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News 5/25/17

May 25, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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STAT publishes a well-written look at former CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt’s new life as a “wonk-turned-evangelist,” focusing on his seemingly non-stop efforts to protect the Affordable Care Act through a series of town hall events. “It’s not about a bunch of policy arguments,” Slavitt emphasizes. “It’s about getting out here in the real earthy world where people are going to have to place their votes, and it’s one senator at a time.”

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Slavitt maintains that sponsoring organizations – of which there seem to be few aside from the Save My Care coalition – are not in fact bussing people in to attend his in-person appearances, as Rupert Murdoch has recently asserted. “That’s what he said,” Slavitt says. “And you know, we just had 3,300 people on a call from Alaska. Where do they get bussed in from?”


Webinars

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


Announcements and Implementations

Charlotte County Public Schools taps Marathon Health to take over operations of its onsite health center, upping the company’s presence in Florida to 21 facilities.

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Onsite primary care clinic company Activate Healthcare will implement Twine Health’s Employee Health Activation platform, which helps employers enroll and engage employees in the management of chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes. Activate will integrate Twine technology with its NextGen EHR via Redox’s interface engine.

Innovaccer offers consultation services for IPAs looking to transition to ACOs.


People

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Allscripts adds Mara Aspinall (Health Catalysts) to its Board of Directors.


Telemedicine

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The Delaware Health Information Network offers virtual consult services courtesy of MDLive as part of a consumer engagement effort that also includes the launch of a PHR, and text-based messaging service that will alert patients when lab results from participating providers are available for viewing.


Research and Innovation

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One year after debuting a mental health screening tool built in partnership with Mental Health America, Walgreens finds that 75 percent of users who complete screenings actively follow up on recommendations, particularly in the areas of treatment and resource referrals, and further screening for anxiety and PTSD. Of that group, over 30 percent enter into treatment and 24 percent discuss results with family, friends, or a provider. MHA will expand its partnership wit Walgreens this summer when it adds a pharmacy chat feature to its website.


Government and Politics

The local paper highlights the optimism physician practices in the Buffalo region of New York have thanks to the recently announced inclusion of the area in the second round of the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus program. Area providers believe the program will help some struggling practices stay in business, attract new providers and practices to the area, and better enable the remote monitoring of patients. Nearly 3,000 practices are participating in the first round of the program. Another thousand are expected to participate in round two, which kicks off in January 2018.


Other

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The first rule of Drop Out Club is …: Scientific American looks at the increasing popularity of online forums geared towards letting physicians air and commiserate about their burnout grievances. Drop Out Club is one such network, offering its 37,000 members an advice forum, job board, and private messaging. “Reading all these stories of people trying to leave made me realize I wasn’t crazy for being unhappy in this career I had worked so hard for,” says former emergency physician Maryam Shapland, MD who is now a medical director at a life insurance company. “Leaving medicine felt like giving up a big part of my identity. But I’m proud of what I do now. Most importantly, I’m happy and thriving.”


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News 5/24/17

May 24, 2017 News No Comments

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Competition for primary care patients heats up in Seattle as Portland, OR-based ZoomCare opens two new clinics in the metro area. The tech-friendly managed primary care company will open another three later this year. Notice of the new facilities comes amidst Seattle-based direct primary care company Qliance Medical Management’s closure and One Medical’s opening of its first clinic in the area. ZoomCare’s insurance arm, Zoom Health, closed last month amidst financial instability and concurrent investigation by state health insurance officials.


Webinars

None scheduled in the coming weeks. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services, including turn-key production and promotion.


Announcements and Implementations

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Femwell Group Health will offer HealthGrid’s patient engagement platform including mobile check-in, automated appointment reminders, and population health management to the physician practices it managers in South Florida.

SocialClime enhances its Web-based patient feedback and engagement tools with RosettaHealth’s data standardization technology.


