Health IT Roundup—Hill-Rom to acquire mobile communications company Voalte for $180M

Mergers and acquisitions deals consolidation
Mobile healthcare communications company Voalte is being acquired by Hill-Rom for $180 million. (Getty/Kritchanut)

Hill-Rom acquires Voalte for $180M

Hill-Rom Holdings, a medical technology company, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire mobile healthcare communications company Voalte for $180 million. The deal also includes up to an additional $15 million in payments related to the achievement of certain commercial milestones, according to a press release.

The acquisition of Voalte accelerates Hill-Rom's leadership in care communications and advances the company's digital and mobile communications platform and capabilities, the company said.

Sarasota, Florida-based Voalte was founded in 2008 and currently serves more than 200 healthcare customers with more than 84,000 devices on its mobile platform. The company has annual revenue approaching $40 million and its communications platform, which currently connects 220,000 caregivers, will be integrated with Hill-Rom's care communications business. (Release)

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Average cost of cybercrime in healthcare drops 8% to $11.8M

The average number of security breaches across industries in the last year grew by 11% from 130 to 145, and the average cost of cybercrime for an organization increased from $11.7 million in 2017 to $13 million, a 12% increase, according to the ninth annual cost of cybercrime study from Ponemon Institute and Accenture Security. The study, which combines research across 11 countries in 16 industries, found that cybercrime is increasing, takes more time to resolve and is more expensive for organizations.

However, the healthcare industry experienced a slight drop in the average annual cost of cybercrime—down 8% from $12.8 million in 2017 to $11.8 million in 2018. This compares to the banking and utilities industries which continue to have the highest cost of cybercrime at $18.3 million and $17.8 million, respectively. Both industries saw cybercrime costs increase, by 11% and 16%, respectively.

Malware is the most frequent attack overall. The number of organizations experiencing ransomware attacks increased by 15% over one year and have more than tripled in frequency over two years. Phishing and social engineering attacks are now experienced by 85% of organizations, an increase of 16% over one year. (Study)

IBM uses machine learning to detect early Alzheimer’s in blood samples

Researchers at IBM in Australia have developed an alternative to spinal fluid testing for the early detection of Alzheimer’s: a blood test that they say could predict the buildup of amyloid-beta in spinal fluid with up to 77% accuracy, FierceBiotech reports.

The team members used machine learning to pinpoint four proteins that can be measured in the blood of people who have a high genetic risk of Alzheimer’s. They believe that testing for those proteins could be used to identify patients who are not yet symptomatic but may benefit from early treatment and to improve the selection of patients for clinical trials of drug candidates.

The IBM team envisions a day when clinicians and clinical trial investigators will be able to use simple blood tests to identify the patients facing the highest risk of developing the disease. (FierceBiotech)

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