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News 9/18/20

September 17, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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Gastrointestinal procedure documentation vendor Provation acquires EPreop, which sells anesthesiology quality reporting and perioperative care solutions.


Reader Comments

From Count Chocula: “Re: women on executive teams. It seems you have a threshold, so what is the right number?” I don’t know, other than it isn’t zero, but I would question the culture of a company that doesn’t at least have 30% female executives listed on its “about us” page. They can hire whoever they want, but we on the provider side are also free to choose vendors whose practices align with our beliefs and expectations. The percentage of women executives in a few companies I checked: Meditech 43%, Cerner 36%, Allscripts 35%, Change Healthcare 25%, Cognizant 8%, Athenahealth 23%, Nuance 27%, and NextGen Healthcare 27%.

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From Frontliner: “Re: our continuing abysmal public health and Infectious disease management supply pipeline. Children’s Health in Dallas can’t get microbiology culture supplies due to national shortages, so they are sending stool samples for E. coli testing to a reference lab, which adds 2-3 days to the turnaround time.” I’m skeptical of just-in-time inventory practices — it has been many years since interest rates and thus inventory holding costs were high enough to make the faddish practice worthwhile. MBA consultants pushed holding inventory measured in days or even hours, a mostly pointless logistical exercise that stops being harmless when supply chains are disrupted or demand increases, as we saw with hospitals desperately bidding against each other for PPE. Similarly, aggressively managed hospital staffing practices created labor shortages and excessive traveling clinician costs when faced with similar resource supply challenges. Frontliner and I conclude that making healthcare a free-market system run by profiteers hasn’t proven to be in the best interest of its customers (which includes all of us at one time or another). Imagine a country whose healthcare non-system is so broken that the only way we can come  up with to reduce crippling drug prices is to import them on the sly from smarter countries (watch your prescription prices, Canada, because we’re going to drive them up), beg for help with medical expenses via crowdfunding sites, and leaving a large chunk of the population unable to afford either health insurance or health services costs, making bankruptcy a key component of most care plans.

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From Mark Edelstein: “Re: HIStalk. I finally retired after a 40-year career in health IT, which included time with GerberAlley, Initiate Systems, Phamis, SMS, GTE, and RelayHealth. Reading HIStalk each day these past several years has really been a pleasure and has kept me so informed and educated , well beyond what knowledge I was able to uncover on my own. You have great energy and offer a terrific product. Keep it going!” Thanks and happy retirement (a.k.a. not the rocking chair, but rather the next phase of doing interesting work) to Mark, who is co-founder and executive director of MedGift, which encourages folks to “skip the flowers” for someone who is starting a care journey and instead use its platform to offer financial and emotional support through their support page. I hear occasionally from readers who no longer work in health IT, having either moved on to other industries or to retirement, but who still follow the companies and people that were once important in their daily lives. 


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor SOC Telemed. The SOC in the name of the Reston, VA company stands for Specialists On Call. It’s the largest national provider of telemedicine technology and solutions to hospitals, health systems, post-acute providers, physician networks, and value-based care organizations. Its proven, scalable, enterprise-wide platform Telemed IQ – which powers 850 facilities and eight of the 10 largest US health systems an integrates with the Big Four inpatient EHRs – offers  rapid deployment of optimized, sustainable telemedicine programs using the health system’s own clinicians. The company also provides neurology, psychiatry, and ICU telemedicine solutions that are staffed by its 200 board-certified clinicians. SOC was the first provider of acute clinical telemedicine services to earn The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval and has maintained that accreditation every year since inception. It helps health systems be the provider of choice, improve the patient experience, obtain or maintain accreditation for stroke and other programs, improve operational and clinical performance, and maintain clinician work-life balance. Customers include AdventHealth, Banner Health, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and WellStar. Thanks to SOC Telemed for supporting HIStalk.


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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Toronto-based employee mental health and wellness digital education vendor LifeSpeak raises a $42 million growth investment.


Sales


People

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Nordic hires Jeff Buss, MS, MBA (EY) to the newly created position of CIO.

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B. Well Connected Health names John J. Ostlund, MBA (VRBO) as CTO and Imran Qureshi (Clarify Health Solutions) as CIO.

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Clinical decision support vendor EvidenceCare hires Bo Bartholomew, MBA (Shearwater Health) as CEO. He replaces co-founder Brian Fengler, MD, who will transition to chief medical officer.


Announcements and Implementations

Microsoft integrates Nuance’s Dragon Ambient Experience with Microsoft Teams to allow clinicians to conduct telehealth visits via Teams and have the conversation turned into EHR clinical documentation.

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Allscripts announces that its Allscripts Client Experience user group meeting will be held virtually October 6-8, 2020, with free attendee registration.

Meditech partners with AHIMA and hosting provider Sisu Healthcare Solutions to expand use of its Expense EHR as the flagship EHR in AHIMA’s online training environment for 16,000 students in 300 colleges and universities.


COVID-19

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Analysis by Epic Health Research Network and Kaiser Family Foundation finds that people of color are more likely to test positive for COVID-19 and to require a higher level of care compare to white patients. Black, Hispanic, and Asian people had higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death.

President Trump says CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD was confused and mistaken when he told a Senate subcommittee that distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine will likely happen in late spring or early summer, a timeline that other federal health officials agree is reasonable. Vice-President Pence told Fox News on Wednesday that the administration’s goal is to have 100 million doses available by December 31. The President also disputed Redfield’s statement that wearing masks could be more effective than a vaccine in some cases.

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HHS spokesperson Michael Caputo takes a 60-day medical leave of absence after five months on the job following a Facebook Live video rant in which he claimed that CDC’s scientists “don’t want America to get well,” urged supporters of President Trump to arm themselves, and said that “my mental health has definitely failed.” Caputo previously admitted that he has never actually read CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report even though his team demanded to edit each issue to make sure that its scientific content does not conflict with White House statements.

In England, a leaked document shows that top leadership of NHS Test and Trace includes just one clinician or public health expert.

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WHO warns that COVID-19 cases are rising alarmingly in Europe, exceeding their previous March peak with 300,000 new cases reported last week. The US reported 261,000 new cases in the past week as deaths approached 200,000.

Texas health officials admit that the method that has been used to report COVID-19 test positivity rate has understated the level of spread, encouraging officials to justify the re-opening of bars, restaurants, stores, and child care centers. The state now uses the date that a test was administered rather than the date it was reported, which means that the seven-day positivity rate was 8.4% instead of 5.84% when the re-opening decision was made. The governor ordered bars to be re-closed and masks to be worn on June 26, when the reported positivity rate was 13.7%, but it was actually 18.5%. Governor Greg Abbott announced Thursday that business in most regions will be permitted to operate at 75% capacity and nursing homes can accept visitors starting next week, but bars will remain closed.

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Moderna provides details of how it will conduct and evaluate clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine, responding to scientists who have called for more transparency. The document suggests that the company won’t really know whether the vaccine works until spring, but will seek emergency FDA approval if the first data review sometime in October through December proves its effectiveness. Later Thursday, Pfizer also released its vaccine protocol.


Other

Forbes says that Epic founder and CEO Judy Faulkner is among the members of its Forbes 400 whose net worth increased the most in the past year, estimating that she gained $1.7 billion to hit $5.5 billion.

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Amazon donates 99 Echo Show devices to Southeast Health (AL) to enable two-way audio and video conversations between COVID-19 patients and staff via Aiva Health’s Alexa-powered voice assistant. Amazon also donated 74 Fire tablets.


Sponsor Updates

  • Redox’s EHR Integration is now available in AWS Marketplace.
  • Health Data Movers publishes a new white paper, “Physiological Monitor Deployment.”
  • Epion adds OptimizeRx prescription cost-saving recommendations to its patient check-in solution.
  • Healthcare Growth Partners advises EPreop in its acquisition by Provation.
  • Health Data Movers Inc. (HDM) ranks No. 475 on the 2020 Inc. 500.

Blog Posts

Sponsor Spotlight

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Optimum Healthcare IT provides professional staffing services as well as consulting services that encompass advisory, EHR implementation, training and activation, EHR optimization, community connect, managed services, enterprise resource planning, security, and ancillary services – supporting our client’s needs through the continuum of care. Our organization is led by a leadership team with extensive experience in providing healthcare staffing and consulting solutions to all types of organizations.


Contacts

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

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News 9/16/20

September 15, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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MDLive secures $75 million through a $50 million crossover equity investment from Sixth Street Growth and $25 million in debt expansion from other investors, bringing its total raised to nearly $175 million. The company plans to IPO early next year.


Webinars

September 17 (Thursday) 1 ET. “ICD-10-CM 2021 Updates and Regulatory Readiness.“ Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: June Bronnert, MSHI, RHIA, VP of global clinical services, IMO; Theresa Rihanek, MHA, RHIA, mapping manager, IMO; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO. IMO’s top coding professionals and thought leaders will review additions, deletions, and other revisions to the 2020 ICD-10-CM code set that will be critical in coding accurately for proper reimbursement.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Capsule Technologies receives FDA 510(k) clearance for its Vitals Plus monitoring solution with Masimo’s NomoLine ISA CO2 module, giving providers the ability to monitor patients for respiratory deterioration in addition to other vital signs.

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Change Healthcare will permanently close its headquarters in Nashville and transition as many as 700 employees to remote work.


Sales

  • In the UK, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System will implement Cerner’s HealtheIntent population health management software and HealthEDW analytics.
  • The State of Utah selects HHS Technology Group’s MediBook software to be the backbone of record-sharing software patients, providers, and payers can access during natural disasters.
  • The Nebraska Health Information Initiative will leverage Collective Medical’s ADT-based care coordination software.

People

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Ray Wolski (Wolters Kluwer Health) joins Lumeon as chief revenue officer.

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Experity names Calibrater Health co-founder Tim Dybvig SVP of patient engagement following its acquisition of the company.

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Craig Bloom (Cancer Treatment Centers of America) joins Intercept Telemed as chief growth officer.

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Medication safety software vendor Tabula Rasa HealthCare hires Bob Sullivan (Corsis) as its first CTO.


Announcements and Implementations

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Adventist Health (CA) adds provider look-up and patient self-scheduling capabilities from Kyruus to its website, and embeds them within its Cerner-powered patient engagement software.

AHIMA will offer Meditech Expanse as part of its online VLab, which offers students access to multiple software programs and corresponding lab lessons.


COVID-19

New research from 23andMe finds that people in blood group O seem to test positive for COVID-19 less frequently than those with other blood types. The research, part of a forthcoming study still awaiting peer-review, also found that people who tested positive and had a specific variant of a certain gene seemed more likely to have serious respiratory symptoms. Analysts caution that these findings, while novel, won’t impact treatment decisions.


Other

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Former Kansas City Chiefs right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, MD shares his experience working for nine weeks in a long-term care clinic in Montreal during the initial COVID-19 outbreak, and his reasons for opting out of the 2020 NFL season. He will instead study nutrition, biostatistics, and epidemiology at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health via online classes.

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After launching as an invite-only program a year ago, Amazon opens up its HIPAA-compliant Alexa skill program to interested app developers. Atrium Health, Swedish, Livongo, and Cigna were among the program’s initial participants.

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Apple adds a blood oxygen monitoring feature to the newest version of Apple Watch, unveiled today at the company’s product event. It will partner with three healthcare organizations to study the feature and its benefits. Apple is also working with Mount Sinai Health System to study the impact of COVID-19 on front-line healthcare workers using the watch.


Sponsor Updates

  • Everbridge announces that the latest version of the Everbridge COVID-19 Shield: Contact Tracing app is available in the Apple and Google app stores.
  • The Over Quota podcast features Arcadia VP of People Operations Tammi Pirri.
  • An annual Black Book Market Research survey ranks North American Partners in Anesthesia as the top Anesthesia Management Services outsourcing vendor for the fourth consecutive year.
  • Ellkay will exhibit at the AHIP National Conference on Medicare, Medicaid & Dual Eligibles through September 17.
  • ESolutions exhibits at the virtual HBMA 2020 Conference through September 17.
  • Ingenious Med’s point-of-care solution is now available in the Epic App Orchard.
  • Nuance’s Dragon Ambient eXperience clinical documentation software is now available through Microsoft Teams for virtual consults.
  • OptimizeRx partners with Epion Health to give patients point-of-care access to savings programs sponsored by life sciences companies.
  • Saratoga Hospital staff recount how Vocera Badges worn under PPE helped them prepare for and manage surges of COVID-19 patients.
  • Google Cloud hires Hans Thalbauer (SAP) as managing director of global supply chain, logistics, and transportation solutions; and Paula Natoli (Blue Yonder) as director of supply chain, logistics, and transportation solutions for North America and Latin America.

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 9/14/20

September 12, 2020 News 4 Comments

Top News

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Kaiser Permanente launches Virtual Plus, a virtual-forward health plan for members in six Washington counties to get care for their non-urgent issues via phone, online chat, video, or email.

KP says it is conducting 65% of appointments virtually versus 20% prior to the pandemic, which led it to create the plan.

Members will be attended to by the same doctors and clinicians that work in KP locations, who will have their EHR data available. The patient may be asked to complete an in-person visit for follow-up.

Members will also have access to KP’s pharmacists through online or video visits, with delivery of 30-day supplies of medications within 1-2 days.

Kaiser Permanente says Virtual Plus will be its most affordable health plan. Individual visits are covered at no charge.

Virtual visits are available only when the patient is within Washington due to laws that prevent doctors from providing care across state lines. Members can receive in-person care while traveling out of state at any KP location, in-network urgent care, or CVS MinuteClinic in states in which KP doesn’t operate. Referrals to the in-person option are not required, but patients will have a cost depending on their plan’s benefits.

Virtual Plus will be available beginning January 1, 2021 pending state approval.


Reader Comments

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From Publicly Anonymous: “Re: volunteering for COVID vaccine trials. I received a typo-laden email, ostensibly from AstraZeneca’s research partner, and dismissed it as spam. I was contact the next day by phone to set up an appointment. The consent forms seem legitimate and the study location is my former PCP. I’m not sure if this is spam or if the intentional typos are to recruit less-educated people.” Investor-backed, North Carolina-based research services vendor Javara Research (or is that “Reserach?”) is legit, but this is certainly an embarrassingly poorly edited email if it really did come from them. Information in the email seems the same as that of a Javara Facebook post that is recruiting volunteers for the same study, so I’m pretty sure it’s the real thing. Let’s hope that the rigor of their science exceeds that of their editing.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Most poll respondents would not be comfortable working for a company that regularly fires adequate performers in seeking to replace them with stars.

New poll to your right or here: What is your recent experience with virtual conferences? They probably aren’t going away any time soon, so feel free to add your comments about the features you like or would recommend to make them more valuable.

I received only a few responses to hanging out your health IT marketing/PR shingle, so either few have done it or they’re reluctant to talk about their experience.

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Welcome (back) to HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Meditech, which took a short, understandable break while focusing on the COVID-19 needs of their clients and employees. The company has been an EHR leader for over 50 years, and I’ve never seen anything like the reinvention and reinvigoration that came from (or that led to) development of its web-based Expanse EHR, which also offers a mobile experience, virtual assistant, and virtual care, all with a no-capital subscription pricing model. The company’s leadership team (of which six of 14 members are women) have all worked their way up through the ranks, with a quick eyeballing of the exec team roster showing that those with the shortest company tenure have still been there for 30 years. Thanks to Meditech for supporting HIStalk since 2016.

I found a new YouTube video overview of Meditech Expanse.


Webinars

September 17 (Thursday) 1 ET. “ICD-10-CM 2021 Updates and Regulatory Readiness.“ Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: June Bronnert, MSHI, RHIA, VP of global clinical services, IMO; Theresa Rihanek, MHA, RHIA, mapping manager, IMO; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO. IMO’s top coding professionals and thought leaders will review additions, deletions, and other revisions to the 2020 ICD-10-CM code set that will be critical in coding accurately for proper reimbursement.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Venture-backed national radiology practice Radiology Partners will acquire competitor Mednax Radiology Solutions for $885 million, increasing its radiologist count to 2,400. The transaction includes Virtual Radiologic, which Mednax acquired for $500 million in 2015. Radiology Partners raised $700 million a year ago and said it would likely pursue acquisitions. It has raised $2.4 billion in total.


Sales

  • Atlantic Health System standardizes on storage-as-a-service supplier Pure Storage, which it originally selected as a scalable foundation for Epic.

People

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Greenway Health hires Pratap Sarker, MBA (Conduent) to the newly created position of president.


Announcements and Implementations

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Cerner will integrate AxiaMed’s patient payment solution with Millennium and other products.

Elsevier announces the US launch of PatientPass, a cloud-based personalized patient education platform that is listed in Epic App Orchard.

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Southern Ohio Medical Center goes live on Meditech.


COVID-19

A cardiac magnetic resonance imaging study of 26 Ohio State athletes who are recovering from COVID-19 infection finds that 15% seem to have myocarditis and another 31% have findings that suggest myocardial injury.

Contact tracing finds that 12 children who were infected with COVID-19 in Utah child care facilities spread it to at least 12 of 46 adult contacts outside the facility.

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UC San Diego and UC San Francisco will pilot the use of the Google/Apple Exposure Notification smartphone app to see if student volunteers who receive notifications will self-isolate more quickly.

Politico reports that politically connected, non-medical HHS communications employees have demanded to be given control over CDC’s weekly public health journal to “ensure it is fair and balanced and complete” in matching White House statements. HHS officials claimed that CDC’s reporting of coronavirus spread in a Georgia overnight camp was intended to undermine the President’s push to return children to schools, to the point that the officials considered shutting down the publication. HHS spokesperson and former Trump campaign official Michael Caputo responded to media inquiries by claiming that his oversight is required because of “ulterior deep state motives in the bowels of the CDC.”

The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial of AstraZeneca resumes after one participant’s suspected adverse event was determined to present no risk to the others.

President Trump’s touting of convalescent plasma treatment for COVID-19 has stifled the expected spike in demand as people recall his previous erroneous claims about the efficacy and safety of hydroxychloroquine. The American Red Cross says that demand has not increased even as federal taxpayers paid for a $340 million public relations campaign to encourage plasma donation.


Other

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Insurance claims analysis by the Health Care Cost Institute finds that non-urgent care dropped tremendously in April, which isn’t surprising, but people aren’t catching up with deferred preventive care such as mammograms, vaccinations, and colonoscopies as many assumed would happen with re-opening.

Several medical journals publish the first clinical trials guidelines for AI protocols and publication.


Sponsor Updates

  • OpenText opens registration, and announces the agenda and speakers for OpenText World, which will be hosted virtually October 26-29.
  • Redox releases a new podcast, “The State of Interoperability in 2020 with Redox’s Brendan Keeler.”
  • CareSignal’s remote patient monitoring technology has supported tens of thousands of patients with heart failure, COPD, diabetes, depression, and dozens of other conditions for a duration of more than 20,000 patient years.
  • CoverMyMeds, Health Catalyst, InterSystems, Premier, RxRevu, and SailPoint will sponsor HLTH VRTL October 12-16.
  • Spok publishes a new infographic, “Ray Baum’s Act and Kari’s Law.”
  • SymphonyRM, Intermountain Healthcare, and MDClone significantly enhance care for chronic kidney disease patients in early identification and engagement.
  • Harlem Consolidated School District will use donated space at Experity’s headquarters to store furniture so that it can build out socially distant classrooms on its campus.
  • Visage Imaging will present at the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine’s virtual conference, CMIMI20, September 13-14.
  • Chung Shan Medical University Hospital in Taiwan joins the TriNetX research network to streamline research and accelerate data analysis.
  • The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust in England reports an 84% improvement in care team response time after replacing pages with the Vocera smartphone app and hands-free communication badge.
  • WebPT becomes the Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation’s first At-Large Member and strategic partner.
  • Wolters Kluwer Health publishes a new report, “Nurse Executives: Driving Change in the Era of COVID-19.”
  • Zen Healthcare IT launches an educational video series on national trusted exchange networks.

Blog Posts

Sponsor Spotlight

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Dina powers the future of home-based care. We are an AI-powered care coordination platform that can activate multiple home-based service providers, engage patients directly, and plug into remote monitoring devices. Dina helps professional and family caregivers capture rich data from the home, using artificial intelligence to recommend evidence-based, non-medical interventions. The platform creates a virtual experience for the healthcare team so they can communicate–and help patients and families stay connected–regardless of location.

(Sponsor Spotlight is free for HIStalk Platinum sponsors).


Contacts

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

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News 9/11/20

September 10, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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Telehealth vendor Amwell announces IPO details that include selling $525 million in shares that, along with a $100 million private placement with Google, will value the company at $3.6 billion.

The company’s SEC filing says that it lost $88 million on $149 million in revenue in 2019 and has lost $113 million on revenue of $122 million in the first half of 2020.

The filing also indicates that Amwell, working with its investor Google, will develop an app-free video visit platform called Amwell Now.

Founders, brothers, and Co-CEOs Ido Schoenberg, MD and Roy Schoenberg, MD, MPH each hold shares worth about $300 million at the IPO price. Their Class B shares give them 51% voting power at all times.


Reader Comments

From Non-Attendee: “Re: virtual conferences. I would not attend, even at no cost, since I don’t like watching video in real time.” Neither would I. I would rather watch recorded sessions afterward, where I’m free to fast-forward, bail out if it gets boring, or skim a transcript, which plays up the advantages of video compared to in-person sessions. Virtual conferences have significant challenges: (a) educational sessions weren’t the primary draw for most conference attendees, who were looking more for networking and self-celebration, and the overall quality of these sessions isn’t enough to carry the concept; (b) it already feels virtuous to attend an online session and being required to pay for it makes it even less of a draw (expensive universities have that same challenge); and (c) people are already sick of staring at on-screen video wearing sweatpants all day. I was leery of the value of conference educational sessions even pre-pandemic, having skipped them entirely at the last several HIMSS conferences after wasting time in sessions that were poorly done, boringly presented, and that contained increasing amounts of promotion of companies and the presenters themselves, so watching those same questionable presentations on video is about as compelling as an Adam Sandler movie marathon.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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A reader asked me to create a Meditech news history page like I did for Cerner, so that’s done and also added to the top menu in the “Company News History” category. News items that were significant enough to make the HIStalk news cut will be copied and pasted there, creating an easily referenced longitudinal view of “real” company news that will get longer and more valuable over time.

We always offer new sponsors a little sweetener this time of year. Sign up now and Lorre will make your renewal date 12/31/21, giving you the rest of this year free. Existing Platinum sponsors get a deal, too – I’ll run a Sponsor Spotlight if you fill out this form. Contact Lorre or Jenn. It will at least give you something to do while waiting out the long dry spell until HIMSS21. 


Webinars

September 17 (Thursday) 1 ET. “ICD-10-CM 2021 Updates and Regulatory Readiness.“ Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: June Bronnert, MSHI, RHIA, VP of global clinical services, IMO; Theresa Rihanek, MHA, RHIA, mapping manager, IMO; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO. IMO’s top coding professionals and thought leaders will review additions, deletions, and other revisions to the 2020 ICD-10-CM code set that will be critical in coding accurately for proper reimbursement.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Hyland will acquire Alfresco, which offers cloud-native content services solutions.

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Truepill, which just raised $75 million in a Series C funding round, says that its annual revenue will reach $200 million by the end of the year. The company offers API-connected, white-label pharmacy and lab services to sites such as Hims and Nurx that sell direct-to-patient prescriptions for hair loss, erectile dysfunction, and weight loss. Truepill is launching a third product line in which it will sell at-home lab tests. Co-founder Umar Afridi was working as a CVS pharmacist three years ago, while his co-founder is a biomedical engineer who came from LinkedIn.

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The co-founder and former CEO of one-time health IT high flyer Zocdoc, which offers consumer-facing provider search and scheduling, sues the company that was once valued at $1.8 billion, claiming that his two co-founders and the company’s CFO pushed him out in a 2015 coup. He wants his old job back.

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Grand Rounds, which offers self-insured employers a health navigation app, telemedicine services, and medical opinions for their employees, raises a $175 million investment that increases its total to $270 million.

Healthcare Growth Partners says in its August review that “M&A is back and the velocity of the rebound has outpaced all expectations” with summer deals that include recapitalizations of WellSky, QGenda, and Edifecs and M&A involving Teladoc-Livongo and Waystar-ESolutions. The health IT sector has delivered a 42% return year to date.


Sales

  • Tampa General Hospital and USF Health go live on CareMesh to deliver event notifications, referrals, and transitions of care from Epic to community providers and practices.
  • Monument Health will implement Nuance’s Dragon Ambient Experience conversational AI for capturing encounter information that then updates the EHR.
  • Four of Finland’s regions will work with Cerner to develop a digital platform to support moving municipal healthcare services under a regional authority.
  • Mount Sinai Health System chooses Artifact Health’s mobile physician query platform for clinical documentation improvement.
  • RWJBarnabas Health will implement Wellsheet’s EHR predictive workflow tool in seven of its hospitals. The health system is an investor in a fund that has a financial interest in Wellsheet.

People

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Uber Health GM Dan Trigub – who previously served in a similar role with Lyft — will leave the company after two years to launch a care access startup.

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Behavioral health data analytics vendor Evidation Health names Christine Lemke as co-CEO and appoints co-CEO Deb Kilpatrick, MS, PhD as executive chair of the board. The company has five co-founders on its executive team.


Announcements and Implementations

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Meditech launches Expanse Virtual Assistant, a voice navigation system powered by Nuance that can allows users to perform hands-free actions.

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East Alabama Medical Center goes live on the Enhanced Physician Documentation System of Crossings Healthcare Solutions, which provided virtual training and conversion support. The company offers Cerner Millennium enhancements that include solutions for documentation, order renewal, catheter management, physician notification, quality advisors, direct submission of professional billing from the chart, blood transfusion advisor, insulin management advisor, patient care dashboard, ED triage management, interdisciplinary rounding, a CCL smart template wizard, and tools to compare builds and perform change management. Demos are online.

B. Well Connected Health launches a COVID-19 return-to-work solution for employers that includes a self-screening questionnaire and recommendations.

The latest results of the Social Progress Index finds that only the US, Brazil, and Hungary have move down the list since it was first published in 2011. The US — which came in at #28 among 163 countries in areas that include nutrition, safety, freedom, the environment, and health – finished behind 96 countries in access to quality healthcare.

AMA adds two coronavirus-related CPT codes to cover time spent complying with safety protocols and running antibody tests.

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Virtual, site-less clinical trials vendor Science 37 adds EHR integration to its platform.

Strata Decision Technology completes the 50th virtual implementation of its StrataJazz financial planning, analytics, and performance applications since mid-March, including Duke University Health System, Christus Health, and Sharp HealthCare.


Government and Politics

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An investigation by House and Senate Democrats finds that CMS Administrator Seema Verma spent $6 million of taxpayer funds on GOP-connected consultants who billed up to $380 per hour to promote her personal brand by pitching her for magazine interviews and leadership awards. One consultant threatened to bar a Modern Healthcare reporter from CMS press calls after the magazine ran a story Verma didn’t like, while another scored her a photo shoot for a HealthLeaders puff piece. Taxpayers footed a consultant’s $3,000 bill to arrange a “girls’ night” that was thrown in Veema’s honor at the home of USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page, while another charged $1,000 to place an op-ed on Fox News to tout President Trump’s changes to the Affordable Care Act. She also disclosed details about her plan to overhaul the EHR market to the consultants three months before the new rules were released – after overriding the concerns of federal officials — in hopes of getting CNN’s Sanjay Gupta to run a story on her.

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CMS launches Care Compare, a provider search website for consumers.


COVID-19

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President Trump says in audio recordings of interviews with journalist Bob Woodward that were made over several months that he knew, even before the first US COVID-19 death in early February, that the virus was deadly. He described to Woodward in significant detail how coronavirus spreads, its lethality, and that young people are infected, but says he intentionally kept that information from citizens because he didn’t want to create a panic. He said publicly for weeks afterward that COVID-19 was no worse than flu, that it would go away on its own, and that mask-wearing was unnecessary. The President tweeted Thursday afternoon that the recording shows his “good and proper answers,” and otherwise Woodward should have reported them at that time to save lives instead of holding them for a future book.

Florida’s state government orders counties to stop publishing infection details for individual schools, citing privacy concerns. The state has threatened to withhold funding for districts that did not open by August 31. WHO says that the infection rate should be under 5% for safe school re-opening, while Florida’s average is 14.5%. The state has seen more than 10,000 positive cases in children under 18 since school started.

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University of Wisconsin will move all classes online for two weeks and will quarantine students in two of its largest dorms after seeing 1,000 COVID-19 infections five days after it started classes under its “Smart Restart” program. At least 46 outbreaks are linked to the Madison campus and test positivity rates are at 20%. The university wisely won’t send students home to spread the infection further. The university’s interim president is former governor Tommy Thompson, who served as federal HHS secretary from 2001-2005.

Eighty percent of polled Americans don’t expect a COVID-19 vaccine to be widely available by Election Day, but if it does hit the market, 54% say they won’t take it.


Other

JP Morgan’s annual healthcare conference in San Francisco will move to a virtual format in January. The influential gathering is best known for creating a constellation of nearby meetings of moneyed folk who aren’t even attending the conference proper, a ticket that is mighty hard to come by. Zoom will likely not prove to be a good substitute for glad-handing and deal-making. Seema Verma is a keynote presenter, referred to in the program as “Dr. Seema Verma” even though I believe her highest degree is an MPH, not a doctorate.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock says NHS will receive $65 million to support several AI/ML projects.

A Health Affairs article lists five ways to integrate telehealth into primary care practices:

  1. Pay the same rate for telehealth and in-person visits.
  2. Create billing codes and payment models to cover the time that is required to address technology issues.
  3. Provide insurance coverage for home monitoring devices such as connected thermometers and blood pressure cuffs.
  4. Provide incentives for companies to develop telehealth technology that is more patient- and provider-friendly, including integrating interpreter services.
  5. Review malpractice issues such as delivering care across state lines, standards of care, and the possible propensity of patients to sue a provider they have never met in person.

Sponsor Updates

  • In England, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust reports an 84% improvement in care team response time after replacing pagers with Vocera’s smartphone app and badge.
  • Saykara President and Chief Medical Officer Graham Hughes, MBBS writes ”The promise of conversational AI in helping restore the doctor-patient relationship.”
  • Jvion’s momentum continues in 2020 with initiatives to address COVID-19 disparities, expanded product offerings, and industry recognition.
  • Gartner includes CI Security as a Representative Vendor in the Managed Detection and Response category in its “Market Guide for Managed Detection and Response Services” report.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 9/9/20

September 8, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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A federal court dismisses a class action lawsuit that was brought by a patient of University of Chicago Medical Center who objected that the hospital shares the de-identified records of adult patients with Google for machine learning research.

The plaintiff says the hospital shares patient dates of service and free-text medical notes, both of which could make it easier for Google to re-identify their data. He adds that the company could link his information to the many databases it controls, including geotracking information, which could compromise his anonymity.

The court found that while the hospital probably breached the express contract that is represented by its Notice of Privacy Practices by “selling” de-identified data in return for free software licenses, courts have not ruled that such data has market value. It also said that the plaintiff did not prove that the value of his records was diminished by having them shared with Google.

The court noted a legal precedent in which a HIPAA violation can’t be pursued as a breach-of-contract lawsuit.

The patient sought damages, an argument that the court found was not supported by proof of any losses. The ruling also observed that the plaintiff signed the hospital’s authorization form, which specifies that patients don’t get paid even if their information is used to create commercial value.


Reader Comments

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From HITCurious: “Re: HIMSS20. The exhibitor settlement contract alludes to class action lawsuit. Anyone have details?” HIMSS provided a timely response to my inquiry, which I appreciate:

HIMSS confirms that in early June, one of its exhibitors filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Illinois, seeking a refund of fees for the 2020 Global Conference. This exhibitor also seeks to represent a class of other exhibitors that it claims are similarly situated. This lawsuit is captioned HatchMed Corp. v. Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Inc., Case No. 1:20-cv-03377 (N.D. Ill.). HatchMed alleges that HIMSS had an obligation to refund fees paid by exhibitors for the 2020 Conference, after the Conference was cancelled due to COVID-19. No class has been certified, and HIMSS disputes the basis for HatchMed’s claims. 

HIMSS is grateful for the support of exhibitors and attendees through these unprecedented times, and gratified by the overwhelming support of exhibitors for the upcoming HIMSS21 conference, scheduled for August 2021.

[HatchMed, which sells nurse call cables and device mounts and reports 2-10 employees, booked a 10×20 booth for $11,075].


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Reminder: if you have struck out on your own in health IT marketing/PR at some point in your career, share your experience with those who are considering such a move.


Webinars

September 9 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “APIs for Data Liquidity in Pandemic Times.” Sponsor: Chilmark Research. Presenters: Brian Murphy, research director, Chilmark Research; Gautam “G” Shah, VP of platform and marketplace, Change Healthcare; Drew Ivan, chief product and strategy officer, Lyniate; and Dave Levine, MD, co-founder and chief medical officer, Datica. This webinar will present the findings from a recently published research report on the state of the healthcare API market. The presenters will describe their work in deploying APIs to enable new functionality to address COVID-19. They will cover the use cases that have been most reliable for enabling effective data liquidity, how developers are using APIs to respond to the pandemic, and how different parts of the healthcare system are making APIs more widely available.

September 17 (Thursday) 1 ET. “ICD-10-CM 2021 Updates and Regulatory Readiness.“ Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: June Bronnert, MSHI, RHIA, VP of global clinical services, IMO; Theresa Rihanek, MHA, RHIA, mapping manager, IMO; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO. IMO’s top coding professionals and thought leaders will review additions, deletions, and other revisions to the 2020 ICD-10-CM code set that will be critical in coding accurately for proper reimbursement.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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ConnectiveRx invests in HelpAround, a patient engagement and medication adherence startup that is focused on app-based messaging for patients undergoing specialty treatments.


People

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Access EForms promotes Rob True to VP of professional services.

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Collaborative Imaging names Arun Douglas (Zinc) chief technology and security officer and David Silva (Baylor Scott & White Health) chief compliance officer.

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Health Catalyst co-founder Steve Barlow returns as SVP after a three-year missionary stint. Bryan Hinton will be promoted to CTO in replacing Dale Sanders, who will move to senior advisor.

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Australian Digital Health Agency hires Amanda Cattermole, MS, MBA (Services Australia) as CEO. She replaces Tim Kelsey, who took an SVP job with HIMSS in January 2020.


Announcements and Implementations

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A new KLAS report finds that health system use of a single vendor for all revenue cycle needs remains a work in progress, with clients of Change Healthcare and Experian Health reporting the highest usage of available components as the slow transition from best-of-breed solutions continues. Waystar clients say they want to implement available patient access functionality, those of NThrive say its technology can handle complexity, and both companies have multiple customers using HIM functionality that has limited industry-wide enterprise use.


COVID-19

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North Carolina becomes the latest of several states for which published COVID-19 numbers have been skewed due to data reporting problems. The state’s HHS says that unspecified technical issues have caused hospitalization data to be underreported since Friday.

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Stat assesses the progress that has been made by Operation Warp Speed in its first five months:

  • It spent $10 billion to support vaccine manufacturer research and production.
  • It spent $450 million to support the monoclonal antibody treatment manufacturing capacity of Regeneron (and soon to Eli Lilly, which is working on a similar product). This is its only investment in COVID-19 treatment.
  • It has done little with diagnostics.
  • It has issued $500 million worth of no-bid contracts with companies that manufacture syringes and glass vials.
  • Stat gives OWS low marks for transparency, such as explaining why it chose particular vaccine projects to fund.

Economics researchers estimate that the 500,000 attendees in early August’s Sturgis, SD motorcycle rally — most of whom did not wear masks or use social distancing — created 250,000 new coronavirus cases that will incur $12 billion in public health costs.

A pre-print of a randomized study of 464 hospital inpatients by India-based researchers finds that convalescent plasma treatment was not associated with reduced mortality or a halt in disease progression. The authors note that while CP therapy is authorized for off-label use in India and is safe, it requires a lot of resources to collect and store plasma and its sale on the black market has driven prices up.

The Washington Post says that businesses that perform “deep cleaning,” spray disinfectant freely, and make employees wear gloves is just “sanitation theater” that may distract from the more important need for people to socially distance, wear masks, and avoid enclosed spaces. it may also provide a false sense of security in making it appear that the virus can be controlled.

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A pathologist employee of Texas-based freestanding ED operator Physicians Premier ER quits after the company bills his insurer $11,000 for a COVID-19 antibody test. The doctor, who ironically oversees the company’s COVID-19 antibody testing program, was a temporary employee between jobs whose short-term “junk insurance” plan was issued by United Healthcare-owned Golden Rule. ED staff told him that he wouldn’t have to pay anything. Golden Rule paid $2,100 without questioning the total, but then the facility sent him a bill for $8,900, which included services he says he didn’t receive in his 30-minute visit. The company’s advertising says the test costs $75 and Medicare pays $42 for it. The doctor reported his concerns to Golden Rule, whose investigator told him he wasn’t surprised and then didn’t follow up.


Other

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A local news outlet looks at the impact observational studies that are published through Epic’s recently launched Health Research Network have had on COVID-19 treatments:

  • Data queried by researchers at Lee Health (FL) showed that COVID-19 patients were three times as likely as others to develop blood clots, which led doctors to routinely give blood thinners to high-risk patients.
  • Mount Sinai Health (NY) researchers found that patients in their 60s and 70s with dementia were more likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19 than patients the same age without dementia.
  • Epic’s own analysis of COVID-19 patients with high blood pressure found those on RAAS inhibitors did no worse than those on other drugs, and did better than those not taking any blood pressure medication.
  • The company’s months-long analysis of cancer screenings has found that, though they have rebounded from significant drops in the spring, they’re still one-third lower than normal.

Sponsor Updates

  • Arcadia publishes a new case study, “CareMount ACO Uses Arcadia Analytics to Build a Narrow SNF Network and Reduce ALOS by 4 Days.”
  • Collective Medical enables SNFs to rapidly generate reports on COVID-positive patients and report to CMS.
  • ESolutions publishes a new white paper, “How the RAP Phase Out will Affect HHA Billing Requirements.”
  • Everbridge risk intelligence provides major corporations, healthcare organizations, and government entities with situational awareness to mitigate threats from COVID-19.
  • Health Catalyst completes its seventh annual and first ever virtual Healthcare Analytics Summit, with record registration of over 3,500 attendees.

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 9/7/20

September 6, 2020 News 3 Comments

Top News

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FCW reports that the VA’s implementation of Cerner’s scheduling solution in the Midwest’s VISN10 region will be followed by the full Cerner rollout there. VISN10 will go live on the VA’s 1.1 capability set for small and medium-sized hospitals.

COVID-19 has delayed developing the 2.0 set for its large centers that will go live first at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, WA. Go-live there is set for spring 2021.

VISN10 was the first scheduling go-live because Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center was a user of the previous Epic-powered MASS scheduling, which is being retired.

I’m assuming that this change explains the VA’s recent award of a $161 million work order to Cerner for infrastructure work in VISN10, which was announced last week without details.


Reader Comments

From Legal Beagle: “Re: telehealth medication counseling. The White House has asked the Supreme Court to reinstate a rule that requires women who are seeking pregnancy-ending drugs to make a physical visit to a doctors’ offices or clinics to pick up the pills for home use, which was a previous FDA requirement that was relaxed due to COVID-19 exposure concerns. What science exists to explain FDA’s view that only this particular drug out of thousands requires a face-to-face encounter instead of telehealth for patient safety? ACOG and others are challenging the must-travel rule, which the White House is asking the Supreme Court to overrule even pre-trial.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Poll respondent expectations for Amazon Halo are low. Naysayers say the wearable isn’t all that innovative among a plethora of fitness trackers, while one respondent provides this rather brilliant if non-cheery warning: “Imagine if you will a dystopian corporate future where one of the largest companies in the world provides all products and meals in a cardboard box left at your door, your personal data is bought and sold without your knowledge, and they provide you with faceless grey tracking bands that silently tracking your movements and health metrics. Oh wait, I’m describing Amazon today.”

New poll to your right or here, triggered by something you’ll read further down the page: Would you be comfortable working for a company that regularly fires “adequate” employees in seeking only stars?

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A reader asked me about leaving the corporate health IT world and hanging out their own shingle in areas such as marketing and PR. If you’ve done that sometime in your career, please share your experience and I’ll run the answers on HIStalk.

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

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Listening: Pentagram. I believe that “Starlady” is one of the most brilliantly written and performed hard rock songs ever, not even counting that it was recorded on a shoestring by a bunch of nobodies. I will listen to that song 10-20 times in a row every now and then just to appreciate the drumming and guitar and the way the rhythm swells and the transitions move it in different directions. Kiss’s Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley watched a mid-1970s rehearsal and decided to pass on signing Pentagram to Casablanca Records because they weren’t pretty (hello, no-makeup Gene Simmons, meet mirror) and Kiss is more of a profit-obsessed corporation than a group of inspired musicians (not to to mention the least-talented band I’ve ever seen play live). I’m due a re-watch of “Last Days Here,” a documentary about Pentagram’s rocky history and its only permanent member and modestly talented Bobby Liebling, whose mental and drug problems created a large group of alumni – 11 guitarists, nine bass players, and 11 drummers. But in the late summer days of 1976, their supernova was captured on primitive recording equipment while the world was distracted by lesser musical lights.


Webinars

September 9 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “APIs for Data Liquidity in Pandemic Times.” Sponsor: Chilmark Research. Presenters: Brian Murphy, research director, Chilmark Research; Gautam “G” Shah, VP of platform and marketplace, Change Healthcare; Drew Ivan, chief product and strategy officer, Lyniate; and Dave Levine, MD, co-founder and chief medical officer, Datica. This webinar will present the findings from a recently published research report on the state of the healthcare API market. The presenters will describe their work in deploying APIs to enable new functionality to address COVID-19. They will cover the use cases that have been most reliable for enabling effective data liquidity, how developers are using APIs to respond to the pandemic, and how different parts of the healthcare system are making APIs more widely available.

September 17 (Thursday) 1 ET. “ICD-10-CM 2021 Updates and Regulatory Readiness.“ Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: June Bronnert, MSHI, RHIA, VP of global clinical services, IMO; Theresa Rihanek, MHA, RHIA, mapping manager, IMO; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO. IMO’s top coding professionals and thought leaders will review additions, deletions, and other revisions to the 2020 ICD-10-CM code set that will be critical in coding accurately for proper reimbursement.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Shares in the exchange traded fund Global X Digital Health & Telemedicine underperformed the broader market in the past month, slipping 1.9% as the Nasdaq index rose 4.2% and the S&P 500 was up 3%.

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Shares in videoconferencing tech firm Zoom run up 41% after the company reports strong, pandemic-fueled revenue and earnings, making the company worth more than IBM and increasing the value of shares held by its founder-CEO to $20 billion. I wouldn’t be a buyer given low switching costs and barriers to entry, questionable future demand, and the target on its back that comes with sudden, unplanned ubiquity, but maybe my lack of vision is why I’m not wealthy. A $10,000 investment in ZM on March 6 would be worth more than $32,000 today, or $40,000 had you sold last Tuesday.


Sales

  • Holy Redeemer Health System expands its partnership with Dina to connect its hospital and home care agencies and organize and empower its post-acute, home and community-based care providers.

COVID-19

Several drug companies that are working on a COVID-19 vaccine will sign a pledge that they will release a vaccine only after data exists to prove that it meets efficacy and safety standards, seeking to reassure the public that White House pressure to get a vaccine on the market before the election won’t affect their science. President Trump suggested Friday that he is involved in the regulatory process, saying that a drug companies have told him that vaccine approval would take 2-3 years under a “a more typical kind of president.”

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The FBI warns University of North Carolina and other universities that state-sponsored cyberhackers from China, Russia, and Iran are targeting their COVID-19 research data. China is using information taken from the World Health Organization to choose targets and is also using its US university research partnerships to collect information, while China and Russia are using social media to spread disinformation about the virus to fuel the US anti-vaccine movement.

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The state of Utah paid $3 million plus $300,000 per month to a small technology firm to develop its Healthy Together contact tracing app that is being used by just 200 people, even after the state shut down its primary but most controversial feature of user location tracking. The primary business of year-old tech firm Twenty, which developed the app, is an meet-up app that targets Millennials. Both founders are BYU graduates.

The WHO says new evidence shows that severe and critically ill COVID-19 patients should be treated with steroids such as dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, and methylprednisolone as a standard of care in first-line treatment. 


Other

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I read an interesting article on the culture of Netflix, which the company makes sure that prospective employees understand before hiring on. Some points:

  • The mission, vision, and value statements of most companies are ignored. They demonstrate their actual values by who they reward and who they fire.
  • Netflix encourages independent decision-making, shared information, plain speaking, and the avoidance of rules in creating dream teams of people, valuing people over process.
  • Good employees listen before reacting, think clearly under pressure, and are concise and articulate in speech and writing.
  • Employees are expected to say what they think if it’s in the best interest of the company, even if it is uncomfortable, and are expected to say things about co-workers only if they would be willing to say them to their faces.
  • The dream team concept means that “we give adequate performers a generous severance package” so they can replace them with a star. They suggest that people who value stability, seniority, and companies that are willing to work around ineffective performance look elsewhere.
  • Netflix has a team, not a family, since families include unconditional love and life-long attachments that teams do not. They say, “Unconditional allegiance to a stagnant firm or to a merely adequately performing employee is not what we are about.”
  • Managers run the “keeper test” to decide who to retain – which if their employees would they fight to keep if they were considering leaving the company?
  • The company does not hire “brilliant jerks” since the cost to teamwork is too high.
  • Netflix does not give raises, but instead surveys the talent market and pays at the top end of what employees could make elsewhere since “the market for talent is what it is” and “your economic security is based on your skills and reputation, not on your seniority at one company.” They encourage employees to interview for jobs outside the company and share what they learn with their managers.
  • The company observes that as companies get bigger, they place too much emphasis on process, the average talent and passion level slips, and they then throw more management at the pockets of chaos that result and stifle creative thinkers who question the status quo.
  • All company documents are published for everyone to read and comment on.
  • The company does not implement spending controls, contract signing controls, and policies for travel, entertainment, and gifts, assuming that employees will use good judgment and seek advice as needed.
  • Netflix has no vacation policy except to take one when needed.
  • Employees get to choose the mix of salary versus 10-year fully vested stock options for their salary. Employees who leave keep the full value of their options.
  • Netflix has seen a few examples of employees abusing their freedom, but avoids over-correcting because most employees can be trusted.
  • Decisions are made by one assigned “captain” instead of committees that are slow and diffuse responsibility and accountability.
  • The company does not believe in executives who remain immersed in deep product details or micromanagement, instead priding itself on how few decisions senior managers make.

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CNET describes Sutter Health’s use of EICUs in two hubs to scale up services to handle up to 600 patients to meet any COVID-19 surge. It also observes the geographic opportunities, such as Emory Healthcare’s use of intensitivists in Western Australia to monitor its patients in Georgia. Sutter says that development of the EHR was the most important for their EICU program, followed by increased bandwidth, high-definition cameras, and cheap LCD monitors.


Sponsor Updates

  • Opus Research recognizes Nuance as a leader in its “Intelligent Authentication and Fraud Prevention Intelliview Report.”
  • Consulting and managed services firm IntraSystems will offer its customers Citrix app monitoring solutions from Goliath Technologies.
  • OpenText publishes a new study, “Hybrid Cloud Enables Agile Content Management and Collaboration.”
  • Pure Storage names Jason Rose (SAP) chief marketing officer.
  • Spirion launches new compliance and analytics products to simplify compliance with expanding privacy laws and regulations.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 9/4/20

September 3, 2020 News 5 Comments

Top News

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Boston-based Biofourmis raises $100 million to further develop its predictive analytics-based remote patient monitoring technology.

The company sells data and intervention opportunities to drug companies and offers hospitals a platform for monitoring their newly discharged patients remotely.

The company’s products have earned FDA 510(k) clearance for heart failure and arrhythmia detection.

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Biofourmis uses Biovotion’s Everion armband sensor, which monitors 22 parameters, including heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate, blood oxygenation, motion intensity and steps, energy expenditure, sleep quality, and heart rate variability. Biofourmis acquired Biovotion in November 2019.


Reader Comments

From Significant Brother: “Re: remotely hosted EHRs. A practice asked their hosting vendor why the information of 50,000 of their patients was missing. The vendor told them that someone in the practice had deleted multiple directories. Should a vendor’s security practices allow records to be deleted by the thousands, especially in light of MU and HIPAA requirements for protecting patient records?” Readers, please weigh in. We’re missing an important piece of the story here — did the vendor identify the employee, were that user’s credentials maintained properly by the customer, and were backups or logical (rather than physical) deletes not available for restoring the missing records? Healthcare has seen a few instances where a fired employee trashed company data, and cloud configuration might allow limiting the extent of their destruction. But if the practice fired someone without turning off their access, or if they are sloppy in giving users more privileges than their jobs require, then that’s the age-old issue of running a business like something other than a business.

From Transmaniacon: “Re: COVID testing technology. I’m interested in a cloud-based patient registration system – basically a lightweight EHR – that can be installed quickly and easily to send results back to the person. Maybe you know of something.” I’ll enlist reader help here.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Jenn is continuing to update the Cerner-specific news page for: (a) those who care mostly about only Cerner news, and (b) those who want to see a longitudinal view of previous, significant news from the company. These items have already been vetted and summarized by appearing in HIStalk, so it’s not just regurgitated fluff. I also added a menu item called “Company News History” that lets you jump to that page, and maybe later to similar news summary pages for Epic, Meditech, and Allscripts. Somebody who asked for this years ago expressed interest in sponsoring this particular page and of course I didn’t retain that information because I lack discipline, so let me know if that was you.


Webinars

September 9 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “APIs for Data Liquidity in Pandemic Times.” Sponsor: Chilmark Research. Presenters: Brian Murphy, research director, Chilmark Research; Gautam “G” Shah, VP of platform and marketplace, Change Healthcare; Drew Ivan, chief product and strategy officer, Lyniate; and Dave Levine, MD, co-founder and chief medical officer, Datica. This webinar will present the findings from a recently published research report on the state of the healthcare API market. The presenters will describe their work in deploying APIs to enable new functionality to address COVID-19. They will cover the use cases that have been most reliable for enabling effective data liquidity, how developers are using APIs to respond to the pandemic, and how different parts of the healthcare system are making APIs more widely available.

September 17 (Thursday) 1 ET. “ICD-10-CM 2021 Updates and Regulatory Readiness.“ Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: June Bronnert, MSHI, RHIA, VP of global clinical services, IMO; Theresa Rihanek, MHA, RHIA, mapping manager, IMO; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO. IMO’s top coding professionals and thought leaders will review additions, deletions, and other revisions to the 2020 ICD-10-CM code set that will be critical in coding accurately for proper reimbursement.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Nordic lays off 72 of its 1,000 US-based employees due to the pandemic-induced financial disruptions its customers have faced.

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Publicly traded Medicare primary care center operator Oak Street Health will open clinics in three former Walmart Care Clinic locations in Texas. Shares of the Chicago-based company, which operates 55 locations, jumped 90% on their first day of trading in early August, with the company now valued at $12 billion.


Sales

  • Bayless Integrated Healthcare (AZ) will implement Saykara’s app-based, automated clinical documentation software across its eight locations in Phoenix.
  • Prime Therapeutics selects RxRevu’s Real Time Benefit Check, giving prescribers on-demand information about drug options and pricing, and pre-authorization requirements.

People

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William Mintz (Leidos) joins Cerner as chief strategy officer.


Announcements and Implementations

DeWitt Hospital (AR) implements Azalea Health’s EHR.

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Arkansas Surgical Hospital adopts Medhost’s cloud-based EHR.

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KLAS finds that the risk adjustment and analytics space is dominated by Change Healthcare, Cotiviti, Inovalon, and Optum, although of that group, only Optum was willing to share its customer list. Apixio and SCIO Health Analytics stand out in customer satisfaction, while Advantasure has the least-satisfied users.

AHRQ names Premier as the winner of its predictive analytics challenge, in which its PremierConnect most closely predicted admissions and length of stay.


Government and Politics

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The US Coast Guard goes live on the DoD’s Cerner-powered MHS Genesis EHR at four facilities in California, with facility-wide deployment expected by 2024. The Coast Guard join the DoD’s EHR program two years ago after spending $60 million over seven years to unsuccessfully develop its own software.

The DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit will work with Google Cloud to develop a digital pathology solution that will include augmented reality microscopes and AI models for more accurate and timely cancer detection.


COVID-19

CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD sends an urgent letter to state governors asking them to clear the way for getting McKesson-operated COVID-19 vaccine distribution sites up and running by November 1. That presents challenges — the leading vaccine candidates require storage and delivery at below-freezing temperatures and people who get the shot must return for a second injection 3-4 weeks later. States will need to create immunization registries to track those who have received the initial dose, remind them to come back for the second dose, and ensure that the doses are distributed to the right locations in adequate supply. Hospitals will need to arrange delivery logistics and freezer capacity for a large amount of product, while rural clinics and health centers will be especially challenged.

The US, EU, Japan, and UK have contracted with drug companies for 3.7 billion doses of a successful COVID-19 vaccine and China and India will use the doses they manufacture for their own citizens, leaving much of the world, especially poor countries, without access to any successful vaccine.

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Atul Gawande says in The New Yorker that the key to beating coronavirus in the US is what other countries have done — running widespread, inexpensive testing and recommitting to public health. He notes that the only-in-America health system’s maze of referrals, prior authorizations, co-pays, insurer policies, large number of uninsured people, and inconsistent screening criteria have made it hard for people to get tested, and delayed results reporting by the four companies that run most US tests is limiting their value. He concludes, “The lunacy of our testing system is the lunacy of our health system in a microcosm.” He advocates addressing logistics issues, such as creating a testing grid similar to that of electric companies, where samples would be routed to labs with excess capacity while others are overwhelmed, describing the testing industry as, “The big four commercial labs are really logistics and distribution companies wrapped around a network of regional laboratories.” He calls out the success of San Francisco, which applied its experience in addressing HIV/AIDS to mobilize a rapid, effective COVID-19 public health response.

Penn State’s athletic medicine director says that one-third of Big Ten athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 showed mycoarditis on cardiac MRIs, regardless of whether or not they showed COVID-19 symptoms. 

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Israel’s largest hospital uses facial recognition software, in conjunction with its existing security cameras, to identify visitors who aren’t wearing masks and give them encouraging messages like, “No mask kills my vibe.”


Other

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TechCrunch profiles Peer Medical, a startup that offers lung cancer patients the ability to share treatments with each other using de-identified EHR data. Patients can search Peer Medical’s database by biomarker, stage, age, or gender to review verified treatments and care journeys.

A Surescripts report on health IT adoption finds that e-prescribing and real-time prescription benefit utilization have increased over the last six months.

Two-thirds of Americans who file bankruptcy do so because of healthcare expenses. Experts say a lot of those people have insurance that provides poor financial protection given that only 40% of Americans have enough savings to cover a $1,000 emergency expense.

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Points from Epic CEO Judy Faulkner’s online interview with Cleveland Clinic CEO Tom Mihaljevic, MD:

  • She was supposed to college summer work at University of Rochester in particle physics, and since she had never seen a computer, they gave her a Fortran book and one week to learn.
  • She applied to graduate school in math, but University of Wisconsin moved her without asking to computer science, which she did not know was an option. She worked with informatics pioneer Warner Slack, MD and was later asked to develop a clinical system in the days before commercial EHRs and widespread use of commercial database management software.
  • She started Epic as a half-time employee with two half-time assistants, working from a basement.
  • She says the Midwest is a great company location because people are friendly and work hard and having a rural footprint means the company has room to put up new buildings as needed.
  • Technology is moving from rules-based systems to artificial intelligence, with statistical methods providing ways to issue early alerts for potential sepsis and to manage drug-drug interactions.
  • Clinician notes are four times longer in the US than in other countries due to the administrative requirements for getting paid.
  • Clinicians should review their software options to make the system work their way, and where that isn’t possible, examine how they do things to see if there’s a better way that the system can support. It’s helpful to have specialist physician builders who know how to configure systems for their specialty.
  • Epic has created the role of BFFs, who take the “best friends forever” approach in recognizing and publicizing client innovation and bringing back developments from other clients.
  • MyChart is available to 165 million patients. Only 0.5% of MyChart users want to manage their own information, and the even that tiny number falls off with time. Patients want their health system to maintain and exchange their records.
  • Epic Cosmos has 60 million customer patient records that are being used for research. Epic is building a “best care for your patient” module that will use this data along with that of the specific patient to provide clinicians with evidence-based recommendations.

Sponsor Updates

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  • Cerner associates deliver care kits, school supplies, and gift cards to those affected by Iowa’s devastating windstorm.
  • Wolters Kluwer publishes “5 Forces for the Future: Virtual care reaching the vulnerable.”
  • Frost & Sullivan recognizes Jvion with its 2020 North American Technology Innovation Leadership Award for its Care Optimization and Recommendation Enhancement (CORE) technology.
  • Premier takes first place in AHRQ’s Bringing Predictive Analytics to Healthcare Challenge.
  • Bumrungrad International Hospital in Thailand uses InterSystems TrakCare Lab Enterprise to create one of the first fully digital microbiology laboratories in the world.
  • MDLive works with the Soldiers’ Angels’ Women of Valor Program to offer caregivers of veterans virtual care for physical and mental health.
  • NextGate updates the usability, reporting, and performance of its Enterprise Master Patient Index with version 11.
  • Goliath Technologies partners with IntraSystems to help IT professionals anticipate, troubleshoot, and document Citrix end-user performance issues.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
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Contact us.

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News 9/2/20

September 1, 2020 News 12 Comments

Top News

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PicnicHealth — which assembles a user’s health history from the medical records of their providers using phone and fax, packages them into a personal health record, and then allows the user to send their anonymized data to drug companies as real-world evidence for research — raises $35 million in Series A and B funding rounds.

It’s not a free or even inexpensive service. Users pay $299 upfront to have their information gathered from their providers and then $39 per month to keep it current. They can choose the research studies to which they want their information released, but receive no compensation.

It seems unlikely that large numbers of people will pay that much. CareSync had a similar service with more user benefits and charged a fraction of this cost before the company shut down in June 2018.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Cerner. Cerner Corporation’s health technologies connect people and information systems in thousands of contracted provider facilities worldwide, dedicated to creating smarter and better care for individuals and communities. Recognized globally for innovation, Cerner assists clinicians in making care decisions and assists organizations in managing the health of their populations. The company also offers an integrated clinical and financial system to help manage day-to-day revenue functions, as well as a wide range of services to support clinical, financial, and operational needs, all focused on people. Healthcare is too important to stay the same. Thanks to Cerner for supporting HIStalk.

I found this YouTube video that describes how Great Lakes Health System is creating a single patient record using Cerner.


Webinars

September 3 (Thursday) 2 ET. “How Does A Global Pandemic Reshape Health IT? A Panel Discussion.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Rob Wallace, chief product officer, IMO; Andrew S. Kanter, MD, MPH, chief medical officer, IMO; Lori Kevin, VP of enterprise IT and security, IMO; Sahas Subramanian, MCA, enterprise architect, IMO. As COVID-19 continues to spread, regulation changes, code system updates, and an increased reliance on technology are making it hard to stay on top of the many ways the pandemic is altering health IT. What’s more, we’re confronting challenges that rely heavily on technological solutions – like accurate reporting tools or telehealth adaptations – and we need those solutions now. The panel of subject matter experts across the enterprise will share insights on how the global pandemic is reshaping the health IT world.

September 17 (Thursday) 1 ET. “ICD-10-CM 2021 Updates and Regulatory Readiness.“ Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: June Bronnert, MSHI, RHIA, VP of global clinical services, IMO; Theresa Rihanek, MHA, RHIA, mapping manager, IMO; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO. IMO’s top coding professionals and thought leaders will review additions, deletions, and other revisions to the 2020 ICD-10-CM code set that will be critical in coding accurately for proper reimbursement.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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TigerConnect acquires Adjuvant’s physician scheduling tool, which it will release as TigerSchedule in combining physician scheduling with clinical collaboration.

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Germany-based Semalytix — which analyzes patient-generated treatment experience information from their posts on blogs, forums, and social media and sells the insights to drug companies – raises $5 million in a Series A funding round.


Sales

  • Oregon Health & Science University will implement Bright.md’s automated telehealth platform as part of its Virtual Care Hub, which will guide patients through an online interview whose results are combined from their EHR information to display a chart-ready SOAP note to the provider.

People

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Chris Bayham, MBA (Brookdale Senior Living) joins payer-provider precision medicine technology vendor Xsolis as COO.

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SignalPath hires Andy Corts  (Sarah Cannon Research Institute) as as SVP of sponsor and CRO solutions.


Announcements and Implementations

Collective Medical releases an infection control reporting solution for skilled nursing facilities that allows them to meet federal requirements for reporting COVID-19 cases to the federal government.

The American Medical Association releases the 2021 CPT code set, which includes the proposed CMS changes that take effect January 1, 2021.

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Boston startup Statum Systems announces a mobile communication and collaboration system that communicates with traditional paging systems as a backup to WiFi and cell connections. Users add a smart card to their ID badge or smartphone case to allow their phone to connect via Bluetooth to a pager receiver, after which the system will choose from the best available communications network even during outages or when in areas with low signal penetration.


Government and Politics

The VA awards Cerner a $161 million contract to implement an enterprise health services network at four of its Ohio facilities. I assume, but haven’t confirmed, that this is a milestone payment for the VA’s general implementation of Cerner.


COVID-19

HHS bids out a $250 million contract for a public relations firm to “defeat despair and inspire hope” related to COVID-19 and to encourage businesses to reopen to restart the economy, with most of the money to be spent by the end of the year.

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New White House medical adviser neuroradiologist Scott Atlas, MD is urging the White House to embrace a herd immunity strategy for COVID-19, calling for lifting restrictions so that the virus will spread through healthy populations while the government focuses on protecting high-risk people. Sweden’s use of that strategy yielded infection and death rates that are among the highest in the world and failed to prevent economic problems. Epidemiologists, of which Atlas is not one, project that reaching 65% herd immunity in the US would require over 2 million deaths.

Wesleyan University is testing every student and on-campus employee twice per week for COVID-19,  arranging for a 10-day isolation period for those who test positive, and performing contact tracing. Students, faculty, and staff members bring their ID to a tent, where they are given a nasal swab kit, perform their own swab, and return their sample to testing staff. The school has reported four positive results in nearly 5,000 tests.

An article in The Atlantic explains why contact tracing works everywhere in the world except the US:

  • The US didn’t start early before case numbers became unmanageable.
  • People often don’t answer their phone when called by someone they don’t know.
  • Test results often take several days to arrive and people don’t always self-isolate while waiting for them.
  • A significant number of Americans don’t trust the government or believe in conspiracy theories.
  • The US doesn’t provide much social support, so those who test positive are expected to isolate away from work and family at their own expense and in what could be space-limited living quarters.

NIH announces that a Phase 3 trial of an investigational COVID-19 vaccine that was developed by Oxford University has begun and will ultimately include 30,000 adult volunteers in 30 states. AstraZeneca has purchased the rights to the vaccine.

ProPublica notes that the US has no overall strategy for testing symptom-free people for COVID-19 because of the different needs involved with clinical versus public health use. Symptom-free testing offers no clinical value since treatment would be the same whether positive or negative, but public health departments want to be able to identify those silent carriers to assess the overall severity and source of the infection’s spread and to perform contact tracing to ask people to isolate themselves.

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The National Institutes of Health concludes says the data used by the FDA to support its Emergency Use Authorization for convalescent plasma treatment is not adequate to recommend the treatment or to make it a standard of care. NIH says no conclusions can be drawn in the absence of randomized clinical trials even though FDA, HHS, and the White House publicly announced the EUA as a historic breakthrough that will save 35 of 100 hospitalized patients in misinterpreting the study’s results.

The US will not participate in the World Health Organization’s 170-country Covax effort to develop, manufacture, and equitably distribute a coronavirus vaccine. A White House spokesperson announced that “we will not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China.” Experts say the downside of the “America first” policy is that if none of the vaccines being tested here work, then Americans won’t have access to successful ones that other countries are testing. The global concern is that the US will hoard doses and vaccinate even low-risk people while other countries are left without.

Florida’s health department cuts ties with Quest Diagnostics after it discovers that the company failed to submit 75,000 COVID-19 positive results going back to April. Quest apologized, saying that a technical issue prevented it from reporting 75,000 test results of the 1.4 million tests it performed, and notes that individual patients and providers received their results in a timely manner even though the state did not.

Studies find that proper ventilation can help reduce coronavirus spread indoors, as researchers recommend that schools and business upgrade their air circulation systems and open windows when possible.

Apple and Google will include COVID-19 exposure notification in the next updates of IOS and Android that begin rollout immediately, eliminating the need for users to install them as a separate app. Users will receive a push notification of the public health options that are available in their area should they choose to opt in.


Sponsor Updates

  • Arcadia makes its Outreach module available for free to payer and provider partners so that they can communicate with patients about pediatric vaccination needs and other gaps in care.
  • Impact Advisors publishes a white paper titled “EHR Hostring Strategies and Options.”
  • The Chartis Group hires James Green as a director of its revenue cycle practice.
  • CereCore wins ClearlyRated’s 2020 Best of Staffing client and talent awards for service excellence.
  • Public sector technology vendor Tyler Technologies and Cerner will help state health departments comply with Medicaid reporting requirements using Tyler’s Entellitrak and Cerner’s HealthIntent.
  • Clinical Architecture releases a new episode of The Informonster Podcast, “The COVID-19 Interoperability Alliance.”
  • Dresner Advisory Services names Dimensional Insight an overall leader in business intelligence in its annual Industry Excellence awards.
  • Everbridge and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children celebrate six years of successful collaboration.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
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Monday Morning Update 8/31/20

August 30, 2020 News 6 Comments

Top News

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Konica Minolta will pay $500,000 to settle false claims act charges involving its former subsidiary Viztek, which the federal government says fraudulently obtained certification for its Exa EHR that allowed users to falsely collect Meaningful Use payments.

Also named was EHR certification company InfoGard, which “facilitated and participated” in Viztek’s false attestations by certifying the product even as its tester noted obvious manipulation.

Details of the whistleblower’s complaint, in which the government intervened without filing its own complaint, are more interesting than the $500,000 settlement might suggest:

  • PACS vendor Viztek announced rollout of its EHR-PACS integrated Exa EHR in mid-2014. It developed that product in reworking its previously acquired Opal EHR, which was ONC certified.
  • Viztek’s India-based developers underestimated the work that was required to bring Exa EHR up to 2014 edition standards.
  • The whistleblower – Exa EHR’s product manager – said Viztek founder and president Joe Cermin told her that “I don’t care if you have to lie, beg, cheat, steal, or kill” to earn certification since failure to do so would jeopardize the millions of dollars that would result from the company’s acquisition by Konica Minolta, which was underway during the certification testing.
  • Konica Minolta acquired the 120-employee, North Carolina-based Viztek in October 2015.
  • Viztek chose the remote testing option so it could manipulate the testing scenarios using a hard-coded product version that was never released. The whistleblower was told to keep multiple tabs open on her screen, one to run the test script and the other to show an already-configured result. The software failed testing at several points, at which time the company’s executives would ask for a break to allow two on-call teams in India to dummy up test results on two versions of the software, then demonstrate the result of whichever team finished first. At several points, the developers accidently displayed live patient data.
  • The developers hard-coded the EHR to pass the XML output requirements for Common MU Data Set by using programming they found on an ONC testing website. They didn’t even bother to remove the other EHR vendor’s name that was still embedded in the programming.
  • InfoGard “facilitated and participated” in the false attestations by giving Viztek multiple attempts to pass and approving frequent breaks and delays that gave developers time to falsify the programing. The InfoGard tester passed the product even though she noticed that on-screen version numbers, colors, and field layouts changed after the developers had taken breaks.
  • The UL subsidiary of Underwriters Laboratories acquired InfoGard in December 2015.

Reader Comments

From Debbie Downer: “Re: [health IT executive name omitted.] Does it seem they had to be at least somewhat evil to have made their way to the top?” We all have a good-bad behavior ratio that changes situationally, earning us a perceived “jerk score” that may be based on only superficial aspects of our character as observed at our most inopportune moments. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Neal Patterson kicked their dents in the universe with a psychologically obsessive focus, notoriously flaring temper, an intolerance of naysayers, psychological issues that in some cases were tied to a traumatic childhood, and a general indifference to the wellbeing of the folks who were rowing their corporate boat. But they built lasting and daringly innovative companies in their image that likely would not have happened if they were easygoing everymen. It’s probably not true that nice people finish last, but it is true that people who are successful in any field have to push themselves and others in ways that cheap-seaters would likely find despicable. Whether that leaves them happier on their deathbeds or whether society is better off as a result is an issue that is above my pay grade. Maybe my conclusion is that you can be happy only if you act as your natural self, regardless of how acceptable that may or may not be to others, and the vast majority of jerks don’t accomplish all that much.

From Woodstock Generation: “Re: US withdrawal from WHO. All of my HIM colleagues say no impact will result. We will continue to use ICD-10 diagnoses from WHO and modify them as usual to crate our ICD-10 CM. We will also will continue to create procedure codes (ICD-10 PCS) for use only in the US.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Many poll respondents say that their family connection and money situations have improved in the past year, although quite a few others don’t have much positive to report (with “optimism” taking a big hit, likely due to COVID-19).

New poll to your right or here: how much consumer and healthcare impact will the Amazon Halo wearable have?


Webinars

September 3 (Thursday) 2 ET. “How Does A Global Pandemic Reshape Health IT? A Panel Discussion.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Rob Wallace, chief product officer, IMO; Andrew S. Kanter, MD, MPH, chief medical officer, IMO; Lori Kevin, VP of enterprise IT and security, IMO; Sahas Subramanian, MCA, enterprise architect, IMO. As COVID-19 continues to spread, regulation changes, code system updates, and an increased reliance on technology are making it hard to stay on top of the many ways the pandemic is altering health IT. What’s more, we’re confronting challenges that rely heavily on technological solutions – like accurate reporting tools or telehealth adaptations – and we need those solutions now. The panel of subject matter experts across the enterprise will share insights on how the global pandemic is reshaping the health IT world.

September 17 (Thursday) 1 ET. “ICD-10-CM 2021 Updates and Regulatory Readiness.“ Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: June Bronnert, MSHI, RHIA, VP of global clinical services, IMO; Theresa Rihanek, MHA, RHIA, mapping manager, IMO; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO. IMO’s top coding professionals and thought leaders will review additions, deletions, and other revisions to the 2020 ICD-10-CM code set that will be critical in coding accurately for proper reimbursement.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Prescription shopping vendor GoodRx files for an IPO, showing first-half results of $55 million in profit on $257 million in revenue with high growth in both. The company was valued at $3 billion in a 2018 funding round.


COVID-19

US COVID-19 deaths are at 183,000, with 220,000 projected by November 1.

Public health experts question whether COVID-19 PCR tests are overly sensitive, causing people who are carrying insignificant amounts of virus to be labeled as positive and treated as contagious. The answer isn’t to stop testing, as CDC’s controversial new guidance suggests, but instead to use the newly introduced rapid tests that are less sensitive. Other options would be to confirm PCR tests a few hours later with a rapid test, or to interpret the same PCR test result using lower cycle threshold ranges. A run of samples at New York’s state lab identified 794 positive results using the common setting of 40 cycles, but detuning the sensitivity to 35 cycles reduced that number in half, which would make the results more meaningful and make contact tracing easier. The experts also question why labs report their test results as simply positive or negative instead of listing the actual measured viral load.

HHS dismisses two of its high-level PR experts following the backlash that followed erroneous statements made by FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD about the effectiveness of convalescent plasma treatment that he later declined to correct in a public forum. Hahn, President Trump, and HHS Secretary Alex Azar touted FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization of the treatment as a “very historic breakthrough” that offers a 35% reduction in deaths, a wildly incorrect misinterpretation of results from an observational study that showed that a tiny subset of patients had 35% fewer deaths when given the treatment early versus those who were given it later. Hahn tweeted that he misspoke in characterizing the findings as an “absolute reduction” instead of a “relative reduction,” but he has not elaborated further or provided more accurate information to the public. No randomized clinical trial has been done to prove that convalescent plasma treatment reduces deaths, and even taking the data at face value suggests a 5% mortality reduction at best from using the 100-year-old treatment.

FDA assigns Emergency Use Authorization to allow all hospitalized COVID-19 patients to receive remdesivir, although no research has been published to prove its benefit. FDA issued an EUA in May for using the drug in non-ventilated hospitalized patients who need oxygen. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD said that “data show that this treatment has the potential to help even more hospitalized patients,” citing one study from May and another that found only that five days of treatment work as well as 10. Hospitals worry that broader authorization is unproven, it came in the absence of new research, and the EUA will make it harder to obtain the drug for patients whose need is better documented by evidence.

FDA Commissioner Hahn says the agency will authorize widespread use of a COVID-19 vaccine via Emergency Use Authorization before Phase III clinical trials are complete if they think the benefits outweigh the risks. He says it won’t be a political decision – companies apply for such authorization and FDA makes a determination based on the evidence they submit. The only countries that have approved vaccines before their clinical trials were completed are China and Russia.

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People who are misinterpreting CDC’s data are spreading the rumor that only 6% of reported coronavirus deaths were caused by COVID-19, confusing the fact that 6% have COVID-19 as the only ICD-10 code listed while the other 94% include COVID-19 as well as comorbidities such as obesity or diabetes, as is common in many Americans and nearly ubiquitous in older people. It was already widely published that older, sicker people are more likely to die of COVID-19, as are minorities and those who are poorer. The pandemic won’t just go away by pretending that people who die of pneumonia in conjunction with coronavirus infection didn’t really die of COVID-19 and therefore everybody else’s odds are better. But you want to blame people for letting COVID-19 kill them by daring to be older, sicker, poorer, or less white, then these are some good numbers to share with others who don’t really care about their deaths either.


Other

Ascension Michigan will lay off 223 employees of its IT network operations and service desk in October as the health system outsources their jobs. SVP/CIO Gerry Lewis said in a blog post two weeks ago that “we have begun shifting some of our technology functions to third-party partners who specialize in these services” as part of its “digital transformation.”

Cleveland Clinic President and CEO Tom Mihaljevic, MD will interview Epic CEO Judy Faulkner on Wednesday, September 2 at 6 p.m. ET as part of the speaker series “Ideas For Tomorrow.” It will be live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube Live.

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Elon Musk’s Neuralink demonstrates its skull-inserted brain-computer link in a pig, as the company continues its progress toward creating “neural shunts” that could allow paraplegics to regain use of their limbs. Musk also envisions people communicating using “conceptual telepathy” without writing or speaking. He admits that people will be wary of the technology that he calls “a Fitbit for your skull,” acknowledging that “this is increasingly sounding like a ‘Black Mirror’ episode.”


Sponsor Updates

  • OptimizeRx CEO William Febbo will present at the LD 500 virtual investor conference on September 3.
  • The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs honors Surescripts Clinical Informatics Manager Larry King with its Rising Star Award.
  • TriNetX announces that Duke-NUS, a medical school in Singapore, has joined its global research network.
  • Vocera will present virtually at the Baird 2020 Global Healthcare Conference September 9, Wells Fargo Virtual Healthcare Conference September 10, and Morgan Stanley Virtual Global Healthcare Conference September 14.
  • Wolters Kluwer launches “5 Forces for the Future” series to reimagine healthcare post-COVID-19.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
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News 8/28/20

August 27, 2020 News 4 Comments

Top News

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Amazon introduces Halo, a health and wellness wearable, app, and membership program.

Cerner simultaneously announced that it has integrated its systems with Halo, which will allow consumers to share their connected health values with their care team. Sharp HealthCare is the first to implement Halo in a healthcare setting.

The screen-free Amazon Halo measures body composition from selfies, activity duration and intensity, sleep quality and quantity, and mood as evidenced by voice tone. It will also offer health improvement ideas, such as specific exercises.

The device is swim-proof and will run seven days on a 90-minute charge if its tones are disabled.

Scientists will be interested to study the types of sensors that Amazon is using and to learn if Amazon will publish results from their use.

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Amazon Halo is available via an early access program for $65 and a $4 per month subscription after the first six months. The regular price will be $100.


Reader Comments

From Down Underwear: “Re: HIMSS. Good thing they didn’t go ahead with HIMSS20.” Researchers say the 175-attendee conference of drug company Biogen at Boston Marriott Long Wharf in February has led to at least 20,000 COVID-19 cases, based on tracking the virus’s genetic makeup over four Boston-area counties. HIMSS20 would have involved 50,000 attendees from all over the world, many of them working in patient care, so that would have been a disaster. Unrestricted travel as we have in the US makes it hard to contain and track the virus, as public health agencies are discovering in wondering how many of the hundreds of thousands of people who attended the recent Sturgis Motorcycle Rally brought coronavirus home with them.

From Hermit: “Re: Allscripts. Layoffs continue, with almost all of the Paragon development and product management team gone as jobs continue to move to India.” Unverified.

From GrBuckeye: “Re: Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. Outsourcing its revenue cycle operations to Ensemble Health Partners as of 11/1. Only patient-facing employees, such as in patient access and registration, will remain VCUHS employees, while the other 300 to 600 will become Ensemble employees. I assume that a press release will come out soon with more details.” Unverified.


Webinars

September 3 (Thursday) 2 ET. “How Does A Global Pandemic Reshape Health IT? A Panel Discussion.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Rob Wallace, chief product officer, IMO; Andrew S. Kanter, MD, MPH, chief medical officer, IMO; Lori Kevin, VP of enterprise IT and security, IMO; Sahas Subramanian, MCA, enterprise architect, IMO. As COVID-19 continues to spread, regulation changes, code system updates, and an increased reliance on technology are making it hard to stay on top of the many ways the pandemic is altering health IT. What’s more, we’re confronting challenges that rely heavily on technological solutions – like accurate reporting tools or telehealth adaptations – and we need those solutions now. The panel of subject matter experts across the enterprise will share insights on how the global pandemic is reshaping the health IT world.

September 17 (Thursday) 1 ET. “ICD-10-CM 2021 Updates and Regulatory Readiness.“ Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: June Bronnert, MSHI, RHIA, VP of global clinical services, IMO; Theresa Rihanek, MHA, RHIA, mapping manager, IMO; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO. IMO’s top coding professionals and thought leaders will review additions, deletions, and other revisions to the 2020 ICD-10-CM code set that will be critical in coding accurately for proper reimbursement.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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SeamlessMD raises $3 million in a Series A funding round. The Toronto-based company’s app helps patients before, during, and after hospital stays. The company plans to expand its use of machine learning and expand into home and oncology care.

Research and advisory nonprofit Altarum sells its Prometheus Analytics software to Change Healthcare.

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Employer-focused, prescription-savings startup Prescryptive Health raises $26 million in a Series A funding round. Co-founders Chris Blackley and Kevin Young started the company in 2017 after long stints at Microsoft.


Sales

  • Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Health selects Proficient Health’s PH Connect referral and health data exchange software.
  • Wellstar Health System (GA) will implement telestroke and teleneurology technology from VeeMed at nine of its hospitals.
  • The Missouri Hospital Association’s Hospital Industry Data Institute will upgrade its statewide care coordination platform with predictive alerts and analytics from Collective Medical.

People

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Sean Slovenski, former head of Walmart Health, joins diagnostic testing company BioIQ as CEO.

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Best Buy names former IBM Watson Health executive Deborah DiSanzo (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) as president of Best Buy Health.

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Ambulatory surgery network operator ValueHealth hires John Gresham (Cerner) as COO.


Announcements and Implementations

Carrus Health (TX) implements Medhost’s Enterprise EHR and RCM software at its new Behavioral Hospital.

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Nova Southeastern University (FL) goes live on InteliChart’s Healthy Outcomes patient engagement software across its 20 multi-specialty health centers.

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CentraState Medical Center (NJ) implements tele-ICU services from Advanced ICU Care.

The University of Kansas Health System goes live on Epic at its locations in Great Bend.


COVID-19

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The FDA issues Emergency Use Authorization for Abbott’s rapid test for COVID-19. The company will sell the credit card-sized test, which provides results in 15 minutes using technology much like a pregnancy test, for $5. The test uses a nasal swab and must be administered by a healthcare professional who is operating under a CLIA certificate. Abbott has developed a companion app called Navica, which will display a boarding pass-style, time-limited QR code that employers, schools, and group activity organizers can scan to limit entry to those who have tested negative. Abbott anticipates manufacturing 5 million tests a month starting in October, although the White House is rumored to have brokered a deal to buy 150 million of the tests for $750 million that the federal government will distribute to high-risk schools and nursing homes, which may exhaust the supply for many months.

CMS issues emergency regulations that include requiring hospitals to report COVID-19 patient and testing data daily to HHS or face possible termination of Medicare and Medicaid payments. In addition, nursing homes will be required to test staff and offer testing to residents.

Sources say that HHS and the White House pressured CDC to quietly issue new guidance this week for people who have been exposed to COVID-19 but who are not experiencing systems. CDC now says that those people should not seek COVID-19 testing. Experts are expressing public concern that the goal should be testing more people without symptoms instead of fewer, symptom-free people can be prolific spreaders, more widespread testing is important and especially so as students return to campus, and CDC is again changing its position under apparent White House pressure. CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, responding to criticism, has since walked back the recommendation to say that testing “may be considered” for all close contacts of people who are known or suspected to be infected. However, the changed guidance remains on CDC’s website without such clarification.

The New York Times notes that since the White House no longer allows Anthony Fauci, MD to participate in high-profile interviews and the Sunday news programs, he is instead appearing on celebrity podcasts, academic webinars, and Instagram feeds where such approval is not required. Big-audience reporters are bypassing their lack of access by listening to his niche appearances and reporting his newsworthy comments. He is scheduled to offer a session at AMIA’s virtual symposium in November.


Other

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A scenario-based survey of 523 graduating college students finds that nearly half would violate HIPAA for between $1,000 and $10 million. Between 65% and 78% of respondents would illegally share the medical records of a politician or reality show celebrity with media outlets to pay for a friend’s medical expenses.

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Non-profit technology access service Human-I-T provides 30 tablets to allow COVID-19 patients of Olive View – UCLA Medical Center who can’t have visitors to connect virtually with their loved ones.


Sponsor Updates

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  • Healthwise employees and their families volunteer in the Boise, Idaho area by sewing and donating masks, and packing lunches.
  • Goliath Technologies partners with Automai for app-performance monitoring.
  • Intelligent Medical Objects publishes a new white paper, “The 21st Century Cures Act in the age of COVID-19.”
  • Kyruus Chief Customer Officer will co-present with Jefferson Health SVP Lisa Griffin during the virtual Greystone.Net Contact Experience Conference August 28.
  • MDLive CEO and Chairman Charles Jones joins CNBC to discuss telemedicine amid the pandemic and the company’s plans to go public next year.
  • 3M Health Information Systems makes its MModal virtual assistant technology compatible with the Hey Epic! Voice Assistant in Epic Hyperspace.
  • Spok earns SOC 2 Type II compliance for Spok Go solutions, paging solutions.
  • Cedar will integrate Waystar’s pricing estimates, payment options, and eligibility verification capabilities into its patient engagement software.
  • Hayes adds revenue optimization insights to its MDaudit Enterprise revenue integrity software.
  • SailPoint updates its Predictive Identity software to include integrations with Epic and Microsoft Teams.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 8/26/20

August 25, 2020 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Google Cloud invests $100 million in Amwell, with timing and per-share price to be set by the company’s announced IPO.

Amwell will move parts of its business from Amazon Web Services to Google Cloud.


Reader Comments

From Chuck: “Re: Qualifacts and Credible. I heard they are announcing their merger tomorrow [Chuck was correct – he sent this on Monday and the announcement was Tuesday]. This is kind of like T-Mobile and Sprint. With Netsmart, that will make two 800-pound gorillas in the behavioral health EHR space, leaving a handful of mid-level EHRs (TenEleven, NextGen, Streamline, Echo, Foothold, Core Solutions) competing for larger opportunities.”

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From Dancing Iguana: “Re: links. We aren’t seeing web traffic coming from HIStalk like we used to. Have you changed something?” I didn’t change anything, but this inquiry led me to learn that WordPress did in an effort to eliminate a particular kind of security issue. Links that open a new browser tab intentionally hide the source website from the receiving one. That can be changed in two ways: (a) by making programming changes; or (b) setting all links to open in the same browser tab instead of a new one. Example: here’s how it works now (a new tab opens), and here’s how it would look otherwise (the existing tab displays the linked page). Let’s go to the poll: would it bug you if clicking an HIStalk link opened the new page in the same browser tab instead of a new one as in the second option above? It probably would me since I don’t like using the “back” button for navigation and then re-loading the page, but that’s the default browser behavior. Now I know why companies have asked me if my readership is down (it isn’t) – the traffic I send them doesn’t show as coming from HIStalk.


Webinars

September 3 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “How Does A Global Pandemic Reshape Health IT? A Panel Discussion.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Rob Wallace, chief product officer, IMO; Andrew S. Kanter, MD, MPH, chief medical officer, IMO; Lori Kevin, VP of enterprise IT and security, IMO; Sahas Subramanian, MCA, enterprise architect, IMO. As COVID-19 continues to spread, regulation changes, code system updates, and an increased reliance on technology are making it hard to stay on top of the many ways the pandemic is altering health IT. What’s more, we’re confronting challenges that rely heavily on technological solutions – like accurate reporting tools or telehealth adaptations – and we need those solutions now. The panel of subject matter experts across the enterprise will share insights on how the global pandemic is reshaping the health IT world.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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The private equity owners of behavioral software vendors Qualifacts and Credible Behavioral Health will merge their respective companies, giving the combined organization a client base of 800 behavioral health agencies. Warburg Pincus invested in Qualifacts a year ago at a reported valuation of $350 million.

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Lyra Health, which offers technology-powered mental health benefits for employers, raises $110 million in a Series D funding round, increasing its total to $290 million and valuing the company at $1.1 billion. Co-founder and CEO David Ebersman spent 15 years as an executive with drug maker Genentech and then joined Facebook as CFO for five years before co-founding Lyra Health.

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PatientPop raises $50 million in a Series C funding round, increasing its total to $125 million. The company offers practice management tools such as website development, online scheduling, appointment reminders, and reputation management. The co-CEOs came from ShopNation, which offers a fashion shopping engine.


Sales

  • Dignity Health Management Services will use Innovaccer’s Data Activation Platform for interoperability as well as its population health management solution. 

People

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B.well Connected Health hires Dunnie Norman (InsightRX) as chief revenue officer.

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Dan Thelen, MBA (Evergreen Healthcare Partners) joins First Health Advisory as VP of cybersecurity.

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Jay Sultan, MA (Cognizant) joins LexisNexis Risk Solutions as VP of strategy in its healthcare business.


Announcements and Implementations

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The VA launches its Cerner appointment scheduling system at the VA Central Ohio Healthcare System, with a VA-wide rollout to follow.

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Health IT startup Emme launches its first product, a $99 Bluetooth-connected smart pill case that sends women reminders to take their birth control pill via its IOS-only app. The company says that 80% of women miss at least one pill each month, causing 1 million unintended pregnancies.

Government research contractor Mitre and Nuance will work together to advance use of the MCODE cancer research and treatment data standard by using Nuance’s Dragon Medical One to capture clinician dictation that is sent to the EHR.


COVID-19

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FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, President Trump, and HHS Secretary Alex Azar incorrectly state that the use of convalescent plasma for treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients reduces deaths by 35% in announcing FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization for the treatment. They mischaracterized the original Mayo Clinic study, which concluded that giving the plasma within three days of diagnosis was associated with a seven-day mortality rate of 8.7% versus 11.9% if transfused later, which represents a 35% relative (not absolute) improvement between the timings in a small fraction of patients but does not support any evidence of an improved survival rate overall. Hahn acknowledged his mistake in a Monday night tweet, but scientists question how he could have made such an obvious error and then allowed others to repeat it uncorrected. President Trump had accused the FDA on Twitter the day before the announcement as being run by the “deep state” and intentionally obstructing vaccine and treatment studies in hopes of harming his re-election bid, although Hahn says that that White House pressure did not impact FDA’s action. Scientists say the FDA’s EUA will have a negative effect since use of convalescent plasma has not undergone randomized controlled trials and now patients aren’t likely to sign up for those studies knowing that they have a 50% chance of receiving placebo when they can just have the plasma ordered directly under the EUA. They also worry that White House publicity will cause shortages of the plasma, which is collected from volunteer COVID-19 survivors, and that FDA might allow a vaccine to be released prematurely with similarly unconvincing science behind it.

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HHS Secretary Alex Azar told hospitals in an April 21 email that they would be required to submit their COVID-19 capacity data to HHS’s newly launched TeleTracking database to be eligible for the federal government’s $100 billion provider relief fund, a stipulation that Congress had not included in the legislation. 

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A Georgia health district explains that a sudden COVID-19 case jump was caused by activation of a new lab reporting connection to Navicent Health that sent a backlog of one hospital’s reports going back to mid-June. They organizations are working together to remove the duplicate entries.

A testing lab tells the NFL says that 77 new positive COVID-19 results that affected 11 football teams were false positives caused by contamination that occurred during test preparation.


Other

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A shareholder of SCWorx Corp. sues the company, claiming it misled investors by announcing a contract to sell $35 million worth of COVID-19 test kits each week for 23 weeks to Rethink My Healthcare. The shareholder says that customer was too small to afford the kits that it had supposedly committed to buy. SCWorx offers hospital supply chain, analytics, and interoperability solutions. According to its SEC filings, it has eight employees and is losing money to the point that its auditors question its survival. It acquired several mixed martial arts fighting championships that it still operates as subsidiaries. WORX shares are a rollercoaster, trading in the past year from $1.50 to $15, currently at $1.56, valuing the company at $15 million.

Former Sutter Health CIO John Hummel, PhD passed along the back story of former Sutter IT project manager and convicted murderer Mario Garcia, who a jury found guilty of killing a 27-year-old woman in 2005 even though her body had not been found. John says police searched the IT facilities extensively and his CISO was able to recover deleted pictures from a Sutter-owned camera in which Garcia documented scratches to his face. The photos, along with DNA evidence that proved that the victim had been in his car, convinced the jury of his guilt. John spent years searching for the woman’s body as a promise to her mother and now investigators have finally found the remains of Christie Wilson buried at Garcia’s former residence.

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Cory Chase, a network analyst at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, records “Quarantine Radio,” a half-hour music and humor show that he creates after his work-from-home day ends.


Sponsor Updates

  • CloudWave Director of Sales Engineering Mike Donahue receives the Patriot Award through the DoD’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve after being nominated by CloudWave Technical Consultant and US Air Force Guard member Osmandy Polanco.
  • Dimensional Insight sponsors registration for the St. Jude Walk/Run in Boston September 26.
  • Dina will exhibit at Health Catalyst’s virtual Healthcare Analytics Summit September 1-3.
  • Elsevier launches a Medical Student Hub for first-year students that offers masterclass videos, podcasts, survival tips, anatomy flashcards, and toolkits.
  • Everbridge’s contact tracing software experiences rapid global adoption across education, corporate, and government sectors.

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 8/24/20

August 23, 2020 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Outset Medical, which offers a portable, cloud-connected home dialysis machine that can integrate with EHRs, files for a $100 million IPO.

The only connection required for the touchscreen-operated, sensor-managed portable machine is a wall outlet and tap water that it uses to create its own dialysate.

The company has raised $450 million, most recently $125 million in a Series E funding round earlier this year.


Reader Comments

From Puzzled PR: “Re: partnership press release. Why didn’t you mention our announcement?” I ignore any announcement that I can’t figure out within 15 seconds, including this infuriatingly imprecise one that has puffed some sort of “partnership” to the point I can’t tell who (if anyone) actually bought something. I doubt it was newsworthy anyway, but I honestly couldn’t tell. Too many PR cooks spoil the announcement broth in rendering simple statements such as “what does this company do” into intentional inflated gibberish in shooting for high-falutin’ prose and instead hitting their own foot. I typically don’t mention partnership announcements (because who cares?) and I also pass on “news” items that affect only existing clients who surely be contacted individually anyway. The folks whose committees ruin clear communication by over-polishing it always seem shocked that the rest of the world doesn’t take notice, either because they couldn’t figure it out or it was of minimal value even before being butchered.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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A possibly surprising 60% of provider employees who registered for HIMSS20 say they won’t attend HIMSS21 even if COVID-19 isn’t a factor by then. Most respondents, based on what they know today, have already made plans one way or another, with few of them saying they don’t know yet.

New poll to your right or here, repeating one I did in the pre-COVID days of last summer that seems like years ago: what’s better about your life now compared to a year ago?


Webinars

September 3 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “How Does A Global Pandemic Reshape Health IT? A Panel Discussion.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Rob Wallace, chief product officer, IMO; Andrew S. Kanter, MD, MPH, chief medical officer, IMO; Lori Kevin, VP of enterprise IT and security, IMO; Sahas Subramanian, MCA, enterprise architect, IMO. As COVID-19 continues to spread, regulation changes, code system updates, and an increased reliance on technology are making it hard to stay on top of the many ways the pandemic is altering health IT. What’s more, we’re confronting challenges that rely heavily on technological solutions – like accurate reporting tools or telehealth adaptations – and we need those solutions now. The panel of subject matter experts across the enterprise will share insights on how the global pandemic is reshaping the health IT world.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Handheld ultrasound device manufacturer Exo raises $20 million in a Series B round, increasing its total to $100 million. The company will launch the device and its workflow software over the next few months in the US.

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Hyland acquires Germany-based robotic process automation software vendor Another Monday.

A US appeals court reduces the $280 million in punitive damages that Tata Consultancy Services had been ordered to pay Epic in a 2014 trade secrets lawsuit, saying that $140 million is a reasonable figure. Tata continues to fight the lawsuit, arguing that it did not misuse the information that its consultants were accused of copying from Epic’s UserWeb while claiming to be Kaiser Permanente employees. The original jury award was $940 million, which was lowered to $420 million to comply with Wisconsin state caps on punitive damages. Epic accused Tata of stealing its intellectual property to improve its competing product Med Mantra. Tata employee Philippe Guionnet, who managed the company’s contracts with Kaiser, was the whistleblower who conveyed his suspicions to Epic.


People

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Vinnie Whibbs (TogetherMD) joins TVR Communications as VP of enterprise solutions.


COVID-19

Updated models predict 227,000 to 300,000 US COVID-19 deaths by November and December. The current US death count is at 176,000.

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Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD warns that a new HHS policy that removes FDA’s authority to oversee lab-developed tests will lead to direct-to-consumer tests that operate without FDA oversight and will leave FDA with no authority to take enforcement action against bad tests. FDA had traditionally not actively regulated such tests anyway, but now will be unable to work with test makers to improve quality in the absence of a process that was working.

FDA will reportedly authorize the use of convalescent plasma from recovered patients for treating COVID-19 under pressure from the White House on the eve of the Republican National Convention’s kickoff, although its Emergency Use Authorization will make it harder to conduct randomized clinical trials, which have never been performed on the procedure.

California’s infectious disease monitoring system recently went down for 20 days, hampering the efforts of local health departments to manage their pandemic response. The state’s backlog of 300,000 lab tests contained 15,000 that were positive for COVID-19, eliminating the possibility for individuals to isolate themselves and for public health officials to perform contact tracing. An outage in the state’s CalREDIE database prevented delivery of electronic lab reports to counties. Mendocino County performed its tracking by telephone and fax machine as usual, leading to its decision to shut down bars in even though the state’s backlogged electronica data showed the county as doing fine.

An August 7 wedding reception at a Maine inn with 65 attendees – 15 more than state law allows – has resulted in 53 known COVID-19 cases that were discovered by contact tracers. A woman who did not attend the reception died after becoming infected by someone who did.

In Ireland, two high-ranking federal government officials resign and others are under pressure after getting caught attending an 80-attendee golf tournament and dinner that was illegal given the country’s 50-person limit. The newly resigned / fired minister of agriculture, who had held the position for just six weeks, had warned citizens three days before that house parties were spreading the virus and that “COVID loves to party.”


Other

A Catholic hospital in Toronto opens up its Internet content filtering system to allow doctors to access the websites of abortion clinics for patient referrals.

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Scientists in China say that their AI algorithm can predict coronary artery disease by looking at a person’s photo for signs of thinning or gray hair, wrinkles, and ear lobe creases.


Sponsor Updates

  • The RedSail Technologies QCompass podcast features OmniSys Chief Innovation Officer David Pope, PharmD.
  • SymphonyRM’s HealthOS: Health AI Powered Patient Engagement is now available on the Salesforce AppExchange.
  • Waystar will open an office in Utah, creating up to 70 jobs over the next seven years.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 8/21/20

August 20, 2020 News 2 Comments

Top News

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The Wall Street Journal reports that COVID-19 hospitalization data reporting, which was moved to an HHS system with little warning and with criticism from some members of Congress, will return to CDC’s control under a new system.

HHS denies the report, saying that no plan is on the table to have CDC take over again.

The WSJ article quotes a recent statement from Deborah Birx, MD that it interprets as signalling a move to a new CDC system. It did not read that way to me.

In a possibly related item, Politico reports that the federal government has launched Modernizing Public Health Reporting and Surveillance, a multi-year initiative to improve data quality at state and local health departments. Ideas being discussed include automating hospital and lab reporting, moving to electronic case reporting, replacing data systems, and digitizing mobile coronavirus testing sites. Experts worry that the program will conflict with existing efforts and question whether technologists at the White House’s US Digital Service have the knowledge to solve a problem that has vexed public health officials for years.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Healthcare Triangle. The Pleasonton, CA-based company brings together healthcare cloud and security vendor 8K Miles and health IT advisory and implementation services consultancy Cornerstone Advisors. It offers services such as IT strategy and planning, cloud technology, Epic and Meditech consulting, EHR managed services, backup and disaster recovery, data management and analytics, performance data, value-based care insights, supply chain management, and staffing optimization. The company’s customers include provider, payer, and life sciences organizations, with five of the world’s biggest pharma companies using its healthcare data pipeline management, analytics, and aggregation services. I interviewed Chairman and CEO Suresh Venkatachari a couple of months ago. Thanks to Healthcare Triangle for supporting HIStalk.

I cruised YouTube for Health Triangle videos and found this “Week in Review” series that I think is brilliant, especially given that I have no interest in the usual lame podcasts and videos from industry amateurs. The host is Health Triangle Director of Business Development and industry long-timer Damian David, who delivers a smooth, relaxing news recap and interview that he follows with a remarkably good song performance. Other episodes feature fine covers of “With or Without You,” “Sweet Melissa,” “The Wind Cries Mary,” and “Ring of Fire.”

Listening: new from Bully, which sounds like a new grunge album from Courtney Love and/or Hole. Bully isn’t really a band any more – singer-songwriter Alicia Bognanno did a Courtney in in sending her musical mates packing while keeping their collective moniker. She’s also like Love in being bipolar and thus prone to sprinkling her recordings with therapeutic yelling and growling that makes you happy she’s not mad at you. Bognanno is amused by those who compare her music to grunge, explaining that being born in 1990 means she didn’t exactly grow up listening to Nirvana.


Webinars

September 3 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “How Does A Global Pandemic Reshape Health IT? A Panel Discussion.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Rob Wallace, chief product officer, IMO; Andrew S. Kanter, MD, MPH, chief medical officer, IMO; Lori Kevin, VP of enterprise IT and security, IMO; Sahas Subramanian, MCA, enterprise architect, IMO. As COVID-19 continues to spread, regulation changes, code system updates, and an increased reliance on technology are making it hard to stay on top of the many ways the pandemic is altering health IT. What’s more, we’re confronting challenges that rely heavily on technological solutions – like accurate reporting tools or telehealth adaptations – and we need those solutions now. The panel of subject matter experts across the enterprise will share insights on how the global pandemic is reshaping the health IT world.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Clinical communications vendor Vocera acquires EASE Applications, which has developed messaging tools to help family members communicate with a patient’s care team during hospital stays. EASE co-founder Patrick de la Roza, now an SVP/GM at Vocera, started the company while working as a system administrator at AdventHealth Nicholson Center in Orlando.

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Bankrupt smart pill developer Proteus Digital Health sells its assets to Japan-based pharmaceutical company Otsuka for $15 million. Otsuka had been an investor and partner of Proteus, which pre-bust was valued at $1.5 billion, apparently by folks with unreasonably optimistic expectations. Going down in flames with Proteus is the nearly $500 million poured into it by investors who rode the rocket up and then down through a Series H funding round.

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Change Healthcare enhances its Enterprise Imaging Network with the acquisition of Nucleus.io, a cloud-based medical imaging company.

Emids acquires payer-focused IT consulting company FlexTech, its second acquisition since purchasing Encore Health Resources in 2017.

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Urgent and primary care software vendor Experity acquires patient relationship management company Calibrater Health.

Year-old, China-based health platform operator JD Health raises $830 million in a Series B funding round. The company – which raised $1 billion in November 2019 Series A round that valued it at $7 billion – offers pharmacy delivery, telehealth services, genetic testing, and hospital systems. It processes 100,000 diagnostic inquiries each day and is working on an online family doctor service that will serve up to 50 million families. New investor Hillhouse Capital was founded in 2005 by a Yale graduate with $20 million in seed capital from Yale’s endowment fund and was named after a New Haven street. The investment firm, which focuses on businesses in Asia, runs a joint venture with Mayo Clinic to boost that provider’s influence in China.


Sales

  • Genesis Health System (IA) will use Bright.md’s SmartExam software to power its expanded telemedicine service.
  • Florida-based hospice Haven selects Netsmart’s MyUnity EHR.

People

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Impact Advisors promotes Susan Stewart to VP and Amy Reid to VP of recruiting.

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Senior home care support and technology vendor Seniorlink hires Amy McConnell (NantHealth) as chief compliance officer.

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Steve Eckert (Avaap) joins Cook Children’s Health Care System (TX) as CTO.


Announcements and Implementations

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Baptist Health South Florida President and CEO Brian Keeley says the health system will spend upwards of $100 million on a digital transformation over the next several years that will include adding new scheduling and registration capabilities to its Cerner system; investing in analytics; upgrading its website with more patient engagement tools; and bolstering its Amwell-powered Care on Demand telemedicine app. The search for a chief digital officer is underway.

In Australia, SA Health implements interoperability software and services from InterSystems to interface its Notifiable Infectious Disease Surveillance system with new workflow technology as it prepares for future waves of COVID-19.

Carilion Clinic (VA) implements Wolters Kluwer’s AI-powered Sentri7 clinical surveillance software to more quickly identify patients at risk for C. diff infections.

Higi adds OptimizeRx’s prescription savings and patient educational materials to its Smart Health Stations that are installed in pharmacies and retailers.

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Capsule Technologies announces GA of a cloud version of its Ventilated Patient Surveillance workstation that runs on Microsoft Azure. 


COVID-19

Researchers find from cell phone data that 7% of workers at a given nursing home also work in at least one other facility, calculating that eliminating such shared staffing would reduce COVID-19 infections by 44%.

The federal government forced companies to manufacture billions of dollars worth of ventilators under the Defense Production Act, but most of them are gathering dust in the national stockpile as COVID-19 treatment protocols de-emphasized their use after a high percentage of intubated patients died and their role in infecting caregivers was questioned. Less then one-fourth of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are placed on ventilators, a big drop from the pandemic’s early days. The federal government says it will either sell or give away dozens of thousands of the devices to other countries.

Pooled COVID-19 testing, which worked well in other countries to reduce the use of short-supply reagents, can’t be used in the US because our infection rates are so high. Partial samples from several patients are combined, the batch is tested for coronavirus, and a positive result triggers re-testing of the retained samples from the batch. Efficiency is good until positivity rates hit 5-10%, at which time the re-testing that is required takes more labor and reagent than testing the individual samples. Experts also question whether the pooled tests miss people with low levels of virus and worry about the extra work that is required for lab techs since robotic processors are overwhelmed.

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I received a forwarded internal email from Baylor College of Medicine that looked at the Houston metro area’s wildly fluctuating COVID-19 testing numbers, which recently tripled. That turned out to have been caused by a state system upgrade on August 1 that increased doubled reporting capacity, which triggered a big surge as the backlog was being cleared. The email notes that public health has poorly integrated systems and still are sent manual results, including faxes, that someone has to enter.


Other

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University of Colorado Health CMIO CT Lin, MD shares numbers on video versus in-person visits since the beginning of the year. In-person visits (purple) dropped off sharply in early March and were outnumbered in a handful of weeks by the virtual visits (cyan), but in-person visits have mostly recovered after the state ended its stay-at-home policy and virtual visits have gone back down. Total visit counts seem about the same now as in January and February, but virtual visits went from essentially zero to about 15% of the total. Extrapolation is always dangerous — especially looking at the seemingly unstoppable telehealth upturn in March — but one might speculate that even though some patients have been forced to discover the convenience and lower infection exposure of virtual visits, they still prefer seeing clinicians in person and having related services provided at the same time. It may also be that either (a) they would rather have an in-person visit, but might have a virtual one forced upon them for one reason or another; or (b) clinicians either get paid more predictably or can offer more services when sitting in the room with the patient. Visits from outside UCHealth’s network also aren’t accounted for, so third-party virtual visits and urgent care might be impacting the numbers. Lastly, it may be that a higher than normal number of virtual visits were due to deferred higher-acuity or chronic disease management services. I would be interested in seeing a drill-down of both visit types by nature of the visit, demographics of the patient, new versus existing patient, categorization of visits by diagnosis and services rendered, and the recency of previous visits.

I missed this earlier as an interesting wearables story. Texas Tech fires its woman’s basketball coach one day after a USA Today investigative report calls out its “culture of abuse” that included forcing players to wear heart rate monitors during games and punishing those whose pulse dropped below 90% of capacity for more than two minutes.


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicomp Systems releases an updated version of its Quippe Nursing care planning and clinical documentation software.
  • Goliath Technologies publishes a new case study, “Terralogic, IT Service Provider, Avoids ‘Citrix is Slow’ Escalations.”
  • Phynd’s Schedule Advisor, which allows patients to see a provider’s open scheduling slots, is now available in Epic’s App Orchard.
  • The HCI Group launches a Referral Incentive Program Department.
  • PatientPing and Lyniate will develop a hospital connector solution for integrating ADT notifications using integration engines from Corepoint and then Rhapsody.  
  • Kyruus adds online scheduling for virtual visits to its ProviderMatch for Consumers software for health systems.
  • KDL Lab in Russia implements InterSystems TrakCare Lab Enterprise.
  • Pure Storage publishes a new case study, “McArthur Lab Adds Capacity and Performance with FlashBlade.”
  • Capsule announces GA of a cloud-deployed and -managed version of its Ventilated Patient Surveillance workstation, part of its Medical Device Information platform.
  • Nuance’s virtual assistant technology for Hey Epic! in Hyperspace is now available through its Dragon Medical One cloud-based clinical documentation solution.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 8/19/20

August 18, 2020 News 5 Comments

Top News

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Interoperability platform vendor Bridge Connector raises $25.5 million in a Series B funding round, increasing its total to $45 million.

The Nashville-based company will use the funding to continue the rollout of its new Destination integration service. It says it is on track to boost growth by 1,000% in 2020.


Reader Comments

From Cam Sandford: “Re: telemedicine. I think the pushback against online classes offers a value warning.” Students who are paying megabucks for college tuition are not happy at being taught over the equivalent of Skype at full price, even though their degrees will presumably be worth the same in the end. The convenience factor isn’t convincing students and their parents that trading the campus experience for home learning is a good deal. The biggest risk to telemedicine is that patients often still have to go somewhere as a result –pharmacy, lab, x-ray facility, ED, or specialist – and that cancels out much of their overall convenience. I also wonder how patient satisfaction fared in the telemedicine tsunami, especially when segmented into the “I just need a prescription” kind versus complex, ongoing patient management. Most of us don’t conduct our business virtually with lawyers, accountants, and financial advisors and we might have the same reluctance to turn our medical issues over to the flickering image on a video screen, especially if we are just assigned some random, available doctor that we don’t know, can’t contact for follow-up questions or concerns, and will never see again. It would also be interesting to compare the experience, credentials, and outcomes of doctors who are willing to sell telemedicine time to those who aren’t, just like you don’t see top-tier actors and athletes hawking custom video birthday greetings on Cameo.


Webinars

August 19 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “A New Approach to Normalizing Data.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Rajiv Haravu, senior product manager, IMO; Denise Stoermer, product manager, IMO. Healthcare organizations manage an ever-increasing abundance of information from multiple systems, but problems with quality, accuracy, and completeness can make analysis unreliable for quality improvement and population health initiatives. The presenters will describe how IMO Precision Normalize improves clinical, quality, and financial decision-making by standardizing inconsistent diagnosis, procedure, medication, and lab data from diverse systems into common, clinically validated terminology.

September 3 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “How Does A Global Pandemic Reshape Health IT? A Panel Discussion.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Rob Wallace, chief product officer, IMO; Andrew S. Kanter, MD, MPH, chief medical officer, IMO; Lori Kevin, VP of enterprise IT and security, IMO; Sahas Subramanian, MCA, enterprise architect, IMO. As COVID-19 continues to spread, regulation changes, code system updates, and an increased reliance on technology are making it hard to stay on top of the many ways the pandemic is altering health IT. What’s more, we’re confronting challenges that rely heavily on technological solutions – like accurate reporting tools or telehealth adaptations – and we need those solutions now. The panel of subject matter experts across the enterprise will share insights on how the global pandemic is reshaping the health IT world.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Perhaps this is telemedicine’s next acquisition, Medical cannabis telemedicine provider PrestoDoctor expands to Illinois after success in other states in selling medical marijuana cards for $50 to $200, depending on the state. It is fascinating to see how many buzzy startups sell nothing but rubber-stamped doctor prescriptions delivered impersonally online, adding minimal value and contributing little to drug safety and appropriate use by at least occasionally prescribing whatever the patient wants to keep the patient and their employer happy.


Sales

  • Michigan Medicine chooses Sectra for enterprise imaging.

People

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CloudWave promotes Erik Littlejohn, MBA to president/COO and Joseph Badziong, MBA to CFO.

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Ciox Health hires Nick Giannasi, PhD (Change Healthcare) as chief product officer.

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Todd Johnson (GetWellNetwork) joins Avia as SVP/practice leader.

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Nordic hires Jeff Buss, MS, MBA (EY) as CIO.


Announcements and Implementations

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WebMD and Krames launch WebMD Back to Care, which connects patients with available prescription payment assistance programs. The information will be included in end-of-visit patient education materials provided by Krames, which joined WebMD as part of its StayWell Company acquisition from drug maker Merck in March 2020.

Virginia Cardiovascular Specialists deploys PatientKeeper for reviewing patient information and capturing professional charges on mobile devices.

3M-owned MModal says that 150 healthcare organizations are using its virtual assistant technology that captures the doctor-patient conversation to automatically document the encounter.


COVID-19

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FDA warns labs and providers that Thermo Fisher’s TaqPath COVID-19 test kit can deliver false positive results unless labs apply software updates and follow the company’s instructions for vortexing and centrifugation.

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill moves undergraduate classes online just one week after the start of in-person classes. The university reported several COVID-19 breakouts in communal living areas and a 13.6% test positivity rate that quickly filled its isolation dorm. UNC had ignored CDC’s recommendations, declined to follow the county health department’s recommendation to delay in-person classes for five weeks, and didn’t tell faculty members about the health department’s warning that it should not bring students back to campus. The independent student newspaper published an editorial about the clusters of infection under the headline “UNC has a cluster****” on its hands,” except they used letters instead of asterisks in describing how the university should have know that students would immediately start behaving recklessly at parties even before last Monday’s class start. Football practice will continue, however, and a home game is scheduled for UNC’s largely closed campus on September 12.

North Carolina’s health department says Monday’s case count was lower than expected because a commercial lab was late in sending its data file, the second week in a row where testing numbers were wrong due to lab data problems.

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A ProPublica report says that cellphone tracking data shows that visitors to Las Vegas casinos, which re-opened on June 4, are likely spreading coronavirus to communities all over the country. Travel-related transmission cannot be easily detected by contact tracing, which is local rather than national in nature.

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Three  New Jersey hospitals implement thermal scanning to screen patients, visitors, and employees as they enter the premises, ignoring WHO’s conclusion that such scanners – which were never intended for medical use — do little except provide a false sense of security since many COVID-infected people are free of symptoms.


Other

Ohio-based contract Epic analyst Gurnee “GG” Green will be featured in the Democratic National Convention this week, explaining how her custom clothing boutique that she opened in December 2019 has struggled due to COVID-19.

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The bond rater of Wise Health System (TX) says that one reason the health system’s margin has slipped is the cost of replacing Cerner with Allscripts, which in addition to staffing expense, created $12 million worth of revenue cycle inefficiency. It notes, however, that Wise Health Surgical Hospital improved its revenue cycle performance in 2019 following the EHR implementation.


Sponsor Updates

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  • The Ettain Group donates laptops to the Dottie Rose Foundation in support of its STEM and family-assistance efforts.
  • Clinical Architecture will present during Logica’s Summer 2020 Virtual Meeting August 18-20.
  • Everbridge wins The Help Desk Institute’s 2020 Best Customer Experience Award.

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 8/17/20

August 16, 2020 News 15 Comments

Top News

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Health IT vendor TeleTracking refuses to answer the Senate Health Committee’s questions about its $10.2 million contract to develop a HHS COVID-19 hospitalization reporting database to replace one used by CDC.

TeleTracking says it signed an NDA that prohibits it from explaining to Congress how it collects and shares data, the nature of its proposal to HHS, and communication it may have had with the White House or other government officials.

The Pittsburgh-based company directed such inquiries to HHS, which has not responded to a June 3 inquiry from Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), who asked why the government was creating what seemed to be a duplicate data collection system.

HHS CIO Jose Arrieta, who defended the contract and insisted that the work was bid competitively despite appearances that it was not, resigned Friday.

TeleTracking’s contract runs just five months, after which it can bill the government for an extension.


Reader Comments

From Concerned Exhibitor: “Re: HIMSS21. What are companies doing now that it has been moved to August? The contract says that if HIMSS21 cancels for any reason, HIMSS will keep 50% of exhibitor payments. Wondering if people will be attending, or will it be a vendor pool?” I’ll make that my weekly poll below, but based on the one I did a couple of weeks ago, nobody will decide anything until they can assess the pandemic situation.

From Minesweeper: “Re: HIMSS21. You should get them to sponsor the return of HIStalkapalooza – bet that would get people back in the mood to attend the conference!” I’ve never missed the headache and financial risk that was involved with throwing a party for everybody else for 10 years, so I’m happy to abrogate that responsibility.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Two-thirds of poll respondents say they would not return to campus if so required by their employer, although skeptics might observe that respondent bravado might not evidence itself in a “get in here or you’re fired” scenario, possibly also noting that Epic employees who were (at that time) being forced back to campus for reasons they might not find adequate may have worked to get out the vote.

New poll to your right or here: Health system / provider employees: do you think you’ll attend HIMSS21? (assume COVID isn’t a factor by then). I realize that the unknowns are significant at this point, but I’m curious about those who have a pretty good idea of which way they’re leaning if pandemic issues are excluded. If the pandemic is still active, then it might just be exhibitors talking to cardboard cutouts.

Listening: new from Fantastic Negrito, the stage name for 52-year-old, Grammy-winning blues singer Xavier Dphrepaulezz (clearly the rebrand was justified). He had a rough upbringing and supported himself with various illegal activities over the years, but has turned into a thoughtful observer of society and the power of individuals to change it.

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Capsule Technologies, which is upgrading from Gold. The Andover, MA company offers Medical Device Information Platform, which provides device integration, vital signs monitoring, and clinical surveillance solutions. It captures streaming clinical data from connected systems and transforms it into context-rich information for clinical documentation, alarm management, patient surveillance, decision support, predictive analytics, clinical research and more. The company’s 2,900 global clients use its platform to improve patient safety, simplify workflows, and raise satisfaction. The company recently announced its Ventilated Patient Surveillance workstation, launched at Yale New Haven Health System, that allows staff to monitor live streaming data from ventilators to minimize in-room exposure and PPE consumption for patients in temporary ICU rooms that don’t have hallway windows or easily-heard alarms. CEO Hemant Goel is an engineer by training with 30 years of healthcare IT leadership experience. Thanks to Capsule Technologies for supporting HIStalk.


Webinars

August 19 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “A New Approach to Normalizing Data.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Rajiv Haravu, senior product manager, IMO; Denise Stoermer, product manager, IMO. Healthcare organizations manage an ever-increasing abundance of information from multiple systems, but problems with quality, accuracy, and completeness can make analysis unreliable for quality improvement and population health initiatives. The presenters will describe how IMO Precision Normalize improves clinical, quality, and financial decision-making by standardizing inconsistent diagnosis, procedure, medication, and lab data from diverse systems into common, clinically validated terminology.

September 3 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “How Does A Global Pandemic Reshape Health IT? A Panel Discussion.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Rob Wallace, chief product officer, IMO; Andrew S. Kanter, MD, MPH, chief medical officer, IMO; Lori Kevin, VP of enterprise IT and security, IMO; Sahas Subramanian, MCA, enterprise architect, IMO. As COVID-19 continues to spread, regulation changes, code system updates, and an increased reliance on technology are making it hard to stay on top of the many ways the pandemic is altering health IT. What’s more, we’re confronting challenges that rely heavily on technological solutions – like accurate reporting tools or telehealth adaptations – and we need those solutions now. The panel of subject matter experts across the enterprise will share insights on how the global pandemic is reshaping the health IT world.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Starboard Value, the activist investor whose purchase of just 1.2% of Cerner shares convinced the company to give it four board seats in April 2019, reduces its CERN holdings to 2.6 million shares, about 0.8% of the outstanding shares, worth less than $200 million. CERN shares have gone up 16% since the day Cerner capitulated, although the Nasdaq has moved up 38% in the same timeframe.


People

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Karen Mellin (Swisslog) joins Harris Computer as EVP.


Announcements and Implementations

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India Prime Minister Narendra Modi announces the National Digital Health Mission, in which all citizens will be issue a health ID card that links to a hospital-stored record of doctor visits, prescriptions, and tests. The voluntary program’s six systems include HealthID, DigiDoctor, Health Facility Registry, Personal Health Records, E-Pharmacy, and Telemedicine, of which all but the last two are already running. The government will issue specifications to allow companies to develop FHIR-connected solutions for the system. 


Government and Politics

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HHS CIO Jose Arrieta resigned unexpectedly Friday night after 16 months on the job, saying he wants to spend time with his kids. It was the first CIO job for Arrieta, whose background was technology contracting.

Also resigning Friday were CDC’s chief of staff and deputy chief of staff, political appointees who had been accused by the White House of being insufficient loyal. They are forming a consulting firm.


COVID-19

The US death count ran past the 160,000 mark this weekend in 5.3 million cases.

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COVID Tracking Project says Texas testing numbers are out of whack, with the number of tests dropping by 50% over a 10-day period followed by a record number of new tests on August 13 even as cases didn’t decline much. State-level data does not match that of the five countries with the highest volume of testing to date. The project reviewed the state’s data file and speculate that a state system upgrade to an electronic lab reporting system caused some tests to be uncounted in mishandling “pending assignment” tests. Questionable numbers from Texas are skewing national data because of the state’s size and significant COVID-19 outbreak.

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FDA issues emergency use authorization for the SalivaDirect COVID-19 rapid diagnostic test that was developed by the Yale School of Public Health. The test offers major supply chain benefits since samples can be collected in any sterile container, it does not require a RNA extraction kit that is prone to shortages, and it can use a variety of common reagents and instruments. It also does not require use of a long nasal swab for sample collection. Yale will provided the test as an open source protocol to anyone who wants to manufacture it. Material cost is about $1 to $4 and results take just three hours. The NBA has been using the test since June.

Researchers prove that N95 masks can be cleaned for re-use by using multi-cookers such as the Instant Pot, which inactivated 99.9% of virus in a 50-minute dry heat cycle without pressure. Filtration capability was not affected after 20 cleanings.

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Google Cloud extends free access to its COVID-19 public datasets through September 15, 2021.

CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD warns that public health will be jeopardized in the fall if Americans don’t start wearing masks, distancing, and improving the 50% flu shot rate to 65%. Otherwise, he says the combination of COVID-19 and flu could overwhelm some health systems.

Trials of promising antibody drugs to treat COVID-19 are being delayed by hospitals that are reassigning researchers to patient care roles as well as patients who are reluctant to participate. Companies that hoped to start shipping antibody doses by September are now looking toward the end of the year. Delayed test results are excluding prospective study patients because the drugs must be started within a few days of symptom onset. Hospitals also express concern about giving researchers on-campus space and bringing infected patients to campus for their infusions. Patients are passing in some cases because they assume they’ll get better on their own and don’t want to bother with participating if they might get a placebo anyway.

A CDC survey finds that 31% of unpaid caregivers for adults and 22% of essential workers considered suicide in previous 30 days.


Other

Revenue cycle company R1 RCM is apparently hit by a ransomware attack.

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Epic notifies employees that it will immediately consolidate its training, implementation, QA, and technical communications under an application services division.

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Cerner-sponsored Life Aid, which was launched in March to address veteran and first responder suicide, will be featured in a Discovery Channel special on August 30.

Bizarre: cosmetic surgeons are being overwhelmed with patients have who noticed sags and droopy eyes on their Zoom calls and want to trade their Botox for the scalpel. Some patients have realized that distancing and face masks are ideal for hiding post-op bruises and swelling. One 62-year-old woman spent $20,000 on a tummy tuck and breast job, rationalizing that she isn’t spending money on gas and shopping. Demand is also up for liposuction to address pandemic-driven weight gain.


Sponsor Updates

  • CI Security publishes its “2020 H1 US Healthcare Data Breach Report.”
  • OpenText reports fourth quarter and fiscal year 2020 financial results.
  • PerfectServe announces bidirectional integration between its clinical communication platform and Nuance’s PowerConnect Actionable Findings solution within the radiologist’s Nuance PowerScribe reporting workflow.
  • Relatient adds virtual waiting room capabilities to its patient engagement platform to meet the need for contactless and remote patient arrivals.
  • CNBC’s Mad Money features SailPoint CEO Mark McClain.
  • Spirion wins 2020 Tech Ascension Awards for Best SecOps and Best Compliance Solutions.
  • TriNetX opens registration for the virtual TriNetX Summit September 22-23.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 8/14/20

August 13, 2020 News 18 Comments

Top News

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Health Catalyst reports Q2 results: revenue up 18%, adjusted EPS -$0.15 versus -$0.21, beating Wall Street expectations for both.

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Health Catalyst also announced that it will acquire RCM software and services vendor Vitalware for $120 million in cash and shares. The purchase marks the company’s third acquisition this year, having acquired Able Health for $27 million in February and Healthfinch for $40 million last month.

The company also announced that Northwell Health has signed up for its Data Operating System analytics and applications platform.


Reader Comments

From Hope Springs Eternal: “Re: Ascension. Announced at an all-hands meeting Tuesday that the service desk, server, and network operations teams will be eliminated and outsourced to Accenture and HCL. The process will be completed by November 25, 2020, with affected associates getting severance and training assistance. I don’t know if the service desk calls will be handled in India as the coding now is.” Unverified, but also reported by a few folks on TheLayoff.com who noted that Ascension started down this path a couple of years ago.

From Ring Ring: “Re: CHIME. I’m hearing that it is looking to fully separate itself from HIMSS. Not necessarily news since they operate separately, but I’m more interested in the political presentation. Will CHIME no longer be held in conjunction with HIMSS and co-present the CIO of the Year award? Feels like there’s a story there, but I’m just not sure what it is.” Unverified.

From Demand Management: “Re: Medlio. What happened to them? We had them set up for our FHIR implementation and got the app downloaded and working, but now the app isn’t working and has been removed from the Apple store. The company’s website also doesn’t launch. We use TouchWorks and Medlio is still on their vendor list.” Medlio’s website is indeed down, their Twitter went silent a year and a half ago, and one of the founders seems to have taken a full-time job elsewhere, according to LinkedIn. Medlio has also been removed from the Allscripts app store, it appears. I’ve emailed the company but haven’t heard back. Seems like they would have let folks know if they are kaput.

From Daddy Sang Bass: “Re: Deep Purple. Begs the question, best rock bass player of all time?” My top five, in order: Chris Squire (Yes), John Entwistle (The Who), Geddy Lee (Rush), Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), and Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers). Honorable mention: Gary Thain (Uriah Heep), Carol Kaye (The Wrecking Crew), Mike Rutherford (Genesis), Paul McCartney (The Beatles), and Tony Levin (King Crimson). I can’t think of any contenders from newer bands, but I don’t claim to listen to many of them – maybe Joe Dart from funk band Vulfpeck.


Webinars

August 19 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “A New Approach to Normalizing Data.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Rajiv Haravu, senior product manager, IMO; Denise Stoermer, product manager, IMO. Healthcare organizations manage an ever-increasing abundance of information from multiple systems, but problems with quality, accuracy, and completeness can make analysis unreliable for quality improvement and population health initiatives. The presenters will describe how IMO Precision Normalize improves clinical, quality, and financial decision-making by standardizing inconsistent diagnosis, procedure, medication, and lab data from diverse systems into common, clinically validated terminology.

September 3 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “How Does A Global Pandemic Reshape Health IT? A Panel Discussion.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Rob Wallace, chief product officer, IMO; Andrew S. Kanter, MD, MPH, chief medical officer, IMO; Lori Kevin, VP of enterprise IT and security, IMO; Sahas Subramanian, MCA, enterprise architect, IMO. As COVID-19 continues to spread, regulation changes, code system updates, and an increased reliance on technology are making it hard to stay on top of the many ways the pandemic is altering health IT. What’s more, we’re confronting challenges that rely heavily on technological solutions – like accurate reporting tools or telehealth adaptations – and we need those solutions now. The panel of subject matter experts across the enterprise will share insights on how the global pandemic is reshaping the health IT world.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Waystar will acquire Medicare-focused revenue cycle technology vendor ESolutions in a deal that values the company at over $1.3 billion. Francisco Partners acquired ESolutions in January 2015.

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Care pathway automation company Lumeon raises $30 million in a Series D investment round, bringing its total funding to $79 million. The London-based company plans to expand its US presence.

Scotland-based Craneware will raise $100 million, about 20% of its market value, to fund potential acquisitions from a small number of opportunities it has identified.

AI-powered healthcare messaging vendor MPulse Mobile raises $16 million in a Series C funding round.

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MDLive’s CEO says the company plans to launch an IPO early next year, encouraged by Teladoc’s announced $18.5 billion acquisition of Livongo.


Sales

  • NorthBay Healthcare will implement PeraHealth’s Rothman Index patient surveillance technology at its two hospitals in Solano County, California.
  • Northwell Health (NY) selects Health Catalyst’s Data Operating System.

People

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LexisNexis Risk Solutions promotes Todd Garlitz to head of marketing for its healthcare business.

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Provider search and scheduling vendor Kyruus hires Jamie Kiggen (Yotpo) as CFO.

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Orleans Community Health (NY) promotes CIO Marc Shurtz to interim CEO/CFO.


Announcements and Implementations

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Philips announces GA of Rapid Deployment Equipment Kits to help ICUs ramp up patient monitoring capabilities in the event of a COVID-19 surge.

Medhost expands its price transparency solution to allow providers to comply with the requirement to publicly post charges for 300 shoppable services by January 1, 2021.


Government and Politics

DirectTrust President and CEO Scott Stuewe tells me via email that while the VA OIG’s report on HIE use blamed low Direct use in the VA on lack of training from DirectTrust, along with facilities whose community partners don’t use it, DirectTrust doesn’t offer end-user training. DirectTrust is a membership and standards body and relies on vendors to train users on their specific implementation of Direct Secure Messaging. The DirectTrust EHR Roundtable, in which VA participates, recognizes the variability in utilization and is creating a best practices guidelines document to advance usability and use of Direct Secure Messaging.


COVID-19

CDC warns that face masks that are equipped with exhalation vents, like those typically made for construction workers, are not effective for preventing coronavirus spread. A previous study found that “neck gaiters” that pull up from the neck to cover the mouth and nose are ineffective for the same reason they are comfortable – they don’t restrict air flow, making them even worse than not wearing a mask at all.

Cedars-Sinai tweaks a predictive analytics tool originally developed to forecast staffing needs to track hospitalization volumes, supplies, and confirmed cases. It also helps providers tailor treatments and pinpoint patients likely to be readmitted.

WHO says that even though health authorities in China have found coronavirus on the surface of frozen food, evidence does not indicate that food or the food chain is involved with virus transmission.


Other

Epic makes its planned return to campus optional, reversing its previous decision and allowing employees to work from home through at least the end of the year. The county public health department says the 50 complaints it received from Epic employees led it to ask questions about why the return to campus was necessary in light of the county’s emergency order that calls for remote work “to the greatest extent possible.”

The latest national analysis of telemedicine visits from The Chartis Group finds that utilization has fallen from its peak visit level of 50% in mid-April to between 18 and 20% as of late July. Virtual visits in COVID-19 hot spot states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona have remained above the national average.


Sponsor Updates

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  • Nordic volunteers help The River Food Pantry distribute over 100 pounds of curbside emergency food and supplies per household.
  • Gartner gives Dimensional Insight a high rating in the Gartner Peer Insights “Voice of the Customer: Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms” report.
  • To help prevent readmissions, PatientPing partners with Real Time Medical Systems to offer skilled nursing and post-acute care facilities real-time care notifications and identification of high-risk patients.
  • Healthcare Growth Partners publishes its “HIT July 2020 Insights.”
  • In the UK, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust pilots Imprivata’s Identity Governance technology.
  • New Mexico’s Bernalillo County selects Netsmart’s CareManager technology to help coordinate care for people transitioning out of its correctional facilities.
  • Medhost expands its Price Transparency solution to help providers comply with the updated Price Transparency Policy from CMS.
  • Phynd receives Avia Health’s Vetted Designation for 2020 for its Phynd 360 provider data management platform and Phynd Provider Search software.
  • Central Logic will host the online AO2 Summit on September 15.
  • PatientPing partners with Real Time Medical Systems to reduce hospital readmissions from skilled nursing and post-acute care facilities.
  • Audacious Inquiry marks a decade as one of America’s fastest-growing private companies.
  • Empericus incorporates Wolters Kluwer Health’s Health Language Reference Data Management capabilities into its Health Intelligence EHR for athletes.
  • New data from Experity customer sites shows record urgent care patient volumes in July.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 8/12/20

August 11, 2020 News 18 Comments

Top News

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Providence-owned Providence Services Group acquires Meditech-focused consulting firm Navin Haffty.

Providence had previously acquired Meditech hosting and services vendor Engage, which will allow the combined companies to offer consulting, service desk, application support, staff augmentation, and technical services.

Providence also owns Epic consulting firm Bluetree and runs an Epic Community Connect hosting business.

The health system said last year that it planned to create a $1 billion business from its non-clinical investments. It  has 51 hospitals, over 1,000 clinics, and 120,000 employees.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Listening: new from Deep Purple, not excavated from a 1970s music vault along with related artifacts such as Hammond A-100s and Gibson SGs, but rather offering a fresh-sounding entry in the barren wasteland of new hard rock. It will be a certain nose-scruncher for most folks who were raised on Auto-Tuned singer-dancers and hip-hoppers, but let’s see how those musicians hold up after 50+ years, 21 albums, and one original member left (72-year-old drummer Ian Paice, a much lesser figure than former members Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore). Just turn it up to 11 and hope you end up being a cool septuagenarian like these grandpas who can take you back if you’ve been, or take you there if you haven’t. The part at 2:13 is a dead ringer for Yes’s “Starship Trooper.” 


Webinars

August 19 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “A New Approach to Normalizing Data.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Rajiv Haravu, senior product manager, IMO; Denise Stoermer, product manager, IMO. Healthcare organizations manage an ever-increasing abundance of information from multiple systems, but problems with quality, accuracy, and completeness can make analysis unreliable for quality improvement and population health initiatives. The presenters will describe how IMO Precision Normalize improves clinical, quality, and financial decision-making by standardizing inconsistent diagnosis, procedure, medication, and lab data from diverse systems into common, clinically validated terminology.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Private equity firm K1 Investment Manager makes a significant investment in Rethink Autism, which offers a development disabilities platform that includes assessment, treatment planning, e-learning tools, analytics, and practice management. Rethink recently acquired pediatric therapy telehealth provider TheraWe. Rethink’s co-founders came from a company that provided labels and tags for the retail clothing industry.

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Investors are noting that the combined market value of Teladoc and Livongo has dropped nearly $10 billion in the week since the former’s $18.5 billion acquisition of the latter was announced. Above is the one-year share performance of Teladoc (blue, up 188%), Livongo (red, up 212%), and the Nasdaq index (green, up 38%). It’s uglier over the past five days, where TDOC and LVGO have dropped 25% and 19%, respectively, since the announcement. 


Sales

  • New Mexico’s largest county will implement Netsmart’s CareManager for post-incarceration population health and care management.

People

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Clearinghouse operator Jopari hires Tom Turi (The SSI Group) as chief sales and marketing officer.


Announcements and Implementations

Stanford University’s Stanford Center for Health Education launches “AI and Healthcare,” an online, four-course certification program that will be taught by its medical school faculty. Courses in the Coursera program include “Introduction to Healthcare,” “Introduction to Clinical Data,” “Fundamentals of Machine Learning for Healthcare,” and “Evaluations of AI Applications in Healthcare,” which are followed by a capstone project. The only cost specified is the $79 per course Coursera certificate fee.

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Philips announces Virtual Care Station, a telehealth environment for public areas such as stores, libraries, and universities. The company developed the technology for the VA’s ATLAS program, which offers virtual clinics to American Legion and VFW posts.


Government and Politics

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I wondered what happened to former Rep. John Fleming, MD (R-LA), who President Trump appointed to the newly created position of deputy assistant secretary for health technology in 2017. He seemed uncertain about the job when it was announced, initially stating that he was interviewing to become national coordinator, but then admitting, “I think it’s the same or a similar position – I really don’t know.” He apparently didn’t last long there – President Trump appointed him to become Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development in 2018, and then in March 2020 he was appointed Assistant to the President for Planning and Implementation. I can’t find any evidence that his former ONC position still exists. I interviewed him in January 2018.

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Cerner VP of Strategic Growth Amanda Adkins, who took a leave from the company to seek a US House of Representative seat, wins the Republican primary and vows to defeat Rep. Sharice Davids, who is serving her first term. The healthcare platform of Adkins, a former state Republican party chairwoman, supports creating a national COVID-19 response plan and says the ACA is a failed experiment that increased cost. She says healthcare should be smarter, more transparent, and more affordable, but I haven’t seen her plan for achieving that.


COVID-19

Russia approves a COVID-19 vaccine that has not undergone widespread clinical trials and for which no Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials data has been published, raising concerns that President Vladimir Putin may be placing national pride and political gain ahead of consumer safety. Another theory is that Russia is trying to goad the US into rushing its own vaccines to market or to confuse the issue following its rumored disinformation campaigns. Russia says it will start vaccinating teachers and medical workers this month with Sputnik-V, the name it chose for the vaccine that reflects the world’s surprise in October 1957 that the Soviet Union had launched the first artificial Earth satellite, which triggered a space race with the US.

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD notes that the US might get just one shot (pun intended, I assume) with a vaccine in a given season since it would be difficult to mount two vaccination campaigns in a short period. He says he would not take a vaccine like Russia’s that has been tested on only a few hundred people and says Russia is certainly not ahead of the US in that regard.

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The New York Times questions whether federal government newcomer and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD has the fortitude and political savvy to stand up for patient safety under White House pressure to release a COVID-19 vaccine quickly. Hahn is not allowed to speak to the press by phone without having HHS spokesperson and longtime Trump supporter Michael Caputo on the line. FDA has been criticized for delaying approval of alternative COVID-19 diagnostic tests after CDC’s were found defective, allowing untested antibody tests to flood the market with minimal oversight, and for granting emergency use approval – revoked three weeks later – for using hydroxychloroquine in hospitalized patients.

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California public health director Sonia Angell, MD, MPH resigns for unspecified reasons, one week after the state reported that it had underreported new cases due to a technical issue with electronic lab reports.

Mexico’s high COVID-19 death count is understated because residents are justifiably afraid of hospitals. Mexico City’s hospitals report that 40% of patients who are admitted with confirmed cases die in house and half of those deaths occur within 12 hours of admission. People who die at home aren’t tested and thus aren’t counted as being among the country’s 53,000 COVID-19 fatalities, although Mexico reported 71,000 more deaths than were expected in the spring. President Andres Manuel Lopez has urged citizens to stay home and use religious amulets instead of going to the hospital, and 70% of people say they would not feel safe taking a loved one to the hospital, some because of conspiracy theories involving genocide and organ harvesting.

An eight-state review of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes finds that higher staffing levels – but not health inspection scores or quality measure ratings – are associated with fewer cases. I would be interested in seeing an expanded analysis that considers ownership since I would bet that for-profit homes, especially those owned by private equity-backed chains, fall short in areas like staffing levels and infection control.

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One-third of polled Americans, including more than half of Republicans, say they would not take a free FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine. On a slightly optimistic note, a 1954 survey about the then-new polio vaccine yielded about the same result.

A new study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds that an area’s density (population plus employment divided by land area) isn’t the primary driver of COVID-19 infection rates – it’s the degree of an area’s crowding into tight spaces, such bars, restaurants, sporting and entertainment events, and beaches. The authors believe that while density increases the incidence of close contact that theoretically should increase infection rate, that isn’t the case because people who live in dense areas are better at social distancing and wearing masks. They also conclude that evidence does not exist to support the move of city dwellers and businesses to the suburbs to avoid COVID-19.

The beginning of the end may be near for the fall 2020 college football season as the Big Ten postpones all fall sports, with football to be played in the spring if at all. The other four Power Five conferences haven’t announced their plans, although insiders say the PAC-12 has also decided not to play and doubts that spring football will happen either. 

University of Florida researchers detect live coronavirus in air samples taken up to 16 feet from hospitalized COVID-19 patients, raising the possibility of air-only spread, although the low viral quantities make it unclear whether people would likely become infected. The six-foot distancing recommendation assumes that only large droplets carry the virus. 


Other

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Epic delayed its mandatory employee return to campus after the county health department warned the company that “remote work” does not mean sitting alone in private, on-campus offices as Epic had interpreted. The health department told Epic that such action might violate the county’s order. They’ve asked Epic to justify why it needs employees to work from the office starting September 21, not mentioning the first wave of returnees that was to have taken place this past Monday or the 4,000+ employees that were already working voluntarily on campus.

In the Philippines, the government-owned universal health coverage insurer says the agency is losing $50 million per week due to corruption that is enabled by weak IT systems. The anti-corruption commission says that PhilHealth’s executives and employees are filing claims for non-existent patients, while hospitals are upcoding visits to obtain higher payment and are falsely claiming to be treating COVID-19 cases to obtain emergency funds. The agency denies charges that its executives pocketed $300 million last year.

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Two former employees of Talkspace, which offers text messaging based psychiatric counseling provided by contractors, claim that the company mines session transcripts for marketing purposes. Other former employees say that the company, which was getting stung by bad app store reviews, asked employees to create fake positive reviews and gave them burner phones to avoid getting caught. Talkspace’s executives deny the claims. Some of its contract providers complain that the company advertises 24/7 therapy even though it tells them they can set their own business hours; gives users a “I need help now” button that therapists must respond to quickly to avoid having their pay docked; and advertises therapy services even though a former version of its user agreement made it clear that it offers a “therapeutic conversation” but not “therapy.” The company charges $260 per month for unlimited asynchronous message response or $396 with four live, 30-minute sessions.


Sponsor Updates

  • Health Catalyst will participate in the virtual Verity Research HCIT/Services Conference on August 12, and the Canaccord Genuity Annual Growth Conference on August 13.
  • BioWorld profiles the use of Saykara’s voice-enabled mobile AI assistant at MIMIT Health, which reports a 500% productivity boost. 
  • CareSignal and Innovaccer partner to combine population health data technology and deviceless remote patient monitoring.
  • The Chartis Group promotes Laura Stearns to VP of talent development.
  • Norway’s Directorate of Health relies on Everbridge’s Public Warning software to alert citizens traveling internationally to mitigate COVID-19 risks.

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