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News 11/20/17

November 20, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Waiting-room messaging company Outcome Health offers employees voluntary buyouts as it continues to face media scrutiny over investor lawsuits related to overpromised and under-delivered advertisement metrics, layoffs, and a pending move to a new multi-million dollar headquarters in downtown Chicago that seems risky in light of its ongoing troubles. In a statement to employees over the weekend, the company stressed its leadership understands “these are challenging times and that the ongoing scrutiny in the media may not be the right fit for everyone …. Outcome Health’s founders believe strongly in the long-term success of the business and that’s why they are seeking to reinvest their own money into the company.”

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In addition, the AMA has pulled its pre-diabetes PSAs from Outcome Health’s rotation, and Harvard Health Publishing has canceled its arrangement with the company. To top it all off (for now), the Chicago Tribune reports that misleading sales tactics have dogged the company (fka ContextMedia) for years. Between 2010 and 2016, Outcome Health found itself involved with several lawsuits brought by competitors like Healthy Advice and Accent Health (which it acquired in 2016) over unethical practices that included lying about competitors, misleading potential customers, and gaining competitive intelligence in a highly suspect fashion.


Webinars

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November 30 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Making Clinical Communications Work in Your Complex Environment.” Sponsored by: PatientSafe Solutions. Presenters: Steve Shirley, VP/CIO, Parkview Medical Center; Richard Cruthirds, CIO, Peterson Health. Selecting, implementing, and managing a mobile clinical communications platform is a complex and sometimes painful undertaking. With multiple technologies, stakeholders, and disciplines involved, a comprehensive approach is required to ensure success. Hear two hospital CIOs share their first-hand experience, lessons learned, and demonstrated results from deploying an enterprise-wide mobile clinical communications solution.

December 5 (Tuesday) 2:00 ET. “Cornerstones of Order Set Optimization: Trusted Evidence.” Sponsored by: Wolters Kluwer. Updating order sets with new medical evidence is crucial to improving outcomes, but coordinating maintenance for hundreds of order sets with dozens of stakeholders is a huge logistical challenge. For most hospitals, managing order set content is labor intensive and the internal processes supporting it are far too inefficient. Evidence-based order sets are only as good as their content, which is why regular review and updates are essential. This webinar explores the relationship between clinical content and patient care with an eye toward building trust among the clinical staff. Plus, we will demonstrate a new evidence alignment tool that can easily incorporate the most current medical content into your order sets, regardless of format, including Cerner Power Plans and Epic SmartSets.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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Express Scripts will supply patients enrolled in its Pulmonary Care Value Program with Propeller Health’s smart inhaler and companion app to help manage their asthma or COPD. An earlier pilot program helped patients improve asthma medication adherence and decrease emergency situations.

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Harris Healthcare subsidiary Amazing Charts incorporates OptimizeRx’s digital prescription savings and pharmacy messaging into its EHR.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Drchrono entices physicians to sign up for its subscription-based EHR services with new iPads.


Government and Politics

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HHS Acting Secretary Eric Hargan appoints Leslie Lenert, MD (Medical University of South Carolina), Clem McDonald, MD (Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications), and Robert Wah, MD (DXC Technology) to the Health IT Advisory Committee.

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The American Institutes for Research will help CMS identify, test, and deploy patient-reported outcomes measures for practices participating in the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus program. It will also assist practices with patient experience survey implementation, analytics, and results reporting.


Telemedicine

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The FDA approves telemedicine visits for Nucleus Cochlear Implant System patients who need adjustments made to their implants. “Being able to have a qualified audiologist program the device via telemedicine from a remote location can greatly reduce the burden to patients and their families, especially those who must travel great distances or need frequent adjustments,” says Malvina Eydelman, MD director of the Division of Ophthalmic, and Ear, Nose, and Throat Devices in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.


Research and Innovation

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Auto manufacturers look into incorporating health sensors into vehicles to help prevent accidents related to heart attacks or diabetic conditions. Companies like Toyota, Ford, Honda, and GM are specifically looking at developing systems that can trigger cars to pull off the road and call for help in the event of an emergencies that drivers might at first be unaware of.


