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News 12/12/18

December 12, 2018 News No Comments

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Jonathan Bush appears on CNBC six months after stepping down as CEO of Athenahealth, calling his appearance (in typical Bush fashion) a “little bit like being invited to my ex-girlfriend’s family for Thanksgiving.” When asked to advise other CEOs on what to do when faced with an activist investor, Bush said the actions of firms like Elliott Management will likely make companies rethink their plans to go public. “My experience is that running a company with a gun to your head is no way to run a company,” he added. “Better to just say pull the trigger.”

Of Elliott Management’s rifling through his social media accounts to portray his actions as irresponsible, Bush pointed out that, “If you’re cynical and you can use the media well, you can take humanity and twist it into a dark thing.”

When asked if his personality may have been part of the company’s problems, he admitted, “We needed a little bit of reindeer games to get attention, to get on your show, to get doctors into our 10×10 booth at … HIMSS, to attract entrepreneurs. We made it sexy and fun to enter this space.”

On his next move, which may or may not include a run for public office: “I would like to make sure that whatever I do with the rest of my life is optimistic and has the notion of a unifying opportunity for everyone in it. Don’t we all?”


Webinars

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


Announcements and Implementations

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In Hawaii, Doctors on Call Maui rolls out CareCloud’s EHR, practice management, and RCM software at its two locations.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Kindbody expands in California with two pop-up clinics in Los Angeles. The women’s healthcare company, which also offers virtual consults, has offered similar services in Palo Alto, San Francisco, and New York. It plans to add brick-and-mortar facilities on both coasts in 2019.


Other

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In Nebraska, Prairie Fields Family Medicine notifies over 6,000 patients of an early October data breach that occurred when an unencrypted spreadsheet containing patient details was sent to the wrong email address.

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It’s not often earthquakes shake up my part of the world, and so I didn’t know what to make of the rumblings that shook my house early this morning. I awoke to reports of a 4.4-magnitude quake in Eastern Tennessee, and was relieved to learn there were no injuries or damage as a result. I did wonder if the earthquake had triggered the fall-detection feature on anyone’s Apple Watch ….

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And speaking of Apple Watch features … This California Healthline article points out that the Watch’s health app, including fall detection, ECG readings, and irregular heart rhythm alerts, make it the perfect holiday gift for seniors. One Apple analyst thinks the marketing makes sense: “People who wore watches their whole lives, plus fall monitoring? Voilà! It creates another on-ramp for another consumer in the Apple ecosystem.” Another analyst is even more succinct, calling the health-monitoring apps a “play to sell more stuff to people.” As is the case with many articles of this ilk, the “worried well” are trotted out as a potentially unintended consequence of the Watch’s popularity among already fairly healthy users. Talking healthcare head Eric Topol, MD offers the cautionary provider’s perspective: “It’s mass use of a tool, and with that is going to come lots of unintended consequences. It’ll lead to a lot of anxiety and expense and additional testing, and even then some people will get blood thinners inappropriately. This is the opposite of individualized medicine, where you are using something on exactly, precisely the right person.”

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Providers like sports cardiologist Jeffrey Lin, MD are already seeing patients walk in with questions related to their Apple Watch readings. Another cardiologist calls it a “daily occurrence,” while a venture capitalist points out that it’s really all about happy customers reassuring themselves that they’re fine.


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News 12/10/18

December 10, 2018 News No Comments

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Federal officials arrest Pavandeep Bakhshi, a former Constellation Healthcare Technologies board member, for his role in a scheme that attempted to trick investors out of hundreds of millions meant to help take the RCM and practice management company private. Bakshi and three co-conspirators spent nearly two years attempting to inflate the value of CHT so as to lure investors and their money. They created fictitious companies that CHT supposedly acquired; and created sham bank records, income streams, and customers to show CHT’s glowing financial health.

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Bakshi and his fellow conspirators were fired or voluntarily left the company in 2017. CHT filed for bankruptcy in March, attributing its troubles in part to their misdeeds.


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Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Maiysha Clairborne, MD launches a membership-based career resources website for female physicians looking for help getting their practices off the ground. Echoing the sentiment of many an independent MD, Clairborne says, “As physicians we are not taught business or entrepreneurship, we are only taught to be clinicians. I was once that new entrepreneur struggling to find my way in an area I knew nothing about and had to learn on my own. I created this institute so that I can help other physicians create their ideal careers and practices without the pain and struggles I had to endure due to lack of business knowledge, training, and support along the way.”

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Optometry practice management company Williams Group develops the Total Freedom program, which gives practice owners a way to transition day-to-day management of their business over to the Williams Group while still retaining financial control.


