Health IT Business News Recap – March 24, 2013

Health IT Business News Wrap-upThis Week’s Health IT Business News

HIMSS13 is the conference that just keeps giving. Held earlier this month in New Orleans, the conference gave us the opportunity to conduct 2-8 minute podcast interviews (HIMSS Highlights) with vendors, government agencies and thought leaders. You can listen to all of our highlights on our Internet radio station website, or read our posts on interviews with the RECs and with Health IT Executives.

One of the biggest stories at HIMSS this year was the announcement that some of the industry’s leading health IT vendors have formed an alliance to advance interoperbility. Check the CommonWell Health Alliance website, a lot of additional information has been added since the launch at HIMSS. You can now watch the press conference video on the formation of the alliance and how these companies will now compete in in an open vs. closed network environment. Get past the opening remarks and into the interview portion (12 minutes in) followed by questions from the media. It’s a fascinating watch.

Mergers and Acquistions

Cerner announced this week that it has acquired Labotix Automation, a leading provider of open automation solutions for the clinical laboratory setting. According to the news release, the combination of Cerner MillenniumCerner Copath, and Labotix’ Automation will “create the most comprehensive set of capabilities on the market to support high volume testing.”

Business process and technology management company Sutherland Global Services has completed its acquisition of health technology company Apollo Health Street. The companies announced the $200 million deal last December.  “The acquisition strengthens our portfolio of payer, provider and health information technology solutions,” Dilip Vellodi, founder and CEO of Sutherland Global Services. Sutherland Global Services, Rochester, N.Y., employs more than 30,000 workers globally, providing a suite of analytics-driven business solutions to companies throughout the world.

Free, web-based EHR vendor Practice Fusion, and the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC) announced they will partner to offer health information technology to providers in 1,200 clinics across the country. According to the news release, the partnership “brings advancements in care to those who need it the most while supporting Practice Fusion’s mission of saving lives by making patient information available anytime, anywhere.” More than 300 Free and Charitable Clinics across the country already use Practice Fusion.

Novant Health and Cigna have launched a collaborative  accountable care initiative to improve patient access to health care and enhance care coordination. The program is effective April 1. “We’re aiming to fundamentally change the health care delivery system by rewarding physicians for results,” said Edward Hunsinger, M.D., Cigna’s senior medical director for the Carolinas. “A patient-centered system that’s focused on prevention and wellness, combined with the right incentives for physicians, will ultimately result in a healthier population and lower medical costs.” The program will benefit more than 60,000 individuals covered by a Cigna health plan who receive care from Novant Health physician in communities throughout the Carolinas.

Product Development

FairWarning has achieved certification for Stage 2 for its patient privacy monitoring software. FairWarning qualifies for certification under ONC 2014 Edition Test Methods and has now been awarded modular certification on applicable criteria for the 2014 Edition. FairWarning customers who are attesting for either Stage 1 or Stage 2 meaningful use will now be able to use FairWarning as a modular part of their attestation.

Regulus Communications announced the launch of the CareAPP Health Information Network, a mobile web portal for patients and consumers to access health information via a mobile device, including a notebook PC, an iBook, a digital tablet, an iPad, a smart phone, or a digital reader.


Mobile health company PatientSafe Solutions, has announced that NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital has selected the company’s PatientTouch™ platform to “enhance patient safety, optimize electronic medical record investment, and increase clinician efficiency and satisfaction.” NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is rated the #7 best overall hospital in the United States by U.S. News & World Report in its 2012 annual survey. The hospital is the nation’s largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with over 2,409 combined beds at five major centers.

Company Announcements

Revenue Cycle management and services company Accretive Health  (NYSE: AH) announced it has achieved from the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) Common Security Framework (CSF) Certified status. This status means Accretive Health is meeting the health care industry’s standards in managing risk and protecting health information, a vital aspect of interoperability.  “HITRUST has been working with the industry to ensure the appropriate information protection requirements are met when sensitive health information is accessed, used and stored,” said Kenneth Vander Wal, Chief Compliance Officer of HITRUST. “We are pleased that Accretive Health has taken the steps necessary to achieve HITRUST CSF Certified status, and we expect its customers to have confidence in this designation.”

Welch Allyn, a medical diagnostic device company that specializes in helping clinicians improve patient outcomes, has sent a team of employees on a volunteer service trip to Haiti as part of a humanitarian effort sponsored by Heart to Heart International. Welch Allyn has long been a supporter of  Heart to Heart, a nonprofit humanitarian aid, medical training and disaster response non-governmental organization that provides relief across the United States and around the world.


David Muntz, principal deputy in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, announced the promotion of Lisa Lewis to deputy national coordinator for operations within ONC. The position is akin to a COO, as Lewis is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations. She succeeds Elizabeth Handley, who has moved to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as deputy center director for operations in the Center for Program Integrity.