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Hospital Merger and Acquisition Activity Accelerates in Second Quarter of 2015, According to Kaufman Hall Analysis

Notable Increase in Transactions in the First Half of 2015 Compared with 2014

Skokie, IL, August 25, 2015— Strong hospital merger and acquisition activity continued in the second quarter of 2015, according to the latest analysis by Kaufman, Hall & Associates, LLC, a leading provider of strategic, capital, financial, and transaction advisory services and software tools. Kaufman Hall identified 26 hospital and health system transactions in the second quarter of 2015, up from 23 transactions recorded in the first quarter. A total of 49 transactions were announced in the first half of 2015, a noteworthy increase from the 43 transactions announced in the first half of 2014.

Mergers, acquisitions, and other forms of partnerships continue to be a critical approach to developing the capabilities needed for value-based care, reducing costs, and enhancing competitive positioning. The hospital transactions announced in the first half of 2015 reflect this variety of form, structure, and strategic purpose. Other insights of note from transactions in the first half of 2015 include:

  • The transactions occurred across a broad range of acute-care segments, including not-for-profit, for-profit, rural, urban, and academic health centers
  • Of the 49 transactions in the first half of 2015, 42 involved the acquisition of a not-for-profit organization – 34 by other not-for-profit organizations, and eight by for-profit organizations
  • The total operating revenue of organizations acquired in the first half of 2015 was more than $12.0 billion, up from $10.0 billion in first half 2014
  • The largest deal announced in the second quarter of 2015 was Ventas’ acquisition of Ardent Medical Services from Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe for $1.8 billion

“We are not surprised by this increase in M&A activity, as hospitals and health systems work to achieve goals such as optimizing their delivery networks, enhancing efficiency, and solidifying market position,” said Kit Kamholz, Managing Director at Kaufman Hall. “Over time, we expect that fewer transactions will involve acquisition of financially struggling entities and more will involve strategic alignments between successful organizations with complementary strengths.”

About Kaufman Hall

Kaufman Hall provides management consulting services and enterprise performance management software that help organizations realize sustained success amid changing market conditions. Since 1985, we have been a trusted advisor to hospitals and health systems, helping them incorporate proven methods into their strategic planning and financial management processes and quantify the financial impact of their plans to consistently achieve their goals. Kaufman Hall helps clients identify and execute strategic initiatives that drive market and financial performance; provides financial advisory services to clients seeking capital; prepares and implements integrated strategic, financial, and capital plans; designs comprehensive capital allocation processes; and assists in the evaluation, structuring, and negotiation of partnership and divestiture opportunities. Additionally, we provide sophisticated, integrated, and intuitive software solutions for long-range planning, budgeting, forecasting, reporting, capital planning, profitability, and cost management on a single platform.

August 25, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

HealthSpot disrupts the lab industry with plans to bring 7 minute blood tests to retail pharmacy clinics

HealthSpot demonstrates the telehealth industry’s first integrated lab test with Samsung Electronics’ rapid lab testing device at NACDS Expo in Denver
DENVER – August 24, 201510:00 am MDT – NACDS -The Total Store Expo – Booth #419 – HealthSpot®, a pioneer in patient-centric and provider-driven healthcare technology, will unveil new point-of-care lab technology from Samsung that analyzes your blood while you wait with a drop of blood from a finger stick. Pending FDA approval, consumers will be able to obtain fast, easy and accurate blood tests for cholesterol, diabetes and liver tests, as well as other lab tests simultaneously, and get results in as little as 7 minutes.
HealthSpot has already transformed the retail clinic by adding a virtual healthcare provider visit and in the future will be able to automate and integrate lab visits. The HealthSpot technology will connect lab results not only with the doctor’s electronic medical record but with the consumer’s personal health record and with the consumer’s insurance benefit plan and billing.
Through HealthSpot’s telehealth platform and integrated biomedical equipment, medical providers can virtually examine a patient using equipment similar to that found in their doctor’s office. With the addition of point-of-care technology, clinicians will be able to get on-demand results to make decisions right at the point of care, providing health systems with efficiency and cost reduction while improving health outcomes.
At NACDS Expo, taking place August 22-25 in Denver, CO, HealthSpot will showcase Samsung’s latest medical innovation, the Samsung LABGEO PT10, a smart, compact clinical chemistry analyzer, which HealthSpot plans to deploy into its stations. Attendees can experience HealthSpot’s innovative, private kiosk that virtually connects patients to providers from local and national health systems. With the addition of Samsung’s blood analyzer, consumers will be able to get affordable and on-demand lab results in addition to access to healthcare providers, inside HealthSpot stations at convenient retail pharmacy locations. The Samsung LABGEO PT10 saves time for clinicians, improving efficiency and accuracy through automated and rapid testing in seven minutes. It also reduces wait times for consumers while requiring less blood from the patient for the analysis.
“Adding labs to HealthSpot significantly enhances our mission to transform healthcare for consumers and providers. We are transforming retail clinics into a true extension of the local medical community and widening the scope of services that can be offered via telehealth. The addition of blood analysis via Samsung’s smart point-of-care technology will allow providers to go one step further for virtual exams inside the HealthSpot station and serve patients better than ever before,” said HealthSpot CEO Steve Cashman. “We are helping consumerize healthcare-no more needles, no more wait and all at a lower cost. People like that.”
HealthSpot is already bringing the doctor’s office to consumers in retail pharmacies across Ohio. The HealthSpot station is a fully-enclosed, 40-square-foot kiosk enabled with proprietary cloud-based telemedicine software that allows patients to be seen and treated for a series of illnesses and conditions.
About HealthSpot

