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News 6/30/15

June 30, 2015 News No Comments

Top News

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HealthTap partners with Quest Diagnostics to offer patient diagnostic testing services through HealthTap’s virtual care platform. This type of partnership makes me wonder if and when low-cost lab testing company Theranos will jump into the telemedicine market.


Webinars

July 14 (Tuesday) noon ET. “What Health Care Can Learn from Silicon Valley.” Sponsored by Athenahealth. Presenter: Ed Park, EVP/COO, Athenahealth. Ed will discuss how an open business structure and strong customer focus have helped fuel success among the most prominent tech companies and what health care can learn from their strategies.

Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by July 31.


Announcements and Implementations

Isabel Healthcare donates its diagnosis decision support tool to The Neighborhood Free Health Clinic (OH). The Web-based tool helps enables physicians to broaden their differential diagnosis and recognize a disease faster in order to treat it more effectively.

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Greenway Health launches the Interoperability University to recruit and train employees to become interoperability experts in HL7, APIs, and emerging standards like FHIR. The six-week program offers mentorship shadowing, classroom and hands-on learning, and assessments.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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MRO, a protected health information disclosure services firm based in King of Prussia, PA, acquires medical record services companies AKCopy and AMRAS for an undisclosed sum.

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Shashi Kusuma, MD launches Symplast in Fort Lauderdale, FL to offer mobile PM and EHR software to plastic surgeons and med spa physicians.

Medical software firm Body1 enlists the services of market research and consulting company Health Connexions to help scale its digital Physician Finder System.


Research and Innovation

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A survey of online retail pharmacy users finds that 57 percent of the 2,252 respondents would like to communicate with physicians via Facebook and email. A surprising 18 percent noted they already chat with their physician via the social network, while over a third already communicate via email. The findings may be skewed given the inherent Web savvy of the respondents, but they nevertheless illustrate the fact that social networks potentially have a huge part to play in Meaningful Use patient engagement criteria once vendors figure out privacy issues.


Telemedicine

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The American Academy of Pediatrics releases a 16-page report on telemedicine outlining use cases, benefits, and challenges, which include physician acceptance, usability, adequate training, and patient privacy concerns.

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Medical marijuana delivery company Eaze launches the EazeMD app to offer medical marijuana assessments via virtual consults. Consumers also have the option to order prescribed amounts for home delivery. The San Francisco-based startup launched in and has raised $12.5 million in funding from DCM Ventures, Fresh VC, and, of course, Snoop Dogg (or is it Snoop Zion?).


Government and Politics

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Senator Al Franken (D-MN) releases a report on rural healthcare in Minnesota. Franken calls for increased use of healthcare technology like EHRs and telemedicine, but also points out the adoption barriers many physicians face, such as lack of interoperability, poor broadband access, and reimbursement issues.

Xerox’s Health Enterprise Medicaid Management Information Systems receives full federal certification in New Hampshire.


Other

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Just in time for the Fourth of July, Amazing Charts creates an EHR for President George Washington based on historical accounts from physicians, family members, and eyewitnesses. The snapshot of the 57 year-old’s health documents his bouts with diphtheria, smallpox, dysentery, and tuberculosis, to name just a few of the ailments that ultimately contributed to his demise 10 years later.

Harvard Professor John Quelch calls out patient engagement for what it truly is –  “consumer enslavement.” The hoops many consumers now have to jump through in order to acquire their own health data “is not consumer empowerment,” he explains. “The consumer’s time is being eaten up unnecessarily doing bureaucratic work. When there is cost pressure — and there’s a lot of criticism about health care costs — the natural tendency is to shift work to the consumer.” And here I was feeling “engaged” after spending 20 minutes this morning searching for and downloading my medical record from my former PCP to print out and hand deliver to my new PCP.


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

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News 6/29/15

June 29, 2015 News 1 Comment

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CMS announces modifications to its ACO investment model announced last fall, which aims to help rural areas and small group practices gain more access to ACO benefits. Changes include allowing ACOs formed in 2015 to apply in the July 1 application round, and the removal of the 10,000 or less assigned beneficiary eligibility criteria. The program will make up to $114 million in upfront payments available to new ACOs struggling to purchase technologies and upgrades.


