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News 5/14/21

May 13, 2021 News No Comments

Top News

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Patient payments platform vendor Cedar will acquire competitor OODA Health for $425 million.

OODA’s co-founder, chairman, and co-CEO is Giovanni Colella, MD, who also co-founded Castlight Health and founded RelayHealth.

Colella founded OODA with two other former Castlight executives in 2017.


Reader Comments

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From Notinda House: “Re: Salesforce. Sad to see them let go another leader of their healthcare vertical, Ashwini Zenooz. Like a few of her predecessors, she was only there two years. Not sure her VA experience is a good fit for a sales focused organization. Do you think SF has a hiring problem in that they hire the wrong leader consistently? Or maybe they do a good job because they are consistent?” The LinkedIn of radiologist Ash Zenooz, MD says she left her Salesforce job as chief medical officer / GM in April and is now president and chief medical officer of Commure.

From Gladhander: “Re: HIMSS21. Predictions on attendance? Time to run another poll about who’s going?” No and no. All I can say is that I’ll be there to recap whatever happens. I won’t have a booth, but I’ll do my usual guide to what HIStalk sponsors will be doing there, cover everything I hear in the exhibit hall and hallways, run photos of what it looks like, and share any big announcements (if indeed companies are holding any back for the conference’s first day). As I wrote the other day, unlike previous years, many registrants are just carrying over their use-it-or-lose-it HIMSS20 registration, plus hotels can be cancelled up until right before the conference starts with minimal penalty (zero if by July 12, one night’s stay after that), so no amount of data will predict who will actually show up. The good news is that COVID-19, as it relates to both infection risk and hospital workload, should not be a factor. I don’t have any sage wisdom for companies that are trying to decide whether paying full price to participate in a potentially scaled-back conference is worth it, although perhaps the potential competitive penalty for sitting out is light since the full, normal HIMSS22 will be just six months later.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Reader Lloyd’s generous donation, with matching funds applied from my Anonymous Vendor Executive and other sources, fully funded these Donors Choose teacher requests:

  • A document camera for Ms. C’s sixth grade class in Provo, UT.
  • Science kits for Mr. C’s elementary school class in Westminster, CA.
  • Science mystery kits for Ms. L’s eight grade class in El Paso, TX.

Listening: Who bass player John Entwistle, in this remarkable video that isolates his work on “Won’t Get Fooled Again” in a live performance. He looks entirely bored while flawlessly and apparently effortlessly playing the most complex and musically rich bass lines imaginable, surely later inspiring Rush’s Geddy Lee to forget just laying down root notes and instead rip it like a lead guitarist. The song is simple and I would not have suspected that so much bass artistry was happening underneath, especially since I don’t particularly like the song. He died in 2002 at 57.


Webinars

June 3 (Thursday) 2 ET: “Diagnosing the Cures Act – Practical Prescriptions for Your Success.” Sponsor: Secure Exchange Solutions. Presenters: William E. Golden, MD, MACP, medical director, Arkansas Medicaid; Anne Santifer, executive director, Arkansas Department of Health – Office of Health Information Technology; Kyle Meadors, principal, Chart Lux Consulting. A panel of leading experts will provide practical guidance on how to prepare for the Cures Act. Will it upend your business model? What is information blocking? How can standardized technologies be applied to meet Cures Act requirements? What must I do now as well as in the next five years?

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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“Hospital at home” and decentralized clinical trials platform vendor Huma raises $130 million in a Series C funding round, increasing its total to $200 million. The London-based company, which changed its name from Medopad a year ago, will use the money to expand its platform to the US, Asia, and Middle East.

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Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente make an unspecified investment in Medically Home, which offers technology and services to support delivering acute care and recovery services at home. The company had previously raised $65 million.

Regulators in England block Imprivata’s planned acquisition of Manchester-based digital identity vendor Isosec, which has 120 NHS customers. The Competitions and Markets Authority said that the companies are rivals in the digital identity verification business and removal of a competitive threat to Imprivata would negatively impact taxpayer value.

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New York City-based digital cancer care organization platform vendor Jasper Health launches with $7 million in seed funding, naming as its top executives two veteran leaders of CVS Health and Walgreens.

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Amwell reports Q1 results: revenue up 7%, EPS –$0.16 versus –$0.58, beating earnings estimates but falling short on revenue. Shares dropped nearly 25% Thursday following the report and have shed nearly 60% of their value in the past 12 months, valuing the company at $2.4 billion.

DrFirst closes a $50 million equity investment that increases its total raised to $118 million.

CPSI acquires encoder solutions provider TruCode.


Sales

  • Penn Highlands Healthcare (PA) selects Infor CloudSuite Healthcare and Cloverleaf Cloud.

Announcements and Implementations

In the UK, Cognetivity will use InterSystems IRIS for Health to integrate its IPad-based early detection questionnaire for early dementia detection, which it Cognetivity says can identify the condition up to 15 years earlier than conventional methods.

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A new KLAS report on revenue cycle outsourcing finds that the mostly mid-sized clients of Ensemble Health Partners are highly satisfied, while R1’s clients tend to be larger and are happy with the company’s direction and technology. Those companies top the “most likely to buy again” list. More than 80% of NThrive’s clients are dissatisfied and the company trails competitors in every segment in which the company is rated by KLAS, while 43% of Conifer Health Solutions clients report dissatisfaction because they say the company is not proactive or innovative.


Government and Politics

ONC will spend $80 million to train public health professionals to modernize the public health data infrastructure, part of the White House’s $7.4 billion in spending under the American Rescue Plan to expand the public health workforce.

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ONC invites submissions for outcome statements related to its Health Interoperability Outcomes 2030 project.


COVID-19

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New CDC guidance says that fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to wear masks or distance from others under any circumstances, including while indoors or outdoors and in gatherings of any size, except where local regulations or a business’s rule require it or when using public transportation. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH announced, “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”

The seven-day rolling average of US COVID-19 deaths was at 629 Wednesday, the lowest since last July. That’s down more than 80% since the peak in mid-January. US deaths are at 580,000.


Other

A security researcher discovers an unprotected online database that contained the records of 200,000 patients of a national disability evaluation services company based in Jacksonville, NC. United Valor Solutions responded quickly to have its (unnamed) contractors shut down public access, although the researcher also found ransomware-related files on the server.

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Ocean City, MD first responders celebrate the heroism of Atlantic General Hospital (MD) CIO Jonathan Bauer, who saw that a two-year-old girl had been ejected – still in her car seat — into the Assawoman Bay during a five-car crash. He dove off the bridge, which was 30 feet above water that is five feet deep, and kept the girl’s head above water until both were rescued by boat. He asked to remain anonymous, but the city wanted to recognize him. The toddler is fine.

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Forbes is right – I have never heard of Judy “Falkner.” The accompanying video is as lame as the headline writer’s spelling skills (also botched was writing “women” instead of “woman”).  Was there a time when Forbes had credibility?


Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks posts a new episode of its podcast titled “How Software Updates Promote Usability and Patient Safety.”
  • Critical event management company Everbridge completes its acquisition of XMatters to accelerate digital transformation for enterprise IT and cyber resilience.
  • Healthwise partners with the City of Boise, Idaho to develop and open the Hillside to Hollow Reserve and trailhead.
  • Optimum Healthcare IT publishes a white paper titled “Governance: What’s the Big Deal?”
  • Fast Company recognizes Jvion’s COVID Community Vulnerability Map with an honorable mention in its 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards.
  • St. Luke’s Health System uses Meditech’s self-scheduling for COVID-19 vaccination.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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News 5/12/21

May 11, 2021 News No Comments

Top News

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Aetion, which offers a real-world evidence platform for drug companies and payers, raises $110 million in a Series C funding round, increasing its total to $212 million.

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD serves on the company’s board.


Reader Comments

From Mr. F: “Re: HIMSS. I am a long-time member, speaker, and volunteer for HIMSS, but for the first time ever I find myself on the vendor side. We are about to pull the trigger on investing in exhibiting so I asked HIMSS to share as of today (91 days prior to the conference) how is registration looking compared to 91 days prior to the start of the 2019 conference. I was provided the following from HIMSS — approximately 2,800 registered in-person attendees for HIMSS21 (made sure they removed the digital-only participants) compared to 2,000 registered attendees this time in advance of the 2019 conference. The HIMSS employee also commented that it is a significantly larger proportion of C-Suite attendees and extremely high engagement on the conference website.” It seems odd that a conference with 42,000 attendees in 2019 had less than 5% of them registered 90 days out since it’s hardly an impulse item and you lose out on early bird pricing. That makes me wonder how many of the total headcount were full-paying registrants versus exhibitors, students, etc. I suppose those exhibitors who rent the HIMSS21 attendee list will get an early idea of attendance and job breakout. There’s also the question whether the many folks who rolled over their HIMSS20 registrations for free will actually show up to HIMSS21 given their unprecedented lack of skin in the game. Exhibitor count is at 462. I assume Mr. F’s pseudonym identifies them as a fellow fan of “Arrested Development,” to which I extend them a belated Happy Cinco de Cuatro.

From Job Hopper: “Re: employment. The near end of the pandemic seems like a good time to start job-hunting, so I am.” I expect a heightened level of employee churn over the next several months as folks start to feel free to move around after a long hibernation, companies are likely to be hiring, and remote work policies become a bargaining chip. That will be magnified by the recruiting efforts of new companies that are flush with investor cash and need more bodies to chase the pitch deck promises of hockey stick growth.

From Bama Jelly: “Re: Ro and other telehealth prescription companies. What standards do you suppose they use in evaluating a ‘patient’ who will become a ‘customer’ only if the doctor clears them?” Probably the same as my thankfully short-term vendor days in which I was tasked with filling out zillion-page RFPs — the answer is always “yes” unless (a) all possibilities have been exhausted, including custom programming and manual intervention; and (b) even then, someone in sales will probably twist your arm into semi-agreeing so that they can override your “no” to “yes” given the lack of a “sort of” as an option. I would be shocked if the hired gun doctors aren’t retained based on their percentage of evaluations that result in prescriptions, which they can probably justify by the minimal vetting that happens in the office anyway and that they can save time and thus make more money by going straight to yes. I would also wager that the forms that patients fill out nudge them into saying whatever it takes to get what they’ve already decided they want. Billions of dollars of investment has been poured into companies whose business model is based on hiring rubber-stamp doctors to bypass the good-intentioned by often bureaucratic prescribing process. I’ve known doctors over the years who just did this on their own and kept the proceeds for themselves, so mass corporatization is the only new feature.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Twistle. The Albuquerque, NM-based company uses secure, patient-centric communication to drive care plan and protocol adherence, improve outcomes, lower costs, and build brand loyalty. A library of multi-disciplinary clinical communication pathways and best practices, combined with remote physiologic monitoring capabilities, generates clinical, financial, and operational ROI, such as 90% patient engagement rates, 20% improvement in medication / device adherence, 32% fewer readmissions, and more. Care teams realize productivity gains through the automatic initiation of personalized, HIPAA-compliant message pathways, and alerts and dashboards that focus attention on patients that require early intervention. Twistle enhances virtual healthcare initiatives by keeping patients on track as they navigate care journeys. The company offers case studies from Virginia Mason, Providence, AdventHealth, ChristianaCare, Swedish, and others. Check out the video, “The Narrated Patient Experience with Twistle.” Thanks to Twistle for supporting HIStalk.


Today I learned a fun saying from the Internet: “the plural of anecdote is not data.” I will pair that with the Twitter bio of my favorite COVID-19 information source Ashish Jha, MD, MPH, which says “an ounce of data is worth a thousand pounds of opinion.”

Dear companies and PR firms, I genuinely appreciate that you are often now including a LinkedIn bio link to your company new executive hire announcements since that’s where I look for what I need for my “People” section (advanced degrees, previous job, and headshot).


Webinars

June 3 (Thursday) 2 ET: “Diagnosing the Cures Act – Practical Prescriptions for Your Success.” Sponsor: Secure Exchange Solutions. Presenters: William E. Golden, MD, MACP, medical director, Arkansas Medicaid; Anne Santifer, executive director, Arkansas Department of Health – Office of Health Information Technology; Kyle Meadors, principal, Chart Lux Consulting. A panel of leading experts will provide practical guidance on how to prepare for the Cures Act. Will it upend your business model? What is information blocking? How can standardized technologies be applied to meet Cures Act requirements? What must I do now as well as in the next five years?

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

CPSI reports Q1 results: revenue down 3%, EPS $0.28 versus $0.28, beating estimates for both. CPSI shares are up 33% in the past 12 months versus the Nasdaq’s 47% gain, valuing the company at $444 million.

Nuance announces Q2 results: revenue up 10%, adjusted EPS $0.20 versus $0.16. The company’s acquisition by Microsoft remains on track, to be closed by the end of the year.

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Heartbeat Health raises $20 million in a Series B funding round. The New York City-based company offers a cardiovascular care management platform that includes telemedicine, remote diagnostics, and digital health programs. I interviewed CEO Jeffrey Wessler, MD last year.

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Automated care workflow company Memora Health raises $10.5 million. The company, which launched out of Y Combinator in 2018 with its proprietary “Felix” software and six employees, now serves patients at 55 healthcare facilities with a staff of 22.


Sales

  • The Oklahoma Health Care Authority selects Orion Health’s Amadeus data-sharing software to power its statewide HIE, set to go live this fall. Consulting firms HealthTech Solutions and Cureous Innovations will also assist with HIE development.
  • Jackson Hospital (FL) will implement Emerge’s ChartScout and ChartPop medical record data search, visualization, and reporting software.
  • Tandigm Health (PA) selects NextGate’s Enterprise Master Patient Index and Provider Registry.
  • Temple University Health System chooses ElectrifAi’s machine learning models for contracting and financial accounting.

People

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Vish Anantraman, MD, MS (Northwell Health) joins Mayo Clinic as CTO.

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Digital voice assistant company Suki promotes Erin Palm, MD to VP of clinical.

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Wes Cronkite (Bright Spring Health Services) joins CPSI in the new role of chief innovation officer.

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Edifecs names Sundar Shenbagam (Oracle) SVP of engineering and Scott Davis (MedeAnalytics) associate VP of product marketing and demand generation.

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AMIA hires Tanya Tolpegin, MBA (American Academy of Audiology) as CEO, returning to pre-Don Detmer separation of the CEO (hired) and president (elected) jobs in which the former manages the organization and the latter handles the science and policy.

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Loyal hires Tyler Bennett, MS  (Icebreaker) as VP of operations and analytics.

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GetWellNetwork hires Todd Strickler, MBA (Marriott International) as SVP of product.


Announcements and Implementations

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Olive establishes an AI command center at TriHealth’s offices in Cincinnati to help the six-hospital system automate tasks, initially starting with its revenue cycle. Olive, which has raised nearly $500 million since launching in 2013, has established 22 such sites across the country and plans to develop over 40 more by year’s end.

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In an effort to help hospitals reduce call wait times, Well Health’s communication software now gives patients the option to switch their calls to text messaging and automatically receive texts when their calls are dropped or abandoned.

Surescripts will sunset v10.6 of its E-Prescribing and Medication History services in accordance with the CMS-mandated shift to the National Council of Prescription Drug Programs SCRIPT Standard v2017071 on September 1.


COVID-19

FDA extends its emergency use authorization to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to those aged 12-15.

California will allow pediatricians to administer COVID-19 vaccine to children without using its cumbersome, Accenture-developed MyTurn vaccine management system that cost $50 million.


Other

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A ransomware attack on pharmacy administrative services business CaptureRx has exposed the PHI of patients at health systems in Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont; plus the customers of Thrifty Drug Stores.

Australia’s SA Health determines that Microsoft’s RemoteApp feature caused the glitch in its Allscripts Sunrise system that duplicated the last digit of medication doses, mistakenly displaying a 10 mg dose as 100 mg.

A survey of mental health professionals finds that while 50% of them would rather conduct virtual sessions instead of in-person ones, 39% admit that they are distracted by social media and email during those virtual sessions. A similar percentage say their attention wanders because of other people around them, Internet browsing, and noise from outside their home. One-third of those responding say they deliver a lower level of care in virtual sessions, with the #1 problem being distracted clients and the challenge of assessing and engaging them online. Half of the therapists say they were dealing with their own symptoms of anxiety and depression in the past year and 38% were already in therapy themselves before the pandemic.

