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News 7/26/17

July 26, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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The House Ways and Means Committee announces the Medicare Red Tape Relief Project, which will work to reduce legislative and regulatory burdens on Medicare providers. The three-stage project (the name of which is eerily similar to AMA’s Break the Red Tape campaign) is initially seeking feedback from stakeholders on how Congress can deliver statutory relief from current mandates, and how it can work with HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD and CMS Administrator Seema Verma to provide that relief. Feedback is due August 25.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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I added a landline several days ago in an effort to take back my cell phone from certain members of my household whose friends love to call and chat for extended periods of time. It’s been about 10 years since I’ve had a home phone, and I had forgotten how many telemarketing calls they attract. It didn’t take me long to look up the particulars of adding my new number to the National Do Not Call List. The CDC, which tracks mobile phone and landline use in households as part of its focus on the health habits of American domiciles, reports that cell phone-only homes are now in the majority. Fun/sobering fact: Nearly 30 percent of wireless-only adults are binge drinkers, while “only” 18 percent of adults living in landline households drink heavily.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Announcements and Implementations

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ATI Physical Therapy (IL) develops an app to give its physical therapy patients access to their treatment plans and related content while on the go.

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Digital health company Livongo Health will make its high blood pressure- and diabetes-related educational resources available to patients through its new membership in the American Heart Association’s Center for Health Technology and Innovation Tech Collaborative.

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Radiology Associates (AR) selects enterprise imaging software from Mach7 Technologies.


People

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Therapy Source hires Tracy Sippl (Cross Country Staffing) to head up its TheraWeb virtual therapy staffing services.


Telemedicine

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The Memphis, TN-based Southern College of Optometry’s new paperless FocalPoint clinic rolls out telemedicine services from EyecareLive.

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Telemedicine startup OmniaMD – founded by cardiologist Jorge Castellanos, MD and Lauren Timpe, RN opens for business in California.

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Abundant Life Social Services (UT) will offer remote mental health therapy through white-label telemedicine services from Doxy.Me


Government and Politics

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CMS adds new APIs and Github Repositories for developers working on QPP reporting.


Other

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The majority of Wisconsin tech company Three Square Market’s 80 employees have agreed to embed RFID chips in their fingers to free up time when accessing the building and purchasing things at the on-site cafeteria. CEO Todd Westby has downplayed any concerns around privacy by pointing out that cell phones report “100 times” more data than do RFID chips.

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The Onion publishes a funny piece on the damage Dr. Mario is doing to the practice of medicine:

“You see, unlike Dr. Mario, I’m constantly forced to make nuanced, complicated decisions. There are more than three germs out there. And there’s more to medicine than spinning pills in the air and lining them up according to color in columns of four or more. In my practice, I write prescriptions, conduct examinations, order diagnostic tests and scans, and break the bad news to terminally ill patients about how long they have to live. It really is an extremely difficult job.

Just yesterday I picked up my forceps and—being ever so careful not to touch the sides of the incision and get shocked—removed an ice cream cone from a man’s skull, successfully treating his brain freeze. For real doctors, it’s all in a day’s work.”


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News 7/25/17

July 25, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Maven Clinic secures a $10.8 million Series A round led by Spring Mountain Capital, bringing its total funding to $15.8 million. The company, which offers its virtual maternity services to employers and directly to consumers, launched in 2015 and now boasts 25 employees and 100,000 users. Lauren Breuggen (Spring Mountain Capital) and Rachel Winokur (Bright Health) will join Maven’s Board of Directors.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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PhysIQ will use $8 million raised in a Series B funding round led by 4490 Ventures to ramp up commercialization of its VitaLink remote-monitoring and analytics technology. The AI-powered software is geared towards ambulatory patients and clinical trial researchers from the worlds of pharma and medical devices. Dan Malven (4490 Ventures) and Zafrira Avnur (Quark Venture) have taken seats on the company’s board. The company has raised nearly $20 million since opening its doors four years ago.


