Lawmakers ramp up scrutiny over VA’s IT challenges, including joint program with DOD

FierceHealthcare | April 03, 2019

The Department of Veterans Affairs' management of key IT projects is under close scrutiny from federal lawmakers who are frustrated with what they see as rushed efforts to roll out potentially flawed software tools as well as a lack of governance for the VA's interoperability projects. The VA's slow progress to set up a joint program office with the Department of Defense to work out differences between their separate electronic health records implementations has prompted legislators to work on a draft bill to move these efforts along. During a House Subcommittee on Technology Modernization hearing Tuesday, subcommittee chairman Jim Banks (R-Ind.) said he was drafting a bill aimed at improving accountability for interoperability efforts between the DOD and the VA. The interagency program office, as is, “is not living up to Congress’ vision for a single point of accountability.” Banks said.

Spotlight

In an accountable care organization (ACO), a network of providers shares the financial risk and responsibility for healthcare management and service delivery for a large group of patients.i Together, they work to find ways to improve population health and lower costs. For example, providers can better coordinate patient care to close gaps in care and avoid unnecessary tests and procedures.


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MEDICAL DEVICES

Astorg Acquires Majority Interest in Avania

Avania | June 21, 2022

Avania, the preeminent, full-service global MedTech contract research organization announced that Astorg has acquired a majority stake in the company. Astorg, together with Kester Capital current investor who intends to retain a minority stake will actively support management’s plans to advance Avania’s development as a MedTech solution provider. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Avania was formed in March 2020 from the combination of five complementary businesses and started a successful journey to establish a fully integrated platform to serve sponsors worldwide in advancing medical technology products from early development to post-market ensuring customized, scalable solutions that optimize efficiencies and streamline the advancement of medical technology. Astorg brings an impressive global network of relationships in the MedTech space which will strengthen Avania’s pipeline and broaden its customer base while the capital access will help accelerate its growth, both organically and via acquisitions. “The platform we have built has positioned us ahead of our competition in the MedTech CRO space, and this deal will bring additional investment to strengthen our infrastructure, capital for acquisitions, and added support as we continue to grow Avania into the clear market leader. The largest CROs do not have the specialization that we bring, and the regional niche providers do not have the scale and reach of Avania. This unique positioning, along with the continued changes to the MedTech regulatory landscape, will allow us to push ourselves to the next era of growth.” Sapna Hornyak, president and CEO of Avania “We are extremely pleased to partner with Sapna and her team, as well as Kester, on this transaction,” said Managing Partner of Astorg Mid-Cap Edouard Pillot. “Being one of the global leaders in a profitable and fast-growing niche market, Avania squarely fits with Astorg’s investment criteria, and we are delighted to have Avania as our first Mid-Cap Healthcare deal, sitting within Astorg’s broader healthcare portfolio.” About Avania Avania is a leading, global full-service contract research organization focused on the management of clinical studies for medical technology, IVDs, biologics, and device-drug combination products internationally. Avania supports products from the first-in-human phase through the post-market phase with the same customized approach. When you need to advance your medical technology, it takes Avania. Avania’s vision is to be your trusted global partner in the evolution of your medical technology from innovation to commercialization to improving patient health and well-being. About Astorg Astorg is a leading private equity firm with over €17 billion of assets under management. We work with entrepreneurs and management teams to acquire market-leading global companies headquartered in Europe or the US, providing them with the strategic guidance, governance, and capital they need to achieve their growth goals. Astorg enjoys a distinct entrepreneurial culture, a long-term shareholder perspective, and a lean decision-making body. We have valuable industry expertise in healthcare, software, business-to-business professional services and technology-based industrial companies. Astorg has offices in London, Paris, New York, Frankfurt, Milan and Luxembourg. About Kester Capital Kester Capital is a primary buy-out specialist. Kester focuses on the healthcare, data & information and technology sectors, targeting businesses that require capital in order to unlock their potential.

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FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

The Department of Health - Abu Dhabi collaborates with a leading healthcare company to boost health technology and clinical research

The Department of Health - Abu Dhabi | June 17, 2022

The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulator of healthcare in the emirate, signed a Declaration of Collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Middle East FZ-LLC, to support Abu Dhabi's vision in developing a regional hub for clinical research and data generation. The new strategic collaboration seeks to bring innovative treatments and breakthrough solutions to the UAE and the MENA region as well as exchange knowledge across the healthcare sector. Witnessed by HE Abdulla bin Mohammed Al Hamed, Chairman of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the signing ceremony happened during the BIO International Convention 2022 which took place between June 13-16 in San Diego, California, U.S. The Declaration of Collaboration between the parties was signed by Dr. Asma Al Mannaei, Executive Director, Research and Innovation Centre at DoH and Jamie Phares, Managing Director of Janssen GCC, one of the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson and Johnson. Headed by HE Abdulla bin Mohammed Al Hamed, Chairman of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the Abu Dhabi delegation comprised of government officials is visiting the USA this month to explore prospects of joint collaboration within the framework of healthcare at large and life science in specific. Through these strategic collaborations, DoH and Johnson & Johnson Middle East FZ-LLC will explore key potential areas of interest to develop short and long-term projects in the generation of Data and Real-World Evidence (RWE). Through international collaborations, Abu Dhabi seeks to lead research groups supported by global partners to establish the strength and sustainability of the healthcare sector as well as provide quality care to patients. "We are pleased with all that we have achieved during the Abu Dhabi Life Science Mission thus far. Our collaborations with leading healthcare companies echo Abu Dhabi's ongoing efforts to position itself as a leading life science destination as well as an incubator for innovation. Through our collaboration with Johnson and Johnson Middle East FZ-LLC, we aim to further improve the resilience and sustainability of the healthcare sector as well as provide quality care to patients in Abu Dhabi and worldwide." Dr. Asma Al Mannaei, Executive Director, Research and Innovation Centre at the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH)

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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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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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Spotlight

In an accountable care organization (ACO), a network of providers shares the financial risk and responsibility for healthcare management and service delivery for a large group of patients.i Together, they work to find ways to improve population health and lower costs. For example, providers can better coordinate patient care to close gaps in care and avoid unnecessary tests and procedures.

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