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February 18, 2021 News 3 Comments

Top News

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Imaging vendor Intelerad acquires Lumedx, which offers cardiovascular information systems and analytics. 


Reader Comments

From Editorial Ed: “Re: job seekers. You should publish every week or two a list of people who let you know that they are out of work and looking for health IT jobs. Just use a table format limiting it to name, last job and company, position being sought, and a link to their LinkedIn profile.” I’m not opposed to the idea, although I have a lot of readers and it might get out of hand.

From Pondering Partnership: “Re: Change Healthcare – Optum Insight merger. Would like to see a survey of your readers about whether they see this as positive or negative, why, and whether they will stop doing business with either company.” I got no responses when I asked previously, so here’s one last chance for customers of either company to weigh in by contacting me with their anonymous thoughts.  


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Healthcare IT Leaders. The Alpharetta, GA-based company is a national leader in IT workforce solutions, connecting healthcare organizations with experienced technology talent for implementation services, project management, consulting, and full-time hiring. Areas of focus include EMR, ERP, WFM, RCM, and CRM. KLAS #1 rated for Business Services (Best in KLAS 2020) and highly-KLAS rated for HIT implementation and staffing, the company has ranked on the Inc. 5000 five consecutive years and has been named a Best Place to Work by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and one of America’s Best Professional Recruiting Firms by Forbes. Its COVID-19 practice, Healthy Returns, offers comprehensive onsite COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and vaccination support. Thanks to Healthcare IT Leaders for supporting HIStalk.


My latest widespread but puzzling new conversational grammar quirk: people who say something like “customers ask what does our product do” instead of “customers ask what our product does.” I started hearing that kind of sentence construction recently and it has spread to probably 80% of such usage. 


Webinars

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

Cancer care management software vendor Carevive raises $18 million in a Series C funding round. 


Sales

  • Several counties in Florida go live on Everbridge’s vaccine distribution solution and the state of West Virginia will use the system to coordinate vaccinations through a pharmacy chain.
  • Nine hospitals choose CloudWave’s Opsus Cloud for hosting and disaster recovery services, while another 10 have engaged the company to build local data center cloud edge platforms.
  • Tift Regional Medical Center (GA) chooses Wolters Kluwer Health’s POC Advisor for sepsis detection and treatment.

People

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Nathaniel Weiss, former CEO of LiveProcess and Standard Molecular, launches VelloHealth, which offers real-time care coordination software for serious mental illness.

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Gretchen Tegethoff, MSIST (CoverMyMeds) joins Ellkay as regional vice president of strategic relationships.

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Paul Ricci — who retired from Nuance in 2018 and then took an interim CEO role at SOC Telemed until the company went public via a SPAC in October 2020 – is named CEO of behavioral health EHR vendor Qualifacts. He replaces David Klements, who remains on the board.

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Law firm McGuireWoods expands its digital health team by hiring three partners: Jonathan Ishee, JD, MPH, MS (Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease); Janice Walker-Suchyta, JD (Seyfarth Shaw); and Andrea Linna, JD (Honigman). McGuireWoods deals with corporate transactions and private equity deals. Ishee earned an MS in health informatics in 2004 and is an assistant professor of biomedical informatics at UTHealth in Houston.

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Cardiologist, inventor, and Nobel Peace Prize antiwar activist Bernard Lown, MD dies at 99. He co-invented the defibrillator, created one of the first cardiac ICUs, formed a non-profit group that launched a satellite to deliver medical training to doctors in Africa and Asia, and created the Lown Institute that ranks hospitals on their civic leadership, inclusivity, avoidance of overuse, and pay equity.


Announcements and Implementations

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Capsule Technologies releases its Generation 3 Vitals Plus patient monitoring and clinical documentation solution in its Medical Device Information Platform. It allows hospitals to perform continuous monitoring and remote clinical surveillance outside the ICU. Philips acquired Capsule last month for $635 million.

TriNetX adds COVID-19 vaccination data to its platform and real-world data set, which will allow researchers to perform their own studies of de-identified EHR patient data to look at comorbidities, reinfection, and outcomes.

