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DOCtalk with Dr. Gregg 10/30/14

October 29, 2014 News No Comments

Portals and Virtual Visits and Engagement … Oh My!

This is a special time of year for our little practice. We opened our then-brand-spanking new office on Halloween 2006. And on that day, apropos to the occasion, our office was filled with ghouls and goblins, warlocks and witches, jack-o’-lanterns and Sponge Bobs. We had, as Dorothy would say, an office filled with "lions and tigers and bears…oh my!"

Eight years on, as we prepare for our anniversary celebrations, it occurs to me that our lions and tigers and bears have been replaced.

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Owing in large part to the techno-geek who runs the joint, we’ve always been inclined toward gadgets and gizmos of the electronic sort. From digital scales and stadiometers to electronic vision screeners and audiometry tools to touchless everything and antibacterial fabrics (for contagion control) to implementation of Universal Design concepts and workflow planning from pre-Day One – we’ve employed all kinds of jazzy tech.

Obviously, the use of HIT/EHR/EMR/computers was part and parcel of this digital development, again from pre-Day One. For a while, those tools were pretty "wow, cool," but they’ve pretty much moved into the passé phase of their impressiveness. The New HIT Kids On The Block are now fully patient-facing … and the early results, at least anecdotally, are very much a resurgence of the "wow, cool."

To be honest, patient engagement tools seemed a little scary, not because engaging patients was boo-ful, but because of the whole "OMG, another workflow processes change" thing. But, our experience with patient engagement has been nothing but positive, from both sides of the patient-provider coin. Sure, it takes some effort, as does any change to workflow and "thoughtflow." And it takes some willingness to experiment and adapt to successes and not-so-successes.

For instance, we found that all the marketing and signage and balloons and streamers in the world don’t hold a candle to the power of office staff talking to and encouraging each and every patient/parent to interact with the portal, to sign up and to actually use it. And, the more we think to communicate via our "online care center," the more our families think to use it, both in response to us and in initiation of conversations.

Personally, I was concerned that using a patient portal would demand more from us and be less efficient than our tried and true communication workflows – i.e., telephones, letters, and faxes, basically. Nothing could have been less true. I love using the portal, when appropriate, and find that I’m actually interacting more with my families and feeling less stressed about keeping up with provider-patient communications than ever before! It probably helps that we found an absolutely beautiful patient portal tool that’s as easy on the eyes as it is to use. It’s so nice that almost every day I get some parent commenting on how much they love it. It’s definitely as, if not more, efficient than other communication methods. Plus, I think it’s made me more responsive and more communicative. I honestly think it’s made me a better healthcare provider.

Building on the success of this newfound satisfaction with better communication, we’ve also decided to start offering virtual visits to our families. We’re just rolling this out, but from the results of preliminary informal surveys of many of our families it appears that many, if not most, would be interested in having the online visit option, when appropriate. "Save time, save gas, save money." I can’t say yet how well the rollout will actually work, but again we found a really great, and affordable, HIPAA-compliant tool and our test runs have been superb. (And it helps that the development folks behind the virtual visit tool, just like the teams behind our patient portal and our wonderfully usable EMR, are just fantastic!)

And, remember, this is all in a small practice in rural, little Nowhere, Ohio, with a Medicaid population of over 40 percent. We’re not talking big-city, techno-savvy, Starbucks-drinking, cutting edge-concerned, modern-day Yuppies. We’re talking salt of the earth, small town types, many of them farm folks. It appears that folks all over are open to better healthcare communication options. (Duh.)

It’s funny: Our patient engagement efforts appear to have the power to engage us providers right along with our patients/families. Thus, this Halloween, it’s far less spooky in our office with portals and virtual visits and engagement … oh my!

From the trenches…

Once I had brains, and a heart also; so, having tried them both, I should much rather have a heart.” – The Tin Man (L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)

dr gregg

Dr. Gregg Alexander, a grunt in the trenches pediatrician at Madison Pediatrics, is Chief Medical Officer for Health Nuts Media, an HIT and marketing consultant, and sits on the board of directors of the Ohio Health Information Partnership (OHIP).


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk Practice  updates.
Contact us online.

