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PotikDok Raises $1.3 million, 23andMe Acquires CureTogether, and Merkle Acquires 5th Finger

Posted on July 20, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Fundings

A startup from Silicon Valley, PokitDok, has recently raised $1.3 million in seed round funding. Pokitdok is a health and wellness startup that “aims to provide its members with the information and resources they need to make the very best health and wellness related decisions for themselves and their families.

Among investors in Pokitdok were Charles River Ventures and the Ballast Fund. PokitDok is currently in private beta and will be launched nationally on July 17th. The company connects users with with other users and professionals, and discount services can be purchased for certain providers through PokitDok.

Acquistions

5th Finger, a mobile marketing and mobile health vendor, who had numerous clients such as Safeway and Pfizer, was recently acquired by a customer relations management company, Merkle. According to Mobi Health News, the acquistion occured for an undisclosed amount.

5th Finger is well-known for developing Pfizer’s text message vaccine adherence program back in 2011 which sent vaccine reminders, education, and health care information to parents. It has also developed an app for Medtronic, and the company focuses on “medication adherence, health tracking, wellness education, engagement, gamification, and sales support functions.”

23andMe, the startup that invented the “Personal Genome Service” and has the goal of “becoming the go-to resource for personal genetic information, has acquired CureTogether, a similar startup. CureTogether helps its users “create their own research studies, learn about their health, and connect with experts and others who suffer from similar conditions” by providing them with the necessary tools.

From CureTogether, its founders, Daniel Reda and Alexandra Carmichael, will become a part of the 23andMe team. 23andMe will receive many new resources as a result of this acquisition. 23andMe currently has $53 million in fundings and this acquisition appears to be another step in the right direction.

Thank you to Rockhealth.com for putting together a list of fundings and acquisitions each week. Be sure to check out their weekly newsletter!

EMR Advocate Tops the #HIT100

Posted on I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

Red carpets, velvet ropes and glitzy award events are not typical fodder for healthcare IT blogs. The recent release of the annual #HIT100 list, however, does give our industry a nice, fun excuse to pat each other on the back. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t point readers to a slightly different take on the list from John Lynn, who thankfully is never afraid to mix things up a bit. Not to mention 5 Healthcare Scene bloggers made the list as well.)

While the #HIT100 didn’t give me a good reason to don an awards-worthy get up, it did give me a great excuse to chat with #1 on the list, Linda Stotsky, aka @EMRAnswers. Linda wears a number of different hats at Ignis Systems Corp., which provides workflow integration and electronic interfaces between EMR systems and lab vendors. She is currently Senior Solutions Manager and Healthcare Social Media Strategist, and handles strategic business development.

What sort of value do you think lists like the #HIT100 bring to the healthcare community?
The #HIT100 list recognizes the #HITsm and #HealthIT communities on Twitter. This community is comprised of clinicians, physicians, health IT consultants and patient advocates. The purpose of the list is to recognize co-contributors in healthcare social media. The value in our collective voice includes enhanced collaboration, networking, support, emerging technologies and expanding one’s understanding of healthcare from the perspective of others. We are a social pulse over a wide spectrum of the healthcare community. Together, we champion for interoperability, data security, patient safety and better outcomes. Social media reflects real-world “Interoperability.” One voice doesn’t do the talking any more. We all do.

When did you start using social networking professionally? When did you set up the @EMRAnswers Twitter handle, and why?
A large part of my professional life has revolved around networking through every available format. Social media merely amped up this capability.  I stumbled across Twitter in 2008, during a downsizing. I hoped to extend my circle of connections. I was hooked almost immediately. @EMRAnswers was born out of my knowledge of electronic medical records and data systems.

How has social media impacted you professionally?
I’ve taken several companies into the Twitter-sphere kicking and screaming to show them the value of #hcsm. The professionals I’ve met through social media are some of my closest and most trusted business associates and friends. It is much larger than our individual title, product or pain. What I’ve witnessed is that we are part of a social conscience that connects through a deeper sense of purpose. Our chats include personal observations, information, shared ideas, best practice, progress and goals. I equate it to a professional “Think Tank,” with a simple agenda. We want to leave information technology a better place because of our passion, our solutions and our purpose. It’s an exciting place to be and I am fortunate to be a part of it.  We connect as a collective voice for patient safety, interoperability, and meaningful “Use-ability.” I cannot imagine my professional life without social media being a large part of it.