Other

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Texas-based physician Laurence Chu, MD laments the demise of SoapWare EHR, technology he has used at his small practice since 2004, and the arduous process he will have to undergo to find a replacement. (The company apparently announced it will discontinue service at the end of February via a two-sentence message within the user portal.) “By far, the greatest problem will be the transfer of patient data,” he explains. “While basic information can be moved to the new database, much of the data will lose its original dynamic usefulness. I will lose the ability to retrieve historic analysis of patient care and past visits. I am surprised vendors have not overcome this critical need.”


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicity publishes a new report, “HIE Preparedness: Learning from Recent Health Care Disasters.”
  • Healthwise will exhibit at the Next Generation Patient Experience November 28 in San Diego.

Blog Posts


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Population Health Management Weekly Wrap Up 11/19/17

November 19, 2017 News No Comments

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Sam Ambewadikar, MD (DaVita Medical Group) joins EQHealth Solutions as senior medical director, Florida government operations.

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VirtualHealth hires Jamie Hall (Certifi) as chief revenue officer.

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Lisa Stevens Anderson (Banner Health) joins Equality Health as COO of its Q Point Health subsidiary.

Indiana-based managed care company MDwise upgrades to ZeOmega’s Jiva 6.1 population health management tool. Managed Medi-Cal health plan provider Kern Health Systems has also selected ZeOmega’s solution.

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After helping Premier Health (OH) launch several health plans over the last four years, Evolent Health will purchase the health system’s commercial and Medicare Advantage plan assets. Evolent will also supply population health management services for Premier’s employee, Next Generation ACO, and payer partnership populations.

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An SA Ignite survey conducted by Porter Research finds that a majority of the 120 health system executives surveyed are dissatisfied with the EHR and population health management systems they rely on for QPP reporting. Nearly 75 percent report their systems do not offer QPP management tools.

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An American Board of Family Medicine study shows that 70 percent of family medicine residents feel extremely prepared to conduct population health management initiatives. A similar percentage feel they’re prepared to utilize EHRs as part of the PHM efforts.

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The nonprofit Washington Health Alliance integrates Castlight Health’s health navigation platform with its cost and quality database to offer employers greater insight into healthcare services and providers.

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Non-profit health plan AlohaCare (HI) chooses Health Catalyst for population health, accountable care, financial decision support, and operational performance improvement.

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North Carolina-based managed care company Trillium Health Resources selects InfoMC’s care coordination and management technology and support services.

The St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital partners with nearby Gleaners Food Bank to open a food-based health clinic, offering local residents food, healthcare, and social services.


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News 11/16/17

November 16, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Private equity investment firm Leonard Green & Partners acquires a majority stake in concierge practice management chain MDVIP from Summit Partners, which acquired it from Procter & Gamble in 2014. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company, which got its start in 2000 when the concierge concept was more of a fad than tried-and-true business model, suffered a somewhat high-profile black eye in 2015 when it lost an $8.5 million malpractice suit related to an inappropriate diagnosis and unnecessary amputation.


Webinars

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November 30 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Making Clinical Communications Work in Your Complex Environment.” Sponsored by: PatientSafe Solutions. Presenters: Steve Shirley, VP/CIO, Parkview Medical Center; Richard Cruthirds, CIO, Peterson Health. Selecting, implementing, and managing a mobile clinical communications platform is a complex and sometimes painful undertaking. With multiple technologies, stakeholders, and disciplines involved, a comprehensive approach is required to ensure success. Hear two hospital CIOs share their first-hand experience, lessons learned, and demonstrated results from deploying an enterprise-wide mobile clinical communications solution.

