Healthcare.gov’s third open enrollment kicks off, with nary an IT meltdown-related headline in sight (none have made it to my inbox, at any rate). The site made news in the weeks leading up to November 1 for its scramble to fine-tune comparison-shopping features, and inadvertently approving fake applicants. HHS is of course still working to reach the 10 million consumers who remain uninsured, focusing on a variety of digital media outreach campaigns, as well as a new app that helps shoppers find the most appropriate plan for their level of healthcare utilization.
HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests
Rarely does my obsession with healthcare and technology overlap with the interests of friends and family, who typically nod their heads politely when I explain to them how exciting it is to work for HIStalk. The launch of a new antimicrobial paint for healthcare facilities from Sherwin-Williams has changed all that, giving me and my neighbor (a higher up at SW) a chance to exchange statistics related to hospital-acquired infections. The new 59-color Paint Shield line promises to kill nearly 100 percent of several types of infection-causing bacteria up to two hours after exposure, and lasts for four years. It launches early next year.
I’m heading to the Health IT Leadership Summit tomorrow, an annual event I’ve attended for several years now. As with most conferences, it’s really all about the networking, though I am looking forward to the “Insider’s Look at EHR Vendors” panel featuring reps from Epic, Greenway, Cerner, and RelayHealth. Feel free to follow along via my live updates from @JennHIStalk.
November 11 (Wednesday) 2:00 ET. “Trouble Upstream: The Underinsured and Cash Flow Challenges.” Sponsored by TransUnion. Presenter: Jonathan Wiik, principal consultant, TransUnion Healthcare. The average person spends nearly $15,000 per year on healthcare as deductibles keep rising. Providers must educate their patients on plan costs and benefits while controlling their own collection costs by using estimation tools, propensity-to-pay analytics, and point-of-sale collections. This webinar will highlight industry trends in managing underinsured patients and will describe ways to match patients to appropriate funding.
November 12 (Thursday) 1 :00 ET. “Top Predictions for Population Health Management in 2016 and Beyond.” Sponsored by Medecision. Presenters: Tobias C. Samo, MD, FACP, FHIMSS, CMIO, Medecision; Laura Kanov, BS, RRT, MBA, SVP of care delivery organization solutions, Medecision. With all the noise and hype around population health management, the presenters will share their predictions for 2016 and their insight into meeting the mounting pressures of value-based reimbursement and the tools and technology needed to manage care delivery.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
EClinicalWorks partners with retail chain Specsavers, which operates over 1,700 optical and hearing stores in 10 countries. The company will integrate the EClinicalWorks EHR and PM platform into its CRM, finance, product data, and global store-ordering systems. SpecSavers has implemented the technology in New Zealand, and plans to roll it out to stores in the UK, Australia, and Europe.
Startupbootcamp, Europe’s largest business accelerator, brings its program to the US by way of Miami, where it will launch a program focused on supporting and scaling digital health companies. Ten companies will be selected each year to participate in the three-month program; chosen startups will receive six months of free co-working office space, $20,000 in seed funding, and in-kind services from partners including Amazon Web Services and Google. Applications for the first class, kicking off in Spring 2016, are due February 1.
And speaking of healthcare IT in Miami … the Miami Herald paints a pretty compelling picture of South Florida’s booming HIT business, citing heavy 2015 VC funding rounds for MDLive, Modernizing Medicine, and OrthoSensor, plus an employment boom generated by CareCloud and MDLive.
HP completes its planned split into HP Inc., which will sell personal computers and printers; and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which will sell computer servers, data storage, networking, software, and consulting services. Each company is expected to generate an annual revenue of $50 billion. HP executives Dion Weisler and Meg Whitman will lead HP Inc. and HPE, respectively.
Milton Silva-Craig (Q-Centrix) joins the HealthMyne Board of Directors.
Peter Antall, MD (Online Care Group) joins American Well as its first chief medical officer.
WEDI awards its annual HIT Government Champion Award to Shana Olshan, director of the National Standards Group at the Office of Enterprise Information at CMS.
Announcements and Implementations
Banner Medical Group rolls out RCM solutions from Zotec Partners to its 17 anesthesiologists and 31 CRNAs in Northern Colorado.
ZappRx signs up for the ePrescribing State Law Review from Point-of-Care Partners. The specialty medication management IT vendor will use the data set to prepare its staff and end users for new eprescribing mandates.
Government and Politics
HHS launches an investigation into Republican State Senate candidate Siobhan Dunnavant, MD’s alleged use of private patient data to solicit contributions, volunteers, and votes via email and letter-writing campaigns. At issue is whether or not patient information was viewed by anyone outside of Dunnavant’s practice, a HIPAA violation that could result in hefty fines.
CMS releases the final Medicare physician payment rules. At a whopping 1,358 pages, I have decided to abstain from attempting to pluck out the highlights. (I’m secretly hoping Dr. Jayne will do the dirty work for me.)
Building on the success of Health Datapalooza and successive federal datapalooza events, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announces plans for a 2016 government-wide data exposition that will highlight how open government data and APIs are being used in innovative ways across industry sectors and federal agencies.
The American Telemedicine Association expresses its concerns with the State of Arkansas’ draft telemedicine proposal, focusing on language relating to informed consent, eprescribing, and practice standards. “[W]e believe that the Board’s proposed draft will require licensed Arkansas physicians to follow a separate standard of practice when using telemedicine,” the ATA writes, “resulting in two different standards of care for patients in the same state.” The Arkansas State Medical Board will meet on Wednesday to discuss the proposal.
Research and Innovation
A study of 2,147 patients finds that those with access to their physician’s notes via a Web portal showed improved medication adherence. Nearly 80 percent of patients with access to notes from their PCPs were adherent to their antihypertensive medication regimen, versus 75.3 percent of the control group.
Medial Associates of Albany (GA) staffers have some serious fun participating in the practice’s fifth annual costume contest.
A Health Affairs study of four major restaurant chains in New York City finds that the practice of displaying calorie counts next to menu items has little to no bearing on a patron’s decision to choose healthy fare. One of the researchers makes a very good point in noting that diners at fast food restaurants typically don’t eat at those establishments for health reasons. If they’re anything like me, they’re looking to get a quick and cheap fix for a particular craving. As with most things healthcare, the report concluded that the “greatest impact of mandatory menu labeling on population health may come from restaurants’ changing the calories of their menu items instead of consumers’ changing their behavior.”
- Leidos Health will exhibit at the NextGen User Conference November 1-4 in Las Vegas.
- PerfectServe will exhibit at ASN Kidney Week November 3-8 in San Diego.
- Population Health: Not a One-Size-Fits-All Endeavor (Medicity)
- Growing, Teaching: a Way of Life at Nordic (Nordic)