Insights+: Key Deals of JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2021

  • This year J.P. Morgan 39th Annual Healthcare Conference was conducted virtually and we witnessed multiple announcements from numerous Biopharma companies
  • An analysis of events and catalysts that were announced at the conference during these days are included in the report. Most of the deals occurred in the first two days of the conference
  • Our PharmaShots team summarized the key deals which took place during the conference from Jan 11 to Jan 14, 2020

Day 1

Bluebird bio to Spin-Off its Oncology Business into Independent Company

  • Bluebird bio spun off its genetic disease and oncology business into a new company
  • The company will retain focus on SGD and will launch its oncology business (“Oncology Newco”) as a new entity
  • Current CEO, Nick Leschly will assume as the CEO of the new company and the anticipated completion date is Q4’21

Sanofi to Acquire Kymab for ~$1.45B

  • Sanofi to acquire Kymab for $1.1B up front and ~$350M following the achievement of certain milestones. The transaction is expected to be completed in H1’21
  • The acquisition will add KY1005 to Sanofi’s pipeline and will expedite its presence in the field of immunology
  • Sanofi will receive the global rights of KY1005 which is a mAb targeting OX40-ligand, currently being evaluated in early P-I/II study as monothx. and in combination with an anti-PD-L1 for immune-mediated diseases and inflammatory disorders

BeiGene Signed a Development and Commercialization Agreement with Novartis

  • BeiGene will receive $650M up front and is eligible to receive up to $1.3B in development and regulatory milestones and up to $250M in sales milestones, plus royalties
  • BeiGene granted Novartis exclusive rights to develop and commercialize tislelizumab for the treatment of cancer in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the European Union, United Kingdom, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Russia, and Japan
  • BeiGene will be responsible for ongoing clinical study and Novartis will fund the new clinical studies. The partners will retain the right to commercialize its proprietary products in combination with tislelizumab
  • Tislelizumab is an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody specifically designed to minimize binding to FcγR on macrophages

Illumina Signed a Research Pact with Bristol Myers Squibb

  • Illumina signed a research partnership with Bristol Myers Squibb to develop a microsatellite instability CDx and liquid biopsy assay based on Illumina’s TruSight Oncology 500 ctDNA

Illumina Signed a Research Pact with Kura Oncology

  • Illumina signed a research partnership with Kura Oncology to develop CDx for HRAS mutations in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinomas (HNSCC)

Myriad Genetics Signed a Development and Commercialization Agreement with Illumina

  • Myriad Genetics granted Illumina an exclusive right to develop and commercialize kits for the assessment of HRD by combining TruSight Oncology content and Myriad’s myChoice CDx test

Illumina Signed a Clinical Trial Agreement with Merck

  • Illumina collaborates with Merck to evaluate TruSight Oncology 500 for HRD offering

Boehringer Ingelheim Signed a Research Pact with Google

  • Boehringer Ingelheim signed a research partnership with Google to develop therapies by applying Boehringer’s expertise in computer-aided drug design and in-silico modeling with Google’s quantum computers and algorithms. T
  • The research was conducted in Boehringer’s newly established Quantum Lab and the terms of the research are for three years

Broad Institute of MIT, Harvard, and Verily Signed a Contract Service Deal with Microsoft

  • Broad Institute of MIT, Harvard, and Verily signed a contract service deal with Microsoft to accelerate innovations in biomedicine through the Terra platform

Apple Signed a Research Pact with Biogen

  • Apple signed a research partnership with Biogen to identify digital biomarkers that can serve as early indicators of cognitive illnesses like Alzheimer

Komodo Health to Acquire Mavens

  • The acquisition strengthens Komodo’s Healthcare Map and software suite with the integration of Mavens’ Cloud-based Platform with a Suite of Software

Day 2

Enara Bio Signed a Research Pact with Boehringer Ingelheim

  • Enara Bio collaborates with Boehringer Ingelheim to develop TCR-directed immunotherapies and therapeutic vaccines by combining Enara Bio’s dark antigen platform technology and expertise in cancer antigen identification and Boehringer’s immune-oncology platforms, including oncolytic viruses and cancer vaccines
  • Enara Bio will lead the discovery and validation of dark antigens. Boehringer Ingelheim will get an exclusive option to license 3 dark antigens for lung and gastrointestinal cancers and will be responsible for preclinical, clinical development, and commercialization
  • Enara Bio retain the rights to cell therapy-based products and will receive an up front and option fee and is eligible for research & preclinical milestones per target and up to $1.06B in clinical, regulatory, and sales milestones, plus royalties

Gilead Signed a Clinical Trial Agreement with Vir Biotechnology

  • The companies collaborated to evaluate Gilead’s TLR-8 agonist, selgantolimod in combination with Vir’s siRNA VIR-2218 for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus infection
  • The partners planned to conduct P-II multi-arm study
  • The participants in the study will also receive Gilead’s Vemlidy. The partners will own their proprietary drug

Biond Biologics Signed a Development and Commercialization Deal with Sanofi

  • Biond Biologics granted Sanofi exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize BND-22 for the treatment of solid tumors
  • Biond will lead the P-Ia development of BND-22 as monotherapy and in combination with other agents while Sanofi will be responsible for all further development and commercialization
  • Biond Biologics will receive $125M up front and is eligible to receive ‘more than’ $1B in milestone payments, plus royalties

Steris to Acquire Cantel for $4.6B

  • Cantel to receive $16.93 in cash and 0.33787 shares of Steris, valued at ~$84.66 with an enterprise value of $4.6B including $3.6B in equity and $1B in Cantel’s net debt and convertible notes
  • The acquisition strengthens Steris’ infectious disease business with the addition of endoscopy and dental solution

Related Post: Insights+: Key Deals Updates of JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2020

The post Insights+: Key Deals of JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2021 first appeared on PharmaShots.

To Beat COVID-19, We Need A Modern Approach to Public Health Data

To Beat COVID-19, We Need A Modern Approach to Public Health Data
Ed Simcox, Chief Strategy Officer at LifeOmic

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken 270,000 American lives to date, has shined a light on another crisis — the U.S. currently has no standardized system for reporting public health data. Health departments all over the country resort to using paper, fax, phone, and email to transmit and receive critical information, and essential healthcare workers are spending precious time retyping data into systems from printed reports and PDFs.

At the heart of this lack of a centralized infrastructure for reporting public health data is the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Because of this amendment, the federal government — including the CDC — is not able to mandate that states, providers, or public health entities use a centralized reporting mechanism for managing all public health data. Further, the 10th Amendment also allows states to set up their own IT systems independently of other states and the federal government. The CDC then has to beg for data that sits in bespoke, disparate information systems in each state and territory.

Congress has tried three times in the last fourteen years to fix the issue. In 2006, it passed the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA), which required the CDC to establish the near-real-time, electronic, nationwide, public health data-sharing capability. Four years later in 2010, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that not even the most basic planning steps were taken to establish the network. 

Then in 2013, Congress passed the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (PAHPRA), which unsuccessfully called for a near real-time interoperable public health data exchange network. Finally, just months before the current pandemic, Congress passed the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (PAHPAI), and our need for such a system is now greater than ever.

An Interoperable Public Health Data System

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) needs to lead the creation of a modern public health data approach on behalf of all public health agencies throughout the country, including the CDC. HHS was given $1 Billion for public health data infrastructure modernization in the recently passed CARES Act.

A modern approach to public health data would cost a fraction of that and must consist of three things: the creation of a gateway to link and securely move data between public health entities, the adoption of and adherence to widely accepted health data standards, and the creation of a cloud-based data hub for transparent analysis and reporting of data.

Creation of a Data Gateway

Data must be complete, timely, and accurate. A single federal data gateway would allow for the secure, two-way flow of data between all of the components of the public health ecosystem. The idea is not to create new, custom systems as we have done in the past, but to create a single gateway system at the federal level that stitches all existing data systems together using modern application programming interfaces (APIs). Such a system will allow data to timely flow between jurisdictions and up to the CDC so that we can collectively inform public health decision-making and public policy. 

We should leverage recently adopted interoperability standards to connect data from existing Electronic Health Records (EHR) and insurance claims systems wherever possible to avoid duplicate entry of data by essential workers.

Adoption of a Standardized Data Model

We need to encourage state and local health organizations to use and promote a standardized approach to collecting data at the points of care, testing, and immunization. 

Fortunately, the public health data interoperability challenge can be solved by supporting the private sector’s move to a standardized data model for healthcare data. Congress spent billions of taxpayer dollars over the past several years incentivizing healthcare providers to adopt electronic health record systems and data interoperability standards, most recently as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, which just saw its regulations go into effect this year. Healthcare providers are busy preparing to accommodate the Cures Act’s updated standards and requirements. The federal government should eat its own dog food by adhering to the same standards when creating the new gateway.

The two main standards to pay attention to are Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) and the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI). Major IT and EHR companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Salesforce, and Cerner have pledged to support these standards meaning they can immediately begin supporting a new gateway and helping America’s public health system quickly modernize. 

A Cloud-Based Data Hub

Once the data is available, flowing, and standardized, we need a national, cloud-based data hub to begin gaining insights from COVID infection rates, vaccinations, and many other key indicators important to recovering from the pandemic.

Led by HHS with support from OMB and the White House, this new system could be set up within months. There are well-known tools and virtual computing environments that could be put to use right away. A modern data hub would benefit not only the federal government but also the research community and academia, as these organizations play very important roles in helping us further understand and respond to the pandemic.

Most importantly, such a hub would provide transparency and accountability, giving confidence in the data being reported by providing independent reproducibility of conclusions from data analysis.


About Ed Simcox

Ed Simcox is the chief strategy officer of LifeOmic, the creator of LIFE mobile apps, JupiterOne cloud compliance and security operations software, and the Precision Health Cloud platform in use at major medical and cancer centers. Prior to joining LifeOmic, Ed served as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the largest civilian government agency in the world. He led efforts at HHS to effectively leverage data, technology, and innovation to improve the lives of the American people and the performance of the Department’s 29 agencies and offices. While CTO, he also served as Acting Chief Information Officer at HHS, where he oversaw the Department’s IT modernization efforts, IT operations, and cybersecurity


Mayo Clinic, Microsoft, Cerner join coalition to provide digital access to Covid-19 vaccine records

A group of organizations have come together to work on a solution that will provide digital access to Covid-19 vaccination records. As the country eyes a challenging transition to the new normal, a verifiable vaccine record will be necessary to ensure individual and community safety.

Traditional RESTful APIs Will Not Solve Healthcare’s Biggest Interoperability Problems

Traditional RESTful APIs Will Not Solve Healthcare's Biggest Interoperability Problems
Brian Platz, Co-CEO and Co-Chairman of Fluree

Interoperability is a big discussion in health care, with
new regulations requiring interoperability for patient data. Most approaches
follow the typical RESTful API approach that has become the standard method for
data exchange. Yet Health Level Seven (HL7), with its new Fast Healthcare Interoperability
Resources (FHIR) standard for the electronic transfer of health data, is
leading to a rash of implementations that, to date, are not solving core interoperability
issues. 

