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News 2/6/17

February 6, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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President Trump tells Fox News that changes to the Affordable Care Act likely won’t go into effect until next year. “It’s in the process and maybe it will take till sometime into next year, but we are certainly going to be in the process,” he explained. “It’s very complicated. I would like to say by the end of the year, at least the rudiments.” Open enrollment for 2017 ended last week with a reported 9.2 million people signing up for insurance on the federal exchange, and an anticipated 3 million signing up for coverage via state-based exchanges. HHS has said that the ACA has helped 20 million people gain healthcare coverage since President Obama signed it into law in 2010.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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Webinars

February 8 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Machine Learning Using Healthcare.ai: a Hands-on Learning Session.” Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Levi Thatcher, director of data science, Health Catalyst. This webinar offers a tour of Healthcare.ai, a free predictive analytics platform for healthcare, with a live demo of using it to implement a healthcare-specific machine learning model from data source to patient impact. The presenter will go through a hands-on coding example while sharing his insights on the value of predictive analytics, the best path towards implementation, and avoiding common pitfalls.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Announcements and Implementations

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Community Care of North Carolina partners with the National Community Pharmacists Association to launch a CMS-funded pilot program that will deploy electronic care plans among community pharmacists. The digital document will be shared between participating CCNC physicians and NCPA pharmacists, and conform to EHR-friendly standards already in use. The three-year program will define its success based on clinical quality, practice efficiency, and interoperability. Lantana Consulting Group has been tapped to help with implementation support.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Jawbone looks to raise money to fund its transition away from an unsuccessful fitness band manufacturer into a company that sells healthcare products and services directly to providers. The company seems to have sold off its speaker business, which, along with headsets, helped get it off the ground in 2007. Its downward spiral in the wearables business has been well documented: Reports circulated in 2016 of an attempt to sell off some assets ahead of a sale or liquidation, and ongoing legal wranglings with Fitbit haven’t done much to inspire investor confidence.


People

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The Georgia Academy of Family Physicians elects Lake Oconee Urgent Care CEO and Medical Director Eddie Richardson Jr., MD president.

The Sequoia Project adds new members to its Board of Directors including Brian Ahier (Medicity), Elise Anthony (ONC), Peter DeVault (Epic), David Horrocks (CRISP), Steve Posnack (ONC), and Ryan Stewart (Dignity Health).


Telemedicine

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InnovaTel Telepsychiatry secures $2 million in private equity funding from Canyon Healthcare Partners. The Erie, PA-based company, which launched in 2014 as part of Gannon University’s Erie Technology Incubator, plans to use the financing to hire additional staff and further develop its telepsychiatry services for clinics and hospitals, particularly those in underserved and rural communities.


Government and Politics

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CMS extends the PQRS reporting program deadline from February 28 to March 13. Physicians that fail to report 2016 data will incur a 2-percent cut in Medicare payments next year.


Other

Shields Health Care Group scores big with its latest ad – debuted during the Super Bowl – featuring New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The ad features Brady pulling out a fifth Super Bowl ring and placing it in a locker before heading back for an MRI. The kicker is that the ad was filmed at the same time as one that aired in October and showed Brady pulling of four rings. Shields CEO explained that, “With Tom Brady and the Patriots we had a feeling the season would come to a thrilling end, and we sure are glad to have filmed the new ending. We couldn’t be prouder to partner with Tom Brady – now a five-time Super Bowl champion – and we are privileged Tom chose Shields as one of his only local endorsements in recent years.”

Delaware Health Information Network scores regional airtime during the Super Bowl with a 30-second ad touting its HIE capabilities and their impact on patient care throughout the state. “DHIN’s doing big things in Delaware and across the region,” says COO Randy Farmer. “What better time to engage consumers than during one of the biggest TV viewing days of the year?” The ad is the organization’s first attempt at connecting directly with consumers, and will soon be followed by radio, print, and digital messaging. I couldn’t find much in the way of details about the big things DHIN is doing, though I did come across this HIStalk reader comment from 2010 – three years after DHIN launched its HIE capabilities:

From Careener: “Re: DHIN. I don’t know if you saw this Delaware dust-up (no, not former witches as US Senate candidates). The Republican candidate for US Representative took a shot at his opponent over the Delaware Health Information Network, saying it is ‘mismanaged … with no tangible benefit.” I was involved with DHIN as a provider and it was, and is, an unqualified success, with Delaware being the first state to have statewide results delivery, HIE to EMR integration, and public health integration for pandemic and reportable results reporting. It is the model other stares are following. Love reading your updates, please keep up the good work.”


