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News 2/15/17

February 15, 2017 News No Comments

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HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD wastes no time in getting the ball rolling on reforming several provisions of the Affordable Care Act. In an effort to “stabilize the Marketplace, provide more flexibility to states and insurers, and give patients access to more coverage options,” CMS has issued a proposed rule that includes reducing the open enrollment period from three months to six weeks, more stringent vetting practices to ensure people who sign up outside of those six weeks do so for legitimate reasons, and giving states more responsibility to ensure their consumers have adequate network coverage options. The rule also requires people who drop coverage to pay the difference owed for the full year before they can enroll for the following year. Comments on the proposed rule are due March 7.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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Don’t miss HIStalk’s Guide to HIMSS17. Over 60 companies, including several HIStalk Practice sponsors, have submitted their exhibit hall plans. It’s a great resource for planning your giveaway-grabbing strategy.


Announcements and Implementations

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The Mental Health Center of Denver integrates RxRevu’s RxCheck prescription decision support technology with its Netsmart EHR. The center will work with RxRevu to enhance the tool’s cost management and pharmacogenomics capabilities.

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Fourteen CommonWell members agree to develop APIs that will help drive proactive data availability notifications, provide data needed for life and disability insurance coverage, and to integrate CommonWell services into the ecosystems of providers who don’t use CommonWell-enabled EHRs.

Sam’s Club installs Higi health-screening kiosks at 622 pharmacy locations. The free, self-service screenings will be offered in tandem with the discount superstore’s existing free screening programs.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Diversified holding company IGambit acquires patient eligibility and chronic care management company HubCentrix as originally announced last fall. HubCentrix will operate as a subsidiary of IGambit under the new name of HealthDatix.


People

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Healthwise Chief Science Officer Michael Barry, MD is appointed to the US Preventive Services Task Force.

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MGMA welcomes incoming board chairman Ron Holder Jr. (Baylor Scott & White Health). The association has also added five new members to its Board of Directors, including Mike Biselli (Catalyst Health-Tech Innovation), Eric Crockett (Mayo Clinic), Anne Hill (Gastroenterology Associates of the Piedmont), Richard Schlosberg, MD (ABCD Pediatrics), and Jeffrey Smith (Piedmont Healthcare). Speaking of MGMA, tomorrow is the last day to register for the association’s Financial Management and Payer Contracting Conference, which will take place February 19-21 in Las Vegas. Attendees will no doubt enjoy a more low key event than those of us that are about to ourselves through yet another round of #HIMSSanity.


Telemedicine

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Christian health cost-sharing company Liberty HealthShare rolls out Salus Telehealth’s VideoMedicine offering to its members. The nonprofit, which brings together self-pay patients who share each other’s medical bills, has seen its membership soar from 16,000 to 48,000 households in the last year. Organizations like these, which are technically not health insurance companies, are seeing a surge in popularity due to far more affordable premiums and the religious exemption afforded to them from the ACA’s coverage mandate.

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The local paper looks at the ways in which first responders in rural areas are using telemedicine to connect therapists with people in the throes of a mental health crisis. The Southwest Iowa Mental Health and Disability Services Region’s Mental Health Crisis Response Team has used its new video conferencing technology to help three adults and one minor over the last several weeks. “It’s a bit different,” admits lead therapist Mandy Standley, “because you have to build that connection, since you’re not really there. You have to build that rapport in an unusual setting. The people we did see through telehealth, none of them had to go to the hospital. We were able to de-escalate the situation and make a safety plan.” Deputy Mark Freeman makes sure to point out that the video consult does not have to take place in the back of a squad car. “We can take our computer out of the car and set this on a table or something in their home, if that makes them feel more comfortable,” he adds.


Other

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Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but it’s never too late (or too soon) to think about what to get the sweetheart who has everything. Consider purchasing lot 92 at Bonhams auction house. The encased blob of mold is part of the original culture of Penicillium chrysogenum that led to Alexander Fleming’s 1928 discovery of penicillin. The mold is expected to fetch around $5,000 – a lowly sum thanks to the fact that Fleming apparently gave away his mold to many for just about any and every occasion. Historian Kevin Brown says the bacteriologist grew his gift mold on absorbent paper and pressed the samples between spectacle lenses sourced from the optometry practice owned by his brother.