HealthSpot® is healthcare, reimagined. A pioneer in connected care, HealthSpot has built a comprehensive healthcare delivery platform that combines cloud-based software with the award-winning HealthSpot station, digital medical devices and mobile applications. HealthSpot’s platform radically transforms today’s healthcare system by enabling the delivery of quality, affordable medical care through a diverse professional care network for patients in efficient, convenient locations like pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, employer and community sites, universities and the home. For more information on HealthSpot, go to www.healthspot.net.About the Samsung LABGEO PT10

The Samsung LABGEO PT10 is not FDA cleared and is not yet sold in the USA. The product is CE/IVD registered for international use and is currently sold outside the USA.
August 24, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Harris Williams & Co. Advises RSA Medical on its Pending Sale to Xerox

Richmond, Virginia, August 24, 2015 – Harris Williams & Co., a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide, announces the pending sale of RSA Medical (RSA), a leading outsourced provider of technology-based, health risk management services to payors, to Xerox (NYSE: XRX). Harris Williams & Co. is serving as the exclusive advisor to RSA, a portfolio company of Beecken Petty O’Keefe & Company (BPOC). The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is being led byCheairs Porter, Whit Knier and Tyler Bradshaw of Harris Williams & Co.’s Healthcare & Life Sciences (HCLS) Group and Sam Hendler of the firm’s Technology, Media & Telecom (TMT) Group.

“Management and BPOC have done a tremendous job navigating the transition from an underwriting environment to a guaranteed-issue environment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), positioning RSA to continue to play a critical role in the post-healthcare reform operating environment,” said Cheairs Porter, a managing director at Harris Williams & Co. “The combination of RSA with Xerox will further the company’s mission of enhancing payors’ ability to deliver superior care to their members and improving members’ interactions with their plans.”

Sam Hendler, a managing director at Harris Williams & Co., added, “RSA’s ability to combine proprietary rules-driven software tools with sophisticated data analysis has been instrumental in helping health insurance carriers adapt to the post-ACA world.”

“It has been a pleasure working with Rocco Salviola (CEO) and his team at RSA, who have played an important role in helping insurance payors address critical care management and member engagement issues throughout the company’s history,” said Whit Knier, a director at Harris Williams & Co.

RSA is a leading provider of health assessment and risk management services for members interacting with health and life insurance companies. RSA serves several of the nation’s top health plans with its proprietary MedGine® analytics platform and unique consumer engagement capabilities. The platform enables delivery of individual member assessments drawn from health and consumer history in combination with care utilization. Additionally, one-on-one patient outreach and education by a medical professional enhances the payor’s ability to assist its members in maintaining wellness and managing medical conditions before they escalate and lead to increasing medical costs. RSA is headquartered in Naperville, Illinois.

BPOC is a Chicago-based private equity management firm that was founded in 1996 to invest in middle market buy-out transactions, recapitalizations and growth platforms in the healthcare industry. The firm evaluates, structures and manages investments on behalf of institutional and individual investors.

Xerox is a global business services, technology and document management company helping organizations transform the way they manage their business processes and information. Headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, Xerox has more than 140,000 employees and does business in more than 180 countries, providing business services, printing equipment and software for commercial and government organizations.

