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News 4/23/15

April 22, 2015 News No Comments

Top News

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BlackBerry launches the BlackBerry Center for High Assurance Computing Excellence to develop tools and techniques that deliver a higher level of security protection than currently available. CHACE will collaborate with the healthcare community, including the Diabetes Technology Society, to address security and privacy concerns for next-generation wireless medical devices and applications.


Reader Comments

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From Survey King: “A large immunization-based GPO, Physicians’ Alliance, is doing an interesting EHR survey, different from any I’ve seen so far. They are trying to get real data about the effect on productivity and time (the skeleton in the closet of EHRs) from practicing clinicians.  The way the survey is constructed, they’ll be able to break it down by specialty and EHR. Their results will largely come from primary care docs, which makes it additionally interesting.  I have spoken with PhysAll and they plan to publish the results.” The survey is just 10 questions, and you have the added bonus of potentially winning a $50 Amazon gift card for giving them five minutes of your time.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

 

I enjoyed tuning in to the Health Catalyst webinar on “Microsoft: the Waking Giant in Healthcare Analytics & Big Data” featuring SVP Dale Sanders. Check out my tweet recap above.


Announcements and Implementations

Kareo announces a new version of its outsourced billing solution.

SuperCoder launches BoneCoder10 ICD-10 coding and compliance workflow software.

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Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Consultants (TX) implements the MD Coder 10 Charge Capture solution from Medical Design Technologies.


Government and Politics

GAO Director of Information Security Issues Gregory Wilshusen tells House Oversight Committee members that the office will release a report on security incidents at Healthcare.gov later this year, alluding to the fact that hackers may have breached the site’s defenses more than once.


People

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Ahmed Haque, ONC’s director of the office of programs and engagement, will join former National Coordinator Farzad Mostashari’s Aledade. (Funny, he didn’t give any hints he was leaving during the ONC press conference at HIMSS last week.)

LocumTenens.com names Elizabeth Drum, MD and Kris Johnson, MD MedicalMissions.org Physicians of the Year for international and domestic service, respectively.

Chicago-based healthcare technology incubator Matter adds 10 new board members from organizations including the AMA, University of Chicago, JP Morgan Chase, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals.


Telemedicine

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Florida-based credit union GTE Financial offers its members and employees telemedicine services via MDLive. Individuals will pay $15 a month for unlimited calls, while families of up to six will pay $20. That’s a nice discount from the typical MDLive consumer rate of $49 per visit. MDLive made news last week when it announced a partnership with Microsoft, making it the first telemedicine business to offer remote consultations via Skype.

Telemedicine has its day in court, with stakeholders touting its benefits and calling for expanded use during a Senate subcommittee hearing. Subcommittee Chair Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) also announced plans to reintroduce a bill that would extend Medicare coverage for telemedicine services provided in underserved areas.


Research and Innovation

Color Genomics announces a $249 saliva test kit that detects 19 genetic markers for breast and ovarian cancer. Lt. Dan provides a breakdown here.

A study of over 28,000 online physician reviews comparing patient satisfaction scores among 23 specialties finds that patient satisfaction decreases as a physician’s level of education and training increases. Researchers noted that “patients complain online four times as often about a medical practice’s customer service – such as receptionists’ cordiality and doctors’ bedside manners – as they do about a doctor’s ability to heal.”

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A study finds that Epic EHR implementation at Cleveland Clinic’s Cole Eye Institute, a large multispecialty ophthalmic practice, made little difference to productivity or revenue compared with the pre-EHR era. Not surprisingly, the Meaningful Use incentive payments did not offset costs of implementation.

Another JAMA study finds that digital clinical decision support for pediatric healthcare providers can help reduce body mass index in children. Families and clinicians experienced better results the more thy adhered to coaching from the CDS tools, including decision support on obesity management and interventions for self-guided behavior change.

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New research finds that 70 percent of the U.S. population now lives in areas served by ACOs, with between 15 and 17 percent receiving care via the business model. While the research notes ACO growth has slowed, it points out that the new Next Generation ACO model will likely help kick start new interest – no doubt good news for companies like Aledade.


Other

The local paper covers the work physicians in Idaho are doing to move to value-based care, highlighting the State Healthcare Innovation Plan, which launches this spring. SHIP goals include improving care coordination through EHRs and health data connections; and a statewide data analytics system to track, analyze, and report key health metrics back to physicians.