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Reflect on your larger-than-life legacy with this humorous obituary of 48-year-old plastic and reconstructive surgeon Thomas Flanigan, MD, which sounds jarringly self-written but as actually cobbled together by friends after his death from unstated causes using snippets of his annual New Year’s Eve letters. The “Ginger God of Surgery and Shenanigans” expresses pride in his role as “a beacon of light shining upon those who couldn’t scan the internet for their own hilarious and entertaining comic relief.”


Sponsor Updates

  • Dutch hospital Alriine Zorggroep expands its enterprise imaging contract with Sectra to include cardiology.
  • SOC Telemed names Gyasi Chisley (Cancer Treatment Centers of America Global) and Chris Gallagher, MD (Access Physicians) to its board.
  • Agfa HealthCare announces its first enterprise imaging installation in Colombia, at the Fundación Valle del Lili.
  • Cerner publishes a new customer story, “Truman Medical Centers/University Health offers community-based vaccine clinics to vaccinate underserved community.”
  • The local business paper profiles ChartSpan’s journey to a hybrid work-from-home model.
  • CHIME releases a new edition of its Leader to Leader Podcast featuring GAVS Technologies CEO Sumit Ganguli.
  • Ellkay features Tivity Health SVP and CIO Sarah Richardson in its Women in Health IT series.
  • Ohio’s Hospice expands its relationship with Netsmart to include a 10-year innovation partnership that will focus on enhancing value-based care leveraging the CareFabric platform.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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Morning Headlines 5/11/21

May 10, 2021 News No Comments

Heartbeat Health Raises $20M Series B Funding to Expand Virtual Heart Care

Telehealth company Heartbeat Health raises $20 million in a Series B funding round led by Echo Health Ventures.

Ransomware attack on healthcare admin company CaptureRx exposes multiple providers across United States

A ransomware attack on pharmacy administrative services business CaptureRx has exposed the PHI of patients at several health systems and customers of Thrifty Drug Stores.

Medicus IT Acquires Managed Services Provider HITCare

Atlanta-based IT and managed services provider Medicus IT acquires California-based HITCare, a health IT services and consulting firm focused on nonprofit community health centers and human services organizations.

Monday Morning Update 5/10/21

May 9, 2021 News 1 Comment

Top News

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Walmart Health acquires telehealth provider MeMD, which it will roll out as a national virtual care service for urgent, behavioral, and primary care.

The company offers solutions to employers, health systems, and individuals, the latter paying $67 for an urgent care, men’s health, or women’s health visit.

MeMD was founded in 2010 by internist, attorney, and entrepreneur John Shufeldt, MD, JD, MBA, who previously founded NextCare Urgent Care, which operates 145 locations in 11 states. He left the private equity-backed NextCare in 2010 after that company declined to partner with his new venture MeMD.


Reader Comments

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From People Sectioned: “Re: Meditech. I didn’t see the promotion of Michelle O’Connor to president and CEO mentioned.” I saw no company announcement, but her LinkedIn says she was promoted this month. She has worked for Meditech for 33 years as her only post-college employer. The executive page shows these changes from a cached copy from February:

  • Howard Messing – from CEO to vice chairman.
  • Michelle O’Connor – from president and COO to president and CEO.
  • Steven Koretz – from SVP of client services to emeritus.
  • Shannon Connell, JD – added as chief governance officer and general counsel. She started with the company in 1998 as an applications consultant, attended law school at night, and moved to the legal department in 2005.

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From Pay Me Now: “Re: Aprima EHR. Down for nearly two weeks from ransomware.” Unverified, but reported by several readers. Jenn hasn’t heard back from the couple of PR folks she reached out to (it’s complicated because EMDs acquired Aprima in January 2019, then CompuGroup Medical acquired EMDs in November 2020). Users say that they received an email from CGM saying that Aprima’s hosting provider, MedNetwoRX, had sustained a ransomware attack. None of the companies involved seems to be making public statements or responding to inquiries.

From Sopwith Camel: “Re: health IT vendors. How do you keep track — maintain a list?” My only list is the HIStalk search function via Google Site Search, which turns up companies that I have mentioned – good or bad – over many years. I include a company news item only if it is truly newsworthy or interesting (and 95% are not), so finding few to zero mentions means the company in question hasn’t made much of a dent. Lorre sometimes asks me what I know about a company that has inquired about sponsoring, correctly predicting in many cases that my somewhat surprised answer will be “never heard of them” even though I’ve followed the industry for many years, giving me a chance to learn something new. The industry is a lot bigger than all of us think.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Many poll respondents aren’t willing to fill out a personal information for to download a vendor’s white paper, but the rest will share most information other than their work phone number. I included the seemingly ridiculous “work address” because I had just seen a download form that required it, which seemed excessive given that hospital addresses are unchallenging to find.

New poll to your right or here: How would you grade Brent Shafer’s three-year tenure as Cerner’s top executive? Click the poll’s comments link after voting to explain your role (employee, investor, competitor, observer, etc.) and what you think he did right or wrong. If you are feeling loquacious, describe the kind of person Cerner should choose to replace him.

Thanks to the following companies that recently supported HIStalk. Click a logo for more information.

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Webinars

May 11 (Tuesday) noon ET. “Modern Healthcare Innovation Leaders: How Top Health Systems Plan and Execute Innovation.” Sponsors: RingCentral, Net Health. Presenters: Todd Dunn, MBA, VP of innovation, Atrium Health; Paul Nagy, PhD, co-founder, Technology Innovation Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine; Roy Rosin, MBA, chief innovation officer, Penn Medicine; Patrick Colletti, founder, Net Health (moderator). This panel discussion will provide insights from innovative healthcare leaders who have embarked on the journey of planning and implementing innovation projects in their organizations and the wisdom they learned through the process. Topics will include predictive analytics and AI, potential challenges and risks of implementing innovation projects, challenges of interoperability and emerging technologies, and when to build versus buy when working with emerging and established vendors.

June 3 (Thursday) 2 ET: “Diagnosing the Cures Act – Practical Prescriptions for Your Success.” Sponsor: Secure Exchange Solutions. Presenters: William E. Golden, MD, MACP, medical director, Arkansas Medicaid; Anne Santifer, executive director, Arkansas Department of Health – Office of Health Information Technology; Kyle Meadors, principal, Chart Lux Consulting. A panel of leading experts will provide practical guidance on how to prepare for the Cures Act. Will it upend your business model? What is information blocking? How can standardized technologies be applied to meet Cures Act requirements? What must I do now as well as in the next five years?

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Health Catalyst reports Q1 results: revenue up 24%, adjusted EPS –$0.06 versus –$0.16, beating Wall Street expectations for both. HCAT shares are up 115% in the past 12 months versus the Nasdaq’s 52% rise, valuing the company at $2.4 billion.

OptimizeRx reports Q1 results: revenue up 48%, adjusted EPS $0.03 versus –$0.06, beating expectations for both. Shares jumped 9% on the news and are up 356% in the past 12 months, valuing the company at $880 million.


Sales

  • Israel’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center will implement Sectra’s digital pathology solution.

Announcements and Implementations

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The American Bar Association updates its Mind Your Loved Ones advance directive app, which costs $8 per year for two users. Elder law and estate planning attorney Barbara Keller bought the rights to an app that ABA had previously distributed, then expanded it and reintroduced it through ABA.


COVID-19

CDC updates its guidance to indicate that coronavirus spreads by airborne transmission, changing its previous position that infections mostly spread by “close contact, not airborne transmission.” Distancing alone isn’t enough in poorly ventilated spaces and close-quarters workers may need to wear respirators rather than surgical masks.

Daily US vaccinations drop below two million per day for the first time since early March, as American vaccine supplies pile up unused while other parts of the world have none. Some experts call for the government to stop underselling the benefits of vaccination with overly cautious post-vaccination advice and instead aggressively loosen restrictions for those who have been vaccinated. The biggest-lagging states are Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, with only about one-third of eligible residents receiving at least their first vaccine dose.

WHO approves the emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine from China-based Sinopharm, concluding that the efficacy of the inactivated virus product – it’s an old-school vaccine that does not use the MRNA platform — is 78%.

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The Lancet runs a scathing opinion piece about India’s COVID-19 crisis, blaming the country’s government for prematurely declaring the pandemic to be over, hiding data, suppressing criticism of its policies, allowing religious festivals with millions of participants to proceed with lack of mitigation measures, and botching its vaccination campaign. The editorial urges the government to admit its mistakes, provide responsible leadership and transparency, and start basing its public health efforts on science. India is reporting 400,000 new cases and 4,000 deaths each day, both numbers assumed to be wildly underreported as experts say deaths are closer to 25,000 per day or maybe more as crematories there are operating 24/7 and running out of fuel.

A hospital in India orders medical staff to flee and hide as oxygen runs out in an ICU that is caring for COVID-19 patients, raising concerns of violence by several angry families who found dead relatives in the abandoned ICU. Hospital employees in India have been physically attacked by angry family members following the deaths of loved ones.

A KHN investigation finds that large health systems are billing insurers from $20 to over $1,400 for a simple, inexpensive COVID-19 test that the tested consumer believes is free. Insurers have no bargaining power because federal law requires them to pay the full billed price and to charge the patient nothing. Some freestanding EDs in Texas have charged over $1,000 per test plus several thousand dollars more in facility fees, while Quest Diagnostics quadrupled its Q1 profit over last year by selling PCR tests for $100.


Other

Administrators at Dartmouth’s medical school accuse 17 students of cheating on their remotely taken exams, which they detected by secretly using the school’s learning system to identify students who accessed course material during the tests. Technology experts say the school’s findings aren’t reliable since students often leave course pages open in the Canvas learning management system and the system performs background activities that look like user page views. Accused students have been threatened with expulsion, suspension, or a forced repeat of the school year. Commenters on the article question why rote memorization for medical school exams is important when doctors have to pass rigorous licensing exams and then are then encouraged as practicing physicians to use external knowledge resources and real-time clinical decision support to keep their practice current.

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A random LinkedIn news feed item led me to the biography of NASA astronaut and Navy Lieutenant Jonny Kim, MD, whose accomplishments include training as a Navy SEAL and Special Operations combat medic right out of high school; deployment in over 100 combat operations in Iraq as a sniper, navigator, and point man man in earning a Silver Star and Bronze Star with valor in combat; graduation from Harvard Medical School and an emergency medicine residency with Partners Healthcare; and now an astronaut candidate awaiting an Artemis Team moon mission assignment. I’ll feel like even more of a slacker when he’s walking on the moon.


Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks publishes a video case story from Potomac Urology, which uses the company’s cloud product.
  • Appriss Health completes its acquisition of PatientPing in a transaction valuing the combined company at $1.5 billion.
  • Protenus will host its fifth annual PANDAS conference virtually May 11-12, featuring a keynote from Afia Asamoah, head of legal at Google Health.
  • The Business Unusual Podcast features ReMedi Health Solutions CEO Sonny Hyare, MD.
  • Spirion hires Chris Thomley (Canopy Capital Partners) as CFO and promotes Scott Giodano to general counsel.
  • Talkdesk will donate $20,000 during its Digital Showdown: Innovations in CX virtual event May 26.
  • Vocera publishes the “2021 CNO Perspective” report.
  • In India, Wolters Kluwer provides free access to UpToDate coronavirus resources and tools for front-line clinicians and medical researchers.

The following sponsors have won MedTech Breakthrough Awards:

  • Kyruus, Provider Match for Consumers (Best Patient Registration & Scheduling Solution).
  • Elsevier Clinical Path (Best Computerized Decision Support Solution).
  • WebPT Reach (Best Patient Relationship Management Solution).
  • Vocera Ease (Best Overall Patient Engagement Solution).
  • Pure Storage (Best EHR Security Solution).
  • Capsule Vitals Plus (Best Overall Medical Data Solution Provider).
  • SOC Telemed, Telemed IQ (Best Overall Telemedicine Platform).
  • Fortified Health Security (Best Overall Healthcare Cybersecurity Company)

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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News 5/7/21

May 6, 2021 News 7 Comments

Top News

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Cerner announces that Chairman and CEO Brent Shafer will leave the company. The company has hired a search firm to identify external candidates. Shafer will remain in the role until his replacement has been hired, then will serve as advisor for a year.

Shafer, who was previously CEO of Philips North America, took the top Cerner role in January 2018.

CERN share price is up 4% since Shafer took over. The Nasdaq composite index has risen 92% in that period.

Cerner also announced Q1 results: revenue down 2%, adjusted EPS $0.76 versus $0.71, beating consensus expectations for earnings but falling short on revenue.

From the earnings call:

  • CFO Mark Erceg said that as a recently hired newcomer looking back at Cerner history, he thinks that the company’s lack of focus and sub-optimal execution hindered revenue and margin growth, placing it in the bottom quartile of shareholder return among its peer group.
  • Brent Shafer said that he expects the new CEO to focus on operations rather than strategy development or portfolio management.
  • Providers engaging patients at home has emphasized the need for a unified communications strategy for reaching consumers.
  • President Don Trigg says that the entry of life sciences data competitors to Cerner’s Learning Health Network validates Cerner’s strategy and its investment in Kantar Health, also noting data opportunities with the federal government that go beyond DoD and VA.
  • Cerner thinks that the federal government’s TRICARE program will provide opportunities in value-based care for data aggregation and longitudinal records. CDC is also a prospect and signed a real-world data contract in Q1.
  • Shafer says Cerner is doing everything it can to be an attractive employer given the global competition for technology talent, emphasizing to prospective employees that they can make a difference in the world since their work involves healthcare.

Reader Comments

From Eric: “Re: Donors Choose. How do I make a donation?” I support Donors Choose, but just to be clear, your donations are your own business and I’m squeamish about soliciting them since I’m just the occasional conduit, armed with matching funds from my Anonymous Vendor Executive. However, since you asked in response to my recap of the projects I funded using reader Mike’s generous donation, the steps are:

  • Purchase a gift card in the amount you’d like to donate.
  • Send the gift card by the email option to mr_histalk@histalk.com (that’s my Donors Choose account).
  • I’ll be notified of your donation and you can print your own receipt from Donors Choose for tax purposes.
  • I’ll pool the money, apply all matching funds I can get, and publicly report here which projects I funded, including teacher follow-up messages and photos.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Talkdesk. The San Francisco-based company is a global consumer experience leader for patient-obsessed providers. Its solutions provide a better way for healthcare and patients to engage with one another. The company’s speed of innovation and global footprint reflect its commitment to ensure that businesses everywhere can deliver better experiences through any channel, resulting in higher patient satisfaction, cost savings, and profitability. Talkdesk gives providers an end-to-end patient experience solution that combines enterprise scale with consumer simplicity. Thanks to Talkdesk for supporting HIStalk.

I found an interesting Talkdesk video on YouTube, showing how its contact center platform is being used for COVID-19 vaccine administration.


Webinars

May 11 (Tuesday) noon ET. “Modern Healthcare Innovation Leaders: How Top Health Systems Plan and Execute Innovation.” Sponsors: RingCentral, Net Health. Presenters: Todd Dunn, MBA, VP of innovation, Atrium Health; Paul Nagy, PhD, co-founder, Technology Innovation Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine; Roy Rosin, MBA, chief innovation officer, Penn Medicine; Patrick Colletti, founder, Net Health (moderator). This panel discussion will provide insights from innovative healthcare leaders who have embarked on the journey of planning and implementing innovation projects in their organizations and the wisdom they learned through the process. Topics will include predictive analytics and AI, potential challenges and risks of implementing innovation projects, challenges of interoperability and emerging technologies, and when to build versus buy when working with emerging and established vendors.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Patient medical records access technology vendor Ciitizen acquires the HIE business of Stella Technologies.

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Vida Health, which offers employer-funded virtual coaching for mental and physical health, raises $110 million in a Series D funding round.

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Premier reports Q3 results: revenue up 40%, adjusted EPS $0.64 versus $0.73. Mike Alkire, newly promoted to president and CEO, said in the earnings call that the company will evolve into a technology-based healthcare solutions provider using its network, data, and machine learning. PINC shares are up 17% in the past 12 months versus the Nasdaq’s 55% rise, valuing the company at $4.3 billion.

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Israel-based Vim, whose technology connects health plans to providers, raises $60 million in a Series B funding round let by Walgreens.


