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HIStalk Practice Interviews Lawrence Bentvena, DC CEO, ClickAClinic

March 4, 2015 News No Comments

Lawrence Bentvena, DC is founder and CEO of ClickAClinic.

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Tell me about yourself and the company.
I have a significant background as a medical practice management consultant and as a healthcare entrepreneur. The impetus for founding ClickAClinic was to fill a significant need for doctors and patients; namely, to be able to communicate their health concerns within a single, fully integrated Web-based platform. Additionally, we at CAC realized that there are a significant group of Americans without health insurance coverage, and so we designed our platform to provide an extremely cost-effective video medical consultation. We believe that most physicians will eventually want to donate a portion of their time to providing free medical care to this population, provided those physicians and related healthcare entities are empowered with a simple and HIPAA-compliant platform they can utilize.

We currently have between seven and eight full-time staff, and at least that many off site helping us to launch. Since we own all of our technology, we currently support two business models – CAC as a direct medical provider model and CAC as an SaaS model. We are focusing equally on both. Enterprise customers and early adopters are seeking us out at this time. With regard to investment funding, we’ve had interest from several very large private-equity funds and individual family trusts.

Did you develop CAC’s telemedicine software in-house, or did you collaborate with a vendor?
I hired U.S.-based code developers that are employed by my company directly. The CAC platform represents over 700,000 lines of code, and required two-and-a-half years of full-time work, and direct planning/architecture and code development.

What EHR does CAC use? Why did you choose that solution?
We currently utilize OpenEMR, an open-source HER that we have licensed and added significantly to its look, feel, and functionality. We believe it was the best fit as it allowed us to remain 100-percent Web based. On a related note, we are preparing to attest for Meaningful Use.

How many physicians have signed up to provide care?
We have two full-time physicians and one full-time ARNP providing care. On our SaaS side, we are in beta currently and have signed enterprise customers. These customers have various numbers of providers. We are beginning our direct provider model as we speak.

How many patients have used your service?
At least 200 so far. That number is growing daily.

CAC made news recently for becoming Florida’s first licensed medical provider of telemedicine services and software. Are you planning to offer services outside of the Sunshine State?
Our current AHCA license provides CAC with the opportunity to be a licensed healthcare facility. This license holds no sway outside of Florida. However, we believe this will allow us to achieve licensure status in the remaining states.

How involved are you in helping to push telemedicine legislation through Florida’s legislature?
I am currently communicating through our spokespeople with various legislative entities in Florida. Some of them have asked our company to provide testimony and/or opinions on telemedicine issues.

Do you think it will finally pass this legislative session?
I do believe it will pass this legislative session, as the various stakeholders have identified and realized that without any law in place in Florida, they may well have too many unregulated telemedicine service providers. Additionally, we are the second most populated state in the U.S., and we are one of the very last to have any kind of telemedicine law at all, so the legislators have realized this is not a good situation for our citizens.

Would you like to share any final thoughts?
Though the obstacles facing our healthcare system seem insurmountable, the advent of new telemedicine applications offers us some hope that a solution is available. Telemedicine, while not a novel concept, is more and more frequently brought to the forefront of efforts to reduce costs and improve patient outcomes. Improving patient access to healthcare options and facilitating early detection of complications results in better patient outcomes and, in the long term, a reduction of cost. 


Contacts

JenniferMr. H, Lorre, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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JennHIStalk

From the Consultant’s Corner 3/3/15

March 2, 2015 News No Comments

Primary Care Networks
They can be a win-win for medical centers and physician practices.

Competitive pressures, access to expanded patient populations, healthcare reform, and changing reimbursement models have required healthcare organizations to re-evaluate their growth and population health management strategies, which often includes implementing clinical alignment and integration initiatives. One such initiative becoming increasingly popular again is the formation of employed primary care networks.

The primary care model offers substantial benefits for both the academic medical center and the physician practice, including:

Health system benefits. In the past, academic medical centers and integrated delivery systems created physician networks with the intent of growing their patient population, expanding their service area and brand, and creating opportunities for primary care teaching. Although the initial goals are still valid, a more financially prudent and economically sustainable approach is to develop and manage the network not as a cost center, but as a sustainable delivery model. This improves care quality, and does so in a manner that downstream revenues — from sources such as specialty referrals, hospital-based services, and inpatient admissions — exceed the network’s operating expenses. For example, according to a 2006 Academic Medicine article, Ohio State University Medical Center (OSUMC) found that for every $1 invested in its primary care network, it received $6.30 in downstream contribution margin.