JennHIStalk

News 10/30/14

October 29, 2014 News 1 Comment

Top News

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Talk about multitasking: An ONC blog post says that National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD will continue to lead ONC while under reassignment as Acting Assistant Secretary of Health, explaining that she will continue to chair the Health IT Policy Committee and work on ONC’s Interoperability Roadmap. I hope DeSalvo doesn’t find herself caught in the classic multitasking trap of doing too many things at once, and none of them very well. At a time when the public is ridiculing the White House’s choice of an “Ebola Czar” and wondering when a permanent Surgeon General will be named, the ONC’s move is none-too reassuring.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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I felt like crawling into the Serenity Pod bed once I finally made it back home from MGMA last night. I didn’t quite win enough in Las Vegas to cover the $10,000 Skymall price tag, so my usual bed had to suffice. After a good night’s sleep, I had time to further ruminate on my MGMA experience. Not once did I hear any discussion of ONC’s personnel shuffle, leading me to believe that physicians in the trenches have better things to worry about than who’s winning at musical chairs in Washington.

I did see one exhibitor prepared to give away an Apple Watch once it’s released early next year, but FitBits, iPads, and various gift cards were the trendy giveaways. If you’re a FitBit fan, check out Lt. Dan’s write up on the company’s next generation of activity trackers. Unless you’re an Apple junkie, the FitBit Surge might be the better deal if you’re looking for Apple Watch-like features at a lower price point.


Webinars

November 5 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. Keeping it Clean: How Data Profiling Leads to Trusted Data. Sponsored by Encore, A Quintiles Company. Presenters: Lori Yackanicz, administrator of clinical informatics, Lehigh Valley Health Network; Randy L. Thomas, associate partner of performance analytics, Encore, A Quintiles Company; Joy Ales, MHA, BSN, RN, senior consultant, Encore, A Quintiles Company. Data dictionaries, organizational standards, and pick lists for data entry fields may describe the intent of a particular data field, but don’t guarantee that the data captured in the source system actually reflects that intent. Data profiling is the statistical analysis and assessment of the data values in source systems for consistency, uniqueness, and logic to ensure that the data landing in a data warehouse or analytic application is as expected. Attendees will learn which projects benefit from data profiling and the resources needed to accomplish it.

November 12 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. Three Ways to Improve Care Transitions Using an HIE Encounter Notification System. Sponsored by Audacious Inquiry. Presenters: Steven Kravet, MD, MBA, FACP, president, Johns Hopkins Community Physicians; Jennifer Bailey, senior director of quality and transformation, Johns Hopkins Community Physicians; Robert Horst, principal, Audacious Inquiry. Johns Hopkins Community Physicians reduced readmissions and improved quality by implementing a real-time, ADT-based encounter notification system (ENS) to keep the member’s healthcare team informed during transitions in care. Johns Hopkins presenters will describe the clinical, operational, and financial value of the ENS for care coordination along with its technology underpinnings.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Mednax acquires NEXus Medical Group (GA) and its Meridian Anesthesia Consultants subsidiary. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction marks the ninth for Mednax this year.

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Booz Allen Hamilton acquires population health informatics company Epidemico to further develop analytics offerings in population health. I won’t go so far as to surmise that BAH is jumping on the Ebola-outbreak bandwagon, but it is worth noting that Epidemico’s HealthMap software tool is designed to track more than 200 infectious diseases globally. Do they know something we don’t?


Announcements and Implementations

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Diagnotes joins the Allscripts Developer Program to integrate its mobile communication system for medical groups with existing Allscripts products.

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AMA introduces the Health Workforce Mapper, an interactive tool that illustrates the locations of the healthcare workforce in each state, including professional shortage areas, hospital locations, and other related workforce trends. This seems like it will be a useful tool at the med school level in combatting the physician shortage that was much discussed at MGMA. I’d like to see AMA (or some other industry organization) take this one step further and overlay healthcare IT workforce data on top of physician information. This could potentially give vendors a good idea of where to find job candidates with clinical experience.

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MedicalMine Inc. partners with Bluefin Payment Systems to offer an integrated payment and security solution through its ChARM EHR, PM, and billing solution.

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Spring Creek Family Medicine (VA), part of the Martha Jefferson Hospital network, goes live on the My Martha Jefferson Clinic Record patient portal from eClinicalWorks. SCFM’s Andrew Hawkins, MD doesn’t seem too thrilled: “It’s just another layer and unfortunately, for better or for worse, nowadays, we’re on the computers a lot and so that allows people that use the computers in that way to be able to better access their system.”

ADP AdvancedMD launches a patient portal, financial dashboard, and mobile e-prescribing capabilities.

Truven Health Analytics announces an agreement with Cerner that enables it to resell the Micromedex CareNotes product. The patient education resources in CareNotes will be accessible from Cerner’s EHR by clinicians in acute care and ambulatory facilities.


