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July 5, 2022 News 15 Comments

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Francisco Partners completes its acquisition of the data and analytics assets of IBM Watson Health and renames the business Merative.

Chosen as CEO is industry long-timer Gerry McCarthy, who has served in executive roles with ESolutions, TransUnion, HealthMEDX, and McKesson. The company’s headquarters will be in in Ann Arbor, MI. Former Watson Health Paul Roma will transition to senior advisor to Francisco Partners. Much of the remaining IBM Watson Health executive team will remain in place.

The company, which FP acquired for a reported $1 billion versus the $4 billion IBM spent to create it from a series of acquisitions, will organize around six product lines – Health Insights; MarketScan; Clinical Development; Social Program Management and Phytel; Micromedex; and Merge Imaging solutions.

Reader Comments

From Spare Change: “Re: return to office. We are seeing the result of employees who have power like they have never had, the ability to work from anywhere.” I think that moment was fleeting. Economic and industry conditions have put bosses back in charge and they know that they need to manage costs while fretting less that their employees might flee to greener pastures. I never understood the “great resignation,” assuming (perhaps naively) that the same number of people still need to work and the total number of available jobs hasn’t changed much even though job mix has shifted. Some jobs can be performed remotely (and always could have been), but work-from-home was, like telemedicine, a temporary compromise whose adoption will settle at numbers higher than pre-pandemic but much lower than in 2020-21. I bet many executives agree with me that you can’t build and maintain a great company when employees are doing task work in their living rooms and communicating via Slack and Zoom while missing face-to-face meetings, chance encounters, personal relationships, and exposure to broader company work. I expect companies to compromise by offering a hybrid model of 1-2 offsite work days per week or maybe going with a permanent four-day workweek, which adds flexibility and reduces commute headaches but without conferring geographic freedom. Employee threats to sell their services elsewhere if they are required to show up at the office are ringing pretty hollow now versus a year ago. Have you seen a shift in the employee-employer dynamic in the last couple of months?

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


It’s about an even poll respondent split between telehealth being more important now versus in 2019.

New poll to your right or here: From your most recent encounter, how much of the clinician’s time seemed to be spent on tasks that lower-level people could have done? My perception is mixed – sometimes it seems that being the only person in the room with the patient makes the clinician feel that it’s easier to do low-value work than to bring someone in to help, or lures them into a comfort zone of happily performing comfortably mindless work.

HIStalk sponsors: prices will increase a bit starting January 1, 2023, although the cost will still be less — taking inflation into account — than in 2014, when it last changed. This is the cue for on-the-fence companies to sign up sooner rather than later.


July 12 (Tuesday) 1 ET. “Digital Data Stewardship for Trusted, High-Quality Data Exchange.” Sponsor: Clinical Architecture. Presenter: Carol Graham, MS, RN, product manager, Clinical Architecture. Organizations face challenges in ensuring that the patient data they received and send is consistent, accurate, and usable. Use cases include receiving multi-source data across health information networks with variation in formats and content; merging and de-duplicating provider, payer, and research data; uplifting legacy data for current use cases and formats; and normalizing and formatting data for public health surveillance, quality measure reporting, and providing directly to the patient. This webinar will cover Pivot, a comprehensive Digital Data Steward solution that orchestrates format harmonization, content (vocabulary) normalization, de-duplication, and data quality validation into a single solution.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Concierge primary care operator One Medical is reportedly considering its options after attracting and then rejecting preliminary acquisition interest from CVS Health. Shares in One Medical’s parent company have lost 75% of their value in the past year, giving the company a market cap of $2 billion.


  • Midwest Orthopaedic Center (IL) selects cloud-based EHR and RCM software from EClinicalWorks.



Eric Newman, MD (Geisinger Health) joins Eon as chief innovation officer.


Well Health names J.P. Knapp, MHA (Vocera) VP of sales.


Brian Lancaster (Nebraska Medicine) joins Children’s Mercy Kansas City as SVP/CIO.


Cured promotes Josh Kalscheur to VP of business development.