Government and Politics

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The FDA approves the ReSET-O app, a prescribable behavioral health tool from Pear Therapeutics that is intended for use alongside outpatient treatment to help patients maintain treatment protocols for opioid use.


Other

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EHR-hosting vendor IT Lighthouse experiences a ransomware attack, prompting customer Redwood Eye Center (CA) (also an Allscripts customer) to notify over 16,000 patients of the breach and to switch vendors.

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First lactating almonds, now cookie dough. This guy just has a knack for tweets.

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I know this is hospital-related, but I just couldn’t resist: Family physician Erik Bostrom, MD develops the sweet habit of sewing and embroidering blankets for each baby he delivers at Riverwood Healthcare Center in Minnesota. He has found special delight in the fact that his sewing machine is the same brand as his chainsaw.


Sponsor Updates

  • Healthwise discusses why its partnership with ZeOmega benefits clients.

Blog Posts


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News 12/5/18

December 5, 2018 News No Comments

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The New York State Dept. of Health files administrative charges against former CCS Oncology CEO and Chief Medical Director Won Sam Yi, MD over the deaths of six patients. The department contends that Wu’s role in the deaths stemmed from gross negligence and incompetence, and a failure to adequately maintain their medical records. The chain of oncology practices, a CureMD EHR customer since 2015, closed in April after filing for bankruptcy.


Webinars

December 6 (Thursday) 11 ET. “Make the Most of Azure DevOps in Healthcare.” Sponsor: CitiusTech. Presenter: Harshal Sawant, practice lead for DevOps and mobile, CitiusTech. Enterprise IT teams are moving from large-scale, project-based system implementations to a continuously evolving and collaborative process that includes both development and business teams. This webinar will review healthcare DevOps trends and customer stories, describe key factors in implementing a DevOps practice, describe how to assess Azure DevOps, and lay out the steps needed to create an Azure DevOps execution plan.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


People

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Lynn Westphal, MD (Stanford Medical School) joins tech-heavy women’s clinic Kindbody as CMO of reproductive endocrinology.

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Privia Health names Mark Foulke (Cigna-HealthSpring) EVP of transformational, value-based care.

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The Georgia Health Information Network hires Pam Matthews (SHIEC) as executive operating officer.

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Patagonia Health promotes Don Sargent to VP of customer experience.


Announcements and Implementations

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Aprima announces EHR integration capabilities with SE Healthcare’s data analytics.

KAMMCO develops an opioid/controlled substances dashboard to give its HIE participants deeper insight into patient prescriptions that have been written and filled. KAMMCO has partnered with state medical societies to develop HIEs in seven states.

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Alaska Maritime Physicians implements DrChrono’s mobile EHR to bolster its telemedicine services between patients at sea and its clinic in Anchorage.

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California-based IPA Nivano Physicians selects analytics and population health software from Qualmetrix.

Nextech Systems adds Red Spot Interactive’s patient acquisition and retention software to its EHR and practice management technology for specialty practices.

In California, the San Joaquin Community HIE selects Act.md’s care coordination technology as part of its Whole Person Care pilot program for Medicaid patients. The program will bring together primary and behavioral healthcare providers, social services, and other community partners to care for beneficiaries who use the most healthcare services but have the poorest outcomes.


Telemedicine

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Enzyme Health raises $1.7 million in a seed funding round led by Silverton Partners. The Austin, TX-based startup has developed an online marketplace to match clinicians with job openings at telemedicine companies and brick-and-mortar facilities.


Research and Innovation

Of 2,300 surveyed patients, University of Michigan researchers find that only one third used a patient portal in 2017. Those who didn’t were typically not offered access to a portal, male, over 65, on Medicaid, and lacking a college education. Of those that did use a portal, 95 percent were offered access, proving the proverbial point that you can’t use what you don’t know exists. Of those that didn’t use a portal, most cited a desire to speak directly with their provider, or had no need to access one as opposed to technological barriers, leading researchers to conclude that portal use seems to be more about awareness and comfort levels than computer know-how.


Other

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The local paper profiles Reach Out and Read, a nonprofit started 30 years ago by pediatricians to encourage their peers to get books into the hands of patients. Chad Rogers, MD, co-founder of the organization’s Arkansas branch, says that it’s an evidence-based model that helps improve brain development and better prepares kids for kindergarten. Board member Martha Hiett agrees: “There are all kinds of positives with this program, including the interaction between the pediatrician and the family. We’re sometimes more apt to follow doctor’s orders, and that interactivity encourages and promotes it even more.”


Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD publishes a new guide, “In or Out-source Your Value-Based Care Revenue Cycle Management.”
  • Aprima announces EHR integration with SE Healthcare’s Physician Empowerment Suite software.
  • EClinicalWorks publishes a podcast titled “Strengthening Patient Engagement in Illinois.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 12/3/18

December 3, 2018 News No Comments

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AMA publishes its first look at telemedicine utilization amongst 3,500 physicians. Key findings include:

  • Fifteen percent of physicians report using telemedicine as part of their practice, while 11 percent have used it for consults with colleagues.
  • Radiologists, psychiatrists, and cardiologists were the greatest users by specialty for patient interactions.
  • Video conferencing was the most preferred method.
  • Perhaps most relevant to physician practices is the fact that MDs in such organizations had a lower rate of usage than did their employed counterparts, suggesting that cost of implementation may be hindering smaller practices from adopting the technology.

Webinars

December 5 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Tapping Into the Potential of Natural Language Processing in Healthcare.” Sponsor: Health Catalyst. Presenters: Wendy Chapman, PhD, chair of the department of biomedical informatics, University of Utah School of Medicine; Mike Dow, senior director of product development, Health Catalyst. This webinar will provide an NLP primer, sharing principle-driven stories so you can get going with NLP whether you are just beginning or considering processes, tools, or how to build support with key leadership. Dr. Chapman’s teams have demonstrated phenotyping for precision medicine, quality improvement, and decision support, while Mr. Dow’s group helps organizations realize statistical insight by incorporating text notes along with discrete data analysis. Join us to better understand the potential of NLP through existing applications, the challenges of making NLP a real and scalable solution, and the concrete actions you can take to use NLP for the good of your organization.

December 6 (Thursday) 11 ET. “Make the Most of Azure DevOps in Healthcare.” Sponsor: CitiusTech. Presenter: Harshal Sawant, practice lead for DevOps and mobile, CitiusTech. Enterprise IT teams are moving from large-scale, project-based system implementations to a continuously evolving and collaborative process that includes both development and business teams. This webinar will review healthcare DevOps trends and customer stories, describe key factors in implementing a DevOps practice, describe how to assess Azure DevOps, and lay out the steps needed to create an Azure DevOps execution plan.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Announcements and Implementations

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The Acacia Network of six FQHCs in New York City goes live on Clearwave’s patient check-in and insurance verification technology.

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The Colorado-based Community Care Alliance will offer its clinically integrated network of rural providers population health management software from The Garage.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Cedars-Sinai Accelerator graduate MedPilot wraps up a seed funding round of $1.7 million with help from the health system, Hudson River Capital Partners, Valley Growth Ventures, and Techstars. The startup, which has developed patient billing and engagement software, will use the funding for new hires and product development.


Telemedicine

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Telemedicine doctors point out that while working from home can be a plus, especially when it comes to avoiding burnout, they sometimes miss the opportunities for curbside consults: “That flexibility just isn’t there in a traditional brick-and-mortar practice,” says Doctor on Demand provider Heather Hawthorne, MD, who adds that it can be a bit isolating, too. “If you talk to physicians in other settings, a big part of taking care of patients is (talking to) your colleague like, ‘Hey, I don’t know what this rash is,’ and you’ll ask the doctor in the next exam room. It’s kind of isolated here. I don’t have that.” Physicians have increased their availability for virtual visits, either moonlighting or moving into telemedicine full time. The AAFP reports that 20 percent of their members consulted via telemedicine in 2017, a steady increase from 15 percent three years prior.


Research and Innovation

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After surveying 4,500 patients, researchers find that between 60 and 80 percent of them admit to not sharing information with their physicians that could be clinically relevant, such as how often they exercise and details about their diet. A third also admit to not speaking up when they disagree with a care recommendation or don’t understand a physician’s instructions. Survey respondents cited a fear of being embarrassed, and being judged about their habits as reasons why they don’t tell their doctors all. To make matters worse, one researcher points out that, “We also have to consider the interesting limitation that survey participants might have withheld information about what they withheld, which would mean that our study has underestimated how prevalent this phenomenon is.”


Other

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The local paper profiles the work Highgate Medical Group in New York is doing to add behavioral healthcare to its primary care services. David Pawlowski, MD has said integration of the two services has been key, including making sure mental health and social service consults are documented in the patient’s EHR so that the entire care team is on the same page.

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Residents of a retired physician’s home in California essentially take thousands of her medical records hostage after finding them spilling out of boxes in a storage area in the garage. Believing the privacy of the patients to be more important than the physician’s legal right to the records, the couple boxed them up, put them in a rented storage unit, and filed a complaint with HHS. The agency has told the couple, who have since moved out of the home, to return the records – a directive they have ignored thus far. The physician has filed a police report claiming they were stolen.