Cory Franklin, MD sums up the pros and cons of EHRs in light of a recent JAMA study that found 29 million medical records were hacked, stolen, or compromised between 2009 and 2013: “Welcome to the brave new world of health care. Computerized medical records have given your health care providers better access to your medical information than ever before, even while your medical history will never again be as secure as that of your grandparents. Most people in health care consider this progress. But as George Orwell once observed, progress is invariably disappointing.” Fun fact: Franklin was Harrison Ford’s technical adviser and one of the role models for the character Ford played in The Fugitive.

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Amazon and Barbie win big in Germany’s annual “Big Brother Awards” for privacy abuses. Non-profit Digitalcourage honored two local Amazon subsidiaries for violating Germany’s privacy laws, while Hello Barbie got a nod for its ability to record users’ conversations so that parents can review them later. 


Sponsor Updates

  • ADP AdvancedMD offers “Recent enhancements to the EHR charge slip.”
  • Culbert Healthcare Solutions offers “A Consultant’s Perspective: Teach ‘Em How to Fish.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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Readers Write: Leveraging Video for Positive Outcomes via Telehealth

April 22, 2015 News No Comments

Leveraging Video for Positive Outcomes via Telehealth
Replicating the Primary Care Provider Experience for Acute Unscheduled Care
By Alan Roga, MD

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You’ve struggled through a long Friday at work, feeling run down but knowing you needed to push through. Once at home, you feel even worse: You’re burning up, your head is pounding and you feel like you just ran a marathon … without the benefit of training. There’s no way you’re up to driving six miles to the urgent care clinic or waiting for an undetermined length of time in your local hospital’s ER. Tomorrow is Saturday, so even if your primary care doctor could see you Monday, you’re miserable now. Luckily, you have a telehealth provider standing by for exactly this reason. This provider gives the option of a phone call or video appointment. Which would you choose?

Video conferencing has quickly become a preferred means of communication for both business and leisure. According to a global survey of corporate leaders, 76 percent of respondents currently use video solutions in the workplace, with 56 percent participating in at least one video call per week. Despite widespread acceptance in the business realm, video conference utilization varies greatly among telehealth providers. Some embrace video utilization, leveraging it in both Web and mobile applications, while others conduct most patient appointments via phone.

Leveraging video to treat patients via telehealth not only promotes a better patient experience, but also helps promote the best possible outcome. This fact is validated by the Federation of State Medical Boards, which developed the Model Policy for the Appropriate Use of Telemedicine Technologies in the Practice of Medicine. Per FSMB, fostering a physician-patient relationship is paramount, and video is a critical tool to help achieve this relationship. Video appointments foster the connection formed through face-to-face interactions. The ideal doctor-patient relationship, whether it encompasses a single care episode or 100, is centered on a feeling of trust, communication, and above all, connection.

In addition, video enables the physician to observe the patient’s actions, mannerisms, and expressions. This skill is a core attribute of a seasoned physician and critically important because it draws upon a physician’s knowledge, experience, and instincts. The same way a detective can read a suspect or a teacher can intuit the best way to instruct a child, doctors have perceptions seasoned by their knowledge and experience.

Lastly, video appointments provide a more conducive environment for certain telehealth best practices. By leveraging technology, these best practices facilitate doctor-patient communication, comprehensive data gathering, and an accurate diagnosis:

1) Replication of the physician office visit
From spending a moment in the virtual waiting room to receiving discharge instructions and prescriptions, doctor’s appointments have a cadence familiar to patients that should be replicated in telehealth. This cadence facilitates the proper pace for physicians to view the patient, collect data, and ask and answer questions. It allows sufficient time for clinical documentation. Toward the end of the appointment, the doctor can confirm pharmacy information and give instructions about next steps and a work release form for the patient. Conducting the appointment in a face-to-face video environment also helps replicate the tried-and-true office visit. Together, the face-to-face video environment along with a structure that follows a typical appointment can help ensure the physician and patient both obtain all the necessary information to promote the best outcome.

2) An identical experience regardless of technology or location
Telehealth enables anywhere, anytime access – an advantage for the business traveler in an airport lounge or vacationing parents with a sick toddler in their hotel room. Ideally, the patient should have the same experience whether it’s via phone or laptop. As mentioned previously, this appointment should replicate a traditional office visit as closely as possible. The mobile app, therefore, will ideally offer the same experience – from video visit to discharge paperwork – a doctor and patient would have via computer.

