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News 11/25/20

November 25, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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After five years in bankruptcy, telemedicine kiosk vendor HealthSpot has just $47,000 left to distribute to creditors. It had raised $47 million and entered into a seemingly promising partnership with Xerox before falling into insolvency in 2015. Xerox went on to launch a Virtual Health Solutions service line in 2016. I haven’t heard much about it since.


Webinars

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

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

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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In Arizona, the local paper looks at the impact COVID-19 has had on community health centers. Over 560 have closed nationwide, while those in Arizona have seen visits drop between 35% and 80%. A switch to telemedicine, plus federal funding, have helped many across the state to stay in business, with visits now back up to 70% to 80% of pre-COVID levels.


Announcements and Implementations

Rejuvenating Fertility Center implements Meditab Software’s FertilityEHR at its clinics in New York and Connecticut.

The Rhode Island Quality Institute leverages technology from Get Real Health to integrate a COVID-19 symptom-checker with its HIE, and provide underlying population health analytics.

Hackensack Radiology Group (NJ) adopts patient intake, engagement, and payment software from Royal Solutions Group.

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Upper East Side Cardiology in New York City launches a remote patient monitoring program using RPM devices and software from Claris Healthcare.


Thanksgiving Eve Musings

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The local paper recounts the journey Julianne Thomas, MD has taken to definitively determine the truth behind family rumors of ancestors aboard the Mayflower. After combing through family documents and doing some sleuthing in the archives of various historical societies and centers, Thomas was able to prove to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants that she can trace her ancestry back to 20 passengers – one of whom was one of just four women to survive their first year in the settlement. As the first female pediatrician in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the first female president of the Iowa chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Thomas believes her ancestors’ pioneering spirit has helped her break through a number of barriers: “I’m a Puritan through and through and through. I think the crazy work schedule as a pediatrician, sometimes 60 hours a week, that hard work ethic — I think I’ve always had that work ethic and pioneering spirit.”

And speaking (indirectly) of Thanksgiving, Ancestry is offering free access to its StoryScout tool this holiday weekend. After entering in a grandparent’s name, the tool sifts through millions of records to serve up “stories” with no research required.

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Finally, for any bibliophiles looking for that perfect Thanksgiving centerpiece, check out “15 Gorgeous Fall Table Decorations Inspired by Books.”


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News 11/23/20

November 23, 2020 News No Comments

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Through its US subsidiary, Germany-based health IT company CompuGroup Medical will acquire ambulatory-focused health IT vendor EMDs for $240 million.

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


Webinars

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

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

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Telemedicine and online prescription delivery company Ro opens its seventh prescription fulfillment center. The Texas-based operation will also serve customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Mississippi. The company, which raised $200 million in July, plans to open three more centers, which employ between 50 and 100 people, by the end of next year.

CentralReach acquires Cartocal and will incorporate its automated scheduling technology into its EHR, practice management, and billing software for providers specializing in applied behavior analysis.


Announcements and Implementations

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California-based FQHC TrueCare implements Epic at its 12 clinics through a partnership with nonprofit health IT organization OCHIN.

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Diagnoss announces GA of an AI-based coding assistant for medical billing that offers real-time feedback on documentation and coding. Co-founder, lawyer, and Fulbright Fellow Abboud Chaballout’s background includes stints with Imaging Advantage and Partners HealthCare, and the co-founding of finance-focused Optimal Healthcare Recovery.

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Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Center (KS) selects NextGen Enterprise with Orthopedic Suite.


Government and Politics

Jacksonville, FL-based radiology practice Mori, Bean and Brooks will pay the federal government $1.4 million to settle allegations that it knowingly submitted false Medicare and Medicaid claims over a seven-year period for images that were ineligible for reimbursement because they were, in fact, read by professionals outside of the US.


Other

The Washington Post looks at the ongoing PPE shortages many smaller healthcare facilities are facing as COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the country. Unlike their hospital counterparts, which have bigger budgets and stronger and more reliable supply chains, clinics like the Codman Square Health Center in Boston are dealing with a dearth of supplies: “What we’ve realized is there is no cavalry coming,” says Director Genevieve Daftary. “We’ve learned to triage, not just the patients, but triage the PPE.”