What will you do with this newfound notoriety? Any plans to go to Disney World?
Absolutely. My bags are packed.  Are the tickets in the mail?

Seriously, though, how do you see social media impacting healthcare – both now and in the future?
Social media represents a new frontier for healthcare. It offers a venue unlike any other. It allows physicians, clinicians, service providers and patients to open the lines of communication. It allows hospitals and physician practices to promote wellness and sponsor support forums for patients dealing with chronic health issues. It provides a voice for physician and patient to open a dialogue outside of normal working hours.  Companies like Symplur have made it easier to find information through “The Healthcare Hashtag Project.” The communication channel social media opens up establishes the groundwork for future sustainability. Clinical trials are being conducted using social media to study medication adherence in chronic disease management. Healthcare consumers are using social media to find the best physicians, services and hospitals.  Social media provides healthcare organizations with an easy to use predictive analytics tool, available at our fingertips. We have only touched the tip of the iceberg.

MapMyFitness Receives Addition $3 million in financing, Virgo Health Acquired by Golin Harris

Posted on July 19, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Fundings

Last month, MapMyFitness raised $9 million Series B round that was led by Austin Venture Partners and Milestone Venture Partners. However, last week they announced that an addition $3 million in financing from Square 1 Bank was raised. In addition, the company has reached more than 10 million registered members, which is definitely a feat to be recognized.

MapMyFitness is one of the largest online fitness communities, owning sites such as mapmyrun.com and mapmyride.com. The announcement of the recent $3 million financing came as the company sponsored,  second annual Le Tour Challenge began. Le Tour Challenge is a competition that runs on the same time frame as the Tour de France. Cyclists are able to compete for over $55,000 in prizes as they race against other cyclists.

This funding will help MapMyFitness “advance its leadership position in global online and mobile application markets and further develop its offerings,” according to a press release about the funding. The past four years appear to have been very successful for MapMyFitness, as it has doubled its revenue during each of the past four years, and is on track to triple that this year. Its platform has also been recently reworked, making it more interactive and useable for its users. MapMyFitness was the only fitness app to make it on to TIME Magazine’s “50 Best Apps of 2012”.

Acquisitions

GolinHarris has recently announced plans to acquire Virgo Health, a healthcare communications firm based in the UK. With this acquistion, GolinHarris intends to “launch a new specialty practice in healthcare focused on digital health,” according to this article.

Virgo Health was launched in 2003 and has offered a variety of services in healthcare communications since then. The company has built a great reputation for themselves, which will be great as it is combined with GolinHarris’ “digital expertise”. The founders of Virgo Health, Angie Williams and Sarah Matthew, will continue working in their current roles after the acquisition.

Thank you to Rockhealth.com for putting together a list of fundings and acquisitions each week. Be sure to check out their weekly newsletter!

EMR and EHR Passes 2 Million Pageviews

Posted on 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.

When I first started blogging about EMR, I use to mark every traffic milestone with a blog post. In many ways I miss those early days where it was exciting to think that anyone read my blog. It was amazing to think that my blog ticked over into digits when I hit 10,000 pageviews. Now we do close to 10,000 pageviews a day across Healthcare Scene.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that I’m still a stats addict. Although, I’m more refined on which stats I look at now. I’m more interested in trends and opportunities than I am in overall numbers. With that said, when I checked my stats for EMRandEHR.com today I paused for a moment when I saw that my stats program was reporting 2,002,454 views all-time.

What many don’t realize is that I only started this other blog because a Dr. Jeff asked me if I would create one. 21 posts into it Dr. Jeff got a job (at an insurance company I believe) and so he didn’t have time to blog any more. I hated the idea of the blog going to waste, so I would post to it occasionally. I also almost sold it about three years ago. Boy am I glad I didn’t. Little by little it continued to grow into a wonderful destination that I’m very proud of today.

One of the things I’m most proud of on EMR and EHR is all the great writers that participate on it. Over the years we’ve had Anne Zieger, Jennifer Dennard, Priya Ramachandran, Katie Clark, Katherine Rourke, David Lynn, Dr. West, and Dr. Jeff. Not to mention a whole series of guest posters. I’m lucky to associate with these great people. They’ve certainly become the voice of EMR and EHR in many ways. I just am along for the ride.