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Population Health Management Weekly Wrap Up 2/5/17

February 5, 2017 News No Comments

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Liz Tingley, RN (Pinnacol Assurance) joins EQHealth Solutions as project director for its Colorado Prior Authorization Request Program, which helps the state’s Dept. of Health Care Policy and Financing improve access and outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries.

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I2I Population Health hires Cary McNamara (Agilum Healthcare Intelligence) as CFO.

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Alameda Health System (CA) enlists Conifer Health Solutions to provide managed care support services for its HealthPAC program, which offers comprehensive healthcare to 33,000 patients in Alameda County. Services provided will include population health management, financial risk management, and nurse consulting services.

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A new Black Book report finds that population health management technology is a fast-growing sector even though providers are forging ahead using only stopgap tools from their EHR vendor, they’re dealing with community HIEs that offer poor population health modeling data, and they have limited data availability beyond their own EHR’s health snapshots. Hospitals report that they will need new PHM and IT talent, but shortages may limit availability. The top three best-of-breed vendors were IBM Watson Health, Evolent Health, and The Advisory Board Company, while the top three PHM and value-based care consultants were Premier, The Advisory Board Company, and Evolent Health.

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Rio Grande Valley Health Alliance, a Texas-based ACO comprised of 18 primary care practices, attributes its nearly $14 million in savings in 2015 to population health management technology from Lightbeam Health Solutions. The ACO has saved $28 million since forming in 2013, and was one of only four such organizations in the 2015 program to achieve a 100-percent quality score. RGVHA next plans to roll out Lightbeam’s Cohort Builder to help it better identify high-risk patients and the care programs that would best suit them.


Sponsor Updates

  • Nordic will sponsor the inaugural Epic North Carolina Users Group Meeting February 8-9 in Greensboro.

Blog Posts


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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JennHIStalk

News 2/2/17

February 2, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Former Vice President Joe Biden establishes the Biden Foundation to continue his work around the Cancer Moonshot. The educational foundation will also focus on equality initiatives, moving the Violence Against Women Act forward, supporting military service members, and increasing access to high-quality, affordable education.


Webinars

February 8 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Machine Learning Using Healthcare.ai: a Hands-on Learning Session.” Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Levi Thatcher, director of data science, Health Catalyst. This webinar offers a tour of Healthcare.ai, a free predictive analytics platform for healthcare, with a live demo of using it to implement a healthcare-specific machine learning model from data source to patient impact. The presenter will go through a hands-on coding example while sharing his insights on the value of predictive analytics, the best path towards implementation, and avoiding common pitfalls.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Announcements and Implementations

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Behavioral health and developmental disability services provider HealthWest implements the Cx360 EHR from Core Solutions at its facilities in Muskegon, IL.

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MAP Health Management will offer patients of its patient engagement technology end users a biometric pill dispensation device from Intent Solutions to help track medication adherence in real time. MAP will begin offering the TAD device as part of a pilot program this March that will focus on substance abuse disorder patients at high risk of relapse.


People

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Jess Cramer (VillageMD) joins XG Health Solutions as VP of care management.

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AMC Health announces new hires for its provider market: Christopher Taylor (Medtronic) will serve as SVP and GM; Laura King, RN (Medtronic) as VP; and Christopher Miller as VP of sales.

Bart Thompson (Atomic World Media) joins Green Circle Health as senior director of business development.


Telemedicine

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TheDocApp formally launches its virtual visit service. CEO and founder Nick Garulay comes to the Naples, FL-based endeavor from the world of luxury and exotic vehicles. His LinkedIn profile proudly states that his Ambassador Auto Sales venture was “created in 2000 with 6k saved from waiting on tables.”


