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News 1/21/19

January 21, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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A county-by-county analysis finds that opioid use and overdose deaths increased in places where pharma companies focused their marketing efforts, and that the number of interactions between pharma reps and MDs is a more telling indicator of opioid prescriptions than the dollar amount associated with the interaction. One in 12 US physicians are the recipients of opioid marketing, with one in five of those being family medicine providers.

“The widespread practice of taking doctors out to lunch or dinner to talk about opioid products is probably contributing more to the opioid crisis in the US than these less common instances of docs receiving really large-value payments,” explained lead researcher and pediatrician Scott Hadland, MD. “Our findings suggest that direct-to-physician opioid marketing may run counter to national efforts to reduce overdose deaths,” he added, “and that policymakers should consider limits on marketing as part of a robust, evidence-based response to the US overdose crisis.”


Webinars

None scheduled in the coming weeks. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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EHR and practice management company EMDs consolidates operations and relocates its headquarters to new office space in Austin, TX. The vendor’s Practice Partner and Plus 4.0 solutions earned ONC Health IT certifications earlier this month.


Announcements and Implementations

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Discovery Behavioral Health, a substance use and addictive behavior treatment provider with 60 facilities across the US, selects KipuHealth’s behavioral health-focused EHR.

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DaVita Physician Solutions develops and implements CKD EHR by Epic at 20 DaVita practices in 12 states. The software was developed over nine months to help DaVita providers treat patients with chronic kidney disease, and was designed to work in tandem with their Epic systems. The company hopes to roll the new technology out to all DaVita providers by 2020.


People

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Paul Shenenberger (Summit Health Management) joins Privia Health as CISO and SVP of IT operations.


Government and Politics

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MyPractice24 owner and CEO Ed Henry pleads guilty to to one count of government property theft as part of his involvement in a medical kickback scheme that defrauded Medicare using the chronic care management company’s services and help from conspiring physicians.


Other

What a novel idea: Research surfaces that finds reading for pleasure relieves symptoms of physician burnout.

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Oh the eye-rony: A patient on his way to an appointment at Gilbert Eyecare (VA) crashes his car into the practice after accidentally pressing the gas pedal instead of the brakes. Optometrist David Gilbert has since put up a sign that reads, “Walk-ins Welcome. Drive-Thru Not So Much.”

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More eyecare humor: A practice in Louisiana offers free eye exams to all NFL officials after the New Orleans Saints championship loss to the Los Angeles Rams, a turn of events many have attributed to a botched call by referees.


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News 1/16/19

January 16, 2019 News No Comments

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CVS CEO Larry Merlo tells the National Press Club that the retail pharmacy chain has a bold vision for its role in the healthcare ecosystem now that its Aetna acquisition has been finalized. According to Merlo, the company will add wearable devices, push notifications, and predictive analytics to its health IT repertoire, which already includes prescription price transparency tools from within its Epic EHR. New concept stores will feature these capabilities in action, giving customers access to patient navigators who can help them act on preventive recommendations, take advantage of immunizations and screenings for chronic conditions from pharmacists, and better understand CVS Health services and their insurance benefits.

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The company will also launch a five-year, $100 million program that will partner with community organizations to help improve access to care and management of chronic conditions and opioids through its chain of MinuteClinics. CVS will provide grant funding to more than 100 free clinics and community health centers in 2019 alone.


Webinars

January 17 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Panel Discussion: Improving Clinician Satisfaction & Driving Outcomes.” Sponsor: Netsmart. Presenters: Denny Morrison, PhD, chief clinical advisor, Netsmart; Mary Gannon, RN, chief nursing officer, Netsmart; Sharon Boesl, deputy director, Sauk County Human Services; and Allen Pendell, SVP of IS and analytics, Lexington Health Network. This panel discussion will cover the state of clinician satisfaction across post-acute and human services communities, turnover trends, strategies that drive clinical engagement and satisfaction, and the use of technology that supports those strategies. Real-world examples will be provided.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Atlanta-based Aetna members can now take advantage of Heal’s app-based house call service. It is the first new market for the California-based company since it launched in 2015.

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Clinical communications and collaboration company PerfectServe acquires competitor Telmediq for an undisclosed sum. Telmediq founder and CEO Ben Moore will become PerfectServe’s chief product officer. PerfectServe was acquired by K1 Investment Management last year.


Announcements and Implementations

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ChiroFusion adds online scheduling to its EHR for chiropractors.


Government and Politics

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Canadian physician and professor Nav Persaud argues for a national EHR for primary care to improve data sharing between institutions. “If we are truly committed to improving the health of Canadians,” he says, “a bold move such as this is needed.” Persaud cites the VA and Singapore as shining examples of organizations that have successfully adopted single-record systems, omitting mention of the VA’s decision to spend billions of dollars on a new system from Cerner, and the 2018 SingHealth data breach that compromised the data of 1.5 million patients and resulted in several staff members being fired for negligence.


