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July 8, 2021 News 8 Comments

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FDA issues 510(k) clearance for the use of AliveCor’s $149 KardiaMobile 6L by healthcare professionals to calculate QTc interval from its EKGs. That value is used to diagnose certain disorders of electrical conductivity that can cause irregular heartbeat.

The company also offers a service to measure QT intervals.

I was an early user of KardiaMobile and am surprised every day that the company hasn’t been acquired by Apple or some other remote monitoring / wearables vendor given its strong history of working within FDA’s regulatory framework.

AliveCor has raised $154 million in funding, including a $65 million Series E round in November 2020 whose participants included the venture funds of Qualcomm and Omron.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I’m trying to understand the mental process that leads people to think that “app” should be spelled “APP.” Short words need more caps?

I received a robocall whose caller ID showed Clackamas, OR, so I’ve changed my fake LinkedIn location to the closest town to that it would allow, Happy Valley, OR. I looked it up and found that Tony Award nominee Hailey Kilgore was born there. I saw her in “Once on This Island” on Broadway few years back, so maybe that was her calling me to catch up.


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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Intelerad acquires medical image management technology vendor Heart Imaging Technologies.

Marketing company Finn Partners acquires health IT-focused communications and marketing firm Agency Ten22, whose founder and CEO Beth Friedman will join Finn as senior partner.


  • Knox Community Hospital (OH) chooses Hicuity Health to provide tele-ICU and cardiac telemetry services.
  • Specialty drug management vendor Magellan Rx Management will offer its members live behavioral health support and wellness coaching from Heuro Health.



Edifecs promotes Venkat Kavarthapu, MBA to CEO. He replaces founder Sunny Singh, who will move to board chair.


Industry long-timer Jamie Trigg, MSITM (Virginia Mason Medical Center) joins CommonSpirit Health as national system director of Cerner.


Payer software vendor HealthEdge hires Ryan Mooney (Cotiviti) as EVP/GM of its payment integrity product division.


Bon Secours Mercy Health names Jason Szczuke, JD (Cigna) as its first chief digital officer.


Kansas City-based worker compensation technology vendor Bardavon Health Innovations hires Ed Enyeart (Cerner) as CFO. He was recruited by former Cerner President Zane Burke, who joined Bardavon’s board in January 2021.

Government and Politics

A second VA OIG review of the infrastructure cost of implementing Cerner adds another several billion dollars to the project’s likely final cost. OIG notes, however, that the two infrastructure cost reports its office performed were conducted separately, so overlap is likely. The cost of the project, which was initially estimated at $10 billion and then $16 billion, could be as high as $21 billion if the estimates for cabling, user devices, and interfaces do not overlap. The VA – which OIG says underreported costs in its poorly documented estimates — agreed to all of OIG’s recommendations, which include having an independent cost estimate performed and ensuring that any additional project funding that is required is made available.

Announcements and Implementations


Philips and Cognizant will co-develop digital health solutions for Philips HealthSuite.

A AHRQ-funded Regenstrief study finds that EHR alerts that are intend to reduce prescribing of dementia-linked anticholinergics in older adults are nearly never read by providers or medical assistants, so their effectiveness could not be measured. The authors conclude that human-based interventions might work better than computer-issued nudges for reducing anticholinergic prescribing.


The Commons Project releases a free SMART Health Card Verifier App for IOS and Android that will allow businesses and other organizations to scan a COVID-19 vaccination card that uses the SMART standard to determine its validity and display vaccination details.



I ran across information for Microsoft 365 Business Basic, which seems like a great deal for $5 per user per month, with no mention of a minimum number of users. It includes web versions of Office apps, 50 GB of mailbox storage with Exchange, 1 TB of OneDrive storage and sync, a full implementation of Teams that includes webinars and 300-user meetings, and some elements of SharePoint that I don’t quite understand. No desktop app versions are included, but I’m pondering getting a lot of storage plus a Webinar platform for just $60 per year, which also includes 24-hour support.