Data is still insecure, users can’t govern their own health
records, and the need for multiple APIs for different participants with
different rights (human and machine) in the network is adding unneeded
expenditures to an already burdened healthcare system. The way out is not to
add more middleware, but to upgrade the basic tools of interoperability in a
way that finally brings healthcare
technology
into the 21st century.  

A Timely Policy 

Doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, insurance providers,
outpatient treatment centers, labs and billing companies are just a few of the
parties that comprise the overcomplicated U.S. healthcare system. 

In digitizing medical files, as required by the 2009 Health
Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, providers
have adopted whatever solution was most convenient. This has led to the mess of
interoperability
issues that HL7 seeks to remedy with FHIR. 

Existing Electronic Medical Records
(EMR)
systems do not easily share data. Best case, patients have to sign
off to share data with two incompatible systems. Worst case, information must
be turned into a physical CD or document to follow the patient between
providers. Data security is also notoriously poor. Hackers prioritized the healthcare sector as their main target in 2019; breach
costs exceeded $17.7 billion.

The New Infrastructure Rush

When common formats, by way of FHIR and HL7, provided
standards and solutions to empower global health data interoperability, the
industry erupted into a flurry of activity. Thousands of healthcare databases
are now being draped in virtual construction tarps and surrounded by digital
scaffolding. 

Building a new, interoperable data ontology for the entire
healthcare system is a massive undertaking. For one, 80% of hospital data is
managed using the cryptic, machine-language HL7 Version 2. Most of the rest
uses the inefficient, dated XML data format. HL7 FHIR promotes the use of more
modern data syntaxes, like JSON and RDF (Turtle). 

Secondly, databases have no notion of the new FHIR schema.
Armies of developers must build frameworks and middleware to facilitate interoperability.
This is why Big Tech incumbents including Google Cloud Healthcare, Amazon AWS
and Microsoft for Healthcare are jumping into the fray with their own
solutions. 

The outcome, once HL7’s 22 resources are fully normative, will
be seamless information sharing, electronic notifications, and collaboration
between every player in the giant web of patients, providers, labs, and
middlemen. But it will come at a steep cost in the current traditionally RESTful
API-based manner that is being broadly pursued. 

The Problem with APIs

The new scaffolding is expensive, takes data control away
from patients, and is not inherently secure. The number of unique APIs required
to support the access, rights and disparate user base in the healthcare network
are the reason. 

Interoperability requires a common syntax and “language” to
enable databases to talk to each other. The average traditional API costs up to
$30,000 to build, plus half that cost to manage annually. That is not to
mention the cost to integrate and secure each API. A small healthcare
organization with only 10 APIs faces costs of $450,000 annually for basic API
services. 

When you consider that most big healthcare organizations will
need to connect thousands of APIs, HL7’s interoperability schema really is the
best way forward. The traditional API tooling to manage the interoperability of
the well-framed data structures, however, is the problem. 

Moreover, the patient, the rightful owner of their own
health record, still doesn’t have the ability to govern their own data. Because
change only happens in the database itself, the manager of the database, not
the patient, controls the data within. 

In the best case, this puts an additional burden on patients
to give explicit permission every time health records move between providers.
In the worst case, a provider sees an entire medical history without a
patient’s consent–your podiatrist seeing your psychiatric records, for
example.

Finally, each API enables one data store to talk to the
next, opening opportunities for bad actors to make changes to databases from
the outside. The firewalls that protect databases and networks are penetrable,
and user profiles are sometimes created outside of the database itself, making
it possible to expose, steal and change data from outside the database. 

In that light, HL7 is paving the wrong road with good
intentions. But there is another way. 

Semantic Standards and Blockchain to the Rescue

If you eliminate data APIs, secure interoperability, with
data governance fully in the hands of the patient, becomes possible. Healthcare
data silos will be replaced with a dynamic, trusted and shared data network
with privacy and security directly baked in. The solution involves adding
semantic standards for full interoperability, blockchain for data governance
and data-centric security. 

Semantic standards, such as RDF formatting and SPARQL
queries, let users quickly and easily gain answers from multiple databases and
other data stores at once. Relational databases, the ones currently in use in healthcare,
are all formatted differently, and need API middleware to talk to one another.
Accurate answers are not guaranteed. Semantic standards, on the other hand,
create a common language between all databases. Instead of untangling the
mismatched definitions and formatting inevitable with relational databases,
doctors’ offices, for example, could easily pull in pertinent patient records,
insurance coverage, and the latest research on diseases.

Patients, for their part, would use blockchain to regain control
of their data. Patients would be able to turn on aspects of their data to
specific caregivers, instead of relinquishing control to database business
managers, as is currently the case. Your podiatrist, in other words, will not
be able to see your psychiatric records unless you choose to share them. 

The data ledger, which lives on the blockchain, will contain
instructions as to who can update (writer new records on) the ledger, who can
read it, and who can make changes. All changes are controlled by private-key
encryption that is in the hands of the patient; only those with authorization
can see select histories of health data (or, as in the case of an ER doctor,
entire histories, with permission). 

Data security is controlled in the data layer itself,
instead of through middleware such as a firewall. Data can be shared without
API, thanks to those semantic standards, and data are natively embedded with
security in the blockchain. Compliance, governance, security and data
management all become easier. Data cannot be stolen or manipulated by an
outside party, the way it commonly is by healthcare hackers today. 

The interoperability conundrum, in other words, is solved.
Fewer APIs means fewer security vulnerabilities; a common, semantic standard
eliminates confusion and minimizes mistakes. Blockchain puts patients in
control of who sees what parts of their health records. Eliminating the need
for API middleware also saves tens of thousands of dollars, at a minimum.


About Brian Platz 

Brian is the Co-CEO and Co-Chairman of Fluree, PBC, a decentralized app platform that aims to remodel how business applications are built. Before establishing Fluree, Brian was the co-founder of SilkRoad technology which expanded to over 2,000 customers and 500 employees in 12 international offices.


Verily, Broad, Microsoft Partner to Expand Life Sciences Research with Azure Cloud

Verily, Broad, Microsoft Partner to Expand Life Sciences Research with Azure Cloud

What You Should Know:

– Verily and The Broad Institute have partnered with
Microsoft to expand health and life sciences research utilizing the Microsoft
Azure cloud.

– The new partnership brings together Microsoft’s cloud, data, and AI technologies, and a global network of more than 168,000 health and life sciences partners to accelerate the development of global biomedical research through the Terra platform, provide greater access and empower the open-source community.


Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Verily, an Alphabet company, and Microsoft Corp. announced a
strategic partnership to accelerate new innovations in biomedicine through the
Terra platform. Terra, originally developed by
Verily and the Broad Institute, is a secure, scalable, open-source platform for
biomedical researchers to access data, run analysis tools and collaborate.
Terra is actively used by thousands of researchers every month to analyze data
from millions of participants in important scientific research projects.

Importance
of Open-Source Biomedical Data

Biomedical data are being generated and digitized at a historic rate and are expected to reach dozens of exabytes by 2025 — including data from genomics, medical imaging, biometric signals, and electronic health records. Coupled with powerful research and analysis tools, these datasets can provide lifesaving insights into some of the world’s most pressing health issues. But making use of these important datasets remains difficult for researchers who face huge, siloed data estates, disparate tools, fragmented systems and data standards, and varying governance and security policies.

Partnership
Objectives

The new partnership aims to break through those barriers by bringing together Microsoft’s cloud, data, and AI technologies, and a global network of more than 168,000 health and life sciences partners to accelerate the development of global biomedical research through the Terra platform, provide greater access and empower the open-source community. Building on the open-source foundation of Terra, the new collaboration will advance the ability of data scientists, biomedical researchers, and clinicians around the world to collaborate in tackling some of the most complex and widespread diseases facing society today.

The Broad-Verily-Microsoft partnership brings together leading genomics and computer science researchers, data scientists, and technology experts to jointly deliver on the vision of the Terra platform.

Partnership
Benefits for Health & Life Sciences Research

Through collaboration with Microsoft, the companies will accelerate Terra’s vision for health and life sciences research by:

– Expanding
on Terra’s open, modular and interoperable research platform, with the addition
of the Microsoft Azure cloud, data and AI technologies, and global capabilities

– Increasing
Terra’s accessibility to the more than 168,000 health and life sciences
organizations partnering with Microsoft around the world

– Enabling
secure and authenticated access to distributed data stores via collaborative
workspaces

– Allowing access to a rapidly growing portfolio of open and proprietary standards-based tools, best practices workflows, and APIs

– Enabling
federated data analysis to uncover insights and build novel analytical and
predictive models while ensuring patient privacy

– Creating
a seamless and secure flow to speed the delivery of data and insights between
research and clinical domains

– Using
open APIs and modular components to advance the standards-based biomedical data
ecosystem in line with the open, compatible and secure approach to data
developed by the Data Biosphere and the responsible
policies and technical standards established by the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health

12 Recently Launched COVID-19 Vaccine Management Solutions to Know

12 Recently Launched COVID-19 Vaccine Management Solutions

An in-depth look at twelve recently released COVID-19 vaccine management solutions as COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed nationwide.

1. Microsoft

Microsoft
launches a COVID-19 vaccine management platform with partners Accenture and
Avanade, EY, and Mazik Global to help government and healthcare customers
provide fair and equitable vaccine distribution, administration, and monitoring
of vaccine delivery.

Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) has deployed over 230 emergency COVID-19 response missions globally since the pandemic began in March, including recent engagements to ensure the equitable, secure, and efficient distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

2. Accenture

Accenture recently rolled out a comprehensive vaccine management solution to help government and healthcare organizations rapidly and effectively plan and develop COVID-19 vaccination programs and related distribution and communication initiatives. Expanding on Accenture’s contact tracing capability that leverages Salesforce’s manual contact tracing solution, the platform is rapidly deployable and designed to securely track a resident’s vaccination journey, from registration and appointment scheduling to final vaccine administration and symptom follow-ups.

3. VigiLanz

VigiLanz, a clinical surveillance company launched their new mass vaccination support software, VigiLanz Vaccinate provides end-to-end management of the entire vaccination process, enabling hospitals to maximize the success of mass vaccination events for healthcare workers. VigiLanz Vaccinate streamlines vaccine administration and management by making it easy for staff to register and provide consent while automating workflows for program administrators. Its real-time insights into volume needs to reduce vaccine waste, while analytics give visibility into vaccination and immunity rates at the individual, department, hospital, and system-level.

4. BioIntelliSense

UCHealth recently deployed BioIntelliSense BioButton™ Vaccine
Monitoring Solution
, an FDA-cleared medical-grade wearable for continuous
vital sign monitoring for up to 90-days (based on configuration) to healthcare
workers receiving COVID-19 vaccine UCHealth’s staff and providers will wear the
BioButton device for two days prior and seven days following a COVID-19 vaccine dose
to detect potential adverse vital sign trends. Together with a daily
vaccination health survey and data insights, the wearer may be alerted of signs
and symptoms to guide appropriate follow-up actions and further medical management.

5. VaxAtlas

VaxAtlas launches a
digital platform to support the COVID-19 vaccination process making it easy for
anyone to schedule and manage their vaccinations. Through a comprehensive suite
of on-demand tools, VaxAtlas manages the process of getting COVID vaccinations
from beginning to end. The platform provides access to a national certified
pharmacy network for local appointment scheduling, recall alerts, second dose
reminders, as well as QR clearance passes for vaccine validation. VaxAtlas
alleviates the complexity associated with vaccine logistics and helps to get
people back to work and back to living their lives.

