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Morning Headlines 8/13/21

August 12, 2021 Headlines 1 Comment

PracticeSuite Announces Entrance into Consumer Health Information Market with Acquisition of HelloHealth

Ambulatory health IT vendor PracticeSuite acquires competitor Hello Health for an undisclosed sum.

Another big company hit by a ransomware attack

Accenture, which sells cybersecurity services, is hit by a ransomware attack in which hackers have threatened to publicly release company data.

US Indian Health Service to replace health information system

The Indian Health Service issues an RFI to vendors interested in being considered for its 10-year Health IT Modernization program contract.

From HIMSS 8/12/21

August 12, 2021 News 20 Comments

The conference was pretty dead today. Even Epic’s booth had basically nobody in it except a few employees. Some booths were already cleared out as practicality outweighed the HIMSS policy that requires booth tear-down only after the hall closes at 4:00. Everybody’s mind was on getting safely home.

Supplies of conference totes are ample if anyone needs one or 25.

Siemens Healthineers had a huge booth that was almost empty today, although I seem to recall that it had some decent traffic earlier in the week.

Thanks to Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG) for a hot doughnut that I accessorized with lava-hot pistachio sauce and tutti-frutti. NOTE: a reader found that the doughnuts were provided by InterSystems, which I should have suspected since I remember its Wall of Doughnuts at HIMSS19.

I liked this tee shirt from Vivify Health, which offers remote patient monitoring tools.

I stood in the hot, bright sun for a few minutes waiting for this rotating video display to hit the CoverMyMeds banner again after I saw it flash by. You can see the splashing of the fountain between the Wynn and Palazzo at the lower right.

I asked HIMSS for in-person attendance at HIMSS21, which they are supposed to be sending me, hopefully with an explanation of how the count was derived (registered or actually showed up to get a badge, exhibitors versus non-exhibitors, etc.) I only care about in-person, paid  attendance excluding exhibitor passes.

A-Rod has probably faced more DEA agents than the number of audience members he’ll see in his 1:15 p.m. Friday session called “Mindset of a Champion,” with that mindset apparently being that it’s OK to cheat by using performance-enhancing drugs and then lie about it as long as the personal payoff is significant. If anyone actually sticks around to hear what he has to say, please take a photo of the audience since anything other than a tiny turnout would be shocking given the time slot. I understand that he’s a celebrity entrepreneur and all, which seems easier when you start out with a few hundred million dollars, but I don’t see the healthcare connection. I’m sure HIMSS paid dearly to get Patrick Dempsey, Rainn Wilson, and A-Rod to add star power along with minimal relevance.

Someone who wasn’t at HIMSS21 tweeted that they had heard that a bunch of exhibitor staff were unmasked. I saw nothing of the sort — with maybe one or two exceptions that may well have been short term, everybody I saw was responsible. That wasn’t necessarily true outside the HIMSS velvet ropes, although even there compliance was pretty good. I got invaded a second time by someone unmasked crashing into the  hotel elevator as the door was closing (perhaps the disdain for others extends from not mask-wearing to refusing to politely wait for the next elevator), to the annoyance of the other passengers who were all masked up but trapped.

I pressed even harder against the back wall of the elevator since I had just heard from a relative who got COVID-19 during a group camping trip this week, one of at least 10 people there who have tested positive after spending time in a nearby bar. All of them had been vaccinated. The symptoms are apparently miserable, and while the odds of hospitalization or death are low for those who are vaccinated and thus have a “mild” case, the chance of experiencing long COVID symptoms is maybe 20%. Another set of relatives, a family of four who had decided that vaccination was unnecessary, just messaged that two of them have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (one of them is a child) and a third is now showing symptoms. At this point, you’re either going to get vaccinated or you’re going to get COVID, and regrets from the former are minimal while those of the latter are sometimes expressed in writing while dying on a ventilator.

A couple of folks asked about the after-hours party risk from attending HIMSS. I did not attend anything outside the conference areas and ate only at uncrowded restaurants whose tables were widely spaced, but I walked by the bar-restaurants in the Palazzo and Venetian (like Sugarcane and Chica) and they were wall-to-wall crammed with HIMSS attendees who were displaying the behavior that makes bars a hotbed of viral spread — leaned-in and loud conversations (lots of vocal cord spray), no masks, no spacing, and extended periods of close contact. That wouldn’t be too bad if it were just conference-goers of known vaccination status, but at least one of the packed venues was not closed to the public at the time. HIMSS can’t control conditions outside its boundaries, but I assume that some of those folks are going back to work at hospitals — many of them overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients — and I hope they will either get tested or isolate before going anywhere near patients or caregivers.

Something to consider for HIMSS22 or other conferences that limit attendance to vaccinated people. Require exhibitors sign a form that they won’t have after-hours events unless they are held in venues that are closed off to the general public (in Orlando, unlike Las Vegas, I believe that HIMSS controls the entire hotels). Arrange some kind of dining options that don’t require exiting the vaccination bubble — discounted room service, outside food delivery with conference rooms for group eating to scratch the socializing itch, or ballroom-type food service accessible only by badge — and include bar service. Leave the bubble if you want, but you aren’t required to given provided options. Feeding attendees in the exhibit hall like an extended happy hour would be a win-win with exhibitors. Basically to keep live conferences from becoming superspreader events and thus risking cancellation, you have to control more than just the meeting rooms and give your attendees easy ways to avoid people who are unmasked and possibly unvaccinated. And perhaps give them an easy way to take a COVID test before  they return to work. News item: RSNA just announced that it will require vaccination and masks.

A couple of companies ask Lorre to stop by to say hello and she wants me to give a shout-out specifically to Nordic, who welcomed her like a queen when she dropped by wearing her now-vintage HIStalk tee shirt. Nordic has been a longtime supporter and several of its executives rushed over to chat and make her feel welcome.

I got an overview of Telemedicine 911, which allow telemedicine providers whose patient experiences an emergency during their session (like a heart attack or stroke) to get in direct connection with the patient’s 911 emergency services dispatcher and send details or patient background. The nurse practitioner who was working in the booth said she once had a patient say they intended to harm themselves during a telehealth visit, she asked the patient if it was OK if she sent some help, and she got in direct contact with the 911 team in the patient’s local area so they could respond.

The folks at PORTL got in touch after I mentioned that their hologram technology was interesting, but nobody would explain it in the booth of its partner Avaya. They offered a private showing that I declined, but here’s a video of how University of Central Florida’s medical school is using it to allow students to diagnose 3D patients. The technology has been used for the Emmys red carpet and for musical performances.

I’ll be back to normal posting this weekend, where I’ll ask for feedback about both versions of HIMSS21. HIMSS22 is just seven months away.

Dr. Jayne Goes to HIMSS Digital – Wednesday

August 12, 2021 Dr. Jayne 1 Comment

I rolled out of bed for an early morning client call, which I would have had to do had I been in person in Las Vegas, but it was at 7 a.m. rather than 5 a.m. so I was grateful. Rather than a $33 room service coffee such as the one Mr. H mentioned yesterday, I opted for a Diet Coke with my morning bagel.

Once clients were done for the day, I got ready to tune in to HIMSS, only to have the neighbor’s lawn care service join the party. I’m used to it by this point and was ready with a headset, but it just illustrates the contrast between HIMSS in-person and HIMSS Digital.

I had a little bit of frustration with the programming this morning as I logged into what was supposed to be a keynote session. Instead of getting a typical intro for a keynote speech, we started out with 10 minutes of banter between the hosts. They were again pushing the Leaderboard Challenge and the participation prizes, this time sweetening it with not only a Starbucks gift card, a HIMSS membership, and a paid registration for HIMSS22, but an Alex Rodriguez autographed baseball. The host was giddy with excitement when talking about it. Personally, I’d rather have a Farzad Mostashari autographed bow tie, but that’s just me.

When the keynote speaker, Arianna Huffington, finally arrived, the presentation was more like an interview than a keynote. I guess I’ve become too accustomed to actual keynote speeches where the speaker is up on a stage, or if virtual is delivering prepared remarks, rather than having what feels like an impromptu conversation. The discussion went on for about 20 minutes and covered some good points, then it was back to the hosts and the “HIMSS Community Wall.” Host Chris tried to amp up the audience with an enthusiastic “Hey healthcare changemakers, temperature check time!” and honestly I didn’t even know what to say to that.

The next segment was “Global Burnout: Can Digital Transformation Be the Cause and the Cure?” The speakers had some good points about burnout in general among clinicians, and it warmed my heart when the speaker from Stanford talked about how important it is to have clinical informatics physicians involved in major technology projects. Overall, the consensus was that all of us are suffering with some degree of burnout and I certainly agree. One panelist talked about how when her institution implemented an EHR, she swapped her 20% clinical work for 20% teaching because the work required to learn the EHR wasn’t worth it. Another panelist who is a subspecialist discussed being re-tasked to the emergency department during COVID and how glad she is to be back doing colonoscopies.

They talked about how delivering telehealth causes a different kind of exhaustion than in-person care – where people are not getting up from their desks, not taking restroom breaks, not eating or drinking, and having to provide technical support for patients when the physicians themselves weren’t equipped to do so. She noted that for the people who think telehealth is easier, thinking about it in that way is a mistake.

They also discussed what their institutions were doing to prevent burnout. One panelist noted that her organization has a team that calls patients pre-visit and does the technical check-ins to remove that burden from providers. Her organization also pushed a program called “Home for Dinner” which encouraged workflows to allow providers to finish their office days quicker and get home to their families. They used EHR data and personal observations to create individual learning plans to help providers. Inbox optimization and creation of refill protocols were also part of the initiative. Of those who completed the program, 85% of physicians recommended that their peers participate, so now they have a waiting list. I wish more organizations would take this approach, but of course training is just another budget line item that often gets overlooked yet leads to provider dissatisfaction.