People

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Daniel McCarter, MD (University of Virginia Health System) joins ChenMed as Richmond CMO at its JenCare Senior Medical Center in Virginia.

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Telemedicine company HealthPoint Plus hires Justin Holtzman, MD (South Shore Hospital) as CMO.

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CNBC reports that Amazon has hired Box healthcare and life sciences VP Missy Krasner in an unnamed role.


Announcements and Implementations

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Aprima teams with Patient identification Platform to help physicians more efficiently match eligible patients with clinical trials.

Idaho and Utah will connect their HIEs to share patient admission, discharge, and transfer notifications with PCPs. Both are part of the Strategic HIE Collaborative’s Patient Centered Data Home hub that connects HIEs in Arizona, Nevada, Nebraska, and parts of Colorado.

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ChiroTouch develops tablet-based self check-in technology for patients.


Government and Politics

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The HHS Office on Women’s Health disseminates $1,600,000 to 16 organizations – including community clinics, health centers and health departments – to fund projects that will seek to prevent opioid abuse by women and girls. The awards – $100,000 to each organization – comes on the heels of a OWH report that focused on the impact such abuse has on females.

The FDA will hold the inaugural meeting of its Patient Engagement Advisory Committee October 11-12 in Washington, DC. The gathering, which will focus on the patient-identified challenges associated with clinical trials, will mark the first time the agency has focused on patient-related issues related to medical devices.

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Senators vote along party lines to continue efforts to repeal the ACA. The “motion to proceed” enables them to begin debating the ins and outs of formal legislation.


Research and Innovation

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A look at 200,000 patient satisfaction surveys finds that personal interaction with physicians trumps online tools, customer service, and waiting room amenities when it comes to customer loyalty and recommendations to friends and family. The data also showed a direct correlation between provider and overall practice satisfaction rankings.


Other

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Remember when?: Microsoft clears up confusion around reports that its 32 year-old Paint app will be scrapped once Windows 10 updates go live. The art app will be available for free via the Windows App store – a move the company made after the “incredible outpouring of support and nostalgia around MS Paint.” The news takes me back to when our family installed our first PC. We quickly became accustomed to the static-y noise of dial-up, and the accumulation of AOL CDs brimming with free access to a social media-free Web.


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 7/24/17

July 24, 2017 News No Comments

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Private equity firm KKR will acquire WebMD for $2.8 billion. Founded in 1996, WebMD began looking at possible suitors early last year as its revenue from pharmaceutical ads began to dry up. Analysts at the time gave it a $2 billion valuation. Its websites include WebMD.com, Medscape.com, and MedicineNet.com – all of which will now live under the same umbrella as KKR’s DentalPlans.com and AllAboutCounseling.com sites.  


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Announcements and Implementations

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Commonwealth Primary Care ACO taps Sonora Quest Laboratories to be its diagnostic testing provider of choice. (SQL is a joint venture between Banner Health system (AZ) and Quest Diagnostics.) The ACO, made up of 130 independent physicians in Arizona, will use SQL’s population health analytics to better identify high-risk patients and close gaps in care.

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In an effort to better assess and improve quality, Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan will use Code Technology’s benchmarking reports to help it develop a patient-reported outcomes program.

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Child and family services provider KidsTLC (KS) selects NetSmart’s EHR.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Portland, ME-based healthcare financial and advisory firms BerryDunn and Compass Health Analytics decide to merge.


People

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Primary Care Development Corp., a nonprofit dedicated to investments and policy initiatives around primary care, appoints Altruista Health CMO Munish Khaneja, MD to its development committee.

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Casey Liakos (Huron Consulting) joins Carex Consulting as president.

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The Vermont Medical Society promotes Jessa Barnard to EVP. She’ll take over leadership of the 2,000 physician organization when current EVP Paul Harrington retires this December. 


Telemedicine

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Birmingham, AL-based AlternaVisit – best, if not widely, known for its white-label telemedicine solutions – begins offering website development and management services to physician practices. It’s a logical step, according to CEO Tom McDougal, given that a professional, easy-to-navigate website is a practice’s first step in adding telemedicine services.

