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Monday Morning Update 5/10/21

May 9, 2021 News 1 Comment

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Walmart Health acquires telehealth provider MeMD, which it will roll out as a national virtual care service for urgent, behavioral, and primary care.

The company offers solutions to employers, health systems, and individuals, the latter paying $67 for an urgent care, men’s health, or women’s health visit.

MeMD was founded in 2010 by internist, attorney, and entrepreneur John Shufeldt, MD, JD, MBA, who previously founded NextCare Urgent Care, which operates 145 locations in 11 states. He left the private equity-backed NextCare in 2010 after that company declined to partner with his new venture MeMD.

Reader Comments


From People Sectioned: “Re: Meditech. I didn’t see the promotion of Michelle O’Connor to president and CEO mentioned.” I saw no company announcement, but her LinkedIn says she was promoted this month. She has worked for Meditech for 33 years as her only post-college employer. The executive page shows these changes from a cached copy from February:

  • Howard Messing – from CEO to vice chairman.
  • Michelle O’Connor – from president and COO to president and CEO.
  • Steven Koretz – from SVP of client services to emeritus.
  • Shannon Connell, JD – added as chief governance officer and general counsel. She started with the company in 1998 as an applications consultant, attended law school at night, and moved to the legal department in 2005.


From Pay Me Now: “Re: Aprima EHR. Down for nearly two weeks from ransomware.” Unverified, but reported by several readers. Jenn hasn’t heard back from the couple of PR folks she reached out to (it’s complicated because EMDs acquired Aprima in January 2019, then CompuGroup Medical acquired EMDs in November 2020). Users say that they received an email from CGM saying that Aprima’s hosting provider, MedNetwoRX, had sustained a ransomware attack. None of the companies involved seems to be making public statements or responding to inquiries.

From Sopwith Camel: “Re: health IT vendors. How do you keep track — maintain a list?” My only list is the HIStalk search function via Google Site Search, which turns up companies that I have mentioned – good or bad – over many years. I include a company news item only if it is truly newsworthy or interesting (and 95% are not), so finding few to zero mentions means the company in question hasn’t made much of a dent. Lorre sometimes asks me what I know about a company that has inquired about sponsoring, correctly predicting in many cases that my somewhat surprised answer will be “never heard of them” even though I’ve followed the industry for many years, giving me a chance to learn something new. The industry is a lot bigger than all of us think.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Many poll respondents aren’t willing to fill out a personal information for to download a vendor’s white paper, but the rest will share most information other than their work phone number. I included the seemingly ridiculous “work address” because I had just seen a download form that required it, which seemed excessive given that hospital addresses are unchallenging to find.

New poll to your right or here: How would you grade Brent Shafer’s three-year tenure as Cerner’s top executive? Click the poll’s comments link after voting to explain your role (employee, investor, competitor, observer, etc.) and what you think he did right or wrong. If you are feeling loquacious, describe the kind of person Cerner should choose to replace him.

Thanks to the following companies that recently supported HIStalk. Click a logo for more information.



May 11 (Tuesday) noon ET. “Modern Healthcare Innovation Leaders: How Top Health Systems Plan and Execute Innovation.” Sponsors: RingCentral, Net Health. Presenters: Todd Dunn, MBA, VP of innovation, Atrium Health; Paul Nagy, PhD, co-founder, Technology Innovation Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine; Roy Rosin, MBA, chief innovation officer, Penn Medicine; Patrick Colletti, founder, Net Health (moderator). This panel discussion will provide insights from innovative healthcare leaders who have embarked on the journey of planning and implementing innovation projects in their organizations and the wisdom they learned through the process. Topics will include predictive analytics and AI, potential challenges and risks of implementing innovation projects, challenges of interoperability and emerging technologies, and when to build versus buy when working with emerging and established vendors.

June 3 (Thursday) 2 ET: “Diagnosing the Cures Act – Practical Prescriptions for Your Success.” Sponsor: Secure Exchange Solutions. Presenters: William E. Golden, MD, MACP, medical director, Arkansas Medicaid; Anne Santifer, executive director, Arkansas Department of Health – Office of Health Information Technology; Kyle Meadors, principal, Chart Lux Consulting. A panel of leading experts will provide practical guidance on how to prepare for the Cures Act. Will it upend your business model? What is information blocking? How can standardized technologies be applied to meet Cures Act requirements? What must I do now as well as in the next five years?

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Health Catalyst reports Q1 results: revenue up 24%, adjusted EPS –$0.06 versus –$0.16, beating Wall Street expectations for both. HCAT shares are up 115% in the past 12 months versus the Nasdaq’s 52% rise, valuing the company at $2.4 billion.

OptimizeRx reports Q1 results: revenue up 48%, adjusted EPS $0.03 versus –$0.06, beating expectations for both. Shares jumped 9% on the news and are up 356% in the past 12 months, valuing the company at $880 million.


  • Israel’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center will implement Sectra’s digital pathology solution.

Announcements and Implementations


The American Bar Association updates its Mind Your Loved Ones advance directive app, which costs $8 per year for two users. Elder law and estate planning attorney Barbara Keller bought the rights to an app that ABA had previously distributed, then expanded it and reintroduced it through ABA.


CDC updates its guidance to indicate that coronavirus spreads by airborne transmission, changing its previous position that infections mostly spread by “close contact, not airborne transmission.” Distancing alone isn’t enough in poorly ventilated spaces and close-quarters workers may need to wear respirators rather than surgical masks.