The final part of the session was about preparing future clinicians for the digital workforce. The moderator’s feed was having issues with the video not lining up with the audio, which was distracting. There was good conversation about the need for 1:1 mentoring for clinicians who want to work in tech, identifying skills gaps and trying to develop existing workers. Other comments included the need to set up designated training programs to ensure clinicians are ready to embrace digital health.

Vendor notes: Podium sent an invite at 9 a.m. for their event at Topgolf tonight. It came to an email address that isn’t registered for HIMSS so I’m not sure how I got on the list or why the invites went out so late, but good try!

Presenter tips from the HIMSS Digital trenches:

  • If you’re using a ring light, do a brief video of yourself and make sure your ring light is not reflecting in the lenses of your spectacles. You’ll thank me later when you don’t release a timeless recording of yourself with weird circles over your eyes and your audience will thank you for not providing that as a distraction.
  • Test your audio and do a brief recording of yourself and see how you sound. Not all devices have good microphones and sometimes people using Bluetooth headsets experience feedback or weird static sounds compared to using a wired microphone. Understanding microphone gain is important to make sure you’re not too quiet and that you don’t have to yell to have your volume at the same level as other presenters.

Today’s reader shoe pic is great – I love the tassels. I got a kick out of Microsoft Word suggestion that they were sandals, however. Perhaps the folks at Microsoft need a shoe advisor? I’m available.

From HIMSS 8/11/21

August 11, 2021 News 3 Comments

It’s Day 2 of HIMSS21. It was even quieter and less crowded than yesterday. I bet some vendor folks have already headed home and I’m sure luggage will be carefully hidden within booth confines tomorrow for afternoon dashes to the airport.

Meanwhile, here’s what is happening with COVID-19 in Florida, the home (maybe) of HIMSS22 seven months from now. UPDATE: a reader correctly noted that CDC initially posted inflated case count data for Monday in failing to adjust for Florida’s Monday through Friday only reporting, but this hospitalization data was correct since it was a snapshot. Florida’s hospitals have more than 15,000 COVID-19 patients in beds, representing 28% of their overall capacity, and 3,100 COVID-19 patients are in their ICUs. Florida also has the highest rate of children hospitalized with COVID-19 in the US, with 8.1 per 100,000 residents versus the national average of 2.2.

I heard several thought leaders claim today that their pet topic (virtual visits, cybersecurity, whatever) “has to change,” which always leads me to question why they think it “has” to change versus their desire that it change for reasons reasons self-serving or otherwise. These are the only healthcare change factors that I’m aware of, in order of least to most potency:

  • It’s the right thing to do.
  • Patients would like to see things done differently.
  • Patients will seek competitive alternatives if the change isn’t made.
  • Changing will increase profit.
  • The change is required by law.

Change Healthcare has one of the busier booths in the hall.

Avaya’s hologram thing was cool, but the reps were too busy looking at each other and their phones to tell me its purpose even after I stood around expectantly for a couple of minutes with nobody else around.

Here’s a footwear combo that I think Dr. Jayne will like.

Smart marketing — you have probably seen and remember this guy in the “please scan me” suit adorned with QR codes. It’s for data company MDACA. It reminds me of the old days when provocatively clad pairs of ladies would roam the hall wearing “follow me” shirts hoping that eyes-bulging attendees (mostly male, presumably) would follow them like lemmings. Companies would justifiably be called out instantly if they tried that kind of stunt today. This is a more clever and subtle variation and the guy was very nice when I chatted with him.

I like this “tiny house within a booth” concept for meeting space, TeleTracking in this case. Leg room is apparently challenging, at least beyond the first leg.

This vendor got a huge booth, but then again, they are also putting on the conference. HIMSS has a lot of space to tout their own offerings in their exhibit hall.

All but one of the booth folks I talked to said that while traffic is way down, they are having good conversations. The other exhibitor — who is CEO of a smallish company — said the lack of people was awful, he felt ripped off by HIMSS, and anyone saying otherwise was just trying to put a positive spin on a bad situation. I’ll survey readers after it’s all over for their thoughts and to see what conclusions they take into HIMSS22.

The good news for smaller exhibitors is that they aren’t lost in the shuffle of massive booths, armies of big-company employees, and highly publicized announcements. This version of the HIMSS conference felt more like an even playing field where even small-booth vendors could earn some attention.

It occurred to me that the HIMSS Bookstore isn’t here, so maybe it’s no longer a thing. I can’t say I ever bought any books there and some of its tomes were self-stroking vanity works, but I sometimes stopped in.

I had a brief chat with Sandeep Jain, MD, founder and CEO of ListenMD. The company offers a distraction-free doctor messaging app that allows both message sender and recipient to set deliverability preferences. It also allows the medical practice to set recipients and times for receiving messages from patients.

I acted on a company tweet to check out Nationwide Medical Licensing, which offers a turnkey service to license physicians and other professionals in multiple states, which is keeping them busy due to telemedicine. They also work for companies that need to get their doctors licensed in additional states, taking care of the forms and documentation and returning a simple file containing everything that is required. They also do physician credentialing. I am fascinated that CEO Alexis McGuire worked for the Brevard Zoo (UPDATE: fixed, I originally wrote Broward) in Florida until late 2018 while also working her way up from receptionist at NML.

J.J. Richa, CEO of Quality Care Metrics, gave me a quick booth overview of its Deep Empathy patient questionnaire solution. Patients answer psychology-based questions (not so obvious as “do you have suicidal thoughts”) that assess pain levels and psychological issues and report back to the clinician, including telehealth providers.

I chatted briefly with the folks from Clearstep, which offers automated a healthcare screening and routing triaging type solution that is used by CVS Health, BayCare, and HCA Healthcare. It also delivers population health insights on the back end and has been used for COVID-19 screening.

I took a look at Hyro‘s conversational solutions Adaptive Communications Platform, which it says is more effective than intent-based chatbots and IVR systems. It has impressive nameplate customers such as Weill Cornell (where it was developed), SCL Health, and Novant Health.

From Cornwall: “Re: HIMSS coverage I have been in the industry for about 10 years and have read HIStalk, on the days it is published, all of that time. HIStalk is by far the best HIT source that I read. I appreciate the amount of effort that you put into this as well as how steadfast you are about your anonymity given the quality of the work. Have a great HIMSS.” Thank you. I went anonymous after almost getting fired from my hospital job for being too honest about our vendors even though I was scrupulous about not using any information I obtained from my IT leadership job. In addition, I have no interested in turning into a narcissistic talking head or trading tepid fame for for cash, so being anonymous means there’s no temptation for journalistic impropriety. I even attend HIMSS anonymously, changing up names, using a low-level job titles like “intern” and claiming made-up employers so that I get no special treatment, which sometimes means I get ignored completely.

Accenture, which sells cybersecurity services, is hit by a ransomware attack. The hackers say they will publish company data publicly if they don’t pay up.

1upHealth offers to test the patient access APIs of health plans at no charge to see if they meets CMS requirements to connect with third-party developers.

Verizon’s BlueJeans Telehealth virtual health app will allow users of IOS devices to share their IOS-only Apple Health record with telehealth providers after the upcoming IOS 15 upgrade is installed. I’ve never heard of BlueJeans Telehealth and I loathe IOS-only patient apps (talk about running roughshod over health equity), but good for them I guess. UPDATE: Verizon reached out to say the Apple Health integration is actually already available with IOS 14 and that they recognize the limitations of an IOS-only solution and are working on more integration. Verizon was scheduled to exhibit at HIMSS21 with more information but decided to opt out. I appreciate that update. BlueJeans, I learned by Googling, was a year-ago collaboration tool acquisition by Verizon for $500 million and the telehealth offering was announced four months ago.

Morning Headlines 8/12/21

August 11, 2021 Headlines No Comments

Elektra Health funnels new $3.75M round into helping women navigate menopause

Elektra Health raises $3.75 million in seed funding to further develop its telemedicine and support service for menopausal women.

CVS Health launches first nationwide virtual primary care solution

CVS Health launches its Aetna Virtual Primary Care program for self-funded employers in partnership with Teladoc Health.

Sharecare enters home health market with acquisition of CareLinx, augments comprehensive platform with network of over 450,000 tech-enabled caregivers

Digital health and wellness company Sharecare acquires CareLinx, a tech-enabled, home-based care business, for $65 million.

Medstreaming and M2S Announce New Brand Fivos Health

Clinical workflow company Medstreaming and its M2S subsidiary, which specializes in clinical data registries and data services, merge their solutions under the Fivos Health brand.

Clearlake, Insight Sell Appriss Unit For $1.8 Billion

Clearlake Capital and Insight Partners sell Appriss Insights to Equifax for $1.8 billion, retaining parent company Appriss and its Appriss Health business unit.

Dr. Jayne Goes to HIMSS Digital – Tuesday

August 10, 2021 Dr. Jayne No Comments

No line at the coffee bar (a.k.a. my kitchen counter) again this morning, and my bagel was included as “complimentary” given the list of things I picked up on my Costco run last week. I could order delivery for every meal this week and still come out ahead compared to what I’d pay in Las Vegas, so I’m not complaining.

I had some frustrations with the HIMSS Digital platform today. First, when you add a session to your calendar in the platform, there’s not an option to add it to your Outlook or other calendar. Instead, you have to open the session, then click the “Add to calendar” button. At least for Outlook, rather than opening an appointment with my native Outlook client, it tried to send me into Office 365. Not sure why they can’t make their tech work like every other calendar interaction that consumers encounter, but after all it is HIMSS.

