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News 4/17/19

April 17, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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Ro raises $85 million in a Series B round that comes just seven months after a similarly-sized investment from FirstMark Capital. It has raised over $200 million since opening for business two years ago. Investors now give it an on-paper value of $500 million. It added menopause-related health and wellness goods to its line of telemedicine-prescribed products that include erectile dysfunction and smoking cessation.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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Like others around the world, I was shocked to hear of the Notre Dame fire. The French landmark epitomized the Parisian experience for me when I visited nearly 20 years ago. Hearing of its near demise made me think of my favorite Ken Follett novel, “The Pillars of the Earth,” which follows a family of church builders over several generations and across several countries during the 12th and 13th centuries. If you’re a Romanesque or Gothic architectural buff, do yourself a favor and read his entire Kingsbridge series. I’d love to hear about other architecture-inspired books. Email me with your suggestions.

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In keeping an eye on the #ATA19 tweet stream, I came across the debut of “HealthConsuming: From Health Consumer to Health Citizen” by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn. She strives to show “how bearing the growing burden of healthcare costs, coupled with opportunities to engage in health in their local communities and leveraging digital health technology, can and should give consumers the power to demand more from providers and products while protecting privacy rights.” In slightly related commentary, thanks to Mike, who alerted me to physician office telemedicine offerings (and a handy infographic on the history of telemedicine) at the show from EVisit.

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Reader comments: Gary agrees with my observation that books are typically better than their big-screen versions, with one notable exception: “’To Kill A Mockingbird.’ The book was good. The movie was fantastic. Gregory Peck’s performance was outstanding. The movie still regularly makes the top 10 of the best movies ever made lists.” Beth recommends “Where the Crawdads Sing,” which describes the predatory adventures of a young girl who lives alone in the swamps of North Carolina.


Webinars

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


Announcements and Implementations

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HSTpathways releases an updated version of its EChart EHR for ambulatory surgery centers.

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Tennessee Orthopaedic Alliance selects care coordination software from MyHealthDirect, and will integrate it with its NextGen practice management system across 21 locations.


People

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Stephen Saville (CareerStaff Unlimited) joins Cross Country Healthcare as EVP of operations.

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Nurx names Varsha Rao (Clover Health) CEO.


Telemedicine

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Toronto-based OnCall Health raises $1.5 million in seed funding, which it will use to expand in Canada and the US.


Government and Politics

A federal opioid strike force uses claims data to find and identify 60 doctors, pharmacists, and other medical professionals who have allegedly been involved with pushing opioids and healthcare fraud. All told, the perpetrators wrote 350,000 prescriptions for controlled substances and were involved in more than 32 million pills.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 4/15/19

April 15, 2019 News No Comments

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Online vision test company Visibly takes the State of Indiana to court in an effort to get a law overturned that prohibits the use of such services. The telemedicine vendor contends the state is trying to protect the interests of brick-and-mortar eye care providers.

The company, formerly known as Opternative, has faced its share of problems including pushback from providers and FDA scrutiny likely brought about at the urging of a letter from the American Optometric Association, which asked that the company be investigated. The FDA followed through, telling Visibly it was marketing its screening app without approval as a new medical device. Founder and optometrist Steven Lee, OD has since worked closely with the agency to make sure its services are in line with regulatory requirements.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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I feel as if I’m the only person who didn’t watch the final season premiere of Game of Thrones last night. I got one or two episodes in to the first season and had to bail, as my eyeballs were burning from the sheer scandal of it all. I did, however, make it through the entire series of books, which are just as scandalous, though not so graphic. (When, oh when will the last one be released!?) I’ve always been of the opinion that books are better than their TV or movie versions, and that the book should always be read before it’s seen on the screen. My opinion is thus far valid, as I can’t recall a movie that was better than its literary counterpart.

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Last week’s book update elicited several reader recommendations, which I’ll sprinkle throughout upcoming posts. Dan shares my angst when it comes to loving a book (or screen version of a book) that you’re sure others would judge you for: “The North Water” is the most savage book I have ever read. It is haunting. While not a pleasurable read, I tore through that book fast needing to know what would happen next. Very dark subject matter, and a very intense writing style. I never knew literature could be written like this. Perhaps comparable to the movie ‘The Revenant,’ but uses words to establish the vileness. I threw the book away when I finished to prevent me from passing it on to friends or family, worried they may judge me for recommending something so dark. You’ve been warned.”

Dan’s review seems on par with others who’ve read the New York Times bestseller; one of which describes the book as “subtle as a harpoon in the head, but totally gripping.”

I’d love to hear about your favorite (or least favorite) book-to-screen experience, or guilty reading pleasure. Email me with all the juicy details.


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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Medusind Solutions secures a strategic investment from H.I.G. Capital. The Miami-based company offers the PracticeGenie EHR and MedClarity practice management solution, plus RCM software and services.


People

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HIPAA One names Greg Fenton (KLAS) as VP of strategic partnerships.