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News 2/14/17

February 14, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Retriever Medical/Dental Payments receives a minority investment from private equity firm TA Associates. The Valhalla, NY-based company offers payment services that can be integrated with existing PM systems. TA Associates Managing Director Roger Kafker will join Retriever’s Board of Directors.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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Don’t miss HIStalk’s Guide to HIMSS17. Over 60 companies, including several HIStalk Practice sponsors, have submitted their exhibit hall plans. I peruse it every year to determine what demos I might want to see, giveaways I might want to grab, and charitable causes I can help support.

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Speaking of HIMSS, I was sad to find out that my mentor, friend, and “Secret Crush” won’t be attending this year. Cynthia, who has been a fixture at HIStalkapalooza for the last several years, took me under her wing several years ago to show me the HIMSS ropes. (She truly set the bar when it comes to the number of appointments you can cram into a single day at the conference.) For those who’ve done the conference circuit for more years than you care to remember, consider sparing an hour to spend cruising the exhibit hall floor with someone new to the industry. They’ll glean invaluable wisdom (and hopefully a few introductions) from you, and you’ll get their fresh perspective on an industry that can sometimes be a tad too insular.


Webinars

None scheduled in the coming weeks. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Announcements and Implementations

Raintree Systems adds interoperability capabilities from Kno2 to its EMR and PM technology, giving physicians the ability to share data via fax, Direct messaging, or document query.

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CareSync will debut at HIMSS17 clinical protocols to help practices meet Comprehensive Primary Care Plus program measures.

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Fuhrmann Health Center (NY) selects InboundMD’s marketing tools to help the chiropractic clinic jumpstart campaigns related to patient acquisition, online scheduling, and reputation management.

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CloudMedX adds a risk adjustment module to its Clinical AI platform to help practices and large physician groups aggregate clinical and financial data to better assess patient risk.

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Practice Fusion develops an active safety surveillance program to its EHR, giving physicians the ability to monitor, screen for, and report on Adverse Events of Special Interest during the course of a patient’s treatment.


People

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Proskriptive hires Ryan Heyborne, MD (Telligen) as CMO and Brett Taylor (St. Luke’s Health System) as chief technology strategist.


Telemedicine

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Michigan-based Great Lakes Health Connect adds virtual consult company Answer Health On Demand to its HIE network, giving physicians the ability to share telemedicine visit summaries with PCPs and specialists across the state.


Government and Politics

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CMS gives providers and other stakeholders an opportunity to identify and submit measures for three of the four MIPS performance categories as part of its “Annual Call for Measures and Activities.” Submission forms will be accepted through June. In the meantime, those interested in submitting can learn more during a CMS webinar on February 16.


Other

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A few of my favorite #healthpolicyvalentines


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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News 2/13/17

February 13, 2017 News 2 Comments

Top News

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As expected, Rep. Tom Price, MD (R-GA) is confirmed as HHS Secretary. Vice President Pence, who administered the oath of office, wasted no time in highlighting what will likely be at the top of Price’s to-do list: “President Trump has made it the top priority of this new Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with healthcare reform that will lower the cost of health insurance without growing the size of government. And finding someone to lead Health and Human Services who brings a background in medicine, a background in healthcare, a background in budgetary issues in the Congress of the United States, who understands the unique challenges of state officials in programs like Medicaid was easily met when he made the decision to name Dr. Tom Price as the new Secretary of Health and Human Services.”

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MGMA President and CEO Halee Fischer-Wright, MD pens a congratulatory note to the new secretary, asking that he be sure to work with physicians on reducing the administratively burdensome complexities surrounding HIPAA, reducing the cost and reporting burden of MIPS, developing APMs that better dovetail with the needs and abilities of physician practices, and providing greater flexibility in EHR certification standards. 