Research and Innovation

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Google is developing a pill containing miniscule nanoparticles capable of searching the body for disease with a goal of providing patients with early warnings leading to proactive treatment strategies. The company is also working to develop an accompanying small, wearable device capable of attracting and counting the particles, and alerting the user if something is found. The lead molecular biologist on the project has high hopes for its outcome: “Every test you ever go to the doctor for will be done through this system. That’s our dream.”

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MolecularMatch Inc. launches a beta software system for oncologists to help them connect cancer patients with appropriate FDA-approved treatments and clinical trials based on the molecular make-up of the patient’s disease. The software uses technology licensed from MD Anderson Cancer Center (TX).

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An MGMA survey of 1,000 medical practices finds that around 85 percent of them think Medicare’s quality reporting programs detract from patient care and reduce physician productivity. More than three-quarters of respondents say the programs are too complicated, irrelevant to specialty care, expensive to implement, and include unachievable thresholds.


Government and Politics

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The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee subpoenas former US CTO Todd Park to testify on November 19 about security lapses on Healthcare.gov. Park has refused to testify before the committee on five previous occasions. The subpoena was issued on the same day the committee released a 59-page report contrasting HHS emails to what Park has said he knew about security flaws before the website’s launch.


Other

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IBM donates communications technology in Nigeria and Sierra Leone to create a public platform for sharing certain Ebola data. The company has helped create phone lines that people can call or text to ask for supplies, request an ambulance or burial services, and even to report power outages. Researchers at IBM’s Africa Lab in Kenya are using the data to create a map showing where relief efforts are most needed.


Sponsor Updates
  • Allscripts partners with ScriptSave to deploy innovative capabilities that can promote patient adherence
  • EClinicalWorks selects Exostar’s ProviderPass to expand its EHR product line to include electronic prescribing of controlled substances.
  • Allscripts launches Sunrise Mobile Care for its Sunrise EHR to deliver medication, order, and result data to the mobile devices of clinicians.

Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk Practice  updates.
Contact us online.

JennHIStalk

From MGMA 10/28/14

October 28, 2014 News 2 Comments

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My third and final day at MGMA started off with a session on “Practice Sustainability in an Age of Uncertainty,” featuring moderator Anders Gilbeg, senior vice president, MGMA government affairs; Susan Turney, MD, former CEO of MGMA and current CEO of Marshfield Clinic Health System (WI); and James Madara, MD vice president and CEO, AMA. The giant hall in which it took place was maybe half full, leading me to wonder how the rest of MGMA’s members were spending their morning. (No doubt they slept in after a fun night out courtesy of the many vendor parties that took place the night before.) Whatever the case, I settled in to hear the three touch on healthcare’s affordability problem, the plight of small physician practices, how to build better relationships between hospitals and practices (a question that got a laugh from the audience), and how to stem the physician shortage.

Technology came up a few times, mainly in the form of telemedicine and mobile health tools. When addressing the potential demise of the small physician practice, Turney explained that practices have to be inwardly focused and progressive, with technology being a key component.  She seems to feel that practices can’t wait for government or payers to catch up when it comes to reimbursement for using mobile technology. She added that, “If we do the right thing, the payment system will follow.” I find that a little hard to believe. Yes, payment reform might come about, but how long will it take? Can physicians barely keeping their doors open afford to wait for payers to catch up to what’s “right?” Time will tell whether her optimism is naïve or right on point.

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I then buzzed around the exhibit hall for about an hour, taking in one last round of vendor offerings. I was pleased to see many of our sponsors proudly displaying their HIStalk signs. Contrary to my experiences at HIMSS and HFMA ANI, the last day of the exhibit hall at MGMA seemed to be bustling. I had expected to find sales reps nose deep into their phones, but most were busy engaging with attendees, one of whom was in a kilt, oddly enough.

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Note to vendors: A smile and direct eye contact will get you everywhere. I still do not understand the absolute rudeness some vendors feel it is ok to exhibit to those whose conference badges don’t scream prospect or customer. One look at my press badge and a few sales reps brushed me off without a backward glance.

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Others, like Sheri Blaho at CS3 Technology, were happy to chat with me for a few minutes. (CS3, by the way, is a consulting firm specializing in ERP software implementations.)  I also had the opportunity to chat with Todd Occommy, MD at the Doctor on Demand booth. The company has been in the news of late thanks to nabbing an additional $21 million in investment money. Todd told me that attendee interest in the company’s white-label and co-branded telemedicine services was good, adding that a team from a large multispecialty practice in Texas had shown great interest just before I showed up.