Sales

  • Mary Washington Healthcare (VA) will implement Sectra’s enterprise imaging solution under the Sectra One subscription service. 
  • HHS will support development and installation of PeraHealth’s Rothman Index Risk Triage tool as a COVID-19-focused hospital triage tool.

People

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AGS Health hires Thomas Thatapudi, MBA (thegrok.io) as CTO. 

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Intelligent Medical Objects names Dale Sanders (Health Catalyst) as chief strategy officer. 

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EHR workflow tools vendor Wellsheet hires Ryan Sadlo, MBA (Podimetrics) as VP of growth.

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Clay Ritchey, MBA (Evariant) joins EMPI and patient matching technology vendor Verato as CEO.

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Patient engagement platform vendor Twistle promotes Matt Revis, MBA to president.


Announcements and Implementations

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Conversational AI platform vendor Avaamo makes its virtual assistants available on Epic App Orchard.


COVID-19

Two real-world studies find that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective against the UK and South Africa variants.

A man from Argentina admits that he probably should not have flown from Miami to Buenos Aires last week given that he had just tested positive for COVID-19. He obtained a “fit to fly” certificate from a Florida medical clinic via a telehealth visit. He was arrested and quarantined upon landing by Argentinian health officials, who found that his temperature was 101.3 degrees.

A KHN report says that the state of California has weakened its public health infrastructure by outsourcing life-and-death duties in no-bid contracts to big tech firms, most of them donors and supporters of Governor Gavin Newsom. State officials praise the public-private partnerships, while others warn that companies like Salesforce and Google are accountable only to shareholders and the deals are siphoning money away from the already gutted public health infrastructure.


Other

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Systems at Scripps Health are apparently still down after a weekend ransomware attack.

Australia’s SA Health investigates whether patient harm has resulted from an apparent bug in Allscripts Sunrise, which it says is duplicating the last digit of medication doses in displaying a 10 mg dose as 100 mg.

Kansas Heart Hospital files a federal complaint against its former CFO and COO, claiming that they conspired with the hospital president to divert $31 million through bonuses and other compensation payments. The hospital also accuses Steve Smith and Joyce Heismeyer of copying and then deleting computer files and creating a $1.5 million severance package for themselves before suddenly resigning.

Wired recaps last fall’s data breach at Finland-based Vastaamo, the “McDonald’s of psychotherapy” that shut down after hackers gained access to its full records – including psychotherapy notes – and then extorted 25,000 clients individually to keep their information private. Vaastamo had built its own EHR and decided not to pursue newly created Class A standards that would have allowed it to connect to the national health data repository, making it a lightly regulated Class B system that was intended for small organizations that keep paper records. Hackers breached the system, demanded payment that was not made, and then posted the system’s database to the internet. Finnish authorities later seized millions of dollars from Vastaamo’s owner, who they suspected covered up the breach while selling the company to an investment firm. The incident has raised questions about whether therapist notes should be entered electronically at all, much less shared with a national repository, whether EHRs are secure, and if the government should be more involved on oversight.

An opinion piece by author and former New York Times reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal, MA, MD says that “COVID-19 let virtual medicine out of the bottle” and the result could be lower-quality care, inequities, and even higher charges as startups focus on the benefits to providers and investors rather than patients. She says that evidence – lacking at present – rather than the market should drive telemedicine decisions to avoid focusing on the most profitable services.


Sponsor Updates

  • Protenus announces that its fifth annual PANDAS healthcare compliance conference – addressing patient privacy monitoring and controlled substance diversion surveillance — will be held virtually on May 11-12.
  • Cerner releases a new podcast, “The tipping point of healthcare consumerism and engagement.”
  • PerfectServe recognizes 100 outstanding nurses in its inaugural “Nurses of Note” Awards program.
  • Relatient announces that Greenway Health users now have access to its Appointment Reminder solution.
  • Fast Company recognizes Jvion’s COVID Community Vulnerability Map with an honorable mention in its 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards.
  • MedTech Breakthrough names Fortified Health Security as “Best Overall Healthcare Cybersecurity Company.”
  • Lumeon’s Pre-surgical Readiness solution and COVID-19 Remote Home Monitoring solution each win a Silver Stevie Award for Best New Product in the Healthcare Technology Solution category of the American Business Awards.
  • Meditech releases a new podcast, “How St. Luke’s doubled patient portal enrollment during the pandemic.”
  • Forbes includes Pure Storage CIO Cathy Southwick on its list of 50 innovative technology leaders.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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News 5/5/21

May 4, 2021 News 9 Comments

Top News

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R1 RCM will acquire digital payment solutions provider VisitPay for $300 million in cash.

R1’s acquisitions over the last several years have included Cerner’s RevWorks business and SCI Solutions, which it purchased for $190 million.

R1 says the acquired capabilities will allow it to lead the healthcare payments market in price transparency, flexible payment options, tailored communications, and analytics.


Reader Comments

From PitViper: “Re: attrition. Are health tech companies experiencing it? What reasons are you hearing that staff are leaving?” I’ll let readers answer whether they see this as a trend.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor NTT Data. Plano, TX-based NTT Data Services is a digital business and IT services leader, the largest division of trusted global innovator NTT Data Corporation, a top 10 provider and part of the $109B NTT Group. With the company’s consultative approach, it leverages deep industry expertise and leading-edge technologies powered by AI, automation, and cloud to create practical and scalable solutions that contribute to society and help clients worldwide. The Healthcare division within NTT Data Services is committed to improving patient outcomes by connecting the healthcare ecosystem. A recognized leader in healthcare, the global team delivers one of the industry’s most robust and integrated portfolios, including consulting, integration, interoperability, applications, data intelligence and analytics, hybrid infrastructure, workplace, RPA, cybersecurity, and business process services to help organizations accelerate and sustain value throughout their digital journeys. Thanks to NTT Data for supporting HIStalk.

I found this NTT Data overview video on healthcare digital transformation on YouTube.


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Reader Mike sent a generous donation from his COVID stimulus check to my Donors Choose project, which when paired with matching funds from my Anonymous Vendor Executive and other sources fully funded these teacher grant requests:

  • Math materials from Ms. L’s elementary school class in Toppenish, WA.
  • Acid rain test kits for Ms. H’s high school class in Cincinnati, OH.
  • Multiplication flash cards for Ms. C’s elementary school class in Oklahoma City, OK.
  • Biology and science resources for Ms. A’s high school class in Crewe, VA.
  • Dinosaur learning activities for Ms. D’s special education class in New York, NY.
  • Math games for Ms. V’s middle school class in Hosford, FL.
  • Document camera for Ms. T’s first grade class in Buffalo, NY.
  • Math games and books for summer learning kits for Ms. P’s third grade class in Tucson, AZ.
  • Math manipulatives for Ms. T’s elementary school class of autism students of Staten Island, NY.
  • 3D printing supplies for Mr. S’s second grade class in Cleveland, OH.
  • A library of 13 read-aloud science books for Ms. H’s kindergarten class in Columbus, OH.
  • Virtual whiteboards for Ms. S’s elementary school class in Indianapolis, IN.

Ms. V was among the majority of teachers who emailed their thanks almost immediately, explaining that her class has missed almost two years of in-person instruction due to Hurricane Michael and then the pandemic. She says, “Sending love and much appreciation for your support. We will start our summer program the first of June. These materials will go a long way towards helping our students recover academic loss due to Hurricane Michael, followed by the pandemic. Your support is a blessing for many. Thank you again!”


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Clinical documentation software vendor Provation acquires IProcedure, which specializes in cloud-based anesthesia documentation and perioperative data management.

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Headway, which matches patients with mental health therapists in 11 states for virtual or in-person sessions, raises $70 million in a Series B funding round that values the company at $750 million.

Employer health benefits manager Collective Health raises $280 million in a Series F funding round, valuing the company at $1.5 billion.

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Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett tells shareholders that Haven, the company’s joint employee-focused healthcare venture with Amazon and JP Morgan, failed due to its inability to overcome the challenges of working with so many different stakeholders on a problem that accounts for 17% of the country’s GDP. Buffett added that Berkshire Hathaway was able to identify inefficiencies and cost savings in its own healthcare pipeline, “so we got our money’s worth.”

Allscripts seeks to sublease 56,000 square feet of the nine-story building it occupies in Raleigh, NC for which it holds naming rights. The space is not needed since CarePort Health, which Allscripts sold to WellSky, won’t be returning employees to the building.


Sales

  • Utah Navajo Health System will work with Emerge to consolidate its legacy EHR data with its Athenahealth system.
  • St. Luke’s Health System (MO) selects automated operations software from Qventus to better manage patient throughput.
  • Nexus Health Systems (TX), Grady Memorial Hospital (OK), and Duncan Regional Hospital (OK) select cloud hosting services for Meditech from Tegria companies Navin Haffty and Engage.

People

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Moffitt Cancer Center (FL) hires Santosh Mohan, MMCI (Brigham and Women’s Hospital) as VP of digital.

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Angie Stevens (Kaiser Permanente) joins Iron Bow Healthcare Solutions as chief strategy officer.

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CereCore names Paul Fabrizio (NTT Data) and Mark Rowland (Nutanix) as regional sales VPs.

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David Carr, RN (DeliverHealth) joins HC1 as executive director of high-value care.

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Palantir Technologies hires William Kassler, MD, MPH, MS (IBM Watson Health) as its first US Government chief medical officer.

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Ken Levitan, who was the CIO of Einstein Health Network from 2005-2015, is named president and CEO of that organization.


Announcements and Implementations

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CEO Coalition — founded by Vocera Chairman and CEO Brent Lang and Chief Medical Officer Bridget Duffy, MD – develops a Declaration of Principles that has been signed by 10 health system CEOs who agree to principles that improve safety, well-being, and equity for healthcare workers.

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A new KLAS report finds that non-US EHR activity was strong in 2020, with 135 net new deals and 23 migrations, although 30% less than in 2019. The biggest winners were Epic, Dedalus, InterSystems, and Cerner. Epic’s market share in Canada has grown from three hospitals in 2016 to 146 now, but migration to Meditech Expanse is becoming more common.


Government and Politics

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The State of Connecticut launches a statewide HIE dubbed “Connie.” The exchange is the fifth such project attempted over the last 14 years, to the tune of nearly $40 million. Forty-four organizations, including Hartford HealthCare, Yale New Haven Health, and the Pro Health Physicians network, have already signed on.


COVID-19

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Public health experts say that the US will probably never reach the COVID-19 herd immunity of 80% given the circulation of variants and vaccine hesitancy, but even smaller numbers will make coronavirus a manageable threat that hospitalizes and kills far fewer people. They also say that while herd immunity is a national target, disease transmission is local, and areas with lower vaccination numbers will see more spread. Meanwhile, President Biden says federal focus will shift away from mass vaccination centers to drugstores and mobile clinics in hoping to vaccinate 70% of American adults with at least their first dose by July 4.

The federal government says it will redirect COVID-19 vaccine supplies that are allocated to individual states who don’t order them to other states that want more. This variability in demand, often along political party lines, means that hospitals in low-vaccination areas will likely see a hard winter as COVID-19 infections selectively ramp back up.

FDA will reportedly authorize use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in people aged 12-15 years as early as next week.

New York City will resume 24-hour subway service in two weeks and will also lift all capacity restrictions, including museums, concert halls, restaurants, and Broadway theaters.


Other

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Scripps Health (CA) continues to recover from a weekend cyberattack – apparently ransomware that also infected its backup servers — that forced it to divert some critical care patients, postpone appointments, and take several systems offline.

A Wall Street Journal reports says that corporate benefits executives are being overwhelmed by richly funded digital health startups for which they are the target audience. Those prospects say that too many startups are offering redundant or overpriced services and urge the companies to consider merging with others or offer deals to stand out in the crowd.


Sponsor Updates

  • Built In honors CarePort Head of Product Sara Radkiewicz with its 2021 Moxie Award.
  • Cerner publishes a new client achievement, “North Kansas City Hospital leverages Cerner technology to expedite COVID-19 vaccine distribution.”
  • A Kyruus survey finds that two-thirds of consumers think virtual care will play a role where they receive care, cost and convenience are the most common decision criteria, and 60% say their preferred method for scheduling COVID-19 vaccine appointments is online.
  • Clinical Architecture releases a new episode of The Informonster Podcast, “mCODE, CodeX, and Accelerating Healthcare Innovation – Part 1.”
  • The Cyber Pro Podcast features CloudWave CTO Matt Donahue.
  • Modern Healthcare includes Optimum Healthcare IT on its list of largest IT consulting firms.
  • KLAS rates Divurgent as a market leader for speed and matching of resources in its “April HIT Staffing 2021 Performance Report.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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Monday Morning Update 5/3/21

May 2, 2021 News No Comments

Top News

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Miami-based CareCloud will pay $3.8 million to settle a lawsuit that was brought by an employee whistleblower who said the company paid kickbacks to its users to gain referrals to boost its EHR sales.

The United States joined the suit, alleging that CareCloud’s Champions marketing referral program violated the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute by offering clients cash and credits to recommend its EHR to prospects. Those clients also signed agreements to not say anything negative about the company’s EHR.

The government says the company violated the False Claims Act because the kickback payments rendered false Meaningful Use and MIPS incentive payments.

Former CareCloud manager Ada de la Vega will receive $800,000 of the settlement as the filer of the qui tam lawsuit.

Publicly traded health IT software and revenue cycle management vendor MTBC acquired CareCloud for $40 million in January 2020, then renamed itself to CareCloud in March 2021.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Most poll respondents hold ownership or shares of a health IT-related company, most of those involving a present or former employer.

New poll to your right or here: Which information would you accurately provide to gain access to a vendor’s white paper? (multiple answers OK). I did a similar poll years ago and given that 75% of respondents said they would either leave immediately or enter phony info, I confirmed my suspicious that making prospects complete a bunch of fields to gain access to a white paper or webinar is a big mistake no matter what the marketing folks think.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Vocera announces Q1 results: revenue up 20%, adjusted EPS $0.09 versus –$0.14. VCRA shares are up 96% in the past 12 months versus the Dow’s 39% rise, valuing the company at $1.2 billion.

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Spok announces Q1 results: revenue flat, EPS –$0.12 versus –$0.24. SPOK shares are unchanged in the past 12 months versus the Nasdaq’s 57% rise, valuing the company at $199 million.

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From the Allscripts earnings call:

  • The company sold one new Sunrise client in the quarter, Mercy Iowa City.
  • President / CFO Rick Poulton says bringing in consultants a year ago to scale back company costs is paying off.
  • The company expects to focus on cost in its core clinical and financial solutions, and even though it’s not a high-growth market, it expects to be a net winner.
  • Allscripts expects new business to nearly exclusively involve cloud-based systems, as on-premise customers will probably move to cloud hosting in the next 18-24 months.
  • CEO Paul Black says that Microsoft is getting into healthcare in a big way and customers will be interested in being able to implement cloud-based AI and voice capabilities more quickly as a result.
  • Asked about drug companies buying EHR advertising based on the company’s Veradigm business, Black said that Practice Fusion taught Allscripts about what kinds of advertising and clinical decision support was OK or not OK. He added that it’s easier to push ads with Practice Fusion than the company’s other EHRs because it is cloud based, but overall a big part of buying Practice Fusion was learning more about selling drug company advertising. The company also says that it sees opportunities to create revenue from users of its personal health records. 

The Global X Telemedicine and Digital Health ETF is up 3.3% in the past month versus the Nasdaq’s 6.3% increase. It’s up 27% since its July 2020 inception, lagging the Nasdaq slightly.


People

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Protenus hires Jay White (Blackboard) as VP of engineering.

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Loyal names Rachelle Montano, MS, MBA, RD (Perficient) as VP of clinical strategy.

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In England, NHS Digital names Simon Bolton (NHS Test and Trace) as interim CEO. He replaces Sarah Wilkinson, MBA, who will leave the role in June.


Government and Politics

The VA posts a request for information for partnerships in a variety of innovative technologies that could be applied to areas that include emerging technology to transform clinical care delivery advanced clinical decision support, clinical simulation training, and service transformation through design thinking.

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CloseLoop.ai wins CMS’s Artificial Intelligence Health Outcomes Challenge, which includes a prize of up to $1 million. Geisinger finished second and will receive up to $230,000. The contest looked at AI solutions that can predict health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries.


