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News 8/29/18

August 29, 2018 News No Comments

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White House efforts to curtail opioid prescriptions as opioid-related deaths continue to increase have left some physicians opting out of prescribing them all together – a development that has left many chronic pain patients in dire straits, according to a Politico survey. Physicians responding to the survey report feeling pressured to reduce such prescriptions in light of consequences that could include losing their licenses or going to jail for poor prescription decisions. Their fears aren’t groundless, given that the DoJ has charged 200 physicians for opioid-related crimes since January 2017. Urgent care clinic physician Sue Lewis, MD now adamantly refuses to prescribe opioids for fear of losing her license: “I will no longer treat chronic pain. Period,” she says. “There is too much risk involved.”

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FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD released a statement earlier today outlining the agency’s numerous efforts to tamp down opioid prescriptions, including developing evidence-based prescribing guidelines and hosting an innovation challenge to encourage the development of apps and medical devices that could potentially be used as alternatives to opioids. The impact of that remains to be seen.

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Gottlieb admitted that, “I’ve learned some hard lessons. And one sticks with me above others. It’s this. The reason that we find ourselves with a crisis of such proportion is that as a medical profession, we’ve been one step behind its sinister advance. Collectively, we didn’t take all the steps we could, when we could, to stop the advance of this crisis. We shunned hard decisions. As a profession, providers were too liberal in our use of these drugs well past the point where there were signs of trouble, and the beginning of a crisis of addiction. [T]oday, I outlined just some of the overall steps we’re taking to address the crisis of addiction to opioids. We have many other actions underway. This is an all-of-the-above approach. Everything is on the table.”


Webinars

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Announcements and Implementations

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Compulink adds several AI-powered features to its specialty-focused EHR and practice management software, including automated billing, greater transparency into patient flow, and automated patient messaging.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology’s CancerLinq subsidiary will work with EHR vendor Integra Connect to help oncology practices access the CancerLinq data-sharing platform. They’ll also co-develop analytics and dashboards. Integra Connect’s EHR is the first to be certified under CancerLinq’s new certification program.

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Radiology Associates of Macon (GA) signs a multi-year RCM services renewal agreement with Zotec Partners.

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To help physicians better monitor patient satisfaction scores, Focus on Therapeutic Outcomes adds a Net Promoter Score Dashboard to its Outcomes Management System. The new patient retention tool can alert physicians in real time when patients leave negative reviews.


Government and Politics

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US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD recounts his love for bow ties on National Bow Tie Day. I wonder if @FarzadsBowtie is celebrating?


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News 8/27/18

August 27, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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Results from Rock Health’s third annual survey on consumer adoption of digital health reveal that:

  • Adoption of digital health tools has increased from 80 to 87 percent over the last two years.
  • The biggest increase has been in live video telemedicine.
  • Telemedicine patients reported higher satisfaction with their virtual visits if they had previously seen the provider in person.
  • Despite a plethora of devices (and hype) on the market, interest in mobile tracking devices was minimal. The majority of 4,000 respondents use wearables to track exercise levels.
  • The number of respondents who have sought online reviews for providers jumped 50 percent, with 39 percent of those respondents seeking physician reviews.
  • Seniors with chronic illnesses represent the biggest digital health opportunity and challenge: They have a higher demand for healthcare services but are least likely to give digital health tools a try.

Webinars

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


Announcements and Implementations

NextGen reseller TSI Healthcare begins offering Record Locator & Exchange functionality from Surescripts, enabling practices to tap into a health data-sharing network of EHR vendors and record-locator services via the Carequality Interoperability Framework.


People

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Nashville-based patient financial engagement company CarePayment hires Marines Corp veteran Wes Pass (Bank of America Merrill Lynch) as chief strategy officer.

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Scott Kolesar (EY) joins EHR and practice management vendor SimplifyASC’s Board of Directors.

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Text-based telemedicine company Rhinogram names Kathy Ford (TeleTracking) president and Shannon Hastings (TeleTracking) CTO.


Government and Politics

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I’m not sure if the HHS Office of the Inspector General’s “Most Wanted Fugitives” page is new, but it’s certainly attention-getting. Over 170 fugitives are wanted for healthcare fraud. You can report a fugitive here.


Telemedicine

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Fatima Khan, MD will offer telemedicine services from TeleClinicUSA when she opens her new solo practice, Unity Medical Clinic (KS), in October.


