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News 1/10/17

January 10, 2017 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Aledade raises $20 million in an investment round led by Biomatics Capital, bringing its total raised to $55 million since launching in 2014. Founder and CEO Farzad Mostashari, MD provides plenty of commentary on the Series B round in a string of tweets from the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference going on this week in San Francisco. Ever the cheerleader for independent physicians and the role healthcare technology can play in helping them move the needle on value-based care, he seems certain the funding will help the company continue to grow its line of Medicare ACOs, adding that “creating a bridge from ACOs to Medicare Advantage is an obvious extension, that we may pull forward with this funding.” Biomatics Capital cofounder Julie Sunderland will join Aledade’s Board of Directors.


Webinars

January 18 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Modernizing Quality Improvement Through Clinical Process Measurement.” Sponsored by LogicStream Health. Presenters: Peter Chang, MD, CMIO, Tampa General Hospital; Brita Hansen, MD, CHIO, Hennepin County Medical Center. The presenters will describe how they implemented successful quality governance programs, engaged with their health system stakeholders, and delivered actionable information to clinical leadership and front-line clinicians. Q&A will follow.

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January 26 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Jump Start Your Care Coordination Program: 6 Strategies for Delivering Efficient, Effective Care.” Sponsored by Healthwise. Presenters: Jim Rogers, RN, RPSGT, director of healthcare solutions, Persistent Systems; Jason Burum, chief client officer, Healthwise. This webinar will explain how to implement a patient-centered care coordination program that will increase quality as well as margins. It will provide real-world examples of how organizations used care coordination to decrease readmission rates, ED visits, and costs.


Announcements and Implementations

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HealthTap introduces the artificial intelligence-powered Dr. AI in an effort to triage the healthcare concerns of its users. The next-generation chat bot offers up contextual advice, including virtual visit or physician referral, based on information already found in a user’s personal HealthTap record. The company assures users that Dr. AI is “trained in the art of digital empathy to converse with people using a patient, polite and compassionate bedside manner.”


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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IBM touts the fact that in 2016 it received the most patents ever issued to one company in a single year. All of the 8,088 patents (an average of 22 granted per day) reflected the company’s high-growth areas, which include artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, cognitive health, cloud, and cybersecurity. The news coincides with the company’s decision to add Watson capabilities to Illumina’s tumor-sequencing technology in an effort to up the ante on genomic data interpretation and subsequent research. Watson for Genomics consumes data from 10,000 scientific articles and 100 new clinical trials each month, and, in combination with Illumina technology, can reduce the amount of time it takes scientists to compile genetic reports from one week to several minutes.


Government and Politics

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Massachusetts joins California, Indiana, and Washington in going public with the information it has been collecting about data breaches since 2007. State The data, which includes the type of breach and personal identifying information such as Social Security and credit card numbers, is being released in the interest of transparency and to help consumers “track trends and identify [u]nsecure interactions.” The data set may also be a good starting point for patients looking to avoid providers who have been the victim of a breach.

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ONC updates its Certified Health IT Product List dashboard with pages devoted to decertified products for both 2014 and 2015 editions, and developers who are no longer allowed to apply for certification.

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The State of Minnesota prepares to truly put the concept of coordinated care into practice with the launch of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics. The six clinics are part of a national pilot program that seeks to bring primary and behavioral healthcare together, particularly for those suffering from mental illness and/or substance abuse. The eight states selected to participate have until July 1 to begin their two-year demonstration programs.

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On the eve of President Obama’s farewell speech, Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt shares his own parting reflections. His remarks, given at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, not only focus on the center’s successes, but on the current nationwide tension building around repeal and replace. A few highlights:

“The good news is we have don’t have to take a step backward,” Slavitt writes. “The American public expects us to take what is working and build on it. The immensely popular features of the ACA like free preventive care and ending the pre-existing condition limitations should be left alone and the focus should be on a limited number of improvements that spur competition and increase affordability.