In addition to the financial benefits, primary networks can help position medical centers for future success. For instance, in the context of population health management, primary care physicians will bring significant strategic value to health systems in overseeing large populations. As the industry keeps moving toward value-based care, health systems will increasingly rely on their primary care networks to manage quality and care delivery, as well as coordinate care across a range of providers.

Physician practice benefits. As healthcare reimbursement declines and business risk increases, more physicians are considering selling their practices. A 2012 survey by the American Hospital Association showed that between 2000 and 2010, hospital employment of physicians increased by 32 percent, and that trend appears to be continuing. With shrinking margins and increasing costs, independent physicians are struggling to maintain profitability.

There are many reasons why joining a private network can be an attractive option. For instance, it can reduce overhead, while providing a better work-life balance and predictable compensation. It can also offer practices greater negotiating power with payers as well as access to more cutting-edge technology because physicians benefit from the collective resources of the larger group and health system.

In some cases, patients have greater exposure to a wider range of specialists within an academic or large-scale health network, helping practices attract more patients and ensure better care continuity. There is also benefit in aligning with the medical center brand, potentially improving credibility and driving even more patients to the practice.

It’s all in the design
In my experience, in order for a primary care network to be a strategic asset for an academic medical center or other large health system, it must be designed and managed correctly. Effective network management includes:

  • Developing reasonable practice-management controls.
  • Crafting appropriate, incentive-based compensation models.
  • Consolidating management, administrative, and clinical staff.
  • Right-sizing property, plant, and equipment.
  • Achieving balance between internal and outsourced services.

Before going down this road, medical centers should create a strategic plan that addresses all of these points, including how they will accomplish these tasks. Moreover, they should engage in financial modeling to budget and manage true downstream revenues.

Just like their medical center counterparts, physician practices must also take a strategic approach when deciding whether to sign on to a primary care network. While the benefits can outweigh the negatives, physician practices need to fully understand the impact of the decision before making the commitment. In particular, practices should keep in mind that they may lose some autonomy, see a reduction in administrative staff and/or be compelled to redefine their productivity expectations.

Planning ahead
Whether an organization is looking to create a primary care physician network or join one, there are several complexities to consider, and organizations should not rush in without careful planning. As such, both parties can benefit from seeking expert resources in areas such as strategy development, contract negotiations, and network management. By taking a careful approach, medical centers and physician practices can achieve a partnership that truly supports collaborative care both now and in the future.

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Brad Boyd is vice president of sales and marketing for Culbert Healthcare Solutions.


Contacts

JenniferMr. H, Lorre, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk Practice  updates.
Contact us online.

JennHIStalk

News 3/3/15

March 2, 2015 News No Comments

Top News

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Allscripts and NantHealth make a play for precision medicine, announcing they will partner to develop genome-based clinical decision support features within the Allscripts EHR that will help oncologists create personalized cancer treatment plans.


Reader Comments

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From Lady XYZ: “I thought this was an interesting article. Given that Pittsburgh has deep healthcare roots but yet the article indicates there are only three physicians in the area that offer concierge service.” The article she refers to profiles Rebecca Plute, MD a hospital and family care physician that struck out on her own to launch a concierge practice. The business model seems to be slowly growing in popularity – Plute notes that 5 percent of physicians have taken the leap so far.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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I literally laughed out loud when I read of Mr. H’s disdain for comparing Uber and healthcare: “I swear I’m going to throw up the next time some inspiration-impaired ‘thought leader’ tries to draw parallels between anything healthcare-related and Uber.” I’ve shared my similar opinion in the past (though in a more delicate fashion), but wonder if I might have to concede that the two might have more in common than we thought given that the ride-sharing startup announced late last week that a May 2014 data breach has affected 50,000 drivers. No fingers have yet been pointed at China or North Korea (or Lyft, for that matter) and no misuse of the data, which included names and license numbers, has been detected thus far.