3) A strong doctor-patient connection along with comprehensive documentation
Today’s patients are accustomed to talking while clinicians type data into an EHR. While technology such as EHRs serves an important role, it can hinder the doctor-patient connection. In a telehealth appointment, technology must help foster an intimate connection between the doctor and patient. Tools to facilitate faster, easier documentation can enable the physician to gather extensive data, from the patient’s chronic conditions to the number and ages of the individual’s children – all while maintaining eye contact, picking up non-verbal cues, and maintaining the conversational flow. In short, technology should make patients feel like they are in the room with the physician having an intimate discussion – but not at the expense of comprehensive documentation. Ultimately, this type of telehealth encounter not only results in improved patient satisfaction, but also reduced referral rates when physicians are able to more accurately treat patients through improved technology and documentation capabilities.

In addition to these three items, telehealth providers should keep other best practices in mind. For example, physicians should not only ensure the best possible outcomes for patients, but also identify any non-acute follow-up items such as referrals or chronic condition management. Additionally, it’s important to establish a team-based approach to care by composing a dedicated team of physicians who know each other. They can then provide more cohesive, consistent care and further reduce any sense of anonymity or feeling of transience a patient may experience.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the physician population will only increase by 7 percent in the next 10 years, which will likely create more strain on emergency departments and primary care providers. As telehealth emerges as a viable, cost-effective solution for unscheduled acute care, providers must integrate video and make it a priority for all patient care episodes. Through video, telehealth providers can achieve the best practices necessary to ensure positive outcomes, excellent patient experiences, and strong physician-patient connections.

Alan Roga, MD is a board certified emergency medicine physician, founder and chief executive officer of StatDoctors in Scottsdale, AZ.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk Practice  updates.
Contact us online.
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JennHIStalk

News 4/21/15

April 20, 2015 News No Comments

Top News

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President Obama signs a bill that ends the use of social security numbers on Medicare cards, an action no doubt motivated by the proliferation of EHRs and spate of recent cyber attacks. Medicare officials have up to four years to start issuing cards with new identifiers, and another four after that to issue new cards to current beneficiaries. Socials will be replaced by a randomly generated identifier, the details of which have yet to be figured out. (Is it just me or is that an abacus on the table next to the documents he’s signing above?)

On a side note, the Wall Street Journal wins a Pulitzer for “Medicare Unmasked: Behind the Numbers,” its investigative series exposing abuses in the Medicare system. “Our reporting has sparked congressional inquiries and criminal charges, and changed public attitudes towards Medicare,” explains Editor in Chief Gerard Baker.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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I took last week off from my typical coverage to focus solely on my experience at HIMSS15. You can catch up on my recaps, as well as those from Mr. H and Dr. Jayne, below.

Sunday, April 12
Jenn
Mr. H

Monday, April 13
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Mr. H
Dr. Jayne

Tuesday, April 14
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Mr. H

Wednesday, April 15
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Mr. H
Dr. Jayne

Thursday, April 16
Mr. H
Dr. Jayne

This week will likely be spent playing a bit of catch up on the usual news coverage. I plan on venturing into new editorial territory next week, possibly increasing in frequency and dedicating one post a week to population health management news. Your thoughts and suggestions are welcome.


Webinars

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April 22 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Microsoft: The Waking Giant in Healthcare Analytics and Big Data.” Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Dale Sanders, SVP of strategy, Health Catalyst. Microsoft has been quietly reengineering its culture and products to offer the best value and most visionary platform for cloud services, big data, and analytics in healthcare. This webinar will cover the Healthcare Analytics Adoption Model, the ongoing transition from relational databases, the role of new Microsoft products such as Azure and Analytic Platform System, the PowerX product line, and geospatial and machine learning visualization tools. Attendees will learn how to incorporate cloud-based analytics services into their healthcare analytics strategies.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Population health and PM company Continuum Health Alliance announces it will lay off 88 workers, mainly in RCM services, at its N.J. headquarters.

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Integrated Document Solutions plans to add 25 to 50 jobs over the next two years to support its cloud-based services. The Florida-based company also plans to add telemedicine to its AbbaDox HIS platform in the coming months.

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Texas-based AMPM rebrands as Puredi and launches a cloud-based software platform for practice financial management.