COVID-19

CDC reports that 56% of US adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 40% are fully vaccinated.

India becomes the first country to exceed 400,000 new cases in a single day, also experiencing a 21% test positivity, full hospitals, and a vastly understated official daily death toll of 3,500 that will surely increase as a lagging indicator of widespread infection. President Biden joined several EU countries in restricting travel from India starting this week as experts worry about introduction of new coronavirus variants such as B1617.

Turkey goes into its first COVID-19 lockdown as its infection rates reach the highest in Europe, while Iran’s daily death toll hits highest-ever numbers. Brazil continues to record the world’s highest rate of COVID-19 deaths per million people. Global COVID-19 cases and deaths have risen for several straight weeks even as Western countries with high vaccination numbers trend down and begin a return to normal.

The federal government implements an easy way for people to find available COVID-19 vaccine – text a ZIP code to 438829 (“getvax” on the phone keyboard) and a list of locations is immediately returned. Vaccines.gov has also been relaunched to make finding COVID-19 vaccine easy.

Pfizer will ship COVID-19 vaccine to Canada starting this week from its Kalamazoo, MI plant, which also sends doses to Mexico. 


Other

Epic’s campus was running on 18 backup generators for a few hours Friday night a widespread, raccoon-caused power outage occurred on Madison’s west side.

In India, private hospital beds in Bangalore are being overbooked because of problems with the government’s software, forcing them to turn away patients who in some cases have died shortly after of critical medical problems.

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Ascension Technologies files WARN act paperwork with the state of Missouri indicating that it will lay off 651 out-of-state IT employees between August 8, 2021 and December 10, 2021 as it outsources their jobs.


Sponsor Updates

  • Experity publishes a new report, “The Effect of COVID-19 on Reimbursement in 2020.”
  • Spok Go improves emergency department outcomes at TidalHealth.
  • Mozzaz will integrate Jvion’s AI insights on modifiable clinical risk and social determinants of health into its virtual care platform.
  • Krames takes home 34 Hermes Creative Awards.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

125x125_2nd_Circle

News 4/30/21

April 29, 2021 News 11 Comments

Top News

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Clinical communications and workflow platform vendor Vocera announced after Thursday’s stock market close that it will acquire PatientSafe Solutions, which offers a unified inbox of messages, alerts, and notifications that is integrated with EHR data.


Reader Comments

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From Descension: “Re: Ascension. EHR is the latest to be outsourced, but not the last. Best part is that they told us they are doing it to help the poor and vulnerable, not to save money. Is it time for me to find another career since it’s tough all over and outsourced offshore health IT is the future?” I’ll invite readers to weigh in on that latter question. I honestly don’t know. While it seemed inevitable, absent major user pushback, that most technical support would be shifted to cheaper offshore providers, I wasn’t so sure about specialized areas such as EHR support. The pessimistic view is that the old saying was right – if your job doesn’t involve touching something, plenty of people outside the US would be thrilled to do it cheaper and maybe even better. Ascension is running a billion-dollar quarterly profit as its contribution to the US’s world-leading healthcare costs that make our workforce non-competitive in the first place. On the other hand, sometimes health systems that are looking for “one neck to wring” elect to indeed wring that neck by insourcing everything back in-house down the road.

From Cond-Ascension: “Re: Ascension. Has outsourced IT, starting a while back with contact center and desktop support, now all application and EHR support. EHR support is considered a non-strategic commodity to Ascension now. Folks are being asked to stay until August, where they will probably need to apply for jobs to earn severance. Ascension allows a 10% pay reduction as a suitable offer when a role is eliminated. Tons of great talent will be flooding the market.” Anyone who is looking for Epic people should pay attention.

From CIO: “Re: VisuWell firing their CEO. The actions of the former CEO were obviously atrocious on any number of levels, but VisuWell did everything a company could do. The acting CEO and board chair got on the phone with the CMIO and me to make sure we understood what they were doing, then followed up yesterday to make sure we had everything we need and were completely understanding about us taking any action we thought we needed to. I can’t think of anything else they could have done short of inventing a time machine. We aren’t changing our relationship with them, and in fact chose them initially because we felt they were a better fit in dealing with a diverse patient population than some other vendors.”

From We Aren’t the Champions: “Re: WaitButWhy. What do you think about its most recent post? It seems like an overly optimistic exercise to get something like this off the ground, especially in the US, much less to have it succeed for the long term. I’m in Canada and there’s no chance of provinces paying for comfy chairs or coffee in the waiting room.” The article, which is titled “Why going to the Doctor Sucks,” calls out limited appointment times, unfriendly front desk employees, making patients write the same information on the same clipboard forms every visit, and doctors running behind and shortchanging patients whose appointment is late in the day. It concludes that in the US healthcare non-system, patients aren’t treated like customers because they actually aren’t customers, so cold interactions and indifferent waiting areas echo the DMV or post office. The author’s wife and a friend (non-physicians) decided to start a $2,400 per year, no-insurance primary care club in which members are assigned a doctor, a wellness advisor, and a concierge coordinator. My thoughts:

  • I already have this concept covered in my direct primary care doctor’s practice. I pay $75 per month to have direct access to her at all times (phone, mail, text, video, etc.), appointments are quickly available and booked for 30 or 60 minutes of uninterrupted time, in-office lab testing is included, she can provide prescription medications at cost, and simple procedures carry no extra charge. These no-charge extras save enough of my deductible alone to more than cover her annual fee.
  • I keep my health insurance  to cover specialists, ED, hospitalization, etc. that might come up, of course, but I haven’t seen a PCP using my insurance for several years. 
  • I don’t know what my doctor’s waiting room looks like because I’ve never seen one. She meets me at her office’s front door, we walk to the exam room, and we talk face to face with no keyboard between us. I’m the customer, so she will provide advice on whatever I need – exercise, stress, and diet are listed on her website. But she won’t just prescribe something because I ask for it (I don’t ask because I don’t like taking meds unnecessarily, but she made that clear upfront).
  • Quite a few investor-backed companies are placing big bets on practices – both general primary care and specific to Medicare beneficiaries – that feature better creature comforts, a more customer-friendly environment, and more convenient access.
  • These models are better for the doctor, who doesn’t need to jam their schedule full, practice substandard but profitable medicine, bow to corporate overlords like health system executives and insurers, and get stuck with patients who just want drugs. You can do the math – if my doctor has 500 members, she takes in maybe $40,000 per month of all-recurring revenue (cost varies by age), has minimal overhead, and can use just the tiny portion of EHR functionality that actually benefits the patient and her. She has to be careful about patient mix since having all Medicare-aged patients could require too much work, but she is allowed to set her panel any way she wants.
  • Here’s the beauty of the screwed-up system we have. Neither patients nor doctors like it and it is so wastefully expensive that it it’s easy to find enough cost savings in a new model so that neither pays more. Those corporate overlord middlemen I mentioned are bureaucratically inclined and thus ripe for disruption, and while the cash-only membership system excludes those who don’t have the resources to pay on their own, it assures equal treatment among those who do (and leaves assistance programs for those who need them most). Our suits-to-scrubs ratio makes fat-trimming easy.

Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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UK-based Halma acquires perinatal safety technology vendor PeriGen. Halma, which operates many brands in the safety, environmental, and medical sectors, acquired healthcare location services vendor CenTrak in early 2016 for $140 million.

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Allscripts announces Q1 results: revenue down 3%, adjusted EPS $0.19 versus $0.02, beating earnings expectations but falling short on revenue.

Castlight Health announces Q1 results: revenue down 10%, adjusted EPS $0.01 versus –$0.01. CSLT shares are up 140% in the past 12 months versus the Dow’s 40% rise, valuing the company at $288 million.

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Surgery analytics vendor Caresyntax raises $100 million in a Series C funding round.

CVS Health launches a $100 million venture fund that will invest in early-stage companies that are “focused on making healthcare more accessible, affordable, and simpler.” The company cites previous success in its direct investments, such as Unite Us and LumiraDx.

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Shares of national medical group and practice support technology vendor Privia Health closed Thursday with an IPO-day share price jump of 51%, valuing the ownership stake of parent Brighton Health Group at $2.75 billion. CEO Shawn Morris holds shares worth $144 million.

Online pharmacy operator Capsule raises $300 million in a funding round that values the company at more than $1 billion. The pharmacy fills and delivers prescriptions in six cities.


Sales

  • Orange County, NC selects Everbridge’s vaccine distribution platform.
  • UK’s Guy’s and St. Thomas NHS Foundation Trust will use Nuance Dragon Medical One to support its Apollo service transformation project, integrated with Epic.
  • Cigna will offer virtual mental health services to its behavioral health members from Ginger, of which Cigna is an investor.
  • Seattle Children’s moves its Epic system to the healthcare cloud of Virtustream, which is owned by Dell Technologies.
  • American Health Communities will implement live video consults for residents of 28 skilled nursing facilities in Tennessee using videoconferencing, live bio-analytics, and instruments from Let’s Talk Interactive.

People

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Tonya Hongsermeier, MD, MBA (Lahey Health) joins Elimu Informatics as VP / chief clinical innovation officer.

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NTT Data hires Michael Petersen, MD (Accenture) as chief clinical innovation officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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Omnicell’s EnlivenHealth division will use Twilio’s customer engagement platform to expand its retail pharmacy offerings that include personalized communication by IVR, texting, chatbots, email, and a mobile app.

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AHIMA creates DHealth, a catalog of digital health products whose developers have attested that they meet security and privacy standards. 

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The US Army’s General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital (MO) goes live with MHS Genesis / Cerner, the first facility to use the system for in-processing of newly arrived trainees. Above is Major Cynthia Anderson, chief nursing information officer, overseeing use of the mass readiness module that was developed for military medicine and is used at GLWACH to process 100 trainees per hour.

A small interview-based study of VA facilities looks at why timely follow-up on abnormal test results doesn’t always happen:

  • Rotation of medical residents, who may be sent results after they have left.
  • Lack of ownership of secondary findings.
  • Providers ignoring or not seeing EHR alerts with no standardized follow-up defined.
  • Lack of current contact information on file for the patient.
  • Communications breakdown caused by referrals to another facility.
  • Providers covering for each other.
  • Uncertain responsibility for reviewing results that were pending on discharge.

COVID-19

A new, small study finds that COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna are 94% effective in reducing COVID-associated hospitalization of those who are over age 64.

California’s COVID-19 case rate is now the lowest in the country.

Some experts say that President Biden missed a chance to reduce vaccine hesitancy in his Wednesday address to a joint session of Congress, where audience members were spaced, masked, and asked not to make physical contact. A better approach, some say, would have been to allow only vaccinated attendees and then permit them to behave in a 2019-like manner to send the message that vaccination can end the pandemic and return life to normal.

Pfizer expects to release a protease inhibitor for experimental use in treating early-stage COVID-19 by the end of the year, potentially keeping people with early symptoms out of the hospital.

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The Public Health Company — which will advise businesses, providers, and public health organizations on public health issues using data, containment best practices, and genomic epidemiology – launches with an $8 million seed funding round. Its scope includes, beyond COVID-19, healthcare-acquired infections, antimicrobial-resistant infections, and foodborne infections. The co-founders are a California public health physician executive and a former Goldman Sachs partner. The business case involves the cost of avoidable business interruption, including supply chain and labor issues.


Other

A University of Missouri study finds that nurse workload is doubled when patients are seen in virtual visits rather than in-office appointments, as nurses have to review, document, and act on blood glucose and blood pressure readings multiple times each week instead of the average in-person visit frequency of every three months.

China’s government is considering allowing prescription drugs to be sold online, which a state-controlled magazine says is a warning shot to public hospitals that profitably overprescribe drugs, including IV drips and antibiotics. The article notes that the government tried to fix the problem in 2017 by mandating that doctors and hospitals sell drugs to patients at their cost, but the providers wormed around that requirement by manipulating cost data and retaining rebates. The country does not have a system to make prescriptions universally accessible and Internet-based sales raises issues of prescription authenticity and supply chain safety. 


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicomp Systems releases a new “Tell Me Where It Hurts” podcast, “Reimaging Healthcare Through NLP.”
  • Meditech offers a new case study, “How Meditech and Interlace Health support integrated electronic patient consent.”
  • KLAS recognizes GetWellNetwork as a top-performing vendor for COVID-19 response.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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News 4/28/21

April 27, 2021 News 7 Comments

Top News

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Telemedicine software vendor VisuWell fires CEO Sam Johnson in response to a widely circulated video that appears to show him publicly harassing an 18-year-old boy who had worn a dress to their prom.

Johnson says the video was edited to misrepresent a situation in which he asked a group of loud teens in a Tennessee restaurant to tone it down in the presence of families and children.

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VisuWell says Johnson was terminated immediately, removed from the company’s board, and will not serve in any advisory role. It has appointed President and COO Gerry Andrady to lead the company.

Johnson was previously founder and CEO of Relatient and held sales executive positions with Misys and Greenway Health.


Reader Comments

From @anotherdrgregg: “Re: prescriptions that are a waste of my time. Nearly all of them. Ask me to write a prescription for three reasons: (a) payment, in which you can buy your own wheeled walker but you need me to prescribe it if you want Medicare to pay for it; (b) liability, where the mechanism used to impose accountability (liability) is the prescription; and (c) stewardship, which mostly involves only society-influencing medications such as antibiotics and opiates.” It’s fascinating that the prescription process, at least for cash-paying patients, is that they, their doctor, or both decide on what meds to take and the doctor then writes a sticky note (oversimplifying the prescription process) that gives someone else permission to sell them the product. The prescription is the presumed evidence of clinical decision-making that may or may not have added any value, especially in the many cases where patients demand what they want and the doctor dutifully complies knowing that harm is unlikely and that their patient satisfaction or retention numbers will suffer otherwise. Drug companies also have an incentive to keep their wares as prescription-only so that insurance will pay for them, the price can remain high in the absence of store shelf competition, and they can track who is using their product for marketing purposes. I also wonder how much value is added by state pharmacy laws or insurance requirements that make doctors issue new prescriptions every 6-12 months when the patient has been taking that chronic med for years with no problems or dose changes. Incentives would be aligned if doctors simply recommended products, then patients would either then buy or not with their own money. In other words, if healthcare worked like every other industry.

From Pee-on Analyst: “Re: Ascension. Conducting meetings to announced a country-wide outsourcing of at least all acute and outpatient EHR support to India and Tech Mahindra. Cerner, Epic, Athena, everything. Positions eliminated as of August 8.” Unverified, but reported by two readers.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Protenus. The Baltimore-based company’s artificial intelligence platform reduces risk and saves resources for the nation’s leading health systems by detecting and preventing compliance violations, such as breaches to patient privacy and incidents of clinical drug diversion. Compliance analytics provide healthcare leaders full insight into how health data is being used and issues alerts of inappropriate activity to privacy, pharmacy, and compliance teams. Protenus, KLAS’s category leader in patient privacy monitoring for 2020, helps its partner hospitals make decisions about how to better protect their data, their patients, and their institutions. The company’s “2021 Breach Barometer” report has been widely featured by national news organizations. Thanks to Protenus for supporting HIStalk.


Listening: Yusuf / Cat Stevens performing the moving “Father and Son” in 1970, when he was 22. He recorded a new version and a tremendous live video last year at 72. 


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Insulin management software vendor Glytec raises $21 million through debt financing and investment.

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Remote cardiac monitoring company Vector raises $12.5 million in a Series A funding round. Its technology enables cardiologists to receive, manage, and analyze data from a patient’s cardiac device and integrate with their EHRs.

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Healthcare interoperability company Lyniate acquires Datica’s health data integration assets. Lyniate has incorporated Datica’s API capabilities into its newest product, Envoy, which enables customers to develop, maintain, and monitor data-exchange connections across organizations. Datica’s website suggests that the company will continue to offer its Next Gen Compliance Platform.

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Sweden-based telehealth services and health center operator Kry raises $312 million in a Series D funding round that increases its total to $568 million.


Sales

  • Region 1 Disaster Health Response System will offer Bluestream Health’s telehealth services to hospitals during disasters or public health emergencies.
  • Lehigh Valley Health Network (PA) selects LexisNexis MarketView, business intelligence software incorporating de-identified medical claims data.

People

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Crossings Healthcare Solutions promotes Marlon Ali, MD to CMIO.

