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News 8/31/17

August 31, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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ESPN college football analyst and former NFL player Ed Cunningham quits his six-figure job in light of the game’s impact on the health of players. “In its current state,” he told the New York Times, “there are some real dangers: broken limbs, wear and tear. But the real crux of this is that I just don’t think the game is safe for the brain. To me, it’s unacceptable.” Cunningham’s decision, which he admits was a long time coming, was surely spurred on by a recent study that found a debilitating brain disease caused by hits to the head to be in 110 of 111 former NFL players. Three of his friends – all former players – committed suicide and were posthumously found to have the disease. “This is as personal as it gets,” he added.


Webinars

September 13 (Wednesday) 1:30 ET. “How Data Democratization Drives Enterprise-wide Clinical Process Improvement.” Sponsored by: LogicStream Health. Presenter: Katy Jones, program director of clinical support, Providence Health & Services. Providence is demonstrating positive measurable results in quality, outcomes, and efficiency by implementing clinical process improvement solutions in arming operational and clinical stakeholders with unlocked EHR data. Providence’s army of process engineers use their self-service access to answer questions immediately instead of waiting for reports to be written and double checked for possibly inaccurate information. The presenter will describe practical applications that include antibiotic stewardship, hospital-acquired infections, and comprehensive knowledge management.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Middleton, WI-based ImageMoverMD raises $1.2 million, bringing its total funding raised to $2.7 million since opening for business in 2013. The company has developed an app that lets physicians and patients send images and videos from their smartphones to EHRs. ImageMoverMD co-founder and President Gary Wendt, MD is also enterprise director of medical imaging at UW Health (WI).


Telemedicine

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EpicMD offers those affected by Hurricane Harvey free virtual consultants as part of its Share the Care program. Launched over a year ago, the program offers free consults to those in need for every annual membership purchased.

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The nonprofit Medical Alumni Volunteer Expert Network Project will use $40,000 in grants to connect community health centers in south Florida with telemedicine services. The organization will partner with its team of physician volunteers, the United Way and the University of Miami – both grant funders – and the Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics to launch the Miami-Dade Telehealth Program.


Government and Politics

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The Texas Health and Human Services Commission announces that physicians affiliated with an out-of-state hospital can help out with Harvey-related healthcare efforts without a Texas license until the federal disaster declaration is lifted or expires. Non-hospital affiliated physicians may apply for fast-track licensing. 


Research and Innovation

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A ProPublica analysis of Medicare data finds that people in Hawaii tend to be much less likely than us mainlanders to overuse opioids and antibiotics. The findings coincide with an update to ProPublica’s Prescriber Checkup tool, which lets users look at the prescribing patterns of physicians who accept Medicare. While Hawaii does have lower rates of obesity, uninsured patients, and preventable hospitalizations, it still struggles with its own methamphetamine epidemic and high rates of homelessness. “I wish I could say that I thought it was because we had this magic formula for educating our doctors or educating our public,” says family physician Scott Miscovich, MD. “It really isn’t the case …. If you roll the statistics back, it’s not all rosy.”


Other

Bloomberg takes a brief look at the ways in which EHRs will likely help Houston-area physicians get back to business as usual once the flood waters recede. J. Stefan Walker, MD of Corpus Christi Medical Associates is confident his cloud-based EHR will help the practice resume normal operations once power is restored. “Even in the unfortunate case of a total loss of our physical facility, which thankfully didn’t happen, we could plug in to any location with remote backup and resume normal operations fairly quickly,” he explains.

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Google and Facebook successfully complete their Harvey-related multi-million dollar-matching charity campaigns, and continue to urge users to donate to organizations like the Red Cross.

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Closer to home, Twitter’s #hcldr community is asking healthcare folks to collectively donate $5,000 to various charities.

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The AAFP and 16 other healthcare industry groups call on the film industry to give movies featuring smoking an “R” rating. The demand stems from a CDC report published earlier this summer that cites a spike in PG-13 movies that depict smoking, and predictions that exposure to such behavior will lead to over 6 million children picking up the habit and 2 million dying from tobacco-induced ailments.


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News 8/30/17

August 30, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Rescue and relief efforts continue in and around Houston, with parts of Louisiana already feeling the brunt of Harvey’s somewhat dwindling levels of rainfall.  Out-of-state organizations are encouraging citizens gung-ho to help to make financial contributions rather than attempt to help out on site. The New Mexico branch of the federal government’s Disaster Medical Assistance teams, for example, has sent six of its 70 members – including one physician, three EMTs, one safety officer, and one emergency logistics coordinator – to Houston to assist local physicians and set up field hospitals.