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UnitedHealth Group subsidiary Optum acquires the MedExpress chain of urgent care clinics for an undisclosed price. MedExpress operates 141 clinics in 11 states, and plans to open an additional 25 to 30 later this year.

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Ambulatory  EHR data aggregation and analytics company Arcadia Healthcare Solutions receives $13 million in investment funds from Zaffre Investments, Peloton Equity, and existing investors.


Announcements and Implementations

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South Sound Radiology (WA) selects RCM technology from Zotec Partners for its 29 radiologists.

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CFP Physicians Group (FL) selects the Allscripts Chronic Care Management Program to better support patients with two or more chronic conditions.

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Radiology & Nuclear Consultants and Community Imaging (IL) selects RCM solutions from McKesson Business Performance Services.

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ADP AdvancedMD launches the AdvancedMD Marketplace to offer clients a resource for practice solutions from a variety of partners, including Alleon Healthcare Capital.

Amazing Charts introduces Amazing Reminders, an automated appointment reminder system powered by consulting and development firm Across Healthcare.

Point and Click Solutions incorporates ProviderPass identity proofing and second-factor credential authentication from Exostar into the EPCS functionality of its EHR for college campus physicians.

Talksoft launches its Survey+ patient survey app that allows medical practices to benchmark their patient experience and practice performance.

Relay Health Financial introduces the ConnectCenter RCM portal.

Mobile care management company PingMD joins the Greenway Health Marketplace to provide certified API solutions to Greenway’s PrimeSuite customers.


Government and Politics

ONC issues a 62-page guide to “Privacy and Security of Electronic Health Information.”

Xerox’s $565 million contract to build and run New York’s new Medicaid computer system wins approval from the state, despite protests from competing bidders HP and CSC over the company’s performance delays in other states. Xerox will have 18 months to finish the job.


Telemedicine

Ernst and Young announces development of its Telemedicine Adoption Model. Lt. Dan breaks down the seven stages of adoption here.

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signs off on telemedicine reimbursement legislation that “flew” through the State House and Senate.

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Azalea Health integrates telemedicine functionality into its EHR, taking advantage of an increasingly reimbursement-friendly regulatory environment and the desire of physicians to cash in on CMS Chronic Care Management program incentives.

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MedWand solutions launches a new telemedicine examination device at Indiegogo.com. The crowdfunding campaign offers pre-orders for prototypes and limited editions, as well as a ruggedized version that can be used with satellite links in remote locations.


Research and Innovation

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Researchers at Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute in Israel develop a breath-test technology that can be used to diagnose stomach cancer. Researchers believe the new and highly accurate nanoarray analysis will help to avoid unnecessary endoscopies, and improve monitoring after initial diagnosis.

Ball State University’s School of Physical Education, Sport, and Exercise Science is collecting health data to create a national fitness database to assist in the prevention of heart disease. The Fitness Registry and the Importance of Exercise: a National Database (FRIEND) will provide a representative sample of the nation’s population that can be used to accurately interpret cardiorespiratory fitness.


Other

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I took the opportunity while in Chicago last week to meet Steven Collens, CEO of the new Matter healthcare technology startup center and self-described community hub. He kindly showed me around the organization’s office space in the historic Merchandise Mart (the largest building in America, according to my cabbie), pointing out the space that will soon be styled as the physician’s office of the future thanks to Matter’s partnership with the AMA. Collens explained that Matter is currently home to 80-plus startups in the software, med device, and pharma sectors; and boasts relationships with over 30 industry partners and 11 universities and health systems. The organization’s business model is a unique one, offering startups varying membership levels from $150 to $450 a month for scaling benefits, all in the name of bringing Chicago’s ecosystem of healthcare technology stakeholders together to advance the triple aim. 

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NCQA launches the Patient-Centered Connected Care Recognition Program to evaluate ambulatory care providers that interact with traditional primary care practices. Providers must agree to meet a number of criteria, including using electronic systems to collect data and execute tasks.

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Slate’s history blog offers snippets from the 1817 Philadelphia Medical Dictionary, paying particular attention to mania and melancholy. I wonder how, were he alive today, author John Redman Coxe, MD would  describe melancholia due to lack of interoperability.


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

HIStalk Practice Interviews Dan Cane, CEO, Modernizing Medicine

April 14, 2015 News 1 Comment

Dan Cane is co-founder and CEO of Modernizing Medicine.

