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News 4/7/21

April 6, 2021 News 1 Comment

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The Indian Health Service seeks help from industry stakeholders with drafting a strategic plan to guide its IT efforts over the next three to five years.

The agency is in the midst of upgrading its IT infrastructure. It will use $140 million of COVID relief funds to bolster its telemedicine and EHR systems.


Reader Comments

From Inchoate: “Re: Therapy Brands. Just acquired by KKR. It is the parent of TenEleven and 18 other behavioral health-focused companies.” Unverified. The 19 companies owned by Therapy Brands sell behavioral health EHRs and systems for practice management, data collection, and electronic prescribing. CEO Kimberly O’Loughlin, MS joined the company in February 2020 after serving as president of Greenway Health.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Someone tweeted — and then apparently deleted —that they were annoyed by meeting organizers who omit time zones in assuming “EST” (their term). If you’re going to get preachy about time zone assumptions, be aware that it’s “EDT” rather than “EST,” implied or otherwise, for nearly eight months of the year unless you’re in Arizona or Hawaii. My annual public service announcement for the time zone impaired — just write “ET” and those of us who have a handle on it will translate for you, which is much nicer for you than appearing to be incapable of basic communication. The most entertaining aspect of social media is when people try to show off how smart they are, but create the opposite result.


Webinars

April 21 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Is Gig Work For You?” Sponsor: HIStalk. Presenter: Frank L. Poggio, retired health IT executive and active job search workshop presenter.  This workshop will cover both the advantages and disadvantages of being a gig worker. Attendees will learn how to how to decide if gig work is a good personal fit, find the right company, and protect themselves from unethical ones.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Medical billing and patient communications startup Inbox Health raises $15 million in a Series A funding round.

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Minnesota insurance and managed care startup Bright Health acquires Zipnosis, which offers telemedicine services to health systems.


People

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Craig Miller, MBA (Culbert Healthcare Solutions) joins Newfire Global Partners as chief of staff.

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PatientBond hires Todd Helmink (QliqSoft) as SVP of business development.

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Brian Roy, MBA (HMS) joins ZeOmega as RVP of sales.


Announcements and Implementations

3M Health Information Systems announces GA of Social Determinants of Health Analytics, which enhances its Clinical Risk Groups with social risk intelligence from social risk analytics vendor Socially Determined.

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Verizon Business launches telehealth software for providers as part of its BlueJeans secure video conferencing service.

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A KLAS Arch Collaborative report finds that the manner in which health systems implement and support EHRs is a bigger driver of physician and nurse EHR perception than the vendor’s own delivery of functionality and support for quality care. It cites OrthoVirginia, whose efforts to improve the EHR experience of orthopedic physicians increased their “Epic is a high-quality EHR” opinion from 49% to 81% over three years.

Massachusetts General Hospital will collaborate with drug manufacturer AstraZeneca to develop and validate digital health solutions using AstraZeneca’s Amaze disease management platform, starting with heart failure and asthma management. Amaze, which was launched last month, is built on BrightInsight’s regulated digital health product development platform.

The HCI Group launches StrategyNxt, which delivers a customized digital strategy in 12 weeks for a fixed price of $250,000.


Government and Politics

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ONC officials remind healthcare stakeholders that the Cures Act’s information blocking provision has taken effect. EHR transparency is also required as of Monday, in which providers are required to give patients all of the information stored in their EHR in electronic format, including provider notes of all types as well as imaging, lab, and pathology report narratives.


COVID-19

The number of American adults who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose is up to 42%, while 76% of those 65 and over have been at least partially vaccinated.

A New York Times analysis finds that COVID-19 cases are increasing, deaths are decreasing (although as a lagging indicator), and eight of the top 10 metro areas with the highest new case count per 100K population are in Michigan. Michigan’s case count is approaching its all-time high, hospitalizations are moving toward record levels, and deaths have taken an upturn after a long decline.

California will fully reopen activities and businesses on June 15, as long as vaccine remains available and hospitalization rates remain low.

The White House announces that every US adult will be eligible to be vaccinated by April 19, eliminating individual state phases.

CDC finally confirms that “deep cleaning” businesses is pointless since infections are spread by air, recommending instead that employees wash their hands regularly and use hand sanitizer only when soap an water aren’t available. This is a significant change as businesses reopen their indoor services and many people are still phobic about getting COVID-19 from items they touch.

A new COVID-19 vaccine is being tested in Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, and Vietnam that stimulates more potent antibodies while also being cheaply manufactured using chicken eggs, same as flu vaccine. Phase 1 trials will be completed in July. The developer of the vaccine platform is structural biologist Jason McLellan, PhD of University of Texas at Austin, of whom a Gates Foundation officer says, “He should be proud of this huge thing he’s done for humanity.

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Northwell Health will expand a program to place Amazon Echo Show two-way video devices in COVID-19 patient rooms to allow providers to communicate with them without using PPE. Physicians can initiate a conversation from their own device and patients can just start talking without pushing buttons using Alexa’s “drop in” option. Northwell said a year ago that it would add 4,000 of the devices to the 2,800 it had already deployed.


Other

A study of EHR usage at Yale-New Haven and MedStar Health systems finds that ambulatory physicians spend five hours on the EHR (Epic and Cerner, respectively) for every eight hours of scheduled clinical time, with 33% spent on documentation, 13% in inbox management, and 12% on orders. The authors warn that the use of system audit logs to compare the proposed seven EHR use metrics across vendors and provider organizations in a normalized manner will be challenging.

A former IT security support coordinator of Trillium Health pleads guilty to computer fraud, charged with using his administrative access to read employee emails and social media accounts. Trillium says it spent $150,000 to determine the extent of his hacking, also noting that his computer contained thousands of photos of employees, their credit cards, and their driver licenses. He could be sentenced to up to five years in prison and fined $250,000.


Sponsor Updates

  • Elsevier adds MIPS measures validated by MDinteractive to its STATdx radiology diagnostic decision support solution.
  • The Canisius Wilhelmina Ziekenhuis Hospital in the Netherlands goes live on Agfa HealthCare enterprise imaging.
  • Premier signs an agreement with Ascom, giving its members special, pre-negotiated pricing and terms on the company’s nurse call systems.
  • Vocera Chief Marketing Officer Kathy English is selected as a Hall of Femme honoree for 2021.
  • Cerner publishes a new client achievement story, “Cancer center improves chemotherapy infusion efficiency after transition from paper records to EHR.”
  • Change Healthcare wins a 2021 Cloud Computing Product of the Year Award from Cloud Computing Magazine for its Enterprise Imaging Network.

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  1. ET, EST, & EDT all refer to Eastern time. Arizona & Hawaii are in Mountain & Aleutian-Hawaii time zones respectively.







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