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News 1/12/17

January 12, 2017 News 1 Comment

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Pensacola Beach, FL-based Green Circle Health will open a new facility in Indiana via a $1 million economic development investment that will help it add 125 jobs over the next five years. Launched in 2013, the healthcare management and wellness company will house its remote healthcare and coaching services at the initially 1,000 square-foot service center. The expansion news comes on the heels of its second-place finish in ONC’s Consumer Health Data Aggregator Challenge. The company developed an app that uses FHIR to import patient data into a family health dashboard that receives and serves up personal and medical device data, remote monitoring, and reminders. The full list of ONC winners, including those of the Provider User Experience Challenge, can be found here.


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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MyMedLeads updates its CRM software to include text and voice appointment reminders, patient recall campaigns, and improved targeting and segmentation.

Florida Radiology Leasing renews its RCM agreement with Zotec Partners.

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Modernizing Medicine releases the latest version of its EHR for ophthalmologists, which includes the ability to interface with the FlexSys optical inventory and point-of-sale system.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Walgreens stores will serve as FedEx drop-off and pick-up locations beginning this spring. The companies will expand roll-out of the service to nearly 8,000 stores by the fall of 2018. Walgreens no doubts hopes to garner a few extra purchases from customers stopping by to take care of shipping –  a move similar in nature to its decision to get into the retail clinic business. FedEx cites internal research that shows that “customers rank pharmacies as a preferred location for accessing their e-commerce shipments” (which is news to me) as impetus for its role in the agreement.

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This article hints at Nokia’s plans to enter the digital health space. The company, which quit making phones when it sold that part of its business to Microsoft in 2013, will base its digital health business on the Withing assets it acquired last year. Nokia/Withings will undergo an official rebranding at some later date, with the Nokia name taking top spot on Withings devices. “Digital health is one of the biggest IoT verticals that has emerged and is very consistent with Nokia’s vision and assets,” explains Nokia VP of Digital Health (and former Withings CEO) Cedric Hutchings. “[I]t’s about being able to scale with mass-market potential, the capacity to partner with large-scale strategic partnerships.”


People

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Shawn Crawford (Central Virginia Family Physicians & MD Resource) joins Privia Medical Group – Southwest Virginia as president.


Telemedicine

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TriageLogic launches a direct-to-employer telemedicine service that offers nurse-first consulting. The new Continuwell business, which will be led by CEO Charu Raheja, aims to cut down on the costs associated with initially consulting a physician during virtual encounters. If necessary, the service will connect patients to its licensed physicians, or pass them along to the employer’s preferred telemedicine vendor.

SnapMD adds administrative patient queue management tools to its telemedicine platform.


Government and Politics

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In case you were wondering: HHS releases a tip sheet (including advice on dressing for cold temperatures) for those looking to join in the inauguration festivities on January 20. The city will operate 20 medical stations along the parade route. Smithsonian buildings will offer warming stations to the hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend. Fun (but sad) inauguration day fact: President William Henry Harrison delivered the longest inaugural address. The nearly two-hour speech was delivered on a cold and rainy day, likely causing the pneumonia that killed him a month later.


Other

A tip of the hat to HIStalk Practice reader Chip Hart, who turned me on to EY Entrepreneur of the Year – Healthcare winner KidsPlusPediatrics. Pittsburgh-based physicians Todd Wolynn, MD and Albert Wolf, MD entered the contest a total of three times, truly making the third time the charm. They seem genuinely humble in describing their awards-show experience, which took them from a regional to national stage with the likes of Mailchimp and Fitbit. “We’re innovating in a very slow, conservative world of healthcare,” says Wolf. “I didn’t know if they would understand how different we are from other doctors.” I’m hoping to interview them soon about their healthcare technology experiences.


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 1/11/17

January 11, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Cal Index – the nonprofit medical data exchange founded by Anthem and Blue Shield of California in 2014 – will merge with the Inland Empire HIE. The newly combined organization (which will be renamed in the coming weeks) will facilitate access to the insurance claims and medical records of 1.67 million patients, making it one of California’s largest HIEs. Claudia Williams will lead the new organization beginning February 1 (making her the HIE’s fourth CEO). She comes with a strong background in technology, having served as senior advisor for health innovation and technology in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and as ONC’s director of HIE.


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.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Northwell Health (NY) launches practice management firm Formativ Health with backing from private-equity firm Pamplona Capital Management. The company, which will draw on Northwell’s management services expertise and partnership with Georgia-based RCM vendor NThrive (the former MedAssets-Precyse), looks to offer employed and independent physicians RCM, patient access, PM, and advisory services. Dennis Dowling (third from the right), who oversaw Northwell’s ambulatory services, will lead the new company.


Announcements and Implementations

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Orca Health updates its point-of-care patient education app, giving physicians the ability to digitally send care plans to patients for review.

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Healthcare analytics company Innovaccer develops an ACO comparison dashboard to help providers benchmark performance against CMS reporting measures, and compare beneficiaries and shared savings over a three-year period.

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MedEvolve adds financial, operational, and clinical analytics to its PM and RCM offerings.


People

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Intelligent Medical Objects promotes Eric Rose, MD to VP of terminology management.


Telemedicine

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TechCrunch profiles San Francisco-based Remedy, a telemedicine startup just out of beta that uses artificial intelligence to power its virtual consult platform. Led by former SpaceX engineer and Milwaukee Brewers analytics consultant William Jack, the company is hoping to differentiate itself from its competitors by offering continuous physician engagement after the initial visit and potentially opening brick-and-mortar clinics.

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WEDI publishes a brief introducing physicians to codes for telemedicine services. The challenges related to coding for telemedicine include the creation of codes for universal use that are still capable of capturing detailed telemedicine services, and a lack of consistency among payers when it comes to requirements, coverage, valuation, and payment.


Government and Politics

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CMS releases more details on the Medicare ACO Track 1 model, which has been designed to encourage small practices to move forward with performance-based risk. The track, which starts in 2018, incorporates more limited downside risk thank Tracks 2 and 3, and will meet the elements required to be an Advanced Alternative Payment Model.


Other

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Say it ain’t so, Hasbro: In an effort to refresh the classic game of Monopoly, the toy company is asking players to vote on new game tokens, including a hashtag, winky face and kissy emojis, and a thumbs-up. The winning tokens will be revealed in March and included in the new Token Madness edition. I guess the game gathering dust in my closet is fairly old since it contains the iron, which was replaced by a cat in 2013. I wonder what kind of tokens we could come up with for a health IT version. A Blue Button? Wearable?

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I love this idea: The Society for Participatory Medicine seeks donations for a travel fund it’s setting up for e-patients who want to attend, speak, and cover industry conferences. HIStalk offered several HIMSS scholarships to a handful of patients several years ago; their feedback on the sessions and exhibit hall was definitely refreshing.


Sponsor Updates

Blog Posts


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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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.”


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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

JennHIStalk

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.

image image

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.

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

JennHIStalk

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.


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