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Analysis

With HIPAA Compliance in Hand, Slack Goes Public

By Jack O'Brien  
   June 20, 2019

Slack is positioning its cloud-based messaging tool as a future feature of communication among healthcare professionals.

After a spring where Lyft and Uber led the Silicon Valley migration to Wall Street, Slack officially went public Thursday afternoon with a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

The San Francisco-based business messaging application company, which has indicated in public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it has a future healthcare strategy, set a reference price at $26 per share. The company's stock opened at $38.50 per share.

Slack's debut comes four months after confidentially filing to go public and securing a HIPAA certification for file uploads on its Enterprise Grid service.  

Related: Slack Files to Go Public, Aims to Act as HIPAA Business Associate

In Slack's amended S-1 filing late last month, the company displayed its Q1 2019 earnings highlighted by $134.8 million in revenue. 

However, the company also reported $154.6 million in total operating expenses, more than $38 million in losses from operations, and a $33.3 million loss attributable to shareholders.

Related: Death By A Thousand Clicks, Where Electronic Health Records Went Wrong

Slack has an angle on healthcare through acting as a "HIPAA business associate," mainly as a tool that providers can use to share protected health information (PHI).

The company has already offered "limited support" for HIPAA-regulated organizations utilizing the Enterprise Grid, its top-level subscription plan, according to its S-1 filing.

Still, the company reiterated throughout its filing the importance of remaining HIPAA compliant and the consequences of failure to meet federal regulations.

These include risks of "significant civil monetary penalties," "criminal penalties with fines and/or imprisonment," and "contractual liability under the applicable business associate agreement."

Editor's Note: This story's headline has been updated from "With HIPAA Certification in Hand, Slack Goes Public" to "With HIPAA Compliance in Hand, Slack Goes Public."

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: San Francisco Ca,August 25 2018:Slack company logo at Slack HQ - Image / Editorial credit: DJSinop / Shutterstock.com


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