6. DocASAP

DocASAP launches COVID-19
Vaccination Coordination Solution to help healthcare providers and payers meet
the urgent demand for vaccinating the nation. DocASAP’s COVID-19 Vaccination
Coordination Solution will help providers and payers guide people through the
vaccination process with pre-appointment engagement, online appointment scheduling
and reminders, and post-appointment wellness tracking. This will help reduce
the burden on staff and call centers to manage the sheer volume and complexity
of these appointments, and better coordinate the influx so providers can
effectively deliver the needed care. DocASAP will support the phased approach
to rolling out vaccinations, beginning with front-line healthcare staff.

7. Allied Identity

Allied Identity announced the launch of Vaxtrac, comprehensive vaccination management and credentialing platform designed to aid in the local, national and international response to COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. Vaxtrac uses SICPA’s proprietary CERTUS™ service in order to ensure the security of vaccination records and credentials.

8. Net Health

Net Health has developed a proprietary web-based Mobile Immunization Tracking platform to more efficiently manage on-site
immunizations. To ensure compliance, Net Health’s Mobile Immunization
Tracking platform tracks verification and enables employee consent forms to be
electronically recorded. Immunization data and the Vaccine Information Sheet
(VIS) are pulled directly from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) database
and fields are auto-populated so clinicians do not have to manually enter data.
This ensures information in the employee record is accurate and saves time as
the clinician moves from one employee to the next.

9. Traction on Demand

Vancouver tech company, Traction on Demand,
has developed a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Accelerator. The accelerator helps
health authorities track all the critical details of their clinics including
type, location, staff members, and cold storage units available on-site and
applies CDC’s COVID-19 Temporary Clinic Best Practices to a
Salesforce-based mobile app, providing organizations with a digitized CDC
checklist, auditable clinic administration including a permanent auditable
record of all vaccination clinics an organization holds, critical risk
identification, and shift tracking.

10. MTX Group

MTX Group launches a
comprehensive end-to-end COVID-19 vaccine administration, management, and
distribution Solution for state and local public health agencies built on
Salesforce. The MTX vaccine management solution brings together the various
components of a COVID-19 vaccination program, including vaccine administration
and inventory management. MTX also works with public health departments to
identify necessary steps to promote vaccination adoption within a community.
The vaccine management solution is secure, portable, interoperable, and
provides data-driven vaccination program management capabilities.

11. Infosys

The Infosys
Vaccination Management (IVM) Salesforce Solution
is an end-to-end offering
for automating tasks, integrating data sources, and delivering a seamless
vaccination program that offers supply chain visibility and future demand
forecasting. Disparate systems won’t work for this unprecedented health crisis.

12. Phresia

Phresia provides an end-to-end COVID-19 vaccine management solution for outreach, intake, reminder, and recall tools to increase vaccine uptake. Key features include communicating with patients about vaccine availability, send appointment reminders and boost recall, manage your waitlist, automate patient intake for vaccine visits, including consents, questionnaires, and patient education, and screen patients for vaccine hesitancy and maximize uptake by delivering personalized messaging based on those survey results.

Microsoft Deploys COVID-19 Vaccine Management Platform

Microsoft Deploys COVID-19 Vaccine Management Platform

What You Should Know:

– Microsoft launches a COVID-19 vaccine management platform with partners Accenture and Avanade, EY, and Mazik Global to help government and healthcare customers provide fair and equitable vaccine distribution, administration, and monitoring of vaccine delivery. 

– Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) has deployed
over 230 emergency COVID-19 response missions globally since the pandemic began
in March, including recent engagements to ensure the equitable, secure and
efficient distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.


With COVID-19 vaccines soon to be available, Microsoft
announced it has launched a COVID-19 vaccine management platform together with
industry partners Accenture, Avandae, EY, and Mazik Global. The COVID-19
vaccine management solutions will enable registration capabilities for patients
and providers, phased scheduling for vaccinations, streamlined reporting, and
management dashboarding with analytics and forecasting.

These offerings are helping public health agencies and
healthcare providers to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to individuals in an
efficient, equitable and safe manner. The underlying technologies and approach
have been tested and deployed with prior COVID-19 use cases, including contact
tracing, COVID-19 testing, and return to work and return to school programs.

To date, Microsoft
Consulting Services (MCS)
 has deployed over 230 emergency COVID-19
response missions globally since the pandemic began in March, including recent
engagements to ensure the equitable, secure and efficient distribution of the
COVID-19 vaccine. MCS has developed an offering, the Vaccination Registration
and Administration Solution (VRAS), which advances the capabilities of their
COVID-19 solution portfolio and enables compliant administration of resident
assessment, registration and phased scheduling for vaccine distribution. 

Key features of the solutions include:

– tracking and reporting of immunization progress through
secure data exchange that utilizes industry standards, such as Health Level
Seven (HL7), Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) and open APIs.

– health providers and pharmacies can monitor and report on
the effectiveness of specific vaccine batches, and health administrators can
easily summarize the achievement of vaccine deployment goals in large
population groups

Partnership Offerings

Microsoft partners have leveraged the Microsoft cloud to
provide customers with additional offerings to support vaccine management.
These offerings also apply APIs, HL7 and FHIR to enable interoperability and
integration with existing systems of record, artificial intelligence to
generate accurate and geo-specific predictive analytics, and secure
communications using Microsoft Teams.

EY has partnered with Microsoft for the EY Vaccine
Management Solution to enable patient-provider engagement, supply chain
visibility, and Internet of Things (IoT) real-time monitoring of the vaccines.
Additionally, the EY Vaccine Analytics Solution is an integrated COVID-19 data
and analytics tool supporting stakeholders in understanding population and
geography-specific vaccine uptake.

Mazik Global has created the MazikCare Vaccine Flow that is built on Power Apps and utilizes
pre-built templates to implement scalable solutions to accelerate the mass
distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Providers will be able to seek out
specific populations based on at-risk criteria to prioritize distribution.
Patients can self-monitor and have peace of mind to head-off adverse reactions.

UK hospital deploys Microsoft AI to tackle cancer backlog

Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge will be the first in the world to use an artificial intelligence tool developed by Microsoft that promises to cut the time it takes to analyse computed tomography (CT) scans, and allow treatment to start sooner.

The Project InnerEye tool was developed just down the road from Addenbrooke’s at Microsoft’s Cambridge research labs, and uses AI to highlight tumours and healthy tissue on patient scans, guiding an individual treatment plan.

The AI has been shown to speed up clinicians’ ability to perform radiotherapy planning for head and neck as well as prostate cancers 13 times quicker than manual methods, without compromising accuracy, according to a JAMA Network Open research paper.

Microsoft is making the tool freely available as opensource software to speed up its use by hospitals, though of course clinical use of machine learning models is subject to regulatory approval.

Up to half of the population in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, and of these, half will be treated with radiotherapy, with delivery guided by a CT scan to reveal where the radiation beams should be directed to minimise damage to other tissues.

Stacks of 2D images generated during a CT scan have to be reviewed by a radiation oncologist, a time-consuming process, but using Project InnerEye the time to complete that process can be cut by 90%, according to studies.

The AI’s conclusions will be checked and confirmed by a clinical oncologist before the patient receives treatment.

With charity Cancer Research UK estimating that as many as three million people in the UK have missed out on cancer screening tests during the pandemic, the AI could help reduce a “mounting cancer treatment backlog” according to Microsoft.

Lightening the workload of oncologists could also help prevent clinician burnout, which Microsoft says is happening across the NHS as a result of COVID-19. The hope is that quicker treatment could also help improve survival rates for some cancers, although there’s no hard evidence for that yet.

Yvonne Rimmer, consultant clinical oncologist at Addenbrooke’s, said: “There is no doubt that InnerEye is saving me time. It’s very good at understanding where the prostate gland is and healthy organs surrounding it, such as the bladder. It’s speeding up the process so I can concentrate on looking at a patient’s diagnostic images and tailoring treatment to them.

“But it’s important for patients to know that the AI is helping me in my professional role; it’s not replacing me in the process. I double check everything the AI does and can change it if I need to. The key thing is that most of the time, I don’t need to change anything.”

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PharmaShots Weekly Snapshot (Nov 16-20, 2020)

Eli Lilly and Incyte Receive FDA’s EUA for Baricitinib + Remdesivir to Treat Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19

Published: Nov 20,2020 | Tags: baricitinib, COVID-19, Eli Lilly, Emergency Use Authorization, FDA’s, Incyte, receives, Remdesivir

Novartis Signs a License Agreement with Mesoblast to Develop and Commercialize Remestemcel-L for ARDS

Published: Nov 20,2020 | Tags: Agreement, ARDS, Commercialize, Develop, Manufacture, Mesoblast, Novartis, Remestemcel-L, Signs, Treatment

Alvotech Reports the US FDA and EMA’s Acceptance of AVT02 Proposed Biosimilar to Humira (adalimumab)

Published: Nov 20,2020 | Tags: (adalimumab), Alvotech, AVT-301 Study, AVT-GL-101, AVT02, Chronic Plaque Psoriasis, EMA, Humira, Proposed Biosimilar, Regulatory Applications, Submits, Us FDA

Lilly Signs Agreement with Ypsomed to Advance an Automated Insulin Delivery System for People with Diabetes

Published: Nov 20, 2020 | Tags: Lilly, Signs, Agreement, Ypsomed, Advance, Automated Insulin Delivery System, People, Diabetes

Pfizer And LianBio Collaborate to Expand the Development of Novel Therapeutics in Greater China

Published: Nov 20, 2020 | Tags: Pfizer, LianBio, Collaborate, Expand, Development, Novel Therapeutics, Greater China

AstraZenca’s Imfinzi (durvalumab) Receives the US FDA’s Approval for Less-Frequent Fixed-Dose Use

Published: Nov 20,2020 | Tags: AstraZenca, CASPIAN Study, durvalumab, Imfinzi, P-lll, PACIFIC, US FDA’s

Chiesi’s Bronchitol (mannitol) Inhalation Powder Receives the US FDA’s Approval for Cystic Fibrosis

Published: Nov 19, 2020 | Tags: approval, Bronchitol, Chiesi, Cystic Fibrosis, Inhalation, Mannitol, Powder, Pulmonary, receives, US FDA

Lucira’s All-In-One Test Kit Receives the US FDA’s EUA as the First COVID-19 Test for Self-Testing at Home

Published: Nov 19, 2020 | Tags: Authorization, COVID-19, First, Home, Lucira, Lucira Health, Molecular, Prescription, receives, Test, Us FDA

Bayer to Fund Five New Startup Companies as Part of G4A Digital Health Partnerships Program

Published: Nov 19, 2020 | Tags: Bayer, Collaborate, Developed, G4A Digital Health, Healthcare Solutions, Integrated

ViiV’s PROgress Study Demonstrates Inclusion of PROs into Clinical Practice Can Improve HIV Care

Published: Nov 19, 2020 | Tags: Progress, reports, results, study, ViiV Healthcare

