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News 1/8/18

January 8, 2018 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Allscripts will acquire Practice Fusion for $100 million in cash. San Francisco-based Practice Fusion has raised over $150 million since launching in 2005. Its EHR and PM technology supports 30,000 ambulatory practices and 5 million patient visits per month.


Webinars

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January 24 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET: “Location, Location, Location: How to Deploy RTLS Asset Management for Capital Savings.” Sponsor: Versus Technology. Presenter: Doug Duvall, solution architect, Versus Technology. Misplaced or sub-optimally deployed medical equipment delays patient care and hampers safety-mandated preventive maintenance. It also forces hospitals to buy more equipment despite an average utilization that may be as low as 30 percent, misdirecting precious capital dollars that could be better spent on more strategic projects. A real-time locating system (RTLS) cannot only track asset location, but also help ensure that equipment is properly distributed to the right place at the right time. This webinar will provide insight into the evaluation, selection, and benefits of an RTLS-powered asset management solution.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Cityblock Health raises $20.8 million in a Series A funding round led by Maverick Ventures, which it will use to help deploy its first clinical partnerships and hire additional staff. The New York City-based startup has developed a membership-based care management company focused on serving the primary and behavioral healthcare needs of urban neighborhoods that have historically had little to no access to healthcare services. Andy Slavitt, whose new investment company also contributed to the round, has joined the company’s Board of Directors.

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An AMA report on the economic impact of physicians shows that they support 12.6 million jobs and generate $2.3 trillion – 13 percent of the US economy.


People

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Kelly Robison (OptumCare) returns to Brown & Toland Physicians as CEO.

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Rich Berner (Allscripts) joins MDLive as CEO. Berner replaces Scott Decker, who took the helm in November 2016 after four years at HealthSparq.

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SRS Health promotes Khal Rai to president and CEO.


Government and Politics

Physicians in Nevada begin to chafe under the state’s new opioid prescribing law, which requires them to perform a number of steps that have yet to be fully defined. The chance of failure has many erring on the side of caution so as to avoid penalties set forth by the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners. “They’re scared, frankly,” says Daniel Burkhead, MD a pain management physician who has been tasked with overseeing adherence of the bill at his Las Vegas practice. “They’re scared that we’re going to have some flaw in our paperwork, some flaw in our process that opens us all up — all seven providers — to being sanctioned by the board in various ways. So when I’m talking to my providers and telling them how to implement this, I have to go with the most conservative thing I can think of.”


Telemedicine

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MediCann will implement Heally’s telemedicine software for medical marijuana consults in California. The companies will also partner on cannabis dosing research for a range of ailments.


Other

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Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration notifies 30,000 Medicaid beneficiaries of a November data breach that occurred when an employee fell prey to a phishing email scam.


Sponsor Updates

Blog Posts


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Readers Write: Telehealth Essential to Overcoming SDOH obstacles

January 4, 2018 Guest articles No Comments

Telehealth Essential to Overcoming SDOH Obstacles
By Jessica Robinson

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A recent industry analysis estimates that 40 percent of clinical outcomes are determined by social and economic factors, while 30 percent are due to patient behaviors, and 10 percent are attributed to the physical environment, such as transportation and housing. That leaves only 20 percent of outcomes that are driven by direct clinical care.

For healthcare providers, that small impact on outcomes may seem discouraging. However, what this finding also shows is tremendous opportunity to explore new care delivery methods that confront the other 80 percent. Telehealth, for example, has the potential to engage patients, change behaviors, and overcome some of these non-clinical factors, which are typically grouped under the social determinants of health category.

Defined as “the immediate and structural conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age,” SDOH can be more efficiently and effectively confronted through telehealth for numerous reasons. One of the most important is that it removes many barriers to accessing physical care. Moreover, when used in conjunction with a population health management strategy and platform that is integrated with the telehealth solution, providers can identify and begin overcoming SDOH challenges.

