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News 11/20/14

November 19, 2014 News No Comments

Top News

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Nashville-based Emdeon announces it will acquire Change Healthcare for $135 million. Founded in 2007, Change, also based in Nashville, offers cost transparency and consumer engagement tools for employers and health plans. The deal is expected to close later this month, after which Change will continue to operate in its same office with its same employees.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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Watching: Burt’s Buzz, an amusing yet almost sad tale of the completely unique “Burt” behind the Burt’s Bees brand. The movie poster tag line just happens to be my favorite from the documentary: “A good day is when no one shows up … and you don’t have to go anywhere.”


Webinars

Check out the great presentation long-time HIStalk contributors Vince Ciotti and Frank Poggio gave on Tuesday, all in an effort to help prepare end users for the big transition from Siemens to Cerner or some other competing product. Though geared to hospitals, the tips they gave on vendor/product selection and contract negotiations will help just about anyone looking to purchase new IT.


Announcements and Implementations

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Providence Anesthesiology Associates (NC) selects TigerText’s secure messaging solution for its 60 anesthesiologists working at 19 locations throughout the state.

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CommonWell Health Alliance offers its 14 members the option to enter into nationwide service agreements, moving beyond the borders of its initial agreements in four geographies at 10 provider sites. Athenahealth, Cerner, CPSI, Greenway, and McKesson have already signed agreements with CommonWell to offer their clients these interoperability services across the nation, including Florida, Massachusetts, and Washington. The expansion stems from CommonWell’s recent cementing of its relationship with RelayHealth, which serves as the conduit through which its services are leveraged. I’d be interested in hearing from physicians who are using the CommonWell service via their EHR vendor as to how the technology is improving their information exchange and daily workflows.

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On a related note, Aprima Medical Software announces its CommonWell membership. President and CEO Michael Nissenbaum shared this statement with me: “We’re pleased to join CommonWell Health Alliance’s efforts to enable providers to seamlessly and more securely share patient information. Increasingly, physicians want to leverage information technology to more easily and cost-effectively treat their patients and manage their practice. Aprima is dedicated to easing the transition to this environment for healthcare providers.”

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FQHC Mile Square Health Center (IL) chooses Forward Health Group’s PopulationManager and The Guideline Advantage.

Rio Grande Valley HIE and University of Texas Health Science Center choose Wellcentive’s population health management solutions to help manage the care of people with diabetes.

Oakland Physician Network Services (MI) and Citrus Valley Health Partners (CA) sign on to Practice Fusion’s EHR. CVHP physicians note they are looking forward to using the new EHR to integrate with the Citrus Health Information Exchange.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Greenway Health will create 150 jobs in Atlanta when it opens a new technology development center early next year. The company plans to add 200 to 300 positions by the end of its current fiscal year next September 30.

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In other Georgia news, consulting firm Quirk Healthcare Solutions announces it will relocate its headquarters from Miami to Savannah, adding 150 jobs over the next three years. The company expects to open the flagship office, as well as a second smaller facility, by June 2015.

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Value-based care management company Valence Health receives a $15 million growth equity investment led by Heritage Group, with assistance from Foundation Medical Partners, GE Ventures, and North Bridge Growth Equity. The company received it’s last round of funding to the tune of $30 million in 2012.

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CVS Health will open a 100-employee technology development center in Boston for “building customer-centric experiences in healthcare” and to connect with health-related startups. The company will also open three drugstores that will be used for live testing of new digital technologies. Its Digital Health group is headquartered in Woonsocket, RI, where it recently opened a Digital Experience Center.

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Gallup offers three “prescriptions” for successful healthcare mergers, which nicely complement the many bon mots Vince and Frank shared during the recent Cerner/Siemens HIStalk webinar.

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FitBit launches a global media campaign – the first in its seven-year history – in direct response to Apple Watch and the increasingly crowded wearables marketplace. “We’re actually excited they’re entering,” says Tim Rosa, VP of global marketing. “All ships rise in a high tide, and they’re going to bring a lot of education to the category.” The eight-figure media buy will highlight the new FitBit Charge, Charge HR, and Surge.


Research and Innovation

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A survey finds that emerging roles in healthcare include telehealth-trained clinicians, care coordinator, navigator, clinical documentation specialist, health coach, medical scribe, and ICD-10 coder. Emerging executive roles include chief population health officer, chief experience officer, chief clinical transformation officer, and chief strategy officer. Survey respondents included over 300 HR and clinical management leaders from hospitals and health systems across the country.