Webinars

June 30 (Tuesday) 11:00 ET. “Value Based Reimbursement – Leveraging Data to Build a Successful Risk-based Strategy.” Sponsored by McKesson. Presenters: Michael Udwin, MD, executive director of physician engagement, McKesson; Jeb Dunkelberger, executive director of corporate partnerships, McKesson. Healthcare organizations are using empowered physician leadership and credible performance analysis to identify populations, stratify risk, drive physician engagement, and expose opportunities for optimized care. Attendees will learn best practices in laying a foundation for developing a successful risk-based strategy.

July 14 (Tuesday) noon ET. “What Health Care Can Learn from Silicon Valley.” Sponsored by Athenahealth. Presenter: Ed Park, EVP/COO, Athenahealth. Ed will discuss how an open business structure and strong customer focus have helped fuel success among the most prominent tech companies and what health care can learn from their strategies.

Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by July 31.


Announcements and Implementations

POI Technologies integrates the MyRxX video exercise demonstration platform into its PM system for physical therapists and chiropractors. The combined system also includes activity tracking and patient lead generation.

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Behavioral health agency Hamilton Center implements the Essentia EHR from Lavender & Wyatt Systems to improve care coordination across the 11 counties it serves in Indiana.

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Alberta Health Services and the Alberta Medical Association launch CalgaryAreaDocs.com to help residents in the Canadian city and surrounding areas find family physicians accepting new patients. The new directory lists over 1,200 physicians, and is updated once a month and verified weekly.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Indianapolis-based Activate Healthcare raises a new growth equity funding round from Spring Mountain Capital. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company will use the investment to expand its chain of workplace primary care clinics.

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Health eFilings raises $935,000 of a proposed $1.5 million funding round with assistance from 10 investors. The nearly four-month-old company has developed software to assist practices with electronically submitting PQRS data to comply with Medicare regulations.


People

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Deric Frost joins eVisit (Shelvspace) as COO.


Government and Politics

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The Health IT Standards Committee meets to discuss the 59 public comments received on the 2015 Interoperability Standards Advisory, which ONC hopes will ultimately provide the industry with a list of the standards and implementation specifications that can best be used to achieve a “specific clinical health information interoperability purpose.” It seems like the committee didn’t have a lot to work with in terms of stakeholder feedback, noting a lot of interest in expanding ISA’s scope but a lack of consistency in any one area with the exception of security standards.


Telemedicine

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Eli Health raises $1.2 million, bringing total financing raised within the last year to $2.1 million. Launched in 2013, the Wisconsin-based company is looking to scale its Intellivisit  platform, which offers patients digital diagnosis and treatment, and physician messaging and scheduling.

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My Client Notes adds Nuance voice-recognition technology to its telemedicine platform for behavioral healthcare professionals.


Research and Innovation

An Australian study of 490 adults suffering from chronic pain finds that Web-based pain management tutorials helped reduce their levels of disability, anxiety, and average pain levels no matter how much face-to-face contact they had with their providers. The reductions were seen at the end of the eight-week study and again three months later.


Other

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Editor Paul Smalera recounts in well-organized detail the value Google Docs and data brought to his five-year, successful battle against obesity. “The scale/spreadsheet combination helped me correct for what I came to believe is the biggest problem with trying to lose weight: getting relevant data,” he explains. “When I weighed myself without recording the number, during those months before January, all I got was feedback on the past day or so. Maybe if I remembered my number from the day before, I could guess whether my weight was going up or down. But a 10-day moving average is a computation beyond the mental capabilities of the average human — yet it was crucial to my understanding of how my diet was working.”