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Overwhelmed facilities like the George R. Brown Convention Center (above, top) have prompted local business owners like Jim McIngvale to turn their stores into much-needed shelters. He opened his two furniture stores – both equipped with restaurants – to 400 evacuees.

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Meanwhile, MDLive, Teladoc, and Doctor on Demand have announced free medical consultations to residents of Texas and Louisiana who have been evacuated or otherwise affected by the storm.


Webinars

September 13 (Wednesday) 1:30 ET. “How Data Democratization Drives Enterprise-wide Clinical Process Improvement.” Sponsored by: LogicStream Health. Presenter: Katy Jones, program director of clinical support, Providence Health & Services. Providence is demonstrating positive measurable results in quality, outcomes, and efficiency by implementing clinical process improvement solutions in arming operational and clinical stakeholders with unlocked EHR data. Providence’s army of process engineers use their self-service access to answer questions immediately instead of waiting for reports to be written and double checked for possibly inaccurate information. The presenter will describe practical applications that include antibiotic stewardship, hospital-acquired infections, and comprehensive knowledge management.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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PeakMed Direct Primary Care raises $5.5 million in a funding round led by ASI Capital. The Englewood, CO-based company will use the investment to open new LifeCenter facilities in Denver and Colorado Springs, invest in telemedicine services, hire staff, and purchase vehicles for house calls. CMO Mark Tomasulo, DO founded the company three years ago after working for PeakMed Primary Care and serving as an MD with the US Army.


Announcements and Implementations

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Drchrono will offer Inferscience’s clinical decision support tool as part of its EHR, PM, and RCM software platform.

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My Health My Resources (TX) will implement Netsmart’s EHR across its network of facilities in 24 counties that provide mental health, child and family, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services.

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FQHC Penobscot Community Health Care (ME) receives grant funding from Cardinal Health Foundation’s Generation Rx Best Practices in Pain Management program, which it will use to develop plans that will reduce opioid prescriptions, increase patient engagement, and improve outcomes. PCHC PCPs will attend a virtual collaborative session led by Geisinger pharmacists focused on safe prescribing practices and alternative treatment options.


Government and Politics

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The Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse meets for the first time to gain a better understanding of the state’s efforts to reduce deaths from opioid overdoses and other forms of misuse. Don Vogt, manager of Oklahoma’s PDMP, pointed out that more funding is needed if the real-time database is to be kept running smoothly. Additional funding could enable staff to enhance data verification efforts and track the ways in which drugs get into the hands of abusers. He also highlighted the need for more physicians to check it – less than 100 of the state’s 17,000 MDs use it.

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ONC revamps its Health IT Complaints Form, rebranding it and offering users expanded feedback categories.


Other

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Local public radio shines a spotlight on the million-plus health records of Georgia patients accessed by hackers in 2016. While Peachtree Neurological Clinic is held up as one of the state’s most recent breaches, I find the accompanying graphic above more compelling. HHS data shows that 40.5 million health records have been breached over the last 12 years.

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Developers create an app that uses AI to translate facial expressions into emojis, which users can then share in reaction to posts within the app. The team behind the Polygram app thinks the technology may also be useful in telemedicine, allowing physicians to gauge patient reactions. I think it would make more sense in mental health tracking apps targeted towards younger users.


Sponsor Updates

  • Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at Greenway Engage17 September 7-10 in Orlando.
  • Healthwise will exhibit at the 2017 HCEA Conference September 6-8 in Salt Lake City.

Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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Become a sponsor.

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News 8/29/17

August 29, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD touch down in Houston to tour disaster-relief areas and meet with local officials to plan for further federal assistance for victims of Hurricane Harvey and its resultant record-breaking rainfall of 48 inches so far.

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Those same local officials are already utilizing data collected on Medicare beneficiaries that rely on electricity- or battery-powered medical devices to identify patients in need of assistance or evacuation in the wake of the storm. The CMS EmPOWER program breaks the data down by zip code, and is capable of offering up specific details to aid in more specialized assistance. Officials are particularly worried about dialysis patients, as well as those using wheelchairs, ventilators, and cardiac devices.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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After receiving multiple flyers and “I’m sorry I missed you” cards stuck in my front door, I finally set aside time this morning to participate in the US Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey. The survey took nearly an hour to complete over the phone, making me wonder why they haven’t found a way to put it online. It seems fairly labor intensive for the bureau employee who has to walk the neighborhoods and conduct the interviews, not to mention the supervisors who call residents back if they believe quality control is lacking. The last section of the survey – on household emergency preparedness – hit home given the events going on right now in Texas and Louisiana (not to mention Dr. Jayne’s latest Curbside Consult).