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Tell me about yourself and the company.
Modernizing Medicine was created after a chance meeting between me and co-founder and Chief Medical Officer Michael Sherling,MD a practicing dermatologist in Palm Beach County, Florida. I was retired in South Florida after selling a company I previously co-founded – Blackboard – and my wife encouraged me to get some medical check-ups, including with a dermatologist. I was referred to a super smart, Harvard-trained physician for this routine skin exam, but that meeting turned out to be anything but routine. I noticed that this well-trained physician with an MBA was still using pen and paper to record the details of my medical visit. Since my curiosity as a software entrepreneur was peaked, I asked him why he wasn’t using an EHR system. He stated that there weren’t any systems made specifically for dermatologists that knew their workflow, and all the others on the market slowed him down. We decided to combine his medical knowledge with my software and entrepreneurial experience to transform how healthcare information is created, consumed, and utilized in order to increase efficiency and improve outcomes. Our flagship product, Electronic Medical Assistant, is a cloud-based, specialty-specific EHR system that’s available as a native iPad application, plus from almost any Web-enabled Mac or PC. EMA also automatically adapts to each physician’s unique style of practice.

The software for our first specialty – dermatology – is now used by about 30 percent of dermatologists in the U.S. We’ve since expanded into ophthalmology, orthopedics, otolaryngology, gastroenterology, rheumatology, urology, and plastic surgery markets. One characteristic that makes EMA so unique is that we have 18 practicing specialty physicians code their medical knowledge into the software, and this model has been so successful that there are now over 5,000 physicians in the U.S. who use EMA.

Another real differentiator is that EMA collects structured data, which helps physicians in so many ways. They only have to enter the patient data once and it can be used for multiple purposes – from running quality reports to printing patient education materials.

We’re also one of the first healthcare companies to join the IBM Watson Ecosystem. We’ve developed an app called schEMA that utilizes Watson’s cognitive computing power to provide physicians with evidenced-based clinical decision support at the point of care. In seconds, schEMA can retrieve peer-reviewed, published journal articles from JAMA Dermatology and the British Journal of Dermatology, rather than physicians having to spend hours researching after the patient has left the office.

Finally, at the end of 2014 we purchased a company that expands our service offerings to include specialty-specific billing, inventory management, and group purchasing services. We’re starting out these services in the dermatology field, and plan to include them for our other verticals in the future.

How do you feel the latest vendor criteria for Meaningful Use will impact vendors’ abilities to keep up with the federal program?
I believe the program is well intentioned, but raising the bar too high prevents rather than encourages innovation. Focusing on interoperability is critical for the overall success of HIT and standards are the only path to data liquidity.

At this point, do you think that Meaningful Use is hindering rather than helping providers improve outcomes and increase efficiencies?
Parts of Meaningful Use are pushing providers forward. As I look at the overall adoption of EHR systems since the program’s inception, there can be little doubt that the program has very successfully encouraged providers to abandon paper and go digital. It’s on the EHR vendors to find ways to improve outcomes and increase efficiencies – both of which are literally in our mission.

How many of your customers completely opted out of MU? How many attested for Stage 1 and/or Stage 2, but then dropped out?
We will see where the final numbers end up, but Modernizing Medicine is only five years old, and we’ve only had a certified product for the last two years. The fact that we are in the top 30 vendors for overall number of attestations is pretty impressive. I’m not sure of the exact number, but I believe it’s over 1,700 providers.

What do you see as the key to truly moving interoperability forward? What will this look like for physician practices?
The key to interoperability is a well-defined and easy to implement standard. We need to keep the simple, simple, but allow for more complex data exchanges using extensible metadata. Almost every major industry has achieved interoperability. Perfect is the enemy of good. Let’s get something good that works out first, and then we can let the academics spend the next decade determining the 100 different (possibly better, but does it really matter?) ways to exchange vitals. To a physician practice it should look easy. The industry and EHR vendors have issues to tackle around security, permissions, and overall portability of data, but once those are ironed out, the data should go where the patient wants it to go.

How do you feel point-of-care clinical decision-making technologies benefit physician practices, especially specialties?
Our country trains some of the best doctors in the entire world. The best thing we can do is present our physicians with access to information in the correct context so that they can make the best decisions around patient care. Technology and data should not aim to replace a physician. Instead, we should harness the coming wave of data analytics and cognitive computing to enable an entirely new generation of physicians with the ability to practice evidenced-based medicine.