I’ve had many conversations with physicians over the last year since I made a statement here at JPM that we had lost the hearts and minds of physicians. Many of them say they want to experience the joy of medicine again—to be able to make a living from listening to their patients, coordinating their care, improving their health, and get paid for what works.

Whether you call these ACOs or Medical Homes or Bundled payments frankly doesn’t matter. What matters is that we can develop these innovative practices locally, test them, and spread them.

Converting to a relationship-based system takes work and investment from all parties. We’ve started the process with the broad participation of physicians and patients. Using the CMS Innovation Center, which is part of the ACA, as well as through MACRA, the HITECH Act, and 21stCentury Cures, we are making the investments that unlock research, data, innovation and reduce the burdens and distractions that don’t support care. They demonstrate that we can work in a bipartisan fashion on important issues in health care.”


Other

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The local news highlights the impact the New Jersey Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) Academic Medical Center Hub is having on patient care in the Garden State. The Hub’s participating physicians disseminate specialty expertise to PCPs in rural areas via remote education clinics, helping those rural providers avoid referring patients to distant specialists. The program, made possible by a $1.9 million grant from the Nicholson Foundation , offers clinics for the treatment of hepatitis C; autism, ADHD, and pediatric mental health; and advanced endocrinology. “If they go see a specialist, there are often higher co-pays and costs in addition to having to make extra trips,” explains participating Hub physician Vinod Rustgi, MD. “This program saves them money, time and travel distance. Now, if they are in Atlantic City, they don’t have to travel all the way to me, but they still get quality specialty care through their primary doctor.”


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 1/9/17

January 9, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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UnitedHealth’s Optum health services company acquires ambulatory surgery provider Surgical Care Affiliates in a $2.3 billion deal. SCA, which operates 205 facilities across 30 states, will combine with Optum’s OptumCare primary and urgent care delivery services business. SCA CEO Andrew Hayek believes the deal will “enable us to better support and empower independent physicians, helping them provide high-quality care for their patients while making health care more affordable. The combination of SCA and OptumCare is another step forward toward our vision of becoming the partner of choice for surgeons.”


Webinars

January 18 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Modernizing Quality Improvement Through Clinical Process Measurement.” Sponsored by LogicStream Health. Presenters: Peter Chang, MD, CMIO, Tampa General Hospital; Brita Hansen, MD, CHIO, Hennepin County Medical Center. The presenters will describe how they implemented successful quality governance programs, engaged with their health system stakeholders, and delivered actionable information to clinical leadership and front-line clinicians. Q&A will follow.

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January 26 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Jump Start Your Care Coordination Program: 6 Strategies for Delivering Efficient, Effective Care.” Sponsored by Healthwise. Presenters: Jim Rogers, RN, RPSGT, director of healthcare solutions, Persistent Systems; Jason Burum, chief client officer, Healthwise. This webinar will explain how to implement a patient-centered care coordination program that will increase quality as well as margins. It will provide real-world examples of how organizations used care coordination to decrease readmission rates, ED visits, and costs.


Announcements and Implementations

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Privia Health’s Gulf Coast network doubles thanks to the addition of 125 physicians over the last six months. The practice management company, which launched the Houston-based network late 2015, works with 1,400 providers in six states via its network of medical groups.


People

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Spurred by an unspecified amount of financing from Kinderhook Industries, Stratus Video appoints Mark Knudsen (CareCloud) VP of product innovation and AnnaMaria Turano as VP of marketing for its new Telehealth division.


Telemedicine

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SnapMD closes $3.25 million in Series A financing, bringing its total raised to $9.15 million since getting off the ground in 2013. CEO Dave Skibinski has three goals in mind for the new funding. “First, to continue to add innovative features to our Virtual Care Management Platform to better meet the clinical needs of the medical community,” he explains. “Second, support our numerous channels partners, especially Konica Minolta and Athenahealth to accelerate sales. Third, to continue to raise awareness of our approach to telemedicine and our Virtual Care Management platform.”