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I had the good fortune to run into HIStalk Practice contributor Micky Tripathi, president and CEO of Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative. I snagged the picture below just before he co-presented on “Getting Quality Reporting Under Control: Meaningful Use and Beyond” with MAeHC client Paul Bergeron, MD, CMO, Central Massachusetts IPA. The presentation didn’t touch too much on Meaningful Use, instead focusing on CMIPA’s journey to building a data analytics warehouse for the use of its member physician practices. (Many physicians in the state have been on EHRs since 2005, which has given them a comfort level with healthcare IT reflected in new statistics that show positive EHR-related gains in safety, quality, and decision making.) 

Based on the number of audience questions at the end, I’d say their presentation was a success. Most questions revolved around how to manage the sticky situation of who pays for what in an IPA-led IT implementation, and how to fairly distribute quality-based incentive payments fairly. As Paul reiterated a few times, the safe answer to both is “there’s no one size fits all.”

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My last, and perhaps most enlightening conversation of the show came when I decided to rest my feet next to those of the CEO of an orthopedics practice in Texas. She was at the show specifically looking for a new SEO marketing firm to better raise the practice’s online visibility. My, what a story she had to tell about her practice’s recent conversion to Allscripts from Phoenix Ortho, which provided terrible customer support and user interface. While she didn’t use the word “nightmare,” the ensuing litigation between Phoenix Ortho and the practice likely keeps her up at night. Her staff seems happy enough with Allscripts, though she calls her physicians “click busy” due to the numerous amount of clicks it takes them to get anywhere. She stressed that it’s much better than the Phoenix Ortho EHR, which displayed a patient’s left knee when users clicked on a right shoulder.

The clock struck 12 pm, at which point I hustled to the airport to catch my flight home. All in all it was an enjoyable experience. I appreciated getting up close and personal with physicians, sponsors, and readers. Did you attend the show? What were the highlights for you? Email me and we’ll compare notes.


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk Practice  updates.
Contact us online.

JennHIStalk

News 10/28/14

October 28, 2014 News No Comments

Top News

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Leading health groups decry the mandatory quarantine imposed by New York and New Jersey on health workers returning from the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Representatives from the AMA; Medecins sans Frontiers; Infectious Diseases Society of America; Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology; and AIDS activists, researchers, and doctors have all issued statements taking politicians in both states to task for not basing their quarantine decision on solid, scientific evidence. Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Dean Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH has added his voice to the outcry via a letter to NJ Governor Chris Christie criticizing the quarantine.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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Today’s post is a bit briefer than usual, given that I’m in Las Vegas covering MGMA 2014. Catch up with what’s happening at the show via my 10/26 and 10/27 updates. You’ll find lots of show-floor pictures, attendee insight, and exhibit hall trends. I’ll post the third and final installment on 10/28.


Webinars

November 5 (Wednesday) 1:00 pm ET. Keeping it Clean: How Data Profiling Leads to Trusted Data. Sponsored by Encore, A Quintiles Company. Presenters: Lori Yackanicz, administrator of clinical informatics, Lehigh Valley Health Network; Randy L. Thomas, associate partner of performance analytics, Encore, A Quintiles Company; Joy Ales, MHA, BSN, RN, senior consultant, Encore, A Quintiles Company. Data dictionaries, organizational standards, and pick lists for data entry fields may describe the intent of a particular data field, but don’t guarantee that the data captured in the source system actually reflects that intent. Data profiling is the statistical analysis and assessment of the data values in source systems for consistency, uniqueness, and logic to ensure that the data landing in a data warehouse or analytic application is as expected. Attendees will learn which projects benefit from data profiling and the resources needed to accomplish it.

If you weren’t able to participate in last week’s webinar, this  YouTube video contains the complete 49-minute, Imprivata-sponsored webinar, including the Q&A. The presenters cover the DEA rule, which requires EMRs to be certified and providers to use two-factor authentication (along with other technical requirements). New Yorkers should be especially interested since the I-STOP act requires EPCS starting in March 2015. HIStalk webinar questions can be directed to Lorre.


Announcements and Implementations

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Emdeon announces the completion of the transition from CaparioOne to the Emdeon One brand, and the addition of a new Advanced Denials Management service to be integrated within the Emdeon One portal. Emdeon acquired Capario earlier this year, and according to show-floor conversations with Emdeon reps at MGMA, the two teams are integrating quite nicely.