How did the company’s partnership with IBM Watson first start?
Modernizing Medicine applied to be a founding member of the IBM Watson Ecosystem as soon as the opportunity presented itself over a year ago. Watching Watson’s abilities on display during the Jeopardy event in 2013 showed the power of cognitive computing in the context of a nuanced trivia game. We know that the same engine would change healthcare by using peer-reviewed source data to answer a provider’s questions, in seconds, at the point of care.

What does the future hold for MM’s schema app, given IBM’s recent funding?
IBM investment adds rocket fuel to the schEMA fire. We are now able to purchase additional content to train into the application and hire additional resources to train the engine. Most people don’t realize that Watson is not like a search engine – it must be trained up through thousands of questions and answers before it will confidently and accurately be used in a clinical setting.

What are your clients’ biggest challenges right now, given that they are faced with Meaningful Use, ICD-10, shifting reimbursement models, etc.?
Our client’s biggest challenges are simply understanding the massive set of changes going on in healthcare. We spend a great deal of time educating the market, and we spend a great deal of money automating and building intelligence into our products. The result is a system for ICD-10 unlike anything in the market – where the codes are almost entirely automated without crosswalks or GEMS. Our level of intelligence for PQRS lets our users see, in real-time, what their outcomes are for every patient across dozens of eligible measurements. While most physicians settled for reporting on three measurements last year, hundreds of our users reported on the full nine. Physicians need to understand the difference between a vendor that says, “They are ready” for Meaningful Use, ICD-10, PQRS, etc. and a vendor that can alleviate the burden through automation and intelligence. The most important thing we need physicians to focus on is patient care – they should leave the rest to their vendor to figure out for them.

How do you see these being overcome?
Elegantly designed and implemented technology, of course! You can’t have engineers designing systems – you need physicians who understand the medical domain and the technical domain in order to build solutions that really work. The level of automation EMA can achieve helps our practices focus on patient care rather than the burdens of regulatory compliance.

Do you have any final thoughts?
It’s an incredibly exciting time in HIT in general. The right technology can improve the productivity of practices. The right data at the right time can improve patient outcomes. We are at the beginning of a renaissance age in healthcare IT.


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 4/9/15

April 8, 2015 News 1 Comment

Top News

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Rock Health releases its quarterly report on digital health funding, highlighting an overall stall in investment growth. Lt. Dan has the full breakdown here. A similar report from Mercom Capital Group confirms the trend.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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I had a great time moderating the first #HIStalking tweet chat, featuring lively discussion topics from our HIMSS15 patient advocate scholarship winners. You can check out the Storify recap of the “The Role of Patient Engagement & Advocacy in HIT” here.


Webinars

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April 22 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Microsoft: The Waking Giant in Healthcare Analytics and Big Data.” Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Dale Sanders, SVP of strategy, Health Catalyst. Microsoft has been quietly reengineering its culture and products to offer the best value and most visionary platform for cloud services, big data, and analytics in healthcare. This webinar will cover the Healthcare Analytics Adoption Model, the ongoing transition from relational databases, the role of new Microsoft products such as Azure and Analytic Platform System, the PowerX product line, and geospatial and machine learning visualization tools. Attendees will learn how to incorporate cloud-based analytics services into their healthcare analytics strategies.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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BioHealth Innovation and the Montgomery County Dept. of Economic Development in Maryland create Relevant Health, an accelerator program for early stage healthcare IT companies. The five-month mentorship and training program will accept its first cohort of eight companies in the fall.

Livongo Health raises $20 million to expand its connected glucometer-powered diabetes management service. Former Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman started and runs the company.

Lexmark will consolidate its acquired brands, including Perceptive Software, under the single name Lexmark and a new logo. Perceptive will be placed under the Lexmark Healthcare banner.


Announcements and Implementations

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Montana Primary Care Association selects eClinicalWorks to help it ensure optimal HEDIS performance for its 200 providers across 16 community health centers.

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MetroChicago HIE offers DirectRoute communication management from Sandlot Solutions, enabling providers with Direct addresses to customize how they receive secure patient information from their colleagues.

CareCloud and Marshfield Clinic Information Services launch a cloud-based solution for large ambulatory medical practices comprising EHR, PM, revenue cycle, and support and optimization services.

MEA|NEA partners with Virtru to provide HIPAA-compliant email services to physician and dental practices.