Announcements and Implementations


CaringWays taps Clearwater to develop and implement a cloud-based cybersecurity and compliance program for its digital fundraising software for patients.

Cone Health (NC) implements ActX’s EHR-integrated, genomic decision-support software.


The American Nursing Informatics Association publishes the first in a series of toolkits that support the practice of nurse informatics.


FDA gives clearance for LiveMetric’s LiveOne, a wrist-worn monitor that takes blood pressure from the radial artery every 10 seconds and records the results over several days to help understand the connection between BP and lifestyle, behavior, and medications.


A new KLAS report on EHRs for practices of 11 or more clinicians finds that Epic and Meditech lead the the pack in finishing a close 1-2. Ease of use and workflow is by far the most pressing concern of practices of that size. Cerner users are frustrated with outpatient workflows and the company’s focus on resolving inpatient problems, while Greenway Health’s customers are an outlier in putting functionality improvements at the top of their list of needs. Allscripts has two of the three bottom-rated products, along with poor ratings for support, relationships, and overselling product capabilities.

Government and Politics

A California Medical Association bill would require health plans to exempt doctors from obtaining prior authorization for prescriptions if they have historically practiced within that plan’s rules 80% of the time. Other physicians would be given the right to have their PA appeals conducted by a physician in their specialty.

Privacy and Security

HHS posts a review document titled “HIPAA Privacy Rule and Disclosures of Information Relating to Reproductive Health Care.”


Damages in Epic’s 2016 trade secrets lawsuit against Tata Consultancy are reduced by a federal court to $140 million. The original damages assessed to Tata were set at $940 million, but were reduced to $420 million and later to $280 million.


Norton Healthcare (KY) attributes ongoing computer connectivity issues at several facilities to an unspecified hardware problem that began July 1.


Munson Healthcare’s virtual urgent care program sees an uptick in usage that it says is mostly due to word of mouth. It triages patients to video visits after initial phone screenings and has seen 250 patients as of early June. It is staffed by 20 Munson physicians who pick up shifts on their days off. Next up for Munson is patient text messaging and enhancing the system’s doctor-finder tool with online scheduling.

Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks releases a new podcast, “How Price Transparency Can Offer a Competitive Edge.”
  • Azara Healthcare completes the NCQA HEDIS Health Plan Measure Certification Program for MY 2022 HEDIS measures.
  • Bamboo Health hires Dana Koetz as growth director, Brian St.Amour as data integration engineer, Anvesh Muthyala as senior software engineer, Kamilla Ionesia as partnerships manager, Dean Cikins as strategic accounts director, and Milacy Travieso as project manager – data science.
  • Biofourmis releases a new Out of Patients Podcast.
  • CareMesh names Samantha Davis, RN (Medical Solutions) senior clinical project manager.
  • CoverMyMeds will exhibit at McKesson IdeaShare July 7-10 in Washington, DC.
  • Enlace Health achieves HITRUST certification to further mitigate risk in third-party privacy, security, and compliance.
  • Nuance will offer its Dragon Medical One speech recognition software to Meditech users in Puerto Rico through a partnership with health IT firm Scientia Puerto Rico.

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Currently there are "15 comments" on this Article:

  1. 100% agree about the remote employees – particularly in health care. If you think you can 100% work from home and never see hospitals, clinics, workflow – I think we will have a future generation of crappy design.

    • “Work from home” does not preclude site visits and workshops with users to observe workflow, efficiencies, validate design, etc. It just means that when I’m not doing that, I’m writing up my findings in my house instead of sitting in 45 minutes of traffic so I can write them up in a grey cube farm.

  2. HIT Girl has it exactly right. The over-emphasis on having to commute for hours just to sit at a desk surrounded by other people is vastly over-rated. As long as you take into account that you can still have meetings and site visits with customers, there’s no reason that you need to be in an office to work out the solutions. The concept that a remote team doesn’t work is just short-sighted and out of date. The minute US companies started to offshore their work, the “you all need to be in the same location” went out the window. It’s just taken 20 years and a pandemic to prove that the old way isn’t the only way. I had been working hybrid for 12 years and fully remote for 2+ years now and haven’t seen any drop off in quality of work with any of the teams.