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Cindy Gaines, RN (Philips) joins Lumeon in the newly created position of clinical transformation executive.

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ConnectiveRx promotes Jim Corrigan to CEO. He succeeds Harry Totonis, who will become chairman of the board.

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Claus Jensen (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) joins Teladoc Health as chief innovation officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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Northern Maine Medical Center goes live on Cerner.

Black Book Research names Cerner as its top-rated inpatient EHR vendor as well as earning the highest client experience scores in academic medical centers.

Leidos Partnership for Defense Health brings 10,000 clinicians live on MHS Genesis / Cerner in a wave deployment that covered locations in 12 states.

Life sciences communication solutions vendor OptimizeRx announces new partnerships that will expand its EHR reach within Epic, Cerner, and Athenahealth.

CloudWave and Ettain Health will partner to offer their combined IT infrastructure and consulting solutions, respectively.

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Patient ID Now, whose coalition includes AHIMA, CHIME, and HIMSS, publishes a framework for a national strategy on patient identity.


COVID-19

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD says in a Wall Street Journal article that CDC needs to loosen its mask recommendations and gathering size limits now that US infection levels are dropping, the number of people who have either been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 is significant (in the 60% range), and warm weather has moved people outdoors where it’s safe. CDC announced new guidance immediately after the article ran in which fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks at small outdoor gatherings or when eating outside, although CDC still recommends wearing masks in crowded outdoor settings, such as concerts.

CDC reports that 54% of American adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 37% are fully vaccinated. However, the daily number of doses administered has dropped significantly since their April 1 peak of more than 4 million.


Other

At least 40 health systems in the US have been impacted by last week’s cybersecurity breach at Swedish radiation software vendor Elekta.

A real estate journal says that HIMSS got a fantastic deal on new Chicago headquarters space because of pandemic-driven discounts and concessions, with its sublease from Gartner Research of 30,000 square feet that has never been occupied being one of the largest downtown.

A great YouTube music video randomly popped up my way as employees from LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group cover “Times Like These” in support of Hope and Homes for Children. It’s not a cheesy, poorly produced corporate gimmick — in my mind, this version is musically and visually better than the Foo Fighters original from nearly 20 years ago or the chart-topping, all-star version that supported COVID-19 charities from April 2020. The video appropriately ends with the message, “In loving memory of those we have lost from COVID-19. May their love, laughter, memories, and music play on in our hearts forever.”


Sponsor Updates

  • Cerner releases a new podcast, “Cerner Health Forum ’21 preview – A healthier bottom line.”
  • Diameter Health co-founder and CEO Eric Rosow wins a 2021 Connecticut Entrepreneur Award in the Entrepreneur (Scaling Company) category.
  • Consulting Magazine recognizes Divurgent Chief Strategy Officer and EVP of Consulting and Innovation Sam Hanna as a global leader of consulting in the excellence in innovation category.
  • Securance Consulting recognizes Engage as a Meditech hosting “Best Practice” consulting firm, and awards it an overall five-star rating for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Wolters Kluwer Health adds Picmonic’s visual mnemonic lessons to its Lippincott® CoursePoint+ digital course solution for nursing education.
  • CloudWave and Ettain Health partner to offer hospital customers bundled cloud solutions and consulting services.
  • OptimizeRx announces new partnerships within Athenahealth, Cerner, and Epic networks, plus increased exposure to oncologists across the country.
  • Baylor College of Medicine (TX) adds Sectra’s digital pathology module to its Sectra enterprise imaging system.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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Monday Morning Update 4/26/21

April 25, 2021 News 10 Comments

Top News

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J2 Global will separate into two publicly traded companies, one of them being the healthcare-focused Consensus.

Consensus will offer the healthcare-focused EFax cloud fax and messaging business that it positions as an interoperability platform to integrate systems and workflows. That business has annual revenue of $340 million and a 35% EBITDA margin.

J2 Global operates Internet brands that include IGN, Mashable, Oookla Speedtest, Medpage Today, and PCMag.

Scott Turicchi, J2’s president and CFO, will move to CEO of Consensus.


Reader Comments

From Super Saver: “Re: healthcare costs. I see a lot of technologies that promise to lower them. Not necessarily for consumers, though.” Agreed. My experience is limited to healthcare systems, but few of the technologies we implemented to reduce cost ever really did so, especially if the savings involved labor that we just moved to some other area. It’s also safe to say that healthcare savings rarely trickle down to actual patients —  they just swell the profits and executive payroll of billion-dollar health systems, insurers, and employers in the absence of a competitive, consumer-driven market where reduced costs would support lowered prices to gain market share.

From Alhambra: “Re: new job. Thanks for the recent mention. I’ve never had so many people reach out to me with the same screenshot letting me know I’m famous!” Thanks. Along those lines, I sometimes warn folks I’m interviewing that few people realize how many readers are out there, and that it’s possible that the interviewee will get a lot of emails and LinkedIn messages when the interview runs. Some have told me they got hundreds of messages within a few hours and one closed a long-delayed sale the next day that the customer attributed to being reminded by the interview. Many types of business would moan that customers – readers, in my case – rarely offer testimonials and word-of-mouth advertising, but I actually kind of like being a secret, guilty pleasure. Sometimes an industry luminary emails out of the blue to tell me they are a regular reader, direct feedback I appreciate as a solitary filler of empty screens.

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From Are Ex: “Re: prescriptions. Here’s a brilliant comment.” I agree. FDA’s prescription-only requirements to require certain items to be used only under a doctor’s supervision are a bit paternalistic and anti-consumer, although they have created a vigorous market in telehealth, online pharmacies that offer minimally vetted prescriptions paired with shipment of their particular wares, urgent care centers, and even hospital EDs who are happy to write that prescription at a high cost with little actual value added. COVID-19 has brought the issue to the forefront, as consumers were not trusted to buy their own testing kits even though getting a prescription did little to improve their chances of safe, effective outcomes. We are one of the least-healthy industrial nations in the world, so it would be interesting to see how our rigorous prescription requirements compare to healthier ones, especially when obtaining said prescription is often a financial rather than a clinical exercise. Also interesting would be a poll of doctors of which prescriptions they write that they consider a waste of time versus the patient being allowed to buy it themselves.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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The top discretionary reason of poll respondents to attend HIMSS21 is socializing.

New poll to your right or here:  Do you hold shares or an ownership stake in a health-related technology company?

My brilliant idea of the week: some company should pay telehealth providers for the privilege of running ads on video visit screens for the patient to watch until the provider starts their encounter, kind of an Outcome Health model of cramming drug company advertising into waiting and exam rooms. I thought of this while being interrupted endlessly by YouTube targeted ads that injected themselves at the most inopportune moments of the concert video I was trying to watch. 


Webinars

April 27 (Tuesday) noon ET. “The Modern Healthcare CMIO: Best Practices for Implementing Digital Innovations.” Sponsor: RingCentral, Net Health. Presenters: Nathan Gause, MD, assistant professor of medicine and orthopedic surgeon, University of Missouri Healthcare; Ehab Hanna, MD, MBA, VP/CMIO, Universal Health Services; Subra Sripada, MSIE, partner, Guidehouse; Jigar Patel, MD, VP/chief medical officer, Cerner Government Services. This panel of CMIOs will discuss how their organizations are leveraging digital medicine to improve patient outcomes and provider workflows. Topics will include AI and analytics, effectively implementing AI solutions, establishing data governance and oversight for AI-powered products, care and treatment changes on the horizon, and interoperability of large EHR systems.

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

 

Here’s the recording of last week’s webinar, “Is Gig Work For You?”


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Health and benefits solutions vendor Accolade will acquire PlushCare, which offers virtual primary care and mental health treatment. Accolade will pay $450 million, mostly in stock, for the company that had $35 million in 2020 revenue. Accolade acquired telemedicine second opinion startup 2nd.MD in March for $460 million.


Sales

  • UT Health East Texas at Ardent Medical Services chooses TheraNow’s telehealth platform to provide telemedicine and remote physical therapy treatment.

People

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Relatient hires Raj Bhavsar, MS (ConnectYourCare) as CTO.

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Patient engagement and behavior change technology vendor The Affective Computing Company hires one of its investors and advisors, Matt Dobski (Amwell) as president. The company will also start styling itself as Affective.health.


Announcements and Implementations

Vermont Care Partners and four member agencies go live on Netsmart’s MyAvatar behavioral and addiction services EHR.

Long-term care pharmacy provider ExactCare connects to CarePort to offer hospitals coordinated medication management.

Symplr renames the provider data management platform of Phynd, which it recently acquired, to Symplr Directory.

Southern Sun Pathology, Australia’s largest skin cancer lab, goes live on Sectra digital pathology.


COVID-19

FDA approves resumed use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, declining to limit it use to specific ages or gender, but with a label warning about possible rare blood clotting disorders. CDC’s advisory panel has identified 15 cases and three deaths due to the blood clotting issue of eight million doses that have been administered in the US, most of the cases involving young women. Critics say the pause accomplished little beyond making people unnecessarily wary of the J&J product and COVID-19 vaccines in general.

CDC reports that 8% of people who got their first dose of the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines haven’t completed their vaccination by the date due. Reasons: fear of side effects, the believe that one shot offers enough protection, lack of transportation or work time off, and providers cancelling second-dose appointments because of shortages of the vaccine that the patient received in their first dose. Still, the 92% second-dose follow-up is historically high.

Experts say that India’s COVID-19 death toll is 2-5 times higher than the official reports, as local officials and hospitals are reportedly being pressured to attribute suspected COVID-19 deaths to other conditions or to simply label all death certificates as “sickness.” A New York Times audit of funeral facilities in the city of Bhopal found more than 1,000 deaths in a 13-day period versus the officially reported 41 as crematories are operating around the clock. India is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, but less than 10% of its residents have received a dose. Daily new cases have jumped from 13,000 in March to 350,000. Brown University public health school dean Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH urges in a Washington Post opinion piece that the US provide assistance to the world’s largest democracy and ally by sending excess testing kits, PPE, oxygen, drugs, and vaccine doses, particularly the 30 million stockpiled doses of AztraZeneca’s product that has not earned FDA’s authorization and is likely never going to be used here given ample supply of alternatives. 

University of Oxford researchers report results of clinical trials of a malaria vaccine candidate, with the new product being the first to hit WHO’s goal of 75% efficacy. The commercial partner is US-based Novavax, whose COVID-19 vaccine will likely reach the US market soon after recent clinical trials results showed a 96% efficacy. The company is also working on a combination vaccine that incorporates its COVID-19 and flu vaccine candidates.


Other

The second-highest paid CEO of a publicly traded US company made $200 million in compensation in 2020, that being Amir Dan Rubin, CEO primary care practice chain 1life Healthcare (One Medical). Trading began in late January, with shares up 227% since in valuing the company at $12 billion.


Sponsor Updates

  • GigaOm names Pure Storage’s FlashBlade a leader in its latest report on high-performance object storage.
  • Vocera’s customer success team wins the Business Intelligence Group’s 2021 Excellence in Customer Service Award.
  • The Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians in the UK approves Wolters Kluwer Health’s UpToDate clinical decision support for continuing professional development.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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News 4/23/21

April 22, 2021 News 7 Comments

Top News

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Home monitoring platform vendor Current Health raises $43 million in Series B financing.

The company says its revenue grew 3,000% last year. Its platform is FDA-cleared for performing virtual clinical trials with remote monitoring and video visits.

EHR integration – using HL7, FHIR, or Redox – is available for Epic, Cerner, Allscripts, and Athenahealth.

The CEO completed a master’s in computer engineering and left medical school in Scotland to start the company in 2015 with his co-founder and CTO, who had just completed a PhD in computing science.

The company styles itself as a “mission control” for health systems to transition care to the home. It lists as customers Mayo Clinic, Mount Sinai, Geisinger, Massachusetts General Hospital, Britain’s NHS, and drug companies AztraZeneca and Amgen.


Reader Comments

From Iza Vendor FoSho: “Re: HIMSS. Selling software now as a competitor to its corporate supporters?” HIMSS-owned Healthbox announces Idealy, a system that accepts internal submissions for innovation projects, then allows participants to score them and solicit feedback. HIMSS strays into commercial and potentially competitive territory fairly often, as do many member organizations that collect support dollars from those competitors, but this doesn’t sound like a product that steps on exhibitor toes. The target audience seems to be those big health systems that aspire to play with the big boys in the investment and innovation world, the track record of which is spotty (that’s like asking the DMV to develop photo portraiture software).  

From Ivan Issue: “Re: resume. Please review mine.” Suggestions, which I’ll generalize beyond yours specifically having looked at many LinkedIns:

  • Don’t refer to yourself in the third person, aka “Mr. Smith,” as though you convinced an all-knowing deity to craft your CV.
  • Personalize your “About” section beyond the usual stilted “accomplished, seasoned executive with demonstrated experience …” It’s funny how people think their overview sounds more professional when written as droning, incomplete phrases that are devoid of personality, the admirable brevity of which is often cancelled out by the barrage of tired buzzwords that follows. This is exactly what you wouldn’t do in an interview.
  • Don’t list self-assigned, pretentious labels in your LinkedIn description, such as “thought leader,” “visionary,” or “change agent.” It’s mildly effective when others brag vaguely about you, but annoying when you brag vaguely about yourself. I have never seen a self-proclaimed “thought leader” whose thoughts I would allow to lead me.
  • Leave out anything under “Education” that isn’t an actual degree from an accredited college or university. Nobody cares where you prepped except your fellow preppies and they already know, while weekend seminars and degrees that were sought but not attained for whatever reason don’t inspire a lot of confidence about determination.
  • Include a high-resolution headshot that doesn’t include a cropped-out ex-spouse, wedding formalwear, or a vacation background. Don’t crop or shrink the image since LinkedIn does that while allowing a full-view display by clicking. Use a straight-on view that covers neck to top of head, with no artsy-craftsy poses or filters. Do not under any circumstances fail to include a photo unless you have beliefs about graven images – we all have camera-capable phones, so photo omission suggests issues with self-esteem.
  • This is probably just a me thing, but it’s hard when trying to sort out an executive’s career wanderings when the list includes board assignments, volunteer work, trying to get consulting gigs while looking for a job, etc. instead of actual paid jobs working for someone else.
  • Be careful about listing a bunch of licenses and certifications that aren’t relevant to the position you hold or want to hold. Health system CEOs who are looking for CIOs don’t care about your CPHIMS or MCSE.
  • Spell and capitalize correctly, advice that I’m ashamed to have to offer to executives who surely could have afforded a paid proofreader or commanded an underling who writes well to review their draft.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I’m reacting negatively to the overused term “sat down with” in trite reference to interviews, where given limitless quantity (and clearly limited quality) I gag through it several times per day. I say go for the “Madonna with the fake British accent” affectation and call it having a natter, a chin-wag, or a palaver.


Webinars

April 27 (Tuesday) noon ET. “The Modern Healthcare CMIO: Best Practices for Implementing Digital Innovations.” Sponsor: RingCentral, Net Health. Presenters: Nathan Gause, MD, assistant professor of medicine and orthopedic surgeon, University of Missouri Healthcare; Ehab Hanna, MD, MBA, VP/CMIO, Universal Health Services; Subra Sripada, MSIE, partner, Guidehouse; Jigar Patel, MD, VP/chief medical officer, Cerner Government Services. This panel of CMIOs will discuss how their organizations are leveraging digital medicine to improve patient outcomes and provider workflows. Topics will include AI and analytics, effectively implementing AI solutions, establishing data governance and oversight for AI-powered products, care and treatment changes on the horizon, and interoperability of large EHR systems.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Goldman Sachs predicts that even though interest in SPACs has cooled off since the first quarter – when 55 special-purpose acquisition companies were formed, creating a deal-making frenzy that exceeded even the dot-com boom – they could drive $900 billion worth of M&A deals over the next two years. It notes that 394 SPACs are looking for companies to take public, armed with $129 billion of equity capital and a two-year deadline to land a dance partner. It will be interesting to see how many seemingly successful health IT companies are lured into going public by the siren song of a SPAC – with the only surefire money-maker in the transaction being the SPAC’s sponsor – and then wilt under quarter-by-quarter investor pressure, mandatory operational transparency, a divergence of customer demands versus market realities, and the never-ending quest to convince investors that all-important growth will last forever. Not to mention that when the boom inevitably busts, either selectively or broadly, some unicorn-anointed companies that could not have survived IPO scrutiny will be suddenly living a less-rosy life filled with disillusioned investors, squirmy executives surreptitiously eyeing the exit, and curmudgeonly bystanders like me providing a constant reminder that the wisest investors – notably insiders – cashed out their stake at first opportunity before irrational exuberance collided with reality.

