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September 7, 2021 News 8 Comments

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Invitae will acquire Ciitizen, a consumer-focused health data startup, for $325 million.

The genetics company will integrate Ciitizen’s technology as a health data collection and organization service for its patients.

Ciitizen has raised $20 million since launching four years ago. It acquired HIE vendor Stella Technology in May.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Olive. The Columbus, OH-based automation company is creating the Internet of Healthcare. It is addressing healthcare’s most burdensome issues through automation, delivering hospitals, health systems, and payers increased revenue, reduced costs, and improved efficiency. People feel lost in the system today and healthcare employees are essentially working in the dark due to outdated technology that creates a lack of shared knowledge and siloed data. Olive is driving connections to shine new light on healthcare processes, improving operations today so everyone can benefit from a healthier industry tomorrow. Thanks to Olive for supporting HIStalk.

I found this YouTube demo of using Olive to automate prescription refill requests.

We had a family get-together last week, with a dozen of us traveling to a place we had rented. All of us who are eligible have been fully vaccinated and we all tested negative before arrival with the BinaxNow rapid COVID-19 test. A four-year-old whose family stayed only through the first weekend became symptomatic and tested positive last Monday. Her infection almost certainly came from close contact the week before with an unvaccinated preschool teacher (the school was waffling on its mandatory vaccination plans and was not forthcoming with parents about staff vaccinations). Luckily everybody else in our group tested negative. Testing is once again a US problem as drive-through sites have shut down and not all stores have the $10 BinaxNow tests (CVS had the complicated, expensive, and reportedly less-reliable Ellume tests in limited supply). Not to mention that not all families can afford to buy and keep boxes of tests at home. Other countries are providing the many brands of tests their governments have approved (versus a handful here) at no charge, even mailing them to homes, so that infected people can avoid exposing others, but of course here even people with positive tests can’t be trusted to be responsible. Abbott must be making a fortune even at $10 per test since it looks like maybe 75 cents worth of product and packaging whose fixed cost component has long since been covered. Coronavirus capitalism is interesting.


September 16 (Thursday) 1 ET. “Patient Acquisition and Retention: The Future of Omnichannel Virtual Assistants.” Sponsor: Orbita. Presenters: Harris Hunt, SVP growth product, Cancer Treatment Centers of America; Patty Riskind, MBA, CEO, Orbita; Nathan Treloar, MSc, co-founder and COO, Orbita. Consumers want the same digital healthcare experience from healthcare that they get in online shopping, banking, and booking reservations, and the pandemic has ramped up the patient and provider need for frictionless access to healthcare resources and services. Health systems can improve patient acquisition and retention with the help of omnichannel virtual assistants that engage and delight. Discover how to open and enhance healthcare’s digital front door to offer care that goes beyond expectations.

September 16 (Thursday) 1 ET. “ICD-10-CM 2022 Updates and Regulatory Readiness.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: June Bronnert, MSHI, RHIA, VP global clinical services, IMO; Theresa Rihanek, MHA, RHIA, mapping manager, IMO; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO. IMO’s top coding professionals and thought leaders will discuss the coding changes in the yearly update to allow your organization to prepare for a smooth transition and avoid negative impacts to the bottom line. The presenters will review new, revised, and deleted codes; highlight revisions to ICD-10-CM index and tabular; discuss changes within Official Coding Guidelines, and review modifier changes.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Urgent care appointment-booking software vendor Solv raises $45 million in a Series C funding round, bringing its total raised to $95 million.

Medication management software vendor Omnicell opens a software development center in India.


A new KLAS report on ambulatory surgery center EHRs finds that HST Pathways and Surgical Information Systems lead in adoption with high usability although falling short on anesthesia documentation, while Provation performs highly for specialties.


  • Virginia Hospital Center selects Phunware’s digital front door technology.
  • Athenahealth makes ConnectiveRx’s ScriptGuide point-of-care prescription savings messages available through its EHR.



Former EMT and health IT long-timer John Danahey joins Picis Clinical Solutions as EVP.


CipherHealth names Mandana Varahrami (RapidDeploy) chief product officer.


Industry long-timer Scott Lenz, who retired from NetApp in 2016, died Friday at 59.

Announcements and Implementations


Mount Sinai Health System’s IT department develops the patient-facing MyMountSinai app.

Government and Politics


Ireland’s national health service has almost totally recovered from the May ransomware attack that severely impacted services across the country for several weeks. Some facilities are still dealing with cancelled appointments, and employee email access has yet to be restored. The hackers ended up giving the HSE the encryption key for “free” after it refused to pay the $20 million ransom.


