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News 12/8/16

December 8, 2016 News No Comments

Top News

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Employee healthcare provider Crossover Health receives a $92 million investment from Gurnet Point Capital, bringing its total amount raised to $113.5 million since launching in 2010. The Aliso Viejo, California-based company has developed its own Primary Health technology platform, and seems to have made digital health a prominent part of its patient engagement strategies. It operates facilities in the Austin, the Bay Area, and Boston; and plans to expand into Southern California, Dallas, Chicago, and New York. Gurnet Point Managing Partner Christopher Viehbacher and Partner George Montgomery will join Crossover’s Board of Directors.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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Organizers of the Health IT Leadership Summit in Atlanta were kind enough to issue me a press pass the morning of the event, which meant I missed Andy Slavitt’s keynote. Though it was literally phoned in, attendees who were brave enough to face the city’s horrendous early-morning traffic told me it was worth the drive. His insight, aided by live commentary from CMS Deputy Chief of Staff Tim Gronniger, IHealth Innovations Chief Growth Officer Justin Barnes, and ONC Chief Health Information Officer Mike McCoy, MD seemed to focus on MACRA and physician adjustment to the Quality Payment Program. Now I know why the CMS press office brushed off my request for an in-person interview.

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I was able to catch a very engaging panel on “The Physician’s Perspective on Consumer Engagement” featuring ENT of Georgia Compliance Officer Mike Koriwchak, MD Harken Health Medical Director Hogai Nassery, MD and CompleteMD CEO Sydney Smith. The panelists offered up what I found to be a very refreshing take on wearables in light of HIPAA, with the general consensus being that any sort of gadget that gets patients motived is good. Dr. K, always good for a sound byte, echoed many a user’s opinion of wearables like Fitbit, which he used for a period of time then put in a drawer once he understood his own activity patterns, obstacles, and goals. He added that Fitbit’s sales were down this holiday season compared to last, which makes the company’s decision this week to purchase Pebble seem like a last-ditch effort to maintain market share/relevance.

HIPAA was a touchy subject, with Nassery making the point that, what was once intended to help patients access their data has now turned into a blanket of secrecy providers unintentionally place over that data in an effort to avoid audits and fines. As Dr. K noted, “It’s getting ridiculous when you can’t hang up pictures of your patients and you’re spending thousands of dollars on privacy and security precautions. I don’t trust the government to come in and do the right thing when they audit.” His HIPAA fatigue – and desire to go the extra mile for his patients – has prompted him to tell patients to go ahead and send a picture (yes, an unsecure one) when he can’t stand it anymore.

I wrapped up my half-day attendance watching the inspiring Denise Hines receive the Phoenix Award for Community Leadership from the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Hines is CEO of EHealth Services Group, executive director of the Georgia Health Information Network, past president of Georgia HIMSS, and is gearing up to take over the North American HIMSS board. I’ve known her for several years and she is one of those people who always has a smile on her face and a willingness to help in her heart.


Webinars

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December 14 (Wednesday) noon ET. “Three Practices to Minimize Drift Between Audits.” Sponsored by Armor. Presenter: Kurt Hagerman, CISO, Armor. Security and compliance readiness fall to the bottom of the priority lists of many organizations, where they are often treated as periodic events rather than ongoing processes. How can they improve their processes to ensure they remain secure and compliant between audits? This webinar will cover the healthcare threat landscape and provide three practices that healthcare organizations can implement to better defend their environments continuously.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Despite losing $128 million in the first three quarters of 2016, Oscar Health opens its first clinic. The 6,000 square-foot paperless primary care facility in Brooklyn will operate in partnership with nearby Mt. Sinai Health System – a move that will likely help cushion any operational growing pains. The startup insurance company saw dismal levels of interest in its ACA-induced exchange offerings, and now seems to be looking (or grasping at) for new opportunities. It plans to offer group insurance to employers in February, and hopes to eventually expand its Genius Bar-like clinic concept nationwide.


