an HIStalk sponsor since June 2008.

Listening: new from Jagwar Twin, the solo project of singer-songwriter Roy English. It’s modern, mostly upbeat pop with a hip hop edge, without the usual one-track collaborations, overreliance on computers, and profanity. I also ran across some amazing 1960s soul (from the viral hits chart of Portugal, for some reason) of Memphis-born soul singer-songwriter William Bell, who recorded for the legendary Stax Records, got drafted into the Army for a two-year hitch, had a couple of hits and awards, and is still playing at 81 years of age. His is the joyous, gospel-influenced music that could only come from America. I don’t recall ever hearing his stuff, but it is remarkable.


February 24 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Maximizing the Value of Digital Initiatives with Enterprise Provider Data Management.” Sponsor: Phynd Technologies. Presenters: Tom White, founder and CEO, Phynd Technologies; Adam Cherrington, research director, KLAS Research. Health systems can derive great business value and competitive advantage by centrally managing their provider data. A clear roadmap and management solution can solve problems with fragmented data, workflows, and patient experiences and support operational efficiency and delivery of a remarkable patient experience. The presenters will describe common pitfalls in managing enterprise information and digital strategy in silos, how to align stakeholders to maximize the value of digital initiatives, and how leading health systems are using best-of-breed strategies to evolve provider data management.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Value-based care coordination and payments vendor Signify Health prices its IPO at a valuation of $5.3 billion. The company’s CEO is Kyle Armbrester, MBA, who along with several of his executive team peers, used to work for Athenahealth.


Cerner reports Q4 earnings: revenue down 3%, adjusted EPS $0.78 versus $0.75, meeting earnings expectations and exceeding on revenue. CERN shares dropped slightly on the news and down 1% over the past 12 months versus the Nasdaq’s 46% gain, valuing the company at $24 billion. From the earnings call:

  • The company says it has reduced annualized operating expenses by $300 million in the past two years and has reduced its product set from 25,000 features to 400 products.
  • Cerner expects to create a $1 billion health network business by 2025.
  • Asked by an analyst how the company can simultaneously address losing market share to Epic as well as convincing customers to choose Cerner in innovative areas where it competes with new companies, President Don Trigg says Cerner was built to work on the current business as well as to identify new growth opportunities that may be adjacencies or new markets. They are looking at new buyer types beyond providers, such as payer, employer, government, and pharma.
  • Trigg said in response to a question about how it will work with pharma contract research organizations following its acquisition of Kantar Health that Cerner’s differentiators are data as well as access to patients and providers. The acquisition allows linking data to support capabilities needed for late-stage drug trials.
  • Cerner expects the acquired Kantar Health to generate about $150 million in revenue for 2021 even with COVID-19 slowdowns.
  • The company may divest a limited number of assets in 2021, but is mostly interested in acquisitions.
  • Health systems that participate in Cerner’s Learning Health Network share the revenue that Cerner earns from drug companies.
  • Cerner’s federal business generates $1 billion per year and is growing at a mid-teens percentage rate. It sees opportunity in contracting with new agency work, especially on the network side, and the company will become more efficient with its experience as a prime contractor.
  • The company took a $20 million charge that was due to an entity in the Middle East declaring bankruptcy. That entity wasn’t named, but I assume it was Belbadi Enterprises, a sole proprietorship that was formed by Abu Dhabi’s former health minister that signed a deal in 2008 to provide Cerner to UAE hospitals. Cerner was awarded $62 million, but was never paid, and then failed in its attempt to seize Oregon real estate that was owned by a related company.


CPSI announces Q4 results: revenue down 5%, EPS $0.22 versus $0.78, missing Wall Street expectations for both and sending shares down 11%. CPSI shares are up 25% in the past 12 months versus the Nasdaq’s 46% gain, valuing the company at $446 million. The company said in the earnings call that it has hired an advisor to review its business in hopes of increasing shareholder value. It also said in an SEC filing that it will reduce its workforce by 1%, or 21 employees.


  • Nuvance Health chooses SymphonyRM for data science-powered consumer engagement, including Next Best Actions, outreach and consumer preference management, and market analytics.
  • In England, West Hertfordshire NHS Trust signs a 10-year, $41 million contract for Cerner.
  • Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration will deploy the PULSE (Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies) Enterprise platform of Audacious Inquiry for public assistance around COVID-19 and hurricanes.
  • Community Health Network selects Jvion’s CORE (Care Optimization and Recommendation Enhancement) to allow care navigators to reach out to vulnerable ACO members who are deferring care during the pandemic.
  • Saint Peter’s University Hospital (NJ) will implement CarePort Interop, an event notification system from WellSky-owned CarePort that supports compliance with new CMS Condition of Participation requirements.



Mary Lantin, MPH (Optum) joins Diameter Health as president/COO.


Innovaccer hires industry long-timer John Pigott (Allscripts) as management director of its payer and life sciences sales team.


Aver hires Michael Johnson (Rx30) as chief revenue officer.


EFamilyCare, which offers family caregivers virtual support from experts to reduce hospitalizations, promotes Naveen Kathuria, JD to CEO.

Announcements and Implementations

The HCI Group earns Meditech UK Ready implementation certification.


FDA issues 510(K) clearance to B-Secur’s ECG algorithm library for signal conditioning, heart rate, and arrhythmia analysis. The Northern Ireland-based company’s technology can be licensed by medical technology vendors and is approved for home and healthcare environments.


Well Health and Twilio partner to offer providers two patient engagement options, particularly around COVID-19 vaccination – supporting providers who want to built custom workflows using Twilio’s SMS and voice delivery APIs and those who would prefer to roll out Well’s Health pre-built platform that supports bidirectional texting, email, telephone, and live chat in 19 languages.