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In a move that I predict will become increasingly common amongst physician practices, Keady Family Practice rolls out virtual consults in an effort to make accessing healthcare easier for their patients, many of whom live in rural areas. “It’s just the convenience of having that face-to-face virtual appointment with your provider,” says Krista Wilson, a KFP medical support staff member. “It’s not that we don’t want our patients to come here, but we want to add benefits for patients without added stress to their schedules.”

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New Benefits adds telemedicine services from MDLive to its line of healthcare discount plans for employers.


Other

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@Rachel_LEAD and Politico pick up on a new trend in health IT marketing – enticing potential customers with high-tech gadgets that become operational once a demo is scheduled.


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 7/20/17

July 20, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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One Medical Group CEO Tom Lee, MD will step down in August. Lee founded the tech-savvy membership-based primary care company in 2007, raising over $180 million and expanding it to include 60 clinics across markets in eight major metro areas.

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Amir Rubin, an EVP with UnitedHealth’s Optum division, will take over from Lee, who will become executive chairman. Rubin has already let it be known he intends to continue opening new clinics and growing the company’s employer business. While Rubin has ruled out near-term plans to chase additional financing, he’s not ruling out acquisitions. One Medical’s most recent was nutrition coaching app Rise in February 2016.


Webinars

None scheduled in the coming weeks. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Announcements and Implementations

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Care3, Mirah, PatientMD, TechSoft, and VitaTrackr join DirectTrust, bringing its total membership to 129 organizations. The five year-old nonprofit reports steady growth of Direct exchange users, addresses, and transactions. The second quarter of 2017 saw over 40 million Direct exchange transactions – a 74-percent year-over-year increase.

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Medical Associates of Clinton (IA) will roll out 10e EHR software from EClinicalworks to its 49 physicians across four locations.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Online appointment scheduling vendor DocASAP raises growth capital from Cohen Private Ventures, likely bringing its total amount raised to over $1 million since launching in 2012.


People

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Greg Armer (Anthem) joins Mobile Health, an employer-focused population health management company, as VP of strategy and growth.

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Better Health Partnership, a primary care transformation nonprofit based in Ohio, promotes Rita Horwitz to president and CEO.


Telemedicine

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GenieMD launches a new telemedicine service that incorporates a diagnostic questionnaire for more efficient video visits.

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Salus Telehealth offers its VideoMedicine customers prescription savings discount cards through a partnership with MedImpact Healthcare Systems and its pharmacy network.


Research and Innovation

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PCPs saw a 3.2-percent increase in compensation in 2016, while other specialties experienced an average 2.8-percent increase, according to the latest AMGA stats. Both figures are similar to those from 2015. Just over 60 percent of respondents reported their compensation was based on meeting or exceeding value-based measures. “[The] move to value-based incentives is happening,” points out AMGA Consulting President Tom Dobosenski, “albeit at a slower pace than anticipated. However, value-based incentives do not lessen the economic pressures on medical groups, as they do not necessarily mean reductions in compensation.”


Government and Politics

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North Carolina’s Cumberland County Health Department finds itself in hot water after an audit uncovers a trail of oversights that resulted in 160 women not being notified of abnormal cervical cancer screenings over a four-year period. Multiple fingers (plus firings and departures) have pointed to a lack of timely data entry in the department’s computer systems as one of the root causes of the lack of follow-up.


Other

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AAFP launches the Primary Care Innovation Fellowship to encourage family medicine providers in their use and optimization of health IT. The year-long commitment includes expenses-paid travel to industry events, access to AAFP experts, a $5,000 stipend and up to $30,000 for the completion of a health IT-related project. Applications are due August 31.

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Pride, prejudice, and the pound: Being a big Jane Austen fan, I hope to some day get my hands on the £10 plastic note featuring the author coming soon from the Bank of England. The bill, which will mark the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death when it debuts in September, will ultimately replace the paper tenner.


