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February 21, 2023 News 3 Comments

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ONC publishes “Social Determinants of Health Information Exchange Toolkit.”

Reader Comments

From NY CIO: “Re: Northwell Health. Word is it will announce its move to Epic and that it will bring a large number of their Allscripts-outsourced employees back in-house.” Unverified. I’ve been watching the Northwell job site, which lists a handful of positions that include Epic implementation.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

ViVE and HIMSS23 exhibitors: the conferences will have come and gone within a few weeks, but contact Lorre if you want a full year of HIStalk sponsor exposure for little more than you’ll spend on coffee for your booth people.

This seems like an interesting webinar topic with a compelling title that I ran across on LinkedIn: “TEFCA Kills the National Networks: Or Does it?” offered by Zen Healthcare IT.


Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Mobile Heartbeat. The Waltham, MA-based company offers the health industry’s leading unified clinical communication and collaboration solution. The MH-CURE platform securely engages colleagues across every department and accelerates decision-making, improves care delivery, and increases patient throughput. Its scalability and reliability is evidenced by a robust user base of 260,000 active users and 130,000 deployed iPhones. Open architecture, anchored in standards-based API, supports both innovation and integration with third-party solutions. Adoption-driven pricing model with unlimited users and a bed-based pricing structure encourages widespread adoption. Thanks to Mobile Heartbeat for supporting HIStalk.


February 28 (Tuesday) 1 ET. “Words Matter: Simplifying Clinical Terms for Patients.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Whitney Mannion, RN, MSN, senior terminologist, IMO; David Bocanegra, RN, nurse informaticist, IMO. The language of medicine can be confusing and contradictory to patients, challenging their ability to prepare for a procedure or pay their bills. This webinar will explore how the words that are used to communicate – online, in print, and in person – must be chosen carefully to allow patients to comprehend their diagnoses, treatments, and care plans. The presenters will also describe how the ONC Final Rule for the 21st Century Cures Act will make clinical and technical language more directly accessible through patient portals.

March 7 (Tuesday) noon ET.  “Prescribe RPA 2.0 to Treat Healthcare Worker Burnout.” Sponsor: Keysight Technologies. Presenters: Anne Foster, MS, technical consultant manager, Eggplant; Emily Yan, MPA, product marketing manager, Keysight Technologies. Half of US health systems plan to invest in robotic process automation by the end of this year, per Gartner. The concept is evolving to help with staff burnout and physician productivity. The presenters will introduce RPA 2.0, explain how to maximize its value, demonstrate how to quickly start on RPA 2.0 and test automation in one platform, and answer questions about healthcare automation.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


AGS Health acquires the India-based patient access outsourcing business of Availity, which adds 200 team members to AGS Health’s 11,000 RCM experts.

RCM services provider Ventra Health acquires Deras Global Services, a Philippines-based provider of RCM services for hospital-based physician specialties.

HealthStream announces Q4 results: revenue up 7%, EPS $0.08 versus –$0.01. HSTM shares are up 3% in the past 12 months versus the Nasdaq’s 15% loss, valuing the company at $800 million.


A new American Hospital Association report covers recent developments involving retail, payer, and technology disruptors of healthcare in the $260 billion primary care market:

  • Amazon. Will acquire primary care provider One Medical for $3.9 billion pending FTC approval. Added the RxPass generic medication program. Offers home lab testing. Uses AWS to drive innovation. Runs a healthcare accelerator and has invested in disease management.
  • CVS Health. Markets its services to health plan customers that were acquired with its purchase of Aetna. Will expand its HealthHUB to 1,500 locations. Will acquire primary care provider Oak Street Health for $10.6 billion pending FTC approval. Acquired home health company Signify Health for $8 billion. Has expanded its virtual mental health services. Will create health subscription models and commercialize its data and analytics. Has high usage of its CarePass program for free medication delivery and its self-serve digital tool for completing pre-appointment forms. Will spend $3 billion to expand its digital offerings and improve the customer experience. Runs a $100 million early-stage digital health venture fund.
  • UnitedHealth Group. Will process transactions for 85 million patients via its merger with Change Healthcare. Has funded multiple virtual behavior health providers. Invested in care coordination companies and a provider credentialing vendor. Has invested in several tech-heavy remote patient monitoring and home care companies along with several virtual care solution vendors.
  • Walgreens Boots Alliance. Acquired two-thirds interest in primary care provider VillageMD and will have 1,000 practices by 2027. Is buying Summit Health, which operates urgent care provider CityMD, for $8.9 billion. Acquired specialty pharmacy Shields Health Solution. Paid $330 million for controlling interest in CareCentrix, which manages patients in their homes.
  • Walmart. Is continuing to open freestanding health centers. Acquired telehealth provider MeMD last year. Is partnering to extend value-based care to Medicare beneficiaries. Works with Epic to enhance communication and information sharing.
  • Apple. Is creating relationships with payers, health systems, and researchers via health-related features for the Watch and IPhone.
  • Google/Alphabet. Collects health information via Google Fit. Is actively working with drug companies to cut drug development costs via AI. Is focusing on, and investing in, the use of AI ii radiology. Has launched three Health Data Engine accelerators.


