This Week’s Health IT Business News
At HIMSS13 in New Orleans last month one of the biggest stories, if not the biggest, was the announcement on March 4th at a press conference that a group of leading health IT vendors had come together to advance interoperability. The CommonWell Health Alliance is an independent, non-profit trade association comprised of health IT companies working together to promote and certify “a national infrastructure with common standards and policies.” The announcement was met with, applause, skepticism and questions. With interoperability initiatives well under way for several years now in the form of State HIEs, HL7, DirectTrust, and Healtheway, some wondered how this vendor-led program fits into the picture. And in a HIMSS “Where’s Waldo” moment, everyone wondered where, oh where was Epic?
Jump forward to April 3rd to a HIT Policy Committee meeting where National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, MD, and others closely reviewed the goals of the alliance outlined in a report delivered at the meeting. Panel member Judy Faulkner, founder and CEO of Epic, said she felt excluded from the organization when the announcement was made at HIMSS. “We were scolded for not being part of this group, and yet we were not invited,” she told fellow members. You can read more about this meeting here.
One day later on April 4th more news broke as the announcement was made that DirectTrust had been awarded a cooperative agreement under the ONC’s Exemplar HIE Governance Entities Program for the continued development and implementation of its accreditation program for health information service providers (HISPs). The DirectTrust accreditation program was developed in partnership with the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC). The ONC Exemplar program is “designed to encourage the continued development and adoption of policies, interoperability requirements and business practices that will increase the ease of electronic health information exchange”
And to add to this interoperability mix we have the standards development non-profit HL7 announcing this week they are making much of the organization’s intellectual property freely available to developers under certain licensing terms.
I’m having a Mr. Spock moment here as just one word comes to mind to describe all of this…fascinating.
Merge Healthcare (NASDAQ: MRGE) announced this week that it has has commenced a cash tender offer for its $252 million outstanding aggregate principal amount of 11.75% Senior Secured Notes due 2015. The purpose of the Tender Offer is to improve Merge’s financial position by refinancing its indebtedness outstanding under the Notes at a lower interest rate.
GE healthymagination and StartUp Health announced the first thirteen companies have been selected to join a three-year Entrepreneurship Program to accelerate growth for consumer health companies. More than 400 companies from 22 countries applied. The thirteen companies selected represent a broad spectrum of health innovation from the United States, Ireland, and Israel focusing on aging, health sensors, patient engagement, mobile health, care coordination, big data, analytics, and diagnostics, among other areas of innovation. Rafael Torres, senior managing director, GE healthymagination fund, said, “GE is looking for ideas and partners that can advance industries and improve lives. We believe these thirteen companies have the potential to make quality healthcare more accessible and affordable, and we are excited to work closely with them over the next three years to help them grow.”
FairWarning, developer and supplier of Patient Privacy Monitoring solutions for EHRs announced the release of its FairWarning Ready for Identity Management Systems. The product is designed to help customers “make better use of their existing investment in IT infrastructure, enabling healthcare application vendors, enterprise security vendors and identity management vendors, to integrate with FairWarning’s patient privacy monitoring and advance privacy monitoring analytics, filtering and workflow capability.”
InterSystems Corporation, developer of software for connected care, announced that the Texas Health Services Authority, a public-private partnership formed to improve the Texas healthcare system, has selected InterSystems to develop and implement a secure technology infrastructure for health information exchange (HIE), based on the company’s informatics platform.
Greenway Medical announced that Baylor Quality Alliance (BQA) has selected Greenway to participate in BQA’s electronic health record program. The BQA EHR Program helps physician practices evaluate and select EHR applications that meet their needs. Practices that select Greenway’s PrimeSUITE software contract directly with Greenway, with BQA helping to manage the overall implementation.
Lahey Health announced the organization has signed an agreement with Epic to implement their new EHR in a phased approach, scheduled to begin in June 2013. Lahey Health is expected to create more than 100 new jobs for the implementation of the EHR across the system.
NaviNet announced it has appointed Daniel Timblin Chief Financial Officer. NaviNet is the nation’s largest user-visible real-time healthcare network for physicians, hospitals, and health insurers, connecting nearly 70 percent of clinician offices, 350,000 clinical and administrative users, and 2,000 hospital facilities in the United States. Roger Baker, former CIO and assistant secretary for information and technology at the Department of Veterans Affairs, has been named chief strategy officer at Agilex.