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January 20, 2022 News No Comments

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Wheel, which offers companies a platform and services to develop a virtual-first care offering, raises $150 million in a Series C funding round, increasing its total to $216 million.


Webinars

February 9 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “2022 – Industry Predictions and Medicomp Roadmap.” Sponsor: Medicomp Systems. Presenters: David Lareau, CEO, Medicomp Systems; Jay Anders, MD, chief medical officer, Medicomp Systems; Dan Gainer, CTO, Medicomp Systems. The presenters will provide an update on the health IT industry and a review of the company’s milestones and insights that it gained over the past two years. Topics will include Cures Act implications, interoperability, AI, ambient listening, telehealth-first primary care, chronic care management, and new Quippe functionality and roadmap.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Quest Diagnostics will acquire virtual health coaching company Pack Health in an all-cash deal whose value was not disclosed. Quest will place the company in its HealthConnect extended care services offering, which offers insurance companies services for members such as in-home risk assessments, health screening, and social determinants of health review. HealthConnect was formed in 2018 via Quest’s acquisition of home-based risk assessment and monitoring vendor MedXM. Pack Health CEO Mazi Rasulnia, PhD, MPH, MBA founded the company in 2013.

Outpatient physical rehabilitation platform vendor WebPT acquires Clinicient, which offers an outpatient rehab therapy EHR/PM and a patient outcomes tracking and benchmarking service.

Lyra Health, which offers online and in-person workforce mental health solutions, raises $235 million in financing.

Gale Healthcare Solutions, whose platform helps hospitals contract and manage per diem and travel nurses, receives a $60 million growth equity investment.

Big Health, which sells apps for insomnia and anxiety to employers and health plans, raises $75 million in a Series C funding round, increasing its total to $129 million.

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Investor Mark Cuban launches an online pharmacy that offers low prices on 100 generic drugs to cash-paying consumers. Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company buys drugs directly as a registered wholesaler, then sells prescriptions at actual cost plus 15% and a pharmacist fee. The company says it will not work with with third-party pharmacy benefits management companies that it says inflate drug prices. The online pharmacy is operated on Truepill’s digital health platform. The company lists a 30-day supply of thyroid drug levothyroxine at $4.20 versus the $16 list price, although I notice that Walmart sells it for $4.

Cerner SEC filings indicate that President and CEO David Feinberg and CTO Jerome Labat have waived their right to voluntarily leave the company within 12 months of the close of Oracle’s acquisition of Cerner. If Oracle terminates them, they will get $4.5 million and $2.3 million in cash, respectively, plus accelerated share vesting. Feinberg was hired in August 2021 and Labat in June 2020.

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Points from the twice-yearly health IT market review of Healthcare Growth Partners:

  • Revenue multiples in M&A and buyout transactions rose from 5.1x just before the pandemic started to 6.9x today, a 36% increase that still fell short of the Nasdaq’s 50% rise.
  • Health IT private equity investment increased from a steady $10-$15 billion per year to more than $30 billion.
  • M&A deal volume increased 50%, but has settled back to a 13% increase.
  • The early 2021 “deal frenzy” was driven by excess market liquidity, the looming capital gains tax hike, pandemic-driven IT needs, and the fear of missing out. The second-half cool-down was caused by pullback of stimulus funds and a tax hike that was below expected levels, reducing transaction urgency.
  • HGP speculates that the market’s high value may level off, but may have hit a “new normal” as capital keeps flowing in at high valuations.
  • The highest median multiples involved companies whose business was revenue cycle management, telemedicine, population health management, and analytics, and life sciences technology. 
  • Not all health IT companies command premium valuations. Multiples are justified by growth, profitability, and recurring revenue.
  • Health IT had a “painful downturn” in the second half of 2021, underperforming the market and ending the year down 16% versus 2020’s 62% increase, with 71% of health IT companies ending the year with a lower share price.
  • Three-fourths of companies that began initial trading in 2020 or 2021 are trading below their initial price, with new SPAC-merged companies down an average of 44%.

Sales

  • DCH Health System (AL) will implement Pelita’s patient access and Virtual Intake Management systems.
  • Hunt Regional Healthcare (TX) will implement Cerner Millennium via its CommunityWorks delivery model.

