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Monday Morning Update 3/8/21

March 7, 2021 News 4 Comments

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Harris acquires Bizmatics, which offers the PrognoCIS EHR/PM.

Recent acquisitions have given Canada-based Harris, which is owned by Constellation Software, a long list of health IT brands that includes Amazing Charts, GEMMS, QuadraMed, Iatric Systems, IMDSoft, Just Associates, Picis, Obix, DigiChart, Uniphy Health, and MediSolution.

Reader Comments

From ML Ratio: “Re: tech-powered insurers. Several are going public and touting their technology. Will you be covering them?” Probably not since I think they are blowing smoke in trying to convince investors that they are sexy tech companies instead of boring old insurers whose profitability is based on stealing someone else’s insurance customers, negotiating provider contracts, and managing their medical loss ratio. You’re still an insurance company if most of your income is generated by premiums rather than a cute app or quickly launched telehealth program whose main end product is buzz. That’s especially true of recent startups whose website and pitch deck tries to make you think they are the next Facebook. Ignore the self-assigned labels and focus on their tiny market share, handful of coverage areas, and big competitors to whom they provide little threat. You don’t want to go toe-to-toe with UnitedHealth Group, Anthem, or Centene armed only with a clever idea for making Medicare Advantage primary care seem more interesting

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Culbert Healthcare Solutions. The Woburn, MA-based company’s patient access, clinical workflow, and revenue cycle operations experience, combined with its deep IT strategy and deployment experience, uniquely qualifies it to select, implement, and optimize healthcare technologies. Its health IT consulting team includes former CIOs and vendor-focused analysts who design and deliver high-value services that advance the delivery of care, enhance the patient experience, and improve financial performance. Thanks to Culbert Healthcare Solutions for supporting HIStalk.


About 60% of poll respondents say their company’s work culture is the same or better now as it was a year ago, results I didn’t expect given a tough year of pandemic challenges, remote work, and uncertainty. I’m interested to see how both company culture and internal job opportunities are affected when some but not all employees continue working remotely as a permanent arrangement. Remote workers were out of sight, out of mind in the places I’ve worked, with those jobs (other than consulting or sales) best suited for folks who weren’t looking to gain responsibility, get promoted, or boost their resumes with challenging new assignments. Those rewards were given to the familiar faces of people who spend their days around conference room tables, in unplanned hallway conversations, and at lunch with those who have some control over their occupational destiny.

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Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Real estate investment trust Omega Healthcare Investors acquires Connected Living, which provides smart devices, apps, and wearables to senior housing and care companies.

Ascension Ventures raises $285 million for its fifth strategic venture capital fund, increasing its assets under management to more than $1 billion.

The one-month performance of the Global X Telemedicine and Digital Health EFT is a loss of 18% versus the Nasdaq’s 9% loss. EDOC shares are up 15% since their July 30, 2020 listing, trailing the Nasdaq’s 19% gain in the same period.

Announcements and Implementations

Walmart heir Alice Walton, who is one of the world’s richest women at a reported net worth of $60 billion, announces that her non-profit will create a new medical school, Whole Health School of Medicine and Health Sciences, in Walmart’s home town of Bentonville, AR.


Nearly one-fourth of Americans have received at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, including 59% of those 65-75 and 69% of those over 75.

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD predicts that meetings and widespread travel will return to the US in July through September, but that will slow again to some degree as cooler weather drives people back indoors.

Sponsor Updates

  • Nordic welcomes Saran Sonaisamy (Cognizant) as director of cloud transformation and cybersecurity.
  • PerfectServe publishes a new case study featuring the University of Tennessee Medical Center, “EMR Embedded Communication Improves Efficiency.”
  • Pure Storage and Equinix develop a Bare Metal as a Service storage offering that delivers a unified, connected platform for any stage of an organization’s cloud journey.
  • Redox releases a new podcast, “Withings’ Journey from Consumer to Remote Patient Monitoring.”
  • SOC Telemed achieves full URAC accreditation.
  • Summit Healthcare publishes a new use case, “Lincoln Surgical Selects Summit Healthcare to Improve Care Continuity with the All Access Platform.”
  • Louisville Business First recognizes Waystar CTO Chris Schremser as a 2021 Health Care Hero.

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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. I think traditional healthcare not paying attention to the insurance health tech industry is a bit short sighted. Those companies aim to compete directly with traditional health care providers. They plan to employ a small number of medical professionals and use technology to multiply those professionals patient care. The gravy train for traditional healthcare has less than a decade left – there isn’t much consolidation left to do, the growth in medical spending from boomers will slow, the NPs will keep expanding their scope of practice, gov will get better at constraining spending. These insurer/tech companies are already a decade ahead of you when it comes to effective use of capital and efficiency. Maybe you can retire before you have to compete? otherwise orgs that haven’t prepared will need to cut…

    • Thanks. Maybe I should research which of the startup-type insurers are touting their technology along with (or instead of) their insurance, and then look at what their apps or sites actually do. That list might also include the investor owned physician office chains, which also claim technical superiority that may or may not be a significant driver of their underlying business.

      • I don’t claim any special insight but it does feel like there is a lot of combined insurer-health tech-healthcare provider activity lately. My PCP is at Atrius health which optum bought. And Cigna just bought mdlive which I would guess is the third or fourth biggest telehealth company. Those are both areas that health systems thought they could grow into but insurers are beating them out. And I’m sure that the little startup insurance companies are doing product R&D and plan to prove something works before getting bought by optum or one of other big dogs. Sort of like how in the 90s it seemed like everyone was trying a crazy software startup and Microsoft would then buy the ones that worked out.

  2. In 2019, I did some research comparing provider portal functionality of insurtechs vs. traditional payers. Admittedly, provider portals are not core to payer profit growth, but it was interesting to see how they differentiated. They all offered the same core features like claims status checks, prior auth requests, etc. Insurtechs, like Oscar and Clover, offered a little bit more – aggregated patient histories, simplified rostering, and direct scheduling – but they weren’t lightyears ahead.

    The biggest difference between the two groups was in how much better the insurtechs were at marketing their provider portal tools. Their login pages were laid out like a tech startup splash page with big statements like ‘we’re using APIs to engineer the provider portal out of existence’ and ‘our provider tools just work better’ and ”check claim status in under 30 seconds.’ Traditional insurers didn’t attempt to defend their tech at all. They offered the kind of bland, no frills login page you’d expect to see guarding an enterprise intranet.

    Investors generally believe disruption = tech superiority, so it’s not hard to see why insurtechs would take the advantage of owning that perception, especially when incumbents are leaving it unchallenged and free for the taking.

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