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News 3/15/17

March 15, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD and CMS Administrator Seema Verma embark on their first joint endeavor, penning a letter to the nation’s governors emphasizing their commitment to working with states on improving Medicaid program and the lives of its beneficiaries. Key areas they have targeted for collaboration include improving federal and state program management, increasing employment and community engagement, aligning Medicaid and private insurance policies for non-disabled adults, providing reasonable timelines for home and community-based services transformation, and providing states with more tools to address the opioid epidemic – the only one of which would seem to overtly involve the use of health IT.


Webinars

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March 29 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Improving patient outcomes with smartphones: UW Medicine Valley Medical Center’s story.” Sponsored by Voalte. Presenters: James Jones, MBA, MSN, VP of patient care services and nursing operations, UW Medicine Valley Medical Center; Wayne Manuel, MBA, SVP of strategic services, UW Medicine Valley Medical Center. UW Medicine Valley Medical Center dramatically improved patient outcomes after moving to a smartphone-based platform for clinical communication and alarm and alert notification. Before-and-after analysis shows a reduction in hospital-acquired pressure ulcers and skin integrity events, fall and slip events, and medication errors. By limiting overhead paging, the medical center also created a calmer, quieter environment and improved engagement among nursing and hospitalists. Hospital executives will describe their experience and vision for the future in addressing quality, cost, and the patient-caregiver experience.

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


Announcements and Implementations

Scribe Healthcare Technologies adds Azalea Health’s PM software to its dictation and billing solutions.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Springtown, TX-based SurveyVitals acquires CMS-certified CAHPS survey administrator Novaetus for an undisclosed sum. The acquired Novi, MI-based company’s CAHPS certifications include PQRS, outpatient and ambulatory surgery, and PCMH, among others. Novaetus founder and President Lori Moshier will join SurveyVitals as CAHPS program director.


Telemedicine

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Charleston, SC-based Zeriscope develops a mobile telemedicine exam kit that includes live video and cloud-based data-streaming capabilities. Co-founder Robert Adams, MD helped to develop the Reach Medical University of South Carolina’s Telestroke Network in 2008, which has since grown to over 20 sites across the state.


Government and Politics

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President Trump nominates Eric Hargan, a shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s Health & FDA Business Dept., to serve as HHS deputy secretary. Hargan, who served on the president’s transition team, worked at HHS in various positions between 2003 and 2007.

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CMS and HRSA launch the Connected Care educational initiative to help providers better understand and implement chronic care management services for Medicare patients, particularly minorities and/or those living in rural areas.

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MGMA demands that CMS release 2017 MIPS eligibility information, especially notifications about the low-volume threshold exemption – of which nearly a third of eligible clinicians will likely take advantage – and a final list of approved qualified registries and qualified clinical data registries. “Transitioning to MIPS is a challenge involving upgrades to electronic health record software, reengineering clinical workflows to meet data capture and reporting requirements, contracting with data registries, and training clinical and administrative staff,” writes MGMA Government Affairs SVP Anders Gilberg. “Without basic information about eligibility, physicians and medical groups are significantly disadvantaged from positioning themselves for success in the program.” 


People

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Allied Physicians Group (NY) promotes Kerry Fierstein, MD to CEO.


Research and Innovation

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An analysis of data from 500 independent physicians shows that 58 percent don’t have a preferred hospital partner – a stat that points to the need for community providers of all types to realize that patients are no longer loyal to a particular hospital. Surveyed physicians cited quality of care, patient preference, and convenience as top referring factors. Just under 40 percent are more likely to refer to a hospital that provides authorizations to its community physicians. Nearly the same amount will refer to a different hospital if that facility offers self-scheduling tools.