This article highlights the work engineers are doing to develop microscopic robots that may eventually be able to travel through the large arteries and small veins of living bodies to perform a wide range of medical feats that would otherwise require invasive surgery. One researcher envisions “a generation of biological machines that could aid in drug delivery, surgical robotics, ‘smart’ implants, or mobile environmental analyzers, among countless other applications.”

Walgreens will offer inexpensive, minimally painful blood tests from startup Theranos, with the service already launched in the Phoenix area.


Government and Politics

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The HHS Idea Lab announces a new cohort for its Entrepreneurs-In-Residence program, which pairs private-sector entrepreneurs with HHS employees to innovate on “high risk high reward projects” crowdsourced from within the agency. The entrepreneurs include Danny Boice (Speek), Paula Braun (Elder Research Inc.), David Portnoy (Symbiosis Health), and Mark Scrimshire (HealthCa.mp).

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Ex-CMS COO Michelle Snyder releases an email sent to former US CTO Todd Park that portrays CMS Administrator Marilynn Tavenner as a demanding official who threatened to have Snyder’s job if Healthcare.gov didn’t launch on time. “I appreciate you (sic) belief in the goodness of others,” she writes, “but at this point I am too tired to pretend that there is a decision to be made – it is just how much crap my team will have to take if it isn’t sufficiently successful – you haven’t lived through the temper tantrums and threats of the last 9 months.” Snyder retired last December as fall-out from the botched launch continued to heat up.

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The House Science and Technology Committee finally  succeeds in putting Todd Park in the hot seat of its ACA inquisition, but only after issuing him a subpoena. Park was put through the committee’s wringer, which didn’t end up with much to show for their questioning efforts. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), ranking member of the full committee, hit the nail on the head when she told Park, "This hearing is largely an excuse for the majority to again express their dislike for the Affordable Care Act."

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The GAO reports that five CMS transparency tools – Physician Compare, Hospital Compare, Home Health Compare, Dialysis Facility Compare, and Nursing Home Compare – “lack relevant information on cost and provide limited information on key differences in quality of care, which hinders [the ability of consumers] to make meaningful distinctions among providers based on their performance.” It also points out  limitations such as “not using clear language and symbols, not summarizing and organizing information to highlight patterns, and not enabling consumers to customize how information is presented.” In what is probably no surprise to anyone, the cost transparency tools seem to be heavily influenced by the concerns of providers rather than consumers.


People

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AMC Health hires Bruce Matter (GE Healthcare) as SVP of sales and client development.

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Niall Brennan joins CMS as its first chief data officer in the agency’s new Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics.

ONC welcomes Chartése Day (Ketchum) as director of the Office of Public Affairs and Communications (OPAC), and Amanda Woodhead (Emdeon) as the senior stakeholder engagement lead in OPAC.


Other

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The Brookings Institution offers a 67-page ACO Physician Toolkit, authored by Aledade CEO Farzad Mostashari, MD Summit Medical Group CMO Robert Brenner, and ONC Entrepreneur in Residence Mark Montarastelli, as well as several Brookings insiders.

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Students in Singapore win funding to develop an app that encourages people to stop using their smartphones. The Apple Tree app immobilizes phones when two or more users put their handsets together. If a phone remains untouched, an apple tree begins to grow on the screen, furnishing the user with digital fruit that can be "harvested" and exchanged for rewards. The app will be released for free in March 2015 as part of Singapore’s 50th birthday celebrations.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk Practice  updates.
Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

JennHIStalk

News 11/18/14

November 17, 2014 News No Comments

Top News

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Healthcare.gov’s second open enrollment gets off to a fairly successful start, with half a million users logging on and 100,000 filling out applications. HHS reported that over 23,000 people submitted applications in the first eight hours. (It wasn’t wine and roses for everybody, of course, as these tweets show.) State-run health insurance exchanges in Washington and Colorado, however, experienced their fair share of technical glitches. Washington’s was taken offline for several hours to fix incorrectly calculated tax credits, while users in Colorado saw frequent error messages and the absence of certain plans. Log-in problems plagued exchanges in Louisiana.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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With the holidays right around the corner, it seems appropriate to offer readers the gift of a sponsorship discount. We rarely (never might be more accurate) mention HIStalk Practice sponsorship opportunities, instead letting our sponsors spread the word about the great ROI they receive. (As someone who has been on the sponsor side of the HIStalk family, I can honestly say the ROI is well worth the price.) Email Lorre for all the details, including sponsorship benefits and discount pricing, plus webinar opportunities.