Announcements and Implementations

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TRA Medical Imaging (WA) renews its RCM service agreement with Zotec Partners.

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Life management center Get Help Now implements Inteveo’s IMediSuite EHR and PM technology. The organization seems an odd hybrid of personal development programs and business solutions that include practice management services.

IDS releases AbbaDox QuickBox software, which will securely send test results including DICOM images to the desktops of referring physicians.

PMD develops dashboard-based PQRS tools for physician practices, enabling them to add data throughout the year, and receive data validation and progress feedback.


People

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Ed Park will join the Athenahealth Board of Directors in January. He will step down from his current position as EVP and COO at the end of this month.


Other

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Mississippi-based William Carey University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine partners with the Hinds Community College drone program to develop the Health Integrated Rescue Operation. The program will develop drones that can deliver medical supplies to people in disaster areas. Researchers are also working to equip the drones with smart glass-powered virtual consult capabilities.


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News 12/7/16

December 7, 2016 News No Comments

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The Montana Medical Association hosts a two-day meeting aimed at eventually launching state’s first statewide HIE. (The Health Information Exchange of Montana launched in 2008 through a partnership with the University of Montana, six hospitals, and 25 clinics in the Western part of the state. Its Google paper trail ends in 2014, so perhaps it has ceased to exist.) Meeting organizers say most medical information within the state still resides on paper, which is odd given that ONC puts EHR adoption of office-based physicians in the state at 47 percent as of February 2015. “We know today that patients go to multiple providers and not necessarily the same provider has the same electronic health system,” says MMA CEO Jean Branscum. “So exchanging information is extraordinarily difficult but very critical to providing the best care possible for our patients.”


Webinars

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December 14 (Wednesday) noon ET. “Three Practices to Minimize Drift Between Audits.” Sponsored by Armor. Presenter: Kurt Hagerman, CISO, Armor. Security and compliance readiness fall to the bottom of the priority lists of many organizations, where they are often treated as periodic events rather than ongoing processes. How can they improve their processes to ensure they remain secure and compliant between audits? This webinar will cover the healthcare threat landscape and provide three practices that healthcare organizations can implement to better defend their environments continuously.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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PPJ Healthcare Enterprises secures a $5 million investment from GPL Ventures. CEO Chandana Basu says it will use the new funding “for the growth of our pure cannabis-infused edible business, our medical practice management and billing software, and other healthcare service-related business.” The company announced its plans to venture into the edibles market last month, though no mention of its products are listed on its website.


Announcements and Implementations

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Pearson partners with ICare to offer nursing students Web-based educational EHR resources.

DirectTrust announces that its Director Service – including Direct addresses and physical addresses – exceeds 500,000 entries for healthcare organizations and individual providers. The alliance expects that number to nearly double within the next six months thanks to the predicted proliferation of HISPs and increased comfort level of physicians.


Telemedicine

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Carolina Partners in Mental HealthCare rolls out TouchCare’s virtual consult services at its 25 locations in North Carolina. TouchCare investor Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC helped bring the two organizations together.

Teladoc trumpets a record-setting 101,600 visits in November alongside endorsement from the AHA. Numbers like that lend credence to market forecasts that puts the virtual visit market’s worth at $813.29 million by 2021.


People

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The North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians elects Charles Rhodes, MD president.


Government and Politics

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo launches the mobile-friendly OASAS Treatment Availability Dashboard for citizens seeking real-time access to services in the state’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse including crisis, residential, inpatient, and outpatient opioid treatment programs.


Other

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Lilou to the rescue: Therapy pig Lilou gains notoriety as part of San Francisco International Airport’s Wag Brigade, a team of (until now) therapy dogs and handlers that hang out near gates in hopes of de-stressing frazzled travelers with quick cuddles and cute photo ops. I for one would appreciate Lilou’s presence near the HIMSS taxi queue.


Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks issues reminders about patient safety and the use of its EHR software.
  • E-MDs offers early bird pricing for its user conference and symposium June 18-20 in Grapevine, TX.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the 2016 Connected Health Continuum December 11-14 in National Harbor, MD.

Blog Posts


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 12/6/16

December 6, 2016 News No Comments

Top News

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A survey of 5,000 internal medicine physicians shows that MDs continue to prescribe more costly treatments that may not be necessary. Antibiotics are the perennial culprit, with physicians opting for newer, more expensive versions over generics, even when they’re likely to have little positive impact on treatment. ACP VP of Clinical Policy Amir Qaseem, MD points out that pressure to fulfill patient expectations might be driving some doctors to prescribe antibiotics. “There is a lot of waste in our healthcare system, and we need to acknowledge that,” he adds.


Webinars

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December 7 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Charting a Course to Digital Transformation – Start Your Journey with a Map and Compass.” Sponsored by Sutherland Healthcare Solutions. Presenters: Jack Phillips, CEO, International Institute for Analytics; Graham Hughes, MD, CEO, Sutherland Healthcare Solutions. The digital era is disrupting every industry and healthcare is no exception. Emerging technologies will introduce challenges and opportunities to transform operations and raise the bar of consumer experience. Success in this new era requires a new way of thinking, new skills, and new technologies to help your organization embrace digital health. In this webinar, we’ll demonstrate how to measure your organization’s analytics maturity and design a strategy to digital transformation.

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December 14 (Wednesday) noon ET. “Three Practices to Minimize Drift Between Audits.” Sponsored by Armor. Presenter: Kurt Hagerman, CISO, Armor. Security and compliance readiness fall to the bottom of the priority lists of many organizations, where they are often treated as periodic events rather than ongoing processes. How can they improve their processes to ensure they remain secure and compliant between audits? This webinar will cover the healthcare threat landscape and provide three practices that healthcare organizations can implement to better defend their environments continuously.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Family Care Partners furthers its mission to “create one of the largest independent primary and preventative care companies” with the acquisition of Wagener Medical Center, a rural family medicine practice in Wagener, SC. FCP was formed last December by private equity firm Varsity Healthcare Partners and Colonial Family Practice with the aim of creating super-regional family practices in the Southeast.

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Aurora Health Care (MN) will move its QuickCare urgent care clinics into Walgreens next Spring, replacing five in the Milwaukee area and opening an additional three. AHC, which closed 19 clinics in 2009 after several years of rapid expansion, hopes the Walgreens brand will draw more patients into the state’s largest health system. All of the urgent care clinics will tap into AHC’s Epic system.


Announcements and Implementations

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Solutionreach develops PM-compatible messaging software that enables patients to securely text a practice’s landline from their mobile devices.

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Worksite health center company Marathon Health adds mobile optimization and real-time clinical decision support, among other features, to its EHR.

MacPractice provides beta customers with macOS Sierra- and El Capitan-compatible versions of is EHR and PM software.

Azalea Health adds APersona’s adaptive, multifactor authentication software to its EHR.


Research and Innovation

A review of 137 health apps designed for patients with chronic conditions finds most to be severely lacking when it comes to responding to “red-flag information” like abnormal blood-sugar levels or suicidal tendencies. The apps – reviewed by a physician and tech expert, were also back to offer little to no privacy, with the majority of information sharing conducted via insecure text messaging and emails. Reviewers sent their comments to app developers in hopes of helping them fill the identified gaps.


Government and Politics

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A small Aprima survey of physician practice professionals finds 52 percent of respondents believe a Trump presidency will improve US healthcare. Just under 50 percent anticipate a positive financial impact on their practice, while 59 percent expect a decrease in regulatory burdens.