I also had the usual HIMSS frustrations around there being no sessions I cared about at a particular time but then having a couple that I was interested in that occurred on top of each other. That would likely be the same in-person, except for Digital you can opt to stream the recording a couple of hours later. One of the conflicting sessions revolved around the cultural aspects of digital healthcare transformation and the other was about capturing structured and unstructured telehealth data to determine whether telehealth is truly delivering return on investment. I ultimately opted for the cross-cultural session and was rewarded with a pop-up thunderstorm with lots of lightning and an unstable internet connection, so it was kind of a wash. I’ll have to try to pick up those two recordings tomorrow.

We’re all used to big press releases at HIMSS but the only thing I saw today was the announcement that CVS Health has launched its Aetna Virtual Primary Care program in partnership with Teladoc Health. The offering is available for self-funded employers and includes both remote and in-person care. It includes coordinated care between a designated virtual care physician and a consistent team of specialists, which differs from some of the other virtual primary care offerings out there that don’t include the specialist piece. Other features include unlimited communications with a virtual nurse care team including support for navigation to in-person services and a zero-dollar copay for primary care services. We’ll have to see what the uptake looks like over the coming months. According to my friends at Statista, 67% of US workers are covered by self-funded plans, so it’s quite a market.

I can’t be there for the exhibit hall happy hour, but made sure to have a cocktail in hand for my afternoon sessions which were largely on-demand. I did receive my first reader shoe pic today, and I think this attendee is fully embracing casual mode. Two of my usual HIMSS BFFs and Exhibit Hall Crawl pals sent me some pictures of after-hours social activities, so at least I can live vicariously. I miss you all, and especially all of your fabulous shoes.

What’s your take on HIMSS21 in-person or digital? Or are you glad you’re not part of it at all and just going on about your day? Leave a comment or email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

From HIMSS 8/10/21

August 10, 2021 News 6 Comments

HIMSS21 looked quite a bit different than usual – far fewer exhibitors and attendees, big expanses of open space in the exhibit hall that featured widened hallways and the unused booth space of cancelled exhibitors, lack of blockbuster announcements and newly issued federal rules, and fewer C-level level provider and vendor executives who stayed home and let their underlings attend. I’m going to take the contrarian point of view and say that I might have enjoyed it more than usual, for these reasons:

  • It was calm and quiet everywhere, but not necessarily in a “this place is dead” kind of way.
  • Seating was ample, boosted by the no-show vendors whose spaces were turned into makeshift lounges with plenty of tables and chairs.
  • Food lines were minimal and places to sit and eat overpriced convention center food were plentiful.
  • It felt more like a scientific conference in the absence of jugglers, costumed and/or scantily clad booth reps, non-clinicians wearing white coats and scrubs, and over-the-top giveaways and food service in the hall.
  • The many booth folks I asked said the conversations they had were of high quality and made it worth exhibiting since product and service demand was pent up from the long pandemic holding period.
  • HIMSS did its usually great job organizing it all, even given the sting of the cancelled HIMSS20, the distraction of the digital track, and the always-present possibility that the in-person HIMSS21 could have been cancelled at the last minute.

I always gripe that the HIMSS conference has grown to be too big, too unfocused, and too much of a celebratory blowout that earns its high attendance only because of FOMO and vendor worries about being one-upped by competitors. For me, HIMSS21 was more to my liking. We’ll see how HIMSS22 lays out, although Florida’s world-leading COVID-19 case count and hospitalizations is raising questions about whether a spring conference is likely to happen. At least HIMSS won’t have to worry about rolled-over registrations from HIMSS21.

I felt perfectly COVID safe in the conference areas, but I worry about what attendees might be bringing home other than booth swag when I saw the hotel bars and restaurants packed 10-deep with unmasked people, mostly attendees, talking closely and loudly. We all know that bars are among the highest areas of COVID spread and some of those venues didn’t appear to be closed to the public. I steered clear and hope those attendees don’t work around patients or at least plan to isolate.

I had forgotten since HIMSS19 just how much young sales guys curse when conversing with each other in private conversations near others.

The cost of Palazzo room service coffee – $20 plus 18% plus $9 (around $33). The line at the hotel’s Starbucks at 6 a.m. – about 50 people, most likely Easterners who crashed early Monday night after gaining three hours and then woke up early seeking a caffeine jumpstart.

I almost welcomed once again seeing the conference phenomenon of people walking slowly down the middle of busy conference hallways while screwing around with their phones, unaware of how many rear-end crashes they are narrowly avoiding.

Is it overly ironic when people at an in-person conference demand that virtual medical visits be paid for because they are efficient and convenient, but watching educational sessions virtually instead of spending patient money to congregate in Las Vegas apparently is not acceptable? Especially when every part of the hall is already jammed with amateur and professional videographers, talking heads, and podcasters who are recording content that few will ever bother to consume?

I cringe every time someone call this city “Vegas.” Three syllables isn’t all that many.


One of few areas in which HIMSS planned poorly was having educational and exhibit sessions in the Caesars Forum (note: the missing apostrophe is correct), which is easily accessed through a 50-yard outdoor walkway bridge from the end of Aisle 22 of the exhibit hall (it is not anywhere near Caesars Palace, either). The problem is that HIMSS scheduled early morning sessions in that building, and that bridge was therefore not accessible until the exhibit hall opened at 9:30 a.m., leaving the shuttle bus or walking as the only alternatives. Otherwise, that brand new facility was super nice, and I enjoyed visiting the exhibit hall and specialty pavilions there even though I entered it every time temporarily blinded by the hot, bright sun.


Some exhibitors were understandably not quite ready when the hall opened at 9:30, as employee were still unpacking boxes and bringing monitors to life.


Seating was plentiful throughout the exhibit hall thanks to reduce vendor count, some from last-minute decisions. I like that those vendors, or perhaps HIMSS itself, paid Freeman a fortune to have their areas populated with benches or tables and chairs.


The much-reviled Hall G exhibit area downstairs, which was like a poorly planned basement rumpus room, has been closed, thankfully, although not before I paid $5,000 several years ago to have a tiny, seldom-visited booth down there. Exhibitors revolted one year against low traffic, forcing HIMSS to install new signage, announce overhead its pleas for people to go down there, and comped lunch for those folks who took in the subterranean spectacle. The area is blocked off from the main hall now and the only HIMSS attendee access was via the downstairs entrance, where you could see its only tenant, the COVID-19 testing center.


The big exhibit hall booth winner was Ellkay, for these reasons: (a) its booth was across the aisle from Epic’s; (b) it drew people like crazy from the moment the hall opened until it closed, outdrawing even its neighbor Epic; and (c) it was a big space that was well designed and staffed by helpful employees. Someone from the company told me Ellkay has grown from 60 employees to 650 over a short period. Their booth was packed every time I walked by, from hall opening at 9:30 on.


Some vendors suffered from poor location. I hope HIMSS offered a big discount for this space.


Canon Medical had a mini-museum of disruptive technology, including this display related to music. The rep told me that Canon invented autofocus.


The Zipnosis folks were sporting cool orange shoes, which they said were Allbirds.

Man & Machine was showing washable medical grade and sealed keyboards and mice. Founder, CEO, and self-proclaimed “The Big Cheese” Clifton Broumand, MSE is apparently quite a character.

I got a quick look at the patient engagement platform of Twistle by Health Catalyst, which had some nice folks working their booth.

I was surprised at the customer logo gallery of virtual care platform vendor EVisit, which includes Texas Health Resources, Trinity Health, and Banner Health. It declares that unlike telehealth technology competitors, “it does not and never will include a competing provider network.”

Bravada Health’s Ayva offers an interesting surgical journey system that offers videos, checklists, and reminders to give patients the best outcome, all without installing an app.


And the winner of Best Customer Name-Dropping is …


This isn’t a brilliant marketing idea but a true story, the rep said. Which makes it a brilliant marketing idea.


Epic’s booth was predictably decorated with big, weird pieces, but I didn’t see Judy or Carl there, probably because UGM is coming up shortly.


Cylera was printing custom tee shirts, of which Lorre got me this one.

NCQA had a great happy hour today, with food that exceeded typical convention center expectations (although by exhibit hall policy it certainly must have come from said convention center).

Raintree Systems founder and CEO Richard Welty died last month at 57, the company announced.

Adobe announces Adobe Experience Cloud for Healthcare. It’s hard to tell what it does from the company’s excessively lofty description, but it sounds like online marketing, audience insights, and digital enrollment.

Automation vendor Olive acquires revenue cycle management vendor Healthcare IP.

A SymphonyRM consumer survey finds that physicians dropped off their communications with patients during the pandemic and that infrequent communication was the top reason patients lost confidence in their doctor during that time. About 20% of respondents say they will look for a new doctor because of how they handled COVID-19. Fewer than half received COVID-19 information from their doctors and only one-third received communication about the vaccine.

Healthcare professional network operator Doximity announces Q1 results: revenue up 100%, adjusted EPS $0.11 versus $0.00, sending shares up in after-hours trading. The company’s market cap is $9.4 billion. Its IPO was in late June.

Salesforce announces new Health Cloud features that include remote patient exception monitoring, intelligent appointment management, and medication management. I wasn’t sure if they really pulled out of HIMSS21, but swinging by their listed booth to check out the new features yielded only a large expanse of bare carpet.

Philips adds Health Suite features – Patient Flow Capacity Suite and Acute Care Telehealth.

Zoom launches a beta release of a no-app mobile browser version of Zoom for Healthcare, available only for patients who use IOS.

I’m looking for interesting stuff to see Wednesday now that I’ve done a superficial surf of the HIMSS21 landscape, so send suggestions my way. Lorre will be in the hall Wednesday and Thursday if any current or prospective sponsors want to chat. She doesn’t really have anything to do since we aren’t exhibiting or doing HIStalkapalooza, thank goodness.