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In addition to the supplies suggested by the CDC and Red Cross, households should put together an evacuation plan and a communications plan that outlines how folks can stay in touch with one another if cell service goes down. You can find more tips on preparing for an emergency at Ready.gov.


Webinars

September 13 (Wednesday) 1:30 ET. “How Data Democratization Drives Enterprise-wide Clinical Process Improvement.” Sponsored by: LogicStream Health. Presenter: Katy Jones, program director of clinical support, Providence Health & Services. Providence is demonstrating positive measurable results in quality, outcomes, and efficiency by implementing clinical process improvement solutions in arming operational and clinical stakeholders with unlocked EHR data. Providence’s army of process engineers use their self-service access to answer questions immediately instead of waiting for reports to be written and double checked for possibly inaccurate information. The presenter will describe practical applications that include antibiotic stewardship, hospital-acquired infections, and comprehensive knowledge management.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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Heywood Healthcare’s medical group selects opioid addiction recovery support software from Q2i in hopes of reducing overdoses, relapses, ER visits, and admissions.

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Community Oncology Alliance will offer patient survey tools from Bivarus to help its member practices meet MIPS and Oncology Medical Home reporting requirements.

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Marathon Health adds behavioral health services to its traditionally primary care-focused onsite employee health centers.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Online physician search and appointment scheduling software company ZocDoc is the only healthcare IT company to make Glassdoor’s list of companies that offer 100-percent coverage of healthcare premiums for their employees. Other recognizable names include Twitter, GoDaddy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Glassdoor. “We believe that access to healthcare is the one big problem we are trying to solve in America,” says CEO Oliver Kharraz, “and we really should do our part.”

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Corporate ride-sharing company FlitWays Technology branches into healthcare with the launch of a non-emergency medical transportation service in 50 US cities. Providers can use the FlitWays app to book rides and track patient pick up, route, and drop off.


People

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Digital patient education company Outcome Health hires Nandini Ramani (Twitter) as chief engineering officer. The Chicago-based business made headlines earlier this summer when it raised $500 million in a Series A round that put its valuation at $5 billion.


Telemedicine

Allscripts adds Vidyo telemedicine capabilities to its FollowMyHealth patient portal.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo signs telemedicine-friendly reimbursement legislation for adult care facilities in New York. Bill sponsor and State Assemblywoman Addie Jenne is confident accessible virtual consults will help prevent arduous trips to doctor’s offices, as well as visits to the ER. The law is well timed, given new RAND Center research that predicts over half of all US adults will spend time in nursing homes at some point in their lives – potentially for long stays with costs upwards of $50,000. Public and private payers will surely be looking for ways in which telemedicine can help curb costs as the predicted silver tsunami comes to fruition.


Government and Politics 

The local news looks at the flip side of the war on opioids, highlighting one woman’s struggle to get her prescription filled in South Carolina, which has mandated physician use of the state’s SCRIPT PDMP. While the law has cut down on doctor shopping, many feel it is an invasion of patient privacy. Wendy Montgomery, who takes opioids for her rheumatoid arthritis, certainly seems to feel over scrutinized at her local pharmacy. “It’s been embarrassing to even go get it filled now,” she says. “They look at you like you’re a drug addict.”


Research and Innovation

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University of Washington researchers develop an app that can potentially detect the onset of pancreatic cancer. The BiliScreen app analyzes a person’s selfie to look for jaundice before its visible by the naked eye. The app builds off the university’s work on a similar tool for newborns. An initial study with 70 patients found that BiliScreen correctly identified cases of concern nearly 90 percent of the time when compared to traditional blood tests.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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

Jenn_125

News 8/28/17

August 28, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Category 4 Hurricane Harvey is downgraded to a tropical storm, causing record-breaking flooding in Houston and surrounding areas. Torrential rainfall, which has also begun to impact Louisiana, is expected to last for several more days. Weather experts predict Harvey will be one of the worst flood disasters in US history. HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD has declared a public health emergency, freeing up resources to deploy over 400 doctors, nurses, and medical staff to set up six medical assistance teams in Dallas and two 250-bed medical stations in Baton Rouge.

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Five deaths and at least two dozen injuries have been reported so far. As news reports attest, recovering from the storm will likely take months, particularly for those living in poorer and/or rural areas. Nonprofit Direct Relief has put together a collection of maps that show the impact Harvey will have on areas with high concentrations of immigrants, the elderly or disabled, and those living in poverty.

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While citizen volunteers have helped to provide enough rescue boats in Harris County, relief-related needs remain great. Check out CharityNavigator’s list of vetted organizations providing assistance to contribute.