Pear Therapeutics Launches Somryst Insomnia App Via an End-to-End Virtual Care Experience

Published: Nov 19, 2020 | Tags: Chronic Insomnia, Launches, Pear Therapeutics, Somryst

Pfizer and BioNTech’s BNT162b2 Demonstrates 95% Efficacy in Preventing COVID-19

Published: Nov 19, 2020 | Tags: 95%, BioNTech, BNT162b2, COVID-19, Demonstrates, Efficacy, Pfizer, Preventing

Sanofi’s Supemtek (quadrivalent recombinant influenza vaccine) Receives the EC’s Approval to Prevent Influenza

Published: Nov 19, 2020 | Tags: EC’s, Influenza, Marketing Authorization, patients, quadrivalent recombinant influenza vaccine, receives, Sanofi, Supemtek

Samsung Bioepis and Biogen Announces FDA Filing Acceptance of Lucentis’ Biosimilar, SB11 for Retinal Vascular Disorders

Published: Nov 18,2020 | Tags: Acceptance, Biogen, Biosimilar, FDA Filing, Lucentis, ranibizumab, Retinal Vascular Disorders, Samsung Bioepis, SB11

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Signs an Agreement with Deep Genomics on Advancing Programs Identified Using Artificial Intelligence

Published: Nov 18, 2020 | Tags: Advancing, Agreement, Artificial Intelligence, BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Deep Genomics, Identified, Programs, Signs, Using

Pfizer Launches US Pilot Programme for Delivery and Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccine, BNT162b2

Published: Nov 18, 2020 | Tags: 4, COVID-19, Delivery, Deployment, Immunization, Pfizer, Pilot, Program, states, Updates, US,

Sanofi’s Avalglucosidase alfa Receives US FDA’s Priority Review as Enzyme Replacement Therapy for Pompe Disease

Published: Nov 18, 2020 | Tags: Avalglucosidase-alfa, BLA, Enzyme Replacement Therapy, Pompe disease, Priority Review, receives, Sanofi, US, FDA

ViiV Healthcare’s Cabotegravir Receives US FDA’s Breakthrough Therapy Designation for HIV Prevention

Published: Nov 18,2020 | Tags: Breakthrough, Cabotegravir, Designation, HIV, receives, therapy, Us FDA, ViiV Healthcare

Bayer’s Finerenone Demonstrates Positive Outcomes in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease and Type 2 Diabetes

Published: Nov 18,2020 | Tags: BAY 94-8862, Bayer, Cardiovascular Disease, Chronic Kidney Disease, FIDELIO-DKD Study, Finerenone, Inflammatory, Type 2 Diabetes

QBiotics’ Stelfonta (tigilanol tiglate) Receives the US FDA’s Approval as the First Treatment for Non-Metastatic MCT in Dogs

Published: Nov 17, 2020 | Tags: (tigilanol tiglate injection), Non-Metastatic Mast Cell Tumors, QBiotics Group, receives, Stelfonta, US FDA’s Approval

Johnson & Johnson Initiates Second Global P-III Study of its COVID-19 Vaccine

Published: Nov 17, 2020 | Tags: COVID-19, ENSEMBLE, ENSEMBLE-2 Study, Initiates, Johnson & Johnson, P-lll

Roche Signs a License Agreement with Lead Pharma to Develop Oral Therapies for Immune-Mediated Diseases

Published: Nov 17,2020 | Tags: Develop, Immune Mediated Diseases, Lead Pharma, License Agreement, Research Collaboration, Roche, Signs, Small Oral Molecules

Zymeworks and ALX Oncology Collaborate to Evaluate Zanidatamab + ALX148 for Advanced HER2‑Expressing Breast Cancer

Published: Nov 17,2020 | Tags: Advanced, ALX Oncology, ALX148, Breast Cancer, Collaborate, Evaluate, HER2‑Expressing, Zanidatamab, Zymeworks

Moderna’s mRNA-1273 Demonstrates 94.5% Efficacy in Preventing Symptomatic COVID-19

Published: Nov 17, 2020 | Tags: COVE Study, COVID-19, Interim Analysis, Moderna, mRNA-1273, P-lll, reports, results

Bharat Biotech Initiates P-III Study for Covaxin Against COVID-19

Published: Nov 17,2020 | Tags: Against, Bharat Biotech, Covaxin, COVID-19, Initiates, P-III, study

Microsoft Collaborates with Twist and Illumina to Advance Data Storage in DNA

Published: Nov 16, 2020 | Tags: advance, Collaborates, Data Storage, DNA, Illumina, Microsoft, Twist

J&J and US Government Amends their Agreement for the Next Phase of COVID-19 Vaccine Development

Published: Nov 16, 2020 | Tags: Agreement, Candidate, Covid-19 Vaccine, Development, Expand, J&J, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Eisai’s Fycompa (perampanel) Receives EC’s Approval for Expanded Indication in Pediatric Patients with POS and PGTCS

Published: Nov 16, 2020 | Tags: Eisai’s, EU’s Approval, Fycompa, perampanel, PGTCS, POS, receives

Roche’s Xofluza (baloxavir marboxil) Receives CHMP’s Recommendation for Approval to Treat Influenza

Published: Nov 16, 2020 | Tags: baloxavir marboxil, EU’s Approval, Influenza, receives, Roche, Xofluza

Eli Lilly Signs a License Agreement with Seed Therapeutics for Protein Degradation-Based Therapies

Published: Nov 16, 2020 | Tags: Eli Lilly, License Agreement, Protein Degradation-Based Therapies, Seed Therapeutics, Signs

Henlius Report the NMPA’s Acceptance of HLX15 (biosimilar, Daratumumab) to Treat Multiple Myeloma

Published: Nov 16, 2020 | Tags: (biosimilar, Acceptance, daratumumab, Henlius, HLX15, Multiple Myeloma, NMPA, Report, Treat

Related Post: PharmaShots Weekly Snapshots (Nov 09-13, 2020)

The post PharmaShots Weekly Snapshot (Nov 16-20, 2020) first appeared on PharmaShots.

Microsoft Launches Dedicated HealthTech Startup Program in India

Microsoft Launches Dedicated HealthTech Startup Program in India

What You Should Know:

– Microsoft launches a dedicated HealthTech Startup Program and partners with startup incubator Social Alpha to accelerate the growth of healthtech startups in India.

– Selected startups into the program will benefit from
focused healthcare industry teams, co-innovation and collaboration, and
Microsoft AI for healthcare.


Today, Microsoft has announced the launch of a
dedicated healthtech
startup program
to drive healthcare innovation in India. India faces an
increasing number of healthcare challenges with a lack of infrastructure,
uneven doctor to patient ratio, and an increase in demand for healthcare
services. The program is designed
to help startups
scale with advanced technology and joint go-to-market support.

Microsoft HealthTech
Startup Program Approach

Spread across three tiers,
the program offers a range of benefits:

– All startups: Qualified Seed to Series C startups can boost
their business with Azure benefits (including free credits), unlimited
technical support and go-to-market resources with support for Azure Marketplace
onboarding

– Co-sell
startups:
Startups with
enterprise-ready solutions can scale quickly with joint go-to-market
strategies, technical support and new sales opportunities with Microsoft’s
partner ecosystem

– Co-build startups: Startups that are looking to create healthcare solutions have access to Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, the first industry-specific cloud that brings together trusted and integrated capabilities to enrich patient engagement and connects teams for improved collaboration, decision-making, and operational efficiencies

Being forced by the global pandemic to rethink how healthcare services across the world operate, startups in this industry are reimagining solutions for some of the most pressing healthcare challenges. Technology innovation with advanced data and analytics capabilities is a critical enabler as we build trusted and reliable solutions at scale. The Microsoft for Healthtech Startups program deepens our focus on specific industries and is aimed to accelerate the growth journeys of startups with the best tech enablement and business resources,” said Sangeeta Bavi, Director – Startup Ecosystem, Microsoft India.

Partnership with Startup Incubator Social Alpha

In addition to the healthtech program launch, Microsoft is also collaborating with startup incubator Social Alpha to accelerate the growth of participating startups. To date, Social Alpha has supported over 20 healthtech startups working across devices, diagnostics, treatment, access and quality/UX.

The collaboration with Social Alpha will provide healthtech
startups programmatic support through product innovation labs, sandbox pilots
and structured incubation initiatives that offer knowledge services, bootcamps
and masterclass sessions with mentors as well as tech and industry experts.

As the startups accelerate, they receive access to
go-to-market resources, ecosystem networking, angel networks and investor
forums. Social Alpha supports entrepreneurs and innovators that enable social,
economic and environmental change through their ‘lab to market’ journey by
building access to technology and business incubation initiatives.

Microsoft Collaborates with Twist and Illumina to Advance Data Storage in DNA

Shots:

  • Microsoft enters collaboration with Illumina, Twist, and Western Digital to establish a roadmap for the industry towards the wider use of DNA data storage. These companies are the founding members of the alliance
  • Ten additional technology leaders join founding members to together advance industry roadmap, set the stage for widespread adoption of new long-term storage option
  • The alliance announced at the virtual Flash Memory Summit, focus to set technology & formatting standards with the goal of building interoperable commercial systems capable of housing the exponential amounts of data expected to be generated in the future

Click here­ to­ read full press release/ article | Ref: Businesswire | Image: DNA Stack

The post Microsoft Collaborates with Twist and Illumina to Advance Data Storage in DNA first appeared on PharmaShots.

Providence Taps Nuance to Develop AI-Powered Integrated Clinical Intelligence

Nuance Integrates with Microsoft Teams for Virtual Telehealth Consults

What You Should Know:

– Nuance Communications, Inc. and one of the country’s
largest health systems, Providence, announced a strategic collaboration,
supported by Microsoft, dedicated to creating better patient experiences and ease
clinician burden.

– The collaboration centers around Providence harnessing
Nuance’s AI-powered solutions to securely and automatically capture
patient-clinician conversations.

– As part of the expanded partnership, Nuance and
Providence will jointly innovate to create technologies that improve health
system efficiency by reducing digital friction.


Nuance® Communications, Inc. and Providence, one of the largest health systems in the
country, today announced a strategic collaboration to improve both the patient
and caregiver experience. As part of this collaboration, Providence will
build on the long-term relationship with Nuance to deploy Nuance’s cloud
solutions across its 51-hospital, seven-state system. Together, Providence and
Nuance will also develop integrated clinical intelligence and enhanced revenue cycle
solutions
.

Enhancing the Clinician-Patient Experience

In partnership with Nuance, Providence will focus on the clinician-patient experience by harnessing a comprehensive voice-enabled platform that through patient consent uses ambient sensing technology to securely and privately listen to clinician-patient conversations while offering workflow and knowledge automation to complement the electronic health record (EHR). This technology is key to enabling physicians to focus on patient care and spend less time on the increasing administrative tasks that contribute to physician dissatisfaction and burnout.

“Our partnership with Nuance is helping Providence make it easier for our doctors and nurses to do the hard work of documenting the cutting-edge care they provide day in and day out,” said Amy Compton-Phillips, M.D., executive vice president and chief clinical officer at Providence. “The tools we’re developing let our caregivers focus on their patients instead of their keyboards, and that will go a long way in bringing joy back to practicing medicine.”