Teladoc, which recently celebrated its 2 millionth visit, adds lab testing services from Analyte Health to its virtual consult capabilities. Physicians in the Teladoc network will now be able to order lab tests and review results through the company’s telemedicine technology. Patients will be sent to an offsite location for testing. Both companies envision making these services available in a single day via upgraded mobile capabilities.

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The Lewisville, TX-based company reports preliminary 2016 results: $123 million in revenue – a 59-percent increase over 2015; and a 43-percent increase in year-over-year membership, amounting to 17.5 million users.


Government and Politics

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HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell looks back on her two-and-a-half-year tenure with what seems to be a mix of satisfaction and frustration, given the incoming administration’s predicted efforts to repeal and replace the ACA (a phrase she refers to as a “campaign slogan.”) She includes open enrollment as one of her biggest challenges as secretary: “One of the biggest issues is that there are always a number of serious challenges at the same time. When I came to the department, I needed to make decisions on technology for the next Affordable Care Act open enrollment, on issues related to the unaccompanied children crossing the border from Central America and the Ebola crisis. There were other pressing issues, such as how to deal with growing opioid abuse. The department’s jurisdiction is so broad and the challenges come all at once.” Fun fact: National Security Advisor Susan Rice was Burwell’s basketball coach at Oregon University, and indirectly helped Burwell meet her future husband.

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OCR decides not to sanction Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, MD (R-VA) for a HIPAA violation related to a letter for political support sent to patients during her 2015 campaign. The sharing of patient contact information with her campaign team, though found to be “impermissible” under HIPAA law, did not result in a fine because the former Ob/Gyn took immediate action to ameliorate the situation. Dunnavant claims she cleared the letter, which was intended to notify patients that her run for office would not affect their care, with her medical practice board and lawyers.


Research and Innovation

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A survey of 2,223 adults finds that 19 percent have visited a retail clinic in the last month. I’m a bit surprised that the number isn’t higher given how ubiquitous they’ve become. It would be interesting to ask those who hadn’t if they opted for telemedicine services instead. Good news for retailers: Fifty-three percent of visitors purchased a product before or after their clinic visit.


Other

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NPR looks at the role EHRs are beginning to play in using aggregated data to customize patient care. It highlights the data mining Kaiser Permanente clinicians often do to help patients better understand how others going through the same treatments are faring (a concept that sounds very similar to that of ASCO’s CancerLinq). Genetic testing could be the key to taking this type of precision medicine one step further. “Medicine’s got to catch up, and medicine’s got to understand how best to take advantage of all the information that’s been generated every day,” says Yale University Professor Harlan Krumholz, MD. “The quality of data [collected in medical records] is not necessarily research quality.”

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This story highlights the ways in which public libraries are adapting to meet the healthcare needs of their patrons. The Philadelphia Free Library, for example added a pediatric and primary care clinic on its top floors last year as part of its transition to the South Philadelphia Community Health and Literacy Center. Arizona’s Pima County library system has teamed with the health department to have employed nurses make rounds throughout its 27 branches – a move that has resulted in the library substantially reducing its 911 calls made for behavioral issues.

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Surely there’s a Hallmark card for this: The Iphone celebrates its 10th anniversary amidst declining sales and a corresponding 15-percent pay cut for CEO Tim Cook (who still takes home $8.7 million). Honestly I think just about every healthcare IT startup out there should have a party in honor of the device, given its impact on the industry at large and, on a more granular level, the power it has given to the patients who want it.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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Population Health Management Weekly Wrap Up 1/8/16

January 8, 2017 News No Comments

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The University of Maryland Medical System appoints Stacy Garrett-Ray, MD (VA) president of the University of Maryland Quality Care Network and vice president/medical director of the UMMS population health services organization.