Morning Headlines 8/11/21

August 10, 2021 Headlines No Comments

AI For Population Health And Medical Imaging Gets A Boost With $230 Million Acquisitions

Nanox, an Israeli medical imaging systems vendor, acquires Zebra Medical Vision for $200 million, and USARAD and its Medical Diagnostics Web business for $30 million.

Olive enters the clearinghouse business and eliminates traditional transaction fees to align incentives with customers

Olive acquires RCM vendor Healthcare IP, adding clearinghouse and claims management to its healthcare automation services.

Doximity shares jump after digital health company says revenue doubled in first report since IPO

Doximity saw its shares jump by as much as 10% after the networking and telehealth company released its first earnings report, touting Q1 revenue of $72.7 million versus an anticipated $63.6 million.

Dr. Jayne Goes to HIMSS Digital – Monday

August 10, 2021 Dr. Jayne No Comments

I decided to take full advantage of the HIMSS experience and slept in a little this morning, pretending I was on Pacific time to justify some extra lounging. I’ve asked my household to do some random door-slamming to simulate the hotel experience, but they were fairly quiet and there was no dinging of elevators or rattling of ice machines either. In honor of the “reduced attendee headcount” experience, they allowed me ready access to the coffee rather than having to stand in a queue, and fortunately my morning brew was complimentary with my already-paid room.

My registration experience was confined to having to log into the HIMSS Digital app since I hadn’t used it in 72 hours on my desktop PC. Once again it asked me for a validation code that it said would be delivered to my phone but never was, although it did finally arrive via email. I picked out of a couple of on-demand sessions for my morning education, but I had a bit of a client fire to put out, so I’ll have to make it to those later.

The lunch hour was rounded out with a meeting that was supposed to happen in person in Las Vegas but ended up being via phone since we both elected not to go to HIMSS. I definitely enjoyed being able to meet with her with a sandwich on my desk versus trying to fight to get a restaurant reservation as you usually do at HIMSS.

Finally, the main event arrived, the opening session, titled “The Year That Shook the World,” including Hal Wolf’s opening speech that was followed by the keynote with Patrick Dempsey. The first eight minutes of the session included some banter by the hosts about how great Digital HIMSS is and how many safety precautions they’re taking on the set, as well as some comments about attendee door prizes including a free HIMSS membership and a Starbucks gift card.

To be honest, I was a little tuned out because I don’t do well with silly banter, and the portion of the speech by Hal Wolf felt like a buzzword salad. He covered the rise of telehealth, the need to transform current care models to one focused on value-based care, and the instability of healthcare organizations’ financial positions. I can only hear about the intersection of people, process, and technology so many times, so it was a struggle not to multitask.

HIMSS also pushed its Accelerate platform that I can only describe as a cross between LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media platforms that HIMSS thinks is “exciting” and “incredible” but most of us think is pretty “meh.” The hosts talked about how excited they were about the platform and how “I felt like it was built just for me.” More inane banter ensued, with attempts to also engage people on social media and intermittent check-ins with their social media wall display that they have on the set.

The “Visionary Keynote” from Patrick Dempsey was an approximately two-minute “tribute” wishing us a good conference and thanking healthcare providers for our service. He’s apparently onsite for a movie in Ireland and gave a salute with his teacup. The presentation segued back to more banter between the hosts and encouragement to “break social media” using the #HIMSS21 hashtag. To be honest, 28 minutes into the presentation, they pretty much lost me. I tried to get into the panel on “Lessons Learned and Forward Strategies for Virtual Care,” but it was basically a summary of what I’ve lived for the last year and a half as well as the projects I’m currently working on. I didn’t get a lot out of it, but felt like if you weren’t knee deep in virtual care, you might have found it more engaging.

Moving into the next segment on “Getting AI Right and Guaranteeing Equity,” I had to cringe when the host couldn’t pronounce John Halamka’s name correctly. I do love Dr. Halamka’s ability to talk about complex topics in a way to make it understandable. He gave a great example why you can’t create an AI model using EKGs in thousands of Scandinavian Lutherans and expect it to work properly in Spain. He likened using the nutrition label on foods to needing a label on our AI algorithms to show the economics, ethnicities, etc. that went into creating the algorithm. Definitely one of the more engaging segments of the afternoon.

I received a couple of vendor emails inviting me to booths at HIMSS21 if I would have been there. Cisco was one of them and also offered a complimentary code for HIMSS Digital, so I would have been pretty aggravated if I paid for it rather than attending as part of my rollover registration from 2020.


Readers at the live conference have been keeping me posted on lines at check-in, reporting growing lines throughout the day. One hotel had 30 people in line at 10:30 a.m., with only three employees working the front desk. One reader reported elevators with six-plus unrelated people in them and only 50% masking. I can’t help but imagine that the frontline healthcare providers who decided to attend are losing their minds when confronted with those scenarios.

Other boots on the ground reports include that the food at the opening reception was “actually pretty good” but that there were no performers in show girl costumes this time around. I also heard that the subterranean area of the expo center is no more, and that the new exhibit hall layout “redefines social distance” with a 100-plus degree heat and half a day’s worth of steps to get there. Kudos to my intrepid correspondent for braving the melting sun to keep me posted.

I’m still waiting for shoe and fancy mask pictures, so please send them my way!

Email Dr. Jayne.

Dr. Jayne Goes to HIMSS Digital – Sunday

August 9, 2021 Dr. Jayne No Comments

As I prepared for what would have been my departure for Las Vegas, my inbox was filling with notes from vendors that they were cancelling their in-person presence at HIMSS21. Although this represents a financial loss for those vendors, it also makes a statement that they’ve considered that public health implications might be more important than exhibiting, so I salute them.

Other meetings scheduled for later in the year are beginning to cancel outright. The American Academy of Family Physicians announced Thursday that it’s postponing its annual Congress of Delegates meeting that was scheduled for Kansas City in September, citing “local spread of the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2” along with the fact that “AAFP cannot control the vaccination status of other guests and staff at the planned meeting site.” Travel restrictions from employers and academic institutions were also cited.

Also Thursday the Urgent Care Association canceled its 2021 Annual Convention slated for New Orleans in October. They noted that “In the past two weeks… COVID volumes in urgent care centers have doubled, tripled, and quadrupled.” They also mention that projections from the Louisiana Department of Health aren’t looking good for any improvement by October. I was supposed to attend conferences in September, October, and November, but none of them are looking promising at this point.

Also in my inbox was a confirmation from a hotel reservation that I canceled back in February, when I upgraded to a different hotel. I tried to cancel it online but it told me I would have a cancellation penalty to the credit card on file, so I called the hotel. They only showed the reservation that was previously cancelled and couldn’t find the “ghost” reservation even by searching my name as well as the confirmation code. We’ll have to see if any charges ensue. I called The Palazzo to cancel my actual reservation and after a 45-minute hold was able to do so. The agent kept telling me I’d see a refund on my card despite the published cancellation policy that would forfeit my first night’s already-charged guarantee, so I’m not holding my breath for a credit.


I had been looking forward to seeing the FDB CDS Analytics solution from First Databank, who has elected not to exhibit. They still plan to launch the product as scheduled. It aims to help organizations monitor and customize clinical decision support (CDS). Understanding how users are handling (or ignoring) alerts is key to patient safety, as is finding the right balance of alerts that won’t overwhelm but will prevent the most serious harms. Most organizations don’t know if their CDS is effective, and the solution is designed to track CDS impact over time. It’s available in the Epic App Orchard and I’ll definitely be reaching out to FDB for a demo.

I finally spent some quality time looking at the HIMSS Digital schedule and making my plan for the week, which was pretty easy since most of my time was open. There is a mix of real-time and on-demand sessions, and even the real-time ones will be available on demand a couple of hours after their conclusion. That’s good for me, because I’m pretty sure I’m going to miss the Patrick Dempsey portion of the opening keynote due to a last-minute meeting request. As in all things consulting, the billable takes precedence over the entertaining. I also identified which sessions are available for continuing ed so I can log the appropriate hours, so I felt pretty prepared for the week.


Shoe pictures have started arriving from my most dedicated readers, including these adorable snow globe slides from Kate Spade. They’re still available in my size, if anyone is curious. I’d like them even better if there was a resin model of a coronavirus particle in the heel, so I could fantasize about crushing it every time I take a step.

What are the best shoes you’ve seen at HIMSS21? How was the registration and badge pick-up process? Since I have to live vicariously this time around, leave a comment or email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

From HIMSS 8/9/21

August 9, 2021 News 7 Comments


My trip to Las Vegas was thankfully uneventful, with all plane passengers I saw masked up. Uber pricing was crazy at the Las Vegas airport, showing $45 to get to the Palazzo versus Lyft’s $21. I ended up taking a cab since the rate is fixed at $27, there was no waiting, and I could see the vehicle right in front of me before choosing. I pulled up Uber for other destinations from the hotel and it was always double Lyft’s rate, which reminded me why I always use Lyft in Las Vegas. It’s hot outside, but who goes outside  during a conference that is held in the desert at connected venues?

Pondering: why does HIMSS spend money to buy airport signs? Do Las Vegas visitors really register for the conference on a whim, or do registrants require reassurance that they are in the right city?

Masking within the Venetian area is maybe 75% at best, with lots of pulled-down masks and some folks who walked right by the “masking required” signs with no mask in evidence. Compliance was close to 100% in the HIMSS areas, which offers little comfort since you can’t avoid the casinos, hotel hallways, and restaurants full of the unmasked. Overall, I would say I have felt safe since leaving home, but I frequently wanted to commit mayhem on someone who clearly doesn’t care about being responsible around others or who defiantly ignores clearly posted policy.


