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News 2/17/21

February 16, 2021 News 9 Comments

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Online scheduling and telehealth vendor Zocdoc receives $150 million in growth financing from Francisco Partners.

The company says that its pricing change two years ago – from a flat per-provider subscription to a per-booking model that angered some doctors who had to pay more and who expressed concern about possible kickback implications – has grown its network by 50% in some states.

Zocdoc has raised $376 million through a Series D round.

Co-founder and former CEO Cyrus Massoumi sued the company last fall, claiming that three officers – two of whom he says he was going to replace – conspired to orchestrate his ouster after eight years. He said in the lawsuit that the company was in steep decline, couldn’t raise further capital, and had resorted to taking on debt at high interest rates. The lawsuit was dismissed by a New York court that said the suit would need to be filed in Delaware instead.

Reader Comments

From Data Broker Not Broke: “Re: Truveta selling anonymized patient data to drug companies and researchers. Is that ethical?” Not in my opinion, especially since those patients get nothing in return and can’t opt out. The hospitals that collect their information as a by-product of selling them medical care don’t even have to let them know beforehand because of HIPAA’s covered entity-friendly “treatment, payment, and operations” terms. Facebook, Google, and other sites violate our privacy in mostly harmless ways and they at least give us their product free in return (try asking those 14 Truveta health systems for some medical freebies). Unlike those apps, though, the information is anonymized and is not used to display something to its owner, so it’s not really visible. We will all be paying in other ways – the deep-pockets drug company customers who are writing the checks to Truveta members will simply jack up their drug prices a little bit more or pocket the higher margins of not having to spend as much on clinical studies. We might as well acknowledge that the wholesome-sounding “medical research” is really just product R&D for drug and device companies, often funded by taxpayers and given to those companies at no cost to sell expensively back to us.

From Huckleberry: “Re: Clubhouse app as an audio-only social network. Have you tried it?” I have not tried it or found reasons to even though I know it’s the latest shiny object. It seems that many platforms initially succeed because early adopters who have a lot of expertise and insight develop a quick following, but then everybody and his imitative brother piles on to fill the endless space with junk just because they can, causing the best of them to move on to seek better company. We’ve seen it with blogs, vlogs, Facebook, Twitter, Medium, podcasts, newsletters, vanity book publishers, YouTube, Google Hangouts, Periscope, and more, where the platform’s best and worst feature is that it democratizes content creation. I expect Clubhouse will get its 15 minutes before it becomes yet another low-value wasteland. Online text is the only medium that allows me to consume it my way – skim quickly or study slowly and click original source links that will be missing in every other format. As to Clubhouse, I don’t know of many folks who could hold my attention for more than a couple of minutes as they babble away in real time. The most interesting people aren’t wasting their time pontificating incessantly to the masses.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Sectra. With more than 30 years of innovation and approaching 2,000 installations worldwide, Sectra is a leading global provider of imaging IT solutions that support healthcare in achieving patient-centric care. Sectra offers an enterprise imaging solution comprising PACS for imaging-intense departments (radiology, pathology, cardiology, orthopedics), VNA, and share and collaborate solutions. The company is leading the way in digital pathology with multiple, fully digital installations throughout the world. Sectra is top-ranked in “Best in KLAS” and #1 in customer satisfaction in US, Canada, and Europe PACS. Thanks to Sectra for supporting HIStalk.

Something jogged my memory of Bats Global Markets, a Kansas City-based stock exchange that was started by former Cerner employee Dave Cummings in 2005. I wrote about it many years ago and I see that it was acquired in early 2017 for $3.2 billion. Cummings remains sole owner of Tradebot, a high-frequency stock trading platform he started in 1999 that at one point was making him $140 million a year in profit. The company holds shares for an average of 11 seconds, had at one point enjoyed a four-year run of positive daily profits on trades, and accounts for 5% of all US stock trades. Cummings has credited his success to the mentorship of Neal Patterson, former chairman and CEO of Cerner. My keyboard’s zero key probably doesn’t have enough click life left to express his net worth. 


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

Canada-based CloudMD will acquire online eyeglass, contact lens, and online vision test vendor VisionPros for up to $80 million in cash, shares, and performance earn out.


Population health management platform vendor Innovaccer is rumored to be arranging funding that will value the company at more than $1 billion.



Dental software vendor Henry Schein One promotes former telemedicine executive Mike Baird, MBA to CEO.


CompuGroup Medical US names industry long-timer Derek Pickell as CEO. He comes from EMDs, which CGM acquired in late December 2020 for $240 million, and replaces Benedikt Brueckle, who is now CFO.


Michael Campana (Conduent) joins Health Triangle as VP of marketing.

Announcements and Implementations

Sutter Health will eliminate 277 jobs, most of them in IT.