Other

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Nurse practitioner Kathryn Takayoshi writes a thoughtful editorial on the ways in which her rural New England community health center is working to combat the opioid epidemic, despite a lack of guidelines. The center has created a task force that includes PCPs, RNs, behavioral health professionals, and an addiction specialist. It created its own set of guidelines, built off of those CDC released in March, that require urine drug screens at each monthly visit, and that fully integrate behavioral health into primary care. The center has also created an adjacent suboxone clinic, though its working to integrate it into the main clinic for patient convenience. “It seems that we are always slow to adopt new guidelines,” Takayoshi writes. “We are skeptical and resistant to change. This is one of those times when we need to speed up our acceptance. Talking about overprescribing is not enough. Primary care providers are good at following new diabetes guidelines. It’s time we do the same for chronic opioids.”


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 12/5/16

December 5, 2016 News No Comments

Top News

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Central Illinois Health Information Exchange selects Smart Alerts technology from ICA to better enable PCPs or care managers to stay on top of patient events such as ER visits and hospital readmissions. “This provides real-time … information that wouldn’t typically be made available unless the patient remembers to mention it when they come in for their next visit,” explains CIHIE Executive Director Joy Duling. “Ultimately, this means more responsive and cost effective care, while reducing the possibility that patients are going to be subjected to duplicative or contraindicated care.”


Webinars

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December 6 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Get Ready for Blockchain’s Disruption.” Sponsored by PokitDok. Presenter: Theodore Tanner, Jr., co-founder and CTO, PokitDok. EHR-to-EHR data exchange alone can’t support healthcare’s move to value-based care and its increased consumer focus. Blockchain will disrupt the interoperability status quo with its capability to support a seamless healthcare experience by centralizing, securing, and orchestrating disparate information. Attendees of this webinar will be able to confidently describe how blockchain works technically, how it’s being used, and the healthcare opportunities it creates. They will also get a preview of DokChain, the first-ever running implementation of blockchain in healthcare.

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December 7 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Charting a Course to Digital Transformation – Start Your Journey with a Map and Compass.” Sponsored by Sutherland Healthcare Solutions. Presenters: Jack Phillips, CEO, International Institute for Analytics; Graham Hughes, MD, CEO, Sutherland Healthcare Solutions. The digital era is disrupting every industry and healthcare is no exception. Emerging technologies will introduce challenges and opportunities to transform operations and raise the bar of consumer experience. Success in this new era requires a new way of thinking, new skills, and new technologies to help your organization embrace digital health. In this webinar, we’ll demonstrate how to measure your organization’s analytics maturity and design a strategy to digital transformation.

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December 14 (Wednesday) noon ET. “Three Practices to Minimize Drift Between Audits.” Sponsored by Armor. Presenter: Kurt Hagerman, CISO, Armor. Security and compliance readiness fall to the bottom of the priority lists of many organizations, where they are often treated as periodic events rather than ongoing processes. How can they improve their processes to ensure they remain secure and compliant between audits? This webinar will cover the healthcare threat landscape and provide three practices that healthcare organizations can implement to better defend their environments continuously.


Announcements and Implementations

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Banner Urgent Care implements RCM services from Zotec Partners across its 32 facilities within the Banner Health system. Banner Health acquired the chain from Urgent Care Extra in August, and anticipates opening at least 18 more by the end of 2017.

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Continual Compliance Solutions develops software to help independent practices manage internal HIPAA programs. The Abyde solution includes risk assessments, policies and procedures, and HIPAA training. I chuckled when I saw the company’s fake end user above.

Allied Physicians Group (NY) chooses Dimensional Insight’s Diver Platform for analytics.

Power2Practice adds Metabolic Code’s nutraceutical distribution program to its EHR, patient portal, and PM software platform for integrative and functional medicine. If, like me, you’re wondering what “nutraceutical” means, here is how Wikipedia defines it: An FDA-regulated pharmaceutical-grade and standardized nutrient.


People

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James Aita (Idea Couture) joins Medicomp Systems as director of strategy and business development, North America.


