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Population Health Management Weekly Wrap Up 12/17/17

December 17, 2017 News No Comments

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The Chartis Group adds Carol Chouinard (Deloitte) as director of IT strategy and Tonya Edwards, MD (Impact Advisors) as a principal and member of the company’s Physician Leadership Institute.

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Pennsylvania-based Penn State Health and Highmark Health cite development of advanced population health management capabilities, analytics, and care models as among the reasons they will pursue development of a $1 billion healthcare network that will see Highmark move under the PSH umbrella.

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ApolloMed and Network Medical Management complete the merger they announced in December 2016. ApolloMed CEO Warren Hosseinion, MD and NMM CEO Thomas Lam, MD will become co-CEOs of the combined company, which will operate under the ApolloMed name.

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The Medical Society of Delaware chooses HealthEC’s population health management system and services for its 900-doctor clinically integrated network.

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Social determinants of health-focused care coordination technology vendor Healthify acquires community services software company Purple Binder. Healthify co-founders Eric Conner and Alex Villa graduated the startup from the Blueprint Health accelerator in 2013, and raised $6.5 million in a Series A funding round led by BlueCross Blue Shield Venture Partners last summer.

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Wellness for Life will leverage Vital Incite’s population health analytics to help its workplace health centers and direct primary care clinics better understand and act on patient healthcare utilization patterns.

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Population health management software vendor VirtualHealth raises $7 million in a Series B funding round.

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Philips acquires Netherlands-based, 200-employee population health management software vendor VitalHealth Software, co-founded by Mayo Clinic and Noaber Foundation in 2006. The company expands the informatics work Philips started with its acquisition of Wellcentive in 2016. Philips acquired Netherlands-based interoperability software vendor Forcare last week.

To better serve its Medicaid members, Care1st Health Plan Arizona will leverage Equality Health’s CareEmpower care coordination technology and SDOH-focused services.

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Citing an inability to come to agreement terms, Evolent Health decides not to purchase the insurance arm of Premier Health as previously announced last month.

Population health management systems vendor SymphonyCare acquires Influence Health’s Empower patient portal business.

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In Maryland, the Howard County Health Department leverages Healthify’s SDOH-focused care coordination software as part of its new CAREAPP (Community Access to Resources via Enhanced technology Applications for Providers and Public) project.

A six-month chronic disease management pilot study conducted within the Massachusetts General Hospital primary care network finds that care improved more when specially trained population health coordinators with access to clinical registries were a part of the primary care team.


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News 12/14/17

December 14, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office will oversee the settlement of a lawsuit against Theranos brought under the state’s Consumer Fraud Act. Over 75,000 Arizona residents who received lab-testing services from the now defunct company between 2013 and 2016 will receive checks for about $60. Theranos will also pay $200,000 in civil penalties, $25,000 in lawyer’s fees, and will be subject to civil penalties. As readers may remember, Theranos went down in flames after a series of Wall Street Journal investigative articles prompted CMS to revoke its operating rights. The company admitted earlier this year that it’s lab didn’t deliver all that was promisedx.


Announcements and Implementations

Coinciding with its first anniversary, mobile health app collaborative Xcertia releases draft guidelines for app quality, safety, and effectiveness. Comments are due by the end of January. I’m still a little fuzzy on the value of such guidelines, other than as a branding/marketing tactic app developers will use in a fashion similar to “Energy Star” (though that at least is backed by a governmental body.) Xcertia seems to be doing its best to avoid using the word “certification.”

Drchrono adds medical inventory management functionality from FlexScanMD to its EHR and PM system.

Mighty Oak Technology adds Solutionreach’s patient reputation management software to its could-based Chart Talk EHR, PM, and billing platform.

Mental health and substance abuse EHR vendor ClinicTracker opts for Kno2 interoperability services to better enable behavioral health customers exchange health data. ClinicTracker plans to take its its interoperability efforts even further with future implementation of the Carequality Interoperability Framework.