Hawaii’s COVID-19 case counts are being reported incorrectly as its systems are stressed by volumes as well as inconsistency in how reporting systems – including more than 100 labs – send their data. Not all systems support HL7 and those that do may apply different rules to individual data elements. Another issue that in the absences of a national patient identifier, a misspelled name can cause one person’s multiple test results to be counted as multiple cases. State epidemiologists suggest using seven-day case averages to smooth out one- or two-day swings caused by inconsistent reporting times.

Scripps hospitals in California report that they experienced their highest-ever single day deaths this past weekend, all 19 of them involving patients who were not fully vaccinated. Its employees say they are being called liars by some patients who don’t believe they are infected.


Amazon will reportedly offer in-home medical visits in 20 US cities later this year via its Amazon Care business.

Sponsor Updates

  • Ascom hires Lori Lyons as director of marketing engagement.
  • CareSignal wins the HIMSS 2021 Global Maternal Health Tech Challenge.
  • CHIME releases a new Digital Health Leaders Podcast featuring MedStar health SVP and CIO Scott MacLean.
  • Dimensional Insight receives a high overall rating in the 2021 “Gartner Peer Insights Voice of the Customer: Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms” report.
  • Divurgent celebrates its 14th anniversary.
  • Spok offers a new e-book, “Solving the critical test result workflow challenge with closed loop communication.”

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Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. Comment on 2 items in this post:
    1. re: Hawaii testing/reporting issues. This is a real concern for all of us in Hawaii. The numbers don’t make sense to the public, we go from 400 (which is double our spring peak) one day, to 1600 the next and it’s a swing that happens weekly now.
    2. re: your family gathering. We have family that comes to Hawaii from LA every year, they have a timeshare here and then also split time between some of our homes. They are fully vaccinated and tested negative before flying. They were held up at LAX for 12 hours due to mechanical issues and got added to an already full flight that evening. On day 4 here, they started to feel like they were coming down with colds. By day 6, the husband was coughing and tested positive, his wife did the next day. He has co-morbidities, she does not. He’s in ICU, medically induced coma, vent, etc. She did well after getting monoclonal antibodies. Since they stayed with a family member the first 3 days, she also got tested and this is the tie in to #1 above. She went to our local drugstore chain Longs owned by CVS on Wednesday. They sent her test to somewhere on the mainland and by Friday still no results. So she went to a local clinic to get tested in-house with their rapid system, she was negative, and got her mainland negative result a day later.
    Our positivity rate which was 2.7 at our spring peak, is now consistently above 7%. I know that’s much lower than other states, but when you have limited hosp beds and can’t easily be medevaced to another state, these numbers matter most. We are going to start using vaccine passes next week for restaurants, gyms, theaters and other venues where people gather.

  2. Irresponsible: Your family gathering report. …when you say…”Her infection almost certainly came from close contact the week before with an unvaccinated preschool teacher (the school was waffling on its mandatory vaccination plans and was not forthcoming with parents about staff vaccinations). That is an irresponsible statement when you have no proof. Especially when we have data from Cape Cod and internationally that prove otherwise, vaccinated people do transmit it. Fact. Pretty sobering evidence in this NG article “https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/evidence-mounts-that-people-with-breakthrough-infections-can-spread-delta-easily”. But to my point. Any medical history on the teacher that was not vaccinated. Maybe they’re like me who already had COVID and are buoyed by the fact that messing with my natural immunity is not such a good idea. One of many citations here “https://www.science.org/content/article/having-sars-cov-2-once-confers-much-greater-immunity-vaccine-no-infection-parties-please”. It’s easy to follow the narratives and make assumptions. Must be “them”, “I did my part”. Fine your choice. Respect the other choices that are panning out to be not so wrong. You’re a clinician right? I am disappointed in you as I am with my neighbor who is a nurse that was shocked that she and her whole vaccinated family came down with COVID this past week. Her husband, she, one of the kids pretty sick. All vaccinated. She thought she was protected and would not get it. She’s an example of the fact that even as a nurse, highly educated, and I am sure good at her job at Mass General, she made an assumption. As did you.

    • Sorry, I don’t need to respect your choice to not get vaccinated, nor will I respect your opinion that a vaccine is “messing” with your natural immunity. Unless you are the magic minority (fractional percentage of individuals who seem to be naturally immune), which your claim that you already had the virus means you aren’t, you have no natural immunity to this disease, you have ACQUIRED immunity that is to a specific variant of the disease.