Webinars

November 18 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. Cerner Takeover of Siemens, Are You Ready? Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Frank L. Poggio, president and CEO, The Kelzon Group; Vince Ciotti, principal, HIS Professionals. The Cerner acquisition of Siemens impacts 1,000 hospitals that could be forced into a “take it or leave it” situation based on lessons learned from similar takeovers. This webinar will review the possible fate of each Siemens HIS product, the impact of the acquisition on ongoing R&D, available market alternatives, and steps Siemens clients should take to prepare.

November 19 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. Improving Trial Accrual by Engaging the Digital Healthcare Consumer. Sponsored by DocuSign. Presenters: B. J. Rimel, MD, gynecologic oncologist, Cedars-Sinai Medial Center; Jennifer Royer, product marketing, DocuSign. The Women’s Cancer Program increased trial accrual five-fold by implementing an online registry that links participants to research studies, digitizing and simplifying a cumbersome, paper-based process. This webinar will describe the use of e-consents and social marketing to engage a broader population and advance research while saving time and reducing costs.

Recent webinar videos on YouTube:

Keeping it Clean: How Data Profiling Leads to Trusted Data

3 Ways to Improve Care Transitions Using an HIE Encounter Notification Service


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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MinuteClinic opens its first facilities inside of CVS/pharmacies in Wisconsin, while Target and Kaiser Permanente team up to open four Target clinics in California over the next several weeks. The California clinics will be Target’s first to offer expanded primary care including pediatric and adolescent care, women’s health, family planning, and management of chronic conditions. The partnership marks a departure for Target in that Kaiser will be responsible for staffing clinic NPs and RNs. KP physicians will be available via telemedicine. Target has 79 clinics in seven states, while MinuteClinic has 939 locations in 31 states, plus Washington, D.C.

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This article highlights what a good time it is to be in the PM software business. PM companies raised $126 million in eight funding rounds in the first three quarters of 2014, already putting this year far ahead of last year’s $87 million raised over all four fiscal quarters. Companies that have raised considerable sums thus far include Data Driven Delivery Systems, 1Life Healthcare, Health Gorilla, SharePractice, and TelePharm.

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Fruit Street Health CEO Laurence Girard offers free shares in the company to former investors in Prevently Inc., a failed telemedicine company that ousted Girard from his CEO position there earlier this year. The free shares are available to each Prevently investor who made their investment prior to its closing and Girard’s termination. Girard’s good-natured gesture contrasts starkly with one Prevently investor’s allegations that “my family has continually received attempts at paying us off for our silence about the Prevently scam. Laurence Girard has attempted to give me shares in Fruit Street and Welliko in return for a release of liability. On the principal it would be reprehensible for anyone to accept such an offer because it supports a scam artist and disallows people like myself from using our legal rights to seek damages against Laurence Girard, Welliko, Fruit Street, and whatever other companies he may cook up.”


Announcements and Implementations

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Ob Hospitalist Group (SC) selects charge capture and PQRS software from PatientKeeper. OBHG will deploy the new technology on tablets, and expects to complete roll out to 300 physicians in the first quarter of 2015.

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Allscripts recognizes Keona Health’s patient triage technology as its November App of the Month. Keona Health patient workflow software integrates with Allscripts Professional and TouchWorks EHRs.

New York-based HIEs Southern Tier Healthlink and Taconic Health Information Network and Community plan to merge into a single Qualified Entity called HealthlinkNY. The new organization will span 11 counties, and be governed by a combined 20-person board from the leadership team and staff of STHL and THINC.

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In related news, STHL plans to implement Infor’s Cloverleaf HIE infrastructure and business intelligence tool in preparation for the merger with THINC.

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Seacoast Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, which uses Greenway’s (formerly Vitera’s) Intergy EHR and PM technology, achieves Meaningful Use Stage 2, putting them among only 2 percent of EPs nationwide to demonstrate MUS2.

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Behavioral health facility KidsTLC (KS) selects Essentia technology from Lavender & Wyatt Systems. The package includes EHR, revenue cycle, claims management, and analytics software.

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Medical Web Experts partners with Bizmatics to offer its Bridge Patient Portal customers access to the Bizmatics PrognoCIS EHR and PM solution. The news follows BPP’s announcement in September of a partnership with AccelOne, which will provide security audit services for BPP technology.


Government and Politics

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This flowchart depicts ONC’s Federal Advisory Committee process for developing recommendations – one that seems in direct correlation with the state of interoperability (idealistic in its supposed simplicity yet actually overly complicated by government regulation and private-sector politics).

