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May 30, 2024 News 12 Comments

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Waystar targets a valuation of nearly $4 billion in its upcoming IPO.

The company, which was formed in early 2018 by the merger of Navicure and ZirMed, was valued at $2.7 billion in a 2019 investment.


Reader Comments

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From Mandible: “Re: Oracle Health. The Business Insider article struck a nerve. The company’s blog post exposes a lot of anger. It also takes a shot at Epic for their lack of commitment to interoperability.” The Oracle response is a textbook example of why companies should take a breath and get PR help before lashing out in righteous indignation, not to mention that they should follow Mark Twain’s advice to “never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.” Oracle’s blog post was penned by EVP Ken Glueck, whose background is politics and lobbying (EVP Mike Sicilia, who has gone radio silent for months, was also a company lobbyist, and neither have any healthcare experience). I’ll summarize the post further down the page. Business Insider is likely delighted that the company is giving it free publicity and probably a ton of inbound clicks for a marginally informative piece. This isn’t Ken’s first journalism rodeo – he used Oracle’s blog to go nuclear on The Intercept when it reported that Oracle was marketing its analytics software to police in dissent-suppressing countries and then doxxed the reporter (and had his Twitter account suspended for doing so) and urged followers to send him dirt about her. Click the graphic above to enlarge the archived copy before the reference was expunged. Unrelated: despite being in such a high-ranking position, Ken’s photo appears basically nowhere on the Internet and he doesn’t include it in his X and LinkedIn profiles, so I can’t include his headshot.

From Jeepers: “Re: Oracle Health. Oracle stockholders should be livid that objective due diligence was not performed before buying Cerner. Larry Ellison wanted it and all his yes men said yes. The board and maybe even the SEC has a case for dereliction of duties or similar charge.” The comment quoted in the Business Insider article came from the Senate testimony of Oracle EVP Mike Sicilia: “I would say there’s always things that you discover after the fact. You know, we certainly had read the press, and we certainly had read things that were publicly disclosed. But there’s nothing like owning something to fully understand what’s going on.” It should be noted that Sicilia was referring to the VA project specifically, not the entirety of the Cerner acquisition.


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Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Dollar General ends its parking lot clinic program that it launched with DocGo less than 18 months ago as part of its DG | Wellbeing brand.

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Virtual Therapeutics, which offers game-based mental health apps, will acquire game-based cognitive treatment vendor Akili for $34 million in cash. Akili went public via a SPAC merger in August 2022 at a $1 billion valuation and saw its shares lose 70% of their value in the first week of trading. They are now down 97%.

Pharmacy workflow automation vendor Plenful raises $17 million in a Series A funding round.

IMO, aka Intelligent Medical Objects, renames itself to IMO Health.

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Cardamom Health will receive funding from the newly launched Wisconsin Investment Fund.

Oracle EVP Ken Glueck lashes out at Business Insider and its “Oracle deadly gamble” article (he dismisses it as “clickbait”) that questions its VA performance and the state of the former Cerner business in general. Summary:

  • The article recycles old news, anonymous quotes, and its own piece from two years ago while omitting Oracle’s response, which he says is “your typical Business Insider preconceived ‘expose’’.”
  • The Cerner system has improved since BI’s July 2022 piece. Oracle fixed the “unknown queue” problem in 2022 just 10 days after it was reported.
  • DoD implemented the Cerner system successfully and it has gone live at the jointly operated Lovell Federal Health Care Center, the first go-live since Oracle acquired Cerner.
  • Glueck cites a 2020 BI article about Epic that he calls a “puff piece” that contains “Epic misinformation.”
  • He calls Epic CEO Judy Faulkner “the single biggest obstacle to EHR interoperability” and says that Epic’s contracts give the company ownership of patient data in “stretching HIPAA beyond recognition.”
  • He says the same issues that caused other industry outsiders to fail in healthcare will cause Epic to fail and Oracle to succeed.

People

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Augmedix hires Alex Stinard, MD (HCA) as chief clinical AI officer.

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Phillip LaJoie (Qbase) joins the Defense Health Agency as COO of the market technology integration office.

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DirectTrust’s Interoperable Secure Cloud Fax Consensus Body elects Jeffrey Sullivan, MS (Consensus Cloud Solutions) as chairperson.


Announcements and Implementations

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Medicare Advantage insurer Clover Health will offer its Clover Assistant clinical decision support tool for sale to payers and providers. The company went public in a SPAC merger in January 2021 at a $7 billion valuation, now at $553 million.

Ascension says in a May 29 cybersecurity event update that it has restored EHR access in one of its markets.

UCSF and UCSF Health receive a $5 million charitable donation to develop a system that will monitor the performance of AI tools in real time for efficacy, safety, and equity.

Black Book ranks Veradigm’s Payerpath as the #1 overall provider of claims and clearinghouse platform solutions for small medical practices.


Government and Politics

HHS taps national coordinator for health IT Micky Tripathi, PhD, MPP as acting chief artificial intelligence officer while it searches for a permanent replacement. He will also continue in his national coordinator role.