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London-based Proximie, which offers a live, mixed-reality telesurgery collaboration platform for clinicians performing OR and cath lab procedures, raises $38 million in a Series B funding round.

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Medchart, which provides patient-authorized information to attorneys, to patients themselves, and eventually to researchers, raises $17 million in seed and Series A funding. It hopes to expand its information work to researchers.

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Seqster, which aggregates data from EHRs, wearables, and consumer genomics companies for payers, providers, and researchers, raises a $12 million Series A funding round.

HCA Healthcare announces Q1 results: revenue up 9%, EPS $4.14 versus $1.69, beating Wall Street expectations for both. Shares are up 87% in the past year versus the Dow’s 48% rise, valuing the company at $67 billion. HCA received $9 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds last year, but returned all of it in October, saying the financial urgency of its 180 hospitals had passed and that returning taxpayer dollars was “appropriate and the socially responsible thing to do.”

Tenet Healthcare announces Q1 results: revenue up 6%, EPS $1.30 versus $1.28, beating expectations for both. Shares are up 172% in the past 12 months, valuing the hospital operator at $6 billion.


Sales

  • Cerner chooses life insurance data vendor MIB Group to sell consented access to its 54 million patient medical records, adding to MIB’s list of EHR partners. 

People

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Analytics vendor Cotiviti hires RaeAnn Grossman, MSP (Wick Healthcare Group) as EVP of risk adjustment and quality.

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Chrissy Braden Worth, MBA (Helix) joins Apple in a business development and partnerships role.

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Industry long-timer Mitch Morris, MD (OptumInsight) joins EMed as chief operating officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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PMD adds medical billing and collection services to its revenue cycle platform offerings.

Regenstrief Institute modifies the open source EHR OpenMRS to meet the needs of Indianapolis first responders who expected to treat more COVID-19 patients in triage center. The team’s work, which took one week, allowed the EMS to register patients and collect their basic clinical information that could be sent to the state’s HIE. The system was never used, however, as the expected demand never materialized.

USPTO awards Medsphere a patent for its Multi-Disciplinary Treatment Plan solution.

PatientKeeper integrates its mobile app with Meditech Expanse, offering users access to patient lists, vital signs, lab and other test results, clinical notes, med list, allergies, and order status. 

Tech-aspirational health insurer Oscar launches +Oscar, which is some kind of health plan and member engagement platform that it poorly described. The announcement used the word “stack” eight times, which discouraged me from studying the announcement more than the first few times in my ultimately failed attempt to comprehend it.

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CAQH publishes a repository of validated payer FHIR endpoints and third-party apps, allowing payers and developers to find information exchange connections.

Change Healthcare launches InterQual 2021, the latest version of its evidence-based screening tool. It adds four new Medicare criteria modules and new guidance covering COVID-19 treatment, social determinants of health, and the appropriate use of telehealth.

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KLAS publishes a report covering health IT staffing firms.


COVID-19

Johnson & Johnson publishes results of its Phase 3 clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine, which showed a 67% efficacy 28 days after vaccination, 77% in severe and critical cases, and 64% efficacy against the South Africa variant after 28 days.

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD says in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that the government did the right thing in pausing the use of J&J’s vaccine while reports of rare blood clots are investigated, but FDA rather than CDC should have been put in charge. CDC’s advisory panel adjourned last week without making a decision, while FDA is accustomed to assessing emerging data and advising physicians on benefits and risks.

President Biden says the government’s goal of administering 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in 100 days has been met, calling on employers to use available tax credits to get their workers vaccinated. CDC reports that 52% of American adults have received at least their first shot, although numbers are declining for the first time as concerns about vaccine hesitancy begin to outweigh vaccine distribution worries.

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A second wave of infection has pushed India’s cases and deaths to record highs, hospitals are swamped, and oxygen is in short supply. Thursday’s count of new cases in India reached 315,000, the highest ever reported by any country since the pandemic began.

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An oxygen tank leak kills at least 22 patients at a public hospital in India that is treating 150 COVID-19 patients. Oxygen is running out everywhere, as the above SOS tweet from Delhi’s health minister makes clear (a tanker arrived at 1:30 a.m. with 30 minutes to spare). The government started building new oxygen plants in October, but none have apparently been finished, with shortages so severe that states are hijacking shipments that are headed elsewhere.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will launch a study to determine whether the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine cycle works when the products are made by different companies. The study, which hopes to have data available by fall, will also look at whether booster doses are necessary.


Other

A good observation by AuntMinnie.com – FDA’s announcement this week of the definition of eight classification regulations says it will no longer use the term “PACS.” FDA will now refer to imaging systems as “medical image management and processing system,” which is equally acronym-friendly as “MIMPS.”

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I snickered at the breathless announcement of respiratory monitoring vendor Respiratory Motion about its new logo, about which it quoted (falsely, I’m sure) its CEO who supposedly spontaneously ejaculated this in delight: “That is the symbol of action and spirit to construct a positive brand culture with different values: innovation, trust, reliability, discovery, and experiences.” In case that wasn’t eye-rolling enough, we get a pointless animation and an insider’s view, incorrectly punctuated, of how the magnificent logo was developed: “The brand name’s letters RM are exceptionally modified. With the modified crossbar and a higher contrast promoting the depth and upward movement. The balance of two simple ‘RM’ letterforms in the beginning and the end constructed the stability and solidity of the logotype.” I can almost make out the “RM” if I squint, but darned if I can spot innovation, trust, reliability, discovery, and experiences. Marketing is like many things in life – those who are good at it don’t need to convince you.


Sponsor Updates

  • Everbridge announces that Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, will keynote its Spring 2021 COVID-19: Road to Recovery virtual leadership summit May 26-27.
  • Inc. profiles CarePort Health CEO Lissy Hu and her journey through two acquisitions.
  • Forbes names Cerner to its 2021 list of “America’s Best Employers for Diversity.”
  • The HIMSS SoCal podcast features Healthcare Triangle VP of Technology Joe Grinstead.
  • Impact Advisors is named as one of Modern Healthcare’s Largest IT Consulting Firms for 2021.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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News 4/21/21

April 20, 2021 News No Comments

Top News

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Reuters reports that Cedars-Sinai is using facial recognition software from Israel-based AnyVision to detect ED patients who visit repeatedly under different names or to call out those who have a history of violence or drug fraud.

Other companies use the product to identify campus visitors who have previously made threats or trespassed, to spot known shoplifters, and to implement touchless access control.


Reader Comments

From Harry Angstrom: “Re: Banner Health. With the announcement that they chose Phynd, does that mean that Kyruus is losing one of its ‘banner’ clients?” It does not, at least based on my interpretation of the announcement. Banner Health Network — Banner’s ACO health plan that is made up of Banner Medical Group and Neighborhood Physician Alliance — has selected Symplr’s Phynd. The rest of Banner Health will continue to use Kyruus for enterprise provider data management, search, and scheduling.

From Just CHIME’ing In: “Re: Vive annual conference, put on by CHIME and HLTH starting next year. Is that another blow to the HIMSS conference?” It’s too early to tell. The growth of the HIMSS conference seemed unstoppable before HIMSS20 — although I think I recall that attendee count had slipped a bit in the previous couple of years — but some folks were already grumbling about the conference getting too big with insufficient exhibitor ROI even before the HIMSS20 refund debacle. Meanwhile, HLTH’s glitz masked some behind-the-scenes fumbling in which its inaugural conference was held right after HIMSS18 in the same city of Las Vegas, then was moved back 18 months into fall in a belated realization that few HIMSS18 attendees really wanted to attend two conferences close together (although to be fair, HLTH’s content and audience was broader than that of the HIMSS conference). Both conferences sat out in-person events for 2020, HIMSS deferred the asterisked HIMSS21 until August in a move that could backfire if reduced interest tarnishes HIMSS22, and HLTH21 is scheduled as an in-person conference in Boston in October. HIMSS22 and Vive will happen within weeks of each other in Florida in March 2022, potentially competing for the same potential attendees who won’t likely attend both (or perhaps neither, depending on the post-COVID conference appetite).  It will not be good for HIMSS if the CHIME connection pulls CIOs and other provider decision-makers to Vive — while overall attendee count is important, exhibitor money drives the budget for big-name keynote speakers and splashy social events and those vendors will bail if decision-makers don’t show up. We also know little about Vive at this point — does its target audience go beyond C-level provider executives, will it revive the old-school requirement that attendees sign up for one-on-one vendor pitches, and does it provide what attendees want beyond a party-bookended boat show? It seemed inevitable that HIMSS and the investor-backed HLTH would eventually butt heads, but adding a new digital health conference with CHIME’s involvement must leave the HIMSS folks feeling besieged. The market will, as it always does, choose the winners and losers.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor West Monroe. The Chicago-based national consulting firm was born in technology but built for business, partnering with companies in transformative industries to deliver real, measurable results. Its healthcare practice partners with health plans, health systems and providers, dental payers and ancillary organizations, and life sciences companies to help them better understand and capitalize on the opportunities that exist in a dynamic and evolving marketplace.​ To those ends, they understand and advise on areas such as technology strategy and solutions, building data-driven operations, creating digital products and experiences, prioritizing cybersecurity, and scaling, expanding, and focusing services through strategic M&A. Thanks to West Monroe for supporting HIStalk.


Webinars

April 21 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Is Gig Work For You?” Sponsor: HIStalk. Presenter: Frank L. Poggio, retired health IT executive and active job search workshop presenter.  This workshop will cover both the advantages and disadvantages of being a gig worker. Attendees will learn how to how to decide if gig work is a good personal fit, find the right company, and protect themselves from unethical ones.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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PulseData raises $16.5 million in a Series A funding round. The New York City company’s software aggregates and analyzes health data to predict the onset of kidney disease, and then matches patients with best-fit care.

VieCure raises $25 million in a Series A funding round. The Denver-based company specializes in health IT for oncologists, including clinical decision support software.

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Virta Health, which offers type 2 diabetes reversal treatment using virtual health coaches, secures $133 million in Series E financing, bringing its total amount raised to $263 million.

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Mobile medical communications vendor Allm raises a $50 million funding round.


Sales

  • In England, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust and The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will implement Cerner Millennium.
  • In Canada, St. Joseph Health Centre chooses Picis PriorityQ to prioritize surgical backlog waitlists based on patient severity and resource availability.
  • J. C. Lewis Primary Health Care Center (GA) chooses Emerge’s ChartGenie data conversion solution and its ChartScout and ChartPop integration for its conversion to Athenahealth.

People

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Steve Cashman (InTouch Health) joins Caption Health as president and CEO.

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CereHealth hires James Chomas, PhD (GCH, Inc.) as CEO.

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ClearData names Sanjay Cherian, MHSc (Telus Health) chief strategy officer.

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Divurgent promotes Shaun Sangwin to SVP of business development.

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Muthu Krishnan, PhD (IKS Health) joins Conifer Health as CTO.

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Sarah Richardson, MBA  (Optum) joins Tivity Health as SVP/CIO.


Announcements and Implementations

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Davis Regional Medical Center (NC) launches tele-neurology and tele-stroke programs using SOC Telemed’s acute care telemedicine software.

CliniComp announces GA of its Origin EHR.

CentraCare (MN) automates symptom-checking, patient inquiries, and COVID-19 screening with Orbita’s Engage virtual assistant.

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Southcoast Health in Massachusetts implements Spok Go communication software for providers and staff.


Government and Politics

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board upholds most of CliniComp’s data-sharing patent, as challenged by Cerner and Athenahealth.

The Federal Trade Commission warns businesses that they may be violating federal law if they use AI algorithms that — intentionally or not – are racially biased or that discriminate based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or status as a recipient of public assistance. It also notes that companies are violating the FTC Act if they sell racially based algorithms, which it says constitutes unfair or deceptive practices. FTC cites a JAMIA article in which COVID-19 predictive models could reflect existing biases from the data on which they were trained, in which case AI could then fail to benefit all patients because it worsens disparities for people of color.


COVID-19

New COVID-19 cases hit 5.2 million globally last week, the highest since the pandemic began. Deaths also increased for the fifth straight week and stand at more than 3 million.

Moderna will use the MRNA technology that is behind its COVID-19 vaccine to develop vaccines for HIV and several infectious diseases, with two HIV/AIDS vaccine candidates expected to reach clinical trials by the end of 2021. AIDS-related causes killed 700,000 people globally in 2019.

CDC reiterates that COVID-19 is spread mostly by air, not by surfaces, and cleaning and disinfection is not likely to make much of a difference.


Sponsor Updates

  • In the Netherlands, Amsterdam Academic Medical Center selects Agfa Healthcare’s enterprise imaging platform.
  • Surescripts releases its annual “National Progress Report” highlighting progress made across its Network Alliance.
  • Raintree Systems incorporates Sphere’s payment platform with its practice management software.
  • PatientKeeper integrates its mobile EHR optimization app with Meditech Expanse.
  • Pivot Point Consulting promotes Nick Loftin director of its Virtual Care practice.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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Monday Morning Update 4/19/21

April 18, 2021 News No Comments

Top News

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FDA excludes eight software functions that previously invoked its regulation as a medical device. The change was mandated by the Cures Act.


Reader Comments

From Poll Vaulter: “Re: HIMSS21. Will you be doing another poll about who’s attending or not?” No. Whatever value there was in asking unvetted poll respondents about their HIMSS21 plans has been exhausted now that we’re less than four months out. Go if you want or don’t, but decide for yourself instead of anxiously asking others what they are doing. But I will offer an alternative poll as I always do right before the conference – keep reading. The HIMSS21 exhibitor count is at 439, with most of the “real” booths being on Sands Level 2, where many spaces are listed as open on the floor plan. The list shows 83 first-time exhibitors. Here’s a question for you – I’ll be at the conference, so how should I cover it differently than before? Usually I just skip the education sessions and report on what’s happening in the exhibit hall, but I could conceivably be finished the first day unless the exhibitor number increases.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Poll respondents say that exercise and diet are by far the most important contributors to their overall health. Personal relationships finished a distant second and all of those expensive provider encounters ended up dead last. It would be fascinating to see if clinicians share this feeling that their services are not all that important in the big picture of health. Some readers wrote in “inherited genes,” which is no doubt true, but unlike the items I included, is not something a person can control, sort of like “not being hit by a meteorite as a child.” I’m surprised, to be honest, that exercise and diet was such a decisive #1.

New poll to your right or here: For those planning to attend HIMSS21: what is your #1 reason for going? I generously included an “NA – I’m not planning to attend” option for those instruction-ignorers who would be crestfallen at being denied the opportunity to click something.

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). CHIME is an executive organization that is dedicated to serving chief information officers (CIOs), chief medical information officers (CMIOs), chief nursing information officers (CNIOs), chief innovation officers (CIOs), chief digital officers (CDOs), and other senior healthcare IT leaders. With more than 5,000 members in 56 countries plus two U.S. territories and over 150 healthcare IT business partners and professional services firms, CHIME and its three associations provide a highly interactive, trusted environment that enables senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate, exchange best practices, address professional development needs, and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and care in the communities they serve. Some CHIME things you can do: (a) check the membership requirements and join; (b) complete the CHIME Digital Health Most Wired survey; (c) consider attending the hybrid CHIME21 Summer Forum June 16-17, 2021; and (d) add a calendar placeholder for the inaugural Vive annual digital health industry event, produced by CHIME and HLTH, on March 6-9, 2022 in Miami Beach, FL. Thanks to CHIME for supporting HIStalk.


Webinars

April 20 (Tuesday) noon ET. “The Modern Healthcare CIO: Digital Transformation in a Post-COVID World.” Sponsors: RingCentral, Net Health. Presenters: Dwight Raum, CIO, Johns Hopkins Medicine; Jeff Buda, VP/CIO, Floyd Medical Center. A panel of CIOs from large health systems will discuss how the digital health landscape is changing and what organizations can do now to meet future patient needs. Moderator Jason James, CIO of Net Health, will guide the panelists through topics that include continuum of care and telemedicine, employer-provided care delivery, consumerization of healthcare, and sustainability and workforce management.