CMS kicks off its first ICD-10 testing week, during which providers will be able to submit ICD-10 claims, and CMS will respond with an acknowledgement or a rejection.  Additional testing weeks will be held in March and June 2015.


Research and Innovation

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Hot on the heels of the IoM’s call for EHRs to capture additional social and behavioral data as part of MUS3 comes the launch of the SocioNeeds Index from Healthy Communities Institute. The visualization tool enables physicians to identify those living in the highest risk zip codes that can benefit most from supportive health and social programs.

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The local business paper profiles Twine Health, a Boston-based startup developing an app that offers users suffering from hypertension motivational, personalized health plans in the form of electronic checklists. Patients check off health goals as they go, while doctors get frequent updates on their progress. Twine has partnered with six clinics to enroll 159 patients in beta testing, and is offering physician practices a limited-time free trial so they can track whether the medical conditions of their patients improve with use of the app. The concept seems intriguing, but it makes me wonder how physicians will handle all that data. Dr. Jayne put it in perspective in her recent EPtalk post: “My EHR vendor is starting to integrate personal tracker data and what we’re seeing come in is far more than we would ever want to see.”

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A separate business paper spotlights the journey Medytex founder Saurabh Tyagi has been on since pivoting the startup from a restaurant review app to one that focuses on patient surveys. Tyagi, who has no prior healthcare experience, plans to grow the platform as part of the North Dakota State University Technology Incubator while his team looks for seed funding.

Researchers find that programming EHRs to make generic drugs the default choice when physicians write prescriptions may offer one way to reduce unnecessary healthcare spending. Their study looked at four ambulatory clinics and 21,377 prescriptions, and found that physicians significantly increased their prescription of generic drugs when given the option via EHR prompt.


People

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Leslie Kelly Hall (Healthwise) joins Healtheway’s Carequality Steering Committee, and  is reappointed to the ONC’s Health Information Technology Standards Committee.

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Rosemarie Henson (HHS) will join the American Cancer Society as senior vice president for prevention and early detection.

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Rite Aid gives its RediClinic subsidiary CEO Web Golinkin the additional duties of Health Dialog CEO, and promotes Karen Staniforth to COO of Health Dialog, a Rite Aid subsidiary that provides population health management solutions.

Cal INDEX appoints Greg LeClaire (Aetna) CFO, John Lee (Oracle) CTO, Andrea Leeb, RN (L.A. Health Care Plan) chief privacy officer, and Doug Hart (ConvergeHealth) vice president of marketing and corporate communications.


Other

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Researchers at UConn Health’s Center for Quantitative Medicine work to develop a secure messaging system that will enable physicians, dentists, NPs, and certified midwives to exchange encrypted patient information online, standardizing EHRs across the state. “What we’re focusing on is health IT solutions that are based on standards that increase interoperability,” Assistant Professor Minakshi Tikoo says. “We have got to get this information moving. We cannot put it in packages and just put it in a box and never open the box.”

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The NFL, Under Armour, and GE select a team of engineers and physicians from Emory University and Georgia Tech as winners of the Head Health Challenge II, a competition for innovations intended to speed diagnosis of and improve treatment for concussions. The team’s iDETECT (integrated Display Enhanced TEsting for Cognitive Impairment and mTBI) system designed to improve neurologic assessment following mild traumatic brain injury won them a $500,000 prize, plus the chance for an additional $1 million in funding. How ironic (or maybe just plain sad) that the healthcare community is working to mitigate the neurological effects of rough play while the NFL faces scrutiny from the DEA for questionable prescription drug practices.

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And I thought my recent GoGo in-flight WiFi bill of $14.95 was steep: Singapore Airlines passenger Jeremy Gutsche is hit with an in-flight Internet bill for $1,171.46. The airline apparently charges passengers an initial $28.99 connection fee, and then outrageously raises the price based on usage. Gutsche explains that, “I wish I could blame an addiction to Netflix or some intellectual documentary that made me $1,200 smarter. However, the Singapore Airlines Internet was painfully slow, so videos would be impossible and that means I didn’t get any smarter … except about how to charge a lot of money for stuff. I did learn that.” The rate hike reminds me of the similarly outrageous rates convention centers charge exhibitors for the privilege of connecting to sometimes non-existent show-floor WiFi.

