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Digital health platform Xealth strikes partnership with another big health IT vendor

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Xealth, a startup working to solve some of the logistical challenges faced by digital health companies, struck a partnership with Cerner. The Seattle-based company makes it easier to prescribe digital health tools and integrate them with health record systems.

The partnership is intended to make it easier for patients and their health teams to keep track of engagement with digital health tools and the effect on patients’ health.

“In order for digital health to have lasting impact, it needs to show value and ease for both the care team and patient,” Xealth CEO and Co-Founder Mike McSherry said in a news release. “We strongly believe that technology should nurture deeper patient-provider relationships and facilitate information sharing across systems and the care settings. It is exciting to work with Cerner to simplify meaningful digital health for its health partners.”

Cerner and venture capital firm LRVHealth also invested $6 million into Xealth. Last year, the company raised $14 million in series A funding, with investors including Providence Ventures and the Cleveland Clinic.

David Bradshaw, senior vice president of consumer and employer solutions for Cerner, said the partnership would give patients the opportunity to participate in their own treatment plans.

“Patients want greater access to their health information and are motivated to help care teams find the most appropriate road to recovery,” he said in a news release.

Xealth had already been integrated into Epic, and with this partnership, it will be tied into the two most widely used EHRs. The company is integrated with more than 30 different digital health solutions, ranging from diabetes management platforms such as Omada and Glooko, to Resmed’s connected sleep apnea machines, and patient engagement platforms like Twistle.

One of the startup’s clients, Providence St. Joseph Health, used Twistle in combination with Xealth’s platform to monitor patients with Covid-19 symptoms at home. It helped them keep track of patients’ temperature and oxygen saturation by providing an easy form for them to record their metrics.

Photo credit: a-image, Getty Images

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Surescripts fires back at Amazon by kicking vendor ReMy Health off its network

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In response to the threat of legal action from Amazon’s PillPack for cutting off access to prescription data, Surescripts has booted the third-party vendor by which Amazon received the information from its network citing “fraudulent activity.”

Surescripts decided to bar third-party data vendor ReMy Health from accessing the company’s internal data and said that it is in the process of terminating its contract with the company and turning the matter over to the FBI because of what it characterizes as alleged violations of state and federal law.

PillPack did not contract directly with Surescripts and used ReMy Health as a go-between who would collect, clean and share Surescripts medication data, which would be used to inform its pharmaceutical sales practices.

When Surescripts got wind of this activity, it cut off PillPack’s access to the data through ReMy Health.

Without linked prescription data, Amazon would be forced to manually contact patients to collect the information, a laborious and error-prone process that directly contrasts with its promise of a simpler and more efficient drug purchasing.

According to Surescripts, it contracted with ReMy Health to give providers access to patient medication histories and e-prescribing benefits and when confronted with the fact that nearly all the company’s data requests were coming from one source, ReMy assured its partner that they were working with multiple providers caring for patients in hospitals.

Surescripts alleges that it later found out that PillPack was the company’s primary customer and as an organization that doesn’t function as a hospital or clinician providing clinical care services to patients is not subject to access to patient medication histories.

Furthermore, Surescripts says that instead of using its own National Provider Identification (NPI) number, Pillpack incorrectly used NPIs that were associated with random healthcare providers.

“Either ReMy Health or its customers concealed unauthorized access to the Surescripts network by fraudulently using third-party providers’ identifying information to access the system – even though those providers appear to be entirely unrelated to the patients whose information was requested,” Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton said in a statement.

“Surescripts has spent nearly 20 years establishing trusted relationships and legal agreements with hundreds of data suppliers and EHR vendors across the country to securely exchange health information. These agreements ensure that the information we exchange is only used for patient care and not for the commercial benefit of any one data supplier. These agreements also help ensure that patient data is properly secured.”

Surescripts is a major player in the medication data and e-prescription space and is owned in part by industry incumbents including CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions.

Surescripts has long been accused of anticompetitive practices and has been involved in a recent battle with the FTC over allegations that it has illegally monopolized the e-prescription market.

Amazon, which purchased PillPack last year for around $750 million as part of its larger ambitions in the healthcare space. The company, which intends to disrupt the existing way prescription medication is sold and distributed has continued to butt heads with major market players as it tries to shoulder its way into the industry.

“A pharmacist’s job is to perform interaction checks, drug utilization reviews, and provide other clinical services. To do this, pharmacists need a comprehensive understanding of the medications each customer is taking. That’s why customers authorize PillPack, as a healthcare provider, to assemble their medication history,” PillPack spokesperson Jacquelyn Miller said in a statement.

“Given that Surescripts is, to our knowledge, the sole clearinghouse for medication history in the United States, the core question is whether Surescripts will allow customers to share their medication history with pharmacies and if not, why not?”

Picture: Ligorko, Getty Images

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EHR vendor eMDs acquires Aprima to strengthen focus on ambulatory care space

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Instead of A Tale of Two Cities, this bit of news is a tale of two EHR providers: eMDs has bought Aprima Medical Software. Both companies offer electronic health record solutions as well as other medical software and tools.

The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

In addition to its EHR offering, eMDs provides practice management, revenue cycle management, credentialing and population health management solutions. The company is based in Austin, Texas.

Aprima, which is headquartered in Richardson, Texas, offers its EHR system, practice management software and revenue cycle management solutions to ambulatory care organizations.

In a statement, eMDs CEO Derek Pickell said:

eMDs’ acquisition of Aprima represents an exciting growth opportunity for both of our businesses. The unique combination of our technologies and services prepares us to offer the most powerful and comprehensive portfolio of solutions available — and that means greater impact, increased productivity and less operational burden for healthcare providers. Our bottom line is about facilitating the best patient outcomes, and together our companies clear the path for providers to do their best work while enhancing their financial strength.

The acquisition will allow eMDs to enhance its focus on providing ambulatory care solutions. Together, the companies’ solutions are used by more than 63,000 providers in over 26,000 practices and hospitals, according to a news release.

The combined organization will operate as eMDs and Aprima, an eMDs company, until the integration is officially finalized. Its headquarters will be in Austin, though there will be additional facilities in the U.S. and India.

Pickell will head up the company. Aprima CEO Michael Nissenbaum will serve in an advisory role during the integration process. Meanwhile, the rest of the new company’s leadership team will come from the executive teams of eMDs and Aprima.

Photo: Kritchanut, Getty Images

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