Here are a few other numbers that you might find interesting:
688 Posts
2,215 Comments
2,288 Tags (that’s how we categorize each post)
48,554 Spam Comments Blocked
1,734 email subscribers

Thanks everyone for reading EMR and EHR!

Cognitive Dissonance and EMRs

Posted on July 18, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

A new CDC study has documented what’s pretty much old news to us EMR watchers, that more than half of U.S. doctors have taken their charts digital. The study also concluded that most are pretty happy with their EMR, heaven help us, and that it’s improved patient care.

According to a study by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, 55 percent of U.S. doctors have adopted some type of EMR.  More interestingly, for folks like me at least, 75 percent of those who have have met Meaningful Use Stage 1 criteria, something I might not have predicted if I hadn’t read the study.

This seems a bit strange to me, honestly. I’ve talked to countless doctors about their EMRs, both hospital- and practice-based, and I’ve only met a couple who actually felt satisfied with the system(s) they use. I haven’t met any that felt the systems have improved patient care, though I admit my sample isn’t drawn scientifically. (Vendors, I’m not saying that *nobody’s* happy, just that these numbers sound high, to be clear.)

The best explanation I can come up with for such results, which came from 3,200 doctors completing a mail-in survey, is the impact of cognitive dissonance.  Let me explain.

Doctors are being  pressured with thumb screws to make the switch, and it’s hardly surprising that most have come around.  So they’ve gone ahead and spent what in some cases are huge sums of money to make the leap.

The thing is, when you’re forced to use something every day, you can’t just keep on hating it more and more. Nobody has that much energy.  So over time, you resolve the cognitive dissonance — the battling “EMR painful” and “EMR necessary” thoughts — by learning to love Big Brother EMR, or at least believe that you do.

Then again, though I’d have trouble believing this, maybe there’s hordes of satisfied doctors that never come to the attention of a cynic like me. What do you think?

SAIC Acquires maxIT Healthcare for $473 million

Posted on 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.

The news just came out that SAIC (NYSE: SAI) will pay $473 million to acquire maxIT Healthcare Holdings Inc. This acquisition brings an additional 1,300 employees to SAIC. That’s a large sum of money for a healthcare IT consulting company.

I find this an interesting acquisition by SAIC. SAIC made a big splash in healthcare when they acquired Vitalize Consulting back in 2011. According to the company’s announcement, their new combined consulting resources makes them the nation’s largest commercial consulting practice in electronic health records (EHR) implementation and optimization services.

Considering maxIT Healthcare has been doing consulting in areas such as accountable care organizations (ACOs) and revenue cycle management (RCM), I think that SAIC is in a great position with all these consulting resources. With the dearth of EHR and healthcare IT talent out there, many hospitals are looking for consulting talent to help them out.

Most Doctors Manually Code Despite EHR Automated Coding

Posted on July 17, 2012 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.

Pamela Lewis Dolan has a great article in AMA’s American Medical news about the automated E&M coding using an EHR versus manual E&M coding. Here’s a quote which sums up the article:

The Dept. of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology asked the Office of the Inspector General to prepare a report looking at how Medicare physicians use EHRs to assign and document codes for E&M services. The report found that 57% of Medicare physicians use an EHR, and 90% of them use their systems to document E&M services. But most physicians still assign those codes manually, which could mean they are undercoding services that could qualify for a higher pay rate.

I’ve started seeing more and more people talk about this subject. It’s an amazing switch since one of the initial selling points of EHR software was this powerful E&M engine which would help them to ensure that they’re coding their office visits properly. In fact, many argued that with an EHR they were able to code at much higher levels than they could on paper.

In some ways, I think this can still the case if done right. The rationale is that many times a doctor would evaluate something on a patient, but not take the time to document it in the paper chart. Since they didn’t document it on the paper chart they couldn’t code for it. I’ve heard doctors say that thanks to quality EHR templates they’ve been able to document more of those “extra” items and so they can properly justify the higher code.

Obviously there are a lot of questions and risks associated with what I describe above. The most important being that many achieved the above result by using blanket templates which even included things that they never actually evaluated. There is a lot of talk about these blanket templates being a high risk during an audit.