Starting with the basics

Delivering care to patients at their home through a computer or mobile device is gaining strong acceptance across the country, driven mainly by consumers and employers. A recent survey shows that 77 percent of consumers are interested in receiving more care through telehealth, while 96 percent of employers offered telehealth benefits in their company health plans.

Adoption is also poised to increase among providers. The CMS Next Generation ACO program, for example, recently released a waiver that eliminates current medical facility and geographic restrictions for assigned beneficiaries, allowing them to receive telehealth services from their home. Other new legislation, such as the 21st Century Cures Act, may also remove those restrictions when Congress reviews a report on telehealth payment policies in 2018.

All of these telehealth trends can help overcome many SDOH obstacles, the most immediate of which are transportation challenges. Allowing patients to remain in their home to receive care eliminates that hardship while also enabling patients with physical limitations — another SDOH challenge — to access care more easily.

Understanding social determinants of health

Determining if a patient falls into a social determinant category that would prevent them from accessing care or adhering to a care plan can be a challenge. However, it may be as simple as asking some pertinent questions during registration at an office visit. For example, asking the patient if they have reliable transportation to and from a provider’s facility is an important question, as is inquiring if their work schedule permits them access to care during typical business hours.

Once that data is gathered, it can be aggregated with medical histories and other clinical information to be analyzed through a PHM platform that helps care managers identify and monitor patients who may need additional support. That insight might reveal that a patient is an ideal candidate for a telehealth-augmented care plan. Regardless, PHM and telehealth platform integration is critical to ensure efficiency and that providers have seamless access to the data they need at the point of virtual care.

Further information can be captured about a patient’s SDOH through a home visit combined with a simultaneous virtual visit. Using the organization’s PHM platform, a care manager can arrange a home visit where a nurse or other clinician can meet with the patient to discuss care plan adherence obstacles and conduct an assessment of the home environment. If needed, that clinician can contact a physician or other specialized healthcare professional through a virtual visit so that the patient can ask questions and obtain needed guidance immediately and with less effort, reducing the risk of unnecessary accidents or potential crisis situations from occurring.

Telehealth care quality

Not only can patients overcome some care access challenges more easily, but many patients report a more positive and meaningful care experience through telehealth. That finding is likely because delivering care through telehealth requires physicians to concentrate on the patient through their computer monitor, which can eliminate some of the distractions of a busy medical facility. That concentration, combined with a limitation to only visual and aural observation, means conversations can be more interactive and engaged. The patient, too, is less distracted and more at-ease speaking to the physician from the comfort of their own home.

Further, telehealth is ideal for high-need patients who may need more regular provider visits. Often, regular encounters with these patients serve as check-ins for vital signs and to see how the patient is doing. Most high-need patients have equipment available in their homes to monitor their vitals, and telehealth allows their provider to touch base on how they look and are feeling, without having to work around space or scheduling restrictions. This streamlined visit opens up providers to spent appropriate time and attention on these patients, while opening up their office space and appointment slots for more crucial or urgent cases.

Above all, strengthening that engagement can overcome SDOH obstacles that are leading patients and providers away from their care goals. When used in conjunction with a PHM strategy that helps identify and align telehealth resources with appropriate patients, ACOs and other clinically integrated networks can achieve the outcomes that distinguish themselves in their respective markets as high-performance organizations.

Jessica Robinson is VP of product management and delivery for The Garage in Orlando.


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News 1/4/18

January 4, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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VillageMD raises $80 million in a financing round led by Athyrium Capital Management, bringing its total funding to $116 million. The Chicago-based primary care management company has grown its physician network to 2,500 in six states.