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News 11/18/20

November 18, 2020 News No Comments

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COVID-19 continues to have a detrimental impact on small primary care practices in Los Angeles and surrounding areas – a trend seen nationwide that shows no signs of slowing. Nearly 10% of such practices in Los Angeles County have already closed, and another 20% to 25% are at risk of shutting down, according to Los Angeles County Medical Association Secretary and board member Jerry Abraham, MD.

Economists point out that, in addition to reduced patient volume and reimbursement (even with expanded telemedicine regulations), small practices have faced many of the same financial challenges as any small business during the pandemic, creating a perfect recipe for permanent closure.

The association is doing its part to help struggling practices stay afloat, setting up a loan program and freely distributing $1.3 million worth of PPE. Abraham stresses that, “Anybody who is doing things the way they used to do it … is not going to stay open.”


Webinars

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

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

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


Announcements and Implementations

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StrideCare (TX) transitions from multiple EHR systems across its practices to Athenahealth’s cloud-based EHR and practice management software.

Clinical and imaging data-sharing company Life Image develops the Network Connector solution to better enable smaller healthcare organizations to digitally exchange information with other facilities within the company’s network.

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Speech-to-text software vendor Athreon launches AxiScribe, a virtual scribe service that captures, transcribes, and reviews clinical conversations, and then inputs them into the EHR for physician review.

Granite Wellness Centers (CA) selects SmartCare EHR software from Streamline Healthcare Solutions.

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Solutions Outpatient Services in Dallas pilots ViviHealth’s Vivi360 app and clinical dashboard software to help patients in recovery adhere to their treatment plans.

Pfeifer & Associates (OR) will replace its two EHRs with EnSoftek’s DrCloudEHR.


Other

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Walmart partners with Quest Diagnostics to launch pilot programs in Texas and New York that offer what appears to be free drone delivery of at-home COVID-19 test kits.

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The local news profiles Ben Marble, MD founder of MyFreeDoctor.com, a free telemedicine service (powered by Medici) launched at the beginning of the pandemic. The service started with Marble serving a few patients and has since expanded to 13 physicians seeing hundreds. Patients are asked to give a donation at the end of their virtual visit, with average donation rates of $65 reaching as high as 97%.

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Semi-retired, 84 year-old Cheston Berlin, MD stays up to date on healthcare best practices through The ECHO Project’s COVID-19 program offered through the Penn State College of Medicine, where he has worked for the last 50 years. He has attended 33 of the virtual program’s 35 sessions, a routine that not only has helped him attain CMEs, but has helped him to advise his fellow retirement community residents. Berlin’s only criticism of the sessions has been “an excessive use of acronyms.”


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News 11/16/20

November 16, 2020 News 1 Comment

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Web-based urgent care appointment booking and telemedicine startup Solv Health raises $27 million in a funding round led by Acrew Capital, bringing its total raised to $50 million.

The company has facilitated 700,000 virtual visits since March, exponentially greater than the 9,000 it managed in all of 2019.


Webinars

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

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

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

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Heads Up Health raises $1.35 million in seed funding from Innosphere Ventures. The Scottsdale, AZ-based company has developed patient-facing health data aggregation, tracking, and analytics software that providers can access to inform care decisions.

Nexteligent Holdings acquires Media, PA-based Professional Revenue Management Services, which offers RCM and consulting services for physician practices.

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Tech-enabled primary care company Carbon Health raises $100 million in a Series C funding round, bringing its total raised to $172.5 million.

In Canada, Well Health Technologies acquires cybersecurity services company Source 44 Consulting, which will operate as part of the company’s fairly new Cycura Data Protection business unit. Well Health has acquired 10 companies, including Cycura, so far this year.


People

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

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Bhairavi Parikh (Roche Diagnostics) joins Wildflower Health as COO.


Announcements and Implementations

Spectrum Health and Human Services (NY) goes live on Cerner.

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The Oklahoma Health Care Authority will launch a statewide HIE in the fall of 2021, initially focusing on connecting Medicaid providers. The state has has several experiences with HIEs: Coordinated Care Oklahoma shut down in 2017 because of a payer’s mandate that its providers work with another HIE. Nonprofit MyHealth Access Network seems to still be in business, serving 300 organizations.

Inception Fertility implements PracticeHwy’s EIVF EHR across its provider network.

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Highland Clinic (LA) selects InteliChart’s Healthy Outcomes patient engagement software.