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Radiologist Mark Howshar, MD laments the demise of private practices, sharing his own tale of healthcare IT-induced woe: “Today, I spend twice as much time per patient filling out paperwork compared to 2010. It would be one thing if that time was spent with the patient, but instead it’s spent at the computer. Mandatory and redundant file keeping has become so time-consuming that our practice had to hire a full-time chief compliance officer. As any practice owner will tell you, CCOs don’t come cheap.”

Get Covered Illinois injects a healthy dose of humor into its Luck Health Plan marketing campaign, featuring the tagline, “You’ll be okay. Probably.”


Sponsor Updates

  • Deloitte includes Kareo on its “2014 Technology Fast 500” list.
  • Relay Health Clinical Connectivity becomes certified to operate as a Health Data Intermediary in Minnesota.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk Practice  updates.
Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

JennHIStalk

5 Questions with Sapna Mukherjee, MD Premium Care Pediatrics

November 17, 2014 News No Comments

Sapna Mukherjee, MD is the founder of Chicago-based concierge practice Premium Care Pediatrics. As PCP’s sole staff member, Mukherjee sees up to two patients a day via house call. Though her practice is too small to qualify for the Meaningful Use program, she has implemented an EHR. She is also on staff at several area hospitals.

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How are the technology needs of a concierge practice different from a more traditional, solo physician practice?
The needs of an office-based practice and concierge practice are the same. The difference is that I make house calls, so I need to be able to take my supplies with me. I look for the most compact pieces of equipment and also choose supplies that don’t have to be refrigerated, if possible. I have capability to test for Influenza, RSV bronchiolitis, and strep infection with a Veritor unit from BD. I use the CardioCheck machine for cholesterol and glucose monitoring. I can also measure blood oxygen levels and heart rate with a unit from Quest.

Also, my Dr. Chrono EHR can be used on an iPad or a laptop. Since I am making house calls, I need to have all of my records available to me at all times since I don’t know who I may be seeing later in the day.  These reasons justify the expense of an EHR for me.

What type of technology makes your life the easiest? What kind do your patients gravitate most towards?
The availability of immediate test results (flu, strep, mono, bronchiolitis) for infection helps with diagnosis, management, and medical decision making. Similarly, being able to test for and immediately know the results for anemia, lead exposure, high cholesterol, and glucose during the visit makes preventative health maintenance easier. Families really appreciate that comprehensive care and guidance is provided at the time of the visit and that a plan of action until the next visit can be created, discussed, and finalized.

Additionally, families really appreciate the ability to text, send photos or communicate via Skype or Facetime. These forms of advanced communication may help me provide an immediate assessment or help them avoid a visit to the emergency department. Overall, they help me provide better care for my patients.

How do you envision technology helping you to grow your practice – either via the addition of staff, or your ability to take on new patients?
As discussed above, advances in the various forms of communication are changing the way we care for patients. Many times, a video chat can help to assess the severity of an illness or help make a decision to immediately begin intervention. This saves the family time and worry, and allows me to schedule my day more efficiently and, as a result, provide care for more families.

How have your colleagues reacted to your decision to move to the concierge model? Is this a growing trend?
My colleagues have all been very supportive. Many of them are parents and definitely see the advantages that concierge medicine, especially a house call-only practice model has to offer! Concierge medicine is certainly a growing trend as more and more families are seeking both the amenities and level of service that concierge medicine is able to provide.

What are your thoughts on the current state of interoperability?
I e-prescribe, order, and view lab and imaging results via the EHR. There are other aspects of interoperability that are advancing, such as being able to order labs at outside labs right from my computer and having results accessible online. E-prescribing is another area that is really simplifying patient management.  The pharmacy’s information helps to create an additional layer of checks and balances in terms of allergic reactions or medication history.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk Practice  updates.
Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

JennHIStalk

News 11/13/14

November 12, 2014 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Obama administration officials including HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell and representatives from the CDC attempt to persuade lawmakers to green light a $6.2 billion emergency funding request to fight Ebola in West Africa and to prevent further spread in the U.S. Domestic funding would go towards continuing training given to 250,000 nurses and other U.S. health workers on how to safely handle any cases, designating hospitals in every state capable of handling Ebola or other serious infectious diseases, and creating a national stockpile of protective equipment for health workers. Not surprisingly, “Ebola Czar” Ron Klain didn’t put in a guest appearance during the proceedings. (Is it just me, or has the media frenzy around Ebola spreading in the U.S. subsided now that the elections are over?)  


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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In her latest Curbside Consult, Dr. Jayne points out the pain many private-practice physicians are likely feeling as they contemplate making the inevitable switch to ICD-10. Her thoughts on the differing set of challenges faced by EPs and independents over the next 11 months makes me want to hear straight from the horse’s mouth. Email me if you are a physician working through the transition and would like to share your story, warts and all. It might turn out to be the sort of topic that could make for a regular series.