Webinars

January 24 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET: “Location, Location, Location: How to Deploy RTLS Asset Management for Capital Savings.” Sponsor: Versus Technology. Presenter: Doug Duvall, solution architect, Versus Technology. Misplaced or sub-optimally deployed medical equipment delays patient care and hampers safety-mandated preventive maintenance. It also forces hospitals to buy more equipment despite an average utilization that may be as low as 30 percent, misdirecting precious capital dollars that could be better spent on more strategic projects. A real-time locating system (RTLS) cannot only track asset location, but also help ensure that equipment is properly distributed to the right place at the right time. This webinar will provide insight into the evaluation, selection, and benefits of an RTLS-powered asset management solution.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Patient intake tech company Phreesia secures an undisclosed amount of funding from Echo Health Ventures, marking its seventh funding round. Phreesia’s last round took place in 2014 to the tune of $30 million.

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Quartet Health raises $40 million in a Series C round headed up by F-Prime Capital Partners and Polaris Partners. The funds will enable the New York City-based business to further develop its patient screening and referral technology for primary and mental healthcare providers.


Announcements and Implementations

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Ortho Montana selects musculoskeletal and quality of life registries from Oberd.


People

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Health Payment Systems promotes Terry Rowinski to CEO.

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Brad Hill (RemitData) joins Peak Health Solutions as president.

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Privia Health hires Doug Wenners as acting CEO. Wenners comes from Brighton Health Group, which acquired Privia in 2014.


Research and Innovation

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European researchers develop a bionic hand with a sense of touch that is small enough to transport outside of a laboratory environment. Previous iterations had computer equipment too cumbersome to travel with; now, the user can stow it in a backpack.


Government and Politics

CMS develops a new online performance data submission tool for physicians participating in the Quality Payment Program. The 2017 submission period runs through March 31.


Other

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Go Dawgs: In a savvy marketing/SEO move, OrthoAtlanta announces it will be the official orthopedic and sports medicine provider during the 2018 CFP National Championship January 8 in Atlanta.

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Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush shares resolutions for the new year.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

News 1/3/18

January 3, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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Kipu Systems sues Sanomedics subsidiary ZenCharts for allegedly stealing the intellectual property behind its EHR for behavioral health providers. The $30 million lawsuit goes on to state that Solutions Recovery (FL) owner Dan Callahan enlisted his software developer son to copy Kipu’s proprietary software. The ZenCharts website lists Callahan as co-founder and (presumably) son Sean as a contributing blogger.


Webinars

January 24 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET: “Location, Location, Location: How to Deploy RTLS Asset Management for Capital Savings.” Sponsor: Versus Technology. Presenter: Doug Duvall, solution architect, Versus Technology. Misplaced or sub-optimally deployed medical equipment delays patient care and hampers safety-mandated preventive maintenance. It also forces hospitals to buy more equipment despite an average utilization that may be as low as 30 percent, misdirecting precious capital dollars that could be better spent on more strategic projects. A real-time locating system (RTLS) cannot only track asset location, but also help ensure that equipment is properly distributed to the right place at the right time. This webinar will provide insight into the evaluation, selection, and benefits of an RTLS-powered asset management solution.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Aprima reseller Das Health acquires EMDs reseller Integra IT Solutions for an undisclosed sum. Tampa, FL-based DAS will merge its West Coast operations with Integra’s Las Vegas office.

Dermatology Associates of Northern Virginia joins the US Dermatology Partners network. The arrangement marks the Dallas-based practice management company’s first foray into the state.

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Biometric remote patient monitoring company Biotricity announces plans to hire 12 salespeople in Q1 2018 ahead of the launch of its Bioflux remote cardiac monitoring system.

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Carrollton Family Clinic (MS) files a class-action lawsuit against EClinicalWorks in an effort to recoup lost Meaningful Use incentive money and related IT expenses incurred after CMS found the EHR vendor’s software to be deficient for Meaningful Use.


People

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Brent Rasmussen (Halo Group) joins online vision test company Opternative as CEO.


Government and Politics

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The FCC seeks comments on a proposed rule that would increase and potentially reallocate funding for the Rural Health Care Program. The program, which includes the Health Connect Fund, provides funding to eligible providers for broadband and telecommunications services.