People

Cathy White (MultiPlan) joins InfoMC as VP of business development.


Telemedicine

EnSofTek adds telemedicine capabilities to its DrCloudEHR for integrated primary and behavioral healthcare.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Fresh off the sale of its medical group to Optum for nearly $5 billion, DaVita assures stakeholders of its continued investment in its Physicians Solutions technology division (fka Falcon Physicians and Falcon EHR.) The company anticipates rolling out new nephrology-specific IT products to practices and dialysis clinics over the next 18 months.


Government and Politics

In an effort to combat antimicrobial resistance and overprescribing, the FDA develops a website funded by the 21st Century Cures Act that updates physicians on the effectiveness of antibiotics on certain strains of bacterial or fungal infections.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signs into law a bill that will require prescribers to check the state’s PDMP when writing an opioid prescription for the first time. The law takes effect January 1, and also requires EHRs to connect to the PDMP by 2021.

Despite her lack of direct experience, Kellyanne Conway makes strides in her new role as overseer of President Trump’s opioid epidemic prevention efforts. STAT reports that she has been leading weekly meetings with an “opioids cabinet” made up of government officials from a dozen agencies, and has been in talks with budget director Mick Mulvaney about freeing up funds for future programs. With regard to Conway’s experience, former Congressman and opioid commission member Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) points out that, “Given that there is no DEA head, there is no ONDCP head, and there is no HHS head, bottom line is if she represents the administration on this crisis I’d just assume it’d be someone [Trump] really likes and admires. You can have the person with the best credentials in the world fill one of those spots. But at this stage it’s about hiring the people with the right political will.”


Other

Quartz looks at the sometimes questionable prescription verification practices of Hubble, a subscription contacts startup that has raised over $30 million since launching in August. The company’s online ordering process allows consumers to enter in the most basic of details, promising to follow up with eye doctors on their behalf but not always following through on legitimizing the details. The American Optometric Association has complained to the FTC about Hubble’s practices to little avail.


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From the PRM Pro: Top 5 Technological Advances Improving Primary Care Communication

December 14, 2017 News No Comments

Top 5 Technological Advances Improving Primary Care Communication
By Jim Higgins

The relationship between a patient and their providers is the foundation upon which great healthcare is built. Strong patient relationships not only lead to higher ratings for physicians, but better outcomes for patients. Such widespread integration of technology in the healthcare world inevitably has an impact on the patient management of every practice—no matter the size. Technology is often painted as a cold, unemotional process that distances us from those around us. Because of this, many practices are hesitant to take advantage of the benefits it provides. Fortunately, however, nothing could be further from the truth. As noted in this article, multiple studies have shown that patients not only tolerate, but actually prefer medical practices that take advantage of modern technology.

The successful implementation of any healthcare technology is dependent on choosing the right technology. Practices must find ways to keep the human touch when using technology to connect with patients. Communication is one of the most important aspects of the patient-provider relationship. Technology should enhance, not take away, from patient communication. The following are five technological advancements that improve communication and help you meet your patient relationship goals.

Automation of communication. It can be challenging to communicate with patients at the right pace. You don’t want to under-communicate, but patients may not want you to over-communicate either. Automating communication allows you to ensure you have critical touch points while being considerate of patient preferences. Touch points such as appointment reminders, recall messages, birthday messages, and post-visit feedback can all be automated. Automation may seem like it eliminates the personal feel that is so important in healthcare, but the opposite is actually true. Automation ensures that no one will be forgotten. Messages can be crafted in such a way that they still provide that warm, friendly feel. And, finally, the pace can be set to consider the patient’s preferences.

Customized, on-going education. A critical method of ensuring positive health outcomes is on-going education. Every practice should send out regular newsletters and emails sharing health tips with patients. Customization of this on-going education can lead to even better results. Modern technology allows practices to group patients based on varying criteria. For instance, if you have a group of patients who all have diabetes, you can send out specific educational pieces on diabetes to only these patients. By making your educational pieces more targeted, you significantly increase the odds that patients will comply.