Webinars

None scheduled in the coming weeks. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Announcements and Implementations

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The Colorado Association of Addiction Professionals will implement EnSoftek’s DrCloudEHR behavioral health software across its member agencies.

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MedicalMine adds a mobile app publishing tool to its Charm EHR/PM/RCM suite of solutions, giving independent physicians the ability to customize their own branded app with features including scheduling, messaging, and bill payment; and to publish it to various app stores.

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Metropolitan Center for Mental Health (NY) moves 170 end users at its three locations in Manhattan from paper documentation to TenEleven Group’s Electronic Clinical Record.

The State of Oregon’s Washington County Dept. of Health and Human Services selects EnSoftek’s DrCloudEHR to help improve its countywide behavioral health, addictions, and developmental disabilities programs.


Government and Politics

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The local news takes a retrospective look at the State of New York’s e-prescribing law, which went into effect last March in an attempt to help curb the state’s opioid abuse rates. (It is the first state to penalize physicians who fail to e-prescribe and use the associated registry.) At first, physicians were leery of the extra work e-prescribing and checking the registry would entail, but now some seem to be softening. “The prescriptions are legible,” says pediatrician Edward Lewis, MD. “You have control over it. You can follow the electronic trail log in terms of where the prescription was sent and when it was sent.” Lewis and several of his colleagues believe the legislation has indeed helped keep controlled substances in hand. “Before I write a prescription for a controlled substance, like an ADHD medicine,” he says, “I have to go on to the NYS registry and see when the last time the prescription was written.”


Telemedicine

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Senator Mike Shirkey (R-MI) and Rep. Eric Leutheuser (R-MI) tour the Community Health Center of Branch County’s Cardinal Connect clinic to gain a better understanding of how school-based virtual clinics in three Michigan counties are helping students access primary care from CHC’s Pediatric and Adolescent Center. “One of the most important aspects of our job is to get the word out about the School Tele-health program,” said Program Manager Theresa Gillette during the tour. “Every day we touch the lives of students in Branch County, but we have to remember that our model has the opportunity to impact the lives of students across Michigan. We don’t take that responsibility lightly.” According to the American Telemedicine Association’s latest stat-by-state report card, Michigan

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The West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency rolls out telemedicine services from ISelectMD to its 180,000 beneficiaries. The Hilton Head, SC-based company entered the West Virginia market four years ago when it offered similar services to Harrison County employees.

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The local business paper digs a little deeper into the progress Texas stakeholders finally seem to be making in crafting telemedicine legislation that everyone can agree on. Texas Medical Association President Don Read, MD confirms the key issue of the latest proposed bill is the definition of the doctor-patient relationship. TMA members want to ensure that any legislation passed doesn’t skip over this crucial element. “We think that it should meet the same standards of care as if I see somebody in my office,” Read explained. “We’re on board, as long as we can have that. The model that led to all this problem, they [presumably vendors like Teladoc] didn’t want a doctor-patient relationship. They just wanted to say, give us a call, we’ll prescribe and charge you $65, and we’ll keep going.”


Other

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The New Yorker fantasizes about what new healthcare plans might look like under the Trump administration:

Platinum
For a monthly premium of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, this plan gives you prime access to all health-care options—no referrals or medical ailments required! If you’d like an MRI just for the fun of it, you’ll be slid into the very next available magnetic scanning tube. All prescription medication is free, plus the pharmacist has to say, “I love you; you are my moral superior,” when you pick it up.

Gold
The same as the Platinum Plan, but only available to people who own a gold mine.

Silver
For the incredible price of just $49.99 a month, you’ll receive a five-hundred-milliliter bottle of an unbelievable liquid miracle cure containing nanoparticle colloidal silver! Just one tablespoon daily will boost immune-system strength, make skin look decades younger, and improve your performance in the boardroom and the bedroom.