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CareCloud launches Advanced CareCloud Analytics to provide visibility into a medical group’s financial, operational, and clinical performance. The company has also partnered with Precyse and HealthStream to offer their ICD-10 education program for physicians to its clients.

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Palmetto Primary Care Physicians selects the eClinicalWorks EHR, and Care Coordination Medical Record for population health management.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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RCM and analytics services vendor MediGain LLC closes a $38 million investment transaction with Prudential Capital Group. MediGain Chairman Dinesh Bhutani notes the investment will likely spill over into helping grow the company’s business in India.

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Limeade, a Washington-based startup specializing in employee health and wellness engagement platforms, secures a $25 million investment led by led by Oak HC/FT Partners of New York. The Washington state Health Care Authority signed a five-year, $15 million contract with Limeade to use its engagement platform to help HCA employees get healthier.


Government and Politics

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HHS announces the four-year, $840 million “Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative” incentive grant program to move providers to value-based, patient-centered, coordinated health services, saying that healthcare IT will be a key component.

AMA President Robert Wah, MD, expresses AMA’s displeasure at the departure of Karen DeSalvo and Jacob Reider from ONC, citing the personnel shuffle as one more nail in Meaningful Use’s coffin, leaving “a significant leadership gap which could jeopardize the growing momentum around interoperability.”  


Research and Innovation

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The Center for Connected Health and pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo Inc. will create a mobile app that will help improve treatment adherence and medication compliance for patients living with atrial fibrillation. It will also foster feedback loops that connect physicians to the patient.


People

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David Kobrinetz (Teladoc) joins U.S. Healthworks as director of telemedicine.


Other

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Meneko Spigner Mcbeth, RN, wins $1 million for coming up with the winning flavor – wasabi ginger – in the Frito-Lay “Do Us a Flavor” potato chips contest. Finalist flavors included cappuccino, mango salsa, and cheddar bacon mac and cheese.

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And speaking of spicy foods, Tabasco hot sauce proves to be a successful training aid for healthcare workers learning how to avoid contamination when taking care of Ebola-infected patients. As part of their training, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center trainees rub their eyes and touch their lips after they finish removing their protective gear. If they receive no tingling or stinging sensation, they know they have safely removed their gear and avoided contamination. I don’t think I’ll ever look at Tabasco the same way again.


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk Practice  updates.
Contact us online.

JennHIStalk

From MGMA 10/27/14

October 28, 2014 News No Comments

My second day at MGMA was a whirlwind of walking the exhibit hall, chatting with attendees, dipping into a few sessions, and party hopping the evening away. (How else to live up to the Digital Diva title?) I opted out of the 7:45 am keynote from professional development guru John C. Maxwell in favor of getting a solid seven hours of sleep. It was a worthwhile swap, given several lackluster comments I heard from attendees about his presentation. One CEO of a California-based physicians’ association thought that “it looked like church,” estimating that between 3,000 and 5,000 MGMA members sat through it. His guess wasn’t far off, given that MGMA has officially pegged attendance at this year’s conference at 4,700 – the same as last year according to the organization, though several overheard hallway conversations lead me to believe it’s slightly smaller than in years past.

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Ladies from Reno Orthopaedic Clinic (NV) opted out of the keynote, too. The idea of getting up early after a night out in Vegas was poor planning in their opinion. Despite the late night out I’m sure many attendees had, the exhibit hall was in full swing by 9:30 am as I started my trek though 15 aisles of vendors. My first stop was the eClinicalWorks booth, where I had the chance to catch up with TJ Lynas. He told me that, as opposed to past MGMA conferences, he had not yet run into any physicians looking to implement their first EHR. Most are on their second or third, which his sales team no doubt enjoys since educated consumers  requires less hand holding.

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I also had the opportunity to chat with Kelley Carnwath at the Qualis Health booth. The regional extension center last week celebrated achieving its goal of helping nearly 2,400 eligible physicians in Idaho and Washington successfully attest for Meaningful Use. The nonprofit is at the show promoting its practice transformation services.

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I was not surprised to see several booths playing off the current Ebola media frenzy. Mediplay had somewhat dated news up on its in-house education and marketing demo screen, while Ebsco Health had Ebola keyed into its DynaMed clinical decision support tool. Both grabbed my attention, so I assume they must have also pulled in more relevant passers by.