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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Contact us online.
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JennHIStalk

Population Health Management Weekly Wrap Up 6/26/15

June 26, 2015 News No Comments

Top News

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EHR data aggregation and analytics company Arcadia Healthcare Solutions acquires Sage Technologies, a managed service and ACO business headquartered in Rockford, IL. The deal enables Arcadia to now offer physician groups ACO formation and governance services, EHR integration, and population health management services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Webinars

June 30 (Tuesday) 11:00 ET. “Value Based Reimbursement – Leveraging Data to Build a Successful Risk-based Strategy.” Sponsored by McKesson. Presenters: Michael Udwin, MD, executive director of physician engagement, McKesson; Jeb Dunkelberger, executive director of corporate partnerships, McKesson. Healthcare organizations are using empowered physician leadership and credible performance analysis to identify populations, stratify risk, drive physician engagement, and expose opportunities for optimized care. Attendees will learn best practices in laying a foundation for developing a successful risk-based strategy.

Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by July 31.


People

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Joseph Siemienczuk, MD (Providence Medical Group) joins Kryptiq as CMO.

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Quality Health Strategies promotes Ronald Forsythe to CEO.


Announcements and Implementations

Medalogix integrates its analytics tools with the Homecare Homebase EHR, helping homecare providers to identify at-risk patients and equipping them with business intelligence reports as part of an overall population health management solution.

Collain Healthcare introduces the LG CNS Care Cloud population health management platform. The new tool aggregates a range of data sources into one longitudinal patient record for providers working in physician groups, acute care, LTPAC, care management organizations, home and community-based services organizations, and payers.

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3M introduces the Health System Performance Suite, which includes analytics to measure provider performance, determine cost of care, and measure population health, as well as business intelligence tools to help organizations manage ACO and DSRIP participation.

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Healthwise adds the Healthy Pregnancy online messaging solution to its Population Health Solution.

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The North Carolina Hospital Association implements advanced population health analytics from Truven Health Analytics to support the state’s ACOs and health systems. NCHA, which has worked with Truven for over 25 years, will use the analytics tools to identify gaps in care, track trends in consumer and patient behavior, and account for out-of-network patient visits.

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Catalyst Health Network, a physician-led ACO in Dallas, selects population health management support and tools from Innovista Health Solutions.

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The Southeast Mississippi Rural Health Initiative implements i2i Systems population health management and analytics tools to better assist its Social Services Department identify gaps in care.

A two-year patient-centered medical home pilot program serving North Carolina State Health Plan members will implement population health management technology from Active Health Management to assist participating medical groups with care management and wellness services.

Propel Health (OR) selects Evolent Health to help the organization develop and launch a value-based services organization at its eight healthcare facilities. Propel Health providers will use Evolent’s Identifi population health management platform to access and share data across the state.

Nuance will include data analytics from Jvion in its Advance Practice Clinical Documentation Improvement to compare clinical documentation to payments and quality scores, and to accurately predict patient populations.


Other

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HHS develops the emPOWER Map, a Web-based interactive tool that combines data on Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries with real-time weather alerts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The map will enable providers and public health officials to locate Medicare patients with electricity-dependent medical devices as severe weather and potential power outages approach.

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For all the tennis/predictive analytics junkies out there: IBM designs a new website for Wimbledon, which kicks off June 29. The site includes the new Slamtracker predictive analytics dashboard that shows real-time statistics and analysis of play such as serve speed and number of winning shots. It also mines data from past Grand Slam tournaments to determine what each player must do well to win the match based on their previous clashes.


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicity offers “New survey identifies the state of cost control in hospitals, health systems and physician organizations.”
  • Greenway Health offers a transparent and collective approach to politics.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the NATA 2015 66th Clinical Symposia & AT Expo June 24-26 in St. Louis.
  • Healthwise offers “Helping our employees be ‘healthy, happy, and wise.’”
  • NextGen parent company Quality Systems Inc. is recognized in eight categories of the 13th Annual American Business Awards program.

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 6/25/15

June 25, 2015 News No Comments

Top News

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R.I.P. King v. Burwell: In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court votes to uphold the federal subsidies that assist nearly 6.4 million people pay for health plans purchased on state and federal exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. A range of healthcare associations, including the AMA and AAP, voiced their support for the decision. As @Drkaty tweeted earlier this morning, “#SCOTUS settles the dust on #ObamaCare. Law stands as is. Time to move on to make things work even better & improve quality care.”