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If author Bill Bryson were a physician, he might come up with something like this: English GP Philip Evans finds fame with his first book, a compilation of quirky tales from his practice, travels, and observations over the years. A few snippets:

  • From a village newsletter: “Low self-esteem support group will meet Thursday at 7 p.m., please use the back door.”
  • Noticed at a cricket match in Dubai: “The dress code is very simple. Just keep your clothes on.”
  • In a letter to The Times: “Researchers found that the least spread of bacteria from surgeons occurred if they were naked and lightly oiled.”

Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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News 11/28/18

November 28, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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CMS and ONC release 74 pages’ worth of recommendations on reducing regulatory and administrative burdens caused by health IT and EHRs. Based on stakeholder feedback and listening sessions conducted over the last year, the draft strategy focuses on three main goals:

  • Reducing EHR documentation time and effort.
  • Reducing the time and effort needed to meet regulatory reporting requirements.
  • Improving EHR functionality and ease of use.

Comments are due January 28.


Webinars

December 5 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “Tapping Into the Potential of Natural Language Processing in Healthcare.” Sponsor: Health Catalyst. Presenters: Wendy Chapman, PhD, chair of the department of biomedical informatics, University of Utah School of Medicine; Mike Dow, senior director of product development, Health Catalyst. This webinar will provide an NLP primer, sharing principle-driven stories so you can get going with NLP whether you are just beginning or considering processes, tools, or how to build support with key leadership. Dr. Chapman’s teams have demonstrated phenotyping for precision medicine, quality improvement, and decision support, while Mr. Dow’s group helps organizations realize statistical insight by incorporating text notes along with discrete data analysis. Join us to better understand the potential of NLP through existing applications, the challenges of making NLP a real and scalable solution, and the concrete actions you can take to use NLP for the good of your organization.

December 6 (Thursday) 11 ET. “Make the Most of Azure DevOps in Healthcare.” Sponsor: CitiusTech. Presenter: Harshal Sawant, practice lead for DevOps and mobile, CitiusTech. Enterprise IT teams are moving from large-scale, project-based system implementations to a continuously evolving and collaborative process that includes both development and business teams. This webinar will review healthcare DevOps trends and customer stories, describe key factors in implementing a DevOps practice, describe how to assess Azure DevOps, and lay out the steps needed to create an Azure DevOps execution plan.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Announcements and Implementations

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services taps into Appriss Health’s PMP Gateway to connect provider EHRs and pharmacy management systems with the state’s Controlled Substances Reporting System. Users will also have access to the company’s NarxCare patient risk score tool. 


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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UnitedHealth Group will acquire The Polyclinic, a Seattle-based physicians group founded over 100 years ago, via its OptumHealth subsidiary. Polyclinic CEO Lloyd David cited a lack of funding and resources for new technologies as one of the reasons behind the clinic’s decision to put itself up for sale. “We just realized a couple of years ago,” he said, “doing our strategic plan, that it was going to take more capital than we have, than the doctors have, to finance what is ahead both in terms of growth and in terms of innovation.” The clinic implemented Epic nine years ago through a software-sharing agreement with Swedish Medical Center.


Telemedicine

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Global Partnership for Telehealth adds remote patient monitoring software and hardware from Cloud Dx to its line of managed telemedicine services.

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InSight Telepsychiatry secures funding from Harbour Point Capital through a recapitalization. The company, which has been around since 1999, offers virtual mental health services to consumers, community-based providers, and emergency departments.


Research and Innovation

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New research finds telemedicine utilization by commercially insured patients has grown over the last 12 years, but not by much (though there was a significant uptick last year in direct-to-consumer visits as a result of more payer-friendly reimbursement policies). Most virtual visits were initiated by patients living in metro areas for mental health and primary care services. It will be interesting to see if (and when) federal efforts to expand telemedicine services for Medicare beneficiaries result in increased access for patients living in rural areas where, some would argue, they are most needed. (Hat tip to Politico for digging behind the pay wall.)


Other

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While this article highlights physician burnout at hospitals, it also offers a peek into the effects on independent physicians. A few highlights:

  • Independent group Atrius Health (MA) has taken to diverting unnecessary emails away from physicians to lower-level staffers as part of an effort to eliminate 1.5 million “clicks.”
  • It takes 32 clicks to order and record one patient’s flu shot at the internal medicine practice of Christine Sinsky, MD, a number made more onerous at practices where only the physician is permitted to enter the order.

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“Libraries are so much more than just books:” Health Affairs highlights a library in rural Hundred, West Virginia that allows patrons to check out bikes, helmets, horns, and baby trailers. Director Tina McBee hopes bike access will help the community tackle its high obesity rate. The town is one of a dozen across the country now offering the perk.


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicomp Systems publishes an e-book titled “Interoperability and the Quest to Solve Healthcare’s Seemingly Unsolvable Problem.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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