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Listening: The Lord of the Rings film score, courtesy of Pandora, which has also reminded me how much I like scores from Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and Sherlock (the Benedict Cumberbatch/Martin Freeman version). My all-time favorite soundtracks include Amélie, The Motorcycle Diaries, and Mama Mia.


Webinars

November 18 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. Cerner Takeover of Siemens, Are You Ready? Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Frank L. Poggio, president and CEO, The Kelzon Group; Vince Ciotti, principal, HIS Professionals. The Cerner acquisition of Siemens impacts 1,000 hospitals that could be forced into a “take it or leave it” situation based on lessons learned from similar takeovers. This webinar will review the possible fate of each Siemens HIS product, the impact of the acquisition on ongoing R&D, available market alternatives, and steps Siemens clients should take to prepare.

November 19 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. Improving Trial Accrual by Engaging the Digital Healthcare Consumer. Sponsored by DocuSign. Presenters: B. J. Rimel, MD, gynecologic oncologist, Cedars-Sinai Medial Center; Jennifer Royer, product marketing, DocuSign. The Women’s Cancer Program increased trial accrual five-fold by implementing an online registry that links participants to research studies, digitizing and simplifying a cumbersome, paper-based process. This webinar will describe the use of e-consents and social marketing to engage a broader population and advance research while saving time and reducing costs.


Announcements and Implementations

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Presbyterian Medical Services (NM) selects the Lightbeam Health Solutions analytics platform to help it unify claims and clinical data across its 45 FQHCs. PMS opened a new, 30,000 square-foot health center in San Juan County last week.

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Billings Clinic (MT) implements 175 PatientSecure vein scanners to confirm patient identity at check in. The scanners integrate with the Cerner EHR already in use at the clinic, which plans to incorporate the scanners into self check-in kiosks in the near future.

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South Carolina’s Health Information Exchange (SCHIEx) and the Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN) launch one of the first state-to-state HIE connections in the nation. It’s refreshing to read about organizations actually making progress with interoperability.

Allscripts adds secure patient payments capability from TrustCommerce to its FollowMyHealth patient engagement platform.

Appointment reminder technology vendor Talksoft introduces the ability for hospitals and practices to develop brand-specific iPhone and Android apps that use its technology.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Xerox invests an undisclosed amount in telemedicine kiosk company HealthSpot as part of a five-year plan that also calls for the company to become HealthSpot’s exclusive cloud computing and IT services vendor. Xerox also plans to install the kiosks in healthcare customer locations such as retail pharmacies, large employers, nursing homes, and EDs. HealthSpot has been in the news for securing a deal with Rite-Aid, its first with a national pharmacy chain.

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The local business paper highlights Oregon-based Providence Ventures, the $150 million investment fund Providence Health & Services launched in September. The fund is targeting early-to-mid-stage companies in six areas: online primary care access; care coordination and patient engagement; chronic disease management; clinician experience; data analytics; and consumer health and wellness services. It has four potential, though as-yet unnamed, investments already in the final stages of due diligence.

Telehealth provider MDLIVE acquires Breakthrough Behavioral, which offers online behavioral health counseling. Former Apple CEO John Sculley is mentioned an being investor of the $49 per visit MDLIVE.

Specialty EHR vendor Modernizing Medicine secures $15 million of a planned $20 million funding round.


Government and Politics

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DoL awards Capital Workforce Partners a $6.7 million Ready to Work Partnership grant to help retrain healthcare IT technicians and unemployed RNs and LPNs in Connecticut. The grant, which should help about 300 people, is part of a larger $170 million package awarded to 23 workforce groups last month.

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Healthcare.gov CEO Kevin Counihan – on the job for just over three months – minces no words when it comes to acknowledging the potential for disaster when open enrollment begins this Saturday: “The system is mind-numbingly complicated. Do I think it’s perfect? No. Do I think it ever will be perfect? No. But I think it’s easier and simpler than last year. It’s going to get better every year.”


Research and Innovation

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Results from an Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine telemedicine survey find that 67 percent of surveyed providers are either using telemedicine to provide services now, or planning to in the next few years, and just 19 percent have a reimbursement mechanism in place. Fifty-six percent noted that telemedicine technology is ahead of current state medical board guidelines, though the use of “ahead” is somewhat ambiguous. The fact that nearly 600 providers responded to the survey makes me pay a bit more attention to the results, especially when compared with a separate telemedicine survey Mr. H recently skewered for only having 57 respondents.