Although, what I think the above quote highlights is something that I’ve seen regularly in healthcare. Many doctors are chronic under coders. I think this other quote from the article linked above explains why many doctors under code:

“If you do a cost-benefit analysis, it might be less expensive to undercode than try to deal with an investigation,” she said. But Fenton has found that there doesn’t have to be a large increase in coding levels to see a significant bump in revenue.

I’m sure there are many reasons that doctors under code, but this could be the largest one: fear. The fear of an audit uncovering over coding is real and palpable. Plus, an EHR automated E&M coding engine doesn’t solve this problem for a physician. At the end of the day the physician is still responsible for the coding, not the EHR software.

Too Many EHR Mouseclicks and Keystrokes – A Solution for EHR Vendors

Posted on July 16, 2012 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.

I love the never ending discussion of the number of mouseclicks and keystrokes that an EHR requires. I’ve heard this discussion for all 6+ years I’ve been blogging about EMR. While I don’t want to make an excuse for EHR companies to create crappy software, I think that there’s a few problems with just stating that an EHR software has too many clicks. Let’s take a deeper dive into the idea of too many clicks and keystrokes in an EHR software.

I once heard in a discussion the comparison of a piano player being able to quickly tap out a song on a piano with a doctor tapping and clicking out his medical notes in an EHR. They then posed the question, “Why can a piano player easily play so many notes so quickly?

It’s an insightful question and comparison which I believe could help an EHR vendor deal with the issue of too many “EHR mouseclicks and keystrokes. As I think about why it’s not a burden for a piano player to play so many notes so quickly, I think it boils down to two areas: responsiveness and training.

One of the unique characteristics of a piano is that as soon as you tap the key, it makes a sound. Imagine trying to play the piano if when you tapped the key sometimes it would instantly make a sound and other times there’s a slight half a second or one second delay. It would be impossible to play a song and to get a rhythm that would allow you to play so many notes so quickly.

Unfortunately, the terrible situation I described above is what we experience with EHR software. Sometimes when you click you get an instant response and sometimes when you click you have to wait a little bit. The same goes with a keyboard on a computer. I recently had a bug on my computer that would basically tie up all the memory on my computer. When that happened I could type, but the letters would show up on the screen at varying intervals. I’m a pretty fast typer, but when this was happening it was terrible. I had to just stop until the problem was resolved.

While I’d love to just say that an EHR should always respond instantly to any request made, that’s not reasonable. The key for EHR vendors to think about is doing everything they can to ensure that their EHR responds in a consistent manner. The faster the better for sure, but don’t undervalue the benefit of a consistent response.

The second piece of this puzzle is training. We don’t assume that someone can step up to a piano and play all the right notes to a complicated piece of music with no training. Yet, for some reason we think that a doctor can step up to a complicated piece of software (EHR for those following at home) and quickly navigate all of the features of the software. Training matters and can make the world of difference in how you feel about the number of “clicks” you have to do in your EHR.

I’m sure that many EHR vendors love the above paragraph, but they also see the reality of many doctors not wanting to take the time or make the effort to train on an EHR properly. Doctors reasonably offer that they can’t just shut the doors on their clinic for a week of EHR training. While the politicians in DC can’t seem to do this, the solution to these two extremes is somewhere in the middle.

I’m not naive to the challenges that we face with click happy EHR systems. I’m certain that every EHR software could improve its software to decrease the number of clicks and make them more intuitive. I’m also certain that there are many doctors that don’t and won’t train themselves on the EHR software. Instead, they’ll sit back and blame their lack of training on “too many clicks.”

I have little doubt that both sides of the equation could and will get better. EHR software will become less click happy. Doctors will become better at clicking quickly. Although, until the software captures are thoughts automagically, we’re going to continue battling with these issues.

How an EMR gets in the way of doctor-patient relationships

Posted on I Written By

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC in 2009. He can be contacted at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.

For all of the glorification of EMRs and EHRs and pushing into the new age of digital healthcare, I thought I would throw in my 2 cents from the dark side of electronic health record keeping.  To be honest, there are a few things that could be greatly improved.

Now, before I get a whole bunch of unsolicited email from EMR vendors out there waiting to pounce on me with sales pitches of how theirs is better and I should give it a try, I should say that I’m very happy with my current EMR system and not looking to switch.

