Microsoft to buy Nuance for $19.7B & 15 other key health IT notes

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From acquisitions to research initiatives to new partnerships, here's the latest roundup of stories about health IT companies, including Microsoft, Google and Amazon.

  1. Fitbit launched a research collaboration with Stanford (Calif.) Medicine and the Pac-12 to see if data from wearables can be used to detect and track COVID-19.

  2. Judy Faulkner, founder and CEO of Epic, rose among the ranks of those on the Forbes' annual list of "The World's Billionaires" for 2021. She placed 451 on the list and iis worth $6 billion.

  3. Microsoft and a group of researchers from the Seattle-based University of Washington teamed up to create a platform that captures patient vitals via smartphone camera.

  4. UPMC and Advocate Aurora Health became the two newest health systems to join Moving Health Home, a new healthcare coalition founded by Amazon Care, Intermountain and Ascension.

  5. Microsoft announced it will buy speech recognition company Nuance Communications in an all-cash transaction valued at $19.7 billion, including debt assumption.

  6. Amazon Web Services kicked off the next phase of its $20 million COVID-19 research and diagnostic tools development initiative. AWS is broadening the scope of the project to three new areas: early disease detection to identify outbreaks at individual and community level; prognosis to better understand disease trajectory and public health genomics to strengthen viral genome sequencing. 

  7. Google said it is in the early stages of a new project that aims to explore and develop a new consumer-facing health records tool for Android users.

  8. For overall response and support during the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers using Epic and Meditech EHRs reported the highest rates of satisfaction with their vendors, according to a recent KLAS Research report.

  9. Amazon began testing a hands-free voice interface for patient outcome reporting in medical research settings.

  10. Health2047, the American Medical Association's innovation enterprise, unveiled its latest spinout company: Emergence Healthcare Group, a turnkey practice management and health IT group for independent practices.

  11. Federal regulators said that healthcare pricing data, which hospitals and insurers must make public under new requirements, should not be blocked from web searches.

  12. Healthcare artificial intelligence company Olive acquired Empiric Health to introduce new offerings for supply chain and clinical analysis for surgeries.

  13. Shareholders of Change Healthcare approved a $13 billion deal to become part of UnitedHealth Group's OptumInsight.

  14. The Department of Veterans Affairs said it will delay deployment activities for its new $16 billion Cerner EHR system at a second site until it has completed a strategic review of the project and shared the results with Congress.

  15. Apple teamed up with researchers from the Seattle-based University of Washington and Seattle Flu Study to test if the Apple Watch or iPhone can be used to predict COVID-19.

  16. Lyft launched Lyft Pass for Healthcare, a program that allows patients to order free rides to medical appointments, vaccinations and pharmacy pick-ups from Lyft's app.

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