    • This is a great comment. Remote employees are great for management when they are offshore and have lower salaries (and thus typically help trigger bonuses for the executives who axed a chunk of payroll). But the second a local worker wants to work remotely at their current salary, suddenly the same business is not suitable for remote work? I have seen that managerial cognitive dissonance play out at dozens of organizations.

      I do think there is some merit to the idea that entry-level employees fresh out of college would benefit from a period of in-person education and interaction with the people who manage them. After that, the value drops off. After spending years at a traditional office-based company, I onboarded to a new all-remote company into a senior role. It was fine. We meet up in person twice a year, which is great and definitely adds value, but none of us would ever go back to commuting even 1 or 2 days a week. I am hundreds of miles from the nearest office, and so are about 50% of our workforce. We are not some tiny company either, pretty significant headcount.

  3. The “great resignation” doesn’t mean people withdrawing from the workforce completely. It just means people are no longer putting up with situations that don’t suit them, because remote work has opened up opportunities they never had before.

    All these people complaining about how office life can never truly disappear sound so out of touch with younger generations. The executives who agree that you can’t build “culture” virtually… Are they all over the age of 40? For those of us who grew up with the internet, communicating digitally is no big deal and is often the preferred method. Pre-pandemic, how many times did I call into a meeting IN THE SAME BUILDING because of logistical issues or just being introverted? Then I started a job during covid and formed legitimate friendships with my team… whom I have never met in person. Have you talked to the Epic employees who have been forced back on campus but spend most of their days alone in their offices taking client phone calls? How about all the ones who quit when Judy brought back her rigid and unnecessary rules?

    Truly I am so tired of the idea that things are just going to go back to the way they were just because older people are having a hard time adapting and giving up power. They are not empty threats just because you don’t personally know anyone who’s gone through with it. Over the last 2 years I have witnessed many friends and teammates quit jobs in favor of employers who are more reasonable and treat their employees like adults. Because that’s what the remote work debate is really about, how much you trust your employees.

  4. It’s almost impossible to recruit into healthcare IT roles requiring experienced high-end talent unless you’re offering a hybrid environment if not outright 100% remote, so I don’t think the threats ring all that hollow. Half the time or more hospitals don’t want you wandering their halls anyhow as they whipsaw between COVID restrictions. We’re continuing to see tools, methodologies and best practices continue to evolve to allow much of what IT in healthcare has to perform to be done, and done cheaper and better, outside of the traditional four walls. I can see where older executives are uncomfortable with the model, miss the corner office and a conference room full of fawning underlings, and if you’ve built a massive campus you’d want to keep it filled, but at what cost?

  5. I was surprised by Mr. H and relieved by the comments here, I admit. I used to be close enough to walk to work and I was always there, even when we were allowed a day of WFH. But now I’ve left that org (with feeling), and have no interest in working for the one alternative in town. Darned right I’ll go to a place that will have me remote, and if there are some trade-offs between remote-B and in-person-B, I’m good enough at my job that they seem happy to have me at all. Especially with certain Current Events, some locations may find good local folks a little bit harder to get.

  6. First – Despite our fervent wishes to the contrary, Mr. H is right: “but work-from-home was, like telemedicine, a temporary compromise whose adoption will settle at numbers higher than pre-pandemic but much lower than in 2020-21.” If nothing else, just wait until the next recession when jobs are scarce and bills need to be paid.
    Second – Definitions matter. Remote work = I can live anywhere and do my job. Hybrid work = I have to live in a certain geographical area to do my job because management requires me to show up X number of times per week/month at some pre-determined location. I am admittedly only one data point, but most of the job offers I see in IT (inside and out of healthcare) are hybrid job offers.
    Third – While I agree with the sentiment regarding off-shoring and low wages, the sad fact is those workers are many times packed in cube farms in offices in (insert name of favorite low wage country) requiring a commute to said office every day.

  7. The entire idea of tech incubators (Silicon Valley, Raleigh, Waterloo, etc.) is to put people into physical proximity. It’s not imaginary the network effects this system allows.