People

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ClearHealth Quality Institute is looking for volunteers to serve on its Board of Directors and new Telemedicine Standards Committee. The Institute is in the process of taking over the American Telemedicine Association’s accreditation program.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Nomad Health launches its online, broker-free clinical work-finding tool in California. Both states are experiencing physician shortages: California is experiencing a dearth of PCPs while 35 counties in Texas are facing a doctor desert. The New York City-based company launched in 2015 and has raised $4 million.

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Dermatology-focused PM company Dermatologists of Central States receives an undisclosed amount of funding from Sheridan Capital Partners. DoCS provides non-clinical resources to dermatology practices in Ohio through partner practice Dermatologists of Southwest Ohio.


Government and Politics

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Former Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) joins CMS as head of the HHS regional office in Atlanta. Ellmers, who is also a nurse, made a name for herself in health IT circles with the introduction of several pieces of legislation aimed at curtailing the scope of Meaningful Use.

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Industry insiders weigh in on President Trump’s budget proposal and its implications for healthcare-related departments and initiatives.

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FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD focuses his first official blog post on ways in which the agency can fight the opioid epidemic. Gottlieb outlines high-level plans for a new Opioid Policy Steering Committee, which will seek to, among other things, determine whether the mandated education of healthcare professionals on appropriate prescribing recommendations will make a dent in addiction levels. He adds that he and the steering committee will seek input from stakeholders to determine next best steps.


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News 5/23/17

May 23, 2017 News No Comments

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President Trump releases his proposed 2018 budget a day after HHS posts its 104-page portion online – a move some media outlets have construed as an accident. HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD says the budget is “focused on making strategic investments to protect the health and well-being of all Americans. Our budget focuses resources on direct health services and patient-centered care. It also ensures that important programs like Medicaid serve our most vulnerable citizens – the people such programs are intended to help.”

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Impacts to HHS would include sharp cuts to ONC, among other departments and services. I haven’t yet had a chance to read through the entire document. For those in need of a high-level overview, check out Federal News Radio’s breakdown by agency. I’d love to hear from readers as to how they feel this fiscal spending will impact physician practices. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.


Webinars

None scheduled in the coming weeks. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services, including turn-key production and promotion.


Announcements and Implementations

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Behavioral health EHR vendor ClinicTracker adds an automated collections interface from TSI, giving users the ability to forward delinquent patient accounts to TSI for expedited collections.

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Harbin Clinic (GA) will add Meridian Medical Management’s PrecisionBI analytics engine to its Athenahealth EHR and PM platform. With 20 locations and 220 providers, the clinic is Georgia’s largest physician-owned multispecialty clinic.

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Prompted by its EHR vendor, EClinicalWorks, Indiana-based FQHC HealthNet (IN) enlists the services of Array Networks to bolster its disaster recovery and virtualization strategies. The practice, which has 16 locations across greater Indianapolis, won a HIMSS Davies Award in 2015 for improving pediatric care with its EHR resources.


People

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The Iowa Osteopathic Medical Association elects Joel Baker, DO president.


Telemedicine

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Subscription telemedicine company Alvin Healthcare partners with prepaid processing company Epay to make its services available at retail locations like Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores. The company, which offers medical consults via Teladoc and EDocAmerica through its Hello Alvin brand, supplies its annual fee-based service through prepaid cards similar to gift cards.

School nurses are not happy about the introduction of HippoMD telemedicine services at schools within the Sacramento City Unified School District. Twenty-six of the system’s 27 nurses signed a three-page letter of protest listing their objections to the expansion and use of teachers (non-medical personnel) to assist with the virtual visits. Also included in their list of grievances is the fact that teachers receive a $500 classroom supplies bonus for gaining student consent to the service.


Research and Innovation

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An AAFP-sponsored survey of over 22,000 adults finds 86 percent of respondents feel primary care leads to healthier patients, higher-quality care, and lower costs. A similar number of respondents believe physicians should practice value-based care rather than fee-for-service, and that care should be affordable. Nearly 90 percent believe a patient-physician relationship is important – a stat that should give telemedicine vendors pause regarding the ways in which they market their services directly to consumers, and to practices looking to meet their patients where they already are – online.