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News 8/22/18

August 22, 2018 News No Comments

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The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute allocates $13.3 million to a West Virginia study that will compare the treatments of primary care physicians at 56 FQHCs in rural areas who care for patients with mental health disorders. Treatment strategies will include medication, medication plus cognitive behavioral therapy delivered via virtual consult, and medication plus virtual CBT and help from online coaches. The investment is part of $85 million PCORI has set aside for 16 new treatment studies that will focus on “high-burden” conditions. The project summary notes that health IT resources include a data warehouse that integrates EHRs across the FQHCs.


Webinars

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


Announcements and Implementations

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AdvancedMD announces GA of its EPayments patient-managed electronic payments solution.

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Hackensack Radiology Group (NJ) implements alerts, patient portal and check-in kiosk technology from Royal Solutions Group.

Central Georgia Health Network joins the Georgia Regional Academic Community Health Information Exchange to enhance the data-sharing capabilities of independent physicians within its network.


People

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Amos Slaymaker (Bivarus) joins EHR vendor Patagonia Health as VP of sales.


Government and Politics

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HHS CIO Beth Killoran steps down to join the Office of the Surgeon General to lead development of an IS program for the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. CTO Ed Simcox has been named acting CIO.


Telemedicine

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TeleHealth Solutions will implement VisuWell’s telemedicine platform at provider groups of all sizes. VisuWell rebranded from WeCounsel earlier this year – a move that coincided with an initial funding round led by Longmeadow Capital and Point Judith Capital.

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Gateway Medical Associates (PA) sees the compliance rate of diabetic retinal patient exams jump 50 percent after implementing the IRIS diabetic retinopathy telemedicine solution from Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems. IRIS CEO Chris Belmont was formerly SVP and CIO of MD Anderson Cancer Center (TX) and Ochsner Health System (LA).


Other

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In Nevada, Trimcare Clinic owner Ivan Goldsmith, MD comes under fire from the state pharmacy board for inappropriately accessing the medical records of Las Vegas mass shooter Stephen Paddock. The weight-loss doctor, who was not treating Paddock, told his staff to use his PDMP account to look at Paddock’s prescription history several times over several days – information that he then shared with a local news outlet, which published a detailed report of Paddock’s drug use just days later.


Sponsor Updates

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  • Over the past four years, attendees at Aprima’s annual user conference have made more than 1,700 blankets and gift bags for the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.
  • Culbert Healthcare Solutions will exhibit at Epic UGM August 27-30 in Verona, WI.
  • Medicomp Systems will exhibit at HIMSS AsiaPac18 in Brisbane, Australia November 5-8.

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From the PRM Pro 8/22/18

August 22, 2018 From the PRM Pro No Comments

Motivating Your Practice to Communicate Effectively Starts From Within
By Jim Higgins

Jim Higgins is the CEO and founder of Solutionreach in Lehi, UT.

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For years, the healthcare industry has been undergoing a dramatic shift in the way providers communicate with their patients. Modern patients demand timely, effective communication from their practices. If you don’t provide it — they leave. But somewhere in the rush to improve patient communication, internal office communication has fallen by the wayside.

Intra-office communication is the glue that holds a practice together. Poor collaboration and communication within the office leads to mistakes. Whether this is double-booking a last minute appointment, multiple staff members contacting a patient for the same info, or letting a patient walk out the door without scheduling their follow-up visit, these mistakes can be stressful for your staff and may make your patients feel like your practice is disorganized.

Disorganization and poor communication contribute to an unhappy staff. One study found that the top three reasons people don’t like their jobs were all related to communication (lack of direction from management, poor communication in general, constant change that is not well communicated). Motivating your staff to improve internal communication is a multi-pronged process.

Start by making training a focus of your practice. Communication does not come naturally to everyone. Each of your employees will have different backgrounds and different abilities. They may all communicate slightly differently. But cohesive communication is critical to the success of your practice. Studies show that we spend between 70-80 percent of our day in some form of communication. This number is likely even higher in the healthcare industry. Strong communication is really the backbone of a strong team. Scheduling required training sessions on a regular basis where your entire staff can be taught how to ask clarifying questions and practice active listening skills is crucial. This will not only help as they communicate with one another, but as they interact with patients as well.

