Optum to buy Change Healthcare for $13B & 16 other health IT notes

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From acquisitions to new initiatives to executives leaving, here are the latest of stories about health IT companies, including Google, Microsoft and Optum.

  1. Data analytics firm Change Healthcare will combine with UnitedHealth Group subsidiary Optum in a $13 billion deal expected to close in the second half of 2021.

  2. Optum is also in talks to acquire Atrius Health, a 715-physician group based in Newton, Mass.

  3. Google completed its acquisition of Fitbit, solidifying the tech giant's advances to improve its wearables division.

  4. Amazon began selling a $110 at-home COVID-19 test that determines results based on a saliva sample.

  5. The Vaccination Credential Initiative — a collective working to create a digital, interoperable vaccination record system — formed, with partners including Microsoft, Epic, Cerner, Salesforce, Change Healthcare, Oracle and Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic.

  6. The Google News Initiative launched a $3 million fund to bolster journalistic projects combating misinformation about COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

  7. Amanda Adkins, vice president of strategic growth at Cerner, left the EHR company after losing her campaign for a seat in Congress.

  8. Google sister company Verily inked an agreement with Microsoft to run its biomedical research platform on Microsoft's Azure cloud platform.

  9. Surgical Care Affiliates, which is part of UnitedHealth Group's Optum division, is facing charges of collusion for allegedly agreeing with competitors to not poach senior-level employees.

  10. Google and Amazon are reportedly furthering their entrance into the health products market by working on projects using radar technology to help monitor users' sleep.

  11. Meditech expanded its EHR with Quick Vaccination, a digital tool that quickly documents and notifies state health systems of immunizations, which can speed up healthcare organizations' vaccination efforts.

  12. Apple and Cambridge, Mass.-based neurological therapies company Biogen will research how the Apple Watch and iPhone could help monitor cognitive health.

  13. The Washington State Department of Health partnered with Microsoft to launch a vaccine dashboard next week that will feature data on vaccine ordering and administration broken down by county and demographics.

  14. Microsoft also teamed up with the Oklahoma State Department of Health to build a mobile app that informs people when they are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and helps them sign up for an appointment.

  15. Cerner suspended political donations to lawmakers who "took part in or incited violence" after supporters of President Donald Trump attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6.

  16. YouTube unveiled a new healthcare initiative focused on creating credible health content across its platform with collaborators including the Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic and American Public Health Association.

  17. The Federal Trade Commission reached a settlement with Flo Health, a fertility and period health tracking app, for allegedly sharing users' personal data with companies, including Facebook, when it promised such information would be kept private.

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