Webinars

June 30 (Tuesday) 11:00 ET. “Value Based Reimbursement – Leveraging Data to Build a Successful Risk-based Strategy.” Sponsored by McKesson. Presenters: Michael Udwin, MD, executive director of physician engagement, McKesson; Jeb Dunkelberger, executive director of corporate partnerships, McKesson. Healthcare organizations are using empowered physician leadership and credible performance analysis to identify populations, stratify risk, drive physician engagement, and expose opportunities for optimized care. Attendees will learn best practices in laying a foundation for developing a successful risk-based strategy.

HIStalk is running a summer special on both produced and promoted webinars. Sign up by July 31 and get a sizeable discount. Contact Lorre. We get good turnout — especially when companies take our advice about content, title, and presentation – and the ones we produce keep getting hundreds of views well after the fact from our YouTube channel.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Healthcare database vendor Definitive Healthcare moves to larger office space in Natick, MA, its second such relocation in three years. The company announced an investment round from Spectrum Equity earlier this year.

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Theranos announces expansion of its low-cost lab-testing services to Mexico. The Mexico-based Carlos Slim Foundation, which operates healthcare service centers focused on prevention, will partnering with Theranos to make the tests widely accessible.

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Healtheway, the nonprofit that supports the eHealth Exchange HIE and Carequality interoperability collaborative, rebrands to The Sequoia Project in an effort to more accurately reflect its expanded capabilities.


Announcements and Implementations

Hamilton Medical Consultants selects the Diagnotes clinical communication system for use by its 13 staff at five facilities in Central Indiana.

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The American Optometric Association announces that six EHR vendors – Eyecare Advantage from Compulink Business Systems, MaximEyes from First Insight, RevolutionEHR from Health Innovation Technologies, Eyefinity EHR, Crystal Practice Management, and Practice Director EHR from Williams Group – will submit anonymous patient diagnosis, disease, and outcomes data to its Measures and Outcomes Registry for Eyecare.


People

Geordan “Geordie” Chester (NexJ) joins Privacy Analytics as vice president of professional services.

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CSG Government Solutions promotes Rosanne Mahaney to director of its Health Information Exchange Center of Excellence.


Telemedicine

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AMD Global Telemedicine adds universal HL7 integration and an interactive stethoscope to its AGNES telemedicine platform.


Research and Innovation

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A 2014 Oregon Health Authority Performance Report finds that EHR adoption by EPs in the “Alis volat propriis” state has consistently increased, though ultimately falling short of its 72 percent goal.


Other

Google Genomics partners with the Broad Institute to offer the biomedical research organization’s cloud-based DNA analysis software, typically used by researchers and healthcare businesses, as part of its cloud platform. The move is Google’s latest effort to differentiate itself from genetic database competitors like Amazon and IBM.


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

From the Consultant’s Corner 6/25/15

June 25, 2015 News No Comments

Physician Compensation: Making Quality and Patient Satisfaction Part of the Package

Although physician compensation plans traditionally have focused on volume and productivity, emerging payment models that increasingly tie reimbursement to care quality and patient satisfaction dictate the need to look beyond productivity-based salary arrangements. In fact, by tying provider compensation at least in part to quality metrics, an organization can start to shift physician thinking away from fee-for-service and toward value-based payment. This is a critical step in laying the groundwork for outcomes-driven care delivery.

Moving compensation towards quality is no small feat, and organizations looking to pursue this endeavor should not rush but take a careful and collaborative approach that aligns the different players around enterprise goals and objectives.

Following is a step-by-step strategy for developing quality-focused physician payment plans that can push organizations beyond “number of patients seen.”

Garner strong leadership support. Retooling physician compensation requires total leadership commitment that stretches across plan development and well beyond implementation. Leaders must be prepared to encourage the shift to quality, participate in metric identification and target setting, and maintain consistency throughout development and even after the new plan is in place. Consistency is especially important when creating plans for multiple practices in the same field. Nothing derails a physician-hospital relationship faster than different compensation for similar providers. For example, if two cardiologists doing the same work have two different payment structures, distrust and mutiny can ensue when the providers discover the discrepancy.