CarePort will use the provider directory of MedAllies to allow users to comply with CMS’s ADT notification Condition of Participation.

Particle Health announces a FHIR API that will allow developers to create products that can search the information of 270 million patients.

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Amwell releases Hospital TV 100, a kit that turns existing hospital TVs into telehealth endpoints. Intermountain Healthcare has deployed 1,200 of the units.

The Consumer Technology Association launches an ANSI-accredited standard for the use of AI in healthcare, which consists only of definitions for a few dozen terms such as “algorithm” and “big data” as agreed on by 50 big-name organizations and companies.


COVID-19

CDC reports that 56 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered of 72 million delivered (78%) and 15 million people have received both doses.

CDC will spend $200 million to increase the number of coronavirus samples that are genetically sequenced as surveillance for the spread of variants.

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD predicts a less-active COVID-19 spring and summer because infections and vaccinations have raised protective immunity to 40%.

Overall US life expectancy dropped by a full year in the first half of 2020, while that of the black population was reduced by 2.7 years. The life expectancy of black Americans is now six years less than that of whites.

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The Los Angeles Times features its owner – billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, whose NantWorks conglomerate owns ImmunoBio, which is developing a coronavirus vaccine – as the host of a video series that covers COVID-19. One of his interviewees is a South African geneticist who is an ImmuneBio partner, which was not disclosed in the discussion, as they discussed the logistical shortcomings of existing vaccines. NantWorks also owns health IT vendor NantHealth.

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KHN reports the plight of the rural 25-bed St. James Parish Hospital in Louisiana, which does not have an ICU and at times cannot find a hospital closer than 600 miles away that will accept a transfer. The hospital has seen 70% of its employees decline COVID-19 vaccination

Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest healthcare company, will have only a few million COVID-19 vaccine doses available in the next few weeks when FDA could approve its use. The US government paid the company $1 billion to develop the vaccine in exchange for 100 million doses after having given it $456 million in March, but J&J says that most of the promised first-half doses won’t be available until June. The company’s vaccine requires one dose instead of two and can be stored in refrigerators rather than in freezers.

Mount Sinai Health System (NY) halts its use of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients, saying that it has shown no clinical benefit in repeated clinical trials.

The state of Iowa cancels its contract with Microsoft for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment system, deciding that it would be to hard to combine the several existing systems that are being used by health departments and pharmacies.

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A man in England is offered COVID-19 vaccine early after his doctor’s office enters his height incorrectly as 6.2 centimeters instead of 6 feet 2 inches.


Other

France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, announces a $600 million program to improve cybersecurity in the public and private sector, saying that two recent hospital ransomware attacks show how serious the threat is.

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The CEO of Medicare Advantage insurer Clover Health – which is facing reviews by the Department of Justice and the SEC as well as short-seller pressure – unleashes a profanity-filled tirade against a Forbes reporter who wrote an article whose headline he didn’t like. Vivek Garipalli became a paper billionaire when Clover went public via a SPAC last month, valuing the company at nearly $4 billion. Clover offers physicians its Clover Assistant to manage patient care, paying them a fee of $200 every time the software is used during a patient visit. The money-losing company, which operates in some counties of seven states, did not report prior to going public that it is the subject of a Department of Justice False Claims Act investigation for improperly inducing patient referrals. Clover’s board includes folks who have a health IT connection – Flatiron Health co-founder and former CEO Nathaniel Turner and former Allscripts and Livongo executive Lee Shapiro.

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Kaiser Family Foundation uses Epic Health Research Network to find that hospital admissions dropped to a low of 69% of expected admissions in the first week of April 2020, but have remained at above 90% since June 2020, leaving the full-year reduction in admissions at 8.5%. Non-COVID-19 hospitalizations started dropping again with November 2020’s COVID-19 surge, suggesting that people are deferring or forgoing care, possibly because of hospital capacity constraints. Fewer care-seekers boosted the gross margins of insurers, as their medical loss ratios were lower. 