Bronze
You can see any doctor in your network for only a ten-dollar co-pay. Your deductible is forty million dollars.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

JennHIStalk

News 2/9/17

February 9, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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The American Telemedicine Association updates two policy reports – Coverage and Reimbursement, and Physicians Standards and Licensure – to reflect the progress many (if not all) states have made in adopting policies that make it easier for patients to access virtual consults, and providers to be reimbursed for them. Nationwide, all Medicaid agencies now cover some type of telemedicine, with many increasing their coverage of services in homes and schools, as well as those related to substance abuse treatment and counseling, and dental care. The ATA notes that all states now allow some type of telemedicine coverage versus 24 in 2005. Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Rhode Island, Utah, and West Virginia earned accolades for the steps they’ve taken to improve telemedicine coverage and reimbursement. Delaware, South Carolina, and Washington, DC were called out for their restrictive policies.


Webinars

None scheduled in the coming weeks. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Jawbone’s ongoing lawsuit against Fitbit heats up as new court filings suggest that Fitbit is also under a criminal investigation for trade secret theft. Fitbit contends the investigation “is based on the almost identical fictional allegations that were fully rejected by the International Trade Commission after a nine-day trial on the merits and that Jawbone falsely asserted on the eve of Fitbit’s IPO.” These legal wranglings make me wonder just how much of Jawbone’s financial instability can be traced back to the money it has spent on legal filings since the lawsuits began flying several years ago.


Announcements and Implementations

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Rio Grande Valley HIE selects Forcare’s interoperability solution to help it enhance care coordination amongst its member providers in nine southern Texas counties, and to help it more easily connect to other HIEs in the near future.

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HIE HealtheConnections will offer medical image-sharing capabilities from EHealth Technologies to participating providers across the 11 counties it serves in central New York.


Telemedicine

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The Houston Chronicle reports that Texas lawmakers have finally agreed on legislation that would make the Lone Star State far more conducive to patients who want to take advantage of such services. Providers, payers, and businesses like Texas-based Teladoc have for years gone back and forth over legislation that would permit the use of telemedicine while protecting their respective interests. Senate HHS Committee Chairman Charles Schwertner, MD (R-TX) will sponsor the legislation (few details of which have been released), and plans to introduce it in the presumably near future.


Research and Innovation

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A Xerox survey of 3,000 consumers finds, despite growing concerns around data breaches, that a majority believe sharing their health data between providers will result in improved outcomes. Not surprisingly, 76 percent feel that sharing PHI via secure digital methods is more secure than sharing via fax. Nearly 90 percent believe that wait times associated with diagnoses and test results would shorten if providers could securely share and access PHI. The same percentage of respondents are confident that service quality, including care coordination, would also improve.

An Accenture survey of just over 1,500 people confirms what HIStalk Practice readers already know – providers are looking to virtual health tools to meet increasing consumer demand and to differentiate themselves from the doctor down the street. (The first installment of HIStalk Practice’s new Winners Circle series highlights this.) The survey, which admittedly frames its results in the context of health systems, found that 75 percent of consumers would use virtual services but only 21 percent have received such services, highlighting the fact that providers and payers have an untapped market waiting to be explored. Nearly 80 percent of respondents said they’d be up for receiving care virtually some or most of the time – a stat that should get PCPs thinking about how to incorporate telemedicine into their care loop.


Other

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HITRUST welcomes representatives from MGMA, AMA, EHNAC, AHA, and the Texas Medical Association to its CSF Advisory Council, which works to update and ensure the integrity of the organization’s information risk management framework. “Having been engaged with HITRUST over the past year – communicating requirements, evaluating draft HITRUST CSF updates for usability, and providing feedback to ensure the CSF addresses the needs of physician practices including smaller ones like mine – I am pleased about the opportunity to formally represent the broader physician community in guiding the HITRUST CSF development,” says TMA representative James Walker, MD.

