IT execs call for HIPAA overhaul in 'Project Nightingale' wake

Healthcare Dive | November 18, 2019

It could be time for stricter personal health information protection laws in light of Google collecting the data of more than 50 million Americans from provider giant Ascension, health IT experts say. The partnership, called Project Nightingale, came to light last week and involves the nation's second-largest health system sharing data from patients from 21 states with the Mountain View, California-based tech giant — without patient consent or knowledge. In return, Ascension gets access to any software or services Google develops, such as an omnibus search tool integrated into the EHR that aggregates all PHI in one location.

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HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

Nomi Health Acquires Everyone Health, Sano Surgery

Nomi Health | July 14, 2022

Everyone Health has agreements with self-funded employers and third-party administrators for pre-negotiated, all-inclusive prices that save employers up to 70% relative to commercial fee-for-service rates. The company delivers these savings via Sano Surgery’s direct contracting with more than 10,000 physicians and facilities — surgical hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, endoscopy centers, radiology centers, labs and more — in 300 of the largest U.S. cities across 48 states, all now part of Nomi Health’s national provider network. “Nomi Health believes healthcare needs a rebuild, not a renovation. These companies share in our vision of extracting the complexity and cost from traditional healthcare, so buyers experience substantial savings and, most importantly, patients have greater access to more affordable care. In three short years, we expanded easy access to care to 15 million Americans, while significantly driving down cost of care to buyers. The immediate contributions of Everyone Health and Sano Surgery will accelerate this track record in the years ahead.” Mark Newman, founder and CEO of Nomi Health Founded by CEO Dutch Rojas 10 years ago, Sano Surgery has a network of nearly 6,000 medical facilities and 8,000 lab locations nationwide, ranging from radiology and orthopedics to women's health and oncology. This network enables Everyone Health to deliver higher quality medical treatments and services at lower prices. As a result, physicians benefit from predictable volumes and payments, while patients enjoy a more streamlined care and billing experience. “My goal is affordable and accessible healthcare for all. We’ve built a nationwide network of physicians and medical facilities that allows us to bring substantially lower pricing and more transparent transactions to the market, benefiting countless Americans,” said Rojas, founder and CEO of Sano Surgery and Everyone Health. “As the dual crisis of access and affordability grows on the heels of the pandemic, the time is right to increase our impact as part of Nomi Health.” The acquisitions enable buyers to turn to Nomi Health for a full suite of solutions — analytics, care delivery and a direct network — all underpinned by a modern claims infrastructure and payment rails. It also brings 12 full-time employees, including Rojas, to Nomi Health to accelerate the continued expansion of the company’s network of clinical partners, which is critical as Nomi Health takes its support and services into more communities nationwide. The acquisitions of Everyone Health and Sano Surgery come on the heels of Nomi’s $200 million acquisition of healthcare analytics leader Artemis Health in January. About Nomi Health Nomi Health is a nationwide direct healthcare system making it easier than ever for any buyer of healthcare to access the highest quality affordable care for their communities. The company’s direct care ecosystem encompasses a real-time operating and payment system — inclusive of analytics and payment rails — as well as an integrated care delivery infrastructure featuring essential care services, pharmacy and an open network. To date, Nomi Health has saved buyers of care an average of 30 percent compared to traditional healthcare costs, while enabling them to give their communities more access to lower cost, high quality care. From rural counties to some of the largest cities in America, Nomi Health has administered everyday healthcare services to more than 14 million Americans and counting in hundreds of communities nationwide. During COVID-19, this direct care model played a pivotal role in care access, public health and keeping economies open and operating. Based in Orem, Utah, Nomi Health employs more than 2,000 nationwide, working to lower healthcare expenses, widen care access and improve the patient experience. The company is led by an experienced, cross-functional leadership team with clinical, healthcare, technology and finance backgrounds. Nomi Health has so far invested more than $10 million dollars in improving the well-being of the communities it serves.