December 5 (Tuesday) 2:00 ET. “Cornerstones of Order Set Optimization: Trusted Evidence.” Sponsored by: Wolters Kluwer. Updating order sets with new medical evidence is crucial to improving outcomes, but coordinating maintenance for hundreds of order sets with dozens of stakeholders is a huge logistical challenge. For most hospitals, managing order set content is labor intensive and the internal processes supporting it are far too inefficient. Evidence-based order sets are only as good as their content, which is why regular review and updates are essential. This webinar explores the relationship between clinical content and patient care with an eye toward building trust among the clinical staff. Plus, we will demonstrate a new evidence alignment tool that can easily incorporate the most current medical content into your order sets, regardless of format, including Cerner Power Plans and Epic SmartSets.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Medical marijuana EHR and billing vendor Alternate Health acquires blockchain-based mobile payment processing technology from Trinity Payment Systems. The transaction is one Alternate Health CEO Michael Murphy, MD hopes will help local governments better monitor medical marijuana transactions.

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Practice management company SynerMed abruptly shuts down amidst an investigation by the California Dept. of Managed Health Care and a rash of payer audits related to the company’s purported “system and control failures within medical management and other departments.” The Monterey Park, CA-based company focused its efforts on helping independent practices care for Medicaid and Medicare patients.

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Care coordination software company Unite Us secures a $4 million investment from Omidyar Network, bringing its total raised to $10.3 million since launching in 2013. The company has developed technology aimed at veteran and military patients that integrates social determinants of health data and related services with a physician’s EHR.


Announcements and Implementations

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Quality Systems (NextGen) upgrades its Mobile Suite to include fingerprint log-in, image capture and annotation, electronic signature capabilities, and access to the Problem IT Terminology diagnosis entry tool from Intelligent Medical Objects. It’s the first such enhancement since NextGen acquired Entrada, whose technology powers the mobile documentation tool, in April.

The South Carolina Medical Association taps interoperability and analytics company Kammco Health Solutions to help it establish a statewide HIE. KHS is working on similar projects in Georgia, Connecticut, New Jersey, Missouri, Kansas, and Louisiana.

The Independent Physician Association of America will offer members ISign International’s cybersecurity solutions.


Telemedicine

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MyOncoPath launches telemedicine services for oncologists and their patients seeking genetic counseling and test recommendations.


Government and Politics

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The local news highlights the challenges many physicians in North Carolina face when it comes to using the state’s PDMP. Though the database has seen increased utilization since it launched in 2011, less than 25 percent of the North Carolina providers use it – despite a July mandate from Governor Roy Cooper. Abhi Mehrotra, MD believes it’s a useful tool, but finds the nearly five minute-long process of accessing it to be a hindrance. State officials hope an improved interface and EHR integration will convince more prescribers to use the tool.

Mississippi physicians push back on several state Board of Medical Licensure proposals related to the prescribing of opioids. Recommendations under scrutiny include a requirement to test patients for drug use before receiving an opioid prescription, requiring physicians to check the state’s PDMP during every new patient visit (even if a prescription isn’t requested), and mandatory physical examinations before prescribing any medication – a move that many physicians feel will hinder the progress of telemedicine. The Mississippi State Medical Association instead recommends tabling the controversial recommendations for now, suggesting instead that the board push through mandatory registration with the state’s PDMP and limiting some prescriptions.

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CMS will host a Meaningful Measures Initiative overview webinar on November 28 at 1pm ET. Announced by CMS Administrator Seema Verma last month, the initiative will aim to develop a new, more patient-friendly approach to quality measurements and improvement.


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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From the PRM Pro: Utilizing PRM Tools to Treat the Person Inside the Patient

November 16, 2017 From the PRM Pro No Comments

Utilizing PRM Tools to Treat the Person Inside the Patient
By Jim Higgins

Patient satisfaction has been eroding for decades. Our recent study on patient-provider relationships found that around 50 percent of patients don’t feel like their practice cares about them. Of course this isn’t true, so what exactly has happened? Experts theorize that after Medicare changed its reimbursement program in 1992, it inadvertently rewarded practices for increasing the volume of patients seen each day. And increase they did. Today, 80 percent of physicians report being overextended or at maximum capacity. The result? Patients have started to feel more like a number than a person.