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The local business paper profiles HealthCareLove and its Tiptop Health automated e-mail messaging platform, which helps private-practice doctors follow up with patients. Company co-founder Cat Perez and CEO Victor Oliveros made names for themselves last year after winning the Dreamforce  million-dollar hackathon for creating a more user-friendly version of Healthcare.gov, which they aptly titled Healthcare.Love. The company is now part of the Blue Startups accelerator program in Hawaii.  

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Researchers find that healthcare IT can be used to conduct patient outreach on health insurance. They suggest that providers use HIE to exchange coverage information between themselves and payers, and that registries could be used to email or text patients about re-enrollment. The possibilities are fairly endless, but a stagnant state of interoperability (barring Georgia and South Carolina, of course) makes me think the concept will never see the light of day.


People

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Mark Hanna (Medicity) joins Clinigence as vice president.

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Carl Smith (Best Doctors) joins CompuGroup Medical US as GM of the laboratory division.

Digby Morrow (Oregon Health Authority) joins CSG Government Solutions as senior consultant.


Other

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Aledade CEO and former ONC head Farzad Mostashari, MD heads to Toronto on Friday to speak at a TELUS Health breakfast event that will focus on the benefits of EHR adoption in light of Canada’s low 56-percent adoption rate. Coincidentally, Canada is observing its first Digital Health Week this week, though the breakfast does not appear to be officially affiliated with it. I may listen in via the #HealthTalks hashtag and report back.

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The summary graphic from KLAS’s just-released EHR interoperability review shows Epic and athenahealth leading the pack in contributing to the success of their customers.

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Shift Labs develops a prototype video game that could be used to train healthcare workers treating Ebola patients in West Africa. The game is the result of a request from the IMAI-IMCI Alliance, which creates training programs for WHO, and a Halloween weekend hackathon that gathered 40 video game developers, digital designers, and clinicians at Seattle’s Living Computer Museum. The prototype helps workers learn how to navigate their way through an Ebola ward, and includes such scenarios as whether or not to sit on a bed, avoiding touching hands to face (an alarm will sound if you do), and a mist-like effect that mimics the sweat build-up in a PPE face mask.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk Practice  updates.
Contact us online.

JennHIStalk

News 11/11/14

November 10, 2014 News No Comments

Top News

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Healthcare.gov goes live in 37 states for “window shopping” nearly a week before it’s officially scheduled to launch for open enrollment. HHS Principal Deputy Administrator Andy Slavitt said the browsing “functionality has been ready for a while … (but) obviously we’ve been continuing to test it.” Critics have already weighed in – positively, thus far, noting that the site is “night and day” compared to last year due to improved responsiveness and ease of use on mobile devices. (On a side note, Healthcare.com – a health insurance policy comparison website that’s been around since 2006 – is raising $7.5 million to expand its services.)


Webinars

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

November 18 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. Cerner Takeover of Siemens, Are You Ready? Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Frank L. Poggio, president and CEO, The Kelzon Group; Vince Ciotti, principal, HIS Professionals. The Cerner acquisition of Siemens impacts 1,000 hospitals that could be forced into a “take it or leave it” situation based on lessons learned from similar takeovers. This webinar will review the possible fate of each Siemens HIS product, the impact of the acquisition on ongoing R&D, available market alternatives, and steps Siemens clients should take to prepare.

November 19 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. Improving Trial Accrual by Engaging the Digital Healthcare Consumer. Sponsored by DocuSign. Presenters: B. J. Rimel, MD, gynecologic oncologist, Cedars-Sinai Medial Center; Jennifer Royer, product marketing, DocuSign. The Women’s Cancer Program increased trial accrual five-fold by implementing an online registry that links participants to research studies, digitizing and simplifying a cumbersome, paper-based process. This webinar will describe the use of e-consents and social marketing to engage a broader population and advance research while saving time and reducing costs.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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CompuGroup Medical US will move its headquarters from Boston to Phoenix on January 1.

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The first of several planned Saint Francis FastCare primary-care clinics in Connecticut opens in a local Super Stop & Shop. A local state representative jokingly refers to it as the “Stop & Shot.”


Announcements and Implementations

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Intel-GE Care Innovations launches the Health Harmony remote patient monitoring system. The company partnered with optimization technology firm Affinova to ensure the new system presented the most consumer-friendly design.

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Medical Mime introduces a new EHR system for therapists working at drug and alcohol treatment centers.