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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News 7/19/17

July 19, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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New CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, MD comes to Washington, DC from Atlanta, where she served as the commissioner of the Georgia Dept. of Public Health and state health officer from 2011 to 2017. I have heard her speak many times at metro area health IT events, and have always been impressed by her dedication to helping students become interested in various healthcare career paths. She was also part of a very compelling presentation at Health Connect South several years ago that focused on Atlanta’s role as ground zero for Ebola patients.

Fitzgerald takes over from Interim Director Anne Schuchat, MD who began filling in after President Obama appointee Tom Frieden, MD left the position in January.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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Reading: The Barefoot Queen by Spanish author Ildefonso Falcones. I’m a sucker for historical fiction, especially the kind that takes 1,000-plus pages to tell the story of one family over several generations. The stories of Falcones, which include the Ken Follett-esque Cathedral of the Sea, do just that.

When it comes to reading, I typically curl up with a good book in the same place at the same time each day – a ritual this Quartz article claims is one that forms a “strange, new relationship … between [the reader], the voice of the book, and the room. Your ritual creates a singular association between the book and a quiet, private place, which in turn gives your relationship a new dimension.” I’ve never looked at my bedtime reading ritual quite in that way, but I will say it’s usually the calmest, most comfortable part of my day.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Announcements and Implementations

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The Carolina Center for Occupational Health implements PrognoCIS EHR software from Bizmatcis as part of its transition away from paper documents. The center, which works with hundreds of employers in South Carolina, hopes to equip staff with telemedicine capabilities and tablet-based billing software as part of its ongoing modernization effort.

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Q2i develops Opioid Addiction Recovery Support software for substance abuse clinics that includes real-time reporting, analytics, and trend analysis via care team portal and patient-facing mobile app.


People

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Stanley Crane (Allscripts) joins InteliSys Health as CTO.

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Kno2 hires Alan Swenson (Epic) as director of interoperability.

EHRA elects David Heller (Greenway Health) to its executive committee.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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TechCrunch looks at the reasons why singer Lionel Richie (an early investor in Microsoft) chose app-based house call startup Heal as his first foray into startup investing. “I’m going to let the secret out of the bag,” says Richie. “This is my new pastime. I had a choice: Do I play tennis on the weekends or do I call up my tech friends and say what’s new?” Richie is far from the only celebrity investing in technology. Ashton Kutcher, Kobe Bryant, and Ryan Seacrest have all dipped their toes in the tech funding waters.


Telemedicine

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ClearHealth Quality Institute creates an online portal for organizations looking to apply for its Telemedicine Accreditation Program. CHQI took the program over from the American Telemedicine Association several months ago.

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Rok Mobile will give 1,200 veterans in the greater Los Angeles area free mobile service and telemedicine access next month as part of its new Veterans Helping Veterans program. The company, founded by billionaire John Paul DeJoria (of Paul Mitchell Systems and Patron Tequila fame), hopes to develop the program into a long-term initiative that provides free services to homeless veterans for every two that switch to Rok.


Research and Innovation

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An MGMA survey finds there is still room for improvement when it comes to securing IT infrastructure as part of an organization’s broader cybersecurity strategy. Nearly one-third of the survey’s 1,236 respondents said their organization has faced some type of cyberattack, while 54 percent said they had not and 12 percent were unsure. Backup tapes were the saving grace of those that have been through an attack. “We survived a ransomware attack and didn’t have to pay – used our backup tapes and were fine,” said one provider. “I feel safe, but I also know we are all vulnerable.”


Other

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Greenway Health donates EHR software to The Pregnancy Resource Center, a new free clinic run by the nonprofit Community Christian Council. “It’s kind of a mission of Greenway,” says Greenway Health VP of Interoperability Rob Newman. “We started out with the Rapha clinics, which are very similar to this, working with the underprivileged. This just seemed like a good fit.” The center is not far from Greenway’s headquarters in Carrollton, GA.


Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the 2017 Michigan Primary Care Annual Conference July 24 in Acme, MI.
  • Medical Billing Service Review includes AdvancedMD in its list of top five medical billing service companies.

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