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Speaking of pulling in passers by, the Televox booth grabbed my attention with its Breast Cancer Awareness Month theme. While I appreciated the opportunity to leave a personal note of encouragement on their ribbon board, I was reminded of several articles pointing out the over-commercialization of breast cancer awareness campaigns, which are often nothing more than thinly veiled attempts to cash in on a serious healthcare issue.

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I ran into Roger Panduro from Alere at the CureMD booth. Roger told me that Alere opted not to exhibit this year, and instead sent him to walk the show floor in search of prospective partners. I also bumped into two orthopaedic practice administrators as they were making their way to demos at athenahealth. The happy hour at the CompuGroup Medical booth seemed to have briefly sidetracked them, so with a wave and a toast to my health they were gone.

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While I didn’t imbibe at the CGM booth, I did take the opportunity to meet CEO Werner Rodorff, who has been in the position just three months.

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Athenahealth came up again in my conversation with Douglas Anderson, a professor of health services management and leadership at George Washington University. His trip to MGMA included meeting with the company to discuss providing EHR demos to his students, who otherwise would have no experience with healthcare IT until they graduated into the trenches. Given the company’s increased focus on disruptive innovation, it seems like a good fit. I wonder if more EHR vendors will consider giving med students access to their technology. Who wouldn’t want to start influencing a group of potential physician champions before they even begin their careers?

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I gave my feet a break during lunch and attended the MGMA press briefing. (A good thing I did, too, since I heard the complimentary lunch for attendees in the exhibit hall ran out before everyone was served.) Several MGMA reps discussed future plans including adding new session formats and more immersive elements to the conference, and increasing the membership of larger medical groups. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event in Nashville. While I’ve never been there as a conference-goer, I’ll take it over Las Vegas as a vacation destination any day.

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A quick swing back through the exhibit hall after lunch gave me a chance to chat with Amy Hamilton of Patient Prompt. The company was recently acquired by Stericycle Communication Solutions, so MGMA is the first opportunity many staffers from both companies have had to meet each other. Patient Prompt is also using the show as an opportunity to launch new branding.

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As I headed upstairs to the education sessions, I was happy to see the e-MDs team had their HIStalk sign front and center. Once upstairs, I had to stop Keith Chew of Integrated Medical Partners for a picture. Not only did he have a plethora of brightly colored conference ribbons hanging from his lanyard, but wore a fun, Halloween-themed tie for an extra dash of color, too. Who says men’s apparel has to be boring? Keith had just come from presenting a session on how to “Survive and Thrive as an Independent Medical Practice,” a session that attracted nearly 200 attendees. Most sessions seemed to be filled to capacity, some with overflow rooms two-thirds filled. The great session attendance speaks to the point Douglas Anderson made about learning being more valuable than buying and selling at MGMA. No doubt speakers and topics also played a part.

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I ducked out of the conference to put in a few hours’ worth of work before heading to the Patient Prompt-sponsored #mgma14 tweetup, and then happily ran into several dedicated HIStalk Practice readers making their way to the NextGen party, including Charles Furr Jr., practice administrator at Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center (NC). CAAC recently converted from paper to NextGen, which makes me wonder how many other practices are in that very same boat. Probably more than the folks at eClinicalworks realize.

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The NextGen party started off slow (granted, I got there practically when the doors opened), but things livened up as the night wore on. I ended up having my caricature drawn and chatting with a director of IT for a chain of urgent care clinics based in Florida. We discussed the plight of primary care thanks to urgent care clinics like his and big-box retailers like Walmart. He seemed to think PCPs should accept the fact that “medicine has become a commodity,” and patients don’t want to wait for care.

I was happy not to have waited long for a cab ride back to the hotel, where I promptly took the shoes off my aching feet and began planning for my third day at MGMA. Stay tuned for my final report from the show tomorrow.


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk Practice  updates.
Contact us online.

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Reader Comments

  • Jess: Google's nanoparticle pill sounds very interesting. Thanks for the heads up on AMA's Health Workforce Mapper, as well!...
  • Jay Alicea: great summary Jenn! Your write up is excellent. Thank you for keeping us virtually there....
  • Cynthia Porter: I could not attend the MGMA this year, but appreciated you making me feel like I was in attendance with pictures and go...
  • Bruce Perlman: I have used Cerner and Meditech and prefer the usability of Meditech but like the potential upside of Cerner. I have ...
  • Lloyd Fisher: Excellent response Andy! I completely agree that many of the issues are a result of government and payer regulations. ...