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And speaking of affordable healthcare, the results of a year-long study of employees at two large companies don’t bode well for the role healthcare price transparency tools will eventually play in helping American consumers become savvier cost-conscious patients. Just 11 percent of participating families used such a tool at least three times, and just 1 percent used it at least once – most being in the young, high-income, high-deductible bracket. The study’s authors conclude that employers and payers should target marketing of these tools to groups with lower Internet use rates, particularly those who may also have lower levels of health literacy. I wonder if CMS has tried tying in the marketing of price transparency tools to Medicare services.


Other

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And I thought the phrase “cloud computing” was soooo 2013: American Thoroughbred Cloud Computing wins the Preakness Stakes – the second leg of the Triple Crown – unexpectedly beating out top contenders Always Dreaming and Classic Empire. His owners, hedge fund managers Seth Klarman and William Lawrence, chose his name “based upon their pattern of using terms from the finance industry to name their horses,” according to Wikipedia. Other examples include Takeover Target and Currency Swap. (Diehard HIStalk fans may remember that “cloud” won a HISsies award in 2013 in the Most Overrated Technology category.)


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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Readers Write: Patient Relationship Management Key to Attracting (and Keeping) Millennial Patients

Patient Relationship Management Key to Attracting (and Keeping) Millennial Patients
By Jim Higgins

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Ask any physician what they think of millennial patients, and you’ll often get a skewed perspective of people born between 1980 and the late 1990s. Compare a typical millennial patient with their physician and you’ll probably find that they use different technologies, have contrasting communication preferences, and have distinctly different expectations when it comes time for an appointment.

For all the good-natured (and sometimes snarky) ribbing they take, millenials are a presence not to be ignored – especially when it comes to their roles as patients. By 2025, they are expected make up 75 percent of the US workforce. As such, their healthcare needs will grow, along with their earning power. And while millennials love technology (more than nine out of 10 own smartphones), they also love personal attention in the healthcare setting.

As millennials influence the marketplace, a physician practice’s success will be increasingly tied to its ability to attract more of this age group. By leveraging new technology platforms to reach millennial patients in compelling ways, healthcare organizations will be in a better position to engage existing patients, improve satisfaction, boost retention — and even save their physicians from burnout.

A Closer Look at Their Technology Habits

As physicians consider the benefits of updating their outreach efforts and business practices to better appeal to millennials, it’s important to first understand this demographic via their love of technology. When it comes to finding a doctor, nearly 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews (e.g. Yelp, Healthgrades) as much as personal recommendations. This research shows that millennial patients find significant value in the testimonials of other patients. In terms of scheduling an appointment with their physician of choice, a majority of adults aged 18 to 24 (63.6 percent) said they would prefer using an online calendar over talking on the phone to schedule appointments. Often times, information comes through social media channels: 87 percent of adults online in the US ages 18 to 29 use Facebook; 53 percent use Instagram; 37 percent use Twitter; and 34 percent use Pinterest.

With a wide range of preferences, it’s no wonder that millennials require a different engagement strategy. Don’t let the stats intimidate you, though; these patients can be loyal consumers once a business has won them over and proven its value.

Reaching Millennials via Patient Relationship Management

Understanding how millennials think is a great start, but only by truly leveraging the right patient relationship management technology will physicians truly be able to target them in a – dare I say it? – meaningful way. PRM technology enables physicians to engage with these patients in a smarter, more personalized way – one that is aligned with their preferences. In doing so, PRM helps a healthcare organization not only attract 20- and 30-somethings, but also engage with patients in a way that will ultimately improve outcomes and retention.

The challenge of engagement is the most pressing issue among providers, who are under more pressure than ever before to seek out new ways to connect with patients between office visits. PRM solutions feature multiple applications, such as appointment reminders and secure messaging. For millennials, text and email is always a better way to connect and ensure scheduled visits aren’t missed.