Engage physicians in the process. Unfortunately, the hospital-physician dynamic has gone through a few rocky periods in the past. The advent of hospital or health system-affiliated practices in the 1990s, for instance, put a strain on hospital-physician rapport. Health systems that employed physicians during this time regularly offered significant compensation without aligning incentives. These organizations assumed that physicians would immediately embrace an employee mentality and operate in the best interest of the health system. Regrettably, these arrangements were often less than successful, as physicians were not incentivized correctly and continued to function autonomously. The agreements frequently ended badly, resulting in frustrated physicians and hospitals. Some physicians have not forgotten this experience and are reticent to embrace any payment plan driven by the health system. As such, organizational leadership may have to overcome physician hesitation before they proceed in developing a plan.

Fostering provider enthusiasm may involve crafting a formal communication and education plan to promote the importance of quality-based compensation. The more physicians appreciate the intent of the compensation program, the easier it will be to agree on suitable metrics. One key point to convey is that all payment arrangements must include some performance measures regardless of specialty to move the organization away from volume and toward value.

In addition to employing a communication plan, organizations should involve physicians in pinpointing appropriate performance benchmarks and targets. Oftentimes frank discussions between leadership and physicians can lead to a compensation structure that meets the needs of both parties, aligning them around common goals.

Determine the right measures. Any set of performance metrics should be consistent with a health system’s mission and values to reinforce enterprise strategic objectives. That said, leadership must also recognize that quality goals—and in turn compensation—will vary by specialty and service line. As a result, organizations should build layered incentives and payment structures based on relevant data that accurately assess performance for particular fields. For instance, when designing compensation plans for primary care physicians, a health system may want to use Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures to gauge the reliability and performance of key primary care activities, such as breast cancer screening, hypertension control or diabetes disease management. This recognizes the role that primary care physicians play in the patient’s care and connects performance with outcomes.

Since specialists spend a lot of time in the hospital, it may be appropriate to tie their performance measures more closely to health system goals. In particular, an organization may wish to relate at least a portion of compensation to cost of care, readmission rates, and/or length of stay or complication rates, including infections. When using cost of care as a benchmark, for example, an organization could first determine the average cost of a specific type of case. Then, providers that perform at or below the cost while achieving defined outcomes could receive a bonus.

Stress certain measures based on strategic priorities. An organization may choose to weigh some metrics differently depending on its mission and priorities. For instance, if a health system is in the midst of a large-scale initiative to lower surgical site infection rates, it may weigh infection-related measures higher than others. Similarly, if the organization has incurred substantial readmission penalties in the past, measures that reflect unnecessary readmissions may gain importance.

Include patient satisfaction in the mix. While patient satisfaction metrics currently make up a small percentage of most physician compensation plans, it can be beneficial to include these when redesigning programs. Because patient satisfaction is now a component of risk-based and accountable care reimbursement models, it is likely to become more prominent in provider payment arrangements going forward. Moreover, there is data to suggest that satisfied patients adhere more closely to their treatment plans, which in turn could improve outcomes. For these reasons, satisfaction scores from routine surveys should be a basic benchmark for all physicians, allowing the organization to reward high performers and encourage low performers to improve.

Looking at physician compensation through a quality lens has both clinical and operational value. Organizations that commit to this effort will not only increase the relevance and effectiveness of their provider payment plans, but also set the stage for more value-based care.

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Randy Shulkin is an executive consultant for Culbert Healthcare Solutions.


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

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Reader Comments

  • Stimfig: In response to Pauls Smalera - thats the very raeson I found MyFitnessPal so valuable-- weighing myself firts thing in t...
  • Trollbeater: And yet another govt sponsored report on how HIEs might deliver value to the communities they serve? Seriously, haven't ...
  • K D Burdick: Thanks, Jennifer! (The file size is 104 megabytes, and it did take a minute or two to open in Excel.)...
  • Jennifer: K D - Here is the link: http://bit.ly/1f7d16L - I've also linked to it from within the news item....
  • K D Burdick: Is the "massive file" containing detailed info on providers who've attested to MU available for download? And if so, do ...