Online self-scheduling. Implementing self-service options gives patients more control over their healthcare, and improves patient satisfaction and health outcomes. One of the most effective self-service options is online self-scheduling. An Accenture survey noted that 77 percent of patients say that being able to schedule appointments online is important to them. Not surprisingly, it is expected that by 2019, around 66 percent of practices will offer online self- scheduling. This capability gives patients control over when and where they schedule an appointment. If an issue arises at 7pm, patients no longer have to wait until the next day to see if they can be fit in for an appointment. Their likelihood to return to a practice improves.

Digital Check-In. The growth of check-in tablets and kiosks has exploded. Self-service kiosks have become a regular feature in a variety of industries including retail, travel, entertainment, finance, and others. Healthcare is no exception. Kiosks give patients a sense of control. Seventy-five percent of patients in a recent study found that using a kiosk for check-in was faster than going through the receptionist. The majority wanted to use one again. Kiosks enable patients to save time and update information easily in a way that is comfortable and familiar to them. 

Telehealth. Studies consistently show the benefits of telehealth. One of the greatest advantages is the increased access to care for those in areas with a shortage of healthcare professionals – a phenomenon that is becoming all too common in rural parts of the country that already face a physician shortage.

Providing excellent healthcare depends on many factors, one of which is the ability to maintain strong, healthy relationships with patients. Beyond insurance affiliation, office location, and academic credentials, patients are looking for ways to connect with their provider. Technology provides the tools necessary to do just that.

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


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News 12/13/17

December 13, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Greenway Health will lay off 120 employees when it closes offices in Atlanta and Carrollton, GA in January. The closures are part of a corporate overhaul that includes moving operations to its Tampa facility and streamlining software. The news is somewhat contrary to its initial October announcement, which claimed that customer support and revenue services would be maintained at its Carrollton location.


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Announcements and Implementations

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Community health provider Alivio Medical Center joins VillageMD’s network in Chicago.

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Mental health provider Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services (NJ) deploys GoMo Health’s Every Day Matters Personal Concierge patient engagement messaging, including appointment reminders and educational content. GoMo Health was launched as a division of commerce and engagement company Gold Mobile in 2014.

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Beneufit adds medication management and symptom tracking tools to its cycling exercise app for Parkinson’s patients. A 2015 pilot study conducted by the San Francisco startup with a local fitness club found participants experienced a 25-percent improvement in manual dexterity and a 38-percent improvement in fitness levels.

CareCloud adds a MIPS dashboard to its EHR to help physicians track and report MIPS Quality, Advanced Care Information, and Improvement Activities measures.


People

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Community Health Accreditation Partner promotes Barbara McCann to president and CEO. The nonprofit accrediting agency works with public health, home health, and hospice providers; as well as home medical equipment companies.

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DocuTap names Matt Blosl (Tongal) chief revenue officer, Monte Sandler (NextGen) EVP of RCM, and Adam Steinberg (NextGen) SVP of account management.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Provider reputation management company Doctor.com merges with marketing automation competitor Connect Healthcare. Connect Healthcare President Noel Coleman will assume the role of president of enterprise solutions at the newly combined, Atlanta-based company.

In an effort to expand its healthcare customer base, High Point Technology Group acquires TechForceIT, which provides managed health IT services to physician practices in the Houston area.


Government and Politics

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Sixteen HHS officials from across the department – including Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan, CMS Administrator Seems Verma, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD and National Coordinator Don Rucker, MD – convene to discuss their ongoing work to combat the opioid epidemic. Attendees shared updates and plans for coordinating programs across the department.

