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March 2, 2021 News 7 Comments

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HHS OIG Principal Deputy Inspector General Christi Grimm, MPA and HHS OIG Chief Medical Officer Julie Taitsman, MD, JD say that prescriptions should be required to include the condition for which the drug is being prescribed.

They say in a Stat opinion piece that including the reason the drug is being prescribed would help Medicare detect off-label use that is not payable, such as prescribing hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19.

The authors believe that including the diagnosis would also help people organize the meds of their family members and would make it easier for pharmacists to identify safety issues. They note that privacy concerns are minimal since pharmacists are bound by HIPAA.

Cures Act standards already require EHRs to be able to send and receive the reason for the prescription.

HHS OIG previously made the same recommend in 2011, when it was endorsed by the American Pharmacists Association.

Reader Comments

From Carry On: “Re: my new CIO job. Thanks for mentioning it. I have been an avid HIStalk reader for many years and it is required reading for my team.” I’m always surprised when someone says that they read what I write, given that I just fill an empty screen with whatever interests me without considering the invisible presence of bystanders. An industry legend seemed puzzled years ago when I expressed skepticism about how many CIOs read HIStalk (since I have no way of knowing), after which that person said every CIO they know reads it. Regardless, I’m happy to have anyone who keeps coming back.


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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Mayo Clinic-backed maternal and fetal remote patient monitoring company Marani Health raises $3.7 million.

Blueprint Health Merger will raise $200 million through its IPO, according to SEC filings. Led by former Thomson Reuters CEO Richard Harrington and former Virgin Pulse CEO Rajiv Kumar, MD the blank-check company plans to pursue digital healthcare deals.

Health IT vendor MTBC renames itself CareCloud, the EHR vendor it acquired last year for $36 million.


DeliverHealth Solutions completes its acquisition of Nuance’s transcription services business and EScription technology, first announced last November. Nuance holds a minority share in the Madison, WI-based company.

Hill-Rom cancels its plan to acquire ambulatory ECG monitoring vendor Bardy Diagnostics for $375 million, citing potentially unexpected reductions in Medicare reimbursements for patient-monitoring devices. Bardy has filed a lawsuit in an effort to force the acquisition.


Truvian Sciences raises a $105 million Series C round of financing. The company, which counts former Livongo Chairman Glen Tullman among its investors, is developing an automated, bench-top device that can perform multiple blood tests. Truvian President and CEO Jeff Hawkins has stressed that the company’s goals are far less “extravagant” than those of its pseudo-predecessor, Theranos.


Reperio Health raises $6 million in seed funding to advance the rollout of its kits for employer-provided, at-home wellness screenings. The co-founders came from contact lens prescription service Sightbox, which Johnson & Johnson acquired in mid-2017 and then shut down two years later.


  • Apervita embeds Diameter Health’s data optimization and interoperability capabilities within its care collaboration software.
  • The government of Scotland chooses Genesis Automation for hospital inventory tracking.



Philips hires Shez Partovi, MD (Amazon Web Services) as chief innovation and strategy officer and a member of the company’s executive committee. He held executive informatics roles at Dignity Health from 2011-2018 and helped launch the biomedical informatics program at Arizona State University. He replaces Jeroen Tas, who is leaving the company to spend more time coaching digital businesses.


Divurgent hires Adam Tallinger (Impact Advisors) as VP of provider services.


Optum names Maia Laing (HHS) VP of product.


Industry long-timer Drex DeFord, MSHI, MPA (Drexio) joins CrowdStrike as executive healthcare strategist.


Keith Lynn (Virtustream) joins ChartSpan as CTO.

Announcements and Implementations

Northern Inyo Healthcare District (CA) will implement Cerner Millenium through the CommunityWorks program.

Sharp HealthCare is using Experian Health’s Patient Schedule to allow patients to self-schedule COVID-19 vaccinations.

Highmark Health and Verily will develop digital solutions for chronic care management in a six-year collaboration that includes Verily-owned wellness app vendor Onduo, whose CEO is former National Coordinator Vindell Washington, MD, MS.


Diameter Health develops a HL7 C-CDA Online Search Tool for the Consolidated Clinical Document Architecture and its Companion Guide.


Community Hospital (CO) goes live on Meditech Expanse.


Gatorade introduces its first wearable, a “sweat patch” and IOS-only app that measures sweat loss during exercise to recommend the volume of sports drink to consume as a replacement (guess which one?) Single-use patches costs $12.50 each, which would seem to limit the potential customer base.


Period tracking app vendor Clue earns FDA clearance for its “digital birth control,” which statistically models a woman’s self-reported period onset to predict days where they are more likely to become pregnant. The company claims that the app is 92% effective with typical use, although it recently removed a similar feature from its period tracking app because it was found to be unreliable for avoiding pregnancy. The company’s user access agreement had better be airtight to prevent disastrous payouts from the inevitable lawsuits that claim unwanted pregnancy in demanding the net present value of the resulting lifetime cost.


Senior living community operator Asbury Communities renames its Frederick, MD-based IT outsourcing and consulting group to ThriveWell Tech.

Government and Politics


CMS hires Liz Fowler (Commonwealth Fund) to lead its Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.


Naval Medical Center San Diego goes live on Cerner in the fourth wave of the DoD’s MHS Genesis rollouts.


President Biden says that the US will have enough doses of COVID-19 vaccine to give every adult American their shots by the end of May, cutting two months off the previously announced timeline.

Merck will help competitor Johnson & Johnson manufacture the latter’s COVID-19 vaccine in a deal brokered by the White House to ramp up supplies. Merck, which manufactures and sells several other vaccines, halted Phase 1 clinical trials of its own COVID-19 vaccine on January 25  when the product failed to elicit adequate antibody response.

