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News 1/25/17

January 25, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Nearly 120 healthcare stakeholders including health systems, trade associations, healthcare IT vendors, life sciences companies, and even trade unions submit a letter to President Trump and Vice President Pence emphasizing the need to move to value-based payment models that put patients at the center of their care. They offer up 10 principles – none of which overtly reference technology – to keep the momentum going in the industry’s glacial shift away from fee-for-service. Several of the letter’s authoring groups further addressed their concerns during a policy briefing in Washington, DC.


Webinars

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.

February 1 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Get your data ready for MACRA: Leveraging technology to achieve PHM goals.” Sponsored by Medicity. Presenters: Brian Ahier, director of standards and government affairs, Medicity; Eric Crawford, project manager, Medicity; Adam Bell, RN, senior clinical consultant, Medicity. Earning performance incentives under MACRA/MIPS requires a rich, complete data asset. Use the 2017 transition year to identify technology tools that can address gaps in care, transform data into actionable information, and support population health goals and prepare your organization for 2018 reporting requirements.


Announcements and Implementations

Compulink adds Weave’s patient scheduling and appointment reminder software to its PM technology for specialists.


People

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Community Health Center of Cape Cod (MA) promotes CIO Katy O’Connell to COO.

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Jim Kopczynski (Continental Energy Services) joins remote patient monitoring technology company Critical Signal Technologies as COO.

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Genome Medical hires Steven Bleyl, MD (Intermountain) as CMO, Erynn Gordon (23andMe) as chief clinical officer, and Audrey Fan (Geisinger) as senior genetic counselor, service delivery innovation. The San Francisco-based startup provides genetic counseling on predisposition testing and reproductive health via telemedicine in 40 states. It plans on rolling out services for adult and pediatric genetics later this year to all 50 states.

Hixny announces its 2017 Board of Directors. The Albany, NY-based RHIO connects data between over 720 healthcare organizations (including 2,364 physicians) and manages 2.6 million records in its Master Patient Index.


Telemedicine

Esis adds telemedicine to its NurseLine triage services for occupational health.

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The Scott Center for Autism Treatment at the Florida Institute of Technology launches a telemedicine initiative, including an interactive portal and resource-rich website, to bring therapy to patients in rural areas.


Government and Politics

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In other healthcare coalition news, 17 stakeholder groups band together to urge payers to reform prior authorization requirements. As a new AMA survey highlights, it now takes the average practice 16 hours to complete an average of 37 PAs for every physician on staff. The coalition is pushing for standardized reform around 21 principles that focus on clinical validity, continuity of care, transparency and fairness, and timely access and administrative efficiency, and alternatives and exemptions.


Other

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Local public radio looks at the nascent trend of “DIY Healthcare,” focusing on several Quest Diagnostics programs that allow patients to order lab tests without a physician’s orders. Bypassing the physician “middleman” may have negative repercussions, stresses AAFP President-elect and family physician Michael Munger, MD. “I always try to educate my patients that any time they go to receive any test, I want a chance to sit down and talk to them, look at the trends, put that into the overall scope of where that fits in for their health care and what those results really mean.” I hate to say it, but I think Munger’s emphasis on results in the context of a patient’s health history may soon be lost on consumers who are increasingly having to become savvy healthcare service shoppers. What’s to stop a patient (one who likely has a high deductible and co-pay) from self-ordering a test, then setting up a results review consult with a telemedicine provider – a consult that might even be “free” as part of whatever health benefits they have? On second thought, it seems like a business model lab testing companies might soon look into.


Sponsor Updates

Blog Posts


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News 1/24/17

January 24, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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HHS Secretary nominee Rep. Tom Price, MD (R-GA) faces his second confirmation hearing. Today’s four-hour grilling saw Price take questions from the Senate Finance Committee, with much of it focusing on his stock purchases, stance on Medicaid expansion, and any insight he may have regarding Trump’s repeal and replacement plan for the ACA. He remained mum on the President’s plans, only going so far as to say that he was committed to affordable and accessible healthcare. The  Finance Committee has the jurisdiction to vote on his nomination, after which the full Senate will vote on his confirmation. If confirmed (and media outlets report that is likely based on party-line votes), Price will become the first physician in 24 years to head the department.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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Be sure to check out the first installment of the HIStalk Practice Winners Circle, an interview series featuring physician practice professionals that have been recognized for their health IT-related expertise. If you know of someone who has received accolades for their way with health IT, let me know. I’d be happy to interview them.