Webinars

March 4 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “5 Steps to Improving Patient Safety & Clinical Communications with Collaborative-Based Care.” Sponsored by Imprivata. Presenters: Robert Gumbardo, MD, chief of staff, Saint Mary’s Health System; Tom Calo, technical solutions engineer, Saint Mary’s Health System; Christopher McKay, chief nursing officer, Imprivata. For healthcare IT and clinical leadership, the ability to satisfy the clinical need for better, faster communication must be balanced with safeguarding protected health information to meet compliance and security requirements.

March 5 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Care Team Coordination: How People, Process, and Technology Impact Patient Transitions.” Sponsored by Zynx Health. Presenters: Grant Campbell, MSN, RN, senior director of nursing strategy and informatics, Zynx Health; Siva Subramanian, PhD, senior VP of mobile products, Zynx Health. This webinar will explore the ways in which people, process, and technology influence patient care and how organizations can optimize these areas to enhance communication, increase operational efficiency, and improve care coordination across the continuum.

March 12 (Thursday) 1:00 ET.  “Turn Your Contact Center Into A Patient-Centered Access Center.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenter: Brian Cooper, SVP, West Interactive. A patient-centered access center can extend population health management efforts and scale up care coordination programs with the right approach, technology, and performance metrics. Implementing a patient-centered access center is a journey and this program will provide the roadmap.

Here’s the video of the “Cloud Security Primer” webinar that was presented by Sensato CEO John Gomez last week.


Announcements and Implementations

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The Palm Medical Group (FL) selects HealthFusion as its vendor of choice for EHR software. PMG, an independent provider association, will introduce HealthFusion’s MediTouch EHR to its 1,7000 physician members.

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ProPublica launches an app that shows consumers if their healthcare companies have been hacked, and what federal fines were imposed as a result. Over 1,100 large-scale data breaches have been reported since 2009, with just seven resulting in fines. The investigative journalism company also seeks input from impacted consumers to further its research on medical privacy.

ManagementPlus and HydrantID partner to enhance patient portal security measures in an effort to better protect sensitive communications between optometrists and their patients.

Vericle partners with healthcare business development company MDReferralPro to offer physician practices a combined marketing and PM system.

SRSsoft launches its Essentials EHR for specialists and new EHR users, labeling it as “an alternative, non-MU EHR” that allows users to gain benefits without having to change the way they practice.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Healthcare market intelligence company Definitive Healthcare receives a “significant investment” from Spectrum Equity. As a result, Spectrum Equity’s Jeff Haywood and Chris Mitchell have joined Definitive’s Board of Directors.

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Microsoft’s Tom Lawry outlines how the company’s acquisition of Revolution Analytics earlier this year will help it build a foundation for future “Big Data” healthcare solutions.


Telemedicine

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Foster family recruiting agency KVC Nebraska rolls out the MyLink telehealth and distance learning program to 500 children and adolescents in 300 foster families. The program, a result of new grant from the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning and Telemedicine program, will help connect foster kids with behavioral healthcare services and educational resources.


Research and Innovation

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Intel-GE Care Innovations, a join venture between Intel and GE Healthcare, partner with Cincinnati-based Xavier University’s Center for Innovation to test and analyze “health peripherals” and apps that will help patients manage their chronic conditions from home.

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The local paper profiles MB Device LLC, a Louisville, KY-based startup that is working to develop a mobile health device that will predict preterm births. The company’s prototype measures cervical impedance via sensors implanted in the cervix, and then wirelessly sends those measurements to the patient’s smartphone for further analysis by her and her physician. "It’s a device to be able to predict labor,” explains founder Divya Cantor, MD. ”That’s the broadest definition. The (idea) is to help women know what’s going on with their bodies before they feel it."


People

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Justin Barnes (ATDC) joins Austin, TX-based ePatientFinder in an advisory capacity.

Joining PerfectServe are Terry Hayes, RN, MSN as VP of client experience and Michelle McCleerey, PhD, RN (TeleTracking) as VP of product marketing.


Other

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Tech columnist Dan Gillmor writes a pretty compelling piece on why he has made a conscientious effort to stay away from Microsoft, Google, and Apple: “Control is moving back to the center, where powerful companies and governments are creating choke points. They are using those choke points to destroy our privacy, limit our freedom of expression, and lock down culture and commerce. Too often, we give them our permission — trading liberty for convenience — but a lot of this is being done without our knowledge, much less permission.” His sentiments seem to draw striking parallels with the plight of healthcare data: Hacks are becoming downright de rigeur; interoperability still seems like a pipe dream; and a growing group of patients, vendors, and physicians advocate for the Open Notes route.

