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News 3/22/21

March 22, 2021 News No Comments

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Ro raises $500 million in a Series D funding round that brings its total raised to $876 million, and valuation to $5 billion. The company, which now markets itself as a digital health clinic, offers telemedicine, online prescription delivery, in-home lab and nursing services, and smoking cessation programs.

The company plans to scale up its at-home services, hire more providers, and increase its pharmacy distribution centers from eight to 10.

Hemant Taneja, managing partner at Ro investor General Catalyst, has also invested in the new, Glen Tullman-led Transcarent, which helps self-insured employers guide employees to more cost-effective care.


Webinars

None scheduled in the coming weeks. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Summit Medical Group and CityMD, which merged in 2019, rebrand to Summit Health. The primary, specialty, and urgent care provider has 200 locations in New Jersey and New York, and six in Oregon.

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Senior-focused primary care company Agilon Health intends to raise $100 million in an IPO, according to paperwork filed with the SEC. Based in California, the company works with 16 physician groups in 17 regions. The company offers data integration and performance analytics as part of its value-based care platform.


People

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Susan Shiff, PhD, MBA (Merck) joins McKesson’s cancer technology and insights business, Ontada, as president. She replaces interim president Derek Rago, who transitions to SVP of strategic initiatives.


Government and Politics

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HealtheLink, an HIE serving healthcare organizations in Western New York, will use federal funding from ONC’s Star HIE program to better support data sharing between regional immunization information systems and HIEs. It will develop new technologies to evaluate the COVID-19 vaccination status of patients; risk stratify unvaccinated patients; monitor those who have been vaccinated; develop additional monitoring criteria; and alert providers to a patient’s immunization status, hospital admissions status, and COVID-19 test status.


Other

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OpenNotes will host a series of virtual drop-in clinics next week to give providers a chance to ask questions about the open visit notes portion of the 21st Century Cures Act Info Blocking Rule, which kicks in April 5 . Featured daily topics will include implementation, ambulatory care, pediatrics, mental health, and interoperability, among several others.


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News 3/17/21

March 17, 2021 News No Comments

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Amazon plans to expand Amazon Care, its virtual and house call care service, to employees in all 50 states this summer. It will also begin marketing the service to other employers.

The online retailer launched the service as a pilot for its Seattle-based employees two years ago, initially offering urgent care and then progressing to primary care and management of chronic conditions.

The company announced last week that it would also expand its network of employee clinics operated by Crossover Health to five regions in Texas, Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan, and California. It hasn’t yet hinted at how it might bundle the two separate endeavors together.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Care and social services coordination software company Unite Us reaches unicorn status with a $150 million Series C funding round.

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Harmonize Health raises $10 million in a Series A funding round. The two year-old, San Francisco-based company offers an integrated solution for remote patient monitoring, chronic care management, and outcomes tracking for elderly and high-risk patients.

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Strive Health, which focuses on kidney care optimization using analytics and care navigators, raises $140 million in a Series B funding round led by CapitalG.


Announcements and Implementations

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Greenway Health announces GA of GRS Select, a suite of customizable RCM services aimed at helping practices recover from COVID-induced losses.

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Steinberg Diagnostic Medical Imaging in Las Vegas implements OpenDoctor’s online appointment scheduling software for its nine locations.


Other

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Kaiser Permanente physician Linda Shiue, MD recounts her path from traditional physician to author of “Spicebox Kitchen,” a cookbook that aims to show “how a stash of spices can act as the cook’s equivalent to a doctor’s bag.” (Check out her KP profile page for tons of recipes.) She recounts: “I started writing recipes for my patients … on my prescription pad, which felt very radical. … Even with all the kind of highfalutin medical training I’ve had, those recipes were what earned me the most passionate letters of gratitude from patients.”


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  • EClinicalWorks publishes a guide to choosing a vaccine administration management system.

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News 3/15/21

March 15, 2021 News No Comments

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DaGrosa Capital Partners invests in Hoy Health, a bilingual telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, and medication access company based in Morristown, NJ.

CEO Mario Anglada helped to launch Univision’s first consumer-focused telehealth program before founding Hoy Health in 2017.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Canadian Well Health Technologies makes a seed investment in startup fertility clinic Twig Fertility, which plans to open a clinic in Toronto with digital health offerings that include app-based virtual visits, online scheduling, prescription delivery, and notifications.

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Blueberry Pediatrics launches in six states with a membership-based telemedicine service that offers, for $18 a month, unlimited care for every child in a member’s household.


People

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Cynthia Miller (Deloitte) joins MiraMed Global Services as VP of coding and client services.

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Well Health Technologies, which acquired EHR vendor Intrahealth last week for $15 million, promotes Ammar Shah to VP of M&A.


Announcements and Implementations

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Tech-enabled primary care company Carbon Health develops a digital COVID-19 vaccine card that will help patients vaccinated at Carbon Health sites keep track of their doses and offer proof of shots.

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Florida Cancer Specialists implements a Virtual Image Exchange using technology from Thinking Systems.


Government and Politics

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Over the next six weeks, 700 additional health centers will join 250 already participating in the federal government’s Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program, which is helping to ensure that vaccines are given out equitably.


Other

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Hatfield Medical Group installs a hitching post outside of its office in Apache Junction, AZ so that patients can ride their horses to appointments. (This story reminds me of the time I saw two people ride their horses through my local Wendy’s drive-thru!)