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Just in time for holiday shopping season, the FTC warns consumers to consider the privacy (or lack thereof) implications of at-home DNA testing kits. I admit privacy wasn’t top of mind when I purchased a kit from 23andMe last year as a Christmas gift for my genealogy-crazy mother. A quick peek at the company’s privacy guidelines doesn’t raise any red flags, though I suppose in these days and times every company runs the risk of being hacked.


Other

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The power of social media: Researchers determine that a skin cancer patient’s viral selfie prompted near record-breaking levels of online searches about skin cancer and prevention. Kentucky nurse Tawny Willoughby’s 2015 Facebook post generated 50 shares, 161 news reports, and several days’ worth of Google searches that were 162 percent higher than typical search volumes – all of which hopefully resulted in Googlers avoiding tanning beds and taking sun safety precautions.

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This article highlights the amusing ways in which physician fatigue (particularly physician mom fatigue) can manifest itself.


Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the New York Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 41st Annual New York Course December 14-15 in New York City.
  • Technology Headlines Magazine names Intelligent Medical Objects CEO Frank Naeymi-Rad one of the 50 Most Admired CEOs of 2017.

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News 12/12/17

December 12, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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An AMA survey of 1,300 physicians finds that 83 percent have experienced a cyberattack, with top types being phishing, malware/viruses, and inappropriate employee access. Other findings of interest:

  • Most practices experienced no more than four hours of downtime.
  • Top responses to an attack include notifying internal IT groups and employees, followed by implementing policies and procedures.
  • Nearly half of respondents have in-house security officials, which makes me wonder about the effectiveness of employee training and safeguards at the 83 percent referenced above.
  • Practices rely on cybersecurity training content developed by their health IT vendors.
  • Physicians believe their cybersecurity confidence would most be enhanced by cyber hygiene tips and easily understood HIPAA training.

Webinars

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


Announcements and Implementations

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The Medical Society of New Jersey launches a statewide HIE dubbed OneHealth New Jersey. The society relied on Kammco Health Solutions to develop and implement the new HIE. Kammco has helped with similar efforts in Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and South Carolina.

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The Morag Consulting Group updates its Solismed clinic management system to include a patient portal, secure messaging, and e-prescribing capabilities from Weno Exchange.

The New York eHealth Collaborative, managing organization for the Statewide Health Information Network for New York, taps HealthEC to develop and implement its MIPS registry and reporting service.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL, RCM-focused Infinity Behavioral Health Services buys Kingston, NY-based competitor Health Assets Management.

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Clinicient acquires Austin, TX-based patient engagement company Keet. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Portland-based Clinicient will integrate Keet’s platform, which includes digital care plans and secure messaging, with its EHR, PM, and billing technology for outpatient rehab providers.

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Atlanta-based physician scheduling software company QGenda acquires competitor Tangier for an undisclosed sum. Tangier’s assets will bring software for urgent care providers to QGenda’s enterprise-focused product line.


People

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After 13 years as HealthlinkNY president and CEO, Christina Galanis will step down at the end of the year to become president of Womba, a consumer-focused health data aggregator based in Queens, NY. HealthlinkNY SVP Staci Romeo will assume the role of interim executive director.


Government and Politics

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The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Group becomes the first military healthcare facility in Ohio to join a civilian HIE. The medical group, which serves 58,000 patients, began phasing in Ohio Health Information Partnership capabilities in 2015.


Other

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If you want a good laugh: A British GP takes lighthearted issue with the children’s program Peppa Pig and its depiction of easy (and often unnecessary) access to general practitioners – a portrayal she believes might be giving youngsters unrealistic healthcare expectations. She chides Dr. Brown Bear for caving in to the medicinal requests of an ailing three year-old piglet, and making a home visit – in an ambulance – after Pedro the pony coughs three times. She also finds evidence of physician burnout: “His disregard for confidentiality, parental consent, record keeping, and his self prescribing indicate that the burden of demand from his patient population is affecting his health,” she writes. “He is no longer able to offer the level of service his patients have come to expect.”


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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