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Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri weighs in on the net neutrality debate, arguing that service providers should be able to tap into an Internet “fast lane” if consumers demand it. He cited connected healthcare and driverless cars as prime examples of services that will be negatively impacted by a one-speed-fits-all World Wide Web.

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High tech attempts to meet high fashion in Apple’s 12-page advertising spread in the March issue of Vogue. There’s a fine line between haute couture and depeche mode, which means the cheap and chic version of Apple Watch will likely trickle down to High Street/Big Box retailers in the coming months. 


Sponsor Updates

  • E-MDs posts a preview video for its users group conference June 18-20 in Austin.
  • Medicomp Systems posts a HIMSS15 preview video featuring its Quipstar game show (watch for the Dr. Gregg cameo).
  • Nordic offers the first episode in its “Making the Cut” video series on Epic conversion planning.
  • The Informed Medical Decisions Foundation, a division of Healthwise, hosts Shared Decision Making Month in March.

Contacts

JenniferMr. H, Lorre, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk Practice  updates.
Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

JennHIStalk

News 2/26/15

February 25, 2015 News No Comments

Top News

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CMS extends the EHR attestation deadline for Medicare EPs from February 28 to March 20. In addition to offering physicians more time, the extension also allows EPs who have not already used their one "switch" to switch programs (from Medicare to Medicaid, or vice versa) for the 2014 payment year. It has also extended the EHR reporting option for PQRS to the same date. AMA President-Elect Steven Stack, MD wastes no time in throwing in his two cents:

“Only 24 percent of physicians have attested to Meaningful Use for 2014 as of the beginning of February. The deadline extension underscores that the Meaningful Use program is not working and that policymakers need to act on our recommendations to make it more flexible, remove the measures that physicians are having the most difficulty in meeting and revamp the certification program so that electronic health record vendors can innovate to create products that better serve patients and physicians. We thank CMS for today’s effort and hope that they will go further in addressing the problems with this program when they issue their Meaningful Use rules this spring.”


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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I am getting very, very excited about HIMSS this year, especially given the fact that the HIStalk team and Walking Gallery founder Regina Holliday have chosen five patient advocates to attend on HIStalking Gallery scholarships. I hear one recipient is a bit of a fashionista, so I’m looking forward to seeing how she supplements her HIMSS coverage with wardrobe commentary.

A friend of the HIStalk family is looking for a nursing professional to contribute his or her writing skills to an article on the impact Meaningful Use is making on their part of the profession. Email me if you’re interested and confident that your writing skills are just as good as those you use in the exam room.


Webinars

March 4 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “5 Steps to Improving Patient Safety & Clinical Communications with Collaborative-Based Care.” Sponsored by Imprivata. Presenters: Robert Gumbardo, MD, chief of staff, Saint Mary’s Health System; Tom Calo, technical solutions engineer, Saint Mary’s Health System; Christopher McKay, chief nursing officer, Imprivata. For healthcare IT and clinical leadership, the ability to satisfy the clinical need for better, faster communication must be balanced with safeguarding protected health information to meet compliance and security requirements.

March 5 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Care Team Coordination: How People, Process, and Technology Impact Patient Transitions.” Sponsored by Zynx Health. Presenters: Grant Campbell, MSN, RN, senior director of nursing strategy and informatics, Zynx Health; Siva Subramanian, PhD, senior VP of mobile products, Zynx Health. This webinar will explore the ways in which people, process, and technology influence patient care and how organizations can optimize these areas to enhance communication, increase operational efficiency, and improve care coordination across the continuum.

March 12 (Thursday) 1:00 ET.  “Turn Your Contact Center Into A Patient-Centered Access Center.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenter: Brian Cooper, SVP, West Interactive. A patient-centered access center can extend population health management efforts and scale up care coordination programs with the right approach, technology, and performance metrics. Implementing a patient-centered access center is a journey and this program will provide the roadmap.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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OrbitHCI announces a $1 million seed round led by Formerly Known as Atlas and Google Ventures. The Boston-based startup is developing smart devices that will unobtrusively connect aging parents to other family members. I’m a big fan of co-founder and CEO Keith Kocho’s statement that, “Sensors do not measure quality of life. There are many reactive products out there that treat people like assets to be monitored. Every generation has stories to tell and we believe technology should make that easier, not get in the way.”