According to a separate 3,000-person survey conducted by Nuance, 40 percent of patients feel rushed during appointments. And an NIH study found that primary care doctors interrupt their patients after an average of 12 seconds, and spend just 11 minutes total with each patient (nearly the same amount of time patients spend filling out paperwork).

Patient-Provider Relationship Affects Health Outcomes

It’s not just patient satisfaction that is damaged by a poor patient-provider relationship. A growing body of research has found that health outcomes have a direct link to the connection patients feel to their physicians. For example, one study asked patients to rate their visits based on the connection they felt to their provider. Researchers then tracked how their health fared over time. When patients had a strong relationship with their providers, they not only felt more satisfied, but objective measures showed they had fewer symptoms of disease.

“There is something in the human body that says we are hardwired to get better when we have a certain relationship,” explains Howard Brody, MD a PCP and director of the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch, in Galveston. Creating a personal connection between each patient and their medical practice is a key component of practice success. When patients feel like a number instead of a person, the risk that your patients will switch to a competitor increases. This can impact patient outcomes while simultaneously presenting a financial risk to providers.

Leveraging Technology to Enhance Human Connection

Medical offices are busy. Fortunately, there are ways to create a connection beyond the exam room. Technology is a big piece of the solution. According to results from a recent Surescripts survey, patients look favorably on practices that use technology, believing that doctors who use technology are:

  • 70-percent more organized and efficient.
  • 40-percent more innovative.
  • 33-percent more competent.

This is because technology has universally become part of the human daily experience — and not in a bad way. Because digital communication is so pervasive, contact that would once have been few and far between can now be more frequent. In other words, when used correctly, technology is actually enhancing human relationships, not replacing it. The key is to integrate the right technology, in the right way, into a practice.

Using PRM to Improve Patient Relationships

Patient Relationship Management is one of the latest tools in the medical technology toolbox. Through the use of PRM, practices are able to provide on-going communication with patients on a personal level, significantly improving the probability that patients will feel a connection to and relationship with their medical practice. While PRM platforms provide a wide range of communication methods, the following are the most likely to create a quick connection with patients:

1. Text message — Seventy-two percent of Americans currently own a heavily-used smartphone. Seventy-nine percent read email on their smartphone and 97 percent use their smartphone to text. Patients want to communicate with their healthcare provider via smartphone. Our study found that 60 percent of patients want text reminders. Seven out of 10 patients say they would like text communication beyond just reminders as well. And it’s not just Millennials. Even half of Baby Boomers would prefer text messages. Through personalized text messages, practices can regularly reach out to patients.

2. Email — Nine out of 10 patients prefer doctors who email their patients. Sending regular newsletters via email not only allows practices to convey important educational information, but also enables practices to provide a personal touch. Through regular emails, practices can keep patients abreast of things happening and changes going on at the practice.

3. Social media — Forty-one percent of people say that social media would affect their choice of a doctor, hospital, or medical facility. Social media is a place where practices can connect in a positive way with patients on a daily basis. Because social media is informal, it is also a good way for patients to get to know the people in their practice, further deepening the relationships they share.

Developing Relationships via Technology

Practices that adapt their communication methods to match those of modern-day patients improve patient satisfaction and health outcomes. Change is difficult in the healthcare industry and many medical practices still use outdated communication tools. Making the switch to technology such as PRM tools can lead to success for both patients and practices.

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


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 11/15/17

November 15, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Membership-based primary care practice Forward opens its second location, expanding beyond its San Francisco roots to take on the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles. The startup offers patients high-tech amenities like total body scanning, wearables monitoring, around the clock access to staff via a proprietary app, and a paperless office. Founded by former Google director and Sidewalk Labs founder Adrian Aoun in 2016, the company got its start with a San Francisco location in January and is set to expand into fertility, sleep tracking, optometry, and dermatology.

