Former CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt announces his intention to “affiliate” with the Bipartisan Policy Center as a senior advisor. Slavitt will work alongside former CMS colleague Natalie Davis, who will serve as director of strategic engagement, on the center’s efforts to work with the American people to influence public healthcare policy. He has also announced his plan to work with the Avia Innovation Network, which collaborates with member health systems to develop digital solutions at scale.
March 29 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Improving patient outcomes with smartphones: UW Medicine Valley Medical Center’s story.” Sponsored by Voalte. Presenters: James Jones, MBA, MSN, VP of patient care services and nursing operations, UW Medicine Valley Medical Center; Wayne Manuel, MBA, SVP of strategic services, UW Medicine Valley Medical Center. UW Medicine Valley Medical Center dramatically improved patient outcomes after moving to a smartphone-based platform for clinical communication and alarm and alert notification. Before-and-after analysis shows a reduction in hospital-acquired pressure ulcers and skin integrity events, fall and slip events, and medication errors. By limiting overhead paging, the medical center also created a calmer, quieter environment and improved engagement among nursing and hospitalists. Hospital executives will describe their experience and vision for the future in addressing quality, cost, and the patient-caregiver experience.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Livongo Health announces $52.5 million in a Series D funding round led by General Catalyst, Kinnevik, EDBI, American Investment Holdings LLC, and Microsoft Ventures. The Mountain View, CA-based company, which has developed an app and supporting technology to help people living with diabetes, will use the financing to expand into other conditions and countries. The company has raised $143.2 million since former Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman launched it in 2014.
Former Athenahealth Director of Interoperability John Voith joins Virtudent as SVP of operations. The Boston-based company, which bills itself as a telemedicine startup providing mobile dental care visits, is looking for larger office space as it plans service expansion into New Hampshire.
Jeff Semenchuk (Hyatt Hotels) joins mobile healthcare marketplace and concierge service Zest Health as CEO.
Announcements and Implementations
Texas-based Seven Flags ACO enlists the population health management technology and consulting services of Innovista Health Solutions to help it manage 10,500 patients in value-based contracts. The ACO has also leaned on the expertise of the Texas Medical Association’s PracticeEdge value-based consulting firm.
StayWell adds personalized content, personal calendar syncing, and interactive activities and videos to its CareEngage software, which offers digital educational and engagement tools to providers caring for patients with chronic conditions.
Web-based appointment scheduling software vendor DocASAP joins the Allscripts Developer Program.
Government and Politics
HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD takes part in a town hall hosted by CNN as part of his PR tour to drum up support for the Republican’s ACA replacement bill. Issues of access in light of the Congressional Budget Office’s latest review of the AHCA seemed to be top of mind for most attendees. Price disputed the CBO’s math, which found that, if enacted, the AHCA would leave 24 million more people uninsured by 2026 than under the ACA. “They do a pretty good job with numbers – coverage is not their strong suit,” he pointed out, adding that the office didn’t look at the bigger picture, which includes Republican plans for additional administrative and legislative actions. “What the CBO looked at was just one-third of the plan,” he said.
Research and Innovation
A GAO report highlights the disconnect between ONC’s efforts to encourage provider adoption and utilization of EHRs and its ability to measure the effectiveness of that adoption when it comes to patient access. For example, though 87 percent of EPs offered access, just 30 percent of patients took advantage of it. The authors point out that, “ONC cannot determine if patient electronic access is higher for participants in the Blue Button Initiative compared with non-participants or if providers who use the Patient Engagement Playbook achieve more patient electronic access than non-users.” They recommend that ONC develop performance measures to help assess patient access of digital health data and adjust programs as needed.