Amazing Charts announces the GA of its Pri-Med InLight EHR beginning next month. Both the Amazing Charts EHR and InLight EHR will incorporate Wolters Kluwer Health Integrated Patient Education resources by 2015.

Envision Medical Group (MI) chooses Aprima’s RCM services.


Government and Politics

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The HIT Policy Committee’s Privacy and Security Workgroup meets to plan for its early December “Big Data Hearing,” which will cover current law, opportunities, challenges, and protections.

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The Massachusetts medical board makes its final recommendations for a law going into effect in January 2015 that will require all physicians to demonstrate EHR proficiency and Meaningful Use skills. The final wording hasn’t been approved, but proposed regulations would require physicians to meet one of the following:

  • Participate as an EP in MU Stage 1.
  • Be employed, contracted, or credentialed by a hospital that is participating in MU Stage 1.
  • Complete a three-hour accredited CME program on EHRs.
  • Sign up for Massachusetts Health information Highway.

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In other Massachusetts news, the Massachusetts eHealth Institute is offering $6.7 million in grants to behavioral health providers and long-term acute care facilities in the hopes of increasing their access to EHRs. Grant payments will range from $5,000 to $30,000 each, and will be offered in stages based on adoption progress.

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Verizon receives security clearance from HHS to sell its cloud services to the federal government.

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Two AIDS-related websites run by the federal government finally begin routine encryption of user data. Prior to new encryption standards implemented this month, the sites risked exposing the identities and sometimes locations of visitors when they used search boxes to find nearby facilities offering HIV testing, treatment, and other services.

Presidents from eight healthcare associations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American College of Physicians pen a blog stating their support for Surgeon General nominee Vivek Murthy, MD. They emphasize that, “This is no time for politics to overshadow the important work that lies ahead for our country. Let us rise above our minor differences and recognize that Dr. Vivek Murthy has the experience, vision, and passion to be our next Surgeon General.”


Research and Innovation

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Just in time for the holidays and New Year’s resolutions, Fitbug launches the KiQplan app, which takes data from fitness trackers and smartphone apps and then uses it to build 12-week personal fitness plans to help users achieve specific goals. Four plans are now available, with more expected to launch in 2015.


People

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Michael Chris Gibbons, MD (Johns Hopkins University) joins the FCC as distinguished scholar in residence, where he will provide expertise in healthcare IT, population health, and analytics.


Other

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Cerner employees donate over 7,400 used mobile devices as part of the Sprint Buyback Program, raising over $108,000 for First Hand Foundation. The funds were used to provide free health screenings to more than 8,500 Kansas City elementary school students.

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Rob Lamberts, MD sends out this tweet, subsequently picked up by NPR in yet another piece on why physicians are frustrated with EHRs. (Why in the world would the EHR send patient results via fax instead of secure messaging? Please explain this absurdity via the comments section below.)

Press Ganey CMO Thomas Lee, MD and Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter lay out a six-step “strategic agenda” for moving to a high-value healthcare delivery system:

  • Organize into integrated practice units.
  • Measure outcomes and costs for every patient.
  • Move to bundled payments for care cycles.
  • Integrate care delivery systems.
  • Expand geographic reach.
  • Build an enabling information technology platform.

Amy Rothenberg, ND explains how ballroom dancing has made her a better physician.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of the state of HIE in New York, focusing particularly on the progress made by Southern Tier Healthlink, HealtheConnection, and Rochester RHIO. All 10 HIEs in New York are expected to be connected to each other by mid-2015, making the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY) one of the largest HIEs in the country.

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Rumors surface that Apple Watch stainless steel models will retail for $500, while gold models could cost $4,000 and up. Companies looking to give away the new watch at HIMSS 15 are in luck, as the company has alluded to the fact that it will be available in late February. I assume most vendors will stick with the $349 model.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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Reader Comments

  • Weird News Andy: Amélie, a GREAT Soundtrack. Might I also suggest a few others: The Mission, Ragtime (movie), and Sophie's Choice....
  • Trollbeater: I know you are just reporting what another org is saying, but it might be a tad better if you provide some commentary, a...
  • dottie howe: Great column, Dr. Gregg. Glad to see the patient portal going so well. Just tweeted your column nationally. Good for oth...
  • Jess: Google's nanoparticle pill sounds very interesting. Thanks for the heads up on AMA's Health Workforce Mapper, as well!...
  • Jay Alicea: great summary Jenn! Your write up is excellent. Thank you for keeping us virtually there....