Providence to Expand Deployment of Nuance Dragon Medical
One

To further improve healthcare experiences for both providers
and patients, Providence will build on its deployment of Nuance Dragon
Medical One with the Dragon Ambient eXperience (DAX). Innovated by Nuance and
Microsoft, Nuance DAX combines Nuance’s conversational AI technology with
Microsoft Azure to securely capture and contextualize every word of the patient
encounter – automatically documenting patient care without taking the
physician’s attention off the patient.

Providence and Nuance to Jointly Create Digital Health
Solutions

As part of the expanded partnership, Nuance and Providence
will jointly innovate to create technologies that improve health system
efficiency by reducing digital friction. This journey will begin with the
deployment of CDE One for Clinical Documentation Integrity workflow management,
Computer-Assisted Physician Documentation (CAPD), and Surgical CAPD, which
focus on accurate clinician documentation of patient care. Providence will also
adopt Nuance’s cloud-based PowerScribe One radiology reporting solution to
achieve new levels of efficiency, accuracy, quality, and performance.

Why It Matters

By removing manual note-taking, Providence enables deeper
patient engagement and reduces burdensome paperwork for its clinicians. In
addition to better patient outcomes and provider experiences, this
collaboration also serves as a model for the deep partnerships needed to
transform healthcare.

To Solve Healthcare Interoperability, We Must ‘Solve the Surround’

To Solve Healthcare Interoperability, We Must ‘Solve the Surround’
Peter S. Tippett, MD, Ph.D., Founder & CEO of careMesh

Interoperability in healthcare is a national disgrace. After more than three decades of effort, billions of dollars in incentives and investments, State and Federal regulations, and tens of thousands of articles and studies on making all of this work we are only slightly better off than we were in 2000.  

Decades of failed promises and dozens of technical, organizational, behavioral, financial, regulatory, privacy, and business barriers have prevented significant progress and the costs are enormous. The Institute of Medicine and other groups put the national financial impact somewhere between tens and hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Without pervasive and interoperable secure communications, healthcare is missing the productivity gains that every other industry achieved during their internet, mobile, and cloud revolutions.   

The Human Toll — On Both Patients and Clinicians

Too many families have a story to tell about the dismay or disaster wrought by missing or incomplete paper medical records, or frustration by the lack of communications between their healthcare providers.  In an era where we carry around more computing power in our pockets than what sent Americans to the moon, it is mystifying that we can’t get our doctors digitally communicating.   

I am one of the many doctors who are outraged that the promised benefits of Electronic Medical Records (EHRs) and Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) don’t help me understand what the previous doctor did for our mutual patient. These costly systems still often require that I get the ‘bullet’ from another doctor the same way as my mentors did in the 1970s.

This digital friction also has a profoundly negative impact on medical research, clinical trials, analytics, AI, precision medicine, and the rest of health science. The scanned PDF of a fax of a patient’s EKG and a phone call may be enough for me to get the pre-op done, but faxes and phone calls can’t drive computers, predictive engines, multivariate analysis, public health surveillance programs, or real-time alerting needed to truly enable care.

Solving the Surround 

Many companies and government initiatives have attempted to solve specific components of interoperability, but this has only led to a piecemeal approach that has thus far been overwhelmed by market forces. Healthcare interoperability needs an innovation strategy that I call “Solving the Surround.” It is one of the least understood and most potent strategies to succeed at disruptive innovation at scale in complex markets.  

“Solving the Surround” is about understanding and addressing multiple market barriers in unison. To explain the concept, let’s consider the most recent disruption of the music industry — the success of Apple’s iPod. 

The iPod itself did not win the market and drive industry disruption because it was from Apple or due to its great design. Other behemoths like Microsoft and Philips, with huge budgets and marketing machines, built powerful MP3 players without market impact. Apple succeeded because they also ‘solved the surround’ — they identified and addressed numerous other barriers to overcome mass adoption. 

Among other contributions, they: 

– Made software available for both the PC and Mac

– Delivered an easy (and legal) way for users to “rip” their old CD collection and use the possession of music on a fixed medium that proved legal “ownership”

– Built an online store with a massive library of music 

– Allowed users to purchase individual tracks 

– Created new artist packaging, distribution, licensing, and payment models 

– Addressed legalities and multiple licensing issues

– Designed a way to synchronize and backup music across devices

In other words, Apple broke down most of these barriers all at once to enable the broad adoption of both their device and platform. By “Solving the Surround,” Apple was the one to successfully disrupt the music industry (and make way for their iPhone).

The Revolution that Missed Healthcare 

Disruption doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The market needs to be “ready” to replace the old way of doing things or accept a much better model. In the iPod case, the market first required the internet, online payment systems, pervasive home computers, and much more. What Apple did to make the iPod successful wasn’t to build all of the things required for the market to be ready, but they identified and conquered the “surround problems” within their control to accelerate and disrupt the otherwise-ready market.

Together, the PC, internet, and mobile revolutions led to the most significant workforce productivity expansion since WWII. Productivity in nearly all industries soared. The biggest exception was in the healthcare sector, which did not participate in that productivity revolution or did not realize the same rapid improvements. The cost of healthcare continued its inexorable rise, while prices (in constant dollars) leveled off or declined in most other sectors.  Healthcare mostly followed IT-centric, local, customized models.  

Solving the Surround for Healthcare Interoperability

‘Solving the Surround’ in healthcare means tackling many convoluted and complex challenges. 

Here are the nine things that we need to conquer:  

1. Simplicity — All of the basics of every other successful technology disruptor are needed for Health communications and Interoperability. Nothing succeeds at a disruption unless it is perceived by the users to be simple, natural, intuitive, and comfortable; very few behavioral or process changes should be required for user adoption. 

Simplicity must not be limited to the doctor, nurse, or clerical users. It must extend to the technical implementation of the disruptive system.  Ideally, the new would seamlessly complement current systems without a heavy lift. By implication, this means that the disruptive system would embrace technologies, workflows, protocols, and practices that are already in place.  

2. Ubiquity — For anything to work at scale, it must also be ubiquitous — meaning it works for all potential players across the US (or global) marketplace.  Interoperability means communicating with ease with other systems.  Healthcare’s next interoperability disruptor must work for all healthcare staff, organizations, and practices, regardless of their level of technological sophistication. It must tie together systems and vendors who naturally avoid collaboration today, or we are setting ourselves up for failure.  

3. Privacy & Security — Healthcare demands best-in-class privacy and security. Compliance with government regulations or industry standards is not enough. Any new disruptive, interoperable communications system should address the needs of different use cases, markets, and users. It must dynamically provide the right user permissions and access and adapt as new needs arise. This rigor protects both patients from unnecessary or illegal sharing of their health records and healthcare organizations in meeting privacy requirements and complying with state and federal laws. 

4. Directory — It’s impossible to imagine ubiquitous national communications without a directory.   It is a crucial component for a new disruptive system to connect existing technologies and disparate people, organizations, workflows, and use cases. This directory should maintain current locations, personnel, process knowledge, workflows, technologies, keys, addresses, protocols, and individual and organizational preferences. It must be comprehensive at a national level and learn and improve with each communication and incorporate each new user’s preferences at both ends of any communication.  Above all, it must be complete and reliable — nothing less than a sub-1% failure rate.  

5. Delivery — Via the directory, we know to whom (or to what location) we want to send a notification, message, fetch request or record, but how will it get there? With literally hundreds of different EHR products in use and as many interoperability challenges, it is clear that a disruptive national solution must accommodate multiple technologies depending on sender and recipient capabilities. Until now, the only delivery “technology” that has ensured reliable delivery rates is the mighty fax machine.

With the potential of a large hospital at one end and a remote single-doctor practice at the other, it would be unreasonable to take a one size fits all approach. The system should also serve as a useful “middleman” to help different parties move to the model (in much the same way that ripping CDs or iTunes gave a helping hand to new MP3 owners). Such a delivery “middleman” should automatically adapt communications to each end of the communication’s technology capabilities, needs, and preferences..  

6. Embracing Push — To be honest, I think we got complacent in healthcare about how we designed our technologies. Most interoperability attempts are “fetch” oriented, relying on someone pulling data from a big repository such as an EHR portal or an HIE. Then we set up triggers (such as ADTs) to tell someone to get it. These have not worked at scale in 30+ years of trying. Among other reasons, it has been common for even hospitals to be reluctant to participate fully, fearing a competitive disadvantage if they make data available for all of their patients. 

My vision for a disruptive and innovative interoperability system reduces the current reliance on fetch. Why not enable reliable, proactive pushing of the right information in a timely fashion on a patient-by-patient basis? The ideal system would be driven by push, but include fetch when needed. Leverage the excellent deployment of the Direct Trust protocol already in place, supplement it with a directory and delivery service, add a new digital “middleman,” and complement it with an excellent fetch capability to fill in any gaps and enable bi-directional flows.

7. Patient Records and Messages — We need both data sharing and messaging in the same system, so we can embrace and effortlessly enable both clinical summaries and notes. There must be no practical limits on the size or types of files that can easily be shared. We need to help people solve problems together and drive everyday workflows. These are all variations of the same problem, and the disruptor needs to solve it all.  

8. Compliance — The disruptor must also be compliant with a range of security, privacy, identity, interoperability, data type, API, and many other standards and work within several national data sharing frameworks. Compliance is often showcased through government and vendor certification programs. These programs are designed to ensure that users will be able to meet requirements under incentive programs such as those from CMS/ONC (e.g., Promoting Interoperability) or the forthcoming CMS “Final Rule” Condition of Participation (CoP/PEN), and others. We also must enable incentive programs based on the transition to value-based and quality-based care and other risk-based models.  

9. On-Ramp — The iPod has become the mobile phone. We may use one device initially for phone or email, but soon come to love navigation, music, or collaboration tools.  As we adopt more features, we see how it adds value we never envisioned before — perhaps because we never dreamed it was possible. The healthcare communications disruptor will deliver an “On-Ramp” that works at both a personal and organizational scale. Organizations need to start with a simple, driving use case, get early and definitive success, then use the same platform to expand to more and more use cases and values — and delight in each of them.  

Conclusion

So here we are, decades past the PC revolution, with a combination of industry standards, regulations, clinician and consumer demand, and even tens of billions in EHR incentives. Still, we have neither a ‘killer app’ nor ubiquitous medical communications. As a result, we don’t have the efficiency nor ease-of-use benefits from our EHRs, nor do we have repeatable examples of improved quality or lower errors — and definitively, no evidence for lower costs. 

I am confident that we don’t have a market readiness problem. We have more than ample electricity, distributed computing platforms, ubiquitous broadband communications, and consumer and clinician demand. We have robust security, legal, privacy, compliance, data format, interoperability, and related standards to move forward. So, I contend that our biggest innovation inhibitor is our collective misunderstanding about “Solving the Surround.” 

Once we do that, we will unleash market disruption and transform healthcare for the next generation of patient care. 


About Peter S. Tippett

Dr. Peter Tippett is a physician, scientist, business leader, and technology entrepreneur with extensive risk management and health information technology expertise. One of his early startups created the first commercial antivirus product, Certus (which sold to Symantec and became Norton Antivirus).  As a leader in the global information security industry (ICSA Labs, TruSecure, CyberTrust, Information Security Magazine), Tippett developed a range of foundational and widely accepted risk equations and models.

