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May 16, 2021 News 2 Comments

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Ireland’s health service shuts down its IT systems due to ransomware, with several hospitals cancelling appointments and elective surgeries.

The government says it will not pay the demanded ransom, which some sources say is $150,000 but others report seeing locked screens that gave the amount at $20 million.

The attack involved Conti ransomware, in which attackers send an employee an email that looks like it came from a trusted colleague and contains a link to a Google Drive document that contains the payload.

Reader Comments


From Pipeline Fretter: “Re: ransomware. Can you ask readers what they have done lately in response to healthcare ransomware threats?” Here’s a one-question survey. Please complete and I’ll compile the results.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Brent Shafer gets a weighted average grade of C- from respondents for his time at Cerner.

New poll to your right or here: How do you expect your employer’s headcount to change between now and 12/31/21?


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

SOC Telemed reports Q1 results: revenue flat, with an adjusted loss of $4.6 million versus $2.7 million, beating revenue expectations but falling short on earnings. Shares in the acute care telemedicine vendor are down 26% since they began trading in November 2020 in a SPAC merger, valuing the company at $700 million.


Bloomberg Businessweek says that billionaire “SPAC king” Chamath Palihapitiya is raking in the cash even as the SPAC market is cooling off and investors are losing big chunks of money. The article describes his involvement with Clover Health, a small, money-losing insurance company that tries to dazzle investors with its technology:

  • Unlike traditional IPOs, SPAC companies can make whatever wild business projections they want.
  • The SPAC’s sponsor keeps 20% of shares as their fee.
  • Palihapitiya uses his huge social media following to hype his SPACs. He and his partners doubled their money, much of it borrowed, to $320 million as Clover Health’s investors watched their shares drop in value.
  • Clover wasn’t a startup. It had been flailing along on technology hype since 2012, but has burned through hundreds of millions of investor dollars while missing growth targets and replacing executives.
  • Clover Health’s plans are rated in the bottom 15% of the government’s star rating system.
  • The company’s efforts to expand outside of New Jersey have not been successful and it still sells only Medicare Advantage plans, but it has changed its story to position itself as a software business because of its Clover Assistant physician advice software.
  • The reporter contacted four doctors who the company had recognized as being dedicated Clover Assistant users, of which only one confirmed that he had actually used it and even then that doctor said it wasn’t useful. The company claims that they have analytics showing regular use even though doctors may not recognize the product name.
  • The company did not disclose Department of Justice inquiries about its sales practices or that its co-founder ran a hospital chain that had been accused of price gouging.
  • CLOV shares are down 50% since their first day of trading in early January, the same average percentage loss as all of Palihapitiya’s SPACs.


  • University of Vermont Health Network will deploy Visage Imaging’ s enterprise imaging platform via a public cloud.


CDC reports that 56% of eligible Americans have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 44% are fully vaccinated. An astonishing 158 million people have been given at least one shot.


Here’s what a vaccine can accomplish in four months.

Experts say the eight-player COVID-19 outbreak among the New York Yankees is evidence that the vaccine works since seven of them had no symptoms and nobody got sick. They remind the public that while vaccines aren’t quite 100% protective against infection, they are nearly 100% effective against hospitalization and death. The article notes that most or all of the players would likely not have known they were infected except for the regular testing that pro sports requires.

Sponsor Updates

  • Clinical Architecture will present during the virtual AMIA Clinical Informatics Conference May 18.
  • OptimizeRx will present at the RBC Capital Markets Global Virtual Healthcare Conference May 19.
  • PatientPing releases a new e-book, “CMS’ E-Notifications CoP: The Route to Compliance – Part 3.”
  • Relatient publishes a case study, “The Power of a Platform: How This Medical Group Improved Patient Satisfaction, Reduced No-Shows and Increased Revenue with a Comprehensive Patient Messaging Strategy.”
  • Premier will host a tweet chat (#PremierChat) with President and CEO Michael Alkire May 19 at 6pm ET.
  • Providence Ventures’ Funding the Future of Healthcare Podcast features Protenus CEO Nick Culbertson.
  • Pure Storage recognizes six customers driving innovation in its inaugural Breakthrough Awards program.
  • RCxRules publishes “Best Practices Guide to HCC Coding: 9 Ways Top-Performing Organizations Improve RAF Scores.”
  • CRN includes Spirion Senior Director of Business Development Melissa Murillo on its “Women of the Channel” list for 2021.
  • AI Tech Park interviews Wolters Kluwers Health VP & GM Frank Jackson.

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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

    • Mr robot was right, when they originally looked at weaknesses in the system, he looked at employees and said “I see five right away”

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