Government and Politics

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NIH opens up funding opportunities for precision medicine initiative recruitment and outreach efforts. Up to $15 million will be made available over the next three years to help applicants build out the initiative’s cohort of 1 million US citizens willing to participate in long-term research efforts, including genome mapping. Applications are due March 24.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk Practice updates.
Contact us online.
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JennHIStalk

5 Questions With Michael Lyons, MD Associate Clinical Geneticist, Greenwood Genetic Center

February 2, 2017 News No Comments

Michael Lyons, MD is associate clinical geneticist at Greenwood Genetic Center in South Carolina. The nonprofit provides clinical genetic services, diagnostic testing, educational programs and resources, and conducts medical genetics research. It has five locations in and around Charleston, and employs 175 staff to care for between 20 and 25 patients on a daily basis at each of its facilities. GGC will implement Epic (its first EHR) later this year, and recently launched telemedicine capabilities with financial support from the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance, the Medical University of South Carolina, the GGC Foundation, and an anonymous $150,000 grant from private donors.

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Given Greenwood’s focus, what types of healthcare technology have you seen make a difference in the ability of your physicians to diagnose and treat patients?
The most significant technology that has impacted our ability to diagnose and treat patients involves the rapid advancement in diagnostic laboratory testing for genetic conditions. Chromosomal microarray analysis has allowed us to identify small chromosome deletions and duplications that would have been missed using earlier technology. More recently, next-generation sequencing has dramatically altered how we diagnose patients with single gene abnormalities.

In the past, testing was performed one gene at a time. Next-generation sequencing allows us to send panels that can look at multiple genes at the same time for a wide variety of conditions, such as autism and epilepsy. In addition, our laboratory is now able to perform whole exome sequencing, which can sequence all ~20,000 protein-coding genes at the same time, resulting in a significant improvement in our ability to diagnose patients.

Why did the center decide the time was right to launch telemedicine services? How do you anticipate this impacting physician workflow and patient access and outcomes?
GGC is a nonprofit organization founded in 1974 to serve as a resource for all individuals who need genetic services or information, and to reduce the prevalence and impact of genetic disorders. The home campus in Greenwood, SC provides clinical genetic services, diagnostic laboratory testing, educational programs and resources, and research in medical genetics. GGC extends its reach as a resource to residents of South Carolina with satellite offices in Charleston, Columbia, Florence, and Greenville. Although we have offices across the state, patients requiring genetic services in South Carolina typically need to travel to a GGC office. Due to the large number of referrals we receive, patients and families may need to wait many months to be seen. This is especially true in our Florence office, as we do not have a clinical geneticist in Florence. As a result, GGC geneticists from multiple offices travel to Florence to see patients. This limits the number of available appointment slots to meet the needs of Florence and the surrounding area.

Concerns about limited available appointments led us to launch our telehealth initiative to expand access to genetic services in Florence and throughout South Carolina. We anticipate that the use of telehealth will increase the number of available appointments for patients in Florence and the surrounding area by more than 50 percent. After successful implementation of telemedicine in Florence, we anticipate establishing statewide telemedicine clinics in which patients are seen at an originating site near or even at their home while GGC physicians evaluate the patient from a GGC office. This would decrease the travel time for the family and the physician, expand the reach of genetic services to all areas of South Carolina, improve the efficiency of genetic evaluations, increase the number of patients seen, and potentially cut down on missed or cancelled appointments.

Are there special challenges that a genetics-focused organization like yours faces when it comes to adopting new technology? How do you overcome them?
The rapid advancement of genetics technology and knowledge can make it a challenge for our diagnostic and research laboratories to have the most up-to-date equipment, which is critical in making diagnoses and treating patients appropriately. In addition, the advancement of technology, especially in genetics, often outpaces reimbursement. We have been able to overcome many of these challenges through the support of the South Carolina Dept. of Disabilities and Special Needs along with federal, state, and local grants, contributions from numerous collaborators, and the diligent work of all the employees at GGC.

Is Greenwood eligible for/preparing for MACRA? How do you plan on participating?
We are not planning on participating due to our low volume of Medicare patients.