Business Insider says that prospective business customers of its Amazon Care virtual service want it included as a benefit in their health insurance plans, but those insurers are balking, possibly because Amazon is recommending value-based contracts and the insurers would rather pay under fee-for-service deals.


Eric Bricker, MD of First Stop Health notes a trend in physicians selling their medical practices to private equity firms, as follows:

  • The PE firm offers the physician owners of the practice a lump sump of cash and offers to take over its billing and collections.
  • The practice agrees to pay the PE firm up to 40% of future annual revenue.
  • The PE firm takes advantage of its now-larger group practices to squeeze insurers for higher payments.
  • Healthcare costs increase, but the doctors in the practice who weren’t owners – most of them younger — make less, allowing the PE firm to pocket the difference.

Sponsor Updates

  • Impact Advisors receives a high overall score in the KLAS “Security & Privacy Services 2021 Report.”
  • Redox enables its customers to create digital health apps using Unqork’s no-code platform that are interoperable with any organization in the Redox Network.
  • Healthcare Triangle achieves Google Cloud affiliate Partner status.
  • CereCore welcomes Michael Gagnon as its first Enterprise Fellow, where he will provide technical direction in IT solutions, cloud, and disaster recovery management.
  • VirtualHealth adds Healthwise’s educational healthcare content to its Helios care management platform for payers.
  • Vocera will relocate and expand its San Jose headquarters early next year.

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Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. “I received a robocall whose caller ID showed Clackamas, OR, so I’ve changed my fake LinkedIn location to the closest town to that it would allow, Happy Valley, OR.”

    Totally curious. Why? Does doing that help reduce robocalls?

    Fun fact. Just about everyone in Oregon uses Clackamas and Happy Valley interchangeably.

    • No, I just like using unusual town names on my profile, with the previous two being Lemitar, NM and Pahrump, NV. The robocall just gave me a new one to use for a while.

      • If you ever get bored of being in the west, may I suggest What Cheer, IA? (If that isn’t too close to Happy Valley.)

        • Noted for my next virtual relocation. Which in fact was today since I was checking to see if LinkedIn would allow What Cheer in its list of defined areas, and upon confirming that it would, I left my location as What Cheer out of laziness and since you suggested it.

          I have noted that What Cheer is the birthplace of the “developer” of chiropractic B.J. Palmer, who some believe murdered his father — the “founder” of chiropractic — by running over him with his car in the homecoming parade of the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, IA.

          • You could also use No Name, Colorado. When I drove through it, I thought there was a glitch in my GPS.

  2. RE: VA costs – I was heavily involved in the original IBM/Epic bid for the DoD. When we lost and found out what Leidos/Cerner had bid, we were mystified. Either they had low-balled, had missed some major infrastructure pieces, or had some “secret sauce” that we just hadn’t figured out. Well, I think we’re finding there was no secret sauce involved.

  3. Regarding AmazonCare, calling it “value based care” is generous. Telehealth companies used to charge per member per month. Insurance companies started to figure out that telehealth companies weren’t doing much. Even worse is that as the insurance companies added members, the cost to the insurance company rose linearly, but the cost to the telehealth company barely changed since so few of those members actually used the telehealth service.
    Insurance companies also did internal measurements on the value of “urgent care” style telehealth and realized it wasn’t really substituting for primary care visits and wasn’t driving down long term costs. In urgent care style telehealth, People use it for the sniffles while before they would just ride it out. Increased healthcare convenience means people use more healthcare, not less. That isn’t an interesting service for insurance companies.
    So about five years ago insurance companies forced telehealth companies away from per member per month. Many initially tried straight charging per visit and some still do (Dr on demand I think still did about a year or two ago). But that style of telehealth is a race to the bottom, low margin business. Your HR department that buys your benefits is less savvy to this stuff than insurance companies so it is easier to make money off employers directly but selling to them one by one requires a lot of sales people.

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