Telemedicine

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Private video counseling company Lionrock Recovery offers its addiction recovery app free of charge. CEO Peter Loeb makes a good point in noting that, “Holiday season can be very hard for the millions of people struggling with drug and alcohol problems who live too far away from support resources, or who need to keep their recovery very private.” The app features secure messaging between users and sober time tracking, among other features.

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Thrive Global, Arianna Huffington’s new media and commerce venture dedicated to helping society shift from burnt out to being well, selects Doctor on Demand as its video-medicine partner. The telemedicine company will take up space in Thrive Global’s pop-up store in New York City through January 15.

Back to Motion PT (CO) implements Phzio telerehabilitation technology from EWellness Healthcare.


Government and Politics

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The local paper looks at Minnesota’s Restricted Recipient Program, which flags patients who visit hospital ERs as much as 150 times a year and then limits them to a single PCP, hospital, and pharmacy. Though not popular with its patients, who often feel stigmatized by their forced participation, the program has cut ER visits in half and saved the state $7 million annually.


Other

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A local Texas news outlet tells the compelling story of Mitchel Wong, MD an Austin-based ophthalmologist whose family history in the area dates back to 1916, when his grandfather joined Gen. John Pershing’s efforts – as a cook – to try to capture Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. Wong’s family eventually launched a successful grocery business, which he eschewed in favor of medical school. He opened his own eye practice in 1969, eventually bringing his son on board. Wong and his family pledged last month to donate over $20 million to Dell Medical School to create the Mitchel and Shannon Wong Eye Institute.

TrainerMD adds Styku’s Microsoft Kinect-powered 3D body-scanning technology to its 360˚ Health Program, a membership-based fitness analysis and goal-tracking program that will launch early next year.


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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Population Health Management Weekly Wrap Up 12/4/16

December 4, 2016 News No Comments

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Andrew Ziskind, MD (Huron Consulting Group) joins Premier as senior vice president of academic strategy.

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A Health Affairs editorial authored by HHS Acting Assistant Secretary Karen DeSalvo, MD and American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges Benjamin highlights what to me is the fine line between public health and population health management. At their core, both focus on analyzing, benchmarking, and better coordinating care for select, often large, groups of people. When it comes to actionable data and understandable metrics, the authors reveal that the challenges are almost the same: “There also exist technical and cultural barriers to data sharing and linkage,” they write. “The public and private sectors should work together to enable more real-time and geographically granular data to be shared, linked, and synthesized to inform action while protecting data security and individual privacy.”

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Modernizing Medicine adds population-health focused clinical and financial analytics to its EHR and PM technologies for physician practices. 

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Lumeon upgrades Care Pathway Manager technology to include a mobile patient scheduling and messaging app, better appointment pathway automation, and a selection of APIs.

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Omnicell will acquire Raleigh, NC-based Ateb, which offers pharmacy-enabled care and population health management solutions, for $41 million in cash. CEO Frank Sheppard left his IBM developer job in 1992 to form the company. The news comes less than two weeks after Ateb announces it will integrate behavioral-based patient engagement and medication adherence solutions from Improved Patient Outcomes with its Patient Management Access Portal, enabling pharmacists to identify and educate patients at high risk for chronic disease.

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Looking to dip its corporate toes into the population health management space, remote cardiac monitoring company BioTelemetry acquires Telcare’s remote diabetes management platform for $7 million. “[W]e see digital population health management as a natural fit to leverage our expertise and existing partnerships to improve outcomes and reduce costs in some of the more widespread chronic conditions,” explains BioTelemetry President and CEO Joseph Capper. “We chose the diabetes market as our first major digital population health initiative because of its significant overall burden on the healthcare system, with estimated direct annual costs in the U.S. of over $245 billion.”

Northwell Health (NY) and Siemens Healthineers form a research partnership to address imaging effectiveness and outcomes. Siemens will, over the course of the four-year partnership, send full-time employees to work with Northwell on outcomes-based research projects and population health management efforts.


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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Become a sponsor.

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