Webinars

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.

February 1 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Get your data ready for MACRA: Leveraging technology to achieve PHM goals.” Sponsored by Medicity. Presenters: Brian Ahier, director of standards and government affairs, Medicity; Eric Crawford, project manager, Medicity; Adam Bell, RN, senior clinical consultant, Medicity. Earning performance incentives under MACRA/MIPS requires a rich, complete data asset. Use the 2017 transition year to identify technology tools that can address gaps in care, transform data into actionable information, and support population health goals and prepare your organization for 2018 reporting requirements.


Announcements and Implementations

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Direct messaging and addresses continue to achieve record levels, according to the latest stats from nonprofit overseer DirectTrust. Direct interoperability network participants sent 98 million messages in 2016 – 33.5 million of which were sent in the fourth quarter. Participation increased by 36 percent – from 52,000 in 2015 to 71,000 in 2016 – further proof in my mind that physicians will act on interoperability when given the chance.

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Ophthalmology and optometry software and services company Eye Care Leaders integrates OptimizeRx’s prescription savings service with its partner EHRs, including EyeDoc, Integrity EMR, IO Practiceware, ManagementPlus, MDoffice, and Medflow.

Physician service business Ion Solutions will offer Healthgrid’s patient engagement technology to its practice-based oncology customers. The tool will enable oncologists to stay connected with patients via mobile notifications/reminders, surveys, and educational resources – all aimed at improving medication adherence.


People

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Patrick O’Keefe (Anthem|Empire BlueCross Blue Shield) joins Zelis Healthcare as chief commercial officer.


Research and Innovation

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A MediKeeper study of 3 million employees with access to workplace wellness programs shows that corporate stress is on the decline. The study, conducted by the wellness portal developer between 2014 and 2016, found that the majority (36 percent) of respondents rated their stress level as a “2” on a scale of 1 to 5. Those who ticked “1” increased by nearly 60 percent over the three-year period. Those that reported the highest stress level – “5” – dropped by 39 percent. Though the study is a bit self-selecting, it does tangentially point to the impact access to programs via technologies like portals can have on employee health and wellness levels. It would be interesting to dig further into the data to find out just how much each employer’s bottom line benefitted from less-stressed staff.


Other

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Providers take aim at the efficacy and safety of wearable baby monitors in a new JAMA editorial, calling out direct-to-consumer devices from companies like Baby Vida, MonBaby, and Owlet as being untested and inappropriate for infant monitoring. “[T]here is a serious question whether these are appropriate in monitoring healthy infants,” says Christopher Bonafide, MD of Children’s Healthcare of Philadelphia. “A single abnormal reading may cause overdiagnosis—an accurate detection that does not benefit a patient.” His colleague, Elizabeth Foglia, MD adds that, “In the future, some physiological monitors may offer real benefits to vulnerable infants at home, but we have no evidence now that these devices are safe, accurate or effective.”


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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JennHIStalk

News 1/23/17

January 23, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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GetWellNetwork acquires patient intake technology company Seamless Medical Systems (and the 150 clinics it serves) for an undisclosed sum. It is GetWellNetwork’s third acquisition in nearly as many years, and seems to be its strongest in the outpatient market.


Webinars

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.

February 1 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Get your data ready for MACRA: Leveraging technology to achieve PHM goals.” Sponsored by Medicity. Presenters: Brian Ahier, director of standards and government affairs, Medicity; Eric Crawford, project manager, Medicity; Adam Bell, RN, senior clinical consultant, Medicity. Earning performance incentives under MACRA/MIPS requires a rich, complete data asset. Use the 2017 transition year to identify technology tools that can address gaps in care, transform data into actionable information, and support population health goals and prepare your organization for 2018 reporting requirements.


Announcements and Implementations

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Surgical Notes formally launches a set of RCM services for ambulatory surgery centers.

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Indianapolis-based OurHealth will implement EHR and PM technology from Athenahealth across the 40 employer-based clinics it manages in five states.

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New West Physicians (CO) selects Health Dialog’s shared decision-making tools for patients suffering from spinal stenosis, and knee and hip osteoarthritis.

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Northwest Vein & Aesthetic Center (WA) offers patients calming virtual reality experiences from Oncomfort to help alleviate stress and anxiety during vein procedures. The clinic notes that it’s hoping to increase patient satisfaction and improve outcomes with the add-on service. Anyone want to wager this will soon be offered during labor and delivery?