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HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

Easterseals and the Abbott Fund Join Together to Advance Education and Health Equity

Easterseals | June 23, 2022

Easterseals announced today that it has received a grant of $750,000 from the Abbott Fund, the foundation of the global healthcare company Abbott, to pilot the Project on Education and Community Health Equity from now through 2025. The three-year project aims to address systemic barriers to high-quality education and healthcare experienced by children and families in underinvested communities. Research shows that many young children, particularly children with disabilities and children of color, face significant gaps in access to crucial health and social services that can provide the targeted support they need to be prepared to succeed in school. One example: according to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Black children with autism and other disabilities are diagnosed an average of more than three years after their parents expressed concerns about their development. This delay in diagnosis means these children miss out on age-appropriate care and the chance to improve their health and cognitive skills, often resulting in them entering kindergarten with knowledge and skill deficits that many are not able to overcome throughout their K-12 educational journey. The Project on Education and Community Health Equity will create an integrated system that addresses the educational and healthcare needs of children to help them be kindergarten ready and reach their full potential. This includes work in three areas: expanding access to essential physical and mental health screenings and care for children; providing targeted social services to help families overcome gaps in basic needs, nutrition, transportation, and other social and economic barriers; and ensuring that early childhood administrators and educators have the right training to identify and address health and social challenges and provide culturally appropriate support for children. The project will be implemented at Easterseals Childhood Development Centers in Southern California, Atlanta and North Georgia, and the greater Washington, D.C., area. "Addressing the healthcare needs of infants and toddlers as early as possible in their lives is one of the critical ways in which Easterseals serves young children and families across the country. The Project on Education and Community Health Equity will allow us to better address healthcare disparities experienced by young BIPOC children and their families in historically underserved and marginalized communities, and to better understand the connection between more equitable access to healthcare and kindergarten readiness. Centering communities of color in our efforts is a critical strategy to close the gap. Outcomes from the project promise to inform its future expansion to early childhood and early education programs throughout the Easterseals Network of 70 affiliates in communities nationwide." Erika L. Watson, National Director of Childhood Development, Education and Equity at Easterseals "We're proud to support Easterseals' important work to help close equity gaps in education and community health," said Melissa Brotz, president of the Abbott Fund and vice president of Global Marketing and External Affairs at Abbott. "We're committed to advancing health equity and fighting racial health disparities, and our partnership with Easterseals will help reduce barriers to care for children, their families and their communities." The Project on Education and Community Health Equity builds on results seen through another Easterseals program, the Black Child Fund. Launched in 2021 with support from the Abbott Fund and others, the Black Child Fund advanced early identification and interventions among Black children with autism and other disabilities to reduce health disparities often experienced in early childhood. The Abbott Fund investment launched pilots at Easterseals locations serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford, DuPage and the Fox Valley Region (IL), and Kansas City and St. Louis (MO). Through these pilot programs, an 87% increase in the number of Black families seeking services and support was realized, with more than 300 Black children screened for early diagnosis of autism and other disabilities in just one year. Of these children, 80% were five years old or younger, with 75% requiring and receiving additional services through Easterseals. An important outcome of these pilots has been the strengthening of relationships within Black communities across these Easterseals service areas to ensure more equitable and more culturally responsive services and supports to young children of color with disabilities and their families. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released data revealing that during the pandemic public health emergency, rates for primary and preventive services among children in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) declined substantially. This decline in care for millions of children from low-income families will potentially have a significant impact on long-term health outcomes for the nearly 40 million children in the U.S. who rely on Medicaid and CHIP, including three-quarters of children living in poverty and many with special healthcare needs including infants, toddlers, and young children with disabilities. "Through the Project on Education and Community Health Equity, it is Easterseals' intention to address the disparities in healthcare among young children in low-investment communities and to understand the connection between health equity and early childhood educational attainment. We intend to center the experiences of children of color and their families, for whom inequities have only been exacerbated because of the pandemic," Watson concluded. The Abbott Fund's partnership with Easterseals supports Abbott's 2030 Sustainability Plan, which aims to advance health access and equity through partnership. Abbott's ongoing commitment to address health equity challenges includes targeted programs to increase diversity in clinical trials, create opportunities in STEM for women and underrepresented groups, and empower communities to break down social and economic barriers to better health. About Easterseals Easterseals is leading the way to full equity, inclusion, and access through life-changing disability and community services. For more than 100 years, we have worked tirelessly with our partners to enhance quality of life and expand local access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. And we won't rest until every one of us is valued, respected, and accepted. Through our national network of Affiliates, Easterseals provides essential services and on-the-ground supports to more than 1.5 million people each year – from early childhood programs for the critical first five years, to autism services, medical rehabilitation and employment programs, veterans' services, and more. Our public education, policy, and advocacy initiatives positively shape perceptions and address the urgent and evolving needs of the one in four Americans living with disabilities today. Together, we're empowering people with disabilities, families, and communities to be full and equal participants in society. About Abbott and the Abbott Fund Abbott is a global healthcare leader that helps people live more fully at all stages of life. Our portfolio of life-changing technologies spans the spectrum of healthcare, with leading businesses and products in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic medicines. Our 113,000 colleagues serve people in more than 160 countries.