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Self-service health kiosk vendor Pursuant Health closes a a $12.8 million Series A round of financing. The Atlanta-based company (fka Solo Health) will use the investment to expand its offerings to include texting, mobile, and incentive management capabilities. It has established several high-profile wellness programs and partnerships over the last year with organizations including the American Diabetes Association and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

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Dallas-based Christus Health expands its relationship with Phillips, adding the company’s somewhat newly acquired Wellcentive population health management capabilities across its 50 hospitals and 175 clinics. The health system will also use technology to better manage the health plans it offers its employees and the public via state-based exchanges.

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Glendale, CA-based Apollo Medical Holdings merges with Alhambra, CA-based Network Medical Management to become one of the country’s “largest integrated population health management companies.” The newly combined company, which will operate under the Apollo name, will provide medical management services for 700,000 patients through its 3,000 clinicians and 400 employees. NMM CEO Thomas Lam, MD will join APM CEO Warren Hosseinion as co-CEO of the new company.

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Caradigm enhances its population health management solutions to support MACRA and bundled payments, adding Care Bundles, Content Builder, MACRA solutions, Advanced Computation Engine, and Utilization and Financial Analytics.

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University of Missouri Health Care implements Cerner’s HealtheIntent population health management across the Health Network of Missouri’s,six facilities, each of which uses a different EHR. The network serves predominantly rural patient populations through the sharing of health data and best practices.

Vicky Ann Ducworth (The Boeing Company) joins EQHealth Solutions as SVP of government operations.


Sponsor Updates


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

News 1/5/17

January 5, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Arcadia Healthcare Solutions lands $30 million in growth capital led by investments from GE Ventures and the Merck Global Health Innovation Fund. The Boston-based company, which has raised a total of $43 million since launching in 2011, will use the financing to further develop its analytics offerings for providers and payers, and to grow its population health management presence across the country. It acquired EHR support services company Concordant in 2011, and managed care services firm Sage Technologies in 2015.


Webinars

January 18 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Modernizing Quality Improvement Through Clinical Process Measurement.” Sponsored by LogicStream Health. Presenters: Peter Chang, MD, CMIO, Tampa General Hospital; Brita Hansen, MD, CHIO, Hennepin County Medical Center. The presenters will describe how they implemented successful quality governance programs, engaged with their health system stakeholders, and delivered actionable information to clinical leadership and front-line clinicians. Q&A will follow.

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January 26 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Jump Start Your Care Coordination Program: 6 Strategies for Delivering Efficient, Effective Care.” Sponsored by Healthwise. Presenters: Jim Rogers, RN, RPSGT, director of healthcare solutions, Persistent Systems; Charlotte Brien, MBA, solutions consultant, Healthwise. This webinar will explain how to implement a patient-centered care coordination program that will increase quality as well as margins. It will provide real-world examples of how organizations used care coordination to decrease readmission rates, ED visits, and costs.


Announcements and Implementations

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Mutare Health upgrades its Vital Link secure messaging technology to include voicemail replacement capabilities. Voicemails can now be recorded, converted, and delivered to physicians via Instant Message, email, or text.

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Ingenious Med develops a charge-capture app specifically for physician practices that also includes secure messaging, management reports, and dashboards.


People

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The California-based Central Coast Medical Association appoints primary care internist David Dodson, MD president of its 2017 Board of Directors.

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JC Muyl (Medivo) joins payer-focused behavioral telehealth company AbleTo as SVP of operations.

Laura Hobbs (Bausch & Lomb) joins patient registration kiosk company Clearwave as director of sales.


Government and Politics

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New York lawmakers pass legislation giving physicians the ability to access the health data of patients between 10 and 17 through the state’s HealtheLink HIE. Parents must sign a consent form giving physicians permission. Though the new law will help make pediatric medical records more accessible, HealtheLink Executive Director Dan Porreca stresses that, “Participating providers need to be aware that it is possible that the minor patient’s record may contain sensitive information that is protected under New York state law and may not be re-disclosed to the minor’s parent or guardian without the minor’s written consent.” Such information could pertain to mental health or substance abuse treatment, reproductive health services, or STD treatment.