Harris Williams & Co. (www.harriswilliams.com), a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE:PNC), is a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide.  The firm has deep industry knowledge, global transaction expertise and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Harris Williams & Co. provides sell-side and acquisition advisory, restructuring advisory, board advisory, private placements and capital markets advisory services.

Harris Williams & Co.’s HCLS Group has experience across a broad range of sectors, including healthcare IT; managed care and cost containment services; alternate site care; medical devices, products and distribution; outsourced clinical and practice management services; and outsourced pharma services. For more information on the HCLS Group and other recent transactions, visit the HCLS Group’s section of the Harris Williams & Co. website.

Harris Williams & Co.’s TMT Group has experience across a broad range of sectors, including software, internet and digital media and infrastructure solutions. Within these segments, the TMT Group focuses on targeted subsectors including application software, data and informatics, eCommerce, education technology, energy technology, financial technology, infrastructure software, IT and tech-enabled services, mobile, online advertising and marketing services, public sector software and telecom, data center and networking solutions. For more information on the firm’s TMT Group and other recent transactions, visit the TMT Group’s section of the Harris Williams & Co. website.

Investment banking services are provided by Harris Williams LLC, a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC, and Harris Williams & Co. Ltd, which is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  Harris Williams & Co. is a trade name under which Harris Williams LLC and Harris Williams & Co. Ltd conduct business.

I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

ZocDoc Raises $130 Million in New Funding Round

Leading Digital Health Platform Will Focus Funds on Accelerating Growth, Expanding Product

NEW YORK, August 20, 2015 ZocDoc, the tech company at the beginning of a better healthcare experience, today announced $130 million of funding and a current valuation of $1.8 billion, making it one of New York City’s most valuable private tech companies. The round was led by Baillie Gifford and Atomico, and included participation from existing investor Founders Fund. ZocDoc was among the first to break open the digital health sector, which has attracted $2.1 billion in private funding so far this year.

This new round of funding will support ZocDoc’s continued growth and innovation. The company will more heavily invest in developing products that sit on top of ZocDoc’s core marketplace and extend beyond its hallmark scheduling capability. These products will remain focused on solving patient problems and facilitating even more patient interactions within the healthcare ecosystem.

“Since our inception, we’ve been working to lead the healthcare experience into the digital age, and this funding will help us continue to deliver on our mission to give power to the patient,” said ZocDoc founder and CEO Cyrus Massoumi. “The fragmented healthcare space has produced too many broken systems that get in the way of good care. We aim to be the digital center of care that delivers the simple, seamless healthcare experience patients expect and deserve.”

Today, ZocDoc is live nationwide with a footprint that covers more than 60 percent of the U.S. population. Each month, millions of patients turn to ZocDoc to find in-network neighborhood doctors, instantly book appointments online, see what other real patients have to say, get reminders for upcoming appointments and preventive check-ups, fill out paperwork online, and more. Patients can book more than 1,800 different types of procedures via ZocDoc, across more than 50 different medical specialties.

Alongside this strong, sustained patient growth, healthcare providers have continued to rapidly adopt ZocDoc’s service. ZocDoc works with independent practices throughout the country and has established new partnerships and deepened existing relationships with the country’s most forward-thinking health systems. This business is a major lever for ZocDoc’s growth; the company is on track to more than double its health system client roster again in 2015.

“We are very excited by the potential for necessary and dramatic improvement in global healthcare,” said James Anderson, Partner, Baillie Gifford. “ZocDoc is an early and inspiring example of the role digital health services can play in this potential revolution. We admire what ZocDoc has already achieved for patients and partners. We look forward still more to seeing where its motivated, talented and visionary team can take the company in the decades ahead.”

Based in New York City with offices in Arizona and India, ZocDoc has grown from three founders to more than 600 team members.

About ZocDoc
ZocDoc is the tech company at the beginning of a better healthcare experience. Each month, millions of patients use ZocDoc to find in-network neighborhood doctors, instantly book appointments online, see what other real patients have to say, get reminders for upcoming appointments and preventive check-ups, fill out their paperwork online, and more. With a mission to give power to the patient, ZocDoc’s online marketplace delivers the accessible, seamless, and simple experience patients expect and deserve. ZocDoc is free for patients and available across the United States via ZocDoc.com or the ZocDoc app for iPhone and Android.