Webinars

September 13 (Wednesday) 1:30 ET. “How Data Democratization Drives Enterprise-wide Clinical Process Improvement.” Sponsored by: LogicStream Health. Presenter: Katy Jones, program director of clinical support, Providence Health & Services. Providence is demonstrating positive measurable results in quality, outcomes, and efficiency by implementing clinical process improvement solutions in arming operational and clinical stakeholders with unlocked EHR data. Providence’s army of process engineers use their self-service access to answer questions immediately instead of waiting for reports to be written and double checked for possibly inaccurate information. The presenter will describe practical applications that include antibiotic stewardship, hospital-acquired infections, and comprehensive knowledge management.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Amazon sets its EHR dreams aside for a moment to celebrate its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods, instituting lower prices across brick-and-mortar stores with a promise to eventually offer Prime members discounts at check out. Fun fact: Researchers at Zillow have found that homes near specialty food stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes cost more and appreciate faster than those (like mine) that suffer from a lack of proximity.

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College dropouts Tanay Tandon and Deepika Bodapati raise $3.7 million to fund development of a portable blood analyzer named for a healing plant in one of my all-time favorite books, The Lord of the Rings. The co-founders attest that the Athelas device can perform a blood-cell count test from the comfort of a patient’s home. They also stress that they’re taking advantage of all the lessons learned from Theranos, submitting data to the FDA in hopes of receiving clearance this year to begin marketing the device to oncologists.


People

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Robert Harrington, MD (Reliant Post-Acute Care Solutions) joins SurveyVitals as president and CMO.

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Galen Danielson (RehabAuthority) and Craig Rettke (not pictured) join Physical Rehabilitation Network, a Carlsbad, CA-based operator of over 100 physical therapy facilities, as regional VPs of operations.


Telemedicine

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Pasadena, CA-based Indica MD launches medical marijuana telemedicine services in California and New York via website and eVisit app. Indica, for those like me who didn’t know, is one of three types of marijuana.

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Edwards Air Force Base in California begins offering virtual consults via Doctor on Call Telehealth on designated family days.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan will offer its federal employee beneficiaries access to Teladoc’s services in 2018.


Government and Politics

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In its push to combat the opioid epidemic, HHS announces plans to create a Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force to assess, establish, and seek feedback on pain management best practices. Committee nominations are due September 27.

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Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announces that the state will make controlled substance prescription information available through EHRs and pharmacy management systems via Appriss Health’s PMP Gateway tool. Jerome Adams, MD confirmed earlier this month as US Surgeon General, was honored at the same meeting for his three years as state health commissioner. Adams made it clear in confirmation proceedings that combatting the opioid epidemic will be one of his top priorities.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office in Florida becomes the first such organization in Florida to use heroin overdose-tracking software. Developed by the Office of National Drug Control Policy High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, the software also creates a real-time map of overdoses, giving the sheriff’s office insight into trends and planning needs.


Other

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McLaren Medical Group (MI), part of the McLaren Healthcare system, notifies patients of a March data breach at its Mid-Michigan Physicians practice. The information of seven patients was accessed without proper authorization.


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicity publishes a new white paper, “Interoperability 2.0: Solving Health Care’s Data Aggregation Problem.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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

Jenn_125

Population Health Management Weekly Wrap Up 8/27/17

August 27, 2017 News No Comments

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Adirondack Health Institute (NY) names John Morley, MD (Jacobi Medical Center) chief physician executive of population health.

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The local news covers UnitedHealthcare’s MyConnections program in Phoenix, AZ, which – in true population health management fashion – looks to connect people in need with resources like housing, food, and transportation. Amanda Desmet, for example, was homeless for over 10 years until a MyConnections case manager enrolled her in the program through a local homeless shelter. She is now living in an apartment and pursuing a college degree. The payer, which has launched the pilot in several other cities, hopes to expand the program in Arizona in the near future.

In order to bolster its analytics capabilities and data security, Map Health Management incorporates Wolters Kluwer Health’s terminology and data mapping solution into its behavioral health population management software.

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Cambridge, MA-based MIT’s student and faculty ambulatory care center chooses Cerner’s Millennium EHR and HealtheIntent population health management software.

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VitreosHealth develops a predictive analytics-fueled digital communications tool for case managers, giving them the ability to reach large swaths of their patient populations with targeted messaging.

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The DoD prepares for the next phase of its Building Military Communities pilot program, which aims to connect service members – particularly those living on remote installations – with local resources to ensure their health and wellness. Launched last year in seven states, the pilot is moving from a staffing and resource research and discovery phase to actively communicating about resources to service members and their families. US Public Health Service Capt. Kimberly Elenberg, who is involved with the pilot, will next look at using mobile health technology to aid in that communication.

ZeOmega’s Jiva population health management platform earns NCQA certification.


Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the NACHC Community Health Institute & Expo August 27-29 in San Diego.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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

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