HIMSS21 check-in was painless, although signage wasn’t perfect (maybe because of the hotel and convention center not being purely dedicated to the conference) and some of the “ask me” information people didn’t seem to be fully informed when I posed questions. I can’t quite figure out how to get to the Caesar’s building for educational sessions, although it seems to involve passing through the exhibit hall that was closed today to get to a bridge that was also closed today. I’m not sure why prior HIMSS conferences in Las Vegas were all contained within the Sands-Venetian complex and now the much-smaller HIMSS21 requires walks or shuttles to the Wynn and Caesar’s Forum Conference Center (not to be confused with the Caesar’s hotel since they are not adjacent), but that has dampened my already-minimal enthusiasm for attending educational sessions. I’ll probably just stick to the exhibit hall and surrounding areas this week.

No badge holders were provided this time, just a clip-on lanyard that fits onto the paper badge. I’m not too sure about the integrity of these. Names are also not printed in large font, so it will be hard to recognize masked folks. It was weird walking the HIMSS21 hallways and not being able to recognize people since you can’t see their faces. I predict that chance encounters will be greatly reduced.


I snuck into the exhibit hall when a security guard’s attention was diverted. It has the widest aisles and booth spacing that I have ever seen. The exhibitor count has dropped another 20 or so since Friday to 709. Setup was still in progress, so it’s hard to say whether the layout will be thankfully spacious or embarrassingly sparse. Unlike previous conferences, it was quiet instead of risking being run over by heavy equipment that was loading in booth components in a superhighway-like layout.

That was it for my HIMSS21 experience today since the opening keynote and reception didn’t interest me. My room at the Palazzo is excellent and a good deal at $229 and I had great and well-priced happy hour beer (the locally brewed Bonanza, which was outstanding) and oysters on the half shell at its Sugarcane restaurant. I’ll probably spend all of tomorrow in the exhibit hall, leaving my day fully planned except to come up with a dinner idea that hopefully doesn’t involve the mostly overpriced hotel restaurants that are like a food court for rubes who think celebrity chefs are actually in the kitchen cooking. I confess that my favorite Las Vegas restaurants from past conferences are Home Plate, Italian American Club, and the Village Pub at Ellis Island, so my preference is inexpensive, off the beaten track, and devoid of other HIMSS conference badge-wearers. It may be also that exhibitors provide enough snacks to tide me over anyway.

Reader Comments

From Excitable: “Re: HIMSS21. You seem jaded by the conference.” I think everyone who has attended more than a handful of HIMSS conferences would say that they aren’t all that enthused at the prospect of returning or assured of the ROI for showing up. Most of the bubbly folks who tweet out their barely-contained excitement about attending are lower-level employees who don’t have a lot of experience, and for them, I understand, but don’t share, the newbie thrill of travel expense reimbursement, mugging with others for group selfies, and vendor parties. The last thing I want to do at HIMSS is to sacrifice an entire evening just to get free vendor food and drinks or to huddle protectively with other rookies.


On-Demand Webinars:

Key Differences: Value Based Care vs. Fee-For-Service.” Part 1 of a three-part series. Sponsor: Net Health. Presenters: Bill Winkenwerder, MD, chairman, CitiusTech; Josh Pickus, CEO, Net Health. Dr. Bill Winkenwerder, former assistant secretary of defense for health affairs for the US Department of Defense, shares his unique perspective on the future of value-based care (VBC) systems in the public sector and how VBC differs from fee-for-service models in the private sector. This Part 1 webinar covers which aspects of the fee-for-service health system payment model look the most different compared to fully value-based systems (clinical, back-office, analytics, etc.)

Current Innovation and Development in Value-Based Care.” Part 2 of a three-part series. Sponsor: Net Health. Presenters: Bill Winkenwerder, MD, chairman, CitiusTech; Josh Pickus, CEO, Net Health. Dr. Bill Winkenwerder, former assistant secretary of defense for health affairs for the US Department of Defense, shares his unique perspective on the future of value-based care (VBC) systems in the public sector and how VBC differs from fee-for-service models in the private sector. This Part 2 webinar discusses what health systems should know about the transition to value-based care, including macro versus micro shifts.

Future of Value-Based Care: Predictive Analytics, Technology, Policy.” Part 3 of a three-part series. Sponsor: Net Health. Presenters: Bill Winkenwerder, MD, chairman, CitiusTech; Josh Pickus, CEO, Net Health. Dr. Bill Winkenwerder, former assistant secretary of defense for health affairs for the US Department of Defense, shares his unique perspective on the future of value-based care (VBC) systems in the public sector and how VBC differs from fee-for-service models in the private sector. This Part 3 webinar discusses the role analytics will play in the shift to value-based care and how financial and clinical ROIs for analytics-oriented products must differ when applied to FFS and VBC models.

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


  • Mount Nittany Health (PA) chooses Health Catalyst’s population health solutions.



Luis Saldana, MD, MBA (StarBridge Advisors) joins Zynx Health as VP of clinical strategy.

Announcements and Implementations

First Databank launches FDB CDS Analytics, which supports tracking of the effectiveness of clinical decision support.

Premier brands its benchmarking, analytics, reporting, and clinical technologies under the name PINC AI.

GE Healthcare will offer its imaging applications and Edison Health Services platform on Amazon Web Services.

Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks releases a new customer success video, “Healow Check-In and Healow Pay are Helping Chisholm Trail Pediatrics.”
  • CoverMyMeds expands its interoperable prescription decision support technology to clinical staff with MedCheck, its newest in-workflow solution.
  • AGS Health has achieved the Leaders and Star Performers category on the Everest Peak Matrix RCM Operations – Services Peak Matrix Assessment 2021.
  • Stratum Med will offer CareSignal’s Deviceless Remote Patient Monitoring technology to its alliance members.
  • OBIX Perinatal Data System, developed by Clinical Computer Systems, will exhibit at the AWHONN Indiana Section Conference August 20 in Fishers.
  • Dresner Advisory Services names Dimensional Insight an overall leader in business intelligence in its Industry Excellence Awards.

Blog Posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
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Morning Headlines 8/10/21

August 9, 2021 Headlines No Comments

Premier Inc. Brands Technology and Services Platform “PINC AI™”

Premier groups its Performance Services business and benchmarking, analytics, reporting, and clinical technologies under the new PINC AI brand.

Founders of Heal Raise $3.8 Million for New Health Tech Start-Up: HeyRenee

Heal’s co-founders raise $3.8 million to launch HeyRenee, a digital healthcare platform designed to better coordinate care for the underserved, elderly, and those with chronic conditions.

HHS’ ‘Frequent and Significant Changes’ to COVID Data Reporting Left Hospitals Behind

A Government Accountability Office report points out that HHS hampered its collection of hospital capacity data during the initial phases of the pandemic by frequently changing reporting methods without consulting stakeholders.

Cricket Health Secures $83.5 Million Series B Funding Round Supported by Industry-Leading Clinical Outcomes

Tech-enabled kidney care company Cricket Health raises $83.5 million in a Series B funding round led by Valtruis, bringing its total raised to more than $120 million.

ASGN Incorporated Announces Acquisition of Enterprise Resource Performance, Inc.

Technology and professional services company ASGN acquires Enterprise Resource Performance, a health IT consulting firm that caters to organizations within the federal government.

Morning Headlines 8/9/21

August 8, 2021 Headlines No Comments

Allscripts Announces Second Quarter 2021 Results

Allscripts announces Q2 results: revenue up 1%, EPS $0.15 versus –$0.05; adding in its earnings call that quarterly revenue in the core clinical and financial segment was flat, while the Veradigm analytics business delivered double-digit gains that it expects to continue.

Introducing Cadence, A New Health Tech Company Redefining Remote Care for the Nation’s Largest Health Systems

Remote patient monitoring vendor Cadence launches with $41 million in funding and a deal to deliver remote care to 100,000 chronic patients of LifePoint Health.

Verifiable secures $17M for its API that manages healthcare provider information

Verifiable, which offers a provider credentialing, network enrollment, and onboarding platform that is accessible via APIs, raises $17 million in a Series A funding round.

Monday Morning Update 8/9/21

August 8, 2021 News 3 Comments

Top News


From the Allscripts earnings call, following Q2 results that beat Wall Street expectations for revenue and earnings:

  • The company expects a Microsoft Azure-hosted version of Sunrise to drive new sales due to high availability, cybersecurity, and disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities.
  • Quarterly revenue in the core clinical and financial segment was flat, while the Veradigm analytics business delivered double-digit gains that it expects to continue.
  • The company booked a $5 million recovery in its Department of Justice settlement over Practice Fusion.
  • Allscripts is solving interoperability rule requirements by having a reseller agreement with CarePort, which it recently divested.
  • The company will potentially look for bolt-on acquisitions around Veradigm, probably smaller players since those assets are expensive.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Most poll respondents would rather not have contact with a health system employee who has not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Some comment themes: (a) you shouldn’t be working in healthcare if you don’t believe in science or have judgment too poor to opt in for a lifesaving vaccine; (b) some people are not candidates for vaccination under current guidelines and you can’t blame them for not getting it; (c) the vaccine has not yet earned FDA’s full approval; and (d) it might be OK under urgent circumstances, if employees are required to be tested regularly as an alternative, or if the respondent-patient knows the person hasn’t been vaccinated and can put a mask on. My take – you won’t be able to tell which employees have been vaccinated if health systems don’t require it for all employees, so about all you could to is ask each employee directly (kind of like the “have you washed your hands” patient interrogation effort to reduce healthcare-associated infections), then hope they answer honestly and offer to send someone else in if you object.