Other

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The American College of Physicians includes for the first time sections on telemedicine and EHRs in its annual ethics manual. A snippet:

“The EHR should assist and enhance clinical reasoning and the development of cognitive and diagnostic skills; for example, copy-and-paste and other features should be used carefully and only if they help reflect the physician’s thought processes about the current patient encounter and produce an accurate and complete medical record that meets ethical standards. Electronic health record information retrieval, exchange, and remote access can improve care, but also create risks, including unauthorized disclosure and use of protected health information.”


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News 1/14/19

January 14, 2019 News No Comments

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In Canada, primary care-focused health IT company Premier Health acquires EHR and RCM vendor Cloud Practice for $5 million.


Webinars

January 17 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Panel Discussion: Improving Clinician Satisfaction & Driving Outcomes.” Sponsor: Netsmart. Presenters: Denny Morrison, PhD, chief clinical advisor, Netsmart; Mary Gannon, RN, chief nursing officer, Netsmart; Sharon Boesl, deputy director, Sauk County Human Services; and Allen Pendell, SVP of IS and analytics, Lexington Health Network. This panel discussion will cover the state of clinician satisfaction across post-acute and human services communities, turnover trends, strategies that drive clinical engagement and satisfaction, and the use of technology that supports those strategies. Real-world examples will be provided.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services will implement Cerner Millenium at its 13 facilities.

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Chesapeake Health Care, an FQHC based in Salisbury, MD, decreases patient check-in time by 50 percent after implementing kiosks and software from Clearwave.


Government and Politics

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HIPAA compliance company PCIHIPAA establishes a $10,000 Shutdown Fund to help government employees during the record-breaking shutdown (now in its 24th day). “I’d like to encourage all businesses to try and help the workers that help us,” says PCIHIPAA CEO Jeff Broudy. “Maybe you can establish your own fund, or you can pile on to PCIHIPAA’s. We can join forces to do something good during a bad situation.”

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The New Jersey Department of Health will use a $2.3 million grant from HRSA to develop the Family-Centered Mental Health Access Program, which will provide telemedicine access to pediatric primary, behavioral, and mental healthcare through the state’s Pediatric Psychiatry Collaborative. Organized by Hackensack Meridian Health and Cooper University Hospital, PCC works with PCPs to help refer patients to the most appropriate services.


Other

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@Cascadia’s observation is an apt one, though one could argue that physician practices are operating on razor-thin margins these days, and can’t afford not to be blatant about their need for prompt payment.


Sponsor Updates

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  • The Nordic team continues its partnership with The River Food Pantry in Madison, WI.
  • EClinicalWorks publishes a podcast titled “How Interoperability Fine-tunes a Neurology Network.”

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From the PRM Pro 1/9/19

January 9, 2019 From the PRM Pro No Comments

Fielding Regulatory Change in a Cloud-Based World
By Jim Higgins

Jim Higgins is the CEO and founder of Solutionreach in Lehi, UT.

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We all know that the United States has one of the most complex healthcare systems in the world — and much of this complexity comes from regulatory oversight. The vast number of rules and regulations that govern the industry can be absolutely confusing and overwhelming. Virtually everything that happens in healthcare is overseen by at least one regulatory body — and many tasks are overseen by multiple organizations. A recent study looked at the regulatory burden placed on health systems, hospitals, and post-acute care providers just by federal regulations and found that these organizations must comply with 629 independent regulatory requirements from nine different entities, and spend nearly $39 billion annually in efforts to stay compliant.

Some of the most important regulations have a huge impact on communication with patients. These are especially important to pay attention to, as patient communication is critical to practice success. Let’s take a quick look at some of the regulatory issues you should be paying attention to as you move into 2019.

What to Watch in 2019

The first step to staying compliant with all relevant laws and any changes is knowledge — you must understand what the laws currently say. The major regulations that you should be aware of related to patient communication include:

  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
  • TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act)
  • CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act)
  • CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation)
  • PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act)

At this point, there is nothing official in the works for the upcoming year for the regulations listed above. However, the TCPA tends to be litigated a lot, so there could be some incremental changes or rulings that you may need to adjust to in 2019. Keep a close eye on that.

In addition, patient communication may be affected by some other upcoming changes, including:

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This is a European regulation that went into effect in May 2018, and governs privacy and the protection of consumer information. You will need to comply with these rules if you serve anyone outside of the United States in 2019 and beyond.
  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). This is a California privacy law that goes into effect in January 2020. It adds an additional layer of compliance over HIPAA when it comes to patient data.

Finding ways to quickly (and affordably!) respond to regulation changes like these is critical to the success of your organization. This is one of the benefits of cloud technology.

Compliance and the Shift to Cloud-Based Technology

Cloud computing has changed the world as we know it — and healthcare is not exempt. Cloud-based technology has been embraced as a win for both practices and patients alike. Experts note that the use of cloud-based technology has been proven to reduce costs, improve backup and disaster recovery, and make data easier to access. Cloud computing allows information to be passed easily and quickly between providers, patients, and labs. With secure, yet simple access from any location and a lack of cumbersome software updates, cloud technology is scalable — meaning that small practices can take advantage of the same technology that large enterprise organizations do without hassle. It’s easy to see why 84 percent of healthcare organizations use cloud-based services and 69 percent have plans to expand their use of the cloud.