Government and Politics

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FTC staff submit 13 pages of comments on ONC’s Interoperability Roadmap, offering guidance on shared governance mechanisms and the development of technical standards; and highlighting the importance of safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and security of consumer data.

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Data from this week’s Health IT Policy Committee meeting show that Medicare EPs had substantially higher rates of Meaningful Use achievement than Medicaid EPs.


Telemedicine

Teladoc continues to push the buttons of the Texas Medical Board, which will likely soon adopt a rule requiring doctors to see patients in person or through a webcam before treating via telemedicine. Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic tells Politico that his company is “pulling out the stops in Texas, trying to draw physicians, employers, health plans, and patient advocacy groups together to oppose the regulations, which he said ‘will really hinder the expansion of telemedicine rather than facilitate the adoption, and hurt access to care for Texans.’” He adds that, “There are many things that don’t require a visualization. We’re relying on the physician’s experience and clinical guidelines to make sure that patient safety is first and foremost.”

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A local Texas news station profiles use of the Oto CellScope (a graduate of Rock Health’s incubation program) at Scott and White Clinic (TX). The $79 scope attaches to an iPhone over the camera lens and works in the same manner as a traditional scope. The free app saves the images or video, potentially enabling patients (who don’t live in Texas) to upload and send images to their providers for remote consultation.


People

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Richard Boxer, MD (UCLA) joins telemedicine company WellVia as CMO.


Research and Innovation

The Advisory Board Co. reports that 25 of the 1,000+ large medical groups subject to Medicare’s physician value-based payment modifier will receive payment adjustments this year based on their cost and quality performance. Over 300 such groups are receiving payment reductions of up to 1 percent for not complying with Medicare’s reporting requirements. ABC CMO hits the nail on the head in summing up why so many did not adhere to the requirements: “[Some] are not going to motivate until it is absolutely necessary. If you look at these small practices, a lot of them just run on a shoestring.”


Other

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Kudos to Jamie Stockton, CFA of Wells Fargo Securities for sharing his take on the latest Meaningful Use data. Wells Fargo’s EP numbers suggest that Athenahealth customers lead the MUS2 pack at 71 percent, although not up to the 98 percent it boasted a couple of weeks ago, which in reality measured the percentage of EPs that attempted MUS2, not the percentage of its overall customer base.

Vermont’s local NPR affiliate covers the continuing saga of the state’s attempts to digitize medical records with taxpayer money. Lawmakers appear to be unimpressed with the 10-year-old Vermont Information Technology Leaders, which was established to oversee the statewide transition from paper to digital. The nonprofit received quite a bit of flak for spending $13,000 on local T.V. advertising during this year’s Super Bowl. Lawmakers contend that it’s time to reconsider the more than $3 million in taxpayer money they invest annually in the enterprise. Nearly 700 physicians are using the VITL portal to access patient data, while only about 15,000 patients have given consent for their medical records to be on the system.

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The Huffington Post asserts that the AMA has distanced itself from presidential hopeful Rand Paul, MD offering its support to “anyone else interested in running for president. Anyone.” The tongue-in-cheek write-up goes on to assert that the AMA has “seen television doctors with more knowledge of actual medicine than Rand Paul. Doogie Howser, House, McDreamy, even Dr. Nick from The Simpsons. These are all doctors that the AMA would proudly back. In other words, we would literally support a fictional person for president ahead of Rand Paul.”

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The Washington Post covers the life-extending work being undertaken by some of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech titans, including the founders of Google, Facebook, eBay, Napster, and Netscape. The death-defying entrepreneurs are spending billions on researching, rebuilding, regenerating, and reprogramming organs, limbs, cells, and DNA in the hopes of helping people to live longer and better. I tend to agree with Bill Gates on the narcissistic absurdity of the idea: “It seems pretty egocentric while we still have malaria and TB for rich people to fund things so they can live longer.”


Contacts

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

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Reader Comments

  • Bob Coli, MD: Hello Mr. Cane, My wife's niece is completing four years of primary care and three years of dermatology training in Aus...
  • Jess: Spot on with that last point! Some people just want to live, period. I struggle to contemplate quality of life at 125....
  • Patients Matter: I think it is great to see these types of measures taking place. Remove the barriers and gut this broken system. Give ...
  • Boy Wonder: This was a great laugh - #6 is my favorite....
  • Inquiring Minds!: Is kiddoEMR actually installed in 164 pediatric offices or is he referring to the OpenEMR platform in general? As someo...