Digital health coaching company Welkin Health partners with health IT startup Common Sensing to create a diabetes management program aimed at improving insulin adherence. The program will provide a real-time look at blood glucose data via dosing data wirelessly transmitted from Common Sensing’s smart Gocap and supporting information from Welkin Health coaches.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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The Core Institute raises an undisclosed amount of equity financing from Frazier Healthcare Partners and Princeton Ventures. The company, which provides management, IT, and care coordination services for musculoskeletal medical practices, will use the investment to grow its payer partnerships. The Phoenix, AZ-based company recently established a Physician Hospital Organization with Banner Health (AZ).


Telemedicine

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An American Well survey of over 4,000 consumers confirms what I’ve heard anecdotally from friends and family members over the last six months – consumers are increasingly clamoring for virtual consults, and are looking at availability of such services when shopping around for physicians. Some interesting stats:

  • 66 percent are willing to see a physician via video
  • 69 percent believe diagnosis via video is more accurate than that given via phone or email.
  • 20 percent would be willing to switch to a PCP that offers video visits. That number climbs to 34 percent when taking only parents of the under-18 set into account.

Based on these stats, it seems that physician practices would want to consider adding virtual visits as a way of increasing patient satisfaction and loyalty, though that’s easier said than done in today’s world of legal red tape and reimbursement uncertainties.


Government and Politics

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Andy Slavitt, now a private-sector citizen, tells Politico that he will remain in Washington, DC (albeit on a part-time basis) to serve in bipartisan efforts to save as much of the ACA as possible.

Editor’s Note: The Trump administration is settling in and thus a number of personnel moves at HHS/CMS/ONC are in motion. Mr. H covered the more prominent transitions, plus President Trump’s executive order to initiate repeal and replacement of the ACA, in his most recent post. I try not to repeat news he’s already covered, given some of the overlap in our readerships.


Other

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HIStalk Practice readers know I’m a book lover, and now I’ve found the perfect vacation to accommodate my bookwormish ways. Gladstone’s Library in Wales offers tourists the chance to lodge in former Prime Minister William Gladstone’s residential library. For a bit less than $200 a night (en suite), tourists can immerse themselves in the library’s 250,000 books – 32,000 of which are part of Gladstone’s private collection. The building comes equipped with everything a voracious bibliophile needs – cozy armchairs and sofas, puzzles, newspapers, picturesque views, and roaring fires in the wintertime. If only they’d advertise on Groupon …


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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Population Health Management Weekly Wrap Up 1/22/17

January 22, 2017 News No Comments

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Franklin, TN-based Healthways, which sold off its self-described population health management Sharecare business summer, changes its name to Tivity Health in an effort to better align with its fitness and health improvement offerings targeted to seniors via payer and employer programs.

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Geisinger Health System (PA) launches Springboard Health, a community-focused program that looks like it will incorporate social determinants of health into efforts that it hopes will help improve the health and wellness of local populations. The program will launch in Scranton, PA to help its residents deal with high levels of diabetes and obesity, as well as behavioral health issues and economic challenges related to income and access to fresh foods. “We are going to introduce innovative programs and foster robust community collaborations, and back it all up with data to make sure Scranton is the healthiest place to be in the country,” says Geisinger President and CEO David Feinberg, MD. “Once we successfully implement Springboard Healthy Scranton, we’ll take the program on the road to communities with similar socioeconomic health challenges.”

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation partners with NYU’s School of Medicine’s Dept. of Population Health and Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service to develop the City Health Dashboard. The tool will offer city leaders and public health officials a visual snapshot of a local population’s health across five areas – outcomes, behaviors, clinical care, socioeconomic factors, and physical environment.

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Hill Physicians Medical Group (CA), the largest IPA in the northern part of the state, enlists the services of Evolent Health as it prepares to participate in the Next Generation ACO program. The group will initially tap into Evolent’s risk-adjustment services, network strategy development, and deploy its Identifi care coordination and population health management platform.

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Kern Health Systems selects ZeOmega’s Jiva 6.1 population health management technology to better manage care for its 240,000 members in California.

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The North Country Initiative rolls out population health management technology from Lightbeam Health Solutions to the 150 physician members of its healthcare partnership, which includes six hospitals and dozens of independent practices.