Sponsor Updates

  • Gartner names AdvancedMD to its FrontRunners quadrant for EHRs.
  • The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel talks with GE Healthcare CEO of Clinical Care Solutions Anders Wold about the company’s plans to open a new facility in Wisconsin.
  • Aprima will exhibit at the AAPM Annual Meeting March 16-18 in Orlando.
  • The HIMSS EHR Association recognizes several companies, including GE Healthcare, for adopting its new EHR Developer Code of Conduct.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the 2017 VMGMA Spring Conference March 19-21 in Charlottesville, VA.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 3/14/17

March 14, 2017 News 1 Comment

Top News

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Seema Verma is sworn in as CMS administrator after a full Senate vote Monday night confirmed her along party lines. Her appointment comes at a fairly tumultuous time for healthcare. She takes over a $1 trillion agency tasked with overseeing health plans for 130 million people – the majority of which are in a state of semi-panic thanks to the Trump Administration’s decision to repeal and replace. Her boss, HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD will address the GOP’s much-opposed healthcare bill during  a CNN-hosted town hall tomorrow night.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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Today marks the 28th anniversary of Pi Day – a commemoration of the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. (It literally pained me to type that sentence. There’s a reason I went into journalism – primarily to avoid math.) The tradition, which was started by physicist Larry Shaw and his fellow San Francisco Exploratorium staffers, has without a doubt expanded into the popular zeitgeist. Even folks at the FCC – including Chairman Ajit Pai – seem to be having fun with it.

Fun facts: March 14 is also Albert Einstein’s birthday. Microsoft is offering Pi Day discounts of 31.4 percent on several laptops.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Announcements and Implementations

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The Fort Lauderdale, FL-based MediXall Group announces general availability of its new PWeR EHR and PM platform.

Coastal Imaging (NJ) selects RCM software and services from Healthcare Administrative Partners.

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Compulink develops an all-in-one EHR, RCM, and PM software solution for pain medicine providers.

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Entrada makes several improvements to its mobile EHR engagement app, including giving users the ability to view EHR data in real time, and quicker overall access to clinical content.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Primary care management services company Primaria Health launches a Medicare ACO in Central Indiana. A joint venture between VillageMD and Indianapolis-based health system Community Health Network, Primaria’s network includes 375 independent physicians who care for 130,000 patients across 38 counties in the region.


Research and Innovation

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A small Open Notes-like pilot study finds that patients and providers benefit when patients are given the ability to type their appointment goals into their EHR beforehand. Conducted at the Harborview Medical Center’s (WA) adult medicine safety-net clinic, study participants felt that the exercise improved communication between patients and providers, resulting in a more collaborative and efficient visit. (This sample patient agenda and follow-up commentary from the patient and provider is pretty compelling.) Speaking my with “patient” hat on, I’d enjoy the ability to add my goals for upcoming appointments via my practice’s patient portal, and have that agenda automatically transfer to a universal EHR/PHR managed by me and caregivers of my choosing.

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This is a bit dated, but in light of the current legislative environment I suppose it’s worth mentioning that researchers have found no evidence that ACA-induced insurance expansion resulted in a strain on primary care practices. Overall appointment rates from 2012 to 2014 were stable, with wait times of six to seven days for new patient appointments remaining largely unchanged. The authors cite healthcare IT, including EHRs and secure messaging, among their reasons as to why access remained level despite millions of newly insured consumers.


Other

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AMA, a vocal detractor of the AHCA, launches a new advocacy website to equip patients and providers with tools to voice their dissent with the proposed bill. The association’s formal objectives include:

  • Ensure that covered individuals do not become uninsured.
  • Maintain existing reforms such as coverage for pre-existing conditions and parental coverage for young adults.
  • Ensure that low- and moderate-income patients have access to affordable, adequate coverage.
  • Ensure funding for Medicaid and other safety-net programs.
  • Stabilize the individual health insurance market.

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Pi Day humor gets me every time.

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Anyone else find it funny that Pi Day is celebrated during National Nutrition Month?