Forward’s business model is similar to that of the so-far successful One Medical and now defunct Turntable Health, which, like Forward, offered high-tech care for a (cheaper) flat monthly fee. Despite achieving quality outcomes and high levels of patient satisfaction, the Las Vegas-based primary care practice could not make the finances work thanks to pressure from payers. Time will tell if Forward eventually finds itself in the same boat or breaking free from its predecessor’s shadow.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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I have played tennis for most of my life and, several years ago, decided to make it my main form of exercise. Going to the gym had gotten boring and my workout routine had become stagnant, so I decided to devote my time to a competitive sport that offered some socializing with friends, and provided a good excuse to buy new outfits. I came across USTA’s latest health survey in my inbox this morning, and think it’s interesting that the organization is making an effort to collect analytics on its players. I’ll be interested to see how they organize the results (especially since the majority of questions focused on emotional health) and how those will impact their tennis programs for players of all ages and levels.


Webinars

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November 30 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Making Clinical Communications Work in Your Complex Environment.” Sponsored by: PatientSafe Solutions. Presenters: Steve Shirley, VP/CIO, Parkview Medical Center; Richard Cruthirds, CIO, Peterson Health. Selecting, implementing, and managing a mobile clinical communications platform is a complex and sometimes painful undertaking. With multiple technologies, stakeholders, and disciplines involved, a comprehensive approach is required to ensure success. Hear two hospital CIOs share their first-hand experience, lessons learned, and demonstrated results from deploying an enterprise-wide mobile clinical communications solution.

December 5 (Tuesday) 2:00 ET. “Cornerstones of Order Set Optimization: Trusted Evidence.” Sponsored by: Wolters Kluwer. Updating order sets with new medical evidence is crucial to improving outcomes, but coordinating maintenance for hundreds of order sets with dozens of stakeholders is a huge logistical challenge. For most hospitals, managing order set content is labor intensive and the internal processes supporting it are far too inefficient. Evidence-based order sets are only as good as their content, which is why regular review and updates are essential. This webinar explores the relationship between clinical content and patient care with an eye toward building trust among the clinical staff. Plus, we will demonstrate a new evidence alignment tool that can easily incorporate the most current medical content into your order sets, regardless of format, including Cerner Power Plans and Epic SmartSets.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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The Iowa Clinic selects population health management technology and services from Lightbeam Health Solutions to better coordinate and deliver care for patients across its 11 locations.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Boston-based investment firm Banyan Software acquires Atlanta-based Medicat, developer of healthcare technology for university and college health clinics, for an undisclosed sum. Banyan Software founder David Berkal will assume the CEO role at Medicat.

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VillageMD enters into a value-based contract arrangement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia. The primary care delivery and practice management company entered the Georgia market earlier this year when it signed on Quality Care Providers.


People

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Privia Health promotes Keith Fernandez, MD to national chief clinical officer, and Fred Taweel, MD to CMO – Mid-Atlantic Region.


Other

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This looks interesting: Atul Gawande, MD and Andy Slavitt will keynote The Healthcare Costs Innovation Summit February 21 in Washington, DC. The event is being organized by West Health, a nonprofit focused on helping seniors age in place. The organization seems to have tight ties with federal government. Previous summits have focused on initiatives with the VA, FDA, FCC, CMS, and ONC.

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NPR looks at the impact Hurricane Maria is having on Puerto Rico’s already pressing physician shortage, pointing out that the continued lack of basic resources is pushing some to move their practices to the US or quit entirely. “Over this past year, we had lost physicians at a rate four times bigger than the rate of emigration,” explains Bolivar Arboleda Osorio, MD who, along with his physician wife, has decided to remain on the island. “People are moving, going somewhere else. Not just because of the economy. It’s because they don’t feel safe. They don’t feel that the government will be able to provide for everybody’s well-being.”

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On the flip side of Arboleda Osorio’s observations are the experiences of OpenEMR customers. The vendor claims that, despite unreliable sources of power, water, communications, and the Internet, several of its Puerto Rican customers – many with generators – were able to keep their EHR systems up and running thanks to robust servers and support from HITECH Compliance.


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