  • Lifepoint Health will use virtual care technology from Midi Health to launch a telemedicine service for women experiencing perimenopause and menopause.



Mass General Brigham hires Rebecca Mishuris, MD, MPH, MS (Boston Medical Center) as VP/CMIO.


Greg Kidd (Glytec) joins Revuud as regional VP.


Zachary Lipton, PhD (Amazon AI) joins clinical documentation company Abridge as chief scientific officer.


Nancy Heininger (Athenahealth) joins Koan Health as RVP of sales.


XiFin, parent company of OmniSys, promotes Scott Warshaw, MPA to chief strategy officer.

Announcements and Implementations


The Sequoia Project launches a Consumer Voices Workgroup to learn first-hand about the barriers they experience while accessing, using, and sharing their health information. Nearly all of the members serve as caregivers for patient, 80% of whom don’t use technology.

Sunrise Mountain Family Medical Clinic (NV) implements cloud-based EHR technology from EClinicalWorks.

Infor launches a module for its Workforce Management suite that analyzes EHR data to measure workload for each patient to support nurse scheduling and reduce overtime.

Redox will offer its interoperability systems on Google Cloud.

Government and Politics

President Biden upholds an International Trade Commission ruling that could ban importation of the Apple Watch over EKG patent complaints filed by AliveCor. Masimo has also sued Apple over pulse oximetry patents and has won an initial ruling, which could also apply an import ban to some versions of the Watch. Apple has appealed the AliveCor decision, and experts say that even if Apple loses either decision, it will probably just negotiate a licensing fee with the plaintiff.


HHS OCR reports that large HIPAA breaches jumped 58% between 2017 and 2021, with HIPAA complaints spiking 39% in that same timeframe. The office says that its funding has not kept up with these increases, limiting its HIPAA enforcement capabilities.


The federal government shuts down Missouri non-profit Medical Cost Sharing Inc., a healthcare cost-sharing ministry that took in $7.5 million in membership fees while paying out only $246,000 to cover the submitted healthcare bills of members. The two founders pocketed at least $4 million for running a minimally regulated ministry whose members pay premiums that are used to cover the medical bills of other members. Medical Cost Sharing, which required members to attend church and abstain from using drugs and alcohol, offered plans starting at $90 per month that included telemedicine and discounts on visits with its in-network providers.

Privacy and Security


Lehigh Valley Health Network (PA) refuses to pay the ransom that was demanded by hackers who breached a radiation oncology imaging computer at one of its physician practices.

Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (FL) restores its computer systems and resumes normal operations 13 days after an unspecified security incident. Sources have suggested that the hospital had been waiting on an insurance payout to meet ransomware demands.



The New York Times looks at the telehealth-powered growth in prescriptions of the psychedelic-like drug ketamine, also known as club drug Special K, whose use has expanded from surgery sedation to treating mental health conditions, frequently for unapproved uses and supplied by compounding pharmacies that operate outside FDA’s oversight. The authors note the narrowing gap between legitimate medical treatment and online shopping. Online seller Joyous charges $129 per month for a telehealth consultation, medication delivered to the customer’s home, and daily text messages for adjusting dose.

Optum Tri-State CEO Kevin Conroy responds to patient complaints about delays in scheduling appointments, requesting refills, and connecting with care team members, pledging to improve its call center operations, add clinicians, and extend hours. Optum’s Medical Care practice, formerly CareMount Medical PC, stationed a security guard outside of one of its urgent care facilities late last year as tensions rose over service issues.


A study of the low credit scores of residents of Southern states finds that medical debt is a key contributor, driven by the high prevalence of chronic disease and having eight of the 11 states that haven’t expanded Medicaid. A new policy change will eliminate the two-thirds of medical debt collections from credit reports that involve balances under $500, but people in the South are more likely to have debt over that threshold.

Sponsor Updates

  • An Arrive Health analysis of 78 million prescription transactions finds that its Real-Time Prescription Benefit solution surfaces 37 million transactions in which a $0 medication is available.
  • Bamboo Health will exhibit and Diameter Health will present at the State Healthcare IT Connect Summit March 6-8 in Baltimore.
  • Nordic releases a new episode of its “Designing for Health” podcast featuring Memora Health’s Omar Nagji.
  • HealthMark Group CEO Bart Howe, MBA is elected president of the Association of Health Information Outsourcing Services.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. A 2 doc group in NV got a press release from eCW and was picked-up by HISTalk….#SponsorshipPerks

    • I run pretty much every health IT-related sales announcement that Google News flags, usually from press releases. ECW has put a lot of sales that are pretty small out there on the press wires, so I run them (along with the small sales of non-sponsor companies and companies I’ve not even heard of). I admit I might have passed on this one had I read all the way down to the “about” section of the press release, which is the only place it mentions that the practice has two providers, but you don’t usually see a press release for a deal that small.

  2. Re: ONC SDOH Toolkit. Who is the audience for this 77 page document? Who will use it? To do what? Were IT developers part of this process and are they committed to designing their data models and data exchange frameworks based on this toolkit?

    Looking at the contract award terms – it seems to be a “time and material” contract to a consulting firm. Now, that certainly explains 77 pages. Maybe ChatGPT can help me extract meaningful information from this large document.

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