April 21 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Is Gig Work For You?” Sponsor: HIStalk. Presenter: Frank L. Poggio, retired health IT executive and active job search workshop presenter.  This workshop will cover both the advantages and disadvantages of being a gig worker. Attendees will learn how to how to decide if gig work is a good personal fit, find the right company, and protect themselves from unethical ones.

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


Sales

  • Banner Health selects Symplr’s Phynd for centralized provider directory, search, and scheduling for its health plan.

COVID-19

CDC reports that over 50% of American adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, 32.5% have been fully vaccinated, and two-thirds of senior citizens have been fully vaccinated. All Americans over age 16 are now eligible to be vaccinated.

In India, New Delhi reports a record 25,500 COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period as nearly one-third of people who are tested are found to be positive. The city of 20 million people has fewer than 100 available ICU beds and hospitals are running out of oxygen an drugs.

A New York Times review says that the government’s $800 million investment in convalescent plasma last year never paid off, as the celebrity pleas for donors and feel-good touting of the treatment in the pandemic’s early days ramped up use that yielded no evidence that it is effective. It  was used mostly in lower-income hospitals that couldn’t get better proven treatments, FDA narrowed its allowed use as negative studies accumulated, inventories are piling up, and some scientists want FDA to rescind its Emergency Use Authorization.

European travel restrictions are beginning to be lifted for vaccinated Americans, as France and Greece have said they will loosen them in the next week or two. In a related story, government officials warn that scammers are selling fake vaccination cards on Ebay and other site, made possible by the federal government’s decision to provide COVID-19 vaccination documentation on easily photocopied paper cards instead of using electronic systems. An HHS OIG agent says she is disturbed by the “flippant” attitude of people who could use phony vaccination cards to spread infection to high-risk environments such as nursing homes. Insiders say CDC was forced to give up on digital vaccination tracking and fall back on paper cards due to technical problems and time pressure. Vaccinations are recorded in state and local immunization registries, but no system allows business, schools, or other organizations to access those systems to spot a falsified paper card.


Other

A drug company sues a medical journal, its editors, and the authors of several recently published research papers, arguing that the articles were based on faulty research and thus disparaged its painkiller drug.


Sponsor Updates

  • Cerner, Ellkay, Imprivata, InterSystems, Meditech, Optimum Healthcare IT, Quil, and The HCI Group sign on as sponsors of the inaugural Vive conference, which will take place March 6-9, 2022 in Miami Beach.
  • Nuance ranks first among the top large vendors in a new KLAS report, “Vendor Performance in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis.”
  • Pure Storage’s Pure-as-a-Service sees strong customer adoption across geographies, industry segments, and use cases.
  • Redox releases a new podcast, “Epic and Judy Faulkner’s Legacy with Forbes’ Katie Jennings.”
  • Besler features RxRevu CEO Carm Huntress in its latest podcast, “Achieving point-of-care price transparency.”
  • In Sweden, Region Kronoberg selects Sectra’s medical imaging solution as a cloud service.
  • Ospedale San Raffaele in Italy joins the TriNetX Network to expand its leadership position in gene therapy research.
  • Vocera introduces its first Environmental, Social, and Governance Framework.
  • Vyne Medical releases a new podcast, “The Future of Healthcare IT in a Post-COVID Era.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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News 4/16/21

April 15, 2021 News 2 Comments

Top News

Mayo Clinic launches Remote Diagnostics and Management Platform, which offers AI-powered algorithms and care protocols to help clinicians deliver care remotely.

Mayo also formed two portfolio companies with partners to support its efforts: Anumana (digital sensor diagnostics analysis) and Lucem Health (connecting remote patient telemetry devices with algorithms and for integrating insights into clinical workflow).

The companies raised Series A funding rounds in conjunction with the announcement of $25.7 million and $6 million, respectively.

Mayo Clinic Platform President John Halamka, MD says he expects its work to generate other algorithm companies as society moves from episodic care to continuous care using signals, data, and AI.

In unrelated news, John is wearing a blue dress shirt, tie, and round black glasses in the video above, sporting some new personal branding after decades of the black jacket / black tee combo with wire frames. 


Reader Comments

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From History Reader: “Re: healthcare IT company names. I’ve been trying to remember the one named after a lizard and I’m stumped.” That would be Axolotl, the HIE platform vendor that was acquired in 2011 by UnitedHealth Group-owned Ingenix, which was later rolled up with several other divisions under the Optum nameplate. It was one of my favorite names and made for some fun HIMSS conference giveaways.

From Clicker Quicker: “Re: sponsors. What have you changed to attract the support of new companies?” I haven’t changed much of anything in my nearly 18 years of writing HIStalk. I just keep showing up, which in life is often enough to beat the competition. But health IT has a lot of new, well-funded digital health players who are anxious to gain a toehold and thus come a-calling. The herd-thinning that I would have predicted a year ago due to vendor consolidation was more than offset by this creation of new digital health subcategories. I haven’t seen this much vendor activity since the early days of Meaningful Use, when the investment amounts featured fewer zeroes.

From WebinAren’ts: “Re: webinars. How do sites guarantee the number of attendees? Been wondering that.” Beats me, since attendee count will be driven by the topic, abstract, presenters, and the annoyance level of the signup page, none of which are controlled by whoever is promoting the webinar. Although a chief marketing officer told me once that they advertised with an organization that guaranteed high number of leads, drew a tiny fraction of that as webinar attendees, and then were just given a bunch of random names that had been dumped from a different database to make up the difference, which hardly counts as a lead.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Sonifi Health. The Sioux Falls, SD-based personalized patient engagement company offers the technology and service platform for a smarter hospital: interactive TV with a mobile solution, streaming to patient room TVs using personal devices and subscriptions, digital whiteboards with staff information and patient goals, EHR-powered digital door signs, digital signage for public or staff spaces, and an interactive patient status board. These provide a better patient experience, deliver patient education, and improve quality and safety. The company provides a complete solution, using the client’s existing infrastructure to deliver a white-label solution to hospitals, cancer centers, ambulatory clinics, outpatient surgery centers, post-acute rehab facilities, and senior living / LTC facilities in serving 500 million end users annually around the world with 600 employees, 200 field technicians, and a 24/7 US-based call center. Clients include Stanford Health Care, University of Florida Health, Cedars Sinai, Texas Health Resources, and Adventist Health. The company offers integration with 30 systems, including Epic, Cerner, Meditech, Hillrom, Healthwise, Vocera, Cbord, Staywell, and Elsevier. Thanks to Sonifi Health for supporting HIStalk.

I found this Sonifi Health overview on YouTube.


Webinars

April 20 (Tuesday) noon ET. “The Modern Healthcare CIO: Digital Transformation in a Post-COVID World.” Sponsors: RingCentral, Net Health. Presenters: Dwight Raum, CIO, Johns Hopkins Medicine; Jeff Buda, VP/CIO, Floyd Medical Center. A panel of CIOs from large health systems will discuss how the digital health landscape is changing and what organizations can do now to meet future patient needs. Moderator Jason James, CIO of Net Health, will guide the panelists through topics that include continuum of care and telemedicine, employer-provided care delivery, consumerization of healthcare, and sustainability and workforce management.

April 21 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Is Gig Work For You?” Sponsor: HIStalk. Presenter: Frank L. Poggio, retired health IT executive and active job search workshop presenter.  This workshop will cover both the advantages and disadvantages of being a gig worker. Attendees will learn how to how to decide if gig work is a good personal fit, find the right company, and protect themselves from unethical ones.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

UnitedHealth Group posts Q1 results: revenue up 9%, adjusted EPS $5.31 versus $3.72, beating Wall Street estimates for both. The company’s market capitalization is $369 billion.

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Boston-based 1upHealth raises $25 million in a Series B funding round. The 70-employee company offers a FHIR API solution for patient and provider connectivity for payers (EHR integration, population health analytics, member data access); providers (aggregating data  from external sources, clinical trials support, patient-facing applications, payer integration, and medical research); and app developers (EHR-connected SMART tools, cost billing, and clinical trials recruitment).

NantHealth obtains $137 million in financing from existing investors. NH shares dropped 12% on the news, valuing the Patrick Soon-Shiong-controlled company at $289 million.

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Jay Parkinson, MD, MPH announces in a blog post that Crossover Health shut down Sherpaa — the virtual primary care and technology company he founded and then sold to Crossover two years ago — at the end of last year. Parkinson has left Crossover, saying that he was too early with Sherpaa, he is burned out, and he is frustrated at seeing newer companies use his ideas to raise large amounts of investor cash. I’m not sure what happened to Hello Health and Myca, EHR-related vendors with which he was once associated.

The Santa Barbara, CA newspaper profiles local tech firm Evidation Health, whose platform monitors a user’s health data to send nudges. The company’s most recent funding round values it at more than $1 billion. The company lists five co-founders among its eight-member executive team, which is surely a record.


Sales

  • University of California Health extends its Sectra Enterprise Imaging solution with VNA, universal viewer, and worklist manager.
  • St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton selects Spok Go for secure digital communication and will collaborate with the company as a development partner, initially to optimize on-call scheduling.  
  • Edward-Elmhurst Health will work with Impact Advisors on innovation, business process optimization, and information services. Both organizations are headquartered in Naperville, IL.
  • SIU Medicine chooses Emerge ChartScout, ChartSearch, and ChartGenie to create a consolidated, searchable database that harmonizes disparate EMR data.

People

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Loyal promotes Steph Geissinger to chief customer officer.

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I missed this earlier: SOC Telemed promoted President John Kalix to CEO went it went public via SPAC late last year. Former CEO and long-time industry investor Steve Shulman moved to board chair.

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Senior independent living company InnovAge hires Alice Raia, MSM (Kaiser Permanente) as CIO.


Announcements and Implementations

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Digital health vendor K Health, insurer Anthem, and investment firm Blackstone form Hydrogen Health, which will use K Health’s AI technology to develop solutions for consumers, employers, and insurers. K Health co-founder and CEO Allon Bloch, MBA will additionally serve as the new company’s CEO.

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EClinicalWorks announces implementation of its Vaccine Administration Management Solution, which is supporting COVID-19 vaccine administration in 29 states, with online appointment booking, patient reminders, contactless check-in, documentation, data transmission to vaccine registries, and inventory management.

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Investor-owned hospital operator LifePoint Health and patient management software vendor Eon sign a five-year deal to develop Healthy Person Program, which will focus on early disease detection, timely notification to providers of findings and patients, and improved patient follow-up, starting with aortic aneurysms. Eon emphasizes use of its computational linguistics models to capture incidental findings, which it says is the #1 way to boost hospital earnings by keeping patients within the system. Founder and co-CEO Akrum Al-Zubaidi, DO is a pulmonologist who founded lung cancer screening technology company Matrix Analytics in 2014, which was renamed Eon in 2018. 

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CHIME, which recently ended its participation in the HIMSS conference, partners with the HLTH conference to offer Vive, an annual “reimagined health technology event” whose first conference will be held March 6-9, 2022 in Miami Beach. It will offer digital health innovation content, CHIME’s Spring Forum, an exhibit hall, and a matchmaking program that pairs potential buyer attendees with vendors. Some of the 18 title sponsors are also exhibiting at HIMSS21, but notable companies that will be only at Vive, at least according to HIMSS21’s exhibitor list so far, include Allscripts, Cerner, and Meditech. In an interesting adjacency of time and space, Vive will convene eight days before and 230 miles away from HIMSS22 in Orlando.


Government and Politics

The VA reaffirms that it will not bring its second Cerner site live in Columbus, OH until it has completed a strategic review of the project and shared the results with Congress, following concerns from users at the first site in Spokane, WA.

HHS tells hospitals to stop hiding their federally required pricing transparency information by adding website code to make it invisible to web searches.


COVID-19

CDC reports that 48% of the eligible US population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 30% are fully vaccinated. US cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are trending up.

CDC’s independent immunization review group declines to make a recommendation on the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, which was paused this week after reports that six people developed severe clotting problems shortly after being vaccinated. Some committee members said they didn’t have enough information to make a recommendation or to suggest that the vaccine’s use be limited to certain populations. Experts say the group’s lack of action not only leaves J&J’s vaccine on the sidelines for what could be weeks, it also impacts vulnerable populations for whom the one-shot vaccine is their best hope of gaining COVID-19 protection. Still, observers expect the delay to last just a few days, with the more significant damage being vaccine hesitancy that is specific to the J&J product.

Moderna plans to make a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot available by fall, offering a third shot that will protect people from variants going into the fall and winter season.


Other

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CHIME opens its Digital Health Most Wired survey. My early experience of multiple years of participating in (and winning) Most Wired before CHIME took it over in 2017 was that it was a kind of breezy and thus not something I found particularly brag-worthy, but a look at the 44-page, highly in-depth survey instrument shows that earning a high level of certification is a bigger deal than before.

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Harvard Pilgrim, Kaiser Permanente, and Priority Health disclose enrollment numbers for their lower-cost, telehealth-first plans. Harvard Pilgrim sold one group account out of 60 pitched, KP of the Mid-Atlantic States expects 1,000 members, and Priority Health enrolled 5,000 members, 2,000 of whom switched from another of its policies. They note the challenges involved in offering telehealth-first health insurance:

  • It may not be a good choice for people with limited mobile device access or poor Internet connectivity or data plans that can’t support video visits.
  • Users need to be technically comfortable with updating apps and clinically comfortable taking their medical visits online.
  • Healthcare.gov and other marketplaces don’t provide enough space to fully describe how telehealth-first plans work.
  • New enrollees need to be contacted to make sure they understand what their plan involves and how to choose a new PCP.
  • Health plans that try to launch their own telehealth service will be slowed down by individual state licensing for insurers and providers.
  • Harvard Pilgrim and Priority Health partnered with Doctor On Demand, while KP developed its own program using its existing technologies and telehealth-comfortable clinicians.

Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks publishes a podcast titled “Strengthening Patient Engagement During a Pandemic.”
  • Ingenious Med publishes a new white paper, “How to Minimize Physician Burnout and Optimize Revenues: Lessons Learned from the Pandemic.”
  • CHIME honors Ellkay CIO Marc Probst with its “CIO of the Year” award.
  • Change Healthcare stockholders approve the previously announced combination with UnitedHealth Group’s OptumInsight.
  • Healthcare Triangle partners with CareTech Solutions to offer Meditech customers hosting solutions and managed services.
  • Everbridge wins 2021 Comparably Awards for best company outlook, best global culture, best sales team, and best place to work.
  • Healthcare Growth Partners publishes “Health IT Q1 2021 Insights.”
  • Healthwise partners with accounting and advisory firm Frazier & Deeter in a pilot program that will help HITRUST improve its assessment process.
  • Healthcare IT Leaders, BD, and TrackMySolutions delivered COVID-19 testing for sports marketing firm IMG during Masters week.
  • Impact Advisors will partner with nearby Edward-Elmhurst Health on innovation and transformation, business process optimization, and information services.
  • LexisNexis Risk Solutions wins several Cybersecurity Excellence Awards.
  • Meditech places among the top large vendors in a new KLAS report, “Vendor Performance in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis.”
  • Microsoft adds NextGate’s Enterprise Master Patient Index to its Azure Marketplace.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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News 4/14/21

April 13, 2021 News 6 Comments

Top News

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AI solutions vendor Olive acquires Empiric Health, which offers AI-powered surgical analytics software.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Loyal. The Atlanta-based healthcare consumer experience company is solely dedicated to the betterment of patient care and is the preferred software solution for improved care utilization among the nation’s leading health systems and hospitals. One of the first companies to offer end-to-end digital and AI-powered solutions spanning the entirety of the patient journey, Loyal makes it easier for patients to access and schedule care they need. Solutions include Connect (intelligent data management), Patient Connect (provider search and scheduling), Guide (chatbot and live chat), and Empower (reviews, star ratings, and comments). Customers include OHSU, Orlando Health, and Piedmont Healthcare. Thanks to Loyal for supporting HIStalk.