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Sikka Software raises $5.5 million in Series B funding led by Sierra Ventures and Series A investor ATA Ventures. Sikka’s cloud platform caters to practices in dental, veterinary, hearing, and vision.

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Healthbox opens up registration for its eight-week Healthbox Studios accelerator programs in Miami, Chicago, and Salt Lake City.


Announcements and Implementations

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Horizon House (PA) chooses CoCentrix for EHR, care coordination, and billing.

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Semira Bayati, MD implements interactive patient education technology from TouchMD at her office in Newport Beach, CA.

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Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group (VA) selects population health management technology from Lightbeam Health Solutions across its 50 locations.

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The NYC Regional Electronic Adoption Center for Health expands its partnership with SA Ignite to offer the company’s MU Assistant solution to an additional 500 physicians. NYC REACH originally piloted programs with SA Ignite to assist physicians at Murray Hill Medical Group and Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Center with the EHR initiatives.

ADP AdvancedMD releases ICD-10 Toolkit, a free app that gives private practices a suite of ICD-10 preparation tools.


Telemedicine

A proposed bill in the Minnesota legislature gains bipartisan support for its requirement that payers reimburse providers for telemedicine consultations in the same way they pay for in-person visits. If passed, the state would join 22 others plus Washington, D.C. that already mandate coverage for medical care delivered via electronic networks.

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The Missouri Telehealth Network partners with University of Missouri’s Thompson Center for Autism to create the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) Autism project. Project ECHO will train local physicians to offer autism-related care via telemedicine software.

Doctor On Demand licenses PokitDok’s APIs to more quickly determine what services are covered by health insurance and to submit claims for telemedicine care across PokitDok’s 177 payer partners.


Research and Innovation

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A Navicure survey finds that 81 percent of physician practices are optimistic that they’ll be ready for ICD-10’s October 1, 2015 implementation date and two-thirds of respondents don’t think it will be delayed again. Practices say their main concern is that payers won’t be prepared. My main concern is that my birthday, which lands on October 1, will get lost in the ICD-10 compliance shuffle. I’m definitely going to think twice about the timing of my annual wellness exam. Do I opt for a few weeks before, when practices might still be dual coding, or bite the bullet and make my appointment after the 1st? Physicians, feel free to weigh in by leaving a comment below.


Government and Politics

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CMS awards veteran-owned Data Computer Corp. of America a contract worth up to $60 million to to provide technical support services to test functionality of its Medicare claims processing systems.

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The VA releases a summary of its $4.1 billion IT budget for 2016, earmarking 55 percent for medical programs, 20 percent for regularly adding new features and functionality to the Veterans Benefits Management System, and 19 percent for maintaining IT services across its 1,000-plus facilities.

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New Mexico lawmakers sponsor a bill that would create a health information system to help consumers, legislators, and payers make more informed decisions about when, where, and how to access healthcare. Opposition to the bill, which has largely come from hospital associations that feel the bill’s timeline is too aggressive, has (not surprisingly) resulted in a competing bill that would introduce the data in a less consumer-friendly manner within the same timeframe.

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HHS and the CDC recognize 30 public and private health care practices and systems as 2014 Million Hearts Hypertension Control Champions that achieved blood pressure control for at least 70 percent of their patients through the use of healthcare IT and electronic health records, patient communication, and team approaches.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to close NYDoctorProfile.com, a state-run doctor search tool that he says is too expensive to taxpayers at $1.2 million per year given that similar information is available elsewhere.


People

The AMA honors seven public servants with its 2015 Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service.

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Telemedicine company eVisit adds three new staff: Jacob Boddeker (Honeywell), director of product; Teresa Iafolla (Health Professions Press), content marketing manager; and Brooke Watton, NewLAWu.s, director of client success.


Other

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The local business paper covers the launch of the Buffalo, NY chapter of Health 2.0, an organization that works to build collaboration and foster ideas surrounding IT and healthcare. Co-founders include Paul Lee, ophthalmologist and founder of startup syr.indi.care; and Donald Lee, VP of IT services at Algonquin Studios. Board members include Mike Hickok of Catholic Health, Scott Falbo of HealthNow NY, industry leader John Hennessy, and healthcare consultant Laura Berrady.