PRM tools can also help a practice boost its marketing efforts and better monitor its online reputation. For example, a practice could use a PRM tool to dispatch a post-visit satisfaction survey immediately after a patient’s scheduled appointment to gauge how they thought things went went. A practice would then be able to tailor their outreach to those specific patients moving forward. For example, if a patient was not happy with their visit, the practice could offer immediate resolutions before an issue affects a practice’s rating and turns off potential new patients.

The most compelling way a PRM tool sets itself apart from other technology solutions is through its email and social media marketing platforms, which help providers deepen their connection with patients on a regular basis.

Since millennials tend to stay loyal to businesses that they can engage with, leveraging digital technology with the goal of growing great patient relationships helps organizations stay fresh and relevant — while keeping their patients happy.

Jim Higgins is CEO of Solutionreach in Lehi, UT.


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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News 5/22/17

May 22, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Seattle-based direct primary care provider Qliance Medical Management shuts down six of its primary care clinics without giving patients or employees notice of any kind. The company, which had planned a more organized closure, attributes the abruptness to an improper withdrawal of $200,000 made by one of its lenders, which cited Qliance’s default and a presumably related investigation of co-founder and CEO Erika Bliss as the reason for its seizure of funds. The company opened for business as BlissMD in 2006 with backing from Jeff Bezos, Michael Dell, and game show host Drew Carey (who also happens to own the Seattle Sounders soccer team.) I assume One Medical, which opened its first location in Seattle last week, will welcome Qliance’s 13,000 patients with open arms.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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VoiceNation launches an answering service division for healthcare professionals. Director of Operations Eric Schurke will head up the new business line.

New York City-based secure text messaging startup OhMD joins Athenahealth’s More Disruption Please program.


Announcements and Implementations

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MTBC releases an updated version of its portal app for patients with new features that include appointment scheduling, online check-in, and secure messaging.

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Monroe Urgent Care (OH) implements Practice Velocity’s VelociDoc EHR.


People

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James Aylward (PatientPoint) joins physician referral management IT vendor Preferral as CEO.

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BluePrint Healthcare IT’s Care Navigator business promotes Trish Ambrosio, RN to VP of product and care management, and hires Jodi Goudreau (Big White Wall) as platform adoption and market management director.


Government and Politics

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CMS publishes a Technical Resource Guide to help providers participating in the Quality Payment Program locate assistance and resources in their respective regions.

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Iowa State Pharmacy Board Director Andrew Funk previews the state’s plans to upgrade its PDMP so that it is easier to use – a move he hopes will encourage more prescribers to register with the program. Just 42 percent of physicians have registered with the PDMP since it launched in 2009. “The limitations of the current system, especially the difficulty navigating the program and the lack of integration with (EHRs), have led many prescribers who initially tried to utilize the PMP to not continue doing so and led many to not start in the first place,” says Dennis Tibben, director of government affairs for the Iowa Medical Society. “While we’ll never get to 100 percent prescriber registration, once some of these upgrades are made to make the system more functional and integrated, and make the records more complete, I expect utilization will grow at a more rapid pace.”


Telemedicine

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San Francisco-based Lemonaid Health raises $11 million in a Series A round led by Novartis Venture Fund and Hikma Ventures. The company differentiates itself from its numerous mom-and-pop telemedicine competitors with an online prescription delivery service courtesy of Phil Inc.


Other

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A twisted sense of benevolence: This media outlet highlights the damage the ransomware attacker known as The Dark Overlord is doing to clinics. In one particularly heinous situation, the TDO launched an attack against Cancer Services of East Central Indiana – Little Red Door, an Indiana-based nonprofit that found its eight computers encrypted with malicious code just as a board meeting was about to begin. The clinic opted not to pay the $43,000 ransom, despite TDO’s reasoning that “news of the breach would generate sympathy for the center, and donations would increase beyond what the ransom would cost.”


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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