Smarter Health, which sells a payer-provider data integration platform in Southeast Asia, will offer data analytics from Health Catalyst.

Arkansas State Hospital goes live on Medsphere’s CareVue Cloud EHR and RCM Cloud.


A new KLAS report on clinical documentation improvement finds that Iodine, ChartWise, and Optum lead in performance, while 3M 360 Encompass is often considered because of its strong technology but service and support lags and customers complain about being nickeled and dimed.

Government and Politics

Renown Health (NV) will pay $75,000 to settle HIPAA Right of Access charges that it took 11 months to send an electronic copy of a patient’s records to her attorney.


CDC reports that 45 million doses of the 66 million COVID-19 vaccine doses that have been distributed have been administered (68%). Anthony Fauci, MD predicts that an increased supply of vaccine will allow any American to get a shot who wants one by April, but logistical limits will make achieving herd immunity unlikely before late summer. A new poll finds that one-third of Americans definitely or probably won’t get the vaccine, which predicts both an epidemiologic challenge as well as a shift from a shortage of supply to a deficiency of demand.

FDA issues emergency use authorization to a combination of two Eli Lilly monoclonal antibodies (bamlanivimab and etesevimab) for the treatment of COVID-19 in patients who are over 65 or who have other medical conditions, where risk of hospitalization and death can be reduced by 70%. Also new in COVID-19 treatment: the RECOVERY study finds that tocilizumab reduces mortality, inpatient stay length, and a need for ventilation of patients who are hypoxic and have inflammation.

Volunteer technologists have quickly developed vaccination appointment websites that centralize information from multiple sites in each state, but the beneficiaries are usually tech-savvy people who have time on their hands to cruise for appointments, not necessarily disadvantaged groups who have the highest need. Some of the sites don’t take into account eligibility differences between a state and individual counties, such as in California where the state’s 65-year-old threshold is overridden by the 75-year cutoff of some counties, leading people to show up at sites with their system-generated appointment and barcode in hand only to be turned away because they don’t meet county criteria.

The federal government says that a flood of fake 3M N95 masks from China is the most consistent COVID-19 scam, as hospitals have in some cases distributed the counterfeit masks to frontline workers. 3M says that 10 million counterfeit masks have been seized and it has fielded 10,500 authenticity questions. On the other hand, testing has found that the fake masks actually work about as well as the real thing, even though they are harder to breathe through and seal-and-fit isn’t always adequate.

Overrun hospitals in Mexico are sending COVID-19 patients home, where they are likely to die because their families can’t get oxygen tanks. A national shortage has caused the price to jump to $800 for the smallest tank (10 times the US price) and criminal groups are hijacking trucks carrying the tanks and stealing them at gunpoint from hospitals that are then sold by uncertified profiteers from their cars. Desperate family members are also paying thousands of dollars for oxygen concentrators that don’t necessarily work.


India will use Co-WIN to manage its efforts to inoculate 300 million people for COVID-19 by August, which has no ability to extract high-priority people from a list based on age and comorbidities. Epidemiologists say that the only surefire way to hit the numbers target is to go door to door and sign high-risk people up. They also question whether Co-WIN will be used to collect private health data since signing up for a shot automatically creates a national health ID that is supposed to be voluntary.



The IT director of 15-bed critical access hospital Syringa Hospital (ID) urges its board to stick with Cerner instead of following its plan to use Epic from Kootenai Health. The hospital says it is switching to gain cost savings and better connectivity to other Epic hospitals, but the IT director says it would “really grieve me” to re-do the work and warns that not all information will convert. She adds that Epic isn’t in the top five EHRs for small hospitals. A board member said she appreciates the input, but the IT director’s view is slanted because “that’s her baby,” adding that the board expected the hospital’s leadership to come to them with a recommendation and instead they were divided.

Sponsor Updates

  • Altruista Health adds evidence-based medical content from Healthwise to its GuidingCare care management and population health software.
  • Change Healthcare has joined the Health Evolution Forum as a leadership partner.
  • The Chartis Center for Rural Health publishes a new report, “Crises Collide: The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Rural Health Safety Net.”
  • Over the past 12 months, Glytec’s FDA-cleared EGMS software has been used in an additional 6,500 beds and is now partnering with over 300 healthcare facilities across the country.
  • The HCI Group launches a new podcast, “DGTL Voices with Ed Marx.”
  • LexisNexis Risk Solutions announces its “Top 100 Hospice and Home Health Agencies Rankings for 2020.”
  • NextGate achieves HITRUST CSF Certification to further mitigate risk in third-party privacy, security, and compliance.

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Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. It seems like Cerner is going for the data play for their growth. That’s what Allscripts told Wall Street for the past five years and they never were able to execute on it. The solution in that space is not really a technology as much as it is a social process. Maybe they can pull it off.

    On a different note, CPSI seems to be more in the outsourced to Overseas billing business than in the EHR business these days.

  2. Syringa Hospital…Why in the world is a board involved in this level of operations. They should only be approving, or not, the CEO’s financial outlay for the acquisition. If the CEO can’t get the leadership team on the same page, the board has another, bigger problem.

    • 1. The difference in cost between the two options would account for a substantial portion of a 15 bed hospitals budget.
      2. One option (Epics connect) puts them into orbit around a health system and makes their operational structure move closer to a satellite campus than a standalone community organization.
      3. There are probably less than 100 employees at this hospital. There just aren’t that many management staff above line managers. The board is probably composed of community leaders who may have some experience in the area either in IT or just organization in general. It isnt easy running 15 bed rural hospitals on shoestring budgets.

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