It is crucial that you practice what you preach. It’s not going to be enough to simply tell your employees about the importance of communication; you’ve got to show them. Healthy, open communication should be a fundamental part of your practice’s culture. And it starts with you. This may mean that upper staff members (including you!) need to receive extra training in communication methods. Then, in every interaction with staff members, model the type of communication you expect from them.

At least yearly, use anonymous internal surveys to allow a way for employees to freely share concerns they have about how things are running. Surveys are a great way to open the floodgates of communication that some employees may not feel comfortable sharing in person. Best practices for internal surveys include being digital, easy to understand, and short enough to complete within just a few minutes. There are a variety of survey tools you can use, including free options like Survey Monkey. The key is to make sure that employees feel comfortable that their responses will be anonymous. In order to get high participation levels, make sure employees recognize the benefit of filling it out. If employees see that changes are made based on survey results, they are much more likely to participate.

Make sure you meet regularly. Practices are busy. Crazy busy. It can be easy for everyone to just move directly to their regular area in the practice, address their duties, and never efficiently communicate with one another. Regular meetings provide the opportunity for additional collaboration among your staff. These meetings do not need to be extremely long or formal to be effective. One of the most successful ways to do this is to provide lunch for your staff once a month to sit, eat, and share ideas with one another.

Finally, find ways to use technology to fill any communication gaps. It’s important to find a messaging tool to improve communication between official meetings. At any given time, your staff members maybe be spread throughout the practice. Giving office staff the ability to communicate with each other, either through group messaging in a chat room or direct messages to a specific team member, can help your team circulate information quickly without ever leaving their desks. The average practice staff spends over an hour every day just trying to track down coworkers and find important information, adding up to over 20 hours each month spent just trying to communicate with each other. With a tool that allows them to quickly message each other and share information, that time can be better used to interact with the patients in the office.

Effective internal communication is important for every single practice. No exceptions. Effective communication boosts employee morale, reduces mistakes, and improves processes. The best communication starts with the practitioner and spreads to each member of the practice. As meaningful communication becomes the culture of your practice, your patients will feel the benefits, too.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 8/20/18

August 20, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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Medical billing software company Medliminal will relocate its headquarters into expanded office space within Innovation Park in Prince William County, VA. Its team of 10 employees will grow to 70 in the near future, thanks to a planned investment of $2.4 million. The company has additional offices in California, Virginia, and Washington, DC.


Webinars

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


People

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Rita Goyal, MD (UAB Medicine) joins consulting and technology firm ConcertCare as CMO.


Announcements and Implementations

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Spectrum Eye Physicians implements Identillect’s Delivery Trust email security software across its seven locations in California.

The American Osteopathic Information Association selects CareCloud as its preferred EHR, PM, and RCM vendor.

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Nextech integrates SkinIO’s tablet-based, full-body imaging software with its EHR for dermatologists.


Telemedicine

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App-based prescription delivery company Nurx, known for its birth control services, announces GA of at-home lab testing kits for patients seeking prescriptions for the HIV prevention medication PrEP.


Research and Innovation

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A CDC analysis of 2015 EHR utilization data from office-based physicians finds that referrals, lab results, and medication lists were sent the most often; lab results, imaging reports, and medication lists were received the most often; and lab results, imaging reports, and hospital discharge summaries were integrated the most often. Registry data was one of the least commonly shared types of PHI.


Other

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NBC News takes a high-level look at why physicians are hanging up their stethoscopes and opting for other fields. While EHRs face their fair share of backlash, a physician’s decision to switch career paths seems to stem more from burnout and a resultant lack of love for the profession than any qualms with health IT:

“It has gotten worse for all of us, unfortunately — whether you work in the hospital or in the outpatient setting,” says Nicole Swiner, MD. “We are burdened more by nonmedical business or insurance professionals without any medical training. It’s disheartening. ​I have transitioned to more part-time clinical work [so as to focus more on] speaking, writing and consulting. Become a full-time consultant, author, speaker, entrepreneur, baker, cheerleader — whatever. Just be happy. Life’s too short.”

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Facebook cracks down on the ability of drug seekers and dealers to conduct business on its platform after the CDC revealed that nearly 30,000 people died from synthetic opioid overdoses last year, many of which were bought online through social media networks.

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GlassesUSA.com launches a Prescription Scanner app that gives users the ability to order another pair of glasses using a picture taken on their phone or tablet.


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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