New poll to your right or here: Healthcare providers: is your employer mandating COVID-19 vaccination? Use the poll’s comment function to elaborate further on what proof is required, whether a history of infection or antibody test can be substituted, or whether exceptions are allowed.

It’s been nearly two years since Northwell Health and Allscripts announced via press release that they would develop a new cloud-based, voice-enabled, AI-based EHR. How about an update that might also include whether the Avenel EHR, announced by Allscripts in early 2018, will ever see the light of day?

HIMSS21 Updates


From Dateless and Desperate?: “Re: HIMSS21. Attached is the third email I’ve received from HIMSS trying to get me to accept free registration for the digital version of HIMSS21. They must be desperate to get the numbers up. I hope you don’t fly across the country only to find minimally staffed booths with third-tier employees who can’t find their ass with both hands.” Folks who paid $895 for HIMSS20, had their registration involuntarily rolled over to HIMSS21 when it was cancelled, and then decided not to attend HIMSS21 in person probably aren’t thrilled to know that HIMSS is just giving away registrations for the virtual version. HIMSS also charged some unknown number of folks $495 or more for that same, now-free registration.


I also noticed that someone tweeted out the complimentary registration code, so HIMSS21 digital is now like Woodstock, where some suckers bought tickets, but most attendees just crashed the gate.

Some experts say that cloth masks alone aren’t protective enough against the delta variant in indoor gatherings, suggesting instead that people either use N95 masks instead or wear a surgical mask under the cloth one. That made me wonder what kinds of masks will be available from HIMSS and HIMSS21 exhibitors.

Epic’s UGM starts Sunday, August 22. I wonder how many more people might have attended HIMSS21 if it wasn’t so close to UGM?

I’m leaving for Las Vegas Monday morning. I’m not sure if I’ll do anything HIMSS-related on Monday since I find the opening reception to be dull, but I’ll post an update of what I see in general. Dr. Jayne will be covering the virtual conference. Both of us would appreciate hearing your impressions as attendees to avoid that “blind men describing an elephant” HIMSS conference problem. I’ll be as scathing as a Fyre Festival tweeter if I get there and feel duped by small crowds and low energy that I traveled into a COVID hotbed at my own expense to see.


On-Demand Webinars:

Key Differences: Value Based Care vs. Fee-For-Service.” Part 1 of a three-part series. Sponsor: Net Health. Presenters: Bill Winkenwerder, MD, chairman, CitiusTech; Josh Pickus, CEO, Net Health. Dr. Bill Winkenwerder, former assistant secretary of defense for health affairs for the US Department of Defense, shares his unique perspective on the future of value-based care (VBC) systems in the public sector and how VBC differs from fee-for-service models in the private sector. This Part 1 webinar covers which aspects of the fee-for-service health system payment model look the most different compared to fully value-based systems (clinical, back-office, analytics, etc.)

Current Innovation and Development in Value-Based Care.” Part 2 of a three-part series. Sponsor: Net Health. Presenters: Bill Winkenwerder, MD, chairman, CitiusTech; Josh Pickus, CEO, Net Health. Dr. Bill Winkenwerder, former assistant secretary of defense for health affairs for the US Department of Defense, shares his unique perspective on the future of value-based care (VBC) systems in the public sector and how VBC differs from fee-for-service models in the private sector. This Part 2 webinar discusses what health systems should know about the transition to value-based care, including macro versus micro shifts.

Future of Value-Based Care: Predictive Analytics, Technology, Policy.” Part 3 of a three-part series. Sponsor: Net Health. Presenters: Bill Winkenwerder, MD, chairman, CitiusTech; Josh Pickus, CEO, Net Health. Dr. Bill Winkenwerder, former assistant secretary of defense for health affairs for the US Department of Defense, shares his unique perspective on the future of value-based care (VBC) systems in the public sector and how VBC differs from fee-for-service models in the private sector. This Part 3 webinar discusses the role analytics will play in the shift to value-based care and how financial and clinical ROIs for analytics-oriented products must differ when applied to FFS and VBC models.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Remote patient monitoring vendor Cadence launches with $41 million in funding and a deal to deliver remote care to 100,000 chronic patients of LifePoint Health. Co-founder and CEO Chris Altchek previously co-founded a publishing company, while co-founder Kareem Zaki co-founded healthcare-related companies Scope Security, Nava, and Cedar.

Nuance announces Q3 results: revenue up 13%, EPS –$0.09 versus $0.06, beating revenue expectations but falling short on earnings. The company will not host an earnings call due to the expected closing of its acquisition by Microsoft by December 31.

OptimizeRx announces Q2 results: revenue up 55%, adjusted EPS $0.10 versus $0.02, beating analyst expectations for both. Shares are up 294% in the past 12 months versus the Nasdaq’s 34% gain, valuing the life sciences provider and patient messaging company at $1.2 billion.


Verifiable, which offers a provider credentialing, network enrollment, and onboarding platform that is access via APIs, raises $17 million in a Series A funding round. Founder and CEO Nick Macario previously co-founded a blockchain-powered digital credentials service and a company that developed a remote work platform.

Announcements and Implementations

GoodRx will provide drug discount price information to prescribers using Surescripts Real-Time Prescription Benefit.

Cerner announces a new solution, Cerner Determinants of Health, which includes a dashboard and tools that are integrated with Millennium. Jvion will also integrate its SDOH and behavior health insights with Cerner’s products. 

HL7 posts SDOH Clinical Care for Multiple Domains v1.0.0.


Microsoft renames its Azure API for FHIR to Azure Healthcare APIs. I was interested that the graphic above shows as one of its health data sources as “social influencers of health,” which sounds someone confused SDOH with a Kardashian Instagram, but I learned by Googling that it’s actually a common term.


US COVID-19 deaths have reached 616,000.


Florida’s count of hospital-admitted COVID-19 patients hits a new high. Its seven-day rolling average of new deaths per day has increased from 22 one month ago to 88 now as its overall total breaks through 40,000. Test positivity rate is at 22%. As Eric Topol points out, Florida and Louisiana have the highest per-capita cases of COVID-19 of any state or country in the world except for Botswana. In Texas, Austin’s mayor warns that the situation is “dire” as 180 COVID-19 patients fill most available ICU beds, 102 of them on ventilators, and officials in several other cities deliver the same warning about COVID-19 cases creating staff and bed shortages and prolonged 911 response times. 


This is an insightful tweet that notes yet another lack of actionable COVID-19 data.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota this weekend was expected to draw 700,000 mostly unmasked attendees whose infections will be hard to measure since they will develop symptoms, become hospitalized, or die only after returning home. Sturgis is in Meade County, which has just 37% of its residents fully vaccinated. Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival drew 385,000 attendees last week, but required proof of vaccination or a recent negative test.

A Florida radio personality who referred to COVID-19 as a “scamdemic,” urged followers to not be vaccinated, and railed against mask-wearing dies of COVID-19 at 65. He is among several recent COVID doubters whose deathbed message was to get vaccinated.



Dr. Jayne called out Mount Sinai Health System (NY) for handing out COVID-19 challenge coins to employees on the front line, which were issued with the thanks of President and CEO Kenneth Davis, MD. Understand that Dr. Davis is personally coin-ineligible, however, since he was not actually present on those front lines in those frantic March 2020 days of trash bag-wearing nurses, as he elected to hunker down for weeks in his Florida waterfront mansion. He says his doctor told him to stay in his six-bedroom, eight-bathroom spread because he’s over 70. Decisions, decisions — he chose that $2.6 million home instead of his $2 million Long Island one or his $7 million Aspen digs. He probably doesn’t need a phony coin anyway since Mount Sinai is his own mint — he made more than $12 million in 2017.

Sponsor Updates

  • Vocera customers from Baptist Health Hardin and Metro Health – University of Michigan Health will share their respective experiences with Vocera technology during HIMSS presentations next week.
  • Wolters Kluwer Health releases Lippincott Skills for Nursing Education, combining evidence-based content with digital learning tools.
  • EClinicalWorks releases a new video featuring Prisma, “Our Health Record Information Search Engine in Action.”
  • PatientBond attends the 2021 HealthTrust University Conference.
  • PatientKeeper co-founder Sally Butta shares “The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing.”
  • Protenus CEO and co-founder Nick Culbertson wins EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2021 Mid-Atlantic Award Winner.
  • The Slice of Healthcare podcast features RxRevu founder and Chief Innovation Officer Carm Huntress.
  • Leading children’s hospitals use interactive technology from Sonifi Health to ease pediatric patients’ anxiety.
  • SymphonyRM debuts its new Hello Health Podcast, “Where to Start with Health Equity.”

Blog Posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
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Weekender 8/6/21

August 6, 2021 Weekender 1 Comment


Weekly News Recap

  • Healthgrades sells its doctor marketplace and renames the remaining enterprise software business to Mercury Healthcare.
  • Relatient raises $100 million and announces plans to merge with Radix Health.
  • HIMSS21 remains on track for its Monday start, although minus some exhibitors that have cancelled their attendance plans.
  • Allscripts announces Q2 results that beat Wall Street revenue and earnings expectations.
  • Change Healthcare’s Q1 results beat revenue estimates, but fall short on earnings.
  • Evolent Health will acquire Vital Decisions.
  • Clarify Health acquires Apervita’s value optimization business.
  • Renown Health gives a look at its new Transfer and Operations Center.
  • Cerner’s Q2 results exceed Wall Street’s revenue and earnings expectations.
  • Epic requires its Verona employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 1, with 97% of them already meeting that requirement.
  • WellSky will acquire Healthify.