August 20, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Premier, Inc. acquires healthcare analytics leader Healthcare Insights, LLC

Enhancing enterprise resource planning solution with new budgeting capabilities

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 12, 2015) — Premier, Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC), a leading healthcare improvement company, today announced that it has acquired Healthcare Insights, LLC for $65 million in cash. Healthcare Insights is a privately-held,integrated financial management software developer that provides hospitals and healthcare systems with budgeting, forecasting, labor productivity and cost analytic capabilities.

“As the healthcare industry becomes more complex, value-driven, and data-dependent, the need for health systems to clearly understand their performance in every arena is a top concern,” said Keith J. Figlioli, Premier’s senior vice president of health informatics. “It is not enough to have financial, operational and clinical data. Health systems must understand how to translate that information into effective cost containment strategies, as well as superior clinical outcomes.”

The industry’s increased focus on cost is largely driven by the Affordable Care Act, which reduces overall reimbursement, and increasingly holds providers accountable for the total costs and quality of the care delivered. Coupled with the growing movement to value-based payments such as bundling or shared savings, healthcare providers need solutions that can help them understand cost drivers and opportunities for improvement in detail. Healthcare Insights is expected to enable Premier to offer a more complete solution that delivers additional value by adding budgeting, clinical financial management and productivity analytics to existing cost and quality applications, including the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.

Thomas Johnston, Healthcare Insights’ chief executive officer, said, “This strategic combination will allow us to offer a more complete ERP solution with an end-to-end view of cost management. We expect this to increase our hospitals’ and health systems’ understanding of their clinical, operational and financial performance, and help them deliver more efficient, higher quality care.”

Founded in 2000, Healthcare Insights’ current customer base includes over 7,500 users across 200 facilities associated with 94 health systems, 49 of which do not currently have a relationship with Premier. KLAS, a leading research firm that provides ratings for more than 900 healthcare products and services, has ranked Healthcare Insights first place in budgeting for the past four years.

The Healthcare Insights acquisition, which was effective July 31, is currently projected to be modestly accretive to Premier’s fiscal 2016 revenue growth and adjusted EBITDA. Expected revenue and adjusted EBITDA contributions from the acquisition will be incorporated into Premier’s fiscal year 2016 guidance, which is scheduled to be announced on August 24, when the company reports fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 financial results.

About Premier, Inc.

Premier Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC) is a leading healthcare improvement company, uniting an alliance of approximately 3,400 U.S. hospitals and 110,000 other providers to transform healthcare. With integrated data and analytics, collaboratives, supply chain solutions, and advisory and other services, Premier enables better care and outcomes at a lower cost. Premier, a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient, plays a critical role in the rapidly evolving healthcare industry, collaborating with members to co-develop long-term innovations that reinvent and improve the way care is delivered to patients nationwide. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Premier is passionate about transforming American healthcare. Please visit Premier’s news and investor sites on premierinc.com for more information about the company.

August 12, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

U.S. Coast Guard Uses InterSystems HealthShare as Interoperability Platform for Integrated Health Information System (IHiS)

Platform Unifies Electronic Health Data Across Disparate Systems for the First Time

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., August 11, 2015 — InterSystems, the global leader in software for connected care, today announced that the U.S. Coast Guard is using the InterSystems HealthShare® health informatics platform to enable strategic interoperability for its Integrated Health Information System (IHiS). For the first time, HealthShare makes it possible to view a comprehensive electronic health record across the Coast Guard’s disparate systems.

As the Coast Guard transitions from legacy systems to a commercial electronic health record (EHR) solution, HealthShare provides standards-based interoperability to unify health information from civilian and Coast Guard care providers.

Clinicians can now view longitudinal health records for Coast Guard and U.S. Department of State beneficiaries. The IHiS encompasses ambulatory care, urgent care, dental, physical therapy, optometry, behavioral health, occupational health, immunizations, audiology, radiology, pharmacy, and laboratory records.

“InterSystems is proud to support the U.S. Coast Guard and State Department. Building on our experience with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, public and private health systems, and health information exchanges around the world, we are providing the Coast Guard the interoperability foundation to help deliver better, more connected care,” said Paul Grabscheid, Vice President, Strategic Planning, for InterSystems.

For more information about the InterSystems HealthShare family of interoperable healthcare solutions, please visit www.intersystems.com/healthshare.