Telemedicine

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White-label telemedicine vendor SnapMD joins Athenahealth’s More Disruption Please program. Athenahealth will incorporate the company’s Virtual Care Management software into its EHR and RCM products.

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The Indiana Rural Health Association facilitates the launch of three school-based telemedicine clinics in Austin, Crothersville, and Southwestern Jefferson County. The program has avoided outsourcing clinical expertise thanks to employed nurses and specially trained teachers and secretaries. IRHA plans to open clinics in five more school systems by the end of the year. The association is particularly focused on launching the clinics in rural and underserved areas. As I briefly mentioned in yesterday’s post, Indiana does not yet offer Medicaid reimbursement for such visits.


Other

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Family physician Henry Hochberg, MD laments the demise of the small, independent practice and the resultant lack of patient-provider relationship-building that such offices can typically provide:

“The reality is that medicine has become largely corporate and depersonalized. The office visit must be recorded electronically, often right in front of the patient. Metrics rule the day. Physicians now get paid and evaluated by codes. There are diagnosis codes, procedure codes and, to a certain extent, ‘time spent’ codes. We can be as precise as coding for a patient who was ‘sucked into a jet engine’ (V97.33X) or suffered from ‘water skis on fire’ (V91.07XA)!

But there is no diagnosis code for ‘loss of eye twinkle.’ And no time code for ‘needing to be heard.’ So, will you miss us when we’re gone? There may come a time in the future when you wave a Bluetooth device over your body, get a diagnosis on your computer and a drone drops a fix at your door. But who will listen to Ms. Smith?”


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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News 1/4/17

January 4, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Athenahealth will increase its Atlanta-based workforce to nearly 1,000 over the next 12 months alongside a planned office expansion that will double its footprint at mixed-use development Ponce City Market. The Watertown, MA-based company opened its Atlanta office in 2013 with 500 employees, and has since surpassed its initial employee growth rate by 40 percent. The news comes just a few months after the company laid off 40 employees in Atlanta and 102 in San Francisco.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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HIStalkapalooza sign-ups are open. The usual rules apply:

  • Everybody who wants to come has to sign up on this form (even me) – nobody gets invited automatically.
  • Each person who wants to come has to sign up separately even if they’re a guest of someone else (because we use an automated check-in system with individually barcoded tickets),
  • Signing up doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get an invitation since that depends on how many people I can invite, which is based on how many sponsors I get. Invitations will be emailed in three weeks or so.
  • We pay per click of the House of Blues turnstile and thus close the doors early in the evening since someone swinging by for a late-evening beer still costs many dozens of dollars. If you can’t attend the whole event, please don’t take up a slot.

Thanks to our HIStalkapalooza sponsors who are graciously making the industry’s most talked-about event possible. Mr. H needs need a few more to hit the break-even point. Contact Lorre if you’re interested and she’ll work with you to create a fun sponsorship package for the party.

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Webinars

January 18 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Modernizing Quality Improvement Through Clinical Process Measurement.” Sponsored by LogicStream Health. Presenters: Peter Chang, MD, CMIO, Tampa General Hospital; Brita Hansen, MD, CHIO, Hennepin County Medical Center. The presenters will describe how they implemented successful quality governance programs, engaged with their health system stakeholders, and delivered actionable information to clinical leadership and front-line clinicians. Q&A will follow.