What’s next on the horizon in terms of health IT adoption? What do you foresee benefitting patients the most?
We will begin using Epic as our EHR later this year. Although there will be challenges incorporating the system across all of our offices, we anticipate that appropriate planning and commitment will lead to successful implementation and improvement in our ability to manage patient results and information, allowing us to provide better overall care for patients and families seen at GGC.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk Practice updates.
Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

JennHIStalk

News 2/1/17

February 1, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee vote to move Rep. Tom Price’s (R-GA) confirmation for HHS secretary forward to a full Senate vote after deciding this morning to suspend rules requiring the presence of at least one member of each party. Their Democratic counterparts, who boycotted yesterday’s vote, were once again absent.


Webinars

February 8 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Machine Learning Using Healthcare.ai: a Hands-on Learning Session.” Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Levi Thatcher, director of data science, Health Catalyst. This webinar offers a tour of Healthcare.ai, a free predictive analytics platform for healthcare, with a live demo of using it to implement a healthcare-specific machine learning model from data source to patient impact. The presenter will go through a hands-on coding example while sharing his insights on the value of predictive analytics, the best path towards implementation, and avoiding common pitfalls.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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CompuVision, a managed IT services company based in Santa Barbara, CA, merges with health IT consulting and services firm Sagewood Systems. The newly combined company will operate under the CompuVision name. Sagewood CEO Bill Wood will transition to CompuVision’s SVP of Engineering. Alberto Kywi (Cottage Health) has joined the combined company as senior healthcare management consultant.

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E-prescribing software vendor DrFirst acquires clinical trial recruitment services company VisibilityRx. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. VisibilityRx apparently mines retail pharmacy data to match patients clinical trials. DrFirst President G. Cameron Deemer believes the platform “will enhance the value of our partners’ EHR and pharmacy products, while also helping providers deliver the newest and most applicable clinical trial information to their patients.”

Speaking of DrFirst, its team has put together HIStalkapalooza recap videos over the last several years. Check this one out to get yourself pumped up for health IT’s night out at HIMSS.

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Just a few weeks after CEO Tim Cook takes a pay cut due to sluggish sales, Apple reports record-setting Iphone sales and $78.4 billion in first-quarter revenue. The Apple Watch also had its best quarter ever – a stat that surprises me given the general malaise consumers seem to have sunk into when it comes to wearables.


People

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Jeff Lew (Cerner) joins Nextech Systems as VP of product management.


Telemedicine

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Ganjapreneur reports that NuggMD will expand its online evaluation services for medical marijuana patients beyond its home state of California to include Nevada and Alaska. The company helps patients apply for and receive medical marijuana cards, and connect with a partner dispensary that provides home delivery.


Announcements and Implementations

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DAS Health makes its AssessURhealth mental health assessment tool available via online portal. Assessment categories include anxiety, alcohol misuse, depression, opioid risk, and somatic symptoms.


Government and Politics

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I tuned into the CMS MIPS overview webinar held earlier today to educate myself about the program and to see if any physician pain points jumped out at me. The biggest, by far, has to be the complexity of participation. “I know this can get a little confusing” was uttered quite a few times by MIPS Program Lead Molly MacHarris, who helped take attendees through over 60 high-level slides. It seems to me that, in an effort to attract as many MDs to the program as possible, CMS has inadvertently added a level of participation complexity that will likely leave most physicians wondering where in the world to begin. That being said, the program also has an incredible amount of flexibility when it comes to picking your own pace, and the measurements and categories that best suit individual practices. The slide deck should be available on the CMS website soon. For those who still have questions, feel free to email qpp@cms.hhs.gov or call 866-288-8292.


Other

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I wonder how many baristas will be serving this on the HIMSS exhibit floor: The Finnish “Funguys” at Four Sigmatic attempt to cash in on the superfoods craze with the introduction of mushroom-infused coffee. The company’s green coffee mix includes maitake and chaga mushrooms, which may help to lower blood glucose levels and support digestive health. 


Sponsor Updates

  • Healthwise exhibits at EClinicalWorks Day in New Orleans.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk Practice updates.
Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

JennHIStalk

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