About InterSystems
InterSystems develops advanced software technologies that enable breakthroughs. With a passion for excellence and a focus on client success, InterSystems provides data management, strategic interoperability, and analytics platforms used in healthcare, financial services, government, and dozens of other industries. InterSystems also offers unified healthcare applications, based on its core technologies, that deliver on the promise of connected healthcare. Founded in 1978, InterSystems is a privately held company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA), with offices worldwide. Its products are used daily by millions of people in more than 100 countries. Visit InterSystems.com.

August 11, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Kareo and AAPP Partner to Launch Annual Survey

Survey Measures Perceptions and Benefits of Various Practice Models

Irvine, CA – June 10, 2015 – Kareo, the leading provider of cloud-based solutions for independent medical practices, today announced it has released a survey, in partnership with the American Academy of Private Physicians (AAPP). This survey seeks to gain a better understanding of independent physicians’ perceptions around various payment models, including private pay, concierge and traditional fee-for-service. The results of the survey will be released at the AAPP 2015 Fall Summit, taking place September 25-26 in Washington D.C.

Industry Research has shown that many independent physicians are moving toward concierge and direct-pay models to off-set the burden of slow reimbursements from traditional plans like Medicare and third-party payers. This year, Kareo partnered with AAPP to investigate this trend more broadly, seeking to understand the challenges and benefits of each payment structure. Furthermore, this survey seeks to determine if a hybrid practice model, which takes into account various payment models, could solve issues of contention that physicians have with their current practice model.

“Kareo’s mission to help ease the administrative burdens of running a practice aligned perfectly with the goal of this survey,” said Tom Blue, Chief Strategy Officer of AAPP. “The information we will gain from this survey is invaluable to furthering our understanding around what physicians are using which payment models, and why.”

“We are very excited to partner with the AAPP for this survey as we work together to understand the needs of independent physicians across the country,” said Rob Pickell, Chief Strategy Officer of Kareo. “It is our hope that the insights gleaned from this survey will allow Kareo to expand our offerings to better support all practice models.”

Healthcare providers and those who manage their practices can access the survey through the following link for a chance to win an Apple Watch, an iPad, or a one year AAPP membership: Private Practice Model Perspective 2015.

About Kareo
Kareo is the only cloud-based medical office software and services platform purpose-built for small practices. At Kareo, we believe that, with the right tools and support, small practices can do big things. We offer an integrated solution of products and services designed to help physicians get paid faster, find new patients, run their business smarter, and provide better care. Our practice management software, medical billing solution, practice marketing tools and free, award-winning fully certified EHR help more than 30,000 medical providers more efficiently manage the business and clinical sides of their practice. Kareo has received extensive industry recognition, including the Deloitte Technology Fast 500, Inc. 500/5000, Red Herring Top 100 Company, and Black Book #1 Integrated EHR, Practice Management and Billing Vendor. Headquartered in Irvine, California, the Kareo mission is to help providers spend their time focused on patients, not paperwork. For more information, visit www.kareo.com.

About American Academy of Private Physicians
The American Academy of Private Physicians (AAPP) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2003 for the purpose of supporting and fueling the growth of medical practices that provide “concierge” and other forms of personalized, value-based medical care. AAPP members are united by their common efforts and dedication to making medical care more accessible and convenient to patients by redefining and re-pricing medical services in ways that are not possible for medical practices that rely solely on insurance payers for their revenue.

I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Watson to Gain Ability to “See” with Planned $1B Acquisition of Merge Healthcare

Deal Brings Watson Technology Together with Leader in Medical Images

Armonk, NY and CHICAGO — [August 6, 2015]:  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Watson will gain the ability to “see” by bringing together Watson’s advanced image analytics and cognitive capabilities with data and images obtained from Merge Healthcare Incorporated’s (NASDAQ: MRGE) medical imaging management platform.  IBM plans to acquire Merge, a leading provider of medical image handling and processing, interoperability and clinical systems designed to advance healthcare quality and efficiency, in an effort to unlock the value of medical images to help physicians make better patient care decisions.

Merge’s technology platforms are used at more than 7,500 U.S. healthcare sites, as well as most of the world’s leading clinical research institutes and pharmaceutical firms to manage a growing body of medical images.  The vision is that these organizations could use the Watson Health Cloud to surface new insights from a consolidated, patient-centric view of current and historical images, electronic health records, data from wearable devices and other related medical data, in a HIPAA-enabled environment.