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In observation of the death of Bernard Lown, MD this week, here are the Lown Institute’s 2020 Shkreli Awards from last month for egregious healthcare profiteering and dysfunction, in the spirit of pharma bro and federal inmate Martin Shkreli:

  1. Private equity-owned physician staffing companies spent millions to squash surprise billing legislation while cutting physician pay and accepting $60 million in CARES Act interest-free loans.
  2. Hucksters, some of them physicians, pushed fake COVID-19 cures.
  3. Connecticut internet Steven Murphy, MD offered to run public COVID-19 testing sites for several towns, then billed the insurance of patients for large panels of tests for other infections at an estimated cost of up to $2,000 per person.
  4. Hospitals punished their clinicians who wore masks, claiming they didn’t need them and would scare patients.
  5. Brigham and Women’s CEO Elizabeth Nabel, MD wrote an op-ed defending high drug prices while not disclosing that Moderna paid her nearly $500,000 in 2019 for serving on it board, after which she sold $8.5 million of the vaccine maker’s stock.
  6. Executives of the four big drug companies that developed COVID-19 vaccines declined to participate in a WHO program to share information to develop and distribute treatments, vaccines, and diagnostics.
  7. Nursing homes failed to protect their residents from COVID-19.
  8. Four California health systems refused to accept transfers of poorly insured COVID-19 patients even though they had available beds.
  9. Moderna, which had 100% of its $1 billion in COVID-19 vaccine development costs covered by the US government, set the highest price of all companies that offer a vaccine.
  10. FEMA’s PPE task force airlifted PPE in from other countries, but instead of distributing it to states, gave it to six private medical supply companies to sell to the highest bidders.

Sponsor Updates

  • OmniSys uses Virtustream’s Enterprise Cloud and XStreamCare Services to ensure its pharmacy customers can meet the demands of COVID-19 vaccine management.
  • WellSpan Health (PA) expands its Nuance Dragon Ambient Experience deployment to improve care access and patient and provider experiences.
  • SymphonyRM names former Intermountain Healthcare CIO Marc Probst to its board.
  • Healthcare Growth Partners advised Symplr on its acquisition of Phynd Technologies, which closed earlier this week.
  • In the UK, InterSystems makes COVID-19 vaccination appointment scheduling available through its TrakCare system.
  • Loyale Healthcare publishes a new industry analysis, “Growth in Healthcare Spending will Decelerate Post-COVID: How Hospitals Should Plan.”
  • Meditech publishes a new case study, “NMC Health decreases antibiotic use through Meditech’s Antimicrobial Stewardship Toolkit.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. Job Seekers: Why not go with a google sheet if you want low maintenance. Columns I suggest: Name, Linkedin, Desired Position, Years Relevant Experience, Skill Set List.

  2. RE: “My latest widespread but puzzling new conversational grammar quirk”. I’m feeling your pain on this one!

    I’m thinking you should start a new feature in your column called Conversational Grammar Quirks.
    As for me, it’s the current trend that throws punctuation out the window! I am guessing this is related to the ability to dictate every text, email, etc. but it drives me nuts. I guess it’s that old Catholic school education but I just happen to believe that a well-written and grammatically correct sentence never goes out of style. If I were still a hiring manager, it would be a deal-breaker because it suggests the candidate is just plain lazy.
    #GrammarStillMatters

  3. RE: My latest widespread but puzzling new conversational grammar quirk: people who say something like “customers ask what does our product do” instead of “customers ask what our product does.”

    The second phrasing is the correct one. The first one would only be correct if written as: customers ask “what does our product do?”.







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Reader Comments

  • PM Consultant: Insightful piece Dr. Jayne. I read this WaPo piece as well. I took my company to 100% remote 7 years ago. We are loca...
  • IANAL: I don’t claim any special insight but it does feel like there is a lot of combined insurer-health tech-healthcare prov...
  • Smartfood99: Zoom meetings have their place but I'm pretty confident over time people and organizations are going to almost completel...
  • Mr. HIStalk: Thanks. Maybe I should research which of the startup-type insurers are touting their technology along with (or instead o...
  • IANAL: I think traditional healthcare not paying attention to the insurance health tech industry is a bit short sighted. Those ...

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