Other

In England, BBC News investigates claims of a cover-up involving problems with NHS’s electronic patient record systems, which it says have been linked to three deaths, have left 200,000 medical letters unsent, and have caused payment problems in half of the trusts. The coroner who reviewed one of the deaths specifically called out its Cerner / Oracle Health system for not clearly indicating the level of acuity of ED patients as did the system it replaced.

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Ukraine-connected digital health vendor BeKey runs a crowd-funding campaign for its rollout of YODD (Your Online Doctor Diagnostics), a telehealth device for homes. The company will donate devices to people in Ukraine and volunteers with Doctors4UA. Supporters will receive one of the devices later this year.


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Currently there are "12 comments" on this Article:

  1. As Elon Musk recently said, “Business Insider is not a real publication.” … Oracle should have saved its breath.

  2. I know I’m an Epic shill deep in the Kool-Aid and so on, but wow, that response makes me feel so much less good about Oracle and Cerner than the BI piece ever did. (And I WOULD really prefer Epic have a decent competitor…)

  3. Mr. Glueck probably has some excellent salt-baked fish recipes. A veritable mountain of salt, it’s palpable.

    I always love vague shots at Epic’s interoperability. No one can ever point to any specific obstacles (read: other vendors are complaining Epic doesn’t subsidize their product development and infrastructure hosting costs).

    “We increased our APIs by 300%!” is just psuedo-intellectualism. “supergluing on-premise systems onto AWS in hosted environments and saying cloud quickly (read, Epic)” what does that even mean? And why should any CIO or CTO care? You can’t eat buzzword soup.

    • Glueck is still stuck in the pre-Carequality, pre-eHealth Exchange, pre-Direct Secure Messaging days (so just about 2012).

      PS: I will shamelessly steal your buzzword soup line, surprised Google’s only hit for the phrase was your comment!

  4. Re: Dollar General closes their retail clinics
    While its sad that Dollar General is the latest chain of retail clinics to close, the good news is that urine cups and speculums are both on sale, just $1 each!

  5. Re: Oracle EVP Ken Glueck’s Business Insider comments

    Ah, so, I do like it when competitors duke it out, and everyone in this business has some improving to do.

    However, Oracle has a reputation in the IT world, and Glueck savaging Epic that way? It’s a bit too historically on-the-nose for a senior Oracle leader. Maybe dial that back a bit, Ken. You already have the job.

    Relevant data points:

    – Oracle has struggled with their Cerner VA implementation. I’m quite willing to believe that the VA is an old shop, with an old way of doing things, and thus the VA is the source of a lot of problems. But it’s still Cernacle’s problem to deal with;
    – “Epic [will] fail”. OK, so this is a load of malarkey! Epic is #1 in the HIS space and seems to go from strength to strength;
    – “Oracle [will] succeed”. Yeah, I give the man points for confidence, but Oraner is losing beds and hospitals, on balance. And I’ve seen no plausible plan for turning that ship around yet.
    – “Judy Faulkner is the single biggest obstacle to EHR interoperability”. Does anyone have ideal interoperability? And Judy appears to have a solid plan to hand over the reins to a new generation. Thus, whatever Judy’s role in interoperability, I suspect it won’t matter much in 5-10 or fewer years;
    – Glueck seems to entirely discount EpicCare LInk, Care Everywhere, Happy Together, and Share Everywhere, as interoperability offerings. Perhaps Glueck is ignorant, or perhaps Glueck thinks that a single interoperability system (that Cerner supports, perhaps?) is the only acceptable answer?

    Say, Ken, how’s that AI-enabled Cerner version coming along? And how is the Cloudy Pharmacy rewrite progressing? While I’m at this, is the Oracle database still losing customers to MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, Couchbase, and all the other web databases?

  6. I thought I was up to speed on allegations against Epic, but I’m not sure what this claim is about:

    “Privacy? Epic’s contracts expressly appropriate all patient EHR data as Epic’s own, stretching HIPAA beyond recognition, while Oracle/Cerner’s explicitly state medical centers must opt-in to any data sharing.”

    This is a new one to me — what even is this referencing about Epic’s contract appropriating EHR data as Epic’s own and what’s the relation to HIPAA?

    • The “appropriate all patient EHR data as Epic’s own” claim sounds like one of those “big lies”, which are preposterous on purpose, to make people think that they got to be true.

      Based on his past history, Ken Glueck seems to be the kind of scumbag to employ such propaganda methods, knowing full well that he is making stuff up.

  7. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

  8. Anyone else concerned that Ken Glueck is bragging about new features that Epic has had for the last 20 years (i.e. Patient FYIs, which are used for amongst other things to denote potentially violent or suicidal patients)

    • Shhhh! They are new to Ken, and we must celebrate his discoveries.

      Ken is an Oracle EVP. One of the benefits of corporate privilege is that you get to regress to childhood. Ken will doubtless soon discover his belly button and totes be blown away…

      And I will applaud his development as a human being. No, really! He’s growing. Slowly, but growing.

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