Other

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Heads up clinical job-seekers with wanderlust: The Prince Edward Island Medical Society in Canada and the P.E.I. Department of Health and Wellness will begin recruiting physicians to the picturesque island off the coasts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The island (home to one of my favorite literary heroines, Anne of Green Gables) – one of Canada’s most densely populated – is experiencing a physician shortage, with over 14,000 patients on a waiting list to find a family physician.

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Perhaps this could be a future waiting-room perk: A Finnish occupational healthcare company develops a smartphone sanitizing station that disinfects devices with UV light in 15 seconds.


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 11/11/20

November 11, 2020 News No Comments

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RxVantage acquires OnPoint Oncology, which offers oncologists reimbursement data and analytics related to cancer care. RxVantage will incorporate OnPoint’s software into its app, which connects providers with resources and reps from life sciences companies.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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Did you make your bed this morning? (Crawling into a made bed at the end of the day brings me no end of happiness for some reason.) As Admiral William H. McRaven writes in “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … and Maybe the World,” “It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.” McRaven’s book is one of several included in this list of popular self-help books every doctor should read. Perhaps more fitting for today’s clinic workloads is “The Resilient Practitioner: Burnout and Compassion Fatigue Prevention and Self-Care Strategies for the Helping Professions” by Thomas M. Skovholt and Michelle Trotter-Mathison.

Clinicians, can you recommend other books that have helped you with maintaining physical and emotional well-being? Or have served as good ‘ole escapes at the end of a long, hard day? Please email me with your suggestions.

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On a lighter note, Hulu is bringing back The Hardy Boys as an original series in early December. Being more of a Nancy Drew fan myself, I had no idea that Frank and Joe have been around since 1927. The series should arrive just in time for binge-watching over the holidays.


Webinars

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

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

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

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

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Los Angeles-based clinic operator Titanium Healthcare acquires Farid Shakibai, MD Primary Care in Fountain Valley, CA. Titanium will help the practice implement and manage telemedicine services, as well as other care management services.

Oncology analytics company Cota receives a $10 million investment from Varian, its third from the company this year. Cota will work with Varian, which offers similar, cancer-focused technologies, to develop new decision-support tools.


Announcements and Implementations

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San Francisco Otolaryngology implements 2bPrecise’s precision medicine software, which combines genomic data from labs with clinical data from EHRs.

The Nebraska Health Information Initiative and Iowa Health Information Network consider merging their HIE operations, which serve a combined 1,000 organizations.

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Advanced Imaging Concepts (FL) selects radiology image and data management software from RadNet’s ERad subsidiary.


Other

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Ninety year-old Korean War veteran James Nicholson, MD tandem skydives in Kansas City, MO as part of Veterans Day celebrations at the National World War I Museum and Memorial. Nicholson, who was joined by 19 other veterans between 28 and 96, has had a family practice in Greenville, MO for the last 62 years. He’s now a supervising physician who still sees patients.

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USA Today profiles Barbara Hummel, MD a family physician who has been practicing in the Milwaukee area for 15 years. The 77 year-old says COVID-19 has taken its toll on her practice: Face-to-face appointments have decreased, causing her revenue to plummet 60% and forcing her – now the sole employee – to pay for expenses from her own pocket. She says telemedicine isn’t a viable option, as reimbursement is nil and her mostly older patients don’t have smart phones or computers. Demand for PPE from local health systems has overshadowed her own, forcing her to buy from consumer-facing retailers at higher prices. She offers COVID testing as a community service, despite the fact it brings in no revenue. At the end of the day, however, she has no interest in hanging up her stethoscope: “I’m concerned, I take all the precautions I can. I know that if I get COVID I’m probably at risk of being one of the fatalities, but if I dwell on that I wouldn’t leave my house and I can’t do that. I have an obligation to be here and to help provide care for my patients and I understand that obligation.” 


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Recent Comments

  • Jayne HIStalk MD: I don't know if I would want to relocate right now, but I'd definitely be open to a locum tenens job on Prince Edward Is...
  • Hugh Curmudgeon: Troll beater - I agree, the challenge of migrating to VBC is very hard, and in some cases, potentially not even wort...
  • Troll beater: That was a pretty tough comment Hugh. While I agree with some points made I think one thing is missing: the advisory ...
  • Hugh Curmudgeon: So...the EMR companies are going to put out press releases when they assemble their existing staff to do their jobs? I d...
  • Brian Foster: RE: "Doctor on Demand makes its service available to Medicare Part B beneficiaries, and will waive their copays during t...