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How I would love to be a fly on the wall in these types of focus groups. I suppose my biggest complaint would be that each of the portals that I use can’t pull in information from the others, leaving me with a portal for each doctor’s office.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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

JennHIStalk

News 2/8/17

February 8, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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In the face of staunch Democratic dissent over the last several weeks, the Senate votes along party lines to advance Rep. Tom Price’s (R-GA) nomination for HHS Secretary. The vote kicks off 30 hours for debate before Price’s nomination moves to a full Senate vote on Friday.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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I am so excited that WebPT CEO Nancy Ham and former US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD will spend some time at the HIStalk booth (#4845) at HIMSS17. I heard Benjamin speak at a women’s healthcare event in Atlanta several years ago, and am hoping to learn more about the rural health clinic she runs in Bayou Batre, AL on Monday, Feb. 20 from 1-2pm. I had the chance to interview Nancy late last year – shortly after her transition from Medicity to WebPT, and am looking forward to introducing her to readers who stop by on Tuesday, Feb. 21 from 4-5pm.


Webinars

None scheduled in the coming weeks. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Announcements and Implementations

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LogistiCare signs a three-year partnership agreement with Lyft to help it provide non-emergency medical transport to the private, commercial, and government-assisted riders it services in nearly 280 cities. Their collaboration includes development of proprietary technology that will enable LogistiCare’s contracted customers to request on-demand rides via proprietary technology built using Lyft’s API.

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Behavioral health EHR vendor Netsmart adds data analytic capabilities from InterSystems to its MyAvatar CareRecord EHR and PM software. Mental Health Center of Denver helped guide the technology integration – timed to coincide with the retirement of its legacy EHR – and served as a test site for the enhanced solution. While I couldn’t uncover what type of EHR it originally used (it may have been homegrown), I did come across this Avatar implementation evaluation based on end-user surveys conducted twice during the first 12 months of testing/development. After a year, nearly 80 percent of users felt the system had become more usable, with “Workflow/Form Simplicity” being ranked as the top area for improvement. My favorite observation from the evaluation was this: “While it is unreasonable to expect that all staff will ever feel favorable towards the electronic health record, it is reasonable to expect that the favorable rating will increase over time with continued efforts to improve and enhance Avatar.”

Mission Treatment and Recovery (CA) selects Telehealthcare’s CarePanda secure messaging app after piloting the technology last fall.


People

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CareMore Health System, a Cerritos, CA-based physician-led managed care organization for seniors, hires Zubin Eapen, MD (Duke University) on as CMO.


Telemedicine

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The Fauquier Free Clinic (VA) adds telepsychiatry and remote mental health services courtesy of a $370,000 grant from the local Path Foundation – a foundation focused on overall health and wellness. “When we started the program in late October, we had 33 patients on our waiting list for behavioral health services,” says FFC Executive Director Rob Marino. “Our volunteer therapists do great work, but the number of patients in need greatly exceeds their available time. Plus, we didn’t have any psychiatry services available. Adding the telehealth option has made an incredible difference for our patients, but it’s also made a difference for our physicians. Having the resources to refer a patient to specialists leads to overall better care.”


Government and Politics

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Former CMS Administrator and avid tweeter Andy Slavitt will make an appearance at HIMSS17 as part of the “Fireside Chat with Former CMS Administrators” session on February 20.


Research and Innovation

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MIT researchers develop a mini battery that runs on stomach acids with an eye toward powering ingestible electronic pills designed to monitor bodily functions or treat disease by residing in the gastrointestinal tract for long periods of time. During testing on pigs, the scientists found that the battery produced enough energy to power a temperature sensor that could wirelessly transmit data every 12 seconds to a receiver six-and-a-half feet away.


Sponsor Updates

  • The South Florida Business Journal profiles Aprima Medical Software’s acquisition of Healthcare Data Solutions.

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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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Recent Comments

  • Mike Burke: Re: Wait times: Certainly wait times are decreasing due to options like urgent care and to a lesser extent, telemedicin...
  • Scott Olson: I'm with you in terms of selecting a different career path to avoid math. Only to find out a few years later marketing t...
  • Angela Hickman: Excellent article Randy!...
  • Chip Hart: Bravo! I just got off the phone with a different practice and I used KPP as an example of how to do things right - now ...
  • Robert D Lafsky M.D.: I commend NY MD for the above comment. Despite the stress imposed by obvious flaws of workflow design he took the time ...

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