Announcements and Implementations

The AMA and student-run biotech incubator Sling Health develop the Clinical Problem Database to give AMA members the opportunity to share their experiences with health IT and clinical services. The incubator will use the Insights gleaned from the database to develop new software and products.


Telemedicine

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Concierge house-call company 2UMedical (GA) opts for telemedicine services from ExamMed.

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Eyenuk develops the EyeScreen virtual referral service to give primary and diabetes care providers easy access to AI-powered diabetic retinopathy screening from eye care specialists.

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The American Telemedicine Association’s annual conference gets going today in New Orleans. Based on the tweet stream and exhibitor list, the event seems to cater mainly to enterprise environments. Email me if you’re at the show and come across anything that ambulatory folks might like.


Other

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Nearly 30 Harbin Clinic physicians and employees, including IT staff, will showcase their arts and crafts next month as part of the Healthy Expressions exhibit in the River Arts District in Rome, GA. The clinic opened its own gallery in the Makervillage space at the beginning of this year. “Creativity is important for an integrative approach to improving health,” says exhibitor, poet, and Radiation Oncologist Matthew Mumber, MD. “The same can be said for healthcare providers; being able to tap into our creativity has positive impacts on the care we provide our patients.”


Sponsor Updates

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News 4/10/19

April 10, 2019 News No Comments

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Practice management and RCM company Zotec Partners breaks ground on its new five-story headquarters in Carmel, IN where it expects to eventually employ 300 new staff over the next five years. Set to open in 2020, the facility will include a new innovation and training center.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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An Advisory Board blog on must-read books for spring has inspired me to share my own reading habits, and hopefully glean some recommendations from readers. I’m a voracious reader, but must admit that I tend to stay away from business-y books. I spend the majority of my day reading headlines and long-form articles about healthcare, and so my idea of unwinding at day’s end includes totally unrelated subject-matter. (Though I would eventually like to read “Bad Blood” by John Carreyrou.)

My personal library is small but growing, aided by occasional trips to favorite used bookstores. Favorite authors include Jane Austen, Ken Follett, J.R.R. Tolkien (I read “Lord of the Rings” at least once a year.), and about a dozen others that give away my predilection for titles related to King Arthur, Robin Hood, and Star Wars. Rarely do I not finish a book, even if I don’t like it, with “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs” being one of the few exceptions.

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I picked up “Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper for the first time last week at my local library and am about halfway through. It took me a good 20 pages to get used to Cooper’s flowery language, but now find myself zooming right along, engrossed in the exploits of Hawkeye and the damsels in distress he’s sneaking through the woods to save. Many readers probably don’t realize it is part of a series, while many I’m sure have seen the film featuring Daniel Day-Lewis.

I’d love more reading recommendations. Please email me with your favorite authors, titles, and literary anecdotes.


Webinars

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


Announcements and Implementations

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CareCloud announces Google Cloud integration, giving data processors an easier way to access and manipulate data using FHIR.

EHR and practice management vendor Quatris Healthco partners with MD Revolution to develop chronic care management software and services.

Health IPass adds statement processing and online bill pay services from Professional Office Services to its line of patient payment products for physician practices.

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Internal Medicine of Milford (CT) implements MassCare’s assessment and billing services for annual wellness visits and chronic care management.

Practice EHR announces integration with Bako Diagnostics, giving its podiatry customers that ability to order labs and receive results from within their EHR workflows.

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Addictions Recovery Center (OR) selects EnSoftek’s DrCloud EHR.

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Sleep Health MD implements Rhinogram’s text-based patient engagement software across its five practices in California.


People

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DotCom Therapy names Sanaz Cordes, MD (Value Prop Shop) CEO.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Bilingual healthcare company Hoy Health secures seed funding from 3 Ríos Ltd., RAAD Broadcasting Corp. and Ríos Commercial Corp. The Morristown, NJ-based company offers members telemedicine, chronic care management and health literacy programs, help with medication access, and online prescription drug delivery.

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Seattle-based behavioral health software company Valant Medical Solutions secures funding from Gemspring Capital.

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Primary care company VillageMD will open clinics next to five Walgreens in Houston as part of the retail chain’s efforts to more tightly integrate healthcare and pharmacy services. The “Village Medical at Walgreens” clinics will utilize VillageMD’s DocOS software, which offers patient engagement tools, analytics, and chronic care management capabilities.


Telemedicine

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Austin, TX-based Urgent Care for Kids plans to hire 150 additional employees over the next 18 months as it ramps up its office-based and telemedicine services. The company is planning to launch a telemedicine pilot program at 11 local schools within the same time frame.

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Nurx expands its telemedicine and prescription delivery services to Utah, bringing its services to a total of 24 states.


Other

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Public officials in Louisville, KY unveil software from Unite Us that will help connect residents with resources in the health, education, and human services sectors. Five hundred people from 50 local organizations will initially connect to the United Community platform, including case managers, social workers, guidance counselors, and family resource officers. A $700,000 donation from United Way helped bring the technology to Louisville.