Best Reader Comments

No doubt HIMSS will stay mum about cancelations, ultimately they’re just a trade organization maintaining their position against the likes of HLTH and whatever shiny new entity shows up to try and steal the healthcare IT crown. I’m more disappointed by the exhibitors like Salesforce, Philips, and Accenture, which clearly eliminated almost all of their LinkedIn posts promoting their booth and presentations but have yet to make a statement about their presence. (LongTimeFan)

OMG, [cyberattack vulnerabilities of] pneumatic tube systems! We got rid of the last of ours in the 1999-2000 era. They were already a relic by then and ours broke down or jammed constantly. Of course, I am reliably informed that the Internet is a Series of Tubes, so maybe the pneumatic tube systems just evolved into a higher plane of existence. (Brian Too)

Since it’s positioned as a “Transfer and Operations” hub, I’m not sure that they’re claiming it will improve clinical outcomes. Seems more like the goal is increased efficiency and probably reduce redundancy across different facilities. I think the patient outcomes in other countries is more likely to be tied to better access to primary and preventative care, rather than logistics technology or lack thereof. (KatieB)

I remember having a discussion [about privacy of minors] with a public health-type person, many years ago. The topic was youth, STDs, sexual health, and how the rights of the parents intersected with the rights of the youth. My concerns were information related and not service delivery. My assumption going in was, Age of Majority was everything. Well, was I given a jolt! It turned out that the topic was complex and effectively, the youth was granted various adult-type rights and protections in stages. Yet I also remember, I was not introduced to any specific policy or plan, enumerating exactly how that happened. Which left me scratching my head a little, to be honest. It sounded more like, a clinical judgment call was being made. Perhaps they were gauging how mentally and emotionally mature the youth was? (Brian Too)

I am working on a project surrounding Adolescent and Young Adult care transitions this summer! One major barrier for my project specifically is the organization’s interpretation of a minor’s ability to consent to the Terms and Conditions of the patient portal as an individual. This bars patients under the age of 18 from creating and managing their own patient portal account, so there is no ability to teach patients how to manage their own healthcare via a digital platform. This interpretation is compounded by limitations in the patient portal with hiding and showing information dynamically based on the clinical area, such as labs related to sexual or reproductive health or notes from child and family abuse visits. Re: discussing “Healthcare Adulting 101” at age 17, my research has found that introducing the concept as early as age 12 leads to best results, with discussions happening over time until the patient leaves the practice. (JustAnIntern)

Question on the Epic requirement – is anyone seeing hospitals require vaccination for third party vendors? If so, is it self-reported or are they requiring documentation? (HITGUY24)

Watercooler Talk Tidbits


Readers funded the Donors Choose teacher grant request of Ms. C in Illinois, who asked for books for her classroom library. She reported in December, “I would love to thank you again for your generosity! The students were so excited to receive brand new books to take home during remote learning. Our school is a Title 1 school, which means a high percentage of students (93.9%) are from economically disadvantaged families  — students in families receiving public aid, living in substitute care, or eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunches. Many lack access to books at home and few have a library card. My classroom library is typically a place that my students really enjoy; however, the pandemic has forced us into remote learning. Due to your generous donation I was able to send books home for the students to use! One of my students, Anthony has already read several of the books that were provided. He was so excited that there were multiple books from the same series so he could continue to read book after book. This project has helped to enrich my student’s experiences with the printed word. They are so excited that we can read books together on Zoom meetings and discuss what we have read. Believe it or not they are sick of technology and love the opportunity to have real books to read.”


BBC covers “Munchausen by Internet,” where would-be influencers fake illnesses and one-up each other’s list of diagnoses, post their medical records and surgery photos, or share Apple Watch readings. A Reddit group does armchair investigations of their posts to look for inconsistencies, although that has sometimes devolved into posting home addresses and other personal information. The conclusion is that nobody can assume anything about a person’s health by looking at their social media.

COVID-overwhelmed employees of Arkansas hospitals are walking off the job in the middle of their shifts. Only 37% of the state’s residents are fully vaccinated and cases and hospitalizations are climbing steeply.


Kaiser Health News looks at Detroit’s privatization of public health going back to the early 1900s. The city’s health department went from 700 employees in 2008 to five in 2012 as white flight, auto industry turmoil, and the recession eventually led Detroit to file bankruptcy in 2013. A state-funded non-profit ran health programs with little local accountability. The city’s former executive health director says, “There’s not that much money in making sure that babies have what they need to thrive. There’s not that much money in making sure that restaurants are up to code. If there was, private industry would hop to do it.” A private developer is turning the public health department’s former home, the Herman Kiefer complex (above), into space for auto and medical technology businesses as the city rebuilds the department – whose budget is paid for by federal and state taxpayers — while struggling to address COVID-19. The city’s COVID-19 vaccination is at 34%, its COVID death rate is double the national average, and pandemic response has stalled lead poisoning programs and less than half of the city’s children have been vaccinated against measles and mumps.

A San Diego TV station asks several hospitals that were called out by a patient advocacy group for not posting their prices as required by CMS why they failed to do so, with these answers:

  • Dignity Memorial Hospital – we are working to comply over the next several months, but meanwhile enhanced our online tool to estimate out-of-pocket costs for specific insurance plans.
  • Kaiser Permanente – we provided the shoppable services list, but as an integrated delivery system, our hospitals have only one rate, which is with our own health plan.
  • UCSD Health – we developed a patient-specific price estimator, but most of our contracts don’t involve set prices and instead use a percentage of gross charges or a not-to-exceed number, neither of which are supported by the CMS-required format.
  • Sharp HealthCare — we developed a patient-specific price estimator and consumers would be confused by commercially negotiated rates because costs vary by plan and coverage.


Mattel honors healthcare workers by creating a #ThankYouHeroes set of six Barbie dolls that are sold at Target. Mattel will donate $5 from each sale to the First Responders Children’s Foundation. The US workers depicted are Las Vegas internist Audrey Cruz, MD and New York City ED nurse Amy O’Sullivan, RN.

In Case You Missed It

Get Involved


Morning Headlines 8/6/21

August 5, 2021 Headlines No Comments

Mercury Healthcare Launches as the New Brand for Healthgrades Enterprise Software, Technology and Data Analytics Company, Formerly Known as Healthgrades

Healthgrades splits its business, creating a software company that will be called Mercury Healthcare and selling its doctor marketplace media business to RV Health.

Relatient Merges with Radix Health to Extend its Lead in Patient Engagement & Access; Announces $100M+ Growth Investment

Patient engagement vendor Relatient announces a $100 million investment and plans to merge with Radix Health, which offers patient-provider matching, schedule optimization, referral automation, and patient self-service tools.

Real Time Medical Systems Secures $20 Million In Series C Funding

Real Time Medical Systems, which offers a collaboration platform to connect hospitals to post-acute care partners, raises $20 million in a Series C funding round.

News 8/6/21

August 5, 2021 News 10 Comments

Top News


Healthgrades splits its business, creating a software company that will be called Mercury Healthcare and selling its doctor marketplace media business to RV Health, which owns websites such as CNET, Healthline Media, and The Points Guy.

Reader Comments

From Doctor CIO: “Re: HIMSS21. Maybe this is the safest time to visit Las Vegas since the HIMSS is requiring vaccination and masks. Unless you will isolate at home, the HIMSS floor might be the safest places you can see people.” I agree, although the downside is that the conference hotels will be teeming with people of unknown vaccination status outside the HIMSS21 velvet ropes, airports are crowded and still iffy, the multiple HIMSS21 venues require walking among the general public, and always-risky restaurants are mandatory unless you can live on room service. Las Vegas case counts are out of control, so while I will feel comfortable in the HIMSS21 areas  — trying not to think about the possibility that attendees faked their vaccination cards or that my antibody response to the vaccine may not have been robust or long-lasting – the rest of Las Vegas is a Petri dish. While I’ll probably still go even as I constantly reconsider my options, the key issue is whether a stripped-down conference is worth attending given that we’ll be doing it again in six months (or not, depending on viral whims). I think I’m a go unless a bunch of big companies announce their non-participation Friday, which isn’t likely at this point.

From Uh Oh: “Re: HIMSS21. My company pulled out. A former colleague says his company is going, but employees aren’t allowed to leave their rooms all week except to go to the show floor. They will be allowed to eat only in the booth or in a reserved hospitality suite.” I’m fascinated that some companies have said publicly that they are sending only a skeleton crew of junior folks and leaving the executives safely at home.

From Utility Outfielder: “Re: HIMSS21. I keep hearing that more vendors are pulling out. Some that I know have done so still show up on the floor plan. I don’t think the floor plan can be considered accurate.” I don’t know that I would assume that the floor plan is being promptly updated with cancelled exhibitors, if for no other reason than it isn’t in the best interest of HIMSS to fuel a rush for the doors like last year. Still, it seems to mostly align with announced cancellations, although not all cancellations will be announced.

From Scrivener: “Re: health IT media consolidation. HIStalk will eventually be the only independent media outlet left.” TechTarget acquires Xtelligent Healthcare Media, expressing ambition to serve advertising “customers” using “intent data productization” (readers are apparently incidental widgets in this process). I can’t say I’ve ever read any of their 10 sites, but good for them for being acquired.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I’m just now considering what it will be like to attend an all-masked conference, which is much weirder than just masking up for a grocery store full of strangers. A lot of memorable conference experiences involve random across-the-hall eye contact with someone you know, where you recognize the face, wait for confirmatory matching eyebrow-lifts and smiles, and then launch an unplanned catch-up conversation. We will only be seeing printed names on badges this year, so let’s hope the font is large enough for that same across-the-hall identification.

HIMSS has long said that the digital version of HIMSS21 will be entirely separate in content from the live conference, but it is now waffling by deciding to stream some sessions live using its new Accelerate platform and offer others for next-day playback.