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FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

Signify Health Opens New Regional Service Center in Oklahoma City

Signify Health, Inc. | June 15, 2022

Signify Health, Inc. a leading healthcare platform that leverages advanced analytics, technology, and nationwide healthcare networks to create and power value-based payment programs, announced the official opening of its new regional service center in Oklahoma City. The Company will mark the opening of its 25,000 square-foot site with a ceremonial ribbon cutting event with state and local government representatives, business community leaders, and employees. “Our investment in workforce and economic development is attracting industry-leading companies like Signify Health who recognize the many attributes Oklahoma has to offer growing businesses,” said Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. “We are delighted to officially welcome Signify Health to our business community and look forward to supporting their continued success for many years to come.” Last December, Signify Health announced its decision to locate its third regional service center hub in Oklahoma City and plans to bring more than 200 new jobs to the region. Since that time, the Company has hired more than 130 new employees who work both on-site and remotely. “We truly appreciate the warm welcome and support we have received from both the Governor’s and Mayor’s administrations. They helped make the process of opening up a new facility and sourcing talented people a seamless and positive experience. We knew at the outset of this journey that Oklahoma City was a place where we would find people who share our values and passion for making a positive difference in people’s health. What we found here exceeded our high expectations,” David Pierre, Chief Operating Officer at Signify Health “The healthcare industry in Oklahoma City is an extremely important economic driver for our region, and more importantly it’s a major contributor to a high quality of life for our residents,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt. “We congratulate Signify on opening its doors in Oklahoma City and look forward to the contributions they will make to our community, from both economic and quality of life perspectives.” Located at 5400 E. Memorial Road, Signify’s service center was designed to support the distinct needs of a hybrid workforce, including a flexible floor plan and collaboration spaces. In working with Turner & Company, Signify adopted a number of healthy workplace elements used in its Dallas office. Among the eco-friendly features are a geo-thermal HVAC system, LED lighting and an onsite wastewater treatment system. Signify Health’s Chief Operating Officer, David Pierre, will host a ceremonial ribbon cutting event on June 15, 2022 at 10:00 AM CT. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt; Brent Kisling, Executive Director of Commerce, Oklahoma State Department of Commerce; and, Jeff Seymour, Executive Vice President, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce are expected to participate in the ceremony and offer remarks. About Signify Health Signify Health is a leading healthcare platform that leverages advanced analytics, technology, and nationwide healthcare provider networks to create and power value-based payment programs. Our mission is to transform how care is paid for and delivered so that people can enjoy more healthy, happy days at home. Our solutions support value-based payment programs by aligning financial incentives around outcomes, providing tools to health plans and healthcare organizations designed to assess and manage risk and identify actionable opportunities for improved patient outcomes, coordination and cost-savings. Through our platform, we coordinate what we believe is a holistic suite of clinical, social, and behavioral services to address an individual’s healthcare needs and prevent adverse events that drive excess cost, all while shifting services towards the home. For more information on how we are taking health homeward, visit us at signifyhealth.com.