    On the other hand, lots of industrial sectors aren’t as idea-driven as the tech sector and may not have the frequency of change either.

    One also has to admit that the communications technology we have is much better and more capable than it used to be (nitpicking aside).

    Overall, I agree with Mr. H. More remote work in general. But I think that a great many managers equate an office, and people in that office, with ‘Control’. And I think they want that control. Thus, there will be a lot of pressure to return to the office, no matter what the workers want.

    Can some workers insist upon remote work, and make that stick? Well sure. However those are individual situations with little general applicability.

  8. The WFH fanaticism of billionaire tech leaders and hordes of employees who have never done it before should be worrying to people. I’ve been in health tech for about 12 years split almost equally between in-person and WFH companies with the last 7 years being with remote companies. The biggest difference I’ve noticed with the WFH side of things is how divorced you feel from the hospital which one site visit a year will not satisfy. People are foolish to think that health systems are going to consistently pay for lodging/travel fees to give employees in-person time and soon enough they will find their own connection to the health system to be purely virtual which will not only impact how they design workflows / develop software but also how they view their relationship with the company itself which will be name-only at best. WFH is almost completely a benefit to the companies: less operating costs, no need for IT centers, nationwide hiring which drives down salaries, etc with the only employee-positive trade-off being the “convenience” of working from home which really just means bringing the office into your home and spending more of your personal time working. There’s also a whole host of subtle consequences we may not ever be able to quantify: the positives of physical interaction with your coworkers, the energy-lowering nature of being forced to have tough conversations in-person vs. Zoom, the small efficiencies gained by the quick convo in the hallway vs. having to schedule a call on Teams. I’m a hybrid man and think 2-3 days in-office is the perfect balance which hopefully maximizes the benefits of each side. WFH culture is still so fresh that the old relationships from the pre-WFH days carry over so things can cruise, we won’t notice the true impact of this until for some time as new employees onboard and suddenly realize they have no real connection to the company they work at.

  9. I don’t understand the context for this quote.

    “The biggest difference I’ve noticed with the WFH side of things is how divorced you feel from the hospital which one site visit a year will not satisfy. People are foolish to think that health systems are going to consistently pay for lodging/travel fees to give employees in-person time and soon enough they will find their own connection to the health system to be purely virtual which will not only impact how they design workflows / develop software but also how they view their relationship with the company itself which will be name-only at best.”

    I’ve been in healthcare IT for nearly 20 years, and until 2020 have always worked in an office with my company paying travel expenses for me to visit medical offices, hospitals, payers, etc. I don’t work in a hospital. I don’t work in a medical office. I don’t work at an insurance company. None of my colleagues and any company I’ve worked for do. What is the material difference between my company paying my travel expenses to visit those organizations now and doing the exact same thing three years ago, five years ago, ten, fifteen years ago?

    • Not to mention, many health systems today have built separate office towers where all the corporate, admin, and IT functions are completely isolated from patient care. Though those employees may drive past a “General Hospital” sign every day on the way into the parking lot, forcing them to come into a corporate office every day doesn’t fix the “divorced…from the hospital” problem.

      • I’ve worked directly for my current hospital for over 10 years, and in my experience they don’t want to waste space that could be used for seeing patients on non clinical (revenue generating) services. The whole time the entire IT department has been offsite – 20 minutes away from the medical center. The other hospitals in my area do the same from what I’ve seen – IT departments were already remote for the most part and didn’t have any major presence in the clinical space. When we were still in office we spent most of our day on conference calls with operational staff and vendors. Now that most of us are home we do the same thing but from home.

  10. Re: Damages in Epic’s trade secrets lawsuit against Tata

    Does anyone else notice that each reduction in the damages, cuts the judgement by about half? Given this trend, and Tata’s obvious motivation to keep this trend going…

    Perhaps we will see many additional appeals and reductions in the settlement. $70 million, $35 million, $17.5 million, … !

    Tata ought to stay with a good thing. With luck and good lawyers, they ought to be able to settle finally for $1 and a box of Tic-Tacs.

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