Under terms of the transaction, Merge shareholders would receive $7.13 per share in cash, for a total transaction value of $1 billion.  The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory review, Merge shareholder approval, and other customary closing conditions, and is anticipated to occur later this year.  It is IBM’s third major health-related acquisition – and the largest – since launching its Watson Health unit in April, following Phytel (population health) and Explorys (cloud based healthcare intelligence).

“As a proven leader in delivering healthcare solutions for over 20 years, Merge is a tremendous addition to the Watson Health platform.  Healthcare will be one of IBM’s biggest growth areas over the next 10 years, which is why  we are making a major investment to drive industry transformation and to facilitate a higher quality of care,” said John Kelly, senior vice president, IBM Research and Solutions Portfolio. “Watson’s powerful cognitive and analytic capabilities, coupled with those from Merge and our other major strategic acquisitions, position IBM to partner with healthcare providers, research institutions, biomedical companies, insurers and other organizations committed to changing the very nature of health and healthcare in the 21st century. Giving Watson ‘eyes’ on medical images unlocks entirely new possibilities for the industry.”

Teaching Watson to “See” Medical Images
The planned acquisition bolsters IBM’s strategy to add rich image analytics with deep learning to the Watson Health platform – in effect, advancing Watson beyond natural language and giving it the ability to “see.”  Medical images are by far the largest and fastest-growing data source in the healthcare industry and perhaps the world – IBM researchers estimate that they account for at least 90% of all medical data today – but they also present challenges that need to be addressed:

  • The volume of medical images can be overwhelming to even the most sophisticated specialists – radiologists in some hospital emergency rooms are presented with as many as 100,000 images a day1.
  • Tools to help clinicians extract insights from medical images remain very limited, requiring most analysis to be done manually.
  • At a time when the most powerful insights come at the intersection of diverse data sets (medical records, lab tests, genomics, etc.), medical images remain largely disconnected from mainstream health information.

IBM plans to leverage the Watson Health Cloud to analyze and cross-reference medical images against a deep trove of lab results, electronic health records, genomic tests, clinical studies and other health-related data sources, already representing 315 billion data points and 90 million unique records.  Merge’s clients could compare new medical images with a patient’s image history as well as populations of similar patients to detect changes and anomalies. Insights generated by Watson could then help healthcare providers in fields including radiology, cardiology, orthopedics and ophthalmology to pursue more personalized approaches to diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of patients.

Cutting-edge image analytics projects underway in IBM Research’s global labs suggest additional areas where progress can be made.  They include teaching Watson to filter clinical and diagnostic imaging information to help clinicians identify anomalies and form recommendations, which could help reduce physician viewing loads and increase physician effectiveness.

“As Watson evolves, we are tackling more complex and meaningful problems by constantly evaluating bigger and more challenging data sets,” Kelly said. “Medical images are some of the most complicated data sets imaginable, and there is perhaps no more important area in which researchers can apply machine learning and cognitive computing.  That’s the real promise of cognitive computing and its artificial intelligence components – helping to make us healthier and to improve the quality of our lives.”

Watson Health and Merge Capabilities Will Benefit Researchers, Clinicians and Individuals
IBM’s Watson Health unit plans to bring together Merge’s product and solution offerings with existing expertise in cognitive computing, population health, and cloud-based healthcare intelligence offerings to:

  • Offer researchers insights to aid clinical trial design, monitoring and evaluation;
  • Help clinicians to efficiently identify options for the diagnosis, treatment  and monitoring a broad array of health conditions such as cancer, stroke and heart disease;
  • Enable providers and payers to integrate and optimize patient engagement in alignment with meaningful use and value-based care guidelines; and
  • Support researchers and healthcare professionals as they advance the emerging discipline of population health, which aims to optimize an individual’s care by identifying trends in large numbers of people with similar health status.

“Merge is widely recognized for delivering market leading imaging workflow and electronic data capture solutions,” said Justin Dearborn, chief executive officer, Merge. “Today’s announcement is an exciting step forward for our employees and clients. Becoming a part of IBM will allow us to expand our global scale and deliver added value and insight to our clients through Watson’s advanced analytic and cognitive computing capabilities.”