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January 26 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Jump Start Your Care Coordination Program: 6 Strategies for Delivering Efficient, Effective Care.” Sponsored by Healthwise. Presenters: Jim Rogers, RN, RPSGT, director of healthcare solutions, Persistent Systems; Charlotte Brien, MBA, solutions consultant, Healthwise. This webinar will explain how to implement a patient-centered care coordination program that will increase quality as well as margins. It will provide real-world examples of how organizations used care coordination to decrease readmission rates, ED visits, and costs.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Several media outlets report that Walgreens is piloting a vision clinic at its flagship store on Chicago’s Miracle Mile. The Boots Alliance company is looking to replicate the success of its chain of 636 retail vision clinics in the UK, some of which operate as standalone businesses.

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Rock Health releases its end-of-year digital health funding report. A record number of companies were funded in 2016, yet the total amount invested saw an 8-percent decrease to $4.2 billion. Most-funded categories included genomics and sequencing, big data and analytics, wearables and biosensing, telemedicine, digital medical devices, and population health management. Mergers and acquisitions were up 9 percent year-over-year, with Teladoc’s acquisition HealthiestYou and Allscripts’s Netsmart purchase likely being of the most interest to office-based physicians.


Telemedicine

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The Pew Charitable Trusts looks at the expanding use of telemedicine in public schools, pointing out that nearly 20 states have authorized Medicaid reimbursement for such visits. Ninety-eight percent of students in Maryland’s Howard County schools, which began offering virtual consults in 2015 with the help of one local hospital and two private practices, have been able to immediately return to their classes after a telemedicine visit for non-contagious conditions during school hours.


People

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Hoangmai “Mai” Pham, MD (CMS Innovation Center) joins the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy as a senior policy fellow.

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Physician consulting firm Continuum Health Alliance hires David Kovel (Sage Growth Partners) as CIO, Andrew Christman (ZirMed) as GM/SVP of performance solutions, and John Juzaitis (Medfusion) as VP of commercial operations.


Announcements and Implementations

CompuGroup Medical US adds real-time genomic decision support tools from ActX to its WebEHR and Clinical EHR products. The addition will enable CGM users to check prescriptions for adverse reactions, dosing, and efficacy based on the full genomic profile incorporated into a patient’s chart. The only caveat seems to be the “affordable patient DNA testing” that would need to occur beforehand – a practice that will likely grow in popularity based on the success of consumer offerings from 23andMe and Ancestry.com. (My genealogy-obsessed mother literally screamed with delight when I gave her a DNA testing kit for Christmas.) As a patient, I’d be much more likely to engage in such a service if it were offered to me at the point of care.

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Newly opened West Sacramento Urgent Care (CA) goes live on Practice Velocity’s EHR and billing services.


Government and Politics

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AHRQ announces a new funding opportunity for research that shows how health IT can improve “patient-centered health outcomes and quality of care in primary care and other ambulatory settings through the scale and spread of successful, health IT-enabled practice models that use patient-reported outcome measures to achieve these objectives.” Interested organizations can start applying January 25.


Research and Innovation

I can’t believe it’s 2017 and we’re still talking about patient portal problems: A Black Book survey of just over 12,000 consumers finds that 96 percent of patients have left their office visit with patient portal instructions that were either poorly communicated or miscommunicated. Forty percent have tried to use their physician’s portal; 83 percent of those report finding it difficult to navigate from their home devices – a stat that in my mind points to the need for greater usability that caters to a wide swath of patient types. (Mr. H points out a number of other revealing health IT adoption stats here.)


Other

Scientific American makes the case for a cashless society, pointing out the many different types of bacteria found on bank notes and coins. American bills – a blend of cotton and linen – are particularly susceptible to picking up and carrying microbes from “a cocaine-sniffer’s nose to a waiter’s hands to someone’s back pocket.” Fun fact: Global studies of cash have found exceptionally high bacterial counts on money handled by food workers or on hospital grounds.


Sponsor Updates

  • Aprima employees donate over nine tons of food to Dallas-area families in need through Metrocrest Services.
  • AdvancedMD compiles its most popular e-guides and videos from 2016.

Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

JennHIStalk

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