He was a member of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) under G.W. Bush, and served with both the Clinton Health Matters and NIH Precision Medicine initiatives. Throughout his career, Tippett has been recognized with numerous awards and recognitions  — including E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce “Leadership in Health Care Award”, and was named one of the 25 most influential CTOs by InfoWorld.

Tippett is board certified in internal medicine and has decades of experience in the ER.  As a scientist, he created the first synthetic immunoglobulin in the lab of Nobel Laureate Bruce Merrifield at Rockefeller University. 

COVID-19 Underscores Need for Identity Governance Administration

COVID-19 Underscores Need for Identity Governance Administration
Wes Wright, CTO at Imprivata

If you work in healthcare, chances are that the COVID-19 pandemic forced you to quickly scale up or move staff around to manage the onslaught of patients. The demand for clinicians and support staff grew alongside the spread of the virus, making organizations add clinicians or reassign employees with new or modified roles: Ambulatory nurses went down in the Emergency Department or Isolation Ward, revenue cycle folks started doing transport, and so on. In some cases, former staff or retired workers were called back to help with the surge. 

In the midst of these time-compressed changes, organizations remained rightly focused on their number one priority: patient care delivery. In the background, IT professionals were struggling to manage the slew of new digital identities while ensuring fast-access to new applications, workflows, and devices to accommodate remote work. Giving clinicians this access meant having to quickly provision and deprovision access during the staff ramp-up. Inevitably, access became a problem – whether to the systems or applications needed to do their jobs. In worst-case scenarios, organizations had to balance security and compliance with the delivery of healthcare services to patients. Security protocols were also compromised – a trade-off that should never have to happen. 


Pandemic Spotlights Needs for IGA
In response to the identity management challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare IT  organizations that had and Identity Governance Administration (IGA) systems came to the rescue.  Those that didn’t, well….. IGA systems provide a fast, reliable way to manage digital identities through provisioning, governance, risk and compliance, and de-provisioning for healthcare workers who need access to workstations and applications. This is even more so the case in a crisis environment. A recent study conducted by Forrester Consulting found that an automated system helps organizations manage, streamline, and secure transactions across hypercomplex ecosystems of healthcare users, locations, devices, and locations. What’s more, according to Forrester, automation also saves time and money and results in a higher quality patient experience. 

Fact is, even in the normal times, healthcare organizations rarely excel at tracking personnel moves, especially the adds and changes due to the time and system constraints often involved. That leads to what I call a “stacked shares” situation. These typically involve a person with decades of experience in your organization who has worked in multiple administrative or clinical areas within the organization and has access to about 80 percent of your network shares because she/he was never deprovisioned from ANY shares. In these instances, the network shares just kept getting “stacked,” one on top of the other. That’s probably exactly what happens during the COVID-19 pandemic as people move around to adapt to the ongoing crisis.

Another unexpected challenge created by the pandemic relates to furloughs. What is your healthcare organization doing with them? Are you disabling and then re-enabling accounts? Re-provisioning when/if they come back? What if they’ve come back but in a new role? Again, the “stacked shares” situation arises. You will likely regret it if your organization doesn’t have an automated IGA system to help you keep track of these movements through an integrated GRC system.


Moving to a Remote Workforce
COVID-19 forced many healthcare organizations to rapidly accommodate a remote workforce. Only a few departments worked remotely before the pandemic, so routers, network, architecting, and bandwidth all had to be upgraded. Most health systems also required additional licensing to successfully ramp up services. Above all, the priority was to prevent any serious disruptions for clinicians. 

Here again, health systems faced the challenge of balancing usability with security concerns. Tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams proved useful, but they created additional risks including diminished safety of our healthcare workers, cybersecurity intrusions, and hacks – like theft of PHI, ransomware, and more. IT staff had to ensure the security of both the devices and the platforms being used, which is also easily managed by solid IGA systems. 

In these cases, IGA systems analyze login data in real-time via Login Activity reports. They weave digital identity and access management, single-sign-on capabilities, and governance into workflows to strengthen security without compromising care delivery. This includes remote identity proofing to enable electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS), as well as ensure compliance with DEA regulations while avoiding in-person interactions. 

We will no doubt be living in a world of both in-person and remote healthcare for some time given the COVID-19 crisis. One lesson we already learned from the big experiment we just completed is that healthcare organizations benefit from having an IGA system in place to help balance their healthcare delivery, efficiency, and safety, as well as security and compliance. Implementing an IGA strategy no doubt makes it easy for clinicians to securely and seamlessly transition between workstations and applications and have their identity follow them.


About Wes Wright

Wes Wright is the Chief Technology Officer at Imprivata and has more than 20 years of experience with healthcare providers, IT leadership, and security. Prior to joining Imprivata, Wes was the CTO at Sutter Health, where he was responsible for technical services strategies and operational activities for the 26-hospital system. Wes has been the CIO at Seattle Children’s Hospital and has served as the Chief of Staff for a three-star general in the US Air Force.


3 Telemedicine Security and Compliance Best Practices

3 Telemedicine Security and Compliance Best Practices
Gerry Miller, Founder & CEO at Cloudticity

The coronavirus pandemic accelerated telemedicine exponentially as patients and doctors switched from in-person visits to remote consultations. Health providers rapidly scaled virtual offerings in March and April and traffic volumes soared to unprecedented levels, with practices “seeing 50 to 175 times the number of patients by telehealth than before the outbreak,” according to McKinsey. By early August, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services expanded the list of allowable telehealth services in Medicare and there was an executive order supporting permanent telehealth provisions for rural areas.

But the surge in telemedicine adoption comes with a host of cybersecurity risks and regulatory compliance requirements unique to the healthcare sector.

As telemedicine traffic increases, so does the volume of hacking attempts. Recent cybersecurity news indicates healthcare organizations are top targets for cyberattacks and “providers remain the most compromised segment of the healthcare sector, accounting for nearly 75 percent of reported breaches.” The consequences are chilling: “The average cost of a healthcare data breach is $7.13 million globally and $8.6 million in the United States.

Further, whenever patient information is involved, HIPAA compliance is required. While HHS temporarily suspended pursuing HIPAA penalties on providers for “good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency,” such permissiveness will not last.

Luckily, most telemedicine providers can utilize managed services and cloud infrastructure to keep pace. Here are some best practices to meet IT compliance and cybersecurity demands for telemedicine.

Telemedicine Compliance Best Practices

Compliance should be viewed as a real-time process that drives security. Telemedicine tools and technology should therefore reflect significant expertise with all healthcare regulations (HIPAA, HITRUST, HITECH), with compliance functions permeating processes. Recommended compliance best practices include:

1. Automate Remediation

Healthcare applications cannot offer high reliability if every potential compliance problem is remediated manually; there’s just too much that can go wrong and never enough staff to address it when needed. The solution is to automate everything that can be automated, and rely on people to handle exceptions or potential violations that don’t impact reliability. Cloud-based services can integrate AI and operational intelligence to automatically remediate anomalies when possible, present recommendations to operations staff for cases that cannot be resolved automatically, and present clear choices such as:

·         Do Nothing: Take no action, delete ticket after [x number of days]

·         Fix Now: Implement the recommended actions immediately

·         Schedule: Perform the recommended actions during the next maintenance window

This approach speeds resolution and decreases service disruptions, and improves the reliability of telemedicine delivery. The automated response also plays a critical role in security (which will be discussed shortly).

2. Perform Formal Risk Assessments

Understanding the risk level and specific risk issues are critical components for an effective compliance plan. Many providers of healthcare services underestimate their level of risk, in part because it is difficult to quantify. The HHS has published guidance in its Quantitative Risk Management for Healthcare Cybersecurity, which offers insight. There are also cloud solutions that can aid the process. Cloud services providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud offer automated security assessment services that help improve the security and compliance of applications deployed on their cloud hosting platforms. They can generally assess applications for exposure, vulnerabilities, and deviations from best practices. A good inspection service should highlight network configurations that allow for potentially malicious access, and produces a detailed list of findings prioritized by level of severity.

3. Reduce Attack Surface

To provide secure access to sensitive information, hybrid architectures supporting telemedicine applications need a virtual private network (VPN) gateway between on-premises and cloud resources. However, developers, test engineers, remote employees, and others who need access to cloud-based protected health information (PHI) may bypass a VPN gateway by either cracking open the cloud firewall to allow direct unencrypted internet traffic or using peering connections. To prevent such potential exposures, secure desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) solutions provide an elegant way to allow cloud-based access to PHI without exposing connections or records. A DaaS is generally deployed within a VPC providing each user with access to persistent, encrypted cloud storage volumes using an encryption key management service. No user data is stored on the local device, which reduces overall risk surface area without impeding development capability.

Telemedicine Security Best Practices

While the full scope of cybersecurity strategies is beyond the scope of this article, here are three best practices that telemedicine providers can use bolster their security profile:

1. Deploy Proactive Network Security

Modern cyber threats have become steadily more sophisticated in evading traditional security measures and more devastating once they penetrate network perimeters. For that reason, telemedicine providers need a highly proactive, multilayered approach to prevent malware-based outages, theft of intellectual property, and exfiltration of protected health information (PHI).

A combination of network anti-malware, application control, and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) is recommended. Such proactive solutions are generally bundled in managed cloud services that should automatically detect suspicious system changes in real-time, isolate and quarantine affected resources, and prevent the spread of exploits by locking down any server whose configuration differs from the installed settings.

2. Encrypt Data Storage

Data encryption is the last line of cyber-defense for PHI and other critical information. Even if an attacker can penetrate the perimeter and proactive network security and exfiltrate data from the provider, those data are useless to the hacker if encrypted. It’s good practice to encrypt all web and application servers running on cloud instances using a unique master key from a key management service when creating volumes.

Encryption operations generally occur on the servers that host cloud database (DB) instances, ensuring the security of both data-at-rest and data-in-transit between an instance and its block storage. For additional protection, you can also opt to encrypt DB instances at rest, underlying storage for DB instances, its automated backups, and read replicas.

3. Harden Operating Systems

Both Microsoft Windows Server and Linux are ubiquitous operating systems in telemedicine. They are also both attractive targets for cybercriminals because they provide complex capabilities, frequently remediate vulnerabilities, and are so common (increasing attackers’ chances of finding an unpatched system). Hackers use OS-based techniques such as remote code execution and elevation of privilege to take advantage of unpatched operating system vulnerabilities. Hardened images of Windows Server and Linux virtual machines (VMs) should be used, employing default configurations recommended by the Center for Internet Security (CIS). Such hardened images make gaining OS administrative extremely difficult, and coordinate well with proactive security bundles described earlier.

Additional resources for telemedicine compliance and security are available from the American Medical Association (AMA), the US Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and HITRUST.

 While these best practices are targeted primarily at telemedicine companies, they can also be applied to a wide range of healthcare providers and organizations delivering vital services in the face of 2020’s dramatic swings in demand.