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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JennHIStalk

News 3/13/17

March 13, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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IExhale raises $1.86 million seed funding round led by Dorilton Capital. The Beverly Hills, CA-based startup, which launched its messaging and phone-based therapy app for California residents last December, will likely use the investment to add video consult capabilities and expand into additional states.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Announcements and Implementations

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ClinicTracker upgrades its behavioral health EHR to be more compatible with new and emerging operating systems. Added features include compliance automation, enhanced reporting, and staff and patient portal enhancements. 

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Curatio develops a social support app for people suffering or recovering from a variety of ailments. Features include the ability to connect with people from similar backgrounds with the same condition, a physical and mental health symptom tracker, patient communities, and educational materials.

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Southwest Behavioral & Health Services (AZ) adopts EnSoftek’s DrCloudEMR at its 15 facilities in the metro Phoenix area.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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CaptureRx will relocate to larger headquarters in downtown San Antonio early next year thanks to a variety of tax breaks and waivers. The 17 year-old company and its 114 employees have developed technology that helps safety net providers manage inventory and financial transactions for 340B prescriptions. It has pledged to invest in further development of the historic Kress building, and will create an additional 200 full-time jobs within six years. 


Research and Innovation

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Just over half of 1,300 surveyed physicians report using multiple methods to remind patients of appointments, according to a new MGMA poll. I’d like to dig a little deeper and determine what combination improved no-show rates the most. Providers, feel free to share your experience with technology and appointment reminders in the comments below.


Other

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The local business paper covers the opening of a second One Medical practice in Boston, highlighting the ways in which its homegrown technology and membership-based business processes are helping to prevent physician burnout: “The balance of the virtual care means less burn out for us,” says Julie Sugarbaker, a OneMedical nurse practitioner who came from the world of private practice. “I don’t even know what percentage of e-mails or phone calls I don’t deal with during the day, because they’re handled by the virtual team.” She adds with a laugh that patients thank her for “fitting them into her schedule. They don’t know the back end that goes into reserving a percentage of same-day appointments and our process.”

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ProPublica launches aggregates data from several healthcare projects at a new website. Consumers can look at specific providers based on payments received from pharma companies, number of prescriptions written by drug type, their Medicare fees for visits and treatments, and complication rates for surgeons who perform common elective procedures covered by Medicare. The nonprofit will launch a corresponding API later this year to give software developers the ability to integrate the data with their own applications.


Sponsor Updates

  • Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at the Cerner UK Collaboration Forum March 13-16 in London.
  • NVoq will exhibit at the AAOS Annual Meeting of Orthopedic Surgeons March 14-18 in San Diego.
  • PerfectServe will exhibit at the Renal Physicians Association Annual Meeting March 17-18 in Nashville.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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

JennHIStalk

News 3/9/17

March 9, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Senate Republicans break through the Democratic attempt to stall final voting on Seema Verma’s nomination to head up CMS by passing a cloture vote – a move HIStalk Practice readers may recall from the will-they-or-won’t-they voting process for HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD. It looks like the final confirmation vote will happen within the next several days. As with Price, Verma’s eventual confirmation is expected along party lines.


Webinars

None scheduled in the coming weeks. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Global skincare company LEO Pharma’s Innovation Lab invests $5.5 million in five startups, two of which are based in the US. San Francisco-based Pacific has developed an app to help consumers manage stress, anxiety, and depression; and a corresponding dashboard tool for providers. Remedly, also based in San Francisco, has developed an EHR and PM system for dermatologists. 


Announcements and Implementations

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Austin-based startup WeInfuse develops cloud-based infusion center management software that includes patient scheduling, insurance pre-authorization, and medication inventory and delivery capabilities.

Casamba adds MedBridge’s patient engagement technology, including home therapy programs, to its TherapySource EHR and PM solution for post-acute therapy providers.


People

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CareCloud brings on Greg Shorten (Validic) as chief revenue officer.

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Meghan Hendricks (SSM Health) joins prescription drug pricing software company Doc and I as CIO.

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Mordechai Raskas, MD (Children’s National Medical Center) joins specialized pediatric urgent care provider PM Pediatrics as director of telemedicine and clinical informatics.