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My reaction to Microsoft’s planned acquisition of Nuance for nearly $20 billion:

  • About two-thirds of Nuance’s business involves healthcare, but it also offers virtual assistants to customers ranging from Best Buy to the UK government’s tax collection service and also voice print-powered biometric security.
  • Microsoft is sitting on mountains of cash and seems anxious to spend it in unrelated ways in a bid for growth, having expensively acquired LinkedIn and a videogame company, while failing in its efforts to invest in TikTok or to buy the Discord messaging platform.
  • Microsoft was as late the cloud as it was to the Internet, and catching up to global competitors by acquisition is neither easy nor cheap.
  • Microsoft, Apple, and Samsung had reportedly considered acquiring Nuance in the past but did not make an offer, and the company drew no obvious acquisition interest until Microsoft came along.
  • Microsoft could have paid a lot less for Nuance last year or the year before, suggesting that either Microsoft was desperate to increase the credibility of its recently developed Cloud for Healthcare or that Nuance’s rapid move to the cloud and strong AI story made it more appealing.
  • MSFT previously paid way too much for Skype, LinkedIn, GitHub, Nokia’s smartphone business, and AQuantitative. It will pay 14 times annual revenue for Nuance.
  • It’s not public knowledge what agreements, if any, remain in place for Apple’s use of Nuance technology to power Siri. Apple seems to have quietly gone its own way and may no longer rely on Nuance, but if money still changes hands, having Microsoft as a critical Apple supplier would be awkward.
  • Nuance has a huge healthcare customer base, but it won’t be a slam dunk for Microsoft to sell into it given that many of those customers only run some version of Dragon Medical, don’t have a deep relationship with the company or see its salespeople, and aren’t necessarily prospects for related products. Microsoft obviously priced its offer thinking it can wring more profit out of Nuance, but it’s not clear how it will do that as an occasional healthcare dabbler (see: IBM Watson Health).
  • Microsoft’s previous healthcare failures are embarrassingly legendary — HealthVault, Sentillion, Amalga, Amalga HIS (an unrelated EHR), Amicore, and COVID-19 vaccine management.
  • Was Microsoft primarily looking for a strong healthcare vendor, a strong technology player in cloud and AI, or a leader in speech recognition technology that includes ambient intelligence? It gets all three for its generous acquisition price, but we’ll have to see how it packages the Nuance business and integrates it (Microsoft is usually very good at that). It also keeps Nuance out of the hands of competitors as the preferred computer interface moves to voice.
  • Nuance’s healthcare ubiquity means the best Microsoft can do short term is to not screw the business up or alienate its customers. Otherwise, it’s a very public stage that cuts no slack. At least Microsoft is leaving Nuance CEO Mark Benjamin in charge for continuity, although he had no healthcare experience before taking the job three years ago.

Webinars

April 20 (Tuesday) noon ET. “The Modern Healthcare CIO: Digital Transformation in a Post-COVID World.” Sponsors: RingCentral, Net Health. Presenters: Dwight Raum, CIO, Johns Hopkins Medicine; Jeff Buda, VP/CIO, Floyd Medical Center. A panel of CIOs from large health systems will discuss how the digital health landscape is changing and what organizations can do now to meet future patient needs. Moderator Jason James, CIO of Net Health, will guide the panelists through topics that include continuum of care and telemedicine, employer-provided care delivery, consumerization of healthcare, and sustainability and workforce management.

April 21 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Is Gig Work For You?” Sponsor: HIStalk. Presenter: Frank L. Poggio, retired health IT executive and active job search workshop presenter.  This workshop will cover both the advantages and disadvantages of being a gig worker. Attendees will learn how to how to decide if gig work is a good personal fit, find the right company, and protect themselves from unethical ones.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Cohere Health raises $36 million in a Series B round, bringing its total funding to $46 million. The startup has developed care coordination and preauthorization software to improve communication and collaboration between providers, payers, and patients.


Sales

  • Value-based kidney care software and services company Strive Health will use NextGate’s Enterprise Master Patient Index.

People

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Kaiser Permanente promotes Diane Comer to chief information technology officer.

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Frank Jennings (Covera Health) joins Castlight Health as SVP and chief sales officer.

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The Sequoia Project hires Alan Swenson (Kno2) as executive director of health data exchange subsidiary Carequality.

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Shaillee Juneja (Lumina Health Partners) joins Divurgent as principal.


Announcements and Implementations

Twenty-three hospitals in northeastern Ontario will implement Meditech Expanse as part of a new record-keeping alliance.

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GetWellNetwork announces GA of GetWell Anywhere, which gives patients the ability to access engagement and educational resources from their mobile devices throughout various care stages and settings.


Government and Politics

Federal News Network digs into the problems VA clinicians have been dealing with during the transition to Cerner Millennium – a process that, despite initial reports of success, has prompted congressional leaders to call for a review before further rollouts are initiated. Users have noted an excessive number of clicks for certain tasks, data migration failures, dropped community care referrals, and needing to use Microsoft Teams to communicate with other users about EHR problems. The House Veterans Affairs Technology Modernization Subcommittee will meet later this week to review the $16 billion, 10-year project.


COVID-19

FDA asks states to temporarily stop using J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine following six reports of women who developed rare blood clots days after being vaccinated, pending CDC’s review of those cases starting Wednesday. Former FDA Scott Gottlieb, MD says consumers shouldn’t be worried since the alert was intended to remind physicians to monitor vaccine recipients more closely and report milder cases they may have been missing. 

A study finds that people who are hospitalized with the B117 coronavirus variant experience outcomes that are no worse than patients infected with other variants, while another study concludes that vaccines seem to be effective against B117.

Salesforce will allow only fully vaccinated employees to return to work in its San Francisco tower, raising questions about vaccine accessibility and the legality of mandating use of a product that has not earned full FDA approval.

China’s disease control director says the country’s self-developed vaccines offer low COVID-19 protection, leading it consider using MRNA vaccines such as those produced by Pfizer and Moderna. The official, who had previously questioned the safety of MRNA vaccines, walked back his comments afterward, saying that he was referring to all vaccines and not those specifically rolled out by China that use a more primitive vaccine platform. Another official says that China is developing its own MRNA-based vaccines.

Former CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD joins the board of Big Ass Fans, which makes unproven coronavirus claims about its $10,000 ionization fans for commercial spaces.


Other

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Google will conduct a user feedback study as it prepares to develop a consumer-facing health record tool similar to Apple’s Health Record app. Three hundred patients are being recruited for the study from Epic customers in Atlanta, Chicago, and Northern California. The search engine company’s last foray into personal health records, Google Health, lasted just three years, shutting down at the end of 2011. As I opined then, “The only model Google knows involves near-universal adoption that gets advertisers salivating, not having a tiny contingent of wellness buffs and savvy chronic disease sufferers using their free online service. Ultimately, Google’s problem is that an awful lot of Americans care about reality TV and celebrity gossip more than their health. They’re more interested in patch-me-up-doc ‘healthcare’ than I-need-to-make-better-choices ‘health’ that requires proactive electronic tools. The most shocking aspect of Google Health’s announcement in 2008 was either that Google hadn’t figured that out or that they thought they could succeed anyway.”

University of Wisconsin – Madison researchers find that use of the e-prescribing transaction type CancelRx increased the percentage of successfully discontinued outpatient prescriptions at UW Health. CancelRx, which was developed by the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs, sends pharmacies an electronic notice via Surescripts to not fill a previously sent prescription, which is then acknowledged by the pharmacy. It prevents meds from being filled or refilled in the case of an allergic reaction, a prescriber error, or a change in patient status. The authors note that few providers use CancelRx. I’ve seen previous implementation reports and a common problem is that since pharmacies are rarely set up to accept CancelRx transactions, provider EHRs require modification to turn the transaction into a fax.


Sponsor Updates

  • Cerner releases a new podcast, “Cerner Health Forum ’21 preview – Improving clinician efficiency and operational excellence.”
  • PerfectServe has placed among the top large vendors in a new KLAS report, “Vendor Performance in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis.”
  • OptimizeRx is named to the Financial Times list of “The Americas Fastest-Growing Companies” list for the second consecutive year.
  • Kyruus joins the Athenahealth Marketplace Program, enabling joint customers to offer seamless online appointment scheduling.
  • Premier joins a dozen organizations in urging HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to extend the Next Generation ACO Model through 2022 and to create a permanent, full risk ACO option based on the NGACO model.
  • Meditech posts a new podcast titled “Different than a tornado: How Phoebe Putney Health System navigated the disaster response challenges of COVID-19.”
  • PatientBond publishes a white paper titled “Driving COVID-19 Vaccinations Using Healthcare Consumer Psychographic Segmentation: Research Insights and Solutions.”
  • InterSystems makes its IRIS data platform available on AWS Quick Start.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
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Microsoft Acquires Nuance for $16 Billion

April 12, 2021 News No Comments

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Microsoft announced this morning that it will acquire Nuance for $16 billion, a 23% premium over the company’s share price at Friday’s close. The total deal value, including debt, is nearly $20 billion.

Microsoft says the acquisition represents its latest step in advancing an industry-specific cloud strategy. It says the acquisition will double its healthcare total addressable market to $500 billion.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in the announcement, “Nuance provides the AI layer at the healthcare point of delivery and is a pioneer in the real-world application of enterprise AI. AI is technology’s most important priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application. Together, with our partner ecosystem, we will put advanced AI solutions into the hands of professionals everywhere to drive better decision-making and create more meaningful connections, as we accelerate growth of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and Nuance.”

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Monday Morning Update 4/12/21

April 11, 2021 News 6 Comments

Top News

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US News & World Report highlights the legal efforts of Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian to leave the 51-hospital Providence system, saying the chain’s use of Epic to standardize treatments for cost effectiveness often conflicts with the judgment of Hoag’s clinicians.

A Hoag cardiologist says the hospital can’t set its own treatment choices and instead is “bogged down by a bureaucracy that requires 51 hospitals to vote on it.”

Providence says the hospital knew that collaborative standardization was part of the affiliation deal.

Hoag also says that Providence illegally imposes restrictions on reproductive care by adhering to tenets set by the Catholic church, which controls four of the country’s 10 largest health systems.

Providence doesn’t own the hospital, but appoints a legal majority of its governing body. It says it will allow Hoag to disaffiliate if it pays an undisclosed amount that Hoag says is unreasonable.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Eighty percent of poll respondents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 95% plan to be vaccinated by HIMSS21.

New poll to your right or here: Which has contributed most to your overall health? Readers who resent the “one best answer from the list” form of a poll (as opposed to a survey or personal interview) will wail about not being able to choose more than one answer, that health factors are inextricable, or that the provided answer choices are subjective, but work with me.


Webinars

April 20 (Tuesday) noon ET. “The Modern Healthcare CIO: Digital Transformation in a Post-COVID World.” Sponsors: RingCentral, Net Health. Presenters: Dwight Raum, CIO, Johns Hopkins Medicine; Jeff Buda, VP/CIO, Floyd Medical Center. A panel of CIOs from large health systems will discuss how the digital health landscape is changing and what organizations can do now to meet future patient needs. Moderator Jason James, CIO of Net Health, will guide the panelists through topics that include continuum of care and telemedicine, employer-provided care delivery, consumerization of healthcare, and sustainability and workforce management.

April 21 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Is Gig Work For You?” Sponsor: HIStalk. Presenter: Frank L. Poggio, retired health IT executive and active job search workshop presenter.  This workshop will cover both the advantages and disadvantages of being a gig worker. Attendees will learn how to how to decide if gig work is a good personal fit, find the right company, and protect themselves from unethical ones.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Reuters reports that Microsoft is in advanced discussions to acquire Nuance for $16 billion, with an agreement possibly being announced on Monday. The reported offer is $56 per NUAN share, a 23% premium to Friday’s close.

A private equity publication sets the value of KKR’s acquisition of a majority position in Therapy Brands, which sells 19 behavioral health EHR/PM systems, at $1.25 billion.


Sales

  • HHS extends TeleTracking’s COVID-19 hospital operating data collection and reporting for a third six-month term, presumably for another $10 million.

Announcements and Implementations

Varian and Google Cloud will develop a diagnostic platform for organ segmentation for radiation therapy, training Google’s NAS technology on Varian’s treatment planning image data.

FDA approves GI Genius, an AI-powered tool that highlights possible lesions in real time during colonoscopies.

MIT highlights the work of its Data to AI Lab on Cardea, an open source framework that uses FHIR to connect to EHR data to answer on-the-fly questions, for now focusing on resource allocation. The team notes that hospital decisions are too critical to simply present a black box answer, so Cardea will show the strengths and weaknesses if the model, then allow the user to start over.


COVID-19

CDC reports that 45% of American adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, along with 78% of senior citizens. Slightly interesting is that the three states with the lowest vaccination rates per capita are contiguous and are often challenged in other public health areas – Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, with Mississippi in particular being flooded with available vaccine doses that few residents want.

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Hospitals in COVID-overwhelmed Michigan are banning visitors, cancelling elective procedures, and re-implementing pandemic surge plans, as two dozen hospitals have reached 90% capacity and 15% of the state’s hospital beds are housing COVID-19 patients. Six counties in metro Detroit are reporting their highest numbers of COVID-19 patients since the first weeks of the pandemic last year. State health officials received 58 outbreak reports from restaurants and stores in the past week, warning bluntly that “indoor dining is one of the riskiest things you can do.”

Meanwhile, the White House says it won’t surge COVID-19 vaccine supplies to Michigan because population-based distribution is the only fair way to allocate supply, especially since new outbreaks could occur elsewhere.

Pfizer requests that FDA expand the Emergency Use Authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine to those who are 12-15 years old, citing Phase 3 clinical trials data of its effectiveness.

A large study finds that people who have had COVID are 84% less likely to be re-infected over at least seven months.

Early reports showed that few people with chronic respiratory disease were being admitted with COVID-19, leading to speculation that inhaled glucocorticoids might be an effective treatment. A small randomized trial concludes that early administration of inhaled budesonide to COVID-19 patients reduced the need for urgent interventions and reduced recovery time.

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The New York Times profiles 66-year-old Kati Kariko, PhD, whose early messenger RNA work at Penn failed to draw research dollars and resulted in her moving from lab to lab and never earning more than $60,000 as a low-level, untenured PhD whose job was always at risk. Moderna and Pfizer finally took notice and used her technology to develop their COVID-19 vaccines.


Other

In Canada, a man has struggled since January to remove an incorrectly entered drug overdose from his electronic medical record after the real OD patient, who didn’t have ID, gave paramedics a name and birthdate similar to his own. The health authority says it has removed the entry, but Kevin Robinson says that while the overdose no longer appears on his patient portal display, his doctor says they can still see it.

Cape Cod Healthcare (MA) goes through the technical and legal steps that were necessary to accept donations in bitcoin, as requested by a donor who has transferred $800,000 to the hospital in two transactions. The hospital converts the bitcoin to dollars that it banks immediately, concerned that unlike other forms of donations, its value could swing dramatically.


Sponsor Updates

  • PatientBond completes its study on COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • PatientPing publishes a new white paper, “Real-time, Right Partner: How One SNF Chain Uses Real-Time Alerts to Succeed in Value-Based Care.”
  • PerfectServe publishes the complete guide to “Clinical Collaboration Systems for Hospitals.”
  • Pure Storage is a 2021 Customers’ Choice in the “Gartner Peer Insights Voice of the Customer: Distributed File Systems and Object Storage” report.
  • Spirion wins three gold wards in the 2021 Cybersecurity Excellence Awards and four Globee Business Awards in the 2021 Cyber Security Global Excellence Awards.
  • The Chartis Group names Michael Brown (MD Anderson Cancer Center) director in its Oncology Solutions Practice.
  • Vocera earns Cyber Essentials Plus Certification in the United Kingdom.
  • Waystar earns HITRUST CSF Certified status.
  • Wolters Kluwer Health launches the open access journal Otology & Neurotology Open as part of its publishing collaboration with Otology & Neurotology Inc.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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Reader Comments

  • Vikas Chowdhry: Will AI (I prefer the term Machine Learning - ML) magically fix all the incentives that have been created in the US heal...
  • Brian Too: I dunno. Seeking an answer in AI for America's healthcare woes seems a little desperate. LIke, adding one magic new in...
  • meltoots: You forgot that politics will have to be programmed in your AI. On both sides of the aisle, misinformation, doing things...
  • IANAL: So what should Cerner do though? They have some market issues because the largest potential or current customers have at...
  • Ghost of Andromeda: That's exactly the opportunity here! Cerner is struggling and could really use someone who knows how to execute with dis...

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