About Gerry Miller

Gerry Miller is the founder and chief executive officer at Cloudticity. He is a successful serial entrepreneur and healthcare fanatic. From starting his first company in elementary school to selling his successful technology consulting firm in 1998, Gerry has always marched to his own drummer, producing a series of successes. Gerry’s first major company was The Clarity Group, a Boston-based Internet technology firm he founded in 1992. Gerry presided over seven years of 100% aggregate annual growth and sold the company in 1998 when it had reached $10MM in revenue.

He was recruited by Microsoft to become their Central US Chief Technology Officer, eventually taking over a global business unit and growing its revenue from $20MM to over $100MM in less than three years. Gerry then joined ePrize as Chief Operating Officer, where he grew sales 38% to nearly $70MM while improving operating efficiency, quality, and both client and employee satisfaction. Gerry founded Cloudticity in 2011 with a passion for helping healthcare organizations radically reshape the industry by unlocking the full potential of the cloud.

Allergy Amulet Nabs $3.3M To Launch World’s Smallest, Fastest Consumer Food Allergen Sensor

What You Should Know:

– Today, Allergy Amulet announces $3.3M in seed funding
to launch the world’s smallest and fastest consumer food allergen sensor and
empower the allergy community by alleviating fears about what’s in their food.

– Allergy Amulet’s novel technology can improve the
quality of life for the millions of people living with food allergies or
intolerances by testing for common allergenic ingredients in seconds. The portable
device is made to fit every lifestyle — it’s small enough to fit on a
keychain, a necklace, or in a pocket. 

– Every 3 minutes, a food allergy sends someone to the
ER. For the 32 million Americans and between 220-520 million people globally
who live with food allergies, the potentially fatal disease is a constant
threat. 


Allergy Amulet, a Madison, WI-based company empowering the
food allergy community by alleviating fears about what’s in their food, today
announces $3.3 million in seed funding led by TitletownTech, a joint venture between Microsoft and the
Green Bay Packers.

Every 3 Minutes, a Food Allergy Sends Someone to the ER

Food allergies affect 32 million Americans and between 220
to 520 million people globally—that’s one in 13 children and one in 10 adults.
They can be fatal, even after ingesting only trace amounts of a known allergen.
The company has developed the world’s smallest and fastest consumer food allergen
sensor, which is capable of testing foods for common allergenic ingredients in
seconds. The patented technology fits on a keychain, a necklace, a wristband,
or in a pocket, and doubles as a medical alert system, making it easier and
safer to manage food allergies and intolerances. 

Simple + Fast Detection

Allergy Amulet Nabs $3.3M To Launch World’s Smallest, Fastest Consumer Food Allergen Sensor

Allergy Amulet helps: 

Individuals with food allergies: It makes testing for food allergens
easy, giving people additional assurances that their food is safe. 

Parents with children who have food allergies: It gives
parents another tool to manage their children’s allergies, and helps children
live a normal childhood, maintain independence, and safely attend sleepovers
and birthday parties (or just school) with friends. 

Businesses: It gives restaurant owners, schools, childcare
providers, summer camps, and hotels the power of extra precaution to save them
time, money, and worry. 

How It Works

Allergy Amulet Nabs $3.3M To Launch World’s Smallest, Fastest Consumer Food Allergen Sensor

The Allergy Amulet is a fast and portable food allergen and
ingredient sensor, designed to fit every lifestyle. Its first-of-its-kind
detection platform pairs molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) technology with a
conductive electrochemical platform to detect target allergenic ingredients.
The Amulet consists of two parts: a USB-sized reader (the “Amulet”) and a test
strip that houses the proprietary sensor chips. The case also accommodates
epinephrine and antihistamines, giving users a complete allergy care management
platform. 

For consumers, testing for food allergens is made possible
in four simple steps:

Step 1:  Users collect a sample of the food with
the test strip, and turn the top of the tester to grind the sample.

Step 2: A chip slides out from the test strip and is
inserted into the reader. 

Step 3: Test results appear on the reader within
seconds, indicating the presence or absence of the target allergen.  

Step 4: Optional: store test results in the mobile
app, connect and share results with the food allergy community, or hold down a
button on the reader to alert your emergency contacts.

The Team 

The Allergy Amulet team has deep connections to the
communities they serve — Barnes has managed life-threatening food allergies
since childhood, and experienced a near-fatal anaphylactic event as a teenager.
After meeting her Co-founder and Scientific Advisor, Dr. Joseph BelBruno, a
Dartmouth chemistry professor emeritus with life-threatening food allergies,
the two worked to make Allergy Amulet a reality.  

The company holds one issued U.S. patent with multiple
applications, and its waitlist has thousands of individuals signed up to
participate in an early beta release, scheduled to kickoff later this
year. 

Expansion Plans

This infusion of new capital will be used to manufacture beta units, help to launch pre-orders, expand product offerings to cover more allergens, grow the company’s world-class team, add additional restaurant and company partners to its roster, and educate consumers on the benefits of additional food allergen management tools. In addition to Titletown, its seed financing includes participation from Great North Labs, Colle Capital, Great Oaks VC, DeepWork Capital, Dipalo Ventures, and Bulldog Innovation Group.

“The current standard of care — avoiding certain foods,
injecting epinephrine to treat reactions, and visiting the emergency room —
can take a serious emotional, financial, and physical toll on individuals,
caregivers, and families,” said Abigail Barnes, Co-founder and CEO of Allergy Amulet.
“Our hope is to help individuals more safely engage in the activities that
bring them joy, whether that means going to a restaurant with friends and
family or eating a cupcake at a party.”

Availability

Allergy Amulet is slated for pre-sales Fall of 2020 and
launch Fall of 2021.   

Analysis: July Health IT M&A Activity; Public Company Performance

– Healthcare Growth Partners’ (HGP) summary of Health IT/digital health mergers & acquisition (M&A) activity, and public company performance during the month of July 2020.


While a pandemic ravages the country, technology valuations are soaring.  The Nasdaq hit an all-time high during the month of July, sailing through the 10,000 mark to post YTD gains of nearly 20%, representing a 56% increase off the low water mark on March 23.  More notably, the Nasdaq has outperformed the S&P 500 (including the lift the S&P has received from FANMAG stocks – Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, Apple, Google) by nearly 20% YTD. 

At HGP, we focus on private company transactions, but there is a close connection between public company and private company valuations.  While the intuitive reaction is to feel that companies should be discounted due to COVID’s business disruption and associated economic hardships facing the country, the data and the markets tell a different story.

While technology is undoubtedly hot right now given the thesis that adoption and value will increase during these virtual times, the other more important factor lifting public markets is interest rates.  According to July 19 research from Goldman Sachs,

“Importantly, it is the very low level of interest rates that justifies current valuations. The S&P 500 is within 4% of the all-time high it reached on February 19th, yet since that time the level of S&P 500 earnings expected in 2021 has been pushed forward to 2022. The decline in interest rates bridges that gap.”

Additionally, Goldman Sachs analysts also estimate that equities will deliver an annual return of 6% over the next 10-years, lower than the long-term return of 8%.  Future value has been priced into present value, and returns are diminished because the relative return over interest rates is what ultimately matters, not the absolute return.  In short, equity valuations are high because interest rates are low. 

What happens in public equities usually finds its way into private equity.  To note, multiple large private health IT companies including WellSkyQGenda, and Edifecs, have achieved 20x+ EBITDA transactions based on this same phenomenon.  From the perspective of HGP, this should also translate to higher valuations for private companies at the lower end of the market.  As investors across all asset classes experience reduced returns requirements due to low interest rates, present values increase across both investment and M&A transactions. 

As with everything in the COVID environment, it is difficult to make predictions with certainty.  Because the stimulus has caused US debt as a percentage of GDP to explode, there is an extremely strong motivation to keep long-term interest rates low.  For this reason, we believe interest rates will remain low for the foreseeable future.  Time will tell whether this is sustainable, but early indications are positive.

Noteworthy News Headlines

Noteworthy Transactions

Noteworthy M&A transactions during the month include:

  • Workflow optimization software vendor HealthFinch was acquired by Health Catalyst for $40mm.
  • Sarnova completed simultaneous acquisition and merger of R1 EMS and Digitech.
  • Payment integrity vendor The Burgess Group acquired by HealthEdge Software.
  • Ciox acquired biomedical NLP vendor, Medal, to support its clinical data research initiatives.
  • Allscripts divests EPSi to Roper for $365mm, equaling 7.5x and 18.5x TTM revenue and EBITDA, respectively.

Noteworthy Buyout transactions during the month include:

  • HealthEZ, a vendor of TPA plans, was acquired by Abry Partners.
  • As part of a broader wave of blank check go-public transactions, MultiPlan will join the public markets as part of Churchill Capital Corp III.
  • Also as part of a wave of private equity club deals, WellSky partially recapped with TPG and Leonard Greenin a rumored $3B transaction valuing the company at 20x EBITDA.
  • Edifecs partnered with TA Associates and Francisco Partners in another club deal valuing the company at a rumored $1.4B (excluding $400mm earnout) at over 8x revenue and 18x EBITDA.
  • Madison Dearborn announced a $410mm take private of insurance technology vendor Benefytt.
  • Nuvem Health, a provider of pharmacy claims software, was acquired by Parthenon Capital.

Noteworthy Investments during the month include:

Public Company Performance

HGP tracks stock indices for publicly traded health IT companies within four different sectors – Health IT, Payers, Healthcare Services, and Health IT & Payer Services. Notably, primary care provider Oak Street Health filed for an IPO, offering 15.6 million shares at a target price of $21/ share. The chart below summarizes the performance of these sectors compared to the S&P 500 for the month of July:

The following table includes summary statistics on the four sectors tracked by HGP for July 2020:


About Healthcare Growth Partners (HGP)

Healthcare Growth Partners (HGP) is a Houston, TX-based Investment Banking & Strategic Advisory firm exclusively focused on the transformational Health IT market. The firm provides  Sell-Side AdvisoryBuy-Side AdvisoryCapital Advisory, and Pre-Transaction Growth Strategy services, functioning as the exclusive investment banking advisor to over 100 health IT transactions representing over $2 billion in value since 2007.

Imprivata Introduces Digital Identity Framework for Healthcare Organizations

What You Should Know:

– Imprivata introduces a new framework to help healthcare
organizations manage digital identities and support remote/virtual care.

– Framework designed to help organizations develop and
implement a robust, comprehensive digital identity strategy to address
healthcare’s unique security, compliance, and workflow challenges.


Imprivata, the
digital identity company for healthcare, building on the work done by H-ISAC,
today introduced the Imprivata Digital Identity
Framework for Healthcare
, a unified, security- and efficiency-focused
structure for managing identities across the healthcare delivery organization’s
(HDO’s) complex ecosystem. The framework provides CISOs, CIOs, and other IT leaders with strategic
guidance to drive their Identity and Access Management
(IAM) strategy, along with insights about how healthcare’s unique
considerations must necessarily govern solution choices. 

Digital Identity Framework Overview

The Imprivata Digital Identity Framework
for Healthcare is structured according to the key categories
required for a robust digital identity strategy that meets the unique
demands of HDOs. These categories: governance
and administration, identity management, authorization,
and authentication and access, are ordered in the
framework to support the planning process, beginning with the end in
mind. 