Telemedicine

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Akos launches its virtual consult business for consumers and employers in Arizona, with plans to expand to 10 more locations within the next few months. The company, formed last year by InstaMed Health Center Chairman Kishlay Anand, MD and neurologist Swaraj Singh, MD has raised $1 million in seed funding thus far. Its preferred brick-and-mortar provider network for patients that need in-person care seems to be the only thing setting it apart from the many other telemedicine companies popping up with increasing frequency.

Greenway Health software reseller and consulting company MDS Medical will add Otto Health’s telemedicine platform to its service line.


Government and Politics

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Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush makes the media rounds this week to weigh in on the release of the GOP’s American Health Care Act, which he admits offers a “glimmer of hope” when it comes to prompting consumers to shop around for their care. He believes three things need to happen to make healthcare “shoppable:”

1. Arm patients and providers with cost/quality information to make better decisions, and reward them financially for doing so.

2. Connect our various care settings so when people do go in and out of certain settings, their health information will follow them.

3. Put all of health care on a national network. The industry can build all the software it wants, but without the connected tissue of a network innovation and knowledge-sharing can only happen in silos. One of many missed opportunities in healthcare that could be resolved with a national network is around scheduling; today only 16% of providers have at least some of their appointments available for web scheduling. A two-sided national network would allow patients to book appointments more conveniently, as well as for providers to fill appointments more conveniently. On the clinical side, with a national network doctors could share and access like-clinical scenarios and outcomes in real-time vs. once a year at an annual conference.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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

JennHIStalk

News 3/8/17

March 8, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Scottsdale, AZ-based telemedicine hardware, software, and medical device company GlobalMed acquires Miami-based TreatMD, a telemedicine company with global providers that also offers billing, EHR, remote monitoring, and wearable integration, plus white-labeling capabilities. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. TreatMD was launched by Lennick Holdings Managing Partner Bryan Lenett last August.


Webinars

March 9 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “PAMA: The 2017 MPFS Final Rule.” Sponsored by National Decision Support Company. Presenter: Erin Lane, senior analyst, The Advisory Board Company. The Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 instructed CMS to require physicians to consult with a qualified clinical decision support (CDS) mechanism that relies on established appropriate use criteria (AUC) when ordering certain imaging exams. Providers must report AUC interactions beginning January 1, 2018 to receive payment for Medicare Advanced Imaging studies, with the CDS recording a unique number. Outliers will be measured against a set of Priority Clinical Areas and interaction with the AUC. This webinar will review the requirements for Medicare Advanced Imaging compliance and will review how to ensure that CDS tools submit the information needed for reimbursement.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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Parasail Health offers an open API to help developers integrate its patient financing app, which includes tools to help patients comparison shop for loans, into their respective website or payment portal.

Modernizing Medicine will add e-commerce capabilities to its EHR through a partnership with skincare company Galderma Laboratories, giving dermatologists and their patients the ability to more easily order OTC products in tandem with prescription drugs.

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Alternative Family Services will replace six IT systems in use at its eight facilities in California with the Cx360 EHR from Core Solutions.

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Medical Oncology Hematology Consultants (DE) joins The US Oncology Network, a McKesson Specialty Health-supported company that provides PM tech and services to independent oncologists across the country.

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Mental health and substance abuse outpatient provider A Helping Hand of Wilmington (NC) adopts Mediware’s AlphaFlex EHR.


People

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Navicure hires Kermit Randa (PeopleAdmin) as its first chief growth officer.

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Todd Unger (Daily Racing Form) joins AMA as chief experience officer and SVP of physician engagement.


Government and Politics

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The Delmarva Foundation joins 11 other CMS-funded organizations in helping small practices participate in MACRA’s Quality Payment Program. The foundation will specifically provide technical assistance to 5,500 MIPS-eligible practices with 15 physicians or less in Maryland and Washington, DC.


Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks releases a new podcast, “Tips from a Superuser – How to Improve Functionality.”

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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