That notwithstanding, there are a few simple concepts that no EMR system to my knowledge has gotten right yet.  It’s even possible that it may be hard to ever get right, and a lot of it has to do with mouse clicks and typing.

During my average day, I feel the need to maintain at least some eye contact with my patients, mostly because I’m a bit uncomfortable with the amount of time I have to spend looking at my computer.  I’m a bit of a slave to the computer system in that sense.  I know I could do all of the documentation after the patient is gone, but I’m afraid of missing something in the documentation.  You could say I could just scratch notes on paper to avoid missing anything, but this is not in keeping with the lofty goal of being paperless, now is it?  Maybe the lofty point is just to eliminate paper charts.  Still, scraps of paper doesn’t really sound modern or safe now, does it?

I also feel a bit uncomfortable giving up my nights and weekends just to “look good” in front of my patients.  A burned out doctor who has no life outside the office to spend with family and friends, and who ultimately quits the profession because of such, is not an ethical thing to expect of physicians, is it?

And so, for now, I do my best to incorporate a bit of eye contact, but still spend time typing away with the patient across my desk watching me and telling me about their issues.

The EMR still requires a lot of additional tasks outside of documentation: electronic prescribing, reviewing messages from staff and performing additional tasks as necessitated by these messages.  And all of these tasks take a considerable amount of time.  Up until now, they have required human intervention to complete, but what about the future?

One of my recent hobbies is reading history texts.  Interestingly, one of the stimuli that encouraged the Europeans to seek an alternative passage to the Far East was the excessive trading fees imposed by transmitting goods through Muslim and African nations.  An alternative route that would allow the elimination of hefty fees and allow them to run their import-export businesses cheaper and more efficiently was the dream.

If we can automate all of the EMR tasks more effectively using a Siri-like voice-activated platform, then medical providers may be able to achieve all of their work during normal business operating hours, face the patients when they speak, and have a better quality of work and home life than their predecessors.  I’d love to be able to tell my computer to send in a scrip refill for thyroid hormone and it would be done, without the need for any other steps or human involvement, but that remains a far off mirage at this point.

The more an EMR can do for me, the more time I can spend in humanistic and meaningful contact with patients.  I dream of actually living the dream but for now live in the reality of a less than perfect world.

Health IT List Season, The Unhealthy Side Effects of Meaningful Use, and My Coupon Doc: This Week at HealthCare Scene

Posted on July 15, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

EMR and HIPAA

Health IT List Season – A list of Lists

It is the season of Health IT lists, and #HIT100 is one of the most popular lists right now. This post discusses some of the logistics behind #HIT100, as well as some other health IT lists that are floating around the Internet recently. Have you seen a great list lately?

Kaiser’s Mobile Health Approach

Recently, John had the opportunity to talk with the head of the Mobile Center of Excellence at Kaiser Permanente, Brian Gardner. Gardner talked about Kaiser’s approach to mobile health, how physicians at Kaiser use mobile devices, and some video pilots that have been done. This post goes more into that conversation, and shows how Kaiser is working toward implementing more mobile health in their practice.

Wired EMR Practice

The Unhealthy Side Effects of Meaningful Use

There are all sorts of incentives to  Meaningful Use, and for implementing EMR. However, there is a downside to HIT. In this post, Dr. Michael Koriwchak, along with Dr. Hal Sherz, discuss potential adverse consequences to Meaningful Use. It may cripple innovation and prevent future technology from being developed. Be sure to read this post on the unhealthy side effects of Meaningful Use.

Smart Phone Health Care

My Coupon Doc Makes Health Care More Affordable

Medications and health care costs can be expensive, there’s no question about that. There are lots of discounts to be found, but finding legitimate discounts can be hard to do. Luckily, MyCouponDoc.com makes the process easier with its database of coupons and discounts. Next time you have an expensive medication to buy, don’t forget to consult My Coupon Doc first.

SCOTUS Decision Likely to Indirectly Affect mHealth

The recent SCOTUS decision is affecting health care in many ways. But many were asking the question, will, and if so, how, it affect mHealth? David Lee Scher, MD, recently talked about five ways mHealth will be affected. mHealth isn’t the sector of health care being affected the most, but it won’t be left untouched.

Also, don’t forget to check out EMR Screenshots and EMR and Health IT News! There’s a lot of great items on these pages that aren’t highlighted during the weekly roundup.