      It isn’t an irresponsible statement to say that this is now the pandemic of the unvaccinated and I soundly reject your anti-vaccine message.

      I am also quite tired of people lying, through direct statement or omission about their vaccine status. I choose to allow access to my home only for those who are fully vaccinated and have had two events were people knew our preference but chose to ignore our preference and in one case outright lied about being vaccinated. I consider that sociopathic behavior, and your statements are rather contributing to that.

      Your agenda isn’t helpful

      • Acquired immunity, I will be the bigger man and accept that yes, that is what I have. Correction accepted. Still, no reason for me to be vaccinated. I never said no-one should. You obviously, never read my citations or others, just pushing the narrative. I am not anti-vaccine. So um did you catch COVID from the 2 events? Anyone else? Do you go out in public. Laughable, closed home. Good luck with that. I would also not be ever interested in access to your home because of your ignorance and your agenda. I won’t clog up this by most cases useful blog with anything more since you and others like yourselves have your hands over your ears (and eyes).

        • “You obviously, never read my citations or others”

          Umm, from your citation:

          In another analysis, the researchers compared more than 14,000 people who had a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and were still unvaccinated with an equivalent number of previously infected people who received one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The team found that the unvaccinated group was twice as likely to be reinfected as the singly vaccinated.

          “We continue to underestimate the importance of natural infection immunity … especially when [infection] is recent,” says Eric Topol, a physician-scientist at Scripps Research. “And when you bolster that with one dose of vaccine, you take it to levels you can’t possibly match with any vaccine in the world right now.”

          Yet, you conclude: “Still, no reason for me to be vaccinated.” SMH…

    • JVM69 – a human petri dish demonstrates the Dunning-Kruger effect.

      Yes, vaccinated people can get a breakthrough infection, and then transmit the virus. Still, breakthrough infections are many times less likely than infections in an unvaccinated person who hadn’t already survived a Covid infection, and these breakthrough infections last shorter than in an unvaccinated person. It is completely reasonable to assume that the unvaccinated teacher is the source of the infection, especially since we know that things like this happen:

      BTW, those who have had Covid are also subject to breakthrough infections, just like vaccinated people.

      • JVM69 is wrong on too many counts to, well, count. The problem isn’t that he(?) is wrong, rather that he is getting information from sources that are deliberately spreading falsehoods for their own personal and national agendas. The disinformation campaigns are troubling and they are causing harm to the nation and the world. Free speech is one thing, but yelling fire in a theater is another, and there should be consequences for those who are using their platforms to deceive.

        We now have reports that the Chinese government may be spreading disinformation with the intent to divide us, we know the Russians are doing it. The motives of the likes of Bannon, Carlson, and Ingrahams are certainly in question.

        Until there are consequences for those doing this, people like JVM69 will continue to be drawn down the rabbit hole of deceit.

    • Whether it makes sense to conclude it’s an unvaccinated preschool teacher depends on what other info they have. That family knows what their exposure is (e.g. working at office or from home?) and presumably would get word when there’s a case at preschool. If they don’t have many other in-roads and they know there’s an unvaccinated teacher at preschool who got it then it seems like a logical conclusion. If they’re unmasked at the office in a place with moderate-high transmission, probably should have less confidence.

      We have evidence that vaccinated people can transmit it, but less than those with no immunity. That’s because vaccines still meaningfully reduce the likelihood of getting infection (numbers I have seen say around 60%) and, per the CDC, likely reduce the duration of the contagious period.

      If your focus is that proof of prior infection should “count” somehow for vaccine mandates I don’t fundamentally have a problem with that. It’s what we do for chickenpox for attending schools in most states. The logistics of proving prior infection are messy for those who caught it before we had robust testing so it wouldn’t be available to everyone who had it before.

      If your focus is reducing the collective obligation to do the minimal things we can to get this pandemic under control then I have a large problem with it. Vaccines don’t have to be 100% effective to make a huge difference in the course of the pandemic and the more people who are letting it run aggressively through them the worse it will get here.

      It’s worth noting your article doesn’t support your concept of “messing with my natural immunity is not such a good idea”, it calls out that prior infection+vaccine reduces future infection better than either alone. Unless there’s reason to believe the side effects will be worse than the risk of infection and transmitting (probably only true if you have specific contraindications or allergies but check with your doctor) it’s still wise to get the shot.

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