How Does Cloud-based Technology Impact Compliance?

Cloud computing has been nearly universally embraced as a way to improve an organization’s performance, accessibility, and revenue. But it is also very good at responding to change quickly and effectively. Think about it — vendors can roll out updates and changes much faster on the cloud than old-fashioned, server-based systems (which have to be physically visited on site). In healthcare’s regulation-filled world, this speed and flexibility can be a huge benefit.

But is it Really Safe?

It hasn’t been that long since many healthcare professionals worried that using the cloud was far too risky. The thought was if all of that data isn’t locked down securely on your site, how could you be certain that the information was safe? If you could access it from anywhere, couldn’t cyber criminals do the same? Fortunately, the answer to that is a big NO.

According to one study, 91 percent of businesses said the cloud actually makes it easier to meet government compliance requirements. Data that was once stored in a physical location is now protected by advanced encryption methods online. This encryption makes sensitive information more difficult for unauthorized parties to access. In addition, the government has set up processes for organizations to take advantage of cloud-based services while staying compliant.

What should you do to ensure compliance when working on the cloud? HHS recommends the following:

  1. 1. Make sure service provider enters into a HIPAA-compliant business associate agreement (BAA).
  2. 2. Address specific concerns in a service level agreement (SLA).
  3. 3. Select a vendor that is reputable and experienced.

There are two truths healthcare organizations must acknowledge: Government regulations will always be a big part of the industry. And taking advantage of consumer-driven technological advancements (like the cloud) is critical to the future success of healthcare practices. Fortunately, these two facts are not mutually exclusive. With a little legwork, it is possible to stay ahead of regulatory change while still meeting the demands of today’s digital world.


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News 1/9/19

January 9, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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Kindred Healthcare offshoot Lacuna Health acquires American Chronic Care, which provides chronic care management technology and services to ACOs, FQHCs, and physician groups. Lacuna was launched one year ago to offer care management services to practices, ACOs, hospitals, and post-acute providers.


Webinars

January 17 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Panel Discussion: Improving Clinician Satisfaction & Driving Outcomes.” Sponsor: Netsmart. Presenters: Denny Morrison, PhD, chief clinical advisor, Netsmart; Mary Gannon, RN, chief nursing officer, Netsmart; Sharon Boesl, deputy director, Sauk County Human Services; and Allen Pendell, SVP of IS and analytics, Lexington Health Network. This panel discussion will cover the state of clinician satisfaction across post-acute and human services communities, turnover trends, strategies that drive clinical engagement and satisfaction, and the use of technology that supports those strategies. Real-world examples will be provided.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Digital pregnancy management company Babyscripts raises $6 million in a funding round led by Philips. The company hopes to expand its remote monitoring and patient engagement technologies to accommodate mothers after birth.


Announcements and Implementations

Rockford Radiology Associates (IL) selects RCM software and services from Zotec Partners.

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McFarland Clinic will implement patient engagement software from Relatient across its 25 clinics in Iowa.

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Health Here announces GA of Clinic Q, a patient intake and payments app that also features Apple Health record integration.

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In Georgia, SouthCoast Health signs on with practice management company Privia Medical Group.


People

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Iora Health names Tyler Jung, MD (Molina Healthcare) CMO.


Telemedicine

Q2i adds telemedicine capabilities to its patient app and care team portal for the medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder.

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First announced last fall, Genneve begins offering virtual consults for menopausal women in California, Georgia, New Jersey, and Washington. It plans to expand its telemedicine services to all 50 states within the next year.


Other

I’m always up for a good read, and I’m always intrigued by tales from the physician trenches, which often end up being about much more than the diagnosis. If you’re looking for new titles to read in 2019, check out the following …

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Physician burnout seems to be a hot literary topic these days. Part-time physician, author, and “recovering perfectionist” Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever, MD has penned “Recapturing Joy in Medicine” to offer providers stories and tips on how to prevent or handle burnout. Wohlever says that, “It’s a book that acknowledges how hard things are for doctors, but at the same time calls us out to rise and to have the courage to speak up in our organizations. We need to call out abuse when it’s abuse. We need to lead again.”

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Some physicians, however, turn to their patients to inspire their literary endeavors: Chuck Radis, will recount his time as a DO on Peaks Island in Maine when he publishes “Go By Boat.” Described as the first in a trilogy that will focus on people, nature, and medical care, the book promises to highlight his unique experiences in traveling by boat to treat people who wanted to avoid mainland healthcare at all costs. “There was a dramatic mixture of health on the islands,” Radis says. “Certainly there were high rates of alcoholism and drug use on one hand of the spectrum. On the other end, there were very elderly people still extremely active into their 90s and living alone.”


Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD announces the winners of its annual Healthcare Innovator of the Year Awards.

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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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