Novavax expects FDA to issue Emergency Use Authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine as early as May. Novavax, which has a contract to supply 100 million doses to the US, was forced to delay the start of its Phase 3 trials twice due to manufacturing holdups, possibly giving it a too-late start in the race and raising the potential that patients will go off-study to get a known vaccine rather than a possible placebo.


Microsoft admits that problems with its COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling system have caused frustration for several states and their residents, with errors, web page crashes, and inability to complete appointments. The timing is not great given that the company’s recent rollout of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare.

Researchers find that high employee turnover at nursing homes may have contributed to their large number of COVID-19 deaths, as their infection control practices may not have been adequate. The average nursing home experienced a 128% one-year turnover rate, while some exceeded 300%. Owners of nursing homes, many of them for-profit companies and private equity firms, say Medicaid doesn’t pay them enough to ensure adequate staffing, while observers note that any increase in federal payments should be earmarked to make sure they don’t end up in the pockets of those owners.

Colleges that spent big money on symptom-based COVID-19 screening technologies such as temperature scanners, self-reporting app passports, location tracking, and heart rate monitors have seen few results because the technologies can’t detect pre-symptomatic carriers, they are often inaccurate, and they aren’t always used consistently. Most of the schools, some of them eminent medical research centers, aren’t studying the effectiveness and outcomes of their use of the technologies.

The founder and CEO of Zocdoc explains why vaccination self-scheduling is harder than it looks:

  • Walled garden practice management systems weren’t designed to connect to patient-facing scheduling systems.
  • Sign-up screens collect too much information upfront before showing any available appointments, and if none are available, the user is required to start over to try again.
  • Too little time was available to develop scalable, integrated systems.



Nursing informatics students: AMIA is offering a travel stipend for poster presenters at this fall’s annual symposium in San Diego, with submissions due March 10. That’s bringing back my fond memories of HIMSS in San Diego, where I enjoyed the opening reception on the patio overlooking the bay, Old Town for Mexican food, and Balboa Park for walking in the sun. They still haven’t expanded the civic center, so San Diego will remain a HIMSS orphan along with New Orleans, Atlanta, and Dallas (I’m excluding Chicago since HIMSS is like a jilted lover who wants desperately to patch things up despite its two-for-two whiffs).


Madison Magazine profiles Carebot Health, launched by Healthfinch co-founder Jonathan Baran and former Healthfinch sales director Tyler Marklein last March. The startup is focused on helping providers use its automated software to manage COVID-19 vaccinations. Health Catalyst acquired Healthfinch in July for $40 million.


In a reverse telemedicine (or perhaps a telejudicial) session, California’s medical board investigates a plastic surgeon after he reports to his Zoom traffic court hearing while wearing scrubs in front of a patient who was on the operating table. A Superior Court commissioner ends the proceeds — eloquently, I would say — in explaining, “Unless I’m mistaken, I’m seeing a defendant that’s in the middle of an operating room appearing to be actively engaged in providing services to a patient … I do not feel comfortable for the welfare of a patient if you’re in the process of operating.”

Sponsor Updates

  • Meditech announces that 61 hospitals went live on Expanse in 2020.
  • Cerner Chief Human Resources Officer Tracy Platt joins the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce board.
  • Deloitte will offer CareSignal’s Deviceless Remote Patient Monitoring to its healthcare clients.
  • ChartSpan announces its partnership with I2I Population Health.
  • The local news covers the new $240 million CoverMyMeds headquarters, set to open sometime this summer.
  • Staffing Industry Analysts includes Ettain Group CEO Trent Beekman on its “Staffing 100” list.
  • Elsevier Clinical Solutions adds additional resources to its COVID-19 Healthcare Hub, including a COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit and ICU Nurses Refresher Toolkit.
  • Wolters Kluwer Health introduces Lippincott Clinical Context, a suite of digital learning tools intended to help medical schools as they incorporate digital and remote instruction into their curriculum.

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Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. Mexican food in Old Town! YES! Hat tip to my former boss for taking us there. I’ll always regret not buying that “Cerveza Pour Favor” tee shirt while I was there. San Diego HIMSS was the best.

  2. DeliverHealth Solutions – You forgot in your tag line the important detail that Nuance also sold its EHR Services. Same people, same solutions, just a new name.

  3. Couldn’t agree more with the second point on why vaccination self-scheduling is harder than it looks. In Florida, Publix Supermarkets is the best place to get COVID vaccinations IMHO, but their self-scheduling app stinks. And it’s for that very reason; users have to enter several screens of data before you actually get to the point of trying to find locations with appointments. And Publix has hundreds of stores here. I finally got lucky and made my appointments at a store that’s only 20 minutes from where I live but I know people who have driven as much as four hours one-way to get to a Publix that had appointments available.

    • Could not agree more. The entire Publix experience was frustrating. There was no reason they could not have created a ‘Wait List.’ Instead you had to log on at an inconveniently early time, and then hope to gain entry to the scheduler, and then pray your preferred Publix had open appointments.

      Buying tickets for ComicCon is easier.

      It was almost one month of trying for me to schedule my 90 year old mother at her local Publix. And also, thank you to Gov. DeSantis for distributing all 100% of the vaccine to Publix in Palm Beach county. My mother had no other option since she did not want to travel.

  4. Re: I’m happy to have anyone who keeps coming back.

    I officially retired on January 1, 2018, after spending over 40 years in healthcare and IT. However, every week, I still enjoy “coming back” to Mr.HIStalk!

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