Sponsor Updates

  • Aprima will exhibit at the ACP Internal Medicine Meeting April 11-13 in Philadelphia.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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News 4/8/19

April 8, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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Women’s health and wellness membership clinic Tia scales back services after an intense marketing push results in higher-than-expected membership applications. The New York City-based company, which got its start as a period-tracking app, seems to have put the PR cart before the clinical horse: The startup has capped new memberships, stopped seeing new patients for several weeks, and experienced issues with opening its only clinic in a building still under construction. (And yet it is still welcoming semi-celebrities and lifestyle magazines to its office for photo spreads.)


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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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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Women’s medical group Advantia Health acquires Pacify, a maternal and pediatric telemedicine company, for an undisclosed sum. Both companies are based in Washington, DC.


Announcements and Implementations

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Wellbox adds RCM services to its line of chronic care management solutions as through its partnership with Aria Health Services from EMDs.

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Brault adds patient-account tracking capabilities to its RCM and practice management software for emergency and urgent care practices.


People

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Innovista Health Solutions names Gary Wainer, DO (Northwestern Medicine) CMO and president of the population health management company’s Illinois market.


Telemedicine

Researchers at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh find that direct-to-consumer telemedicine pediatricians prescribe antibiotics more often than their in-person counterparts. The researchers, who analyzed the database of a health plan that covers 4 million children and that directly contracts with a telemedicine vendor, found drugs were prescribed during 52% of virtual visits, during 42% of urgent care visits, and during 31% percent of PCP office visits. Their analysis also found that antibiotics prescribed via telemedicine were less likely to line up with clinical guidelines.


Other

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I love this: For years, the Netherlands has accepted books in lieu of tickets on its state-owned railway line during the country’s annual book week. The rail company has been a long-time sponsor of the week-long series of events, even holding book-signings with popular authors on its trains. Americans celebrate National Library Week this week, by the way, so do yourself a favor and patronize your local branch. Turns out there are more of them than there are Starbucks in the US. As I’ve written about before, you’ll be surprised at all of the perks today’s libraries offer with a (typically) free membership.

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And I’m a big believer in this: Researchers determine that people who exercise more are happier than those who exercise less but make more money. Exercise with a social aspect (like my favorite sport, tennis) ups the happiness factor even more.


Sponsor Updates

  • PerfectServe will exhibit at ANIA April 10-13 in Las Vegas.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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News 4/3/19

April 3, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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Mental health assessment software startup Blueprint (fka HelloJoy) raises $1.3 million in a seed round led by Lightbank and Hyde Park Angels. The Chicago-based startup has developed a patient-facing app that collects and analyzes patient information, including sleep, movement, and exercise data from phone sensors, combines it with patient assessments, and then delivers those datasets to providers so that they can develop tailored care plans. Founder Danny Freed has dabbled in app-based data-collection before. He developed the Companion app while at the University of Michigan to help users keep track of family and friends as they walked home alone late at night.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

The local paper looks at the impact noncompete clauses have on the patients of physicians who leave hospital employment to work for themselves or a medical group, noting that nearly half of 2,000 physicians surveyed across five states are bound by such agreements. Continuity of care seems to be thrown out the window in favor of legally binding business arrangements that prevent physicians from working within a certain radius of their old employer, and/or seeing former patients – a situation that leaves many patients feeling abandoned and afraid.


Announcements and Implementations

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PCG Software launches a cloud-based, real-time claims and billing review subscription service for physician practices.

EZClaim adds Alpha II’s ClaimStaker clinical claim and encounter scrubbing technology to its medical billing and scheduling software.


People

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Behavioral health-focused Aligned Telehealth promotes Miles Kramer to chief development officer.


Research and Innovation

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A new report from Fair Health finds that traditional care settings are still more popular than headlines and VC funding would have you believe. While utilization of telemedicine, retail clinics, urgent care facilities, and ambulatory surgery centers have increased, ERs still topped the list of access points outside of office settings. Telemedicine had the biggest increase – 53 percent – overall.


Other

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Going to the mattresses (sort of): Staffers in the technology and healthcare industries with low levels of sleep satisfaction are almost assuredly looking for other job opportunities, according to data from an online mattress company. Perhaps a new mattress is just the perk your burnt out employee needs to keep them from taking the leap.

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Y’all know I love a good library story: This article highlights the cool ways libraries across the country are catering to the tastes and needs of their patrons. When it comes to healthcare, many are going above and beyond making Dr. Google available in the computer lab. The Free Library of Philadelphia loans out blood pressure monitors and helps patrons access community-based resources. Nurses and social workers are also on site every day. The Miami Library in Oklahoma has incorporated diabetes prevention, yoga, and cooking classes into its stacks; and has added a community garden. And while not strictly related to healthcare, the Duluth Public Library in Minnesota offers a seed library for gardeners, who keep the resource sustainable by returning their harvested seeds to the collection.


Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD will exhibit at the American Society of Addiction Medicine meeting April 4-7 in Orlando.
  • Aprima will exhibit at the CORHIO Forum April 4-5 in Denver.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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