“Now, more than ever, our customers are challenged with navigating complex healthcare environments that demand a secure and efficient approach to IAM,” said Gus Malezis, President and CEO of Imprivata. “Our new framework shows our customers where existing IAM tools fit into a broader, more holistic approach focused on digital identities which are tantamount to efficient clinical workflows as well as rapid response to support remote workers, virtual care – and whatever unknowns the future may hold.”

The framework is designed specifically to address and
support the unique requirements of healthcare, drawing from customer feedback
and industry-leading schemes including H-ISAC, Microsoft, Gartner, KuppingerCole,
and Forrester, from which more than 120 functions were considered and
ultimately tailored.

Telehealth and Cybersecurity: What You Should Know

New Telehealth Tablet Provides Clinical Collaboration Within Hospitals

Healthcare providers are seeing between 50 and 175 times (1) more patients via telehealth than before. Telehealth platforms* offer solutions for a wide array of different healthcare issues. An estimated 20 percent of all emergency room visits and 24 percent of routine office visits and outpatient volume could be delivered virtually via telehealth.

Telehealth is a win-win for providers and patients. It both increases the availability of care while also reducing costs. However, telemedicine does have intrinsic privacy and security risks that all providers must minimize to protect sensitive patient data.

The Inherent Vulnerability of Connectivity

Providers have been eager to adapt to this care delivery method, but many platforms do not meet HIPAA requirements and lack adequate data safeguards. The same connectivity that makes telehealth possible also creates threats to patients. Protecting patient health information (PHI) and providing remote services doesn’t fit together easily.

Any data transferred over the internet runs the risk of interception by threat actors, and healthcare has long been a preferred target for cybercriminals. In 2019, healthcare data breaches cost the industry over $4 billion (2). 

This year is no exception with a further increase in ransomware (3) and other attacks that put millions of patients’ records in danger of exposure. These types of events have all happened within typically well-fortified hospital networks.

Connecting with patients via telehealth and transmitting biometric data via remote care devices only furthers these dangers. The biggest risk is that patients lack control of the collection, usage and sharing of their PHI.

For instance, remote monitoring devices built with sensors to detect falls may collect information on other activities patients wish to be kept private—including that their home is unoccupied at certain times and the types of activity they participate in. Even with security measures, any transfer does have a potential for a breach.

How to Prevent Security Risks in Telehealth

More secure telehealth begins by establishing best practices. Because of the sensitive information healthcare organizations possess, providers and the vendors they choose to work with must focus on core elements of data security through related tools and strategies such as:

1. Identity Authentication

Continuous identity authentication ensures authorized individuals have access to data. Identity authentication can be accomplished through a variety of approaches.

Multi-factor authentication, or the requirement of utilizing two pieces of evidence to sign in, is among the most common and has been proven effective in blocking 99.9 percent of all automated cyber-attacks.

Beyond this, users need to develop strong, unique passwords for, not just their telehealth platform accounts, but across their entire online logins and accounts.

2. Improve Telehealth Platform Safety

HIPAA requires that providers integrate encryption and other safeguards into their interactions with patients. However, patients’ devices on the receiving end of care often don’t have these safeguards while some medical devices have been shown to be vulnerable to hackers.

Ensuring the safety of all patient devices in the short term will be impossible. Thus, telehealth platforms must be as secure in themselves as possible. The software needs to be designed in a secure environment and contain numerous ways of establishing secure channels between patients and providers.

3. Investing in Patient Education

Outside of telehealth, cybersecurity ultimately relies on the end-user. As hackers continuously exploit new vulnerabilities, developers are in a constant race to keep up with new threats. Cybersecurity is only as strong as its weakest link. Secure telehealth apps must be complemented by other measures.

For this reason, healthcare providers should educate patients about cybersecurity and the steps they should take to improve the overall safety of their interactions online by:

●  Educating patients about the telehealth security threats;

●  Using a VPN both during telehealth services and for general device usage;

●  Frequently updating all apps and operating systems, not just telehealth platforms;

●  Enabling anti-malware and virus scans to run at all times;

●  Restricting app permissions to what’s necessary for app functionality only; and

●  Recognizing social engineering and other types of cyber-attacks.

How to Minimize Telehealth Security Risks

The one word providers must focus on when implementing telehealth is encryption. It needs to be everywhere. Since data is vulnerable in all stages of its life cycle, including during storage, transmission and access, encryption must be built into every step of this process.

Concerns about the privacy and security of these systems should not adversely affect people’s trust in telehealth. The benefits outweigh the risks. But providers must embrace more rigorous standards and minimize threats to ensure telehealth can deliver on its promises and live up to its potential.

Sources:

  1. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/telehealth-a-quarter-trillion-dollar-post-covid-19-reality
  2. https://healthitsecurity.com/news/data-breaches-will-cost-healthcare-4b-in-2019-threats-outpace-tech#:~:text=November%2005%2C%202019%20%2D%20Healthcare%20data,per%20each%20breach%20patient%20record.
  3. https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/92575-increase-in-reports-of-ransomware-attacks-on-health-care-entities
  4. https://www.microsoft.com/security/blog/2019/08/20/one-simple-action-you-can-take-to-prevent-99-9-percent-of-account-attacks/

Microsoft Releases Public Preview of Azure IoT Connector for FHIR to Empower Health Teams

Microsoft Releases Public Preview of Azure IoT Connector for FHIR to Empower Health Teams

What You Should Know:

– Microsoft released the public preview of Azure IoT
Connector for FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), the latest
update to the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare.

– The Azure IoT Connector for FHIR makes it easy for
health developers to set up a pipeline to manage protected health information
(PHI) from IoT devices and enable care teams to view patient data in context
with clinical records in FHIR.


This week, Microsoft released the preview of Azure
IoT Connector for FHIR
—a fully managed feature of the Azure API for FHIR.
The connector empowers health teams with the technology for a scalable
end-to-end pipeline to ingest, transform, and manage Protected Health
Information (PHI) data from devices using the security of FHIR APIs.

Telehealth
and remote monitoring. It’s long been talked about in the delivery of
healthcare, and while some areas of health have created targeted use cases in
the last few years, the availability of scalable telehealth platforms that can
span multiple devices and schemas has been a barrier. Yet in a matter of
months, COVID-19 has accelerated the discussion. There is an urgent need for
care teams to find secure and scalable ways to deliver remote monitoring
platforms and to extend their services to patients in the home environment.

Unlike other services that can use generic video services
and data transfer in virtual settings, telehealth visits and remote monitoring
in healthcare require data pipelines that can securely manage Protected Health
Information (PHI). To be truly effective, they must also be designed for
interoperability with existing health software like electronic medical record
platforms. When it comes to remote monitoring scenarios, privacy, security, and
trusted data exchanges are must-haves. Microsoft is actively investing in
FHIR-based health technology like the Azure IoT Connector for FHIR to ensure
health customers have an ecosystem they trust.

Azure IoT Connector for FHIR Key Features

With the Azure IoT Connector for FHIR available as a feature
on Microsoft’s cloud-based FHIR service, it’s now quick and easy for health
developers to set up an ingestion pipeline, designed for security to manage PHI
from IoT devices. The Azure IoT Connector for FHIR focuses on biometric data at
the ingestion layer, which means it can connect at the device-to-cloud or cloud-to-cloud
workstreams. Health data can be sent to Event Hub, Azure IoT Hub, or Azure IoT
Central, and is converted to FHIR resources, which enables care teams to view
patient data captured from IoT devices in context with clinical records in
FHIR.

Key features of the Azure IoT Connector for FHIR include:

– Conversion of biometric data (such as blood glucose, heart
rate, or pulse ox) from connected devices into FHIR resources.

– Scalability and real-time data processing.

– Seamless integration with Azure IoT solutions and Azure
Stream Analytics.

– Role-based Access Control (RBAC) allows for managing
access to device data at scale in Azure API for FHIR.

– Audit log tracking for data flow.

– Helps with compliance in the cloud: ISO 27001:2013 certified supports HIPAA and GDPR, and built on the HITRUST certified Azure platform.

Microsoft customers are already ushering in the next generation of healthcare

Some of the healthcare organizations who are embracing the technology include:

– Humana will accelerate remote monitoring programs for
patients living with chronic conditions at its senior-focused primary care
subsidiary, Conviva Care Centers.

– Sensoria is enabling secure data exchange from its Motus
Smart remote patient monitoring device, allowing clinicians to see real-time
data and proactively reach out to patients to manage care.

– Centene is managing personal biometric data and will
explore near-real-time monitoring and alerting as part of its overall priority
on improving the health of its members.

Allscripts, Microsoft Ink 5-Year Partnership to Support Cloud-based Sunrise EHR, Drive Co-Innovation

Allscripts, Microsoft Ink 5-Year Partnership to Support Sunrise EHR, Drive Co-Innovation

What You Should Know:

– Allscripts and Microsoft sign a five-year partnership extension to support Allscripts’ cloud-based Sunrise electronic health record and drive co-innovation.

– The alliance will enable Allscripts to harness the power of Microsoft’s platform and tools, including Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Teams, and Power BI, creating a more seamless and highly productive user experience.


Today Allscripts and
Microsoft Corp. announced the
extension of their long-standing strategic alliance to enable the expanded
development and delivery of cloud-based health IT solutions.
The five-year extension will support Allscripts’ cloud-based Sunrise electronic health record
(EHR), making Microsoft the cloud provider for the solution and opening up
co-innovation opportunities to help transform healthcare with smarter, more
scalable technology. The alliance will enable Allscripts to harness the power
of Microsoft’s platform and tools, including Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Teams
and Power BI, creating a more seamless and highly productive user experience.

Partnership Impact for Cloud-based Sunrise EHR

Sunrise is an integrated EHR that connects all aspects of
care, including acute, ambulatory, surgical, pharmacy, radiology and laboratory
services including an integrated revenue cycle and patient administration
system. Cloud-based Sunrise will offer many added benefits beyond the
on-premise version that will improve organizational effectiveness, solution
interoperability, clinician ease of use and an improved patient experience.
Client benefits include a subscription model delivering faster implementations
and lower annual upgrade costs, helping organizations leverage the software
without increasing burdens on their internal IT resources.

The cloud-based Sunrise solution will provide enhanced
security, scalability and flexibility, as well as the opportunity to add new
capabilities quickly as business needs and the cloud evolve. The cloud-based
solution will also include expanded analytics and insights functionality that
can quickly engage with the Internet of Things. Finally, the cloud-based
Sunrise solution will include a marketplace that enables healthcare apps and
third parties to easily integrate with a hospital EHR. Allscripts clients will
begin to see these updates by the end of 2020.

Why It Matters

“The COVID-19 pandemic will forever change how healthcare is
delivered, and provider organizations around the world must ensure they are
powered by innovative, interoperable, comprehensive and lower-cost IT solutions
that meet the demands of our new normal,” said Allscripts chief executive
officer Paul Black. “Healthcare delivery is no longer defined by location —
providers need to have the capability to reach patients where they are to truly
deliver the care they require. Cloud solutions, mobile options, telehealth
functionality — these are the foundational tools for not just the future of
healthcare, but the present. Collaborating with Microsoft, the leader in the
public cloud sector, we will efficiently deliver the tools caregivers need to
improve the clinical outcomes of their patients and operational performance of
their organizations.”