After seven days of deliberation, a jury finds Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes guilty of four out of 11 counts in her criminal fraud trial.
She had raised nearly $1 billion during the life of her blood testing startup, earning the company a valuation of $9 billion before it closed in 2018 after civil and criminal inquiries.
Jurors decided that those investments were raised using false claims about the technology’s effectiveness, including doctored reports, exaggerated capabilities, and concealment of the use of third-party devices and faked demonstrations. She was found not guilty on charges of defrauding patients.
Holmes, who will be sentenced at a later date, faces up to 20 years in prison.
From Orlando: “Re: HIMSS. HIMSS and its Accelerate solution group — created by Hal Wolf and McKinsey — started layoffs this week.” Unverified, because the HIMSS press contact quit and I don’t see her replacement listed on the HIMSS site. I signed on to Accelerate and my reaction was the same as months ago — all I see is HIMSS hawking its vendor-paid webinars, a bunch of lame promotional stories with the obligatory stock photos from Healthcare IT News, and Accelerate people trying unsuccessfully to get users to interact. The default group lists 6,700 members, but searching for users named “Smith” and “Jones” turned up just 10 names each. None of the people Accelerate recommended that I follow have completed their profiles or posted anything to the site. LinkedIn shows 27 employees and 348 followers, with the HIMSS VP in charge appearing to be Barry Edelman (who lists “himms.org” on his lightly used Twitter profile). I will say from experience that readership and interaction happens quickly or not at all. Accelerate aspires to be the “digital platform that drives 365 healthcare transformation,” but like a lot of health IT websites, its “curated content” from its first five months of existence doesn’t strike me as being even slightly useful. I invite Accelerate users to correct me in explaining the value that rewards their participation.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
Poll respondents say they will beef up their COVID-19 precautions by avoiding unnecessary gatherings, upgrading cloth masks, and getting a booster shot. Most will follow the nearly universal trend of ignoring the one technical solution of contact tracing apps, whose minimal acceptance and low value demonstrate what happens when big tech companies barge into healthcare convinced that cool apps are disruptive.
New poll to your right or here: How does your work-from-home job effectiveness compare to working in the office?
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Jacob Reider, MD announces in a blog post that Circulo acquired his company, social determinants of health-focused Huddle Health, last October. Olive CEO Sean Lane launched Medicaid-focused managed care company Circulo nearly a year ago alongside a $50 million funding round. Reider, a former deputy national coordinator for health IT, has taken on the role of general manager of health solutions at Circulo Health.
Symplr will acquire Midas Health Analytics Solutions from Conduent for $340 million in cash. The deal marks the twelfth acquisition for Symplr, a healthcare governance, risk, and compliance technology vendor.
Waymark, which supports Medicaid primary care providers with technology-enabled community care teams, raises $45 million in a Series A funding round. The co-founders are MD-PhDs who care for Medicaid patients.
Healthcare market intelligence vendor Trella Health acquires PlayMaker Health, which offers a post-acute CRM and EMR referral management system.
Consumer engagement and telehealth solutions vendor Carenet Health acquires healthcare collaboration platform vendor OpenMed.
Share price of the Global X Telemedicine and Digital Health Fund was flat in December, up 7% since their first day of trading in July 2020.
- Priority Health, the country’s third-largest provider-sponsored health plan, will use Epic’s Payer Platform.
Harris promotes Mihir Shah, MBA to EVP of its Clinical Computer Systems business, developer of the OBIX Perinatal Data System.
Bamboo Health promotes Rob Cohen, MCIT, MBA to CEO.
Marcus Gordon, MBA (Lumeris) joins Sharecare as SVP of growth marketing.
Jvion hires Curt Thornton (Medicom Health) as chief growth officer; Jim Stansell (TeleHealth Solution) as CTO; and Leah Ray (Zelis) as chief customer officer.
Kimberly Lynch, MPH (Aledade) joins Stellar Health as COO.
Marcus Osborne, MBA, SVP of Walmart Health & Wellness, announces on LinkedIn that he has left the company. Walmart removed Osborne from running its clinics reassigned in September 21, the same day it removed the SVP/COO over Health & Wellness.
Kieran Murphy, MSc, president and CEO of GE Healthcare, leaves the company as previously announced after 4 1/2 years in that role. He will be replaced by Peter Arduini, formerly president and CEO of Integra LifeSciences.
Announcements and Implementations
The Bermuda Hospitals Board will go live on Cerner Millennium across its two hospitals and urgent care center later this year.
Mary Washington Hospital (VA) will launch an e-ICU using remote patient monitoring technology from Hicuity Health later this month.
CES, the Consumer Electronic Show, will end a day early due to COVID-19 concerns. Several major exhibitors have cancelled their participation in the Las Vegas show, which will now run for three days.