NTT Data Services adds Vitreos Health’s predictive analytics to its healthcare product line in an effort to bolster its population health management offerings.

MCG Health and Milliman MedInsight develop MedInsight Guideline Analytics to assist providers with benchmarking, provider profiling, care management reporting, and marketing.


Sponsor Updates

  • Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at the Allscripts 2017 South ARUG January 21-22 in Raleigh, NC.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk Practice updates.
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JennHIStalk

News 1/19/17

January 19, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Teladoc shares climb nearly 14 percent on the news that the company will price nearly 9.5 million shares at $16.75 apiece. Analysts anticipate that, if fully subscribed, the move will help the company bring in $159 million for further development. The company claimed $77 million in 2015 revenue, $123 million in 2016, and expects to bring in $185 million this year. It has raised close to $173 million since launching in 2002.


Webinars

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.

February 1 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Get your data ready for MACRA: Leveraging technology to achieve PHM goals.” Sponsored by Medicity. Presenters: Brian Ahier, director of standards and government affairs, Medicity; Eric Crawford, project manager, Medicity; Adam Bell, RN, senior clinical consultant, Medicity. Earning performance incentives under MACRA/MIPS requires a rich, complete data asset. Use the 2017 transition year to identify technology tools that can address gaps in care, transform data into actionable information, and support population health goals and prepare your organization for 2018 reporting requirements.


Telemedicine

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SnapMD announces another round of upgrades to its Virtual Care Management technology including configurable pricing and stand-alone documentation.


Announcements and Implementations

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Hill Physicians Medical Group (CA), the largest IPA in the northern part of the state, enlists the services of Evolent Health as it prepares to participate in the Next Generation ACO program. The group will initially tap into Evolent’s risk-adjustment services, network strategy development, and deploy its Identifi care coordination and population health management platform.

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EclinicalWorks integrates Qardio’s smart blood pressure monitor, and wireless scale and analyzer with its EHR and patient-facing Healow app, giving patients the ability to send physicians personal health data in between appointments. It seems like an interesting development, but I wonder how physicians plan to compensate themselves for keeping up with such a steady stream of information, and where they’ll find the time to analyze and react to the data.


Government and Politics

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On the eve of inauguration day, Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush points out three areas that President-elect Trump should focus on as he continues efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare: 

  • Let the cost and quality data of government-provided healthcare services flow so that consumers and physicians can make more informed decisions.
  • Encourage innovation by reducing regulatory overreach.
  • Get out of the business of designing healthcare technology. “[ONC] is a small agency causing tremendous ripple effects in healthcare by dictating the specific features, functionality, and design elements of electronic health records that clinicians are required to use,” Bush explains. “This is akin to a government agency telling Apple exactly what the next iPhone should look like.”

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STAT offers up an analysis of everyone’s favorite CMS tweeter, inadvertently presenting an interesting case study on the power of social media and the ways in which government officials can use it during times of extreme change. Slavitt, who has tweeted 3,200 times since December 6, stresses that his forthrightness shouldn’t be surprising given that, “The terms I agreed to were to speak my mind and do what I think is right. I’m not going to be right every time. If people want to criticize, I’m willing to take that.”


Research and Innovation

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A two-part, longitudinal study of 566 primary care groups with eight or fewer physicians finds that, not surprisingly, their extent of healthcare technology adoption depended on the size of the practice, ownership, and external financial incentives. While research showed increased adoption of EHRs, e-prescribing, and patient portals across the board, it also showed that hospital-owned practices were the highest adopters, followed by practices with three to eight physicians, and then those with one or two. Higher adoption was also tied to greater participation in public reporting of quality data and in pay-for-performance programs, and a larger chunk of revenue from Medicare. Only 20 percent of all the practices had adopted use of email or online medical records as a means of patient engagement.


Other

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UPMC Chief Innovation Officer Rasu Shrestha, MD shares the news that members of the Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association have agreed to standardize the images used on Japanese toilet control panels. (Yes, you read that correctly.) The move was made in an effort to accommodate Western tourists, who have had trouble understanding the controls, which operate features like warm air drying and the bidet.

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Epithelioid sarcoma patient Kirsti Loyall hasn’t let losing her right foot keep her from going places. She kept the amputated foot and has begun documenting their adventures via her “onefootwander” Instagram account, which she hopes will prove to her followers that there is life after cancer.


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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