People

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Huntzinger Management Group promotes Stephanie Wallace to VP of sales operations.

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UCSF Health hires Suresh Gunasekaran, MBA (University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics) as president and CEO. He spent much of his career as CIO at UT Southwestern Medical Center and worked for IBM/Healthlink.

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George Pappas (DrFirst) joins cybersecurity firm Intraprise Health as CEO.

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Patient engagement system vendor MobileSmith Health hires industry long-timer Chris Caramanico (Orthus Health) as CEO. He replaces Jerry Lepore, who will remain on the company’s board.

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Coding solution vendor Aidéo Technologies hires Jason Sroka, PhD (SmartSense by Digi) as chief data sciences officer and Brent Backhaus (Olive) as CTO.

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Cheston Newhall (Appriss Insights) joins Bamboo Health as chief of staff.

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Atul Dhir, DPhil, MBBS (New Century Health)  joins PatientsLikeMe as CEO.


Announcements and Implementations

Ellkay enhances its LKCOVID-19 COVID-19 testing platform for large employers to include an employer dashboard, employee self-scheduling, direct-to-employee results, reports for compliant testing, pooled testing, and employee self-service for registration.

A National Academy of Medicine discussion paper says that while the pandemic increased the adoption of telehealth, it also exposed deficiencies in healthcare’s data infrastructure, where questions about COVID vulnerability factors, infection spread, hospital capacity, PPE availability, and identification of effective treatments and outcomes remained unanswered despite widely available yet disconnected digital data. The authors note that decision-makers were flying blind early in the pandemic because COVID-19 codes were not yet available in EHRs, EHR encounters could not be correlated to ERP-monitored staffing and physical capacity, and public health systems ran on underpowered, siloed systems.They also note that temporarily easing regulations related to HIPAA enforcement and clinician licensing improved patient care quickly. They compare EHRs to libraries, where moving paper documents to microfiche added little value beyond reduced storage costs, but moving records to machine-readable digital form opened up new “business linkage between data and services” paradigms such as online search and retrieval. They advocate incentivizing data-sharing and interoperability and the use of real-world evidence.

A University of Chicago study finds that negative patient descriptors – such as “resistant,” “non-compliant,” and “defensive” – were used by providers to describe black patients 2.5 times more often than for white patients. The authors note that previous research has shown that patients who are described with stigmatizing terms are less like to have their pain management needs met.

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Omron’s VitalSight is recognized with “best of” honors at CES 2022. The physician-ordered remote patient monitoring solution is delivered to the patient’s home pre-configured to share blood pressure measurements without requiring a WiFi or cellular connection.


Government and Politics

Hundreds of VA anesthesiologists complain about its intention to allow nurse anesthetists to practice without their supervision. That plan is related to a VA proposal to implement national standards that would take precedence over individual state laws, with those standards being implemented in its Cerner rollout.


Other

Researchers find little proof in the medical literature that mental health apps are effective. They conclude that some mobile-powered interventions might be better than nothing, which given their potential scale, might still be good news. Weaknesses of their study are that it was performed by meta analysis (reviewing existing literature, some of which includes poor study design and author bias) and it grouped apps together in broad categories. 

In Lisbon, Portugal, Uber Eats adds the capability to order a $23 physician telehealth session or a $91 house call.

Healthcare IT Leaders awards its employee recruitment prize to Kendy Valburn, a contact tracer and team lead for the company’s Healthy Returns return-to-work COVID-19 program. He provided a heartfelt, emotional response to the news that he will receive a new Tesla.


Sponsor Updates

  • HCI Group Chief Digital Officer Ed Marx joins QliqSoft’s advisory board.
  • Redox and PatientBond partner to offer personalized healthcare content within any EHR.
  • Meditech EVP Helen Waters will participate on panels during Google’s Healthcare 360 event on January 26 and MicroStrategy’s World 2022 event on February 1.
  • Healthcare Triangle releases a shareholder update.
  • The Wyoming Department of Health uses technology and services from NTT Data to overhaul its Medicaid program.

Blog Posts


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