Daily US vaccinations drop below two million per day for the first time since early March, as American vaccine supplies pile up unused while other parts of the world have none. Some experts call for the government to stop underselling the benefits of vaccination with overly cautious post-vaccination advice and instead aggressively loosen restrictions for those who have been vaccinated. The biggest-lagging states are Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, with only about one-third of eligible residents receiving at least their first vaccine dose.

WHO approves the emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine from China-based Sinopharm, concluding that the efficacy of the inactivated virus product – it’s an old-school vaccine that does not use the MRNA platform — is 78%.


The Lancet runs a scathing opinion piece about India’s COVID-19 crisis, blaming the country’s government for prematurely declaring the pandemic to be over, hiding data, suppressing criticism of its policies, allowing religious festivals with millions of participants to proceed with lack of mitigation measures, and botching its vaccination campaign. The editorial urges the government to admit its mistakes, provide responsible leadership and transparency, and start basing its public health efforts on science. India is reporting 400,000 new cases and 4,000 deaths each day, both numbers assumed to be wildly underreported as experts say deaths are closer to 25,000 per day or maybe more as crematories there are operating 24/7 and running out of fuel.

A hospital in India orders medical staff to flee and hide as oxygen runs out in an ICU that is caring for COVID-19 patients, raising concerns of violence by several angry families who found dead relatives in the abandoned ICU. Hospital employees in India have been physically attacked by angry family members following the deaths of loved ones.

A KHN investigation finds that large health systems are billing insurers from $20 to over $1,400 for a simple, inexpensive COVID-19 test that the tested consumer believes is free. Insurers have no bargaining power because federal law requires them to pay the full billed price and to charge the patient nothing. Some freestanding EDs in Texas have charged over $1,000 per test plus several thousand dollars more in facility fees, while Quest Diagnostics quadrupled its Q1 profit over last year by selling PCR tests for $100.


Administrators at Dartmouth’s medical school accuse 17 students of cheating on their remotely taken exams, which they detected by secretly using the school’s learning system to identify students who accessed course material during the tests. Technology experts say the school’s findings aren’t reliable since students often leave course pages open in the Canvas learning management system and the system performs background activities that look like user page views. Accused students have been threatened with expulsion, suspension, or a forced repeat of the school year. Commenters on the article question why rote memorization for medical school exams is important when doctors have to pass rigorous licensing exams and then are then encouraged as practicing physicians to use external knowledge resources and real-time clinical decision support to keep their practice current.


A random LinkedIn news feed item led me to the biography of NASA astronaut and Navy Lieutenant Jonny Kim, MD, whose accomplishments include training as a Navy SEAL and Special Operations combat medic right out of high school; deployment in over 100 combat operations in Iraq as a sniper, navigator, and point man man in earning a Silver Star and Bronze Star with valor in combat; graduation from Harvard Medical School and an emergency medicine residency with Partners Healthcare; and now an astronaut candidate awaiting an Artemis Team moon mission assignment. I’ll feel like even more of a slacker when he’s walking on the moon.

Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks publishes a video case story from Potomac Urology, which uses the company’s cloud product.
  • Appriss Health completes its acquisition of PatientPing in a transaction valuing the combined company at $1.5 billion.
  • Protenus will host its fifth annual PANDAS conference virtually May 11-12, featuring a keynote from Afia Asamoah, head of legal at Google Health.
  • The Business Unusual Podcast features ReMedi Health Solutions CEO Sonny Hyare, MD.
  • Spirion hires Chris Thomley (Canopy Capital Partners) as CFO and promotes Scott Giodano to general counsel.
  • Talkdesk will donate $20,000 during its Digital Showdown: Innovations in CX virtual event May 26.
  • Vocera publishes the “2021 CNO Perspective” report.
  • In India, Wolters Kluwer provides free access to UpToDate coronavirus resources and tools for front-line clinicians and medical researchers.

The following sponsors have won MedTech Breakthrough Awards:

  • Kyruus, Provider Match for Consumers (Best Patient Registration & Scheduling Solution).
  • Elsevier Clinical Path (Best Computerized Decision Support Solution).
  • WebPT Reach (Best Patient Relationship Management Solution).
  • Vocera Ease (Best Overall Patient Engagement Solution).
  • Pure Storage (Best EHR Security Solution).
  • Capsule Vitals Plus (Best Overall Medical Data Solution Provider).
  • SOC Telemed, Telemed IQ (Best Overall Telemedicine Platform).
  • Fortified Health Security (Best Overall Healthcare Cybersecurity Company)

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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Living in India and reading article on India there is severe disconnect. Living in a city with highest case load previous 2 weeks heard some unusual ambulances siren. The week that just went by was silent. Maids r anxious to return to our house to work. Dont hear any maid complaining that her relatives r infected surely they wud tell us as we take care of their healthcare. Article needs a serious injection of reality. Things can be better but there is r no funerals in neighborhoods and the air quality has improved, so has the morning sunrise shots over the now cleaner river.

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Reader Comments

  • Elizabeth H. H. Holmes: I think Walmart is a lot more interesting as a market entrant than previous tech giants. Walmart has plenty of IT acumen...
  • Matt Ethington: I don't know if this headline makes me want to laugh or cry. Will WalMart improve access, bring down cost of care and ...
  • @JennHIStalk: Yes, at least the Walmart Health in my area was in 2019 - "My Walmart Health Experience" https://www.histalkpractice.com...
  • IANAL: Wasn't athena doing the pilot with Walmart a few years ago?...
  • $ay Chee$e: Every time I turn around on social media (LinkedIn) since HIMSS I see Ajay posing with HIT dignitaries (e.g., Ed Marx, w...

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