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North Carolina’s Wilma Magazine profiles Coastal Connect HIE CEO Yvonne Hughes, who worked to launch the project in 2011. The HIE now connects affiliated and unaffiliated healthcare providers in 10 counties across rural parts of North and South Carolina.


Contacts

JenniferMr. H, Lorre, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk Practice  updates.
Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

JennHIStalk

News 2/24/15

February 23, 2015 News No Comments

Top News

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CMS announces a special health insurance enrollment period for tax season on the same day the White House confirms that 800,000 people who signed up for coverage via Healthcare.gov received the wrong tax information. While no blame has officially been placed for the mistake, plenty of fingers are already pointing. “Whether it’s providing taxpayers with incorrect subsidy information or having to create special enrollment periods so that taxpayers can avoid costly penalties, Obamacare continues to frustrate and confuse Americans,” said Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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Mr. H kindly let readers know last week that Rice University and the Baylor College of Medicine will offer a free, four-week online course called “Medicine in the Digital Age” that begins on May 5. Intrigued, I clicked over to check out the course description:

The course is intended for a general audience and is relevant to anyone working or interested in the emerging healthcare environment.  At the end of the course, participants will have the knowledge to successfully engage with the future of digital medicine.

Medicine in the Digital Age maps out out the challenges and opportunities facing healthcare in the networked age. We will explore the role of social media in healthcare communication, the uses of wearable technologies, the potential for big data to reshape health behaviors, the ethics of personalized medicine, and the impact of these new developments on the doctor-patient relationship.  Participants will gain an understanding of the connected health revolution and tools to critically analyze this evolving ecosystem. Medicine in the Digital Age will launch a fresh conversation about what the future of medicine should be, and how we should get there. Join us!

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Kirsten Ostherr and Bryan Vartabedian, MD – co-founders of Rice University’s Medical Futures Lab – will lead the course. Given that it starts in May (after HIMSS hoopla has died down), I’ve decided to sign up and see what I can glean from the four-week curriculum. I’d love for fellow HIStalk Practice readers to join me. Perhaps we can put our heads together after our final project is turned in and write about our experiences. 


Webinar

March 5 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Care Team Coordination: How People, Process, and Technology Impact Patient Transitions.” Sponsored by Zynx Health. Presenters: Grant Campbell, MSN, RN, senior director of nursing strategy and informatics, Zynx Health; Siva Subramanian, PhD, senior VP of mobile products, Zynx Health. This webinar will explore the ways in which people, process, and technology influence patient care and how organizations can optimize these areas to enhance communication, increase operational efficiency, and improve care coordination across the continuum.


Announcements and Implementations

East River Medical (WV) selects EHR and PM software from Benchmark Systems.

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NextGen Healthcare integrates the Surescripts CompletEPA electronic prior authorization service into its EHR.

Amazing Charts launches MU Success Services to help its clients successfully attest to Meaningful Use. The offering is well timed, given that significant Medicare- and Medicaid-related MU deadlines are coming up on February 28 and March 31.

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RelayHealth Financial launches the ConnectCenter claims management portal for PM and RCM vendors, and billing companies.

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For the third year in a row, OmniMD e-prescribing technology receives the Surescripts White Coat of Quality Award for its ability to send and receive electronic messages according to industry standards, among other criteria.

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Community health center CareSouth Carolina (SC) implements i2iTracks population health technology from i2i Systems to help manage 30,000 patients across 12 facilities.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Home health company Almost Family Inc. launches a Health Innovations business segment to focus on its technology and accountable care operations. It also plans to invest up to $2 million in NavHealth, a patient data-sharing startup co-founded by former U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra.

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Jumpstart Foundry creates the Health:Further annual conference to build on the Nashville-based accelerator’s annual investor day for its graduating class. The inaugural event will take place August 19-22 at the Omni Nashville.

Fortune places Cerner among its “World’s Most Admired Companies 2015.”

CompuGroup Medical acquires South Africa-based practice management vendor Medical EDI Services.

The Wall Street Journal names as one of its 73 startups valued at more than $1 billion Proteus Digital, whose smart prescription pills report back to doctors and drug companies when patients take their medicine.


Government and Politics

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Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) reintroduces the Electronic Health Fairness Act, a bill that would exempt patient encounters that take place in ambulatory surgery centers from counting toward Meaningful Use requirements. There is currently no requirement that ambulatory surgery centers use EHRs, and ONC offers no certification program for them. On the flip side, however, physicians taking part in the EHR incentive program must perform at least half of their outpatient encounters in a facility with a certified EHR or be subject to a penalty.