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HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

Vitestro unveils autonomous blood drawing device, combining artificial intelligence, ultrasound imaging and robotics

Vitestro | May 31, 2022

Vitestro, a Dutch medical robotics company, unveiled the world's most advanced autonomous blood drawing device at the annual meeting of the Netherlands Society for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine in Rotterdam. Vitestro's device combines AI-based, ultrasound-guided 3D reconstruction with robotic needle insertion, ensuring accurate and secure blood collection. The venipuncture technology is adaptable to patients of 16 years of age onwards, comorbidities, and puncture difficulty. From 2023, Vitestro will initiate pivotal clinical studies for regulatory approval in Europe. EU-market introduction is anticipated in 2024. Healthcare shortages spark revolutionary developments Within healthcare, the clinical laboratory is the driving force. Accuracy and timeliness of laboratory tests are critically important, as they shape approximately 70% of all medical decisions made by physicians. It is unsurprising that blood collection is the most common invasive medical procedure, performed billions of times per year globally. Blood collection holds a pivotal role in clinical diagnostics yet is also burdened by the scarcity of skilled workers. By automating this labor-intensive procedure, we can transform the quality of care and create a sustainable healthcare system. Proprietary laboratory automation technology standardizes handling of the blood sample while the blood is collected. The device allows almost complete automation of the pre-analytical phase. This has the potential to reduce high blood test error rates, mainly caused by manual variability. In clinical studies, Vitestro already performed 1,500 automated blood draws in more than 1,000 patients with its prototype. Toon Overbeeke, Vitestro's Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer said: "The mounting shortage of healthcare personnel is imminent. The pandemic has further led to loss of workforce, causing a bleak outlook for hospital output around the globe, and leading to reduced access and continuity of care. That's why revolutionary automation like our blood drawing device is inevitable to solve the industry's biggest problem." Outpatient phlebotomy care is redefined At first, Vitestro will implement the device in outpatient phlebotomy departments. Patients will have the option to choose between Vitestro's venipunture device or standard method. The device is intuitive to use, empowering patients to be self-reliant in the full blood collection procedure. In previous clinical trials, patients of all ages showed a high degree of openness, enthusiasm and willingness to adopt the innovation. A trained healthcare professional is able to supervise several devices, managing multiple patients simultaneously. The increased efficiency enables hospitals and clinical laboratories to address workforce shortage or even free up staff and deploy them where they are really needed. "We have spent nearly five years on the development of this breakthrough medical device. All relevant disciplines are represented in our dedicated, specialized team of 35 people. To prepare for production and commercialization, the team will double in size in the next two years. We have clear momentum in the market and will be the first to bring autonomous technology to European hospitals. With our technology we can help to build a more robust and resilient healthcare system." Toon Overbeeke, Vitestro's Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Anja Leyte, Director OVLG Laboratories, participating in clinical studies commented: "By introducing automated blood drawing, high quality as well as capacity is guaranteed in our laboratories. Vitestro's technology helps solving staffing shortages at our blood drawing department and improving sample standardization. Patients are also very enthusiastic." About Vitestro In 2017 Vitestro's founders rose to the challenge to create a better blood drawing experience. Today Vitestro is well underway to achieve its goal with a committed team of 35 highly skilled people with a track record in medical robotics, imaging software, AI, QA/RA and business development. Vitestro is based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Vitestro is well funded by private investors and government subsidies.

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