“Combining Merge’s leading medical imaging solutions with the world-class machine learning and analytics capabilities of IBM’s Watson Health is the future of healthcare technology,” said Michael W. Ferro, Jr., Merge’s chairman. “Merge’s leading technology and proven expertise represent a unique combination of assets that will deliver unparalleled value to Watson Health clients. Together, we will unlock unprecedented new opportunities to improve patient diagnostics and deliver enhanced care.”

About Merge
Merge is a leading provider of innovative enterprise imaging, interoperability and clinical systems that seek to advance healthcare. Merge’s enterprise and cloud-based technologies for image intensive specialties provide access to any image, anywhere, any time. Merge also provides clinical trials software with end-to-end study support in a single platform and other intelligent health data and analytics solutions. With solutions that have been used by providers for more than 25 years, Merge is helping to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and enhance the quality of healthcare worldwide. For more information, visit merge.com and follow us @MergeHealthcare.

IBM Watson: Pioneering a New Era of Computing
Watson is the first commercially available cognitive computing capability representing a new era in computing. The system, delivered through the cloud, analyzes high volumes of data, understands complex questions posed in natural language, and proposes evidence-based answers. Watson continuously learns, gaining in value and knowledge over time, from previous interactions.

In January 2014, IBM launched the IBM Watson unit, a business dedicated to developing and commercializing cloud-delivered cognitive computing technologies. The move signified a strategic shift by IBM to deliver a new class of software, services and apps that improves by learning, and discovers insights from massive amounts of Big Data.  As part of the unit, the company has increased the number and diversity of cognitive computing services delivered to its partners, adding new beta Watson services in February 2015, and scalable deep learning APIs with the acquisition of AlchemyAPI in March 2015.

In April 2015, the company continued to build on its strengths in cognitive computing, analytics, security and cloud with the launch of IBM Watson Health and the Watson Health Cloud platform.  The new unit will help improve the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers to innovate by surfacing new insights from the massive amount of personal health data being created daily.  The Watson Health Cloud allows this information to be anonymized, shared and combined with a dynamic and constantly growing aggregated view of clinical, research and social health data.

About IBM
For more information on IBM Watson, visit: ibm.com/watson.  For more information on IBM Watson Health, visit: ibm.com/watsonhealth

Check out the IBM Watson press kit at: http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/presskit/27297.wss

Join the conversation at #ibmwatson and #watsonhealth. Follow Watson on Facebook and see Watson on YouTube and Flickr.

Learn more about this story at: http://asmarterplanet.com/blog/2015/08/seeing-believing-bringing-cognitive-image-analytics-healthcare.html

– See more at: http://www.merge.com/News/Article.aspx?ItemID=660#sthash.YZ8EBkQT.dpuf

August 6, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

BoardVitals Raises $1.1M to Build the Wikipedia of Medicine

Continues to grow market share across siloed medical education and accreditation landscape

NEW YORK, NY – (August 3, 2015) — BoardVitals, a rapidly growing healthcare startup based in New York City, announced today that it has raised $1.1 million in Series A funding from Rock Creek Capital, a Salt Lake City based growth equity fund. This follows initial seed funding from several investors, including Blueprint Health, Rothenberg Ventures, and Charles Boorady, the number one healthcare investor, according to Forbes.

BoardVitals has rapidly gained market share by redefining a siloed industry, medical assessments and certifications, and the company has been on a growth tear since it was founded in 2013. BoardVitals has trained over 30,000 doctors and the product has been purchased by over 150 institutions in the past year alone. The company was also named the ‘Most Promising Startup in New York’ as the winner of the 2014 Gust Catapult startup contest.

“BoardVitals will revolutionize the training of health care professionals in a way that will improve the quality of their lives and the quality of care they provide,” says Rick Stratford, a partner of Rock Creek Capital. “The exceptional talent and leadership of Dan Lambert and Dr. Andrea Paul has propelled BoardVitals into a market-leader in healthcare education in less than two years.”

Stratford will join the board of directors following the close of the Series A round. The board of directors also includes Greg Samios, former president of Kaplan Health and a long time adviser to the company.

“During my time working with Dan and Andrea, I have been extremely impressed by their ability to develop a unique assessment tool, which they have rapidly scaled across the healthcare marketplace,” said Samios.

The founding team is no stranger to fast growth companies. BoardVitals CEO Dan Lambert is a Harvard Business School graduate who co-founded Pushpins, a mobile couponing app that was acquired in 2013. Dr. Andrea Paul, chief medical officer, left her successful practice after 8 years of clinical experience to oversee content development. Dr. Paul was recently named one of 10 Disruptive Women in Life Sciences for her work on BoardVitals.