In Israel, a study of 600,000 people who have received two doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine finds a 94% drop in symptomatic infections and a 92% reduction in severe illness. The study was the first to show a high level of vaccine efficacy specifically in people 70 and over.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo admits for the first time that the state’s nursing home COVID-19 death counts were underreported by 40% by omitting long-term care residents who died in hospitals. Cuomo says he delayed giving the information to state legislators for fear it would trigger a federal civil rights investigation.


The remote, 2.2 million population Brazilian city of Manaus has seen COVID-19 consume nearly all of its hospital and ICU beds and depleted oxygen supplies, with dozens of Brazilians dying of asphyxiation over two days in January alone. Few planes there can transport oxygen, so it must be shipped in a week-long boat trip up the Amazon River. Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, who has said that COVID-19 is a “measly cold” and a media hoax intended to harm him politically, says it isn’t the federal government’s job to send oxygen to Manaus. Brazil’s COVID-19 death count is at 240,000, second globally only the US’s 486,000.

A Virtua Health spokesperson clarifies reports that bugs in its COVID-19 vaccine self-scheduling system created many duplicate appointments. The scheduling system did not have a defect — it just failed to prevent people from making multiple appointments. The 70% number doesn’t refer to the number of duplicates of the 300,000 total appointments, but rather that of those duplicate appointments it contained, 70% were created  in error because users weren’t sure how to schedule both first- and second-dose appointments or didn’t wait for the confirmation email before scheduling again, allowing 5,000 appointment slots to be opened after calling each of those users to verify their intentions.

Walmart begins scheduling COVID-19 vaccination appointments at some of its stores.


X Prize founder and entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, MD, MS says he “screwed up” by holding an illegal in-person California summit last month for several dozen wealthy executives who paid more than $30,000 each, saying they would be safe from COVID-19 because of mandatory pre-event and then daily testing and onsite vitamins and doctors. Three weeks later, at least 24 attendees of Abundance 360, including Diamandis himself, have tested positive. Diamandis, who co-founded coronavirus vaccine company Covaxx, admits that he didn’t force attendees to wear masks, but claims the event wasn’t actually a conference but rather a broadcast with a small live audience since most attendees were virtual. Zero of the 35 audiovisual production staff, all of whom wore masks, tested positive.  


Two hospitals in France are hit by ransomware in a single week, while a third cut off network connections to one of its IT suppliers that had been attacked.

Sponsor Updates

  • Beyond profiles Goliath Technologies as a “Top 5 Citrix Solutions Provider, 2021.”
  • Black Book Market Research includes Impact Advisors on its list of top-rated RCM advisory firms.
  • Cerner will sponsor and present virtually at Health Datapalooza February 16-18.
  • The local business paper interviews Diameter Health CEO Eric Rosow.
  • Elsevier advances nursing education by offering innovative virtual reality healthcare simulations to schools across North America.

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Currently there are "9 comments" on this Article:

    • The developer’s opinion and the comment represent the age-old battle between developer’s who view the system as “working as designed” and the user’s who are just trying to make an appointment. In this case, I’m betting the specification did not mention that user’s should not be able to make multiple appointments for the same dose. The developers either missed the difference between the 2 doses or just let anyone make as many appointments as possible. Clearly the system was not working as required. I loved the comment it allowed our technical folks who don’t normally interface with customers the opportunity to do that…what a rewarding experience.

  1. Reader’s comment on Truveta – sounds like a GOP response to curtailing climate change. Sad that someone only finds flaws in efforts to improve the health of millions.

  2. I’ve enjoyed this site for a long time but the owner seems to be more and more full of himself with each post. Interesting/valuable content and I’ll likely continue to read regardless of his self-entitlement…

    • I disagree. Mr H has been consistently as full of himself as ever he was — we may not agree with many of his opinions but they haven’t changed much and they tend to be vey funny.

      Plus the music recommendations are very good

  3. Truveta – whats the big deal in the selling of healthcare data to pharma?
    This has been going on for years, in past mostly claims, Rx and possibly labs from payers such as Anthem, UHG, etc. IQVIA, the gorilla in this market has some 500M patient records sourced globally and is public ally traded. TriNetX, founded in 2013, claims to have 400M records, mostly clinical and the list goes on.

    Changes in FDA guidance on use of such data for regulatory compliance combined with nearly a decade’s worth of clinical data is super charging this market. Expect many more entrants.

  4. Re: Peter Diamandis Abundance 360 Summit

    There’s a real Masque of the Red Death moment, huh? What did you think Mr. Diamandis, that your attendee’s money would protect them?

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  1. I share your concerns about a lot of similar projects, but I think this one's an outcomes comparison thing, not…

  2. "Ascension Via Christi sent several ICU nurses home after they raised concerns about inadequate staffing." Nice. That'll show em.

  3. Thank you for sharing the full HIStory file. What a great tribute to Mr. Ciotti. “Those who cannot remember the…

  4. "Epic will roll out a “patients like this one” type tool to its users in Indiana this summer. It will…

  5. I don't see Cerner winning employee satisfaction surveys. I can't see VHA pivoting to Epic. It's going to be some…

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