At CES, Withings announces the Body Scan Connected Health Station, which measures weight, body composition, heart rate, and vascular age. It also includes a six-lead ECG function and nerve assessment. The $300 scale, which is awaiting FDA clearance, will be sold with a health monitoring service that includes coaching, clinical services, and health goals planning.
Amazon’s at-home COVID-19 PCR test earns FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization. Users register their $40 kits online, drop off their nasal swab sample at a UPS location with prepaid label attached, then have their results posted on the website within 24 hours of receipt. Amazon says it built its own CAP-accredited, CLIA-certified lab for its own employees in April 2020 and is now extending its services to Amazon customers.
Privacy and Security
Broward Health (FL) reports that the medical and personal information of 1.4 million patients was exposed in an October breach in which someone penetrated its network via the office of an unnamed third-party medical provider.
MU Health Care says it will implement a new time-keeping system after some employees report not being paid in full as a result of the Kronos ransomware attack last month. Hospital representatives say pay discrepancies will be resolved this week. Meanwhile, some UF Health (FL) employees say they are looking for new jobs after the Kronos problem left them underpaid for actual hours worked since the health system can’t track overtime with the system down.
Fast Company says “the telehealth bubble has burst” as pandemic lockdowns have ended, proving wrong the technology experts who declared that most healthcare services will be delivered online. Soaring telehealth company share prices have crashed hard — Teladoc Health shares have tanked 70% in less than a year, Amwell is down 86%, and Hims has shed 75%. Telehealth companies are trying to figure out how to pivot, with behavioral health being the only service that has earned a permanent spot. Key issues are payments by CMS and insurers; the possible incorporation of telehealth into other areas such as retail clinics; and the possible future of individual tools and services being rolled up into an Amazon-like patient experience.
A NEJM perspective piece says that the US public health system is a patchwork of policies and technologies that the pandemic has exposed as being expensive while delivering poor population health outcomes. Notes:
- The federal government has 21 major agencies that are involved with pandemic preparedness.
- State health departments are sometimes independent but more commonly parts of other organizations, and top state health officials are governor-appointed.
- Local health departments often perform fewer than half of the services HHS has deemed core to public health, with many of them offering nothing in tobacco prevention, opioid addiction, chronic disease management, and injury surveillance.
- Much state and local public health work is conducted on paper, with limited ability to obtain, analyze, and share information. Just 3% of local health departments say their IT systems are interoperable.
- Health officials who support evidence-based public health measures are often harassed and threatened and 32 states have passed new laws that limit the authority of public health departments during emergencies.
- Availity employees volunteer at the Jacksonville Humane Society.
- Bluestream Health adds PCare’s patient engagement software to its virtual care platform.
- Change Healthcare AVP Edward Hafner has received WEDI’s 2021 Andrew H. Melczer Leadership in Volunteerism Award.
- Pivot Point Consulting has been honored for the eighth consecutive year as a winner in The Best and Brightest Companies to Work for in the Nation program, as well as the new 2021 regional program.
- Cerner Director of Interoperability Strategy Hans Buitendijk joins the GAO’s National Health IT Advisory Committee.
- Healthcare Triangle reports developing tech solutions to help the post-COVID healthcare industry use big data to deliver better care.
- OptimizeRx CEO Will Febbo will moderate a panel on virtual care at the LifeSci Partners Corporate Access Event January 6.
- AGS Health’s learning and development team has won an award from TISS Leap Vault CLO in the Best Induction Program category for new hires in healthcare.
- Arcadia publishes a new study, “Reduced Incidence of Long-COVID Symptoms Related to Administration of COVID-19 Vaccines Both Before COVID-19 Diagnosis and Up to 12 Weeks After.”
- CHIME releases a new podcast, “A Conversation with John Kravitz, 2020/21 CHIME Board Chair – The Year in Review.”
- Emerge has improved revenue and quality for a multi-specialty group using natural-language processing.
- Glytec’s EGlycemic Management System has achieved HITRUST CSF certification for information security.
- 2021 Year in Review – Looking Toward 2022 (Azara Healthcare)
- Coordinating Behavioral Healthcare for a Healthier America (Bamboo Health)
- Behind the IT Support Desk: Why It Matters for Your Patients (CereCore)
- A dramatic change in CCM reimbursement rates kicked into effect January 1st (ChartSpan)
- The Future of HEDIS is Digital: How Plans Can Prepare (Collective Medical)
- Supporting Patients to Help Them Get and Stay on Specialty Therapies (CoverMyMeds)
- Meeting Staffing Needs: Looking Beyond COVID-19 (EClinicalWorks)
- Four Major Takeaways from the ATA EDGE2021 Conference (EVisit)
- Preparing for Omicron: streamlining care with digital scheduling tools (Experian Health)