The company offers digital assessment tools that bring together medical content from major sources: publishers, research institutions, and more than 200 individual practitioners.

“It’s not only about new technology, it’s about building a new ecosystem for Medical Education,” says Lambert. “For the first time medical content is not just peer reviewed, but it’s now reviewed by hundreds of doctors within each specialty. Every piece of content on our platform is continually rated and we receive hundreds of feedback notices every week that ensure content is up to date.”

The $1.1M Series A round will be used to grow the team and increase the company’s market penetration. BoardVitals is also the first Manhattan-based company to be accepted into the recently created START-UP NY tax free zone.

About BoardVitals
BoardVitals is a healthcare education startup based in New York City that develops digital assessment tools and medical content to prepare physicians, nurses, and medical health professionals for specialty board exams and certifications. Bringing together content from major publishers, universities, and leading healthcare providers, BoardVitals provides the largest and most up to date training ecosystem in medicine. The company uses machine learning and crowd curation to identify and improve medical knowledge as information is published.  BoardVitals is backed by several investors including Blueprint Health, Rothenberg Ventures, and Rock Creek Capital. For more information, visit http://www.boardvitals.com.

About Rock Creek Capital

Rock Creek Capital, LLC is a growth equity investment firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The partners of the firm, Rick Stratford, Tony Horsley and Jordan Clements, have collectively over thirty years experience in partnering with CEOs in building outstanding, high growth businesses in a range of industries, including business services, healthcare, specialty finance and manufacturing. High growth companies they have previously helped build include Vivint, Energy Solutions, Health Equity, Packsize, Signature Products Group, and Snap Finance, among others.

August 5, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Physicians Interactive Continues Growth with Acquisition of Quantia, Inc.

Quantia’s online physician community provides expert-led medical content and peer-to-peer collaboration to support clinical decision-making

READING, Mass. – (JULY 23, 2015) – Physicians Interactive (PI), the leading provider of insight-driven, digital engagement solutions for healthcare professionals and consumers, today announced that it has acquired Quantia, Inc. whose award-winning web and mobile community QuantiaMD, reaches more than one-third of U.S. physicians.

Physicians Interactive’s acquisition of Quantia, Inc., reflects PI’s continuing commitment to supplying  the best in expert medical content, tools and resources to healthcare professionals by integrating a digital physician community that enhances clinical decision-making, along with a talented team steeped in highly effective, online physician engagement.

“Healthcare professionals are inundated by data and, more than ever, need a solution that offers targeted medical information, education and peer-to-peer physician networks that keep them abreast of the latest in evidence-based medicine – and help ensure that they can deliver the best care to their patients,” said Donato Tramuto, Physicians Interactive Chairman and CEO. “By bringing Physicians Interactive and Quantia together, we continue to develop new ways to provide our customers, including health systems and life sciences companies, with the leading digital and mobile engagement platforms to help improve the quality and value of healthcare delivery.”

“On QuantiaMD, physicians average more than 20 minutes per session, learning from experts and peers within a highly dynamic web and mobile community,” said Nick Werthessen, Quantia Chief Operating Officer. “By combining our community with Physicians Interactive’s digital health platform, we can offer an unmatched level of healthcare professional reach and engagement to our customers, while empowering physicians to save time and enhance care via innovative digital and social technologies.”

About Quantia, Inc.

Quantia is on a mission to nurture the wisdom of the physician community – and tap into it to deliver better care. Every day, our membership of over 225,000 physicians (about one in three nationwide) visits the award-winning web and mobile community, QuantiaMD, to learn from top experts and collaborate on a wide range of topics. Our blend of expert-led content, gamification, and social framework creates an environment physicians want to explore, serving up high quality interactions that inspire change. Health systems and life sciences organizations use this platform to boost engagement among physicians, improving performance and delivering higher quality, more consistent care. Visit www.quantia-inc.com for more information.

About Physicians Interactive

Physicians Interactive has the largest global, digital health platform that engages and empowers consumers and healthcare professionals with instant access to content, solutions and data to improve health outcomes. The company provides payers, retailers and life sciences companies with sophisticated digital engagement solutions to reach, message, educate and change behaviors. Visitwww.physiciansinteractive.com for more information.

July 23, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.