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Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) announces that HHS Secretary nominee Alex Azar’s confirmation hearing will be held January 9. The former Eli Lily executive and HHS deputy secretary stressed that he will tackle drug prices during his November appearance before the Senate HELP Committee.


Research and Innovation

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Coinciding with many a New Year’s Resolution, 23andMe starts recruiting for a weight loss study that will ultimately involve 100,000 of its 1.3 million customers. Participants will be asked to report on the effectiveness of one of three randomly assigned diet and weight-loss plans over a three-month period. The company will use the findings to develop genetically tailored health and wellness plans it can add to its consumer genetic reports. It sounds a lot like what subscription food service Habit already provides.


Telemedicine

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Denver-based direct primary care provider PeakMed selects text-based virtual consult technology from CirrusMD. PeakMed founder and CMO Mark Tomasulo, DO told me in a September 2017 interview that telemedicine was indeed on the horizon, courtesy of a $5.5 million funding round.


Other

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I’m not sure why they thought it worthwhile, but analysts pore over earnings call transcripts to determine that 2017 was one of the most profanity-filled on record – despite a fairly strong year for markets. Some believe that the “sweariness” stems from CEO attempts to be more relatable to stockholders, which isn’t saying much about the professionalism of either party.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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News 1/2/18

January 2, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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21st Century Oncology agrees to pay HHS $2.3 million to settle HIPAA violations (and avoid future civil penalties) related to two data breaches in 2015 that exposed over 2 million records and led to 13 federal class action lawsuits. The company, which operates nearly 180 treatment centers across the country, will also implement a corrective action plan that, when it emerges from bankruptcy, will hopefully ensure its future HIPAA compliance.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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Welcome to the new year! It’s hard for me to believe the holiday break has come to an end, though after a whirlwind of family gatherings it’s actually kind of nice to be back on some sort of schedule. I did find time during the break to initiate my HIMSS18 registration, which means I’ll also need to finalize my airfare and lodging sooner rather than later to avoid having to take a red eye to and from Vegas. In prepping my press credentials, I thought about what topics I’ll gravitate towards at the conference. Given the cryptocurrency chatter heard round the Christmas tree over the last few weeks, I’ll definitely be on the lookout for startups that have successfully weathered an ICO (initial coin offering) and are ready to demo a blockchain-based product on the show floor. (Granted, they probably won’t financially be at the HIMSS exhibitor stage.) I can’t tell you the number of press releases that come across my desk promising the latest and greatest in secure, blockchain-based health records from startups that are prepping for an ICO. It’s all vaporware to me until use cases start popping up. HIMSS has devoted a significant portion of its programming to the topic. I’m betting the forum and 101 session will be packed.

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Speaking of blockchain, I have found this video to be extremely helpful in my conversations about the concept with people outside of IT. Not one to kid myself, I started with the five year-old and progressed from there.


Webinars

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


Announcements and Implementations

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AdvancedMD develops dashboard technology to help physicians visually prioritize daily tasks from within their EHR.

In Virginia, the Arlington County Department of Human Services selects EHR technology from Welligent.

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Boston-based Q2i develops a care coordination and analytics dashboard and mobile app for post-bariatric surgery treatment programs.

Tempus and Precision HealthAI will provide de-identified data sets to CancerLinQ, a subsidiary of the American Society of Clinical Oncology that has developed quality improvement and analytics tools for oncologists and researchers. 


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Carolina East Family Medicine (NC) warns it may have to lay off employees due to suspended payments from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. The payer contends the practice has electronically filed “inappropriate” claims over the last several months. Carolina East, which appears to use Allscripts software, switched to filing paper claims once BCBSNC made its suspension known at the end of October.


People

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Behavioral healthcare provider Centerstone (TN) promotes Chuck Pegg to director of IT infrastructure.

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Marcus Schabacker, MD (Baxter) joins ECRI Institute as president and CEO. Schabacker’s healthcare experience extends around the globe, including a stint at Mafikeng General Hospital in post-Apartheid South Africