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News 12/2/20

December 1, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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ONC, HL7, and other participants announce Project US@, which hopes to publish a healthcare standard for representing patient addresses sometime next year.

The project will review the US Postal Service Postal Addressing Standards, but says those can’t be adopted directly because they include both “preferred” and “acceptable” spellings and abbreviations and also require manual reconciliation with reference files.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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No, Politico, Vice-President Pence did not say that the “calvary” was coming, unless he was referencing religion or geography and you forgot to capitalize.


Webinars

December 3 (Thursday) noon ET. “Why Patient-Centered Billing: How University Physicians’ Association Increased Revenue and Reduced Days to Pay.” Sponsor: Relatient. Presenter: Christy Bailey, VP, University Physicians’ Association. Financial recovery calls for a better patient financial experience as providers drive revenue, engage patients, and reduce costs and bad debt. The presenter will talk about patients as payers and how delivering a financial experience that meets their expectations can improve the financial outcomes of providers, hospitals, and health systems.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Virtual healthcare collaboration and delivery company Andor Health announces a Series A funding round from Microsoft’s M12 venture fund. CEO Raj Toleti’s health IT leadership experience includes stints at early patient kiosk company Galvanon (acquired by NCR), PatientPoint, and HealthGrid, which he co-founded and later sold to Allscripts.

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Workforce solutions company HealthStream acquires Change Healthcare’s capacity management business, including its Ansos staff scheduling software, for $67.5 million in cash. Ninety Change employees will join HealthStream’s Workforce Solutions business, which includes its previous acquisitions ShiftWizard and NurseGrid.

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Healthcare process automation vendor Olive achieves a $1.5 billion valuation after announcing a $225 million financing round.

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Salesforce acquires Slack for $27.7 billion. 


Sales

  • Med Smart Wellness Centers will implement EHR and billing software from AdvancedMD at its first facility in Aventura, FL.

People

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Spok names Kristen Lalowski, RN (MDLive) chief product officer.

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Cheryl Pegus, MD (Cambia Health Solutions) will join Walmart as EVP of health and wellness.

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Apervita hires David Yakimischak (ConnectiveRx) as CTO.

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Eric Nilsson (The SSI Group) joins Medstreaming as CTO.


Announcements and Implementations

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Agfa Healthcare announces GA of Rubee for AI, specialty-specific AI software for enterprise imaging.

The Vascular Institute of Chattanooga (TN) implements Saykara’s voice-enabled, mobile AI assistant for clinical charting.


COVID-19

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A record 96,039 Americans were in the hospital with COVID-19 on Monday even as “data wobbles” that were caused by delayed reporting over Thanksgiving and the weekend will likely cause a spike in testing, case, and death counts during this week’s data submission catch-up. Total US COVID-19 deaths are at 269,000. Experts are questioning whether the decrease in week-ago new cases versus new hospitalizations as a percentage means that hospitals are sending people home who would have been sick enough to admit before beds became scarce.

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Controversial White House coronavirus advisor and radiologist Scott Atlas, MD resigns his temporary position after four months, declaring in his resignation letter that his entire focus was to save lives using the latest science and evidence without political consideration. 

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A CDC advisory committee met Tuesday afternoon to determine which groups will be the first to receive a coronavirus vaccine. Meanwhile, analysis of 534,000 COVID-19 Medicare claims finds that the most significant risk factors for over-65 coronavirus deaths are advanced age (over 85 years of age), male sex, and non-white race. Leading comorbidities are sickle cell disease, chronic kidney disease, leukemias and lymphomas, heart failure, and diabetes. Authors of the pre-print research suggest that CDC consider these factors in its prioritization.

CDC will reportedly reduce its recommended 10-day isolation period for people with known COVID-19 infection to five days, reflecting new analysis that suggests that most spread occurs from two days before symptom onset to five days after. The reduced isolation would make it more likely that infected people will comply.

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Carnegie Mellon University’s Delphi Research Group enhances its COVIDcast real-time, community-level COVID-19 indicators with de-identified claims data from Change Healthcare.

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A CDC analysis finds that COVID-19 hospital information from the HHS Protect system sharply diverges from other hospital data sources that are used by many states, potentially giving government health officials and hospital personnel inaccurate estimates of disease burden and resource availability. One official has said HHS data is of poor quality, inconsistent with state reports, and presented with slipshod analysis. Responsibility for COVID-19 hospital data was abruptly transitioned from the CDC to HHS in July, with data collection handled by TeleTracking and database management by Palantir. 


Other

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Alphabet’s DeepMind says it has developed an AI system that has solved the “protein folding problem” decades ahead of expectations, which will allow faster drug development and use of existing drugs to treat new viruses and diseases. The company has not said how it will share its findings.

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The Association of Health Care Journalists calls HIMSS an “industry trade group,” which made me recall the quick correction that HIMSS issued years ago when I called out that its own press released identified it as such (correctly, I would argue) for the first time.


Sponsor Updates

  • Bluetree hires Christal Kozloski to direct its new Payer Solutions portfolio.
  • Frost & Sullivan recognizes Change Healthcare with its 2020 North American Cloud-Based Enterprise Imaging Customer Value Leadership Award.
  • CI Security will exhibit at the Atlanta Virtual Cybersecurity Summit December 2-3.
  • Digital.com includes AdvancedMD, Cerner, and EClinicalWorks among the best medical billing companies of 2020.
  • Diameter Health will host its second annual customer forum virtually December 3-4.
  • Engage publishes a new case study, “Engage’s ‘Army of Experts’ Provides Integrated Hosting and Consulting Services for Meditech Implementation at San Luis Valley Health.”
  • Lumeon makes its patient appointment reminders, and virtual care and telehealth solutions available in the Epic App Orchard.
  • The EverCare Group implements Wolters Kluwer Health’s UpToDate Advanced clinical decision support software at its hospitals in Africa and India.
  • Summit Healthcare expands its integration partnership with EMPI vendor NextGate to include real-time patient identification across its network of hospital systems.

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 11/30/20

November 29, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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University of Vermont Health Network restores access to Epic at all locations nearly a month after malware took its systems down and forced recordkeeping back to paper.

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Epic MyChart was brought back online Friday, although new signups are not yet allowed and some test results will be presented as scanned documents. EpicCare Link was also restored, which gives community providers read-only access to the information of shared patients.

The health system says that bills, statements, and payment processing are delayed. Patient charges incurred since the October 28 downtime began have not been posted.

A New York Times article looks at the patient impact of the system downtime – cancer patients were sent away, staff used paper and their own memories to reconstruct chemotherapy protocols, and patients were not contacted to reschedule appointments for cancelled critical visits and imaging studies.


Reader Comments

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From WARN Actor: “Re: Providence Portland. Filed a WARN Act notice that it will lay off 183 employees in transitioning work to a third-party vendor. Wonder who the vendor is?” The affected positions all involve billing and coding and are located in the Portland Office Park. Christmastime layoffs always seem insensitive, but it sounds like almost all of those affected will be offered positions with the unnamed vendor.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Thanks to readers who anonymously shared their total company compensation for 2020. I’m not much of a money-motivated guy, so my only reaction is to hope that every reader has enough income and assets to climb past the bottom two levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (physiological and safety) to move more importantly to the three higher ones (love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization).

New poll to your right or here: Of which groups are you a member?


Webinars

December 3 (Thursday) noon ET. “Why Patient-Centered Billing: How University Physicians’ Association Increased Revenue and Reduced Days to Pay.” Sponsor: Relatient. Presenter: Christy Bailey, VP, University Physicians’ Association. Financial recovery calls for a better patient financial experience as providers drive revenue, engage patients, and reduce costs and bad debt. The presenter will talk about patients as payers and how delivering a financial experience that meets their expectations can improve the financial outcomes of providers, hospitals, and health systems.

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


People

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Reed Gardner, PhD, health informatics pioneer and professor emeritus of the biomedical informatics department of University of Utah, died last week at 83 of injuries he sustained in a fall.


COVID-19

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US hospitalizations for COVID-19 are at 92,000 as hospitals report a lack of beds and clinicians to staff them. The daily death count threatens to break its mid-April record as new cases approach 200,000 per day and lack of Thanksgiving precautions is likely to create a big upswing in the next two weeks.

State and local health officials are streamline or abandoning COVID-19 contact tracing efforts because while it would have been helpful in stemming outbreaks early in the pandemic, the virus is now spreading freely and there’s little to learn or gain when almost any group setting will include one or more infected people.

Stat reports that health systems are using AI to assign COVID-19 risk scores despite lack of proof that they correlate to real-world outcomes or that their training was broad enough to be generalizable. Stanford Health Care has developed its own model and is testing it against Epic’s free tool.

Anthony Fauci, MD says on a Sunday news program to “close the bars and keep the schools open,” noting that spread from and among children is not a significant issue.

In Brazil, the medical information of 16 million COVID-19 patients is exposed when a hospital employee uploads a worksheet containing login credentials to the country’s two coronavirus government databases to GitHub. The employee says he uploaded the file while working on a computer modeling project and forgot to take it back down.

Britain may begin mass COVID-19 vaccinations early this week as the country’s regulators are fast-tracking emergency approval of Pfizer’s product and potentially its homegrown AstraZeneca vaccine whose testing was flawed. The British government has pre-ordered 355 million doses of seven vaccine products. Its “Union unit” that fights UK breakup proposals, such as Scottish independence, is demanding that vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine bear the Union Jack, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists that nothing like that is being considered.

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The mayor of Longmont, CO backs away from his plan to make it illegal for the city’s two hospitals or other healthcare providers to provide services to COVID-19 patients who live in a county or city whose government refuses to comply with the state’s emergency orders, such as Weld County. Weld County’s commissioners have said they will ignore the state department of health’s Level Red restrictions and will leave it up to residents to do whatever they think is best, also noting that the case numbers are rising despite previous mandates.

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Sanford Health fires CEO Kelly Krabbenhoft following his email to employees in which he said he would not wear a mask because he believes himself to be immune following his coronavirus recovery.

All three quarterbacks of the Denver Broncos have been quarantined for five days following coronavirus exposure, forcing the team to start a wide receiver who last played quarterback in college. Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers are struggling to find alternatives for upcoming scheduled home games that won’t be allowed under new state restrictions.

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Sixty Air Force nurses spent Thanksgiving working at staff-stretched hospitals in North Dakota. Captain Ronald Golemboski, a nurse from the 96th Medical Group from Eglin Air Force Base who served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, summarizes, “It’s always hard. But as members of the Department of Defense, we’re tasked to fight all enemies, and that’s whoever and wherever they may be, including this virus.”


Other

A technologist says that videogame publishers are moving away from publishing apps – and the control and revenue they cede to app store owners Google and Apple – and instead are using advanced browser functionality. Apps won over websites in the early days because they were superior, but increasingly sophisticated browser capabilities paired with cloud computing would allow developers to release a single product version that would work on any device without being beholden to app stores.

In India, a hospital turns in a medical resident for hiring a nurse to impersonate him in making his hospital rounds and signing his timesheets, where the imposter wore a face mask to avoid detection.

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Practice Fusion founder and former CEO Ryan Howard pens an article titled “How to Prevent Your Company from Being Used for Evil From a Founder Who’s Been There,” making these points:

  • He says he was never contacted by the Department of Justice with regard to the opioid kickback scandal that cost Practice Fusion’s acquirer Allscripts $145 million to settle and he had no contact with opioid manufacturers while he was CEO.  He created the company to “drive better health and save lives” and “to make the world a healthier place,” so he was devastated to see his life’s work corrupted by the company after they fired him in 2015.
  • Companies should be operated as a B Corp to align purpose with profit.
  • Founder board seats should be made irrevocable, independent seats should have term limits to make it easier to get rid of board members who don’t follow the company’s core values, and common board seats should be pre-allocated to eventual investors.
  • Employees should commit to a code of ethics.
  • Capital should be raised from impact-driven funds that have a social impact focus.

Sponsor Updates

  • Gartner recognizes Everbridge in its “2020 Market Guide for Crisis/Emergency Management and COVID-19 Safe Return to Work Solutions.”
  • Fortified Health Security hosts a virtual food drive to support Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.
  • Priority Health expands its partnership with MDLive to offer out-of-state behavioral health coverage to its members.
  • Alcidion Group expands its reseller agreement with NextGate beyond Australia and New Zealand to include the UK and Ireland.
  • Nuance integrates interoperability standards from the RSNA and ACR Common Data Elements Steering Subcommittee into its PowerScribe One radiology workflow and reporting software.
  • OptimizeRx hires Ivan Zivkovic (Multicom) as senior java engineer.
  • The International Medical Center in Saudi Arabia will implement the TrakCare EHR from InterSystems across its hospitals and clinics.
  • Premier President Michael Alkire helps to raise $368,405 for cancer support nonprofit Family Reach.
  • Pure Storage expands its Service Catalog, offering transparent pricing for on-premises and hybrid cloud storage delivered as-a-Service.
  • India-based Narayana Health joins the TriNetX network.
  • WebPT honors Spear Physical and Occupational Therapy with its 2020 Ascend Practice of the Year Award and SymFit Physical Therapy and Fitness as the winner of the Innovator of the Year Award.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 11/25/20

November 24, 2020 News 1 Comment

Top News

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Germany-based health IT company CompuGroup Medical will acquire ambulatory-focused health IT vendor EMDs for $240 million.

CGM paid a similar amount earlier this year to acquire Cerner products that are marketed in Germany and Spain.

EMDs, which acquired competitor Aprima nearly two years ago, employs 1,400 people in the US and India to serve 60,000 practice-based end users.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Lumeon. The Boston-based company helps health systems take control of their care delivery processes by orchestrating and automating care journeys to operate with predictability and efficiency. It acts as the auto-pilot for healthcare delivery in coordinating teams, communications, tasks, and decisions to deliver superior outcomes at a lower cost, optimize resource utilization, and increase revenue. Lumeon’s solutions are enabled by their cloud-based care pathway management (CPM) platform. Capitalizing on the patient’s electronic health record (EHR), health systems can start simply with immediate benefits and evolve to orchestrate their entire care process. More than 70 progressive health systems across 12 countries have deployed Lumeon’s multi-award-winning platform. Thanks to Lumeon for supporting HIStalk.

I found this Lumeon explainer video on YouTube.

Listening: the new studio album from AC/DC, which won’t change your mind about the band either way since its sound is so predictable that it could be generated by AI. The accomplishment here is perseverance rather than boundary-pushing, but that alone is remarkable enough given the recent loss of Malcolm Young to dementia and then death, the dismissal of Brian Young due to hearing loss, the home imprisonment of drummer Phil Rudd for attempted drug-related murder for hire, the resignation of bass player Cliff Williams, and the presence of “where’s all me mates gone” 65-year-old schoolboy uniform-wearing Angus Young as the only remaining original member until recently. Johnson is back at 73 years of age after successful hearing treatment, Rudd returns post-incarceration, and Williams is back as a tribute to Malcolm Young, restoring to 60% the count of current members who were heard on 1979’s “Highway to Hell.” AC/DC’s recent business plan has been releasing a loss-leader album of songs that are indistinguishable from their hits, then cranking up the touring cash machine for fans who are happy to expensively relive their youth’s soundtrack of “Back in Black” and “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” for the thousandth time. Monetization will thus be a race between COVID limitations and the bandmates’ advancing years, but at least they’ve put out their first studio album in six years and it holds the #1 spot on Billboard’s chart, only their third album to summit that commercial apex (“Back in Black” was a curve-flattened release, selling 25 million copies, but over such a long period that it peaked at #4).


Webinars

December 3 (Thursday) noon ET. “Why Patient-Centered Billing: How University Physicians’ Association Increased Revenue and Reduced Days to Pay.” Sponsor: Relatient. Presenter: Christy Bailey, VP, University Physicians’ Association. Financial recovery calls for a better patient financial experience as providers drive revenue, engage patients, and reduce costs and bad debt. The presenter will talk about patients as payers and how delivering a financial experience that meets their expectations can improve the financial outcomes of providers, hospitals, and health systems.

December 3 (Thursday) noon ET. “Unlocking the Power of Data: How HIEs Can Better Support Their Participants.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Jaime Bland, DNP, RN, CEO, NEHII; Naresh Sundar Rajan, PhD, CTO, NEHII; Matt Cardwell, PhD, VP of client services, IMO; John Laursen, VP of business development, IMO. HIEs need accurate, actionable, and normalized EHR data to unlock its analytic power to support alerting, regulatory reporting, interoperability, and clinical surveillance. The presenters will describe how to interpret the descriptions and standard code sets that health system partners send, how leading HIEs use normalized data to improve their client and community offerings, and how a new normalization approach may provide operational savings.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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AI-powered predictive data modeling vendor ClosedLoop.ai raises $11 million in a Series A funding round. Co-founder and CTO Dave DeCaprio helped lead MIT’s Human Genome Project before stints at GNS Healthcare and Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine.

Special purpose acquisition company GigCapital2 will merge with Cloudbreak Health and UpHealth Holdings to create a digital health management company that will be valued at $1.35 billion. The SPAC raised $150 million during its 2019 IPO and plans to raise another $160 million to finance the deal.

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Digital patient communications company Well Health raises $45 million in a Series C financing round, bringing its total funding to $75 million.


Sales

  • Union Hospital (IN) selects Masimo’s SafetyNet patient management system to help discharged COVID-19 patients recover at home.

People

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Dana Safran (Haven) joins Well Health as SVP of value-based care and population health.

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University of Utah School of Medicine hires Yves Lussier, MD (University of Arizona) as chair of biomedical informatics.

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Sarah Sample-Reif (Incredible Health) joins Zivaro as chief strategy officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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Philips announces a vendor-neutral Radiology Operations Command Center that uses telepresence to conduct imaging operations virtually.

In England, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust goes live on Agfa HealthCare’s enterprise imaging software.

Campbell University (NC) and Wayne HealthCare (OH) implement Emerge’s ChartGenie data-conversion technology as they respectively prepare to implement Athenahealth’s EHR early next year.

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Kettering Health Network (OH) adds CenterX’s real-time prescription benefit and electronic prior authorization capabilities to its e-prescribing workflows within Epic.

A Lumeon survey of patient access executives finds that patient experience and access to care will be their most important differentiators in 2021, while more than half believe that fragmented processes and technology – such as the 72% of providers that still manually call waitlisted patients to fill cancelled appointments — prevent them from meeting their patient access goals


COVID-19

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients hit another record Monday at 85,836. The COVID Tracking Project warns that states probably won’t file complete reports until next week and thus numbers will be underreported as they were over Labor Day. It’s fascinating that a pandemic that has killed 258,000 Americans still doesn’t warrant state employees working weekends and holidays.

Experts say that CDC’s warning last week that small gatherings involving non-cohabitants are responsible for a lot of COVID-19 spread is not supported with data, but has been repeated enough times to convince states to limit such gatherings, perhaps illogically. US contact tracing has been overwhelmed with non-participation and overly wide coronavirus spread, but where state data is available, the leading sources of infection spread remain long-term care facilities, food processing plants, prisons, healthcare settings, restaurants, and bars. The New York Times notes that while Minnesota’s governor has banned people from different households from meeting indoors or outdoors, the state still allows churches, funeral homes, and wedding venues to hold indoor gatherings of up to 250 people. A Vermont ban of neighbors walking together distanced and masked while restaurants remain open for indoor dining is “bizarre,” says an infectious disease modeler who notes, “I can get together with nine of my best friends and sit around a table at a restaurant, so why can’t I do that in my house?”

Urban hospitals are being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients from rural areas in which masking orders are either absent or ignored, with the head of Kansas City’s health department saying that it’s unfair for city residents to be denied an ICU bed that is occupied by a resident of a county that goes mostly maskless.


Other

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Federal prosecutors seek a judge’s approval to use texts and other digital exchanges between Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and former president Sunny Balwani to help prove that the pair – who were once romantically linked – knew that the company’s technology was not as groundbreaking as they led investors to believe. Messages refer to terrible validation reports, the “painful” FDA approval process, and one of their labs being a “disaster zone.” The delayed trial will take place in March.


Sponsor Updates

  • Unite.ai features Saykara founder and CEO Harjinder Sandhu.
  • Change Healthcare will participate in a fireside chat during the Guggenheim Digital Health Virtual Summit December 8.
  • Clinical Architecture releases a new podcast, “Healthcare Terminology Standardization and Normalization.”
  • InterSystems releases HealthShare 2020.2 with expanded HL7 FHIR API capabilities

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 11/23/20

November 22, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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University of Vermont Health Network begins restoring access to Epic beyond a read-only view at inpatient and ambulatory sites of UVM Medical Center. The health system says that effort will require several days, with other sites to follow.

The health system will need to back-enter data nearly 30 days’ worth of manually recorded data. UVM systems have been down since October 28.

The IT team will focus on restoring MyChart once they have brought Epic back up.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Poll respondents are optimistic about their job prospects for the next year, with 80% of them expecting to hold the same or better job and 80% of those assuming they will be working for the same employer.

New poll to your right or here, and of course your answers are not trackable or identifiable: How much total compensation will you receive from your primary employer in 2020?

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Emerge. The Dallas-based company’s solutions empower healthcare professionals with superior medical data intelligence, resulting in enhanced workflows, increased efficiency, and higher quality of care. ChartScout, launched by SSO from the EHR, removes the barriers between caregivers and EHR data by accessing data from structured, free-text, and scanned image data, providing an intuitive patient chart search and visualization and personalized dashboards to facilitate patient overview and management by showing care gaps, calculations, scores, and decision support. ChartPop provides a tailored, cross-sectional view of the active patient population to create pursuit lists, fill gaps in care, and work toward better population management. The ChartGenie data conversion service provides a seamless transition between an old EHR to a new one and/or into Emerge’s cloud. A subscription also provides access to the data from both systems into a single synthetic patient view using ChartScout and ChartPop, removing data siloes and the need for toggling between EHRs. Thanks to Emerge for supporting HIStalk.


Webinars

December 3 (Thursday) noon ET. “Why Patient-Centered Billing: How University Physicians’ Association Increased Revenue and Reduced Days to Pay.” Sponsor: Relatient. Presenter: Christy Bailey, VP, University Physicians’ Association. Financial recovery calls for a better patient financial experience as providers drive revenue, engage patients, and reduce costs and bad debt. The presenter will talk about patients as payers and how delivering a financial experience that meets their expectations can improve the financial outcomes of providers, hospitals, and health systems.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Phone-connected ultrasound transducer manufacturer Butterfly IQ will go public on the NYSE in a merger with a special purpose acquisition company that values the company at $1.5 billion.


Announcements and Implementations

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Drug company Bayer will support five startups as part of its G4A Digital Health Partnerships Program. The initial class of early-stage companies are Caria (evidence-based menopause support), Elly Health (audio chronic condition education), Decipher Biosciences (genomic testing), Sweetch (data-powered disease management recommendations), and MyOnCare (patient and care team communication).


Government and Politics

The VA will expand its 5G testing to sites in Florida and Seattle following its initial work in its Palo Alto hospital, looking at technologies such Microsoft HoloLens for surgical navigation and adding telemetry monitoring to new areas of hospitals.


COVID-19

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COVID-19 tests, new cases, and hospitalized patients set records Friday, with 82,000 hospital inpatients straining capacity in many areas.

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About 1,000 hospitals have reported critical staffing shortages to HHS, although not all hospitals are submitting staffing data to the abruptly implemented HHS Protect reporting system. Hospitals note that while it’s easy to add beds, shortages of skilled personnel will force them to prioritize who receives care.

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Henry Ford Health System has had 169 employees test positive for COVID-19 in the past week, straining the five-hospital system as 19% of 900 workers were found to have coronavirus.

St. Louis hospitals say that state reports showing hospitals with plenty of available regular and ICU beds are dangerously misleading to the public, as the information that is reported to the federal government looks at beds that are licensed, not those that are staffed for appropriate COVID-19 care.

The government says that shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could start December 11, the day after FDA’s vaccine advisory committee meeting, assuming its data review is positive.

Operation Warp Speed scientific advisor Mocef Slaoui, PhD tells CNN that he expects US life to return to somewhat normal by May as a significant portion of the population will either have received a vaccine or recovered from previous infection with some degree of immunity, slowing coronavirus spread.

WHO recommends against using remdesivir to treat COVID-19 after an expert panel’s review of studies finds that it does not improve any important patient outcome, including the rate of ventilation and death. FDA gave the Gilead drug fast, full approval in October despite modest results from questionably rigorous studies.

Updated CDC guidance says that most COVID-19 infections are spread by people who do not have symptoms, making mitigation measures even more important.

Most health systems that were polled by Premier say they aren’t ready to receive and manage the administration of COVID-19 vaccines. Issues:

  • Pfizer’s vaccine requires storage at –70 degrees Celsius, which will require procurement of large ultra-cold freezers in each health system market or location and development of dry ice policies and procedures.
  • Some health systems have been designated as state vaccine distribution hubs and will need to track location, quantity, and storage temperatures in real time.
  • CDC has not yet announced how populations will be prioritized to get the vaccine.
  • Healthcare workers who will get the vaccine early will need to be pre-scheduled for staggered appointments to avoid potential coronavirus exposure while waiting in lines.
  • IT systems will need to be evaluated to capture and report vaccine storage, vaccinations administered, doses on hand, and participation in training programs, with all of the information ideally linked to the health system’s EHR.
  • Appointments for the second dose of the two-dose regimen should be made during the first-dose visit, followed by reminders to the phone number and email address captured at that time, to make sure patients receive the second dose.

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The Texas National Guard sends 36 troops to El Paso to help overworked morgue personnel deal with the large number bodies of coronavirus victims and setting up a new central morgue expansion.


Other

Expert authors say in a Harvard Business Review article that telehealth has great promise, but unintended consequences include exacerbating disparities in access and challenging clinicians with video fatigue, longer work days, and a blurring of work-life boundaries. They also note that virtual visits can increase healthcare spending via new utilization. They use HITECH experience with EHRs to suggest facilitating equitable access by offering digital help and language interpretation, engaging patients and their families, scheduling provider virtual visits in specific sessions instead of on top of a full workday, and integrated telemedicine platforms (especially those offered by for-profit telehealth services) with EHRs for continuity of care.

A Singapore doctor search and patient review website raises the ire of country’s medical and dental membership organization, whose practitioner information the company apparently scraped from its website without permission. The company says it will ignore the request of Academy of Medicine, Singapore to remove its details about practitioners and will also ignore any requests of AMS members who ask not to be listed.

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The Pro Football Hall of Fame honors Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, MD, who skipped the 2020 season as right guard for the Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs to work as an orderly in a long-term care facility on the COVID-19 front lines.


Sponsor Updates

  • OptimizeRx hires Nick Hill (Passport) as director of project management.
  • PatientPing publishes a new Use Case Spotlight, “How Heartland Alliance Health Improves Patient Engagement and Care Coordination Outcomes for Vulnerable and High-risk Patients.”
  • Cerner appoints Major General Elder Granger, MD, US Army (retired) to its Board of Directors.
  • Pure Storage introduces the Pure Validated Design Program to simplify deployment of partner solutions.
  • Redox releases a new podcast, “No Beers, No Bars, just ELRs: Electronic Lab Reporting Requirements with Dr. Louise Laurent.”
  • Relatient and TriNetX ranks on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500.
  • SOC Telemed will present at the virtual Piper Sandler Healthcare Conference December 2.
  • Waystar publishes the results of a new study, “Consumer Attitudes Toward Medical Bills + the Price Transparency Rule.”
  • Well Health and Wolters Kluwer partner to embed EmmiEngage interactive multimedia programs on diabetes education into the Well platform.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 11/20/20

November 19, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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Nuance sells its transcription services business and EScription technology to newly formed DeliverHealth Solutions, in which Nuance will hold a minority share.

The new 2,000-employee company was formed by private equity firm Assurance Healthcare Partners and outsourcer Aeries Technology Group.

CEO Michael Clark, MBA is an industry long-timer who was most recently SVP/GM of provider solutions with Nuance’s healthcare division.


Reader Comments

From EHR Warrior: “Re: SpringCharts. Another EHR headed for the dustbin. No longer ONC certified and the website lists no physical address or team members.” Unverified. The LinkedIn of CEO Jan Watson says that she’s still there, along with a dozen other folks.

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From Meditech Follower: “Re: Meditech. AVP Larry O’Toole is no longer at the company and customers working with him were not informed. He was also Meditech’s representative on CommonWell’s board.” Larry’s LinkedIn says he left Meditech in October after 18 years and is consulting.

From Focus Please: “Re: telehealth and attention spans. A recent survey found that the attention of many patients wanders during their virtual visits.” The survey found that three-fourths of male patients and 39% of women say they didn’t pay full attention during their virtual visit, with their most common distractions being surfing the web, texting or emailing, watching news or movies, and checking Facebook. It’s fascinating to me that our best and brightest have applied their daunting intellectual horsepower to successfully draw us irresistibly to stare stupidly at our phone screens in trading real-world involvement with mindless distraction, even when we are sick, driving, or eating in an expensive restaurant (back when that was a thing). I can’t imagine booking a virtual visit and then watching a movie or scrolling Facebook during it (those must be multi-device patients), but I also can’t picture how patients would think it’s OK to play a video game, drive a car, or drink a cocktail during a telehealth visit, all of which were reported in significant percentages. I bet virtual visit doctors see all kinds of bizarre behavior on the other end of their video sessions, such as domestic violence, sexual activities, illegal acts, and endangering situations. The Internet has robbed us of our comfortable naiveté that most people in the country are like us, which is true only to the degree that we are some combination of ignorant, lazy, cruel, selfish, and immoral.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

How you know your previous job was a misfire – when your new employer’s hiring announcement brags your time with an employer that wasn’t your most recent one.


Webinars

December 3 (Thursday) noon ET. “Why Patient-Centered Billing: How University Physicians’ Association Increased Revenue and Reduced Days to Pay.” Sponsor: Relatient. Presenter: Christy Bailey, VP, University Physicians’ Association. Financial recovery calls for a better patient financial experience as providers drive revenue, engage patients, and reduce costs and bad debt. The presenter will talk about patients as payers and how delivering a financial experience that meets their expectations can improve the financial outcomes of providers, hospitals, and health systems.

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

Here’s the recording of Wednesday’s webinar, sponsored by Mend, titled “Do You Really Have a Telehealth Program, Or Just Videoconferencing?”


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Private equity firm Clearlake Capital will reportedly buy the software business of revenue cycle management company NThrive, which was formed in late 2015 by private equity firm Pamplona Capital in combining its MedAssets and Precyse acquisitions. Reports suggest a valuation of more than $1 billion for the business, which has EBITDA of $100 million. NThrive recently reorganized its technology business into NThrive Technology, which is led by CEO Sloan Cardy, MBA.

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Nuance announces Q4 results: revenue down 9%, adjusted EPS $0.18 versus $0.23, beating Wall Street estimates for both. NUAN shares are up 104% in the past 12 months versus the Nasdaq’s 39% rise, valuing the company at nearly $10 billion.

Medsphere acquires Micro-Office Systems, which offers custom medical practice technology services and a patient engagement service.

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Outcomes4Me, which offers a free cancer treatment navigation app, raises $4.7 million in funding.

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Israel-based telemedicine vendor K Health raises $42 million in a Series D funding round, increasing its total to $139 million, and will partner with Mayo Clinic to improve its virtual care services. The AI-powered app applies logic gleaned from a 20-year EHR database of an Israel-based HMO to compare a patient with similar ones and to list likely diagnoses, then offers text-based chat with a doctor. Patients pay $19 for a one-time text encounter that can include issuing prescriptions or $9 for a primary care monthly membership that provides unlimited visits.  

The Nashville business paper notes that Bridge Connector spent most of its recent $25.5 million funding round before shutting the company down. The company also received up to $5 million in April from federally guaranteed Paycheck Protection Program loans.


Sales

  • Sarasota Memorial Health Care System will implement Glytec’s EGlycemic Management System.
  • One Brooklyn Health selects Infor Cloverleaf Integration Suite.
  • The VA will integrate with state prescription drug monitoring programs using Appriss Health’s PMP Gateway.

People

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Kate Palazzolo, MS (Allscripts) joins Care.ai as chief growth officer.

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Medstreaming hires Steve Schroeder (Elekta) as EVP of sales.

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Terri Steinberg, MD, MBA (ChristianaCare) joins Medecision as group SVP of analytics and population health and chief medical officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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Ellkay announces LKHive, a platform that allows entrepreneurs to share and develop their health IT ideas and products and potentially receiving mentorship, market advice, and funding. 

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QliqSoft’s Quincy Healthcare Chatbot and QliqConnect Secure Texting platforms are added to Epic App Orchard.

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Health First (FL) deploys Vocera Ease for patient and family communication.

Cerner offers CommunityWorks clients a video visit platform that will be free through 12/31/21.

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A new KLAS report on ERP finds that Workday meets customer needs with strong human capital management and less-capable supply chain functionality, Oracle Cloud’s satisfaction scores have jumped in the past year, and Premier delivers a solid product that excels in supply chain management despite weakness in human capital management. Infor customers are least satisfied with CloudSuite due to relationship and communication issues, while 62% of Allscripts customers say they’ll be moving on because of limited development and no announced plans to move the product to the cloud. 

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Time’s list of “The Best Inventions of 2020” includes the Vocera Smartbadge in the “Connectivity” category. It’s a good list, full of interesting items that were in most cases new to me. 


COVID-19

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States reported 164,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, along with 1,869 deaths and a record 79,000 hospitalized inpatients. Wyoming is reporting that over 70% of its tests are coming back positive.

AHA is reporting hospital staffing shortages in up to 25 states due to both an increased number of coronavirus patients as well as employees who are out sick with the virus, with no option to bring in outside help from less-affected areas because there aren’t any. Stat reports that hospitals are paying up to $6,000 per week for traveling ICU nurses, double their pre-COVID rate. Hospitalizations are a lagging indicator, so hospitals worry about staffing for the inevitable infectious crisis that will be caused in December and January by holiday gatherings in which mitigation recommendations were ignored.

Aspirus Wasau Hospital (WI) will send some COVID-19 inpatients home to free up beds, relying on nursing calls, telehealth, and help from family members to care for them.

Mayo Clinic reports that 900 of its employees have contracted COVID-19 in the past two weeks, 93% of them having been exposed away from work and most of the rest from eating in its break rooms.

CDC advises Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving at home with only the people they have lived with for 14 or more days. The announcement came in CDC’s first media briefing in months as CDC noted the risk of having travelers spread infection around the country.  

CHIME and the Patient ID Now Coalition urge people to ask their senators to support repealing the national patient identifier ban, saying that it’s especially important to be able to positively identify people whose COVID-19 vaccination will involve one of potentially several available products that require a two-dose regimen over several weeks.

Epidemiologists question why New York City has closed its relatively low-risk schools indefinitely six weeks after reopening while allowing high-risk bars, gyms, and restaurants to remain open.

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Cooper University Health Care will roll out the Heroes Health frontline worker mental health support app that was developed by the UNC Institute for Trauma Recovery. Employees are sent a weekly self-assessment questionnaire, tracking tools, and resource links.


Sponsor Updates

  • Black Book ranks Imprivata as a top vendor of identity management and governance solutions, and Spok as a top vendor of secure communications platforms for hospitals and health systems.
  • Frost & Sullivan recognizes Nuance with its 2020 Global Company of the Year Award.
  • The Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council awards Everbridge Tech Top 50 awards in the categories of COVID-19 Response and Business Accomplishment.
  • Industry Era includes Goliath Technologies CEO Thomas Charlton in its list of Top 10 CEOs of 2020.
  • Collective Medical gives its customers access to Vital’s AI-powered care coordination software for hospital EDs and patients.
  • Jvion wins the 2020 Georgia Healthcare Innovation Challenge and will conduct a beta test of its clinical AI solution with Navicent Health.
  • Meditech congratulates 14 hospital and health system customers on their Digital Health Most Wired recognitions from CHIME.
  • OptimizeRx is ranked #432 in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
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News 11/18/20

November 17, 2020 News 4 Comments

Top News

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Amazon launches an online pharmacy, giving customers the ability to order prescriptions, compare prices, and consult with pharmacists. The service will be available in 45 states starting this week.

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Prime members will receive free, unlimited two-day shipping and discounts on certain drugs.

Somewhat hidden in Amazon Pharmacy’s webpages is a GoodRx-like Prime prescription savings card that is accepted by most major pharmacy and grocery chains.

Amazon jumped into the pharmacy space in 2018 when it acquired prescription delivery service PillPack for $753 million. PillPack — which offers prescriptions on 30-day schedules to typically older, sicker patients — will remain a standalone service, though its infrastructure was used in Amazon Pharmacy’s underpinnings.

Shares of CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and GoodRx dropped between 7.5% and 18% on news of the launch.


Reader Comments

From Musical Box: “Re: classic rock. I take it you aren’t a fan from your recent comments.” I dislike country music because “country” artist dues-paying should involve a modest rural upbringing, grounded lifestyle, and non-pop expression of musical tradition that goes beyond having a record company provided an always-handy cowboy hat, but I would still rather listen to faux country than an algorithm-driven “classic rock” radio station that sounds like a nursing home playlist in ignoring anything that came on this side of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. I’m pretty sure that the 20-something musical geniuses in Pink Floyd were hoping with “Money” to enlighten rather than entertain car-bound cubicle commuters, who have since rescheduled the band’s creative output from late-night mental space travel to morning Muzak.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Thanks to Diameter Health for upgrading its HIStalk sponsorship to Platinum. The company sets the standard for clinical data optimization with automated, scalable, auditable technology that provides greater value to organizations that depend on multi-source data streams, such as health plans, HIEs, HIT, insurers, and health systems. Thanks to Diameter Health for supporting HIStalk. 

A benefit and a challenge of being a grammar Nazi — so labeled by folks who roll their eyes at the concept that we can all communicate more effectively by honoring basic rules of the road — is that while someone else’s wording and spelling choices are often amusing, they sometimes make me think way too much. Case in point: my laptop updated Windows this morning and gave a message, “Don’t turn off your computer,” leading me to mentally debate whether a better choice would have been, “Don’t turn your computer off.”


Webinars

November 18 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Do You Really Have a Telehealth Program, Or Just Videoconferencing?” Sponsor: Mend Family. Presenters: J. D. McFarland, solutions architect, Mend Family; Nick Neral, national account executive, Mend Family.  Healthcare’s new competitive advantage is telehealth, of which a videoconferencing platform is just a small part. This presentation will describe a comprehensive patient journey in which an organization can acquire new patients, reduce check-in time, reduce no-shows, and increase patient satisfaction, all using virtual care. Health systems did a good job in quickly standing up virtual visits in response to COVID, but telehealth and the digital front door are here to stay and now is a good time to re-evaluate tools and processes that support patient scheduling, digital forms, telehealth, and patient engagement as part of a competitive strategy.

November 18 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Leveraging a Clinical Intelligence Engine to Solve the EHR Usability Crisis.” Sponsor: Medicomp Systems. Presenter: Jay Anders, MD, MS, chief medical officer, Medicomp; David Lareau, CEO, Medicomp. Healthcare is long overdue for a data makeover. Clinician burnout is fueled by inaccurate, inconsistent, and incomplete clinical data, but that can be improved without scrapping existing systems. The presenters will describe the use of tools that work seamlessly with EHR workflows to deliver actionable data, improve interoperability; support the clinician’s thought process; and improve usability for better decision-making and accurate coding.

December 3 (Thursday) noon ET. “Why Patient-Centered Billing: How University Physicians’ Association Increased Revenue and Reduced Days to Pay.” Sponsor: Relatient. Presenter: Christy Bailey, VP, University Physicians’ Association. Financial recovery calls for a better patient financial experience as providers drive revenue, engage patients, and reduce costs and bad debt. The presenter will talk about patients as payers and how delivering a financial experience that meets their expectations can improve the financial outcomes of providers, hospitals, and health systems.

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

The recording of this week’s webinar, “COVID-19 and Beyond: A CISO’s Perspective for Staying Ahead of Threats” by Everbridge VP/CISO Sonia E. Arista is live on YouTube.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Healthcare access and orchestration solution vendor Central Logic acquires Ensocare, which automates the referral of hospital patients to post-acute care.

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AliveCor will use a $65 million Series E funding round to further develop its remote cardiology technology with expanded telemedicine capabilities, and the addition of detection and condition management services. The company gained FDA clearance last year for the first consumer-grade product to monitor heart activity on six different leads.

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SOC Telemed reports an 11% dip in Q3 revenue, attributable to a decrease in hospital utilization during the pandemic. Company shares on the Nasdaq have dipped slightly since its debut last month through a merger with SPAC Healthcare Merger Corp.

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Patient self-scheduling app vendor Solv raises $28 million in additional funding, increasing its total to $51 million. The company says that online appointment scheduling in its network has increased from 22% to 60% of the total, app usage has increased sixfold in the past year, and users have booked 700,000 virtual visits since March 2020 versus 9,000 in all of 2019. The founders came from real estate site Trulia.

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Communication and patient engagement platform vendor Upfront Healthcare raises $11.5 million in a Series B funding round, increasing its total to $21.5 million. Co-founders Ben Albert and Carrie Kozlowski started the company in early 2016 after working with The Advisory Board Company’s Crimson Care Management system.


Sales

  • Northern Health in Melbourne, Australia, will implement Cerner towards the end of 2022.
  • Leidos awards 3M Health Information Systems a contract to deploy its computer-assisted coding technology to DoD treatment facilities as part of the DHMSM initiative.

People

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Allan Kyburz (PeriGen) joins OnShift as RVP of field sales.

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Augmedix names Saurav Chatterjee (Lumiata) as CTO.

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Janet Dillione (Action Medical Technologies) joins health monitoring solutions vendor Connect America as CEO.

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Behavioral health IT vendor Tridiuum hires Philip Vecchiolli (Optum) as chief growth and strategy officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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ECRI will shut down its Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety collaborative on December 31 after seven years, with the emailed announcement lauding its accomplishments without explaining its demise. The physician reader who forwarded ECRI’s email says that it’s a shame to be shutting down one of few national efforts that focuses on health IT safety, while also noting that providers haven’t demanded such a project or offered much support. That reader concludes, “I want to shout out to my fellow clinicians and their professional organizations (loudly enough that they listen) that assuming someone else will take care of safety will eventually lead to more federal intervention, particularly in the new administration. ”

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Change Healthcare develops social determinants of health-focused analytics using de-identified claims data, enabling providers to identify determinants that impact patient visits across population segments and care settings.

A Black Book survey names Fortinet as the top-rated vendor of end-to-end enterprise cybersecurity suite software and services.

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A new KLAS report on health system financial improvement consulting finds that PwC and Accenture are reliably high performers, while several Huron clients reported issues with their assigned consultants and Optum performs poorly in engagement execution.


COVID-19

A record 73,000 people were COVID-19 hospital inpatients in the US as of Monday. Eight states, all of them in the Midwest, are exceeding 400 hospitalizations per million residents. Cleveland is overwhelmed to the point that the city could not assemble case counts Sunday or Monday.

Sweden bans gatherings of more than eight people as it abandons its model of allowing coronavirus to run its course in hopes of developing herd immunity instead of implementing population safeguards. The prime minister urges citizens to “don’t go to gyms, don’t go to libraries, don’t host dinners. Cancel.”

Switzerland reports that every one of the country’s ICU beds is occupied, with zero capacity for COVID and non-COVID patients.


Other

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Delaware public health officials disclose that a now-former employee mistakenly emailed the COVID-19 test results of 10,000 people to an unauthorized user.

Zocdoc founder and CEO Oliver Kharraz, MD says in a TechCrunch column that legacy telehealth services like Teladoc were built in an Uber-like “randomized triage care” model to connect people with whatever doctor is available to address their rash or cold instead of developing an ongoing, trusted relationship with a provider who can take a more holistic health approach. He says, “Patients are far better stewards of their own health than a random doctor generator” and observes that 90% of surveyed telehealth patients would rather choose their provider instead of being assigned one randomly. Most patients also favor selecting a nearby doctor so they can continue the conversation in person if needed.


Sponsor Updates

  • The Chartis Group’s Center for Rural Health partners with the Nebraska Office of Rural Health to announce the winners of the 2020 Rural Provider Excellence in Quality Award.
  • InterSystems has enabled Greater Houston Healthconnect to manage the flow of clinical data during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Wolters Kluwer enhances its Sentri7 clinical program for opioid stewardship with artificial intelligence.
  • The Women Talk Tech Podcast features CarePort Health founder and CEO Lissy Hu, MD.
  • Cerner associates will provide Thanksgiving meal baskets to the families of Veterans Community Project in Kansas City.
  • The American College of Healthcare Executives interviews Change Healthcare President and CEO Neil de Crescenzo.
  • Clinical Architecture CEO Charlie Harp will present during the AMIA 2020 Virtual Annual Symposium on November 16.
  • CI Security announces a strategic partnership with Synnex to deliver managed detection response and professional cybersecurity services.
  • Diameter Health will host the virtual Diameter Forum 2020 December 3-4.
  • Engage shares a video featuring San Luis Valley Health IT Director Brian Heersink sharing the hospital’s experience working with Engage on its implementation of Meditech Expanse.
  • Ellkay highlights Chief Innovation & Product Officer Shreya Patel as part of its Women in Health IT series.
  • Pivot Point Consulting, a Vaco company, offers complimentary guidance to providers interested in applying for the FCC’s Connected Care Pilot Program.
  • Wolters Kluwer Health adds Emmi Care Plan, a new Alexa skill for post-discharged patients, to its EmmiTransition solution.

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 11/16/20

November 15, 2020 News 2 Comments

Top News

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UC San Diego Health reports the benefits of moving UC San Diego’s student health service to Epic in August 2019.

The university says the Epic go-live gave it instant access to the medical records of 262 US health systems for its 39,000 students. Clinicians accessed 250,000 documents in the first six months from hospitals and CVS drugstores in several states.

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Student Health was able to quickly convert to virtual visits for mental health when the pandemic struck. It then used Epic to power its Return to Learn initiative by allowing 1,480 students to self-test for COVID-19 and then to have diagnostic testing automatically ordered if indicated.

Challenges that were addressed included identifying student health records in external EHRs, limiting access to PHI based on medical necessity, and integrating immunization records. The university also had to obtain student permission to use their Social Security numbers to identify their records and to share their records with other institutions.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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A significant number of poll respondents will spend Thanksgiving among people with whom they don’t live without employing mitigation measures. Not to be a downer, but small gatherings are top spreader events and winter holidays will be especially risky with record infection levels, family members flying in, and extended close contact that is moved indoors because of weather. I, too cling to the “they are careful and so are we, so I’m sure we’ll be fine” hope that unfortunately hasn’t proven to be broadly accurate given pre-symptomatic spread. We misspent our limited supply of public health goodwill in the spring by implementing draconian lockdowns that were supposed to buy us time to muster our national resolve to prepare hospitals, develop testing capacity, stockpile PPE, create contact tracing programs, and educate the public, but we basically just delayed the inevitable by flattening the curve while doing nothing that might have reduced the area under it. The world’s first COVID Christmas is going to be challenging.

New poll to your right or here: Where do you expect to be working a year from now?


Webinars

November 16 (Monday) 1 ET. “COVID-19 and Beyond: A CISO’s Perspective for Staying Ahead of Threats.” Sponsor: Everbridge. Presenter: Sonia Arista, VP and global chief information security officer, Everbridge. While hospitals worldwide work to resume elective care amid COVID-19, they’re quickly adapting and responding to a variety of emerging risks that have tested their resilience, including a surge in cybersecurity and ransomware attacks. This webinar will highlight emerging IT vulnerabilities and best practices designed to help hospitals anticipate and quickly mitigate cybersecurity risks. A former hospital CISO will share her expertise in responding to high-impact IT incidents and mitigating risks during critical events given the “new normal” that COVID-19 has created.

November 18 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Do You Really Have a Telehealth Program, Or Just Videoconferencing?” Sponsor: Mend Family. Presenters: J. D. McFarland, solutions architect, Mend Family; Nick Neral, national account executive, Mend Family.  Healthcare’s new competitive advantage is telehealth, of which a videoconferencing platform is just a small part. This presentation will describe a comprehensive patient journey in which an organization can acquire new patients, reduce check-in time, reduce no-shows, and increase patient satisfaction, all using virtual care. Health systems did a good job in quickly standing up virtual visits in response to COVID, but telehealth and the digital front door are here to stay and now is a good time to re-evaluate tools and processes that support patient scheduling, digital forms, telehealth, and patient engagement as part of a competitive strategy.

November 18 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Leveraging a Clinical Intelligence Engine to Solve the EHR Usability Crisis.” Sponsor: Medicomp Systems. Presenter: Jay Anders, MD, MS, chief medical officer, Medicomp; David Lareau, CEO, Medicomp. Healthcare is long overdue for a data makeover. Clinician burnout is fueled by inaccurate, inconsistent, and incomplete clinical data, but that can be improved without scrapping existing systems. The presenters will describe the use of tools that work seamlessly with EHR workflows to deliver actionable data, improve interoperability; support the clinician’s thought process; and improve usability for better decision-making and accurate coding.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Harris acquires UK-based Genial Genetics and Genial Compliance Systems, which sells genetics-related laboratory information systems


People

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Bay Area Hospital (OR) hires primary care physician William Moriarty, MD as CMIO.

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Industry long-timer Peter Siavelis, MHI, MBA  (Waystar) joins Cardinal Health as SVP/GM of acute care distribution and services.

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Sensyne Health hires Derek Baird, MBA (Avia) as president, North America.

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Walter Kerschl, MD, MMM (Cerner) joins WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center as VP/chief medical officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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A KLAS study of health system connectivity to post-acute care organizations finds that only Epic and Meditech provide solutions in all areas, as Cerner offers long-term and behavioral health modules but resells home health and hospice technology from strong performer MatrixCare. Netsmart has significant market share in standalone organizations that aren’t connected to health systems, having acquired solutions from Allscripts, Change Healthcare, DeVero, and HealthMedx, but customer satisfaction has dropped following post-acquisition lapses in support, development, and integration. PointClickCare is the strongest performer in long-term care, but no vendor consistently meets behavioral health needs. Records-sharing with acute care organizations from which referrals are sent is inconsistent, with Cerner and Epic having a high percentage of customers connected to CommonWell or Carequality, Meditech and Allscripts having low interoperability adoption, and the majority of users of all four systems reporting faxing as the most common method of exchanging information.


COVID-19

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The US reported a record 1.7 million COVID-19 tests, 170,000 new cases, and 68,500 hospitalized patients on Friday, as deaths moved up 30% from their seven-day average to 1,300.

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Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD notes that mobility drives infection spread, and while hard-hit states such as SD, ND, UT, and WI are showing modestly reduced mobility, coronavirus isn’t broadly keeping people from their shopping and recreation.

A 38-hospital study of 1,250 COVID-19 patients who were discharged from March 16 to July 1 finds that within 60 days, 7% of them had died, 15% were rehospitalized, 13% were still experiencing persistent symptoms, and 15% were unable to return to normal activity. Forty percent of those who had been employed were unable to return to work — mostly because of poor health, but also because their jobs had been lost – and of those who did go back to work, 25% were assigned reduced hours or modified duties. The study dispels any notion that hospitalized COVID-19 patients return unscathed to their prior states of health and financial security.

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Illinois officials won’t reopen the 2,250-bed emergency COVID-19 hospital that was built inside McCormick Place at a cost of $81 million – most of that paid by federal taxpayers — and closed three weeks after opening after having seen only 38 patients. IT costs totaled nearly $4 million, including $400,000 paid to Rush University Medical Center to install and support Epic.

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A 55-attendee wedding reception in rural Maine creates a COVID-19 outbreak of 177 cases in the local community, a long-term care facility, and a prison. Guests did not comply with mask-wearing and distancing requirements and the facility didn’t enforce those rules or collect contact information from the guests. They did conduct temperature checks, but all were normal. The index patient had no symptoms the day of the reception, but came down with fever, runny nose, cough, and fatigue the day after. Half of the guests tested positive within two weeks, as did a venue staff member, a vendor, and a guest who was not part of the reception. One attendee attended a school meeting later the same day they started coughing, after which two school employees tested positive and the school’s opening was delayed by two weeks. Six residents of a long-term care facility died after the infection was spread by a guest who had a close interaction with one of its employees. None of the wedding reception guests themselves died.

An Ohio court orders the state health department to release information about COVID-related hospital bed capacity, medical supplies, and staffing to an investigative reporting outlet. The health department had argued that its Surgenet resource tracking system is a security record that could be used in terrorism response, but the court said that the computer system is just a repository for the requested data and the department would need to prove that the records themselves prevent or mitigate terrorist acts.

States and cities warn that that the logistical challenges of distributing a COVID-19 vaccine may be hard to overcome, among them promoting its availability, convincing people to get the vaccine despite its quick development, delivering supplies securely, hiring or recruiting volunteers to administer it, and recording and tracking the two-dose protocol. A new federal government system called Immunization Gateway was developed to connect state vaccine registries for people like snowbirds who get the two doses in different states, but most states aren’t connected. The CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, says, “A month before the vaccine is about to become available is not the time to think about making systems across 3,000 health departments in 50 states interoperable.” CDC also wants to track real-time demographic information to identify low-vaccination populations and regions, but must convince states to turn over the personal data of their residents. CDC is also considering rollout of a phone-based tool to ask recipients if they’ve had any problems.


Other

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Researchers find that including a patient’s headshot in the EHR significantly reduced ED wrong-patient order entry errors without creating provider burden.

UCHealth CMIO CT Lin, MD records a ukelele-powered “It is a Telehealth World.” Careful examination of his backdrop reveals COVID-related ephemera, such as Clorox wipes and what appears to be a Fauci bobblehead.


Sponsor Updates

  • Forbes includes OpenText on its list of World’s Best Employers for 2020.
  • OptimizeRx hires Antonio Bogdanovic and Iva Lozancic as project managers.
  • Pure Storage receives the Flash Memory Summit 2020 Best of Show Award for Most Innovative Flash Memory Technology.
  • Spok publishes a new infographic, “Which communication solution is best for your healthcare organization?”
  • Waystar publishes a new trend analysis, “Price Transparency + Healthcare Consumerism.”
  • Well Health launches a Use Case Library to offer best practices and product use cases.

Blog Posts

Sponsor Spotlight

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Visage Imaging (“Visage”) just went live today with our new corporate website and our latest corporate video. Visage will be virtually exhibiting at the upcoming Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 2020, November 29 – December 5, 2020.

(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 11/13/20

November 12, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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Health Catalyst reports Q3 results: revenue up 20%, adjusted EPS –$0.21 versus –$0.27, beating Wall Street expectations for both.

HCAT shares are up 3% in the past year versus the Nasdaq’s 39% gain, valuing the company at $1.5 billion.

Health Catalyst shares began public trading in late July 2019, with a first-day close of $39.17. They are now at $35.55.

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The company also announces several promotions: Patrick Nelli to president; Bryan Hunt to CFO; Jason Alger, MS to chief accounting officer; and Adam Brown to SVP of investor relations and financial planning and analysis.


Webinars

November 16 (Monday) 1 ET. “COVID-19 and Beyond: A CISO’s Perspective for Staying Ahead of Threats.” Sponsor: Everbridge. Presenter: Sonia Arista, VP and global chief information security officer, Everbridge. While hospitals worldwide work to resume elective care amid COVID-19, they’re quickly adapting and responding to a variety of emerging risks that have tested their resilience, including a surge in cybersecurity and ransomware attacks. This webinar will highlight emerging IT vulnerabilities and best practices designed to help hospitals anticipate and quickly mitigate cybersecurity risks. A former hospital CISO will share her expertise in responding to high-impact IT incidents and mitigating risks during critical events given the “new normal” that COVID-19 has created.

November 18 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Do You Really Have a Telehealth Program, Or Just Videoconferencing?” Sponsor: Mend Family. Presenters: J. D. McFarland, solutions architect, Mend Family; Nick Neral, national account executive, Mend Family.  Healthcare’s new competitive advantage is telehealth, of which a videoconferencing platform is just a small part. This presentation will describe a comprehensive patient journey in which an organization can acquire new patients, reduce check-in time, reduce no-shows, and increase patient satisfaction, all using virtual care. Health systems did a good job in quickly standing up virtual visits in response to COVID, but telehealth and the digital front door are here to stay and now is a good time to re-evaluate tools and processes that support patient scheduling, digital forms, telehealth, and patient engagement as part of a competitive strategy.

November 18 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Leveraging a Clinical Intelligence Engine to Solve the EHR Usability Crisis.” Sponsor: Medicomp Systems. Presenter: Jay Anders, MD, MS, chief medical officer, Medicomp; David Lareau, CEO, Medicomp. Healthcare is long overdue for a data makeover. Clinician burnout is fueled by inaccurate, inconsistent, and incomplete clinical data, but that can be improved without scrapping existing systems. The presenters will describe the use of tools that work seamlessly with EHR workflows to deliver actionable data, improve interoperability; support the clinician’s thought process; and improve usability for better decision-making and accurate coding.

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

Here’s the recording of this week’s webinar titled “Beyond the Firewall: Securing Patients, Staff, and the Healthcare Internet of Things,” sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise.


Sales

  • UAE’s Mediclinic Middle East joins TriNetX’s global health research network.

People

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Angelo Campano (Ogilvy Health) joins OptimizeRx in the newly created position of SVP and principal of agency channels.

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Kevin Brubaker (MiHIN) joins Glooko as RVP of enterprise health systems.

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Atlantic Health hires Sunil Dadlani, MBA, MS (NYS Department of Health) as VP/CIO.

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Rick Howard, MBA (Ascension Technologies) joins Apervita as chief product officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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Cerner incorporates Well Health’s app-free clinician-patient interaction capabilities into its HealtheLife patient portal, which will allow provider organizations to deliver health information, reminders, and virtual visit scheduling.

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Amazon introduces Care Hub, a free Alexa app feature that allows people to connect to a loved one’s Echo device from an app to view their Alexa activity, set alerts, or answer their call for assistance.

Providence will implement Nuance’s Dragon Ambient Experience for EHR documentation and will co-develop clinical intelligence and revenue cycle solutions.

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Amwell announces a fast-track video visit option, IPad software, and a new telemedicine cart.

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A new KLAS report finds that connection of post-acute and behavioral health providers to CommonWell and Carequality is in its early phases, but 88% of the early adopters find the connection valuable. Netsmart has connected up to 35% of its MyUnity and MyAvatar customers, who can pull outside information such as medication lists into its EHR and use tools to search incoming CCDs for relevant lab results and progress notes. Users appreciate the time savings in not needing to chase down encounter data, with the next step being to make the process seamless and improve usability with automated queries, patient matching, and inserting external data into the patient record. The early adopters say their vendors made connection easy, but most of those vendors charge setup or licensing fees.

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Meanwhile, KLAS updates its previous report on acute and ambulatory interoperability via CommonWell and Carequality, concluding that NextGen Healthcare is the only ambulatory-specific EHR vendor that provides a strong usability experience for all interoperability workflows, including the especially challenging reconciliation of duplicate medication data. Cerner has doubled the number of customers that are connected to CommonWell, while Athenahealth and Epic lead overall adoption in having connected nearly all their customers. Meditech has slow uptake, while CommonWell founding member Allscripts shifted to Carequality and connected its first customer in the second half of this year using DbMotion, which will be required for Sunrise and TouchWorks to connect going forward. Epic’s Happy Together is strong at integrating outside lab data and is working on automatic ingestion of progress notes and lab data, while Cerner has strong capabilities for incorporating outside data into its patient record.


COVID-19

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New cases (144,270) and hospitalized patients (65,368) hit new single-day records Wednesday, as another 1,421 Americans died of COVID-19. The Midwest is especially impacted.

Doctors Without Borders sends international aid workers to the US to help with uncontrolled coronavirus spread.

CDC’s updated guidance says that masks protect both the wearer and people around them from coronavirus. It notes that multiple layers of denser cloth work best, also adding that increasing mask use by 15% could help prevent lockdowns and their associated $1 trillion economic loss.

Provider-employed informaticians: has your organization planned for how it will document the administration of coronavirus vaccine doses and send reminders to those who start a two-dose regimen to complete it?

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Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD warns that unlike New York’s peak pandemic weeks in the spring, hospitals won’t be able to bring in temporary workers from less-ravaged areas now to address their COVID surge because demand is national rather than regional.

HHS announces that several chain pharmacies – representing 60% of US drugstores – will provide coronavirus vaccine at no cost to patients, among them CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Costco, Albertsons, Kroger, and Publix. The announcement says that HHS expects one or more vaccines to be approved by December 31.


Other

Australia’s SA Health obtains another $145 million to complete its years-overdue rollout of Allscripts Sunrise, a project that was reset in 2018 after an independent review found that SA health failed to get outside help (including from Allscripts), failed to implement a sound governance model, and struggled to make the Allscripts product meet Australian billing needs.

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VTDigger says no end is in sight for the malware-induced mayhem at University of Vermont Medical Center, whose two-week computer downtime has left employees working without patient schedules, recording patient information in manila folders, administering medications from hand-transcribed notes with no barcode checks, turning away imaging patients, and using walkie-talkies and fax machines since the phone and email systems are down. The hospital president warns that exhausted employees will need to enter the mass of manually-recorded information in Epic once that system becomes available.

An independent consumer survey commissioned by DocASAP finds:

  • 84% of those surveyed plan to get a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available.
  • The doctor’s office is perceived as the safest place to get the vaccine compared to hospitals and pharmacies.
  • 44% would prefer to receive medical care via a combination of in-person and telehealth visits.
  • People will switch providers to get an earlier appointment or more convenient location.
  • Online scheduling was preferred by 48% versus 39% by phone.
  • Text messaging is the preferred method of receiving appointment reminders.
  • The top healthcare issues all involve cost – loss of insurance, reduced costs, and protecting pre-existing conditions. Access to mental health services was the top issue for 21% of respondents.

Sponsor Updates

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  • Jvion team members pack food boxes as Emergency Food Aid Volunteers for Urban Recipe.
  • Cerner works with state and local officials to help secure $6 million in federal funding to create 5,300 new tech industry apprenticeships.
  • Innovaccer leverages the Surescripts nationwide information network, including its Medication History for Populations tool, to help close care gaps and alert users to medication non-adherence.
  • The Sales People Podcast features Goliath Technologies CEO Thomas Charlton.
  • Halo Health updates its Halo Clinical Collaboration Platform with Halo Link to better enable providers to collaborate across health systems.
  • Hayes wins Silver in the Team of the Year During COVID-19 category, and Bronze in the Company Innovation of the Year category in the annual Gold Bridge Business and Innovation Awards.
  • Healthwise wins two ClearMark Awards from the Center for Plain Language for its patient education content.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 11/11/20

November 10, 2020 News 15 Comments

Top News

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Managed care company Centene will acquire AI-powered healthcare analytics vendor Apixio for an undisclosed amount.

The acquisition comes at a time of strong growth for Apixio, which expects its annual revenue to increase by 50% and its staff to expand by 25% by year’s end.


Reader Comments

From UpAndComer: “Re: HIStalk. I look at it quickly each day or two, but it’s too long to read.” Some folks have short attention spans, where any block of text longer than a tweet creates an eye-rolling “TL; DR” that suggests writer incompetence. Spend 5-10 minutes per day reading the HIStalk headlines and scanning the news posts and you’ll be keeping up with the industry that employs you. About 90% of readers say reading here helps them do their job better, and not to be conveniently negative, their doing a better job might involve taking someone else’s because they are willing to put more effort into it.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Wednesday, November 11 is Veterans Day, where we celebrate the service of those American men and women who have – living or dead, in war or peace, and in assignments domestic or foreign – put on a uniform for our common good. Around the world, Commonwealth nations will honor their war dead Wednesday on Remembrance Day, which is more like our Memorial Day.


Webinars

November 11 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Beyond the Firewall: Securing Patients, Staff, and the Healthcare Internet of Things.” Sponsor: Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Presenter: Daniel Faurlin, head of network solutions for healthcare, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. The biggest cybersecurity risk for healthcare IoT isn’t the objects themselves, but rather the “network door” they can open. This network infrastructure-oriented webinar will address overcoming the challenges of architecting a network to provide security, management, and monitoring for IoT, devices, and users using ALE’s Digital Age Networking blueprint, a single service platform for hospital networks. Digital Age Networking includes an autonomous network, onboarding and managing IoT, and creating business innovation with automated workflows. Specific use cases will describe enabling COVID-19 quarantine management, contact tracing, locating equipment and people, and ensuring the security of patients and more.

November 12 (Thursday) 5 ET: “Getting Surgical Documentation Right: A Fireside Chat.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Alex Dawson, product manager, IMO; Janice Kelly, MS, RN, president, AORN Syntegrity; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO; Lou Ann Montgomery, RN, BSN, nurse informaticist, IMO; Whitney Mannion, RN, clinical terminologist, IMO. The presenters will discuss using checklists, templates, the EHR, and third-party solutions to improve documentation without overburdening clinicians. They will explore the importance of surgical documentation in perioperative patient management, the guidelines and requirements for surgical documentation and operative notes, how refining practices and tools can improve accuracy and efficiency, and the risks and implications of incomplete, inconsistent, and non-compliant documentation.

November 16 (Monday) 1 ET. “COVID-19 and Beyond: A CISO’s Perspective for Staying Ahead of Threats.” Sponsor: Everbridge. Presenter: Sonia Arista, VP and global chief information security officer, Everbridge. While hospitals worldwide work to resume elective care amid COVID-19, they’re quickly adapting and responding to a variety of emerging risks that have tested their resilience, including a surge in cybersecurity and ransomware attacks. This webinar will highlight emerging IT vulnerabilities and best practices designed to help hospitals anticipate and quickly mitigate cybersecurity risks. A former hospital CISO will share her expertise in responding to high-impact IT incidents and mitigating risks during critical events given the “new normal” that COVID-19 has created.

November 18 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Do You Really Have a Telehealth Program, Or Just Videoconferencing?” Sponsor: Mend Family. Presenters: J. D. McFarland, solutions architect, Mend Family; Nick Neral, national account executive, Mend Family.  Healthcare’s new competitive advantage is telehealth, of which a videoconferencing platform is just a small part. This presentation will describe a comprehensive patient journey in which an organization can acquire new patients, reduce check-in time, reduce no-shows, and increase patient satisfaction, all using virtual care. Health systems did a good job in quickly standing up virtual visits in response to COVID, but telehealth and the digital front door are here to stay and now is a good time to re-evaluate tools and processes that support patient scheduling, digital forms, telehealth, and patient engagement as part of a competitive strategy.

November 18 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Leveraging a Clinical Intelligence Engine to Solve the EHR Usability Crisis.” Sponsor: Medicomp Systems. Presenter: Jay Anders, MD, MS, chief medical officer, Medicomp; David Lareau, CEO, Medicomp. Healthcare is long overdue for a data makeover. Clinician burnout is fueled by inaccurate, inconsistent, and incomplete clinical data, but that can be improved without scrapping existing systems. The presenters will describe the use of tools that work seamlessly with EHR workflows to deliver actionable data, improve interoperability; support the clinician’s thought process; and improve usability for better decision-making and accurate coding.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Digital health company Eko will use a $65 million Series C funding round to launch a remote-monitoring program for cardiopulmonary patients and expand clinical use of its devices and algorithms for disease screening.

Ambulatory surgery center software vendors HST Pathways and Casetabs will merge with the support of investments from Bain Capital Tech Opportunities and Nexxus Holdings.

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OptimizeRx announces Q3 results: revenue up 110%, adjusted EPS $0.07 versus –$0.07. Shares jumped 10% on Tuesday, valuing the company at $350 million. OPRX share price is up 130% in the past year versus the Nasdaq’s 36% gain.


Sales

  • BrightStar Care joins Dina’s home care coordination network.
  • Townsen Memorial Hospital (TX) will implement CPSI’s Evident cloud-based EHR and TruBridge RCM software.
  • Allegheny Health Network (PA) will install Omnicell’s automated medication dispensing systems at its 13 hospitals.

People

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Colleen Woods, MITM, MPA, MA (CMH Consulting Group) joins Integrity Health as CIO.

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Rachel Feinman (Florida-Israel Business Accelerator) will join Tampa General Hospital (FL) in the new role of VP for innovation, which will include oversight of the hospital’s new InnoVentures fund, accelerator, and lab.

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Mark McArdle (ESentire) joins Imprivata as SVP of product and design.

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Impact Advisors promotes Kim Reitter, MBA to VP.

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Cheryl Cruver, MPA (Sonifi Health) joins AGS Health as chief revenue officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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The 673d Medical Group in Alaska, including the Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, goes live on Cerner as part of the DoD’s MHS Genesis program.

PatientPing connects to the MedAllies National Provider Directory to better enable providers to send patient care transition notifications via Direct messaging.

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A new KLAS report on ambulatory patient intake management finds that top player Phreesia has improved its patient check-in tools with at-home forms and questionnaire completion that includes COVID-19 screening, while customers of Epic and Athenahealth-only Epion Health say they are receiving near daily, free COVID-19 self-service updates covering check-in and payment. AdvancedMD has stopped marketing its high-performing, EHR-agnostic solution outside its own EHR user base. Top rated for increasing office efficiency are Epion Health, Phreesia, and OTech Group. The report issues a marketing warning about CareCloud Breeze, which it says “consistently and significantly underperforms” with poor support and customer upselling under new owner MTBC, which acquired CareCloud for $36 million in January 2020.


Government and Politics

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HHS OIG imposes additional Corporate Integrity Agreement terms on EClinicalWorks, which paid $155 million in 2017 to settle false claims act charges. OIG will require the company to:

  • Send a Patient Safety Issue Advisory to each customer’s patient safety contact, notifying them that ECW’s EHR creates a material risk of patient harm from reported incidents of data loss, prescription errors, and having the information of different patients display in the record of a single patient.
  • Enhance its Patient Safety Notifications to include a plain-language problem description and how customers can mitigate or correct the issue, also flagging those issues that place patient safety at risk.
  • Submit a monthly progress report describing the company’s progress on fixing known issues such as: (a) problems handling special characters, assigning incorrect data types, and truncating data; (b) displaying data from multiple patients on a single screen; and (c) failing to code allergens to they can be used to perform automated drug-allergy checks.

COVID-19

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Pfizer announces that its coronavirus vaccine is showing 90% effectiveness so far in clinical trials, exceeding the expected 50% to 60% effectiveness level and potentially clearing the way for a mid-December emergency use authorization from FDA. The company has not published its data yet and cautions that it does not know how long the vaccine’s protection will last or whether new safety concerns will emerge as the study continues. Manufacturing and distribution challenges must be overcome, as do those involving consumer reluctance. The vaccine was not developed as part of the US government’s Operation Warp Speed — Pfizer decided to spend its own money instead of that of taxpayers to free its scientists from external involvement.

FDA gives emergency use authorization to Lilly’s antibody treatment for COVID-19, allowing its use for non-hospitalized patients as soon as possible after a positive test. Obese people over age 65 appear to benefit most from the treatment. Lilly says it can manufacturer enough doses to treat one million people by the end of the year, although the US is running 110,000 new infections each day.

A cell phone tracking study finds that a small number of “super-spreader” geographic points of interest account for most coronavirus infections, and limiting occupancy at those locations is more effective than broad lockdowns to prevent spread. The study of hourly cell phone movement of 98 million people also finds that the higher rate of infection among disadvantaged groups is associated with their inability to reduce mobility and their more frequent visits to crowded locations.

Tulsa health officials say that no ICU beds are available in the city. Meanwhile, El Paso is almost out of ICU beds, one in five coronavirus tests are coming back positive, and a single funeral home has 220 bodies waiting for burial or cremation, most of them due to COVID-19.

Patient safety organization ECRI finds that more than 50% of disposable isolation gowns it tested failed to meet even the lowest level of protection against pathogens that include coronavirus. They warn that gowns that are manufactured outside the US or obtained from non-traditional suppliers may not be safe and effective despite their appearance, labeling, or packaging. ECRI recently found that 70% of China-manufactured KN95 respiratory masks failed US standards.

Cleveland Clinic makes its COVID-19 risk prediction model available to any patient with access to Epic’s MyChart patient portal. Patient risk scores are then automatically shared with their providers.

AMA announces coronavirus vaccine-specific CPT codes to allow tracking, reporting, and analyzing use of the two likely products.


Other

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Sky Lakes Medical Center (OR) says that an October 27 recent ransomware attack from which it is still recovering will hit the 176-bed hospital’s bottom line hard even with business interruption insurance, as it has had to cut back on elective and outpatient services and will need to replace 2,000 computers.

Wired magazine notes that CMS will soon start paying for existing AI-powered diagnostic tools for retinopathy and for detecting strokes from CT scans, a milestone in having Medicare pay for software analysis rather than provider time alone. Providers say that CMS’s proposed payments may not be sufficient to encourage screening using the AI tools.

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A Bloomberg Businessweek analysis ponders whether Hims – which offers telehealth-prescribed erectile dysfunction and hair loss drugs at prices much higher than those of local pharmacies – is misusing its “shiny veneer, wellness lingo, and ability to prescribe over the Internet” to make prescription medications too easy for people to obtain. The article notes that each Hims doctor cranks through hundreds of online patients per week, they often prescribe drugs for uses that FDA has not approved, and the company treats doctors like salespeople who are “leasing your license for $100 per hour” instead of clinicians who are looking out for the best interest of patients and adhering to medical ethics. The doctors say they are pushed to approve nearly every prescription and are lied to by patients who misrepresent their medical history just to get the drugs they want. State-level telemedicine restrictions have been mostly lifted, so telehealth companies are moving into other areas, such as psychology, in extending their business model of selling more drugs. Hims will go public by the end of the year with an expected valuation of $1.6 billion.


Sponsor Updates

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  • HCTec supports Operation Stand Down in Nashville, helping the group prepare for its Veterans Day Heroes Breakfast by assembling medical and dental hygiene kits.
  • CoverMyMeds and Cosi Science Museum distribute 500 Learning Lunchboxes at a local elementary school in Franklinton, OH.
  • Forbes recognizes Cerner as among the world’s best employers.
  • CereCore will present during the virtual NCHIMSS Fall Conference November 17.
  • Forbes includes Cerner on its 2020 list of World’s Best Employers.
  • Change Healthcare releases a new podcast, “CommonWell’s Paul Wilder on Interoperability, Healthcare Policy, and the Pandemic.”
  • CI Security will exhibit at the virtual Dallas Cybersecurity Summit November 11-12.
  • CareSignal will participate in a virtual showcase of remote patient monitoring solutions for safety-net populations on November 18 as part of the Remote Patient Monitoring Innovation Challenge.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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Morning Headlines 11/10/20

November 9, 2020 News No Comments

Centene Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Apixio

Managed care company Centene will acquire AI-powered healthcare analytics vendor Apixio for an undisclosed amount.

Eko Raises $65 Million in Series C Funding to Close the Gap Between Virtual and In-Person Heart and Lung Care

Digital health company Eko will use a $65 million Series C funding round to launch a remote-monitoring program for cardiopulmonary patients, and expand clinical use of its devices and algorithms for disease screening.

WELL Health to Acquire 100% of INSIG Corporation, a Leader in Telehealth Services in Canada

Canadian clinic operator and EHR vendor Well Health Technologies acquires virtual care and charting automation company INSIG.

Monday Morning Update 11/9/20

November 8, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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Six-hospital University of Vermont Health Network says that it has regained access to a week’s worth of patient schedules following its October 25 malware-caused systems outage. Otherwise, computer systems have been down for 12 days.

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It is still unable to provide full chemotherapy services to cancer patients at UVM Medical Center and is sending some patients to its other hospitals. The hospital has cancelled all breast imaging studies for Monday, November 9, and says it can’t let patients know about their cancelled appointments because it cannot access their information. Email is offline throughout the health system.

A Vermont National Guard cybersecurity team is on site to help review all end-user computing devices for malware.

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An oddly worded announcement suggests that 300 UVM Medical Center employees have been “impacted” by having “seen their jobs disrupted by this event,” with 130 accepting temporary assignments and the rest furloughed, and 30 employees were impacted at Central Vermont Medical Center.


Reader Comments

From Little Friend: “Re: HIStalk readers. I’m wondering how many come from imaging centers, physician groups, and mammography?” I don’t know, but it would be great if readers who fall into those categories would check in anonymously with this 10-second form, after which I’ll report back.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Three-fourths of poll respondents most frequently pick up their prescriptions at the drugstore counter or drive-though, another 20% from a US pharmacy via the mail, and less than 2% have it delivered in person by the drugstore or a third-party service. My wording of “drugstore” was intentionally imprecise, but I’ll say that my experience with coupon and price search features from companies like GoodRx I’ve found that the deals are almost always better at chain grocery store pharmacies. Example: a 30-day supply of generic Lipitor 20mg in Atlanta is $7-$8 cash price at Kroger and Publix, $19 at CVS, and $49 at Walgreens. Also note that it’s cheaper to get a larger quantity in a single prescription – the atorvastatin is $7 for a 30-day supply at Kroger, but only $12 for a 90-day supply and $27 for a full year’s worth – you would save nearly 70% (plus time and gas) buying a 365-day supply.

New poll to your right or here: which activities will you participate in over Thanksgiving? I’m curious since coronavirus is spreading at will and many of us are numb from pandemic fatigue, so our winter holiday activities are likely to add even more fuel to the infectious fire.

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

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Webinars

November 11 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Beyond the Firewall: Securing Patients, Staff, and the Healthcare Internet of Things.” Sponsor: Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Presenter: Daniel Faurlin, head of network solutions for healthcare, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. The biggest cybersecurity risk for healthcare IoT isn’t the objects themselves, but rather the “network door” they can open. This network infrastructure-oriented webinar will address overcoming the challenges of architecting a network to provide security, management, and monitoring for IoT, devices, and users using ALE’s Digital Age Networking blueprint, a single service platform for hospital networks. Digital Age Networking includes an autonomous network, onboarding and managing IoT, and creating business innovation with automated workflows. Specific use cases will describe enabling COVID-19 quarantine management, contact tracing, locating equipment and people, and ensuring the security of patients and more.

November 12 (Thursday) 5 ET: “Getting Surgical Documentation Right: A Fireside Chat.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Alex Dawson, product manager, IMO; Janice Kelly, MS, RN, president, AORN Syntegrity; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO; Lou Ann Montgomery, RN, BSN, nurse informaticist, IMO; Whitney Mannion, RN, clinical terminologist, IMO. The presenters will discuss using checklists, templates, the EHR, and third-party solutions to improve documentation without overburdening clinicians. They will explore the importance of surgical documentation in perioperative patient management, the guidelines and requirements for surgical documentation and operative notes, how refining practices and tools can improve accuracy and efficiency, and the risks and implications of incomplete, inconsistent, and non-compliant documentation.

November 16 (Monday) 1 ET. “COVID-19 and Beyond: A CISO’s Perspective for Staying Ahead of Threats.” Sponsor: Everbridge. Presenter: Sonia Arista, VP and global chief information security officer, Everbridge. While hospitals worldwide work to resume elective care amid COVID-19, they’re quickly adapting and responding to a variety of emerging risks that have tested their resilience, including a surge in cybersecurity and ransomware attacks. This webinar will highlight emerging IT vulnerabilities and best practices designed to help hospitals anticipate and quickly mitigate cybersecurity risks. A former hospital CISO will share her expertise in responding to high-impact IT incidents and mitigating risks during critical events given the “new normal” that COVID-19 has created.

November 18 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Do You Really Have a Telehealth Program, Or Just Videoconferencing?” Sponsor: Mend Family. Presenters: J. D. McFarland, solutions architect, Mend Family; Nick Neral, national account executive, Mend Family.  Healthcare’s new competitive advantage is telehealth, of which a videoconferencing platform is just a small part. This presentation will describe a comprehensive patient journey in which an organization can acquire new patients, reduce check-in time, reduce no-shows, and increase patient satisfaction, all using virtual care. Health systems did a good job in quickly standing up virtual visits in response to COVID, but telehealth and the digital front door are here to stay and now is a good time to re-evaluate tools and processes that support patient scheduling, digital forms, telehealth, and patient engagement as part of a competitive strategy.

November 18 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Leveraging a Clinical Intelligence Engine to Solve the EHR Usability Crisis.” Sponsor: Medicomp Systems. Presenter: Jay Anders, MD, MS, chief medical officer, Medicomp; David Lareau, CEO, Medicomp. Healthcare is long overdue for a data makeover. Clinician burnout is fueled by inaccurate, inconsistent, and incomplete clinical data, but that can be improved without scrapping existing systems. The presenters will describe the use of tools that work seamlessly with EHR workflows to deliver actionable data, improve interoperability; support the clinician’s thought process; and improve usability for better decision-making and accurate coding.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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SOC Telemed virtually rings Nasdaq’s opening bell on Wednesday in its first day of trading. Shares opened Wednesday at $9.58, closed at $9.26, and ended the week at $9.00, valuing the company at $288 million.

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Change Healthcare reports Q2 results: revenue down 5%, EPS $0.32 verus $0.27, beating Wall Street expectations for both.

The one-month share performance of the Global X Telemedicine and Digital Health exchange-traded fund shows a rise of 2.9% versus the Nasdaq’s 4.6% increase and the S&P 500’s 2.6% rise. EDOC shares have increased 14% since its July 29 inception versus increases in the Nasdaq of 12.3% and of the S&P 500 of 8.1%. EDOC’s top holding is Tokyo-based, Sony-backed M3, Inc., which offers a pharma sales support platform, a cloud-based EHR, telehealth services, and websites.


People

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Retired family medicine physician William Earl Davis, III, MD died last week in Winona, MN at 80. He implemented the first EHR in Minnesota, served as CMIO of Winona Health, and received Cerner’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.


Government and Politics

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The annual report of the VA’s 16,000-employee Office of Information and Technology in the year of COVID highlights:

  • Its big jump in Net Promoter Score since March.
  • Its above-average disability and pension claims processing even as its employees were forced into telework.
  • Release of its Microsoft-powered coronavirus chatbot.
  • Rollout of a virtual hearing solution.
  • Mobilization of speech recognition to workers who don’t have VA-issued laptops.
  • Procurement and deployment of 199,000 laptops and 11,000 mobile devices for connecting with patients.
  • Expansion of its telehealth system with fivefold capacity in a few weeks.
  • Rollout of remote check-in and screening tools for patients.
  • Implementing tele-critical care services.
  • Supporting a sharp rise in use of its My HealtheVet patient portal and prescription refill system.

COVID-19

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States on Saturday reported a record 128,000 new COVID-19 cases, 56,000 hospitalized patients, 11,000 COVID-19 patients in ICU beds, and 1,097 new deaths. Sixteen states reported record-high COVID-19 hospitalizations on Friday and the Dakotas are reporting per-capita case and death rates that have never been seen globally and are still rising, as noted by Eric Topol. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD says the actual case count is probably five times that number and that lack of state-level mitigation will cause case numbers to explode in the next few weeks. Cases and deaths are rising even in long-term care facilities, where protecting vulnerable residents is a national priority.

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A Tampa Bay newspaper’s investigative report finds that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s office allowed conservative blogger Jennifer Cabrera to examine 700 COVID-19 death certificates – records that the state has refused to allow academics and journalists to review in arguing that they are not public — to fuel her article that COVID-19 deaths are being over-reported by counting people who died “with it” rather than “of it.”

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows tests positive for COVID-19, along with at least six other newly diagnosed White House advisors and campaign officials. He attended the President’s election party Tuesday night in which several hundred attendees, many of them not wearing masks, gathered inside the White House. Also testing positive is Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who in March appeared on the House floor wearing a gas mask to mock COVID-19 as a hoax.


Other

A California psychiatric practice will pay $25,000 to settle HHS OCR charges that it failed to provide a patient with a copy of her records despite multiple requests. OCR had originally closed the complaint after discussing the incident with the practice, but reopened it a month later when the patient reported that she still hadn’t received the records. The case is the tenth HHS OCR investigation into HIPAA Right of Access Initiative incidents.

Epic CEO Judy Faulkner says the company will launch EpicShare.org in the next few weeks, which will allow healthcare people, whether Epic users or not, to share innovative ideas for solving common clinical problems.


Sponsor Updates

  • Phunware integrates provider data management and search capabilities from Phynd Technologies with its Multiscreen-as-a-Service enterprise cloud platform.
  • Nuance will participate in the Guggenheim Digital Virtual Health Summit December 8-9, and the Barclays Global Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Conference December 10.
  • QliqSoft posts a recording of its recent webinar with CareSignal titled “Facilitating Deviceless Remote Patient Monitoring using AI-Driven Chatbots.”
  • Redox releases a new podcast, “Vida on Virtual Chronic Care and Mental Health.”
  • The Passionate Pioneers Podcast features RxRevu CEO Carm Huntress.
  • Spirion partners with Seclore for persistent rights management to bolster its data privacy management framework.
  • TriNetX achieves re-certification for the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 Information Security Standard.
  • Vocera releases a new podcast, “The Value of Human-Centered Design in Healthcare with Nick Dawson.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 11/6/20

November 5, 2020 News 1 Comment

Top News

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The Nashville business paper reports that healthcare integration technology vendor Bridge Connector will close its doors less than three months after completing a $25.5 million Series B funding round.

The company has obtained $45.5 million in total funding. 

Bridge Connector is reportedly laying off 160 employees, effective in 60 days. It claims to have 750 live customer sites.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Brilliant and timely: I heard about “webinar dining room” vendor EatNGage from a HIMSS chapter presentation. Webinar or online meeting presenters pay booking fee plus $25 for an entree and beverage to be delivered to each attendee, after which the registrant is sent a link that displays their restaurant delivery and menu options. The company says that providing lunch reduces no-shows dramatically and more closely simulates the usual onsite sales activities. BMC, for example, found that webinar attendance jumped from 28% to 95% and attendees stayed connected throughout the event because they were eating during the presentation (that reminds me of my college roommate’s pragmatic dating methodology, which was to always invite girls for dinner because “hey, they gotta eat.”) The per-meal price includes food, delivery, tax, and tip. I suspect that in some areas the only dining choices (if any) will be dull pizza places or low-quality chains, but maybe not. The system also offers an option to provide meals only for specifically designated attendees, like the hottest prospects.

Listening: new 1970s-style acid, experimental guitar from Tom Morello, formerly of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave. Interesting guy: he graduated from Harvard and moved to Hollywood, where he had to support himself as a stripper. He also worked in the office of US Senator Alan Cranston, but got in trouble for telling a constituent who called to complain about Mexicans moving into her neighborhood, “Ma’am, you’re a damn racist.” He also does fantastic, folky protest songs under the name The Nightwatchman, including this spectacular 2012 song “Save the Hammer for the Man” with Ben Harper. And for head-nodding and air-drumming, you can’t beat RATM, which will supposedly reunite for a world tour next year.

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HIMSS updates its conference webpage to indicate that HIMSS21 registration will open in January. It includes a FAQ, most of which involves endless reciting of its “no refunds” policy. They are using OnPeak for hotels again, and even though they say registrations can be cancelled or changed through July 12, HIMSS20 attendee bad blood is sure to make folks think twice before sending OnPeak money again. Hotels still show available rooms on Expedia, but at higher rates – the Venetian is $365 plus an appalling $51 per night resort fee, while HIMSS and OnPeak have it for $229 with free WiFi and no resort fee required (or $25 per day if you are stuck in 1995 and can’t live without a newspaper and in-room phone calls for your fax machine). Weather should be a balmy 113 degrees or so, with the desert humidity boosted by vagrant urine and porn slapper sweat.

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HIMSS21 exhibitors, take note of these rules, sternly enumerated but most likely enforced only if booth neighbors complain:

  • All activities must take place inside the purchased booth space, with no spillover into the aisle and no noise exceeding 75 decibels. A sound level meter costs just $20 on Amazon, so I could have fun endlessly reporting violators.
  • Anyone wearing a vendor badge who enters another vendor’s booth without permission will have their badge revoked and their employer will lose all their exhibitor points.
  • Giveaway items must have the company’s logo attached.
  • Speakers must face into the booth, not into the aisles (please don’t mess with my aisle-facing magicians).
  • Exhibitors can’t use speakers or PA systems, which I don’t see working at all since nearly every in-booth presenter has to use them to be heard by dozens of people.
  • Exhibitors are “required to remain in their own booth space” at all times (so how do they get there, then?) and run around the hall wearing attention-gathering items, such as flashing lights.
  • Cameras and video equipment are not allowed on the show floor (careful, HIMSS TV and all those would-be YouTube stars filming videos that nobody will ever watch) and companies that take photos of anything other than their own booth will be docked exhibitor points. I applaud getting rid of the aisle-clogging audio and video productions, although I don’t think that will happen.
  • “Circus-like activity” is not allowed, and “clothing must be worn at all times (including tops and bottoms).” The exhibit hall might be the only place in Las Vegas that will be free of circus-like activity and half-naked performers.

Webinars

November 11 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Beyond the Firewall: Securing Patients, Staff, and the Healthcare Internet of Things.” Sponsor: Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Presenter: Daniel Faurlin, head of network solutions for healthcare, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. The biggest cybersecurity risk for healthcare IoT isn’t the objects themselves, but rather the “network door” they can open. This network infrastructure-oriented webinar will address overcoming the challenges of architecting a network to provide security, management, and monitoring for IoT, devices, and users using ALE’s Digital Age Networking blueprint, a single service platform for hospital networks. Digital Age Networking includes an autonomous network, onboarding and managing IoT, and creating business innovation with automated workflows. Specific use cases will describe enabling COVID-19 quarantine management, contact tracing, locating equipment and people, and ensuring the security of patients and more.

November 12 (Thursday) 5 ET: “Getting Surgical Documentation Right: A Fireside Chat.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Alex Dawson, product manager, IMO; Janice Kelly, MS, RN, president, AORN Syntegrity; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO; Lou Ann Montgomery, RN, BSN, nurse informaticist, IMO; Whitney Mannion, RN, clinical terminologist, IMO. The presenters will discuss using checklists, templates, the EHR, and third-party solutions to improve documentation without overburdening clinicians. They will explore the importance of surgical documentation in perioperative patient management, the guidelines and requirements for surgical documentation and operative notes, how refining practices and tools can improve accuracy and efficiency, and the risks and implications of incomplete, inconsistent, and non-compliant documentation.

November 16 (Monday) 1 ET. “COVID-19 and Beyond: A CISO’s Perspective for Staying Ahead of Threats.” Sponsor: Everbridge. Presenter: Sonia Arista, VP and global chief information security officer, Everbridge. While hospitals worldwide work to resume elective care amid COVID-19, they’re quickly adapting and responding to a variety of emerging risks that have tested their resilience, including a surge in cybersecurity and ransomware attacks. This webinar will highlight emerging IT vulnerabilities and best practices designed to help hospitals anticipate and quickly mitigate cybersecurity risks. A former hospital CISO will share her expertise in responding to high-impact IT incidents and mitigating risks during critical events given the “new normal” that COVID-19 has created.

November 18 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Do You Really Have a Telehealth Program, Or Just Videoconferencing?” Sponsor: Mend Family. Presenters: J. D. McFarland, solutions architect, Mend Family; Nick Neral, national account executive, Mend Family.  Healthcare’s new competitive advantage is telehealth, of which a videoconferencing platform is just a small part. This presentation will describe a comprehensive patient journey in which an organization can acquire new patients, reduce check-in time, reduce no-shows, and increase patient satisfaction, all using virtual care. Health systems did a good job in quickly standing up virtual visits in response to COVID, but telehealth and the digital front door are here to stay and now is a good time to re-evaluate tools and processes that support patient scheduling, digital forms, telehealth, and patient engagement as part of a competitive strategy.

November 18 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Leveraging a Clinical Intelligence Engine to Solve the EHR Usability Crisis.” Sponsor: Medicomp Systems. Presenter: Jay Anders, MD, MS, chief medical officer, Medicomp; David Lareau, CEO, Medicomp. Healthcare is long overdue for a data makeover. Clinician burnout is fueled by inaccurate, inconsistent, and incomplete clinical data, but that can be improved without scrapping existing systems. The presenters will describe the use of tools that work seamlessly with EHR workflows to deliver actionable data, improve interoperability; support the clinician’s thought process; and improve usability for better decision-making and accurate coding.

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


Sales

  • Micro-hospital Cabot Emergency Hospital (AR) will implement EPowerDoc’s emergency department information system.

People

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Joann Kern, RN (State of Maine) joins Vesta Healthcare as chief product officer.


Announcements and Implementations

Meditech launches Virtual On Demand Care, which allows patients to choose “see a provider now” from the Expanse patient portal or app to launch a video chat. 

Cape Cod Healthcare goes live on Epic.

Hackensack Meridian Health goes live on Kyruus ProviderMatch for Consumers.

Black Book names Nuance as the top vendor in medical speech recognition and AI technologies.


COVID-19

The US reported nearly 103,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, the first time daily new cases have hit six figures. Another 1,097 deaths were reported that day, increasing the US total to 241,000.

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Iowa reported 4,706 new cases in 24 hours with test positivity rates at 44%. Illinois had 9,935 new cases and 97 deaths.

The New York Times looks at providers who are charging “COVID fees,” claiming that they need to recoup the cost of PPE and increased sanitation. Some state attorneys general say such fees are not legal based on consumer law or insurer contracts. Dental practices are using them most often, and dental insurance leaves patients to pay everything that isn’t specifically covered, such as an extra $15-$25 for the cost of PPE used in a cleaning. One assisted living facility charged residents a one-time $900 fee for masks, cleaning supplies, and meal delivery. AMA has asked Medicare to pay $6.57 for PPE, which is much less that some providers are charging.


Other

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The founder and former CEO of oncology patient relationship management software vendor Navigating Cancer sues Merck’s innovation fund — one of the company’s investors — for pushing her out in what she says was gender discrimination that was intended to turn the company into “a boys’ club.” Gena Cook says that Navigating Cancer, which has raised $44 million, received an attractive acquisition offer from a competitor of Merck, but Merck blocked the sale. She also claims that Merck’s board rep wanted to decrease the influence of competitor-owned Flatiron Health by moving Navigating Cancer into data products and away from patient care technology.

River Hospital (NY) shuts down its email system indefinitely following increasingly frequent hospital ransomware attacks.

Vermont’s governor sends a National Guard cyber response team to help University of Vermont Health Network inspect each of its end-user devices for malware. UVM Medical Center, which has been offline since October 25 and is is open for urgent medical needs only, is asking patients to bring their own previously printed visit summaries and prescription containers to their appointments.

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A Cone Health (NC) dermatology practice was apparently taken down by malware clothing.


Sponsor Updates

  • QliqSoft posts a recording of this week’s webinar titled “Enhanced Patient Access with Chatbot Supported Scheduling.”
  • Authority Magazine features Experity SVP of Product Management Kim Commito on how its technological innovation will shake up healthcare.
  • Fortified Health Security releases a new video, “A Few Thoughts on Ryuk, Trickbot, and the Joint Cybersecurity Advisory.”
  • Elsevier partners with the Canadian Association of Pathologists to provide their members access to ExpertPath, a diagnostic decision support system for pathologists.
  • The I Don’t Care Podcast features NextGate CTO Dan Cidon and his take on interoperability challenges.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 11/4/20

November 3, 2020 News 3 Comments

Top News

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Teladoc Health completes its $18.5 billion acquisition of Livongo.

TDOC shares have dropped since the acquisition was completed, valuing the company at $28 billion.


Reader Comments

From Ossified Institution: “Re: HIMSS21. Keynote speaker ideas? HIMSS20 would have been President Trump, Chris Christie, Terry McAuliffe, and Alex Rodriguez.” Here’s who I would most like to see, looking for that combination of selfless health-related experience plus the requisite celebrity appeal to make attendees feel important:

  • Amy Abernethy, MD, PhD, FDA
  • Jose Andres, World Central Kitchen
  • Richard Carmona, MD, MPH, physician, nurse, University of Arizona medical school professor, and 17th Surgeon General of the United States
  • Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, humanitarian
  • Anthony Fauci, MD, NIAID
  • Bill Gates, Gates Foundation
  • Scott Gottlieb, MD, former FDA commissioner
  • Jen Gunter, MD, physician
  • Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, physician
  • Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, physician and author
  • Devi Shetty, MBBS, Narayana Health
  • Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, MD, NFL player and physician

Webinars

November 11 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Beyond the Firewall: Securing Patients, Staff, and the Healthcare Internet of Things.” Sponsor: Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Presenter: Daniel Faurlin, head of network solutions for healthcare, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. The biggest cybersecurity risk for healthcare IoT isn’t the objects themselves, but rather the “network door” they can open. This network infrastructure-oriented webinar will address overcoming the challenges of architecting a network to provide security, management, and monitoring for IoT, devices, and users using ALE’s Digital Age Networking blueprint, a single service platform for hospital networks. Digital Age Networking includes an autonomous network, onboarding and managing IoT, and creating business innovation with automated workflows. Specific use cases will describe enabling COVID-19 quarantine management, contact tracing, locating equipment and people, and ensuring the security of patients and more.

November 12 (Thursday) 5 ET: “Getting Surgical Documentation Right: A Fireside Chat.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Alex Dawson, product manager, IMO; Janice Kelly, MS, RN, president, AORN Syntegrity; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO; Lou Ann Montgomery, RN, BSN, nurse informaticist, IMO; Whitney Mannion, RN, clinical terminologist, IMO. The presenters will discuss using checklists, templates, the EHR, and third-party solutions to improve documentation without overburdening clinicians. They will explore the importance of surgical documentation in perioperative patient management, the guidelines and requirements for surgical documentation and operative notes, how refining practices and tools can improve accuracy and efficiency, and the risks and implications of incomplete, inconsistent, and non-compliant documentation.

November 16 (Monday) 1 ET. “COVID-19 and Beyond: A CISO’s Perspective for Staying Ahead of Threats.” Sponsor: Everbridge. Presenter: Sonia Arista, VP and global chief information security officer, Everbridge. While hospitals worldwide work to resume elective care amid COVID-19, they’re quickly adapting and responding to a variety of emerging risks that have tested their resilience, including a surge in cybersecurity and ransomware attacks. This webinar will highlight emerging IT vulnerabilities and best practices designed to help hospitals anticipate and quickly mitigate cybersecurity risks. A former hospital CISO will share her expertise in responding to high-impact IT incidents and mitigating risks during critical events given the “new normal” that COVID-19 has created.

November 18 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Do You Really Have a Telehealth Program, Or Just Videoconferencing?” Sponsor: Mend Family. Presenters: J. D. McFarland, solutions architect, Mend Family; Nick Neral, national account executive, Mend Family.  Healthcare’s new competitive advantage is telehealth, of which a videoconferencing platform is just a small part. This presentation will describe a comprehensive patient journey in which an organization can acquire new patients, reduce check-in time, reduce no-shows, and increase patient satisfaction, all using virtual care. Health systems did a good job in quickly standing up virtual visits in response to COVID, but telehealth and the digital front door are here to stay and now is a good time to re-evaluate tools and processes that support patient scheduling, digital forms, telehealth, and patient engagement as part of a competitive strategy.

November 18 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Leveraging a Clinical Intelligence Engine to Solve the EHR Usability Crisis.” Sponsor: Medicomp Systems. Presenter: Jay Anders, MD, MS, chief medical officer, Medicomp; David Lareau, CEO, Medicomp. Healthcare is long overdue for a data makeover. Clinician burnout is fueled by inaccurate, inconsistent, and incomplete clinical data, but that can be improved without scrapping existing systems. The presenters will describe the use of tools that work seamlessly with EHR workflows to deliver actionable data, improve interoperability; support the clinician’s thought process; and improve usability for better decision-making and accurate coding.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Meditech reports Q3 results: revenue down 5.3%, EPS $0.82 versus $2.44. Product revenue decreased 29.9% due to pandemic-related implementation delays, but service revenue increased 6.3% as more customers went live.


People

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Sentara Healthcare hires Tim Skeen (Anthem) as SVP/CIO.

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Data privacy and security company FairWarning names Lisa Counsell, RN (Soar Vision Group) VP of healthcare sales.

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Saad Chaudhry (Gartner) joins Luminis Health as CIO.


Announcements and Implementations

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Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton (CA) goes live on Cerner as part of the DoD’s MHS Genesis program.

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Cape Cod Healthcare (MA) implements Epic.

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Hackensack Meridian Health deploys provider search and scheduling software from Kyruus.

In Australia, the first five hospitals go live on NSW Health Care’s implementation of Sectra radiology imaging.

Seton Medical Center (CA) rolls out CPSI’s Evident EHR.

Novarad offers a free, AI-powered COVID-19 diagnosis tool for CT scans.


COVID-19

North and South Dakota lead the world in the daily number of new COVID-19 cases per million population at 1,457 and 1,309, respectively. Europe remains in a nearly vertical case count increase, having moved from 50,000 per day in early October to nearly 250,000 now. Experts say uncontrolled US spread will likely peak in mid-January, with daily deaths exceeding 1,000 for a sustained period.

A study finds that Quidel’s widely used quick COVID-19 test performs poorly in detecting infection in people who don’t have symptoms, detecting only 32% of the cases that were flagged by the less-timely PCR test. Quidel’s test earned FDA’s emergency use authorization for diagnosis people with symptoms, but the federal government has encouraged its use as a mass screening tool. Experts warn that no tests can accurately predict whether someone is actively infectious in being contagious to others.

Hospitals, especially rural and small facilities, are scrambling to get nursing staff as pandemic burnout is causing resignations and sending those over 50 into retirement. The answer, as always, is paying sign-on bonuses and hiring traveling nurses in competing for the limited supply of licensed personnel.


Other

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In North Carolina, the local news covers Sentara Albemarle Medical Center’s use of the “Sepsis Sniffer,” an algorithm developed by Mayo Clinic several years ago that looks for signs of impending sepsis using 4,000 patient data points found in real time within the EHR. Medical and Surgical ICU Director Daniel Mulcrone, MD says the predictive technology has been especially helpful in monitoring COVID-19 patients.


Sponsor Updates

  • Surescripts honors 10 healthcare leaders with its White Coat Award for e-prescription accuracy.
  • Arcadia’s MSSP ACO customers averaged $5.9 million in shared savings in 2019.
  • Cerner unveils the Cerner Charitable Foundation focusing on home, health, and heroes.
  • Health Catalyst will participate in the Credit Suisse Virtual Healthcare Conference November 12.

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 11/2/20

November 1, 2020 News 3 Comments

Top News

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SOC Telemed completes its merger with the Healthcare Merger Corp. SPAC and will begin trading on the Nasdaq on Monday.  


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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A substantial number of poll respondents have had, as patients, experience with a scribe. JO says that most high-functioning teams have someone taking meeting notes and use of scribes should be similar, while JT observes that scribes need to learn to be almost invisible to avoid intruding on the encounter.

New poll to your right or here: Which is the most common way you’ve obtained prescription medications in the past year? Cary Breese said in our interview that chain drugstores force you to walk through shelves full of high-margin merchandise to get to the prescription counter, but that immediately triggered a question – if those drugstores are encouraging impulse sales, why do they have a drive-through window? Similarly, why do gas stations allow customers to pay at the pump without even entering the store where all the high-margin SKUs are piled high? Why does Walmart seem happy about advance ordering and store pickup on a few thousand grocery items when their store is full of other stuff you can’t impulsively buy from the curb? What does that portend for providers who may be giving up an upselling opportunity in offering virtual visits?

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Well Health. The Santa Barbara, CA-based company’s intelligent communications hub is the only two-way digital health solution that engages patients throughout their entire care experience. It enables conversations among patients and their providers through secure, multilingual messaging in the patient’s preferred communications channel: texting, email, telephone, and/or live chat. It facilitates more than 1 billion messages for 31 million patients annually with an EHR-integrated solution that is top rated by KLAS, G2, and Capterra. It reduces provider stress and errors by unifying and automating disjointed communications across healthcare organizations, increasing patient visits and loyalty. Use cases include COVID-19 patient communication, telehealth, appointment automation, care management, patient outreach, payment management, patient reviews and surveys,  and population health. Thanks to Well Health for supporting HIStalk.

I found a really good Well Health video on YouTube that shows examples of COVID-19 communication best practices. The app looks cool, especially the auto translate option for languages other than English.

Thanks to Katie the Intern for bravely writing her first HIStalk piece even though she knows basically nothing about healthcare IT yet. I’m looking to arrange some experiences for her if you want to help out (contact Katie):

  • I would like her to  interview someone who has a big-picture view of health IT, like maybe a health system CIO, CMIO, or informaticist. Self-studying enough to ask good questions will help her learn.
  • She needs to see the dynamic between vendor marketing / PR and journalism, so it would help her to talk to one of those marketing and PR veterans about what they do. This wouldn’t necessarily have to be a published interview.
  • I would like her to talk to a couple of folks who are in their 20s who are working in the industry and had to learn quickly.

Webinars

November 11 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Beyond the Firewall: Securing Patients, Staff, and the Healthcare Internet of Things.” Sponsor: Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Presenter: Daniel Faurlin, head of network solutions for healthcare, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. The biggest cybersecurity risk for healthcare IoT isn’t the objects themselves, but rather the “network door” they can open. This network infrastructure-oriented webinar will address overcoming the challenges of architecting a network to provide security, management, and monitoring for IoT, devices, and users using ALE’s Digital Age Networking blueprint, a single service platform for hospital networks. Digital Age Networking includes an autonomous network, onboarding and managing IoT, and creating business innovation with automated workflows. Specific use cases will describe enabling COVID-19 quarantine management, contact tracing, locating equipment and people, and ensuring the security of patients and more.

November 12 (Thursday) 5 ET: “Getting Surgical Documentation Right: A Fireside Chat.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Alex Dawson, product manager, IMO; Janice Kelly, MS, RN, president, AORN Syntegrity; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO; Lou Ann Montgomery, RN, BSN, nurse informaticist, IMO; Whitney Mannion, RN, clinical terminologist, IMO. The presenters will discuss using checklists, templates, the EHR, and third-party solutions to improve documentation without overburdening clinicians. They will explore the importance of surgical documentation in perioperative patient management, the guidelines and requirements for surgical documentation and operative notes, how refining practices and tools can improve accuracy and efficiency, and the risks and implications of incomplete, inconsistent, and non-compliant documentation.

November 16 (Monday) 1 ET. “COVID-19 and Beyond: A CISO’s Perspective for Staying Ahead of Threats.” Sponsor: Everbridge. Presenter: Sonia Arista, VP and global chief information security officer, Everbridge. While hospitals worldwide work to resume elective care amid COVID-19, they’re quickly adapting and responding to a variety of emerging risks that have tested their resilience, including a surge in cybersecurity and ransomware attacks. This webinar will highlight emerging IT vulnerabilities and best practices designed to help hospitals anticipate and quickly mitigate cybersecurity risks. A former hospital CISO will share her expertise in responding to high-impact IT incidents and mitigating risks during critical events given the “new normal” that COVID-19 has created.

November 18 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Do You Really Have a Telehealth Program, Or Just Videoconferencing?” Sponsor: Mend Family. Presenters: J. D. McFarland, solutions architect, Mend Family; Nick Neral, national account executive, Mend Family.  Healthcare’s new competitive advantage is telehealth, of which a videoconferencing platform is just a small part. This presentation will describe a comprehensive patient journey in which an organization can acquire new patients, reduce check-in time, reduce no-shows, and increase patient satisfaction, all using virtual care. Health systems did a good job in quickly standing up virtual visits in response to COVID, but telehealth and the digital front door are here to stay and now is a good time to re-evaluate tools and processes that support patient scheduling, digital forms, telehealth, and patient engagement as part of a competitive strategy.

November 18 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Leveraging a Clinical Intelligence Engine to Solve the EHR Usability Crisis.” Sponsor: Medicomp Systems. Presenter: Jay Anders, MD, MS, chief medical officer, Medicomp; David Lareau, CEO, Medicomp. Healthcare is long overdue for a data makeover. Clinician burnout is fueled by inaccurate, inconsistent, and incomplete clinical data, but that can be improved without scrapping existing systems. The presenters will describe the use of tools that work seamlessly with EHR workflows to deliver actionable data, improve interoperability; support the clinician’s thought process; and improve usability for better decision-making and accurate coding.

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

 

Here’s the recording of last week’s Bright.md webinar titled ““How Presbyterian Healthcare Services Is Preparing for a Post-Pandemic Future Using Digital Care Tools,” featuring PHS SVP/Chief Innovation Officer Ries Robinson, MD as interviewed by Bright.md co-founder CEO Ray Costantini, MD. This is our first webinar that was presented as a video conversation and I have to say that I enjoyed it a lot.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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From the Allscripts earnings call:

  • The company sold EPSi for 18.5 times trailing adjusted EBIDTA and CarePort for 21 times trailing adjusted EBITDA, which it says was above the average growth rate and margin for Allscripts but wasn’t being reflected in its valuation, so the decision was made to sell those businesses.
  • Allscripts says Veradigm is an example of it “finding adjacencies to grow.”
  • CEO Paul Black reiterated that “the market has not rewarded us for smart M&A transactions,” which included enhancing and then selling Netsmart and CarePort.

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Vocera announces Q3 results: revenue up 6%, adjusted EPS $0.31 versus $0.23, beating Wall Street expectations for both. 


Sales

  • Seattle Indian Health Board will implement order sets and care plans from Zynx Health.

Announcements and Implementations

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Arcadia launches Vista, a web-based enterprise business intelligence product for value-based care.

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KLAS finds that healthcare users of the videoconferencing platform Zoom are reasonably satisfied, mostly because they were able to implement it quickly during COVID and it connects reliably with high-quality video with minimal IT support, but Zoom falls short for video visits when integration with EHRs and medical devices are needed. A CMIO respondent suggests that the company create a product that is specific for telemedicine that the patient could launch by clicking a link sent to them by the provider.


COVID-19

England reintroduces a national lockdown as new infections and hospital admissions surpassed worst-case expectations, closing pubs, restaurants, and retail stores until December 2 as is already the case in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

President Trump repeats his unproven accusation that hospitals and doctors falsely claim that patients die of COVID-19 to earn an extra $2,000 at a campaign rally, leading to a sharp reaction from AMA President Susan Bailey, MD, who called the President’s statement “malicious, outrageous, and completely misguided.” 

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White House Coronavirus Task Force member Scott Atlas, MD appears on the RT network to say that COVID-19 is under control and that it’s lockdowns rather than the virus that that are killing people. He then has to apologize for appearing on RT, claiming he was unaware that it’s a Kremlin-backed propaganda outlet.


Other

Systems at University of Vermont Health Network remain down following a cyberattack Wednesday.


Sponsor Updates

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  • Santa Rosa Consulting team members raise over $2,000 for breast cancer research during a virtual walkathon.
  • Change Healthcare will participate in a virtual fireside chat during the Credit Suisse Healthcare Conference November 11.
  • Health Catalyst announces a partnership with the Middle East Healthcare Company to service six Saudi German Hospitals in Saudi Arabia.
  • OpenText announces that Enfuse On Air 2020, a security conference focused on the prevention, detection, and investigation of threats, will be held virtually November 10-December 1.
  • PMD releases a new video, “This is PMD – Life After Bootcamp.”
  • Premier awards Call to Freedom, a nonprofit focused on navigating a healthy path for victims of human trafficking, its annual Premier Cares Award and $100,000.
  • Pure Storage enhances its Pure Partner Program to provide partners with increased incentives, marketing, support, and training solutions.
  • Spirion launches a Global Alliance Partner Program to provide a structured program for collaborative partner engagement and solution development.
  • T-System, a CorroHealth company, launches the App Showcase.
  • Medidata, TriNetX, and Datavant partner to enable seamless integration of real-world data in clinical development.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 10/30/20

October 29, 2020 News 2 Comments

Top News

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HHS and ONC extend compliance dates for the Cures Act information blocking provisions to April 5, 2021, while 2015 Edition health IT certification criteria updates and standard API functionality deadlines are moved out to December 31, 2022.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

My least-favorite term lately is “patient leakage,” which elicits two unsavory visuals: (a) bodily fluids dribbling uncontrollably from health system customers, and (b) millionaire health system executives dragging patients by the scruffs of their necks back to the facilities that they hoped to avoid.


Webinars

November 11 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Beyond the Firewall: Securing Patients, Staff, and the Healthcare Internet of Things.” Sponsor: Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Presenter: Daniel Faurlin, head of network solutions for healthcare, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. The biggest cybersecurity risk for healthcare IoT isn’t the objects themselves, but rather the network door they can open. This webinar will address meeting the challenges of security, management, and monitoring using ALE’s Digital Age Networking, a single service platform for the network infrastructure that includes an autonomous network, onboarding and managing IoT, and creating business innovation with automated workflows. Specific use cases will be described, including COVID-19 quarantine management, locating equipment and people, and ensuring the security of patients.

November 12 (Thursday) 5 ET: “Getting Surgical Documentation Right: A Fireside Chat.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Alex Dawson, product manager, IMO; Janice Kelly, MS, RN, president, AORN Syntegrity; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO; Lou Ann Montgomery, RN, BSN, nurse informaticist, IMO; Whitney Mannion, RN, clinical terminologist, IMO. The presenters will discuss using checklists, templates, the EHR, and third-party solutions to improve documentation without overburdening clinicians. They will explore the importance of surgical documentation in perioperative patient management, the guidelines and requirements for surgical documentation and operative notes, how refining practices and tools can improve accuracy and efficiency, and the risks and implications of incomplete, inconsistent, and non-compliant documentation.

November 16 (Monday) 1 ET. “COVID-19 and Beyond: A CISO’s Perspective for Staying Ahead of Threats.” Sponsor: Everbridge. Presenter: Sonia Arista, VP and global chief information security officer, Everbridge. While hospitals worldwide work to resume elective care amid COVID-19, they’re quickly adapting and responding to a variety of emerging risks that have tested their resilience, including a surge in cybersecurity and ransomware attacks. This webinar will highlight emerging IT vulnerabilities and best practices designed to help hospitals anticipate and quickly mitigate cybersecurity risks. A former hospital CISO will share her expertise in responding to high-impact IT incidents and mitigating risks during critical events given the “new normal” that COVID-19 has created.

November 18 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Do You Really Have a Telehealth Program, Or Just Videoconferencing?” Sponsor: Mend Family. Presenters: J. D. McFarland, solutions architect, Mend Family; Nick Neral, national account executive, Mend Family.  Healthcare’s new competitive advantage is telehealth, of which a videoconferencing platform is just a small part. This presentation will describe a comprehensive patient journey in which an organization can acquire new patients, reduce check-in time, reduce no-shows, and increase patient satisfaction, all using virtual care. Health systems did a good job in quickly standing up virtual visits in response to COVID, but telehealth and the digital front door are here to stay and now is a good time to re-evaluate tools and processes that support patient scheduling, digital forms, telehealth, and patient engagement as part of a competitive strategy.

November 18 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Leveraging a Clinical Intelligence Engine to Solve the EHR Usability Crisis.” Sponsor: Medicomp Systems. Presenter: Jay Anders, MD, MS, chief medical officer, Medicomp; David Lareau, CEO, Medicomp. Healthcare is long overdue for a data makeover. Clinician burnout is fueled by inaccurate, inconsistent, and incomplete clinical data, but that can be improved without scrapping existing systems. The presenters will describe the use of tools that work seamlessly with EHR workflows to deliver actionable data, improve interoperability; support the clinician’s thought process; and improve usability for better decision-making and accurate coding.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Allscripts reports Q3 results: revenue down 9.6%, adjusted EPS $0.20 versus $0.17, beating earnings expectations but falling short on revenue.

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Cerner reports Q3 results: revenue down 4%, adjusted EPS $0.72 versus $0.62, beating Wall Street expectations for earnings but falling short on revenue. From the earnings call:

  • EVP/CFO Marc Naughton will leave the company in 2021 after 29 years.
  • An analyst noted that two recent high-level hires came from Leidos, suggesting an interest in getting more federal business, which Cerner hinted is the case. It was mentioned later in the call that Cerner is looking at “adjacencies” to its DoD and VA business, such as Indian Health Service, and “looking at ways that we can use data proactively with different branches of the government.”
  • President Don Trigg says the next focus in its relationship with Amazon Web Services will be CareAware, also noting that Amazon’s PillPack pharmacy will play into pharmacy trends.
  • Cerner had 22,000 people register for this month’s virtual Cerner Health Conference, with an advantage of the virtual format being able to see which sessions attendees choose and compare that to company focus and investment. Cerner mentioned interest in real-time workforce management, hospital operations, and consumer focus.
  • Data opportunities include release-of-information for life insurance, legal, and workmen’s comp; the Learning Health Network; and clinical trials identification and enrollment for non-academic medical centers.
  • Cerner will consider making acquisitions, but will also focus on repurchasing shares and paying dividends.

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Surgery analytics vendor KelaHealth raises $12.9 million in combined seed and Series A financing. The company says its software improves surgical quality while preventing complications. It was formed by a group of Duke-affiliated surgeon-scientists, including founder and CEO Bora Chang, MD.

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Fitness and sleep monitoring membership company Whoop raises $100 million in a Series E funding round that values the company at $1.2 billion. The $30 per month membership includes a simple monitoring strap (heart rate, sleep, and respiratory rate) and access to its analytics and community.


Sales

  • Digital therapeutics vendor Voluntis will use the interoperability platform of Redox to offer providers actionable, EHR-integrated insights on how patients experience treatment at home.
  • Greater Baltimore Medical Center (MD) will deploy app-based way-finding, appointment reminders, Epic MyChart integration, and mobile bill pay from Phunware.
  • Alliance Health (NC) will implement ZeOmega’s CareIntel for population health management.

People

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Marshall Health (WV) promotes Shannon Browning, RPh, MD to the newly created position of CMIO.

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Greenway Health hires Michael Blackman, MD, MBA (Allscripts) as chief medical officer.

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Long-time friend of HIStalk David B. Dillehunt is retiring as VP/CIO from FirstHealth of the Carolinas in Pinehurst, NC at the end of the year. He sent me a nice note about HIStalk that would be vain of me to post (but I appreciate it anyway), and he also mentioned that FirstHealth will do its own VP/CIO search without using a recruiter, so interested folks can apply on its website. An email search finds that Dave and I first exchanged messages in early 2006, so we go back a ways.


Announcements and Implementations

Optum’s annual health executive AI survey finds that 59% of them expect to see a payback period on investments in under three years and 95% think that hiring AI-experienced employees is a priority. The top three use cases identified are wearables monitoring, accelerating research, and assigning billing codes.

Ellkay launches its Women in HIT recognition interview series program, noting that while all of its own departments have more women than men, tech companies in general have just 25% women. Nominations are accepted online.

Epic says in an increasingly common press release that 190 health systems will go live this fall.

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Tampa General Hospital says its use of GE’s command center has eliminated $40 million worth of inefficiencies, including decreasing length of stay and ED diversion that equate to 30 additional beds.


Government and Politics

HHS releases its final Transparency in Coverage rule that requires health insurers to disclose their negotiated rates and patient out-of-pocket costs for 500 shoppable services for plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2023. They will also be required to show historical payments from and payments to out-of-network providers as well as negotiated prices for prescription drugs.

Aetna pays $1 million to settle three HIPAA breaches in 2017, one related to an online document display and the other two involving mailing envelope disclosures.


COVID-19

White House advisor Jared Kushner said in a recorded interview in April that President Trump was “getting the country back from doctors” in developing a strategy to push states to reopen for his political benefit, after which the White House would then blame state governors for any resulting coronavirus spread.

Politico reports that HHS spokesperson Michael Caputo, who is on medical leave, privately pitched its $300 million, pre-election  “defeat despair” coronavirus ad campaign as “Helping the President will Help the Country.” HHS declines to say whether the ad campaign will ever run, is accused by House Oversight leaders of not providing documents they requested, and said that HHS Secretary Alex Azar was not aware of Caputo’s direct involvement. The $300 million cost was taken from CDC’s budget.

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Atlanta magazine examines the botched rollout of Georgia’s coronavirus dashboard that left public health officials, local governments, businesses, and residents uncertain about how to comply with the governor’s push to reopen or to evaluate his wisdom in doing so. He assigned the dashboard’s development to to the state’s budget office instead of its public health department, where it was then outsourced to private contractor SAS. The state’s epidemiologists took the black eye for its lack of reliability and confusing presentation. National public health experts say it is unusual to let a third party contractor publish unvetted data to a state health department’s website. A much-Tweeted gaffe was a chart that appeared at first glance to show a steady decrease in case counts, but the X-axis case counts were sorted from greatest to least instead of by date.

Chicago’s NPR station looks at the lack of a central agency to coordinate COVID-19 patient transfers, with one small hospital that mostly treats low-income people of color being told by several hospitals that they had no available ICU beds despite having reported them empty to a state database. Some hospitals told the smaller one directly that they wouldn’t take a transfer if the patient had certain public-funded health insurance. The hospital was also rejected by the 3,000-bed field hospital that was built inside McCormick Place, which was mostly empty. The station notes that no state agency or public health official can force a hospital to accept a transfer and they have no incentive to cooperate with each other.

Science says that October was good for remdesivir manufacturer Gilead Sciences, which got an early look at WHO’s Solidarity trial results – which showed that remdesivir doesn’t decrease mortality or recovery time – before it signed a billion-dollar EU distribution deal and earned FDA’s approval even though FDA did not have its information reviewed as usual by its panel of outside experts. Gilead says it won’t renegotiate its $2,400 price following the Solidarity study’s disappointing findings about efficacy. Gilead got a look at the Solidarity study results on September 23, which FDA didn’t see until October 10 prior to its full approval on October 22. Gilead has sold $873 million worth of remdisivir (Veklury) so far this year.


Other

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The FBI warns that Russian ransomware hackers are targeting US health systems and have taken down four of them so far. A cybersecurity expert says that hackers are demanding more than $10 million per target and discussing plans to infect 400 hospitals and clinics. Another analyst reports that 59 US providers have been impacted so far in 2020, disrupting care in 510 facilities. St. Lawrence Health System (NY) went on diversion and back to paper documentation in three hospitals Tuesday following a ransomware attack, while University of Vermont Health Network reported a system-wide outage Thursday. Sky Lakes Medical Center (OR) also reported a ransomware attack Tuesday and remains down. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency has issued an advisory describing how Trickbot-deployed Ryuk ransomware works and offers the usual broad mitigation suggestions, most of them not easily implemented quickly (although applying US updates, reviewing RDP ports, auditing user accounts with administrative privileges, backing up systems and storing the copies offline, and auto-updating antivirus software should be done regularly anyway).

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I’m intrigued by posed skeleton displays in yards for Halloween. This Zoom call one best represents 2020, although I also like the cleverly topical ones in which an evil skeleton flings lurid coronavirus balls at others who are desperately fleeing while wearing masks.


Sponsor Updates

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  • Healthwise volunteers help the Idaho Food Bank deliver food to seniors.
  • Experity makes its Virtual User Experience sessions available online.
  • Saykara President and Chief Medical Officer Graham Hughes, MD authors a Medical Economics article titled “Can AI Rescue Physicians from their EHR Woes?”
  • Fortified Health Security publishes a new white paper, “Using Zoom for Telehealth Visits: How to Maintain an Acceptable Risk Profile.”
  • Aspioneer includes Goliath Technologies CEO and chairman Thomas Charlton on its list of revolutionary CEOs of 2020.
  • Healthcare Triangle publishes a new case study, “Standardization Across Surgical Areas for ASC to HOPD Conversion at Great Falls Clinic Hospital.”
  • IDG Connect profiles Imprivata CTO Wes Wright.
  • FeaturedCustomers ranks LiveProcess as a Rising Star in its “Fall 2020 Customer Success Report.”
  • Meditech recognizes the role of virtual care during Canadian Patient Safety Week.
  • NextGate publishes a new case study, “UHIN Leverages Leading Patient Identification Platform to Drive Quality and Coordination of Care, Support COVID-19 Response.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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News 10/28/20

October 27, 2020 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Blank-check company Health Assurance Acquisition Corp. prepares for an IPO of up to $500 million.

The SPAC is sponsored by General Catalyst and is backed by former Livongo executives who didn’t make the jump to its acquirer Teladoc, including former chairman Glen Tullman and former president Jennifer Schneider, MD; as well as Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health CEO Stephen Klasko, MD, DuPage Medical Group Board Director Anita Pramoda, and several General Catalyst executives.

HAAC is looking for companies that are involved in health assurance, have high growth potential in expanding addressable markets, and are led by mission-driven CEOs who are committed to responsible innovation. Its SEC filings state, “We know that health assurance companies can generate both positive clinical outcomes and outsized shareholder returns because our team built the first one—Livongo Health, Inc.”

It further defines the companies it will consider: “Health assurance companies deliver modern consumer health experiences while decreasing the overall healthcare GDP and are rooted in partnership with existing care providers. In a world built on health assurance, care is continuous, proactive, personalized, and available everywhere. Health assurance companies will be rewarded based on patient outcomes, enabling free-market economics to perform their important role in creating best-in-class solutions.“ It predicts that the digital health sector will eventually command more dollars and time than the physical sector.

HAAC’s chairman and CEO will be Hemant Taneja, a 45-year-old General Catalyst partner and Livongo lead investor who has written books about AI-based innovation and healthcare innovation. His Livongo shares are worth more than $2 billion.


Reader Comments

From Bubonic Relationship: “Re: Teladoc. I’ve never seen so many top execs bail when their company was acquired, especially one as new as Livongo.” The departing Livongo senior suits could spend their days making snow angels in the Teladoc-provided cash avalanche, but instead they’re off on a new venture to create another company to take public. I’m also surprised that Teladoc didn’t make the acquisition contingent on the whole management team signing up for a year of transition while the new owners figure out how their $18.5 billion acquisition works. Still, it’s inevitable that an acquired company’s leadership team won’t last long after the deal is done, even though they are the ones who created the value for which the acquirer paid a big premium, and Teladoc is keeping enough folks to keep the lights on.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Katie, freshly graduated from college with a journalism degree, started working as a paid HIStalk intern this week, earning her the sobriquet “Katie the Intern.” She and I are figuring how to ease her into the industry and put her to productive use given some limitations: (a) neither of us has internship experience; (b) I work alone and am not accustomed to explaining what I do or how I do it; and (c) we’ll be communicating remotely. I’ve given her some assignments to introduce herself in an upcoming HIStalk post, write a weekly column about what she’s learning, and review other health IT sites to see how they approach industry news. She’s also reviewing the comments of readers who suggested what I should have her do. You’ll hear from her shortly, but in the mean time, contact her if you would like to tell her about your job and how HIStalk fits into it because she has no idea. 


Webinars

October 28 (Wednesday) noon ET: “How to Build a Data-Driven Organization.” Sponsor: Newfire Global Partners. Presenters: Chris Donovan, CEO and founder, Adaptive Product Consulting; Harvard Pan, CTO, Diameter Health; Jason Sroka, chief analytics officer, SmartSense by Digi; Jaya Plmanabhan, data scientist and senior advisor, Newfire Global Partners; Nicole Hale, head of marketing services, Newfire Global Partners. The panel of data experts will discuss the opportunities that data can unlock and the challenges involved with becoming a data-driven organization. Attendees will learn why having a data strategy is important; how to collect, manage, and share data with internal and external audiences; and how to combat internal resistance to create a data-driven culture.

October 29 (Thursday) 1 ET. “How Presbyterian Healthcare Services Is Preparing for a Post-Pandemic Future Using Digital Care Tools.” Sponsor: Bright.md. Presenters: Ries Robinson, MD, SVP/chief innovation officer, Presbyterian Healthcare Services; Ray Costantini, MD, MBA, co-founder and CEO, Bright.md. Presbyterian Healthcare Services changed the way New Mexico patients access healthcare with its pres.today digital front door, which has given patients easy access to care during a global crisis. The health system’s digital care strategy goes beyond simply offering virtual visits and instead makes every episode of care — regardless of where it is delivered — better by streamlining clinical workflows and by directing patients to the most appropriate venue of care. The presenters will describe how Presbyterian has continued to meet patient needs during the pandemic, how it is deploying digital tools to tackle the combined COVID-19 and flu seasons, and how the health system is innovating care delivery to prepare for a post-pandemic future.

November 11 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Beyond the Firewall: Securing Patients, Staff, and the Healthcare Internet of Things.” Sponsor: Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Presenter: Daniel Faurlin, head of network solutions for healthcare, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. The biggest cybersecurity risk for healthcare IoT isn’t the objects themselves, but rather the network door they can open. This webinar will address meeting the challenges of security, management, and monitoring using ALE’s Digital Age Networking, a single service platform for the network infrastructure that includes an autonomous network, onboarding and managing IoT, and creating business innovation with automated workflows. Specific use cases will be described, including COVID-19 quarantine management, locating equipment and people, and ensuring the security of patients.

November 12 (Thursday) 5 ET: “Getting Surgical Documentation Right: A Fireside Chat.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Alex Dawson, product manager, IMO; Janice Kelly, MS, RN, president, AORN Syntegrity; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO; Lou Ann Montgomery, RN, BSN, nurse informaticist, IMO; Whitney Mannion, RN, clinical terminologist, IMO. The presenters will discuss using checklists, templates, the EHR, and third-party solutions to improve documentation without overburdening clinicians. They will explore the importance of surgical documentation in perioperative patient management, the guidelines and requirements for surgical documentation and operative notes, how refining practices and tools can improve accuracy and efficiency, and the risks and implications of incomplete, inconsistent, and non-compliant documentation.

November 16 (Monday) 1 ET. “COVID-19 and Beyond: A CISO’s Perspective for Staying Ahead of Threats.” Sponsor: Everbridge. Presenter: Sonia Arista, VP and global chief information security officer, Everbridge. While hospitals worldwide work to resume elective care amid COVID-19, they’re quickly adapting and responding to a variety of emerging risks that have tested their resilience, including a surge in cybersecurity and ransomware attacks. This webinar will highlight emerging IT vulnerabilities and best practices designed to help hospitals anticipate and quickly mitigate cybersecurity risks. A former hospital CISO will share her expertise in responding to high-impact IT incidents and mitigating risks during critical events given the “new normal” that COVID-19 has created.

November 18 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Do You Really Have a Telehealth Program, Or Just Videoconferencing?” Sponsor: Mend Family. Presenters: J. D. McFarland, solutions architect, Mend Family; Nick Neral, national account executive, Mend Family.  Healthcare’s new competitive advantage is telehealth, of which a videoconferencing platform is just a small part. This presentation will describe a comprehensive patient journey in which an organization can acquire new patients, reduce check-in time, reduce no-shows, and increase patient satisfaction, all using virtual care. Health systems did a good job in quickly standing up virtual visits in response to COVID, but telehealth and the digital front door are here to stay and now is a good time to re-evaluate tools and processes that support patient scheduling, digital forms, telehealth, and patient engagement as part of a competitive strategy.

November 18 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Leveraging a Clinical Intelligence Engine to Solve the EHR Usability Crisis.” Sponsor: Medicomp Systems. Presenter: Jay Anders, MD, MS, chief medical officer, Medicomp; David Lareau, CEO, Medicomp. Healthcare is long overdue for a data makeover. Clinician burnout is fueled by inaccurate, inconsistent, and incomplete clinical data, but that can be improved without scrapping existing systems. The presenters will describe the use of tools that work seamlessly with EHR workflows to deliver actionable data, improve interoperability; support the clinician’s thought process; and improve usability for better decision-making and accurate coding.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Harris acquires UK-based  maternity ward software vendor K2 Medical Systems.

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Lux Capital’s newly formed SPAC, Lux Health Tech Acquisition, launches a $300 million IPO in hopes of eventually merging with or acquiring a health IT company. CEO and Director Josh DeFonzo comes from the Robotics & Digital Solutions division of Johnson & Johnson.

Intermountain Healthcare and Sanford Health will merge, with the combined organization having 89,000 employees, 70 hospitals, 435 clinics, and 1.1 million insurance customers.


Sales

  • NCH Healthcare System (FL) will implement EVideon’s Patient Smart Room technology across its two hospitals.
  • Baptist Health (KY) selects provider online search and appointment-scheduling software from Kyruus.
  • Virginia Health Information chooses Collective Medical to provide hospital ADT notifications to a patient’s provider as required CMS starting May 1, 2021.

People

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James Lawson (Verge Health) joins Sectyr as CEO.


Announcements and Implementations

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Freeman Health System (MO) develops a text-based messaging app to update family members on a patient’s surgical status.

WellSpan Health implements Epic at several facilities that were previously part of Summit Health. The two health systems merged in late 2018.

Baptist Health (FL) deploys LifeLink’s chatbot software to expedite ED-to-PCP referrals and COVID-related care.

Population health management vendor Arcadia becomes a reseller of PatientPing’s real-time care notification technology.

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A new KLAS report on health system AI purchases finds that that they are seeking specific solutions rather than concentrating on a single AI vendor, with the expected results taking longer than they expected. Jvion has a large client base but declining client satisfaction; Epic Cognitive Computing is growing fast, especially with readmission and sepsis prediction, but organizations need to drive outcomes on their own; and Cerner’s HealtheDataLab is early in its life cycle, with few live sites and little consideration in the market. Among products that allow customers to develop their own models, KenSci has high client satisfaction, DataRobot’s customers express concern about lack of completeness and the company’s lack of healthcare expertise; and Health Catalyst has weak customer satisfaction as its product is slowly maturing. Big tech firm offerings are seen as average, with Microsoft’s healthcare expertise and partnerships taking it to the top of the list, as Google and Amazon are perceived as light on healthcare knowledge and IBM Watson Health is seen as over-promising, under-delivering, and offering low value.


COVID-19

In California, San Francisco and Alameda counties sever ties with Google’s sister company Verily seven months after the state signed a multi-million dollar contract with the company to expand COVID-19 testing sites. They are concerned about racial disparities because Verily requires people to sign up using a Gmail account, uses confusing two-factor authentication, and asks health questions whose answers could be exposed to Google or third parties. A community health center CEO who shut down the Verily-run program after just six days summarized, “From where we sit, this is an old story. Corporations that are not really invested in the community come helicoptering in, bearing gifts, but what they’re taking away [user data] is much more valuable.” 

A New York Times opinion piece written by the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation says that most of the useful COVID-19 data that the federal government collects isn’t being made available to public health researchers. This includes county- and city-level counts of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths as well as implementation dates of mandates for testing, distancing, and mask-wearing. It notes that the Times had to sue CDC under the Freedom of Information Act to get a case breakout by race and ethnicity, which revealed major societal implications. HHS also doesn’t release individual hospital data; break out hospitalization totals by age or sex; or indicate how many hospitals reported data on a given day. Unanswered questions that the data could answer include whether transmission is moving to younger people, whether death rates improved because of better treatment, and how local mandates have affected cases and admissions.

HHS data shows that only 60% of hospitals are fully complying with its COVID-19 reporting requirements, potentially exposing them to being banned from billing Medicare and Medicaid.


Other

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Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park hints at the wearables company’s telemedicine plans, saying that adding a virtual visit benefit could be key to bolstering its subscription service. The company was acquired by Google last year for $2.1 billion.

In Finland, hackers who breached a national psychotherapy provider are emailing individual patients and threatening to disclose their personal information publicly unless they send a bitcoin payment. The organization fired its CEO Monday after discovering that he failed to disclose two breaches going back to November 2018 and did not act quickly to fix identified security vulnerabilities.


Sponsor Updates

  • Startup.info profiles Saykara founder and CEO Harjinder Sandhu.
  • Clinical Architecture releases a new podcast, “A FHIRside Chat.”
  • Kettering Health Network expands its use of Nuance’s Dragon Medical One physician documentation software with the addition of emergency department guidance.
  • Surescripts VP and CISO Judy Hatchett joins the EHNAC Commission.
  • Ingenious Med publishes a white paper titled “Rising to the Challenge: How Leading Healthcare Organizations are Thriving in an Evolving Revenue Environment.”
  • Unified Communications Today features Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise’s efforts to transform healthcare during the pandemic.
  • Change Healthcare releases a new podcast, “Capital Connection: 2020 Year-End Outlook.”
  • Clinical Computer Systems, developer of the Obix Perinatal Data System, will exhibit at the virtual AWHONN Convention November 1-4.
  • InterSystems adds Adaptive Analytics to its IRIS for Health data aggregation and app development platform.
  • Allscripts recognizes Healthfinch’s prescription renewal delegation engine Charlie as its App of the Month for October.
  • Virginia Health Information adds Collective Medical’s ADT-based care coordination and notification capabilities to its HIE services.

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 10/26/20

October 25, 2020 News 6 Comments

Top News

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Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center (WA) goes live on Cerner as the VA’s first implementation site.


Reader Comments

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From Chris Stenrud: “Re: Teladoc Health. Your headline doesn’t reflect reality. Our chief product officer, chief data scientist, and chief medical officer for product and analytics all come from Livongo.” A recap of the SEC filing: (a) five Livongo executives will leave following the acquisition; (b) seven of eight of the CEO’s direct reports will come from Teladoc; (c) two of six R&D executives will come from Teladoc; (d) seven of nine commercial organization executives will come from Teladoc; and (e) one of five executives in the US Group Health segment will come from Teladoc. Chris is Teladoc’s VP of communications. My point is that Teladoc is paying $18.5 billion for Livongo but isn’t bringing over Livongo’s founder and executive chairman, CEO, president, CFO, and SVP of business development as announced so far, while other Livongo execs aren’t mentioned as either coming over or not.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Nearly two-thirds of poll respondents haven’t taken a consumer DNA test, but 50% of those who have done so received surprising results about their known or unknown close relatives. Peter says it has been a pain since he and his wife took a test for fun –his wife started getting hits for half-siblings from all over the world because she was unknowingly fathered by a sperm donor instead of her legal father, which her parents refuse to acknowledge. Peter suggests leaving the test’s “family” features turned off.

New poll to your right or here: As a patient, when have you encountered scribes in the past one year? It occurs to me that I don’t know if it’s legally or ethically OK for a clinician to have a remote scribe listening in without telling the patient – thoughts? I’ve only been in one encounter with a scribe – the doctor introduced her and she didn’t say anything other than quietly responding to the doctor’s questions or instructions as she worked from within the EHR, leaving him free to focus on me. It was a good experience, although it probably wouldn’t work with a PCP who would need look more frequently at the EHR or share its contents.

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I listened to the rehearsal for Bright.md’s Thursday webinar, which will be in the form of an interview with Ries Robinson, MD, SVP/chief innovation officer of Albuquerque-based Presbyterian Healthcare Services. It’s a no-BS description of how the health system ramped up technology to respond to COVID needs and what that experience taught them for redesigning care going forward. Interviewer Ray Costantini, MD of Bright.md was so careful to avoid any hint of doing a company pitch that we had to urge him to at least give a one-minute overview of the technologies the company offers and that PHS uses. One thing I learned — Ries talked about how it’s no easier for doctors to stay on schedule with fixed-length telehealth visits than with in-person visits, but patients hate waiting online and are quicker to give up than when they’ve driven into the office and are already sitting in the room, so technologies can help with pre- and post-visit work to keep the physician on schedule. My first question in reviewing a webinar’s content is, will someone whose employer doesn’t own the sponsor’s product still learn something useful? In this case, the answer is yes, and I enjoyed the no-slides conversational format.


Webinars

October 27 (Tuesday) noon ET. “Don’t Waste This Pandemic (From a Former Healthcare CEO).” Sponsor: Relatient. Presenter: Monica Reed, MD, MSc, former CEO, Celebration Health. Some healthcare organizations are trying to get back to the normalcy of 2019, but tomorrow’s leaders are accelerating even faster in 2020. Two- or three-year roadmaps were accomplished in six months, so what’s next? The presenter will describe how technology was changing before COVID-19, how the pandemic accelerated plans, what we can expect to see as a result, how leaders and providers can adapt, and what healthcare’s digital front door looks like going forward and how it can be leveraged.

October 28 (Wednesday) noon ET: “How to Build a Data-Driven Organization.” Sponsor: Newfire Global Partners. Presenters: Chris Donovan, CEO and founder, Adaptive Product Consulting; Harvard Pan, CTO, Diameter Health; Jason Sroka, chief analytics officer, SmartSense by Digi; Jaya Plmanabhan, data scientist and senior advisor, Newfire Global Partners; Nicole Hale, head of marketing services, Newfire Global Partners. The panel of data experts will discuss the opportunities that data can unlock and the challenges involved with becoming a data-driven organization. Attendees will learn why having a data strategy is important; how to collect, manage, and share data with internal and external audiences; and how to combat internal resistance to create a data-driven culture.

October 29 (Thursday) 1 ET. “How Presbyterian Healthcare Services Is Preparing for a Post-Pandemic Future Using Digital Care Tools.” Sponsor: Bright.md. Presenters: Ries Robinson, MD, SVP/chief innovation officer, Presbyterian Healthcare Services; Ray Costantini, MD, MBA, co-founder and CEO, Bright.md. Presbyterian Healthcare Services changed the way New Mexico patients access healthcare with its pres.today digital front door, which has given patients easy access to care during a global crisis. The health system’s digital care strategy goes beyond simply offering virtual visits and instead makes every episode of care — regardless of where it is delivered — better by streamlining clinical workflows and by directing patients to the most appropriate venue of care. The presenters will describe how Presbyterian has continued to meet patient needs during the pandemic, how it is deploying digital tools to tackle the combined COVID-19 and flu seasons, and how the health system is innovating care delivery to prepare for a post-pandemic future.

November 11 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Beyond the Firewall: Securing Patients, Staff, and the Healthcare Internet of Things.” Sponsor: Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Presenter: Daniel Faurlin, head of network solutions for healthcare, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. The biggest cybersecurity risk for healthcare IoT isn’t the objects themselves, but rather the network door they can open. This webinar will address meeting the challenges of security, management, and monitoring using ALE’s Digital Age Networking, a single service platform for the network infrastructure that includes an autonomous network, onboarding and managing IoT, and creating business innovation with automated workflows. Specific use cases will be described, including COVID-19 quarantine management, locating equipment and people, and ensuring the security of patients.

November 12 (Thursday) 5 ET: “Getting Surgical Documentation Right: A Fireside Chat.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Alex Dawson, product manager, IMO; Janice Kelly, MS, RN, president, AORN Syntegrity; Julie Glasgow, MD, clinical terminologist, IMO; Lou Ann Montgomery, RN, BSN, nurse informaticist, IMO; Whitney Mannion, RN, clinical terminologist, IMO. The presenters will discuss using checklists, templates, the EHR, and third-party solutions to improve documentation without overburdening clinicians. They will explore the importance of surgical documentation in perioperative patient management, the guidelines and requirements for surgical documentation and operative notes, how refining practices and tools can improve accuracy and efficiency, and the risks and implications of incomplete, inconsistent, and non-compliant documentation.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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NextGen Healthcare reports Q2 results: revenue up 4%, EPS $0.30 versus $0.24, beating Wall Street expectations for both. NXGN shares are down 13% in the past one year versus the Nasdaq’s 42% rise. From the earnings call:

  • RCM and EDI business volumes are at 93% and 95%, respectively, of their pre-COVID levels.
  • 20% of its business came from winning competitive situations.
  • Quarterly spend was reduced by $0.04 per share via short-term cost reductions, but those savings won’t be repeated.

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Healthcare governance, risk management, and compliance software vendor Symplr acquires TractManager, which offers solutions for contracting, sourcing, and provider management.

BridgeHealth, which guides employees of self-insured companies to cost-effective surgery providers, merges with healthcare consumer information platform vendor Transcarent as part of its $40 million Series A funding round.

Bon Secours Mercy Health will make a private investment in the business combination that will take acute care telemedicine provider SOC Telemed public in early November.

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Tech Mahindra’s US subsidiary will acquire a 6% equity position in VitalTech Holdings for $3 million, with an option to invest an additional $5 million through January 2021. VitalTech offers telehealth and remote patient monitoring technology, while Tech Mahindra owns healthcare consulting firm The HCI Group.

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Former Microsoft executive Terry Myerson forms Truveta, which he describes vaguely as working with large amounts of health data to extract insights that will improve patient care. The website lists 19 employees so far, including two physicians, and job openings for bioinformatics engineers, software engineers, clinical informatics and data managers, and marketing and communication VPs.


People

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Amanda Hundt (WE Communications) joins Health Catalyst in the newly created position of VP of corporate communications.

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OptimizeRx promotes Karen Lauer to VP of product development.


Announcements and Implementations

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Relatient releases Broadcast Messenger, which allows health systems to send text, email, and voice call messages to many patients and groups at once.

OmniSys announces Encounter-Rx, a cloud-based solution that allows pharmacies to integrate data and services to support expanded pharmacist roles such as point-of-care testing, disease counseling, and immunizations.

Four large Illinois health systems will exchange patient information with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois by joining Epic’s Payer Platform, which will launch later this year. The payer-provider system can exchange information about ED visits, tests, lab results; support priority authorization and claims payment; and apply care management strategies.


COVID-19

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The US reported a record-breaking 84,000 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and again Saturday, with experts predicting that daily new case counts will hit six figures soon and deaths will spike over the next 3-4 weeks. State governments say the primary spreader events aren’t reopened schools, but rather social and religious gatherings.

President Trump tells attendees at a Wisconsin rally that “doctors get more money and hospitals get more money” in the US if they classify deaths due to other serious conditions and terminal illnesses as being caused by COVID-19, artificially inflating our death counts because “this country and their reporting systems are really not doing it right.”

FDA approves Gilead’s remdisivir for COVID-19 treatment, surprising many experts who note that the drug doesn’t have a long tracked and its only proven effect is to shorten hospital stays rather than improve survival or reduce ventilator use.The drug has been available since May under FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization.

Vice-President Pence, who had five close staff members test positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, will ignore CDC guidelines and continue his campaign travel and public rallies because he is “essential personnel,” according to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Meadows told reporters Sunday that the US is “not going to control the pandemic” and instead will focus developing on vaccines and treatments.

The Wall Street Journal reports that HHS’s controversial $250 million “defeat despair” coronavirus ad campaign has been cancelled. It notes that part of the campaign would have given early COVID-19 vaccine access to performers who portray Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and their jolly elves as essential workers. The disappointed chairman of the Fraternal order of Real Bearded Santas told WSJ that “this was our greatest hope for Christmas 2020, and now it looks like it won’t happen.”


Other

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A genetic counselor sends DNA samples to consumer genetics testing company Orig3n for childhood development analysis, extracting one sample from her dog and the other from her kitchen faucet. The report failed to notice the non-human origins, but advised that the tap water will need longer to develop language skills. The company is also facing CMS sanctions for its COVID-19 tests, which have produced least 383 false positive results this year.


Sponsor Updates

  • Change Healthcare offers ICAD’s ProFound AI platform as part of its Mammography Plus solution.
  • SOC Telemed announces new board nominations ahead of its merger with Healthcare Merger Corp.
  • Pure Storage releases a new podcast, “Tales from the Ransomware Crypt.”
  • Spirion wins multiple Globee International and One Planet Awards for its privacy and security product, customer deployments, and its COVID-19 company response.
  • Summit Healthcare publishes a new use case featuring Galway Clinic, “Solving Complex Interoperability Needs with the Latest in Integration Technology.”

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Reader Comments

  • AnInteropGuy: I would hope that we have better medicine and science than we did 67 years ago. Our understanding of virus mechanisms ar...
  • Angela C. Witt: Most of the suggestions you have to improve order management in the EHR are features available in current vendor product...
  • masterblaster: I was intrigued by your statement of "Because they so tightly control access to the vendor’s documentation, I have no ...
  • IANAL: In spite of AMA lobbying, regulatory changes in the early 2000s allowed pharmacists to give flu shots. Costs fell, acces...
  • Brian Too: My theory is that telehealth is a bigger benefit for the patient than it is for the clinician (though there are clinical...

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