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Politico highlights the growing frustration of physicians with the high cost of interoperability, citing between $5,000 and $50,000 as the going rate for setting up connections that allow practices to share EHR data with laboratories, HIEs, and governments. “The No. 1 factor hindering the exchange of information between health care stakeholders is the exorbitant fees that most EHRs are charging for integration, connectivity and reporting,” says Lance Donkerbrook, COO of Commonwealth Primary Care ACO (AZ). “The government needs to step in immediately and require these vendors to open access.”


People

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MGMA names Halee Fischer-Wright, MD (St. Anthony North Medical Center) as president and CEO.

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Ian Bonnet (Anthem) joins Authentidate as president, CEO, and director.

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Bobbie Peterson (Medsphere) joins Apprio as executive vice president of healthcare solutions.

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Aneesh Chopra (NavHealth) joins the board of Imperium Health Management.

Scott Fiscus (Hospital Sisters Health System Medical Group) joins Integrated Medical Partners as senior vice president of RCM operations.


Research and Innovation

The US Agency for International Development awards Fighting Ebola Grand Challenge funding to the Scripps Translational Science Institute for development of a Bluetooth-connected wearable that will help medical staff remotely monitor the vital signs of Ebola patients in West Africa.

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A State of Email Trust study calls out healthcare for being behind the times when it comes to email security. The study, which analyzed 6.5 billion emails, found that an email from a healthcare provider is four times more likely to be fraudulent than one from a social media site. Thirty percent of healthcare organizations analyzed achieved the dubious distinction of scoring “0” – the lowest possible – for implementation of email security protocols.

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A separate but corresponding study finds that nearly half a million people were victims of medical identity theft in 2014, with 65 percent of respondents spending an average of $13,500 to resolve the issue.


Telemedicine

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Lawrence Bentvena, DC launches ClickAClinic, the first telemedicine platform to be approved as a clinic in the state of Florida.

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Virtual consultations go mainstream, as the above Gilt City American Well offer shows. Given that deductibles are rising and consumers are becoming more cost conscious, this type of mass telemedicine marketing will likely become more commonplace. I wonder if we’ll soon start to see urgent care and retail clinics begin to peddle their services on Groupon in an effort to keep up with the competition.

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Rock Health provides a thorough yet concise breakdown of the past, present, and near future of telemedicine via its healthcare reform series.

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The Partnership for a Connected Illinois launches the Illinois Telehealth Initiative to increase access to healthcare across the state. Backed by the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, the initiative will work to actively demonstrate the benefits of telehealth as it relates to cost and access, and will develop plans for regional and statewide telehealth networks.


Other

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Roswell Pediatric Center (GA) writes a note of thanks to the local community in recognition of the one-year anniversary of a fire that destroyed its office, and of the opening of its new facility:

“Our deepest thanks are extended to the Milton and Alpharetta fire departments who responded quickly and worked together to douse the flames. The firemen remained on the scene the following day and assisted us with removing computers containing patient health records and other sensitive documents. Due to our sophisticated electronic health record system and our backup system, we were able to see patients the day of the fire with absolutely no loss of patient medical records and no disruption to delivering medical care. There are no words to adequately thank these men for their service to us on that day.”

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The local business paper profiles One Medical Group (CA), a concierge primary care practice that caters to such enterprise customers as Doximity, Uber Technologies, Adobe, Fitbit, and NBCUniversal. Founded in 2005 by Epocrates co-founder Tom Lee, MD the practice counts Google Ventures, Benchmark, DAG Ventures, and Oak Investment Partners among its backers.


Sponsor Updates

  • Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at Hack Illinois February 27-March 1 in Urbana, IL.
  • Healthwise will exhibit at Preventive Medicine 2015 on February 25 in Atlanta.
  • Five Versus Technology clients will present on RTLS at HIMSS15.
  • SRSsoft’s Scott Ciccarelli writes about “Dreams vs. Reality.”
  • Nordic’s Scott Gierman offers advice on how to “Prepare for a Successful Season with EHR Spring Training.”
  • Perfect Serve announces it will exhibit at the Society of Hospital Medicine and American Medical Group Association annual conferences in March.

Contacts

JenniferMr. H, Lorre, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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