Las Vegas weather: cooling off a bit from Thursday’s high of 112 this weekend to around 106 each day and “plenty of sunshine.”


Early in my interview with Carrie Kozlowski of Upfront Health this week, she casually mentioned, as captured by my recording of the call, “I should preface this, and this may be a first for you, I am presently trapped in an elevator, so they may release me at some point during our call.” Many folks, especially claustrophobes, would skip the call to reschedule once freed, but she soldiered through in what was indeed a first for me. I once did an interview with the CEO of a publicly traded company from a Mexican restaurant due to poor timing on my part, where I joked about the Mariachi music playing in the background, asked my first question just as the food arrived, and then muted the phone so I could crunch chips during their answer. I did another having forgotten about it until the call started, making up questions on the fly with zero preparation and conducting the conversation from the car.

HIMSS21 Exhibitor Updates

Exhibitors that have publicly stated that they won’t attend or that have been removed from the exhibitor list:

  • Ambra Health
  • Athenahealth
  • Clearsense
  • First Databank
  • Imprivata
  • InterSystems (not pulling out, but reducing its show floor presence)
  • Medicomp
  • Nuance
  • Olive
  • Premier
  • Qliqsoft
  • Tegria
  • TeraRecon

Exhibitors that readers say aren’t going, but that haven’t confirmed that I’ve seen:

  • Accenture
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Definitive Healthcare
  • Philips
  • Salesforce


On-Demand Webinars:

Key Differences: Value Based Care vs. Fee-For-Service.” Part 1 of a three-part series. Sponsor: Net Health. Presenters: Bill Winkenwerder, MD, chairman, CitiusTech; Josh Pickus, CEO, Net Health. Dr. Bill Winkenwerder, former assistant secretary of defense for health affairs for the US Department of Defense, shares his unique perspective on the future of value-based care (VBC) systems in the public sector and how VBC differs from fee-for-service models in the private sector. This Part 1 webinar covers which aspects of the fee-for-service health system payment model look the most different compared to fully value-based systems (clinical, back-office, analytics, etc.)

Current Innovation and Development in Value-Based Care.” Part 2 of a three-part series. Sponsor: Net Health. Presenters: Bill Winkenwerder, MD, chairman, CitiusTech; Josh Pickus, CEO, Net Health. Dr. Bill Winkenwerder, former assistant secretary of defense for health affairs for the US Department of Defense, shares his unique perspective on the future of value-based care (VBC) systems in the public sector and how VBC differs from fee-for-service models in the private sector. This Part 2 webinar discusses what health systems should know about the transition to value-based care, including macro versus micro shifts.

Future of Value-Based Care: Predictive Analytics, Technology, Policy.” Part 3 of a three-part series. Sponsor: Net Health. Presenters: Bill Winkenwerder, MD, chairman, CitiusTech; Josh Pickus, CEO, Net Health. Dr. Bill Winkenwerder, former assistant secretary of defense for health affairs for the US Department of Defense, shares his unique perspective on the future of value-based care (VBC) systems in the public sector and how VBC differs from fee-for-service models in the private sector. This Part 3 webinar discusses the role analytics will play in the shift to value-based care and how financial and clinical ROIs for analytics-oriented products must differ when applied to FFS and VBC models.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Allscripts announces Q2 results: revenue up 1%, EPS $0.15 versus –$0.05.


Clinical decision support vendor EvidenceCare acquires Healthcare Value Analytics, which developed the ValueBar cost transparency tool that lets physicians know the cost impact of their clinical decisions. Both companies are based in Nashville.

Care management software vendor Evolent Health will acquire Vital Decisions, which helps patients with cancer and heart disease and their providers align treatment goals, for up to $130 million.

Healthcare analytics vendor Clarify Health acquires Apervita’s value optimization business.

Change Healthcare announces Q1 results: revenue up 25%, adjusted EPS $0.41 versus $0.25, beating Wall Street revenue expectations but falling short on earnings. Meanwhile, anonymous sources report that the Department of Justice may sue to block the $8 billion cash acquisition of the company by UnitedHealth Group’s OptumInsight, which was announced in January.


JPMorgan recovers from its Haven healthcare cost management failure by investing $50 million in Vera Whole Health, which offers primary care services to employers on a per-patient, per-month basis. Vera has primary care centers in 10 states and also partners with Central Ohio Primary Care. The care model is not unusual for Medicare programs, but hasn’t been tried at scale with employers.

Real Time Medical Systems, which offers a collaboration platform to connect hospitals to post-acute care partners, raises $20 million in a Series C funding round.



Pharmacy benefits technology vendor Truveris promotes Nanette Oddo to president and CEO.


Autonomous medical coding technology vendor Nym Health hires Melisa Tucker, MBA (Flatiron Health) as SVP and head of product.


Industry longtimer Merrie Wallace, MSN (FairWarning) joins interpretation platform vendor Boostlingo as chief revenue officer.


Health Data Movers hires Patrick McDermott, MBA (Pivot Point Consulting, a Vaco Company) as business development executive.

Announcements and Implementations


Medicomp launches Quippe Nursing, which allows nurses to quickly complete care documentation and planning using clinical data filtering and links to Clinical Care Classification terminology.

CoverMyMeds announces Med Check, a clinician version of its real-time prescription benefit solution that displays a patient’s previous meds, drug interactions, cash pricing, formulary alternatives, and prior authorization requirements.

Imprivata launches Enterprise Password AutoFill, which allow users to use a proximity badge tap to enter their username and password.


Providence-owned Tegria and Cedar will offer their revenue cycle management services and financial engagement platform, respectively, to each other’s customers. Providence will implement Cedar’s post-visit patient engagement and payment platform. Cedar co-founder and CEO Florian Otto, MD, DDS, PhD was formerly sales VP for ZocDoc and founder of Groupon Brazil.

NTT Data announces a global Health and Wellbeing initiative that focused on closing care gaps in underserved communities and using technology to improve health outcomes.

Change Healthcare announces beta testing of a cloud-native solution for medical imaging in radiology practices. The company will consolidate its cloud-native enterprise imaging solutions under the name Change Healthcare Stratus Imaging.

Government and Politics

The US again ranks last among high-income countries in access to healthcare, equity, and outcomes. It’s also the only one of the 11 countries that does not have universal health insurance. The US finished last in administrative efficiency because of the time patients and providers have to spend filing medical paperwork and arguing with insurance companies.

CMS will use AI to infer a Medicare patient’s race based on their name, ZIP code, and language preference in cases where their race is not available on hospital forms. The de-identified data will be shared with hospitals for reducing inequity, but privacy advocates warn that the algorithm could unintentionally amplify the biases of its developers.



US COVID-19 hospitalizations are trending sharply up and now exceed last year’s peaks in the first two COVID waves, although still falling short of January’s high. Florida has more patients hospitalized with COVID-19 that at any time in the pandemic, with Louisiana and Arkansas not far behind. Meanwhile, Florida hospitals are struggling to obtain oxygen as COVID-19 cases increase and the expiration of the public health emergency limits the supply of truck drivers who are qualified to transport oxygen.

Demand for COVID-19 tests is delaying results reporting and lengthening waiting lines once again. The positivity rate is above 9% versus June’s 2% low.

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD notes that CDC’s reporting of breakthrough case hospitalizations and death cover only January through June and thus misses much of what has happened with the delta variant, which he notes reflects CDC’s lack of near-time reporting capability for questions that require analytical methods.

Leana Wen, MD, MSc, MA says in a Washington Post op-ed piece that CDC seemed to be blaming vaccinated people for the need to wear masks again, but unvaccinated people are responsible for most of the spread and risk. She says CDC’s message should have been (a) that vaccinated parents of unvaccinated children need to wear masks indoors in public areas to avoid passing infection to their kids due to the more readily spread delta variant; and (b) the only reason to mandate that everyone wear masks indoors is because unvaccinated people can’t otherwise be trusted to wear them.


New York will extend its Excelsior Pass COVID-19 vaccine verification to create Excelsior Pass Plus, which will interoperate with the SMART Health Cards Framework that was developed by the VCI consortium. The framework has been adopted by several states (including California), Walmart, Apple, Epic, and Cerner. VCI’s steering group includes Mayo Clinic, Mitre Corporation, Microsoft, The Commons Project Foundation, Evernorth, CARIN Alliance, UC San Diego Health, and Apple.

The drummer of the band Offspring is kicked out when he refuses to receive COVID-19 vaccine because of a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Among those arranging his dismissal is molecular biologist Dexter Holland, PhD, who performed research on the molecular dynamics of HIV and who is also the band’s lead singer.



In Thailand, police arrest the director of a state-run hospital in a sting operation that was triggered by a vendor’s complaint that the director was demanding a 35% commission of the company’s $8,500 bid to install a computer system. The accused director admits that he asked for the money and accepted the marked bills, but says he planned to use it for the hospital. He has faced similar complaints in the past.


I enjoy the LinkedIn updates of industry long-timer Steve Hau, who posted photos of new Ukraine-based team members of his Newfire Global Partners. I like seeing health IT workplace pictures.

Sponsor Updates

  • 3M Health Information Systems will offer Waystar’s revenue capture solutions to its customers.
  • Halo Health publishes a new case study, “Improving HIPAA-Compliant Communication for Accredited Home Care.”
  • Twistle publishes a case study from Ashley Clinic (KS), which saw 80% of patients achieve an average BP of 140/90 after completing a 14-day or 28-day cycle of the company’s Controlling Blood Pressure Pathway.
  • NTT Data launches a health and wellbeing initiative, and publishes a new white paper, “Improving the Health of Me.”

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