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The LA Times covers the art healthcare workers have created during the pandemic. From doll house furniture to toast art, ball gowns, and painting, the creativity has served as a means of coping and escape for physicians like Jacqueline Pflaum-Carlson, MD: “When the pandemic hit, every aspect of my clinical practice was affected — there was no escape. I started painting so I could separate my work tragedy from home stressors. I needed to get the imagery and emotions out of my head before I could be present for my two young daughters and husband whose lives were also uprooted.”


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News 3/10/21

March 10, 2021 News No Comments

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As first alluded to last October, Outcome Health has merged with competitor PatientPoint to create PatientPoint Health Technologies. Earlier estimates have valued the combined company at $600 million. The new company will continue to offer digital pharma advertising and patient engagement messaging at the bedside and in waiting rooms.

PatientPoint leadership will head up the new company, while Outcome Health executives Glenn Keighley and Sean Barden will lead software and engineering efforts.

The deal, the terms of which weren’t disclosed, is perhaps the best possible route for Outcome Health, whose co-founders await trial in a $1 billion fraud case initiated by a 2017 Wall Street Journal expose.


Webinars

None scheduled in the coming weeks. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Babylon Health acquires the Fresno and Madera operations of FirstChoice Medical Group, a California-based practice management company that partners with local physicians to offer concierge care for Medicare patients. Babylon will roll out its app-based healthcare services and access to its care advisors to FirstChoice patients in the coming months.


People

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AristaMD hires Neal Reizer (Homecare Homebase) as chief product officer.


Announcements and Implementations

Walgreens leverages Nuance’s intelligent, conversational voicebot to help customers who call its retail clinics schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments in English or Spanish. The technology also sends automated appointment reminders via text.

Henry Schein Medical Systems will integrate Yosi Health’s cloud-based patient intake and engagement software with its EHR and practice management technologies.

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Fox Rehabilitation (NJ) implements MTBC’s PrecisionBI analytics and business intelligence software.


Research and Innovation

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Athenahealth’s new Telehealth Insights Dashboard shows that mental health, primary care, and pediatrics were the top type of virtual appointments between November 2020 and January 2021. Visits were more likely to occur after hours or on the weekends, and were twice as likely to be scheduled on the same day as in-person appointments.


Other

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Heal co-founder Nick Desai shares why the time was right for him to step down as CEO, and what he expects the company to achieve under more strategic leadership in the coming months. A few highlights:

  • The company began ramping up its telemedicine capabilities in December 2020 as news of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China began to break.
  • Desai is looking forward to getting back to his entrepreneurial roots, and is already looking at how virtual care can be made truly accessible to those who need it: “If I do something else in health care, it’s going to be 10x the size, or 100x the size, and solve the chasm of equality of access, which is huge.”
  • He sees tremendous market opportunity in house call-based senior care, which Heal has already delved into through its agreements with several payers.

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Robert Purbeck is indicted for cyber crimes that included purchasing user names and passwords on the dark web; and then hacking into and stealing patient data from two medical clinics, one orthodontics practice, and the City of Newnan in Georgia. He also attempted to extort the owner of the orthodontics practice, threatening to sell the Social Security number of the owner’s child if he didn’t pay a Bitcoin ransom.

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Pediatricians at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (NY) take to Zoom to hold virtual “read-alongs” with their patients, whose opportunities to focus on health literacy in the classroom may be hampered by the pandemic. Typically held during school breaks, the read-alongs supplement the books typically given to each Montefiore patient at the end of their in-person visit.


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News 3/8/21

March 8, 2021 News No Comments

Top News

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Investor Scott Vertrees joins Heal as CEO. Vertrees, who has advised the company over the last several months, replaces Nick Desai, who co-founded the app-based house call and telemedicine company with wife Renee Dua, MD in 2015. Desai remains a shareholder, and Dua the company’s CMO.

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Heal has over the last year expanded into several more states and raised $100 million from Humana, bringing its total raised to $200 million.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Tallahassee, FL-based health data exchange vendor HIE Networks rebrands to Centralis Health.

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App-based house call company DispatchHealth raises $200 million in a Series D round of funding that brings its total raised to $417 million.


Announcements and Implementations

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Behavioral health organization George Junior Republic (PA) implements the SmartCare EHR from Streamline Healthcare Solutions.


Government and Politics

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In Kansas, Governor Laura Kelly allocates $3 million in federal funding to Community Care Network of Kansas, is helping its network of clinics acquire remote patient monitoring devices so that patients with chronic conditions may be cared for virtually.


Other

Cochise Eye & Laser (AZ) notifies patients of a January ransomware attack that encrypted its patient scheduling and billing software, and deleted scheduled appointments. The clinic was forced to revert to paper-based processes for nearly a month while they rebuilt their systems and installed an offsite backup.

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Behavioral health and addiction treatment EHR vendor Sigmund Software will award $500 scholarships to five winners who plan to or are already pursuing degrees related to healthcare and/or IT. Applications and essays are due June 1.

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OrthoVirginia and Allergy Centers of Richmond are recovering from presumably separate cybersecurity incidents in late February that took down their phone systems and servers.

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The University of Notre Dame’s student magazine finds the funny in the university’s COVID-19 testing protocols, recounting the escapades of “Two Spit Nick” and the black market he developed for COVID-free saliva.


Sponsor Updates

  • Nordic welcomes Saran Sonaisamy (Cognizant) as director of cloud transformation and cybersecurity.
  • PerfectServe publishes a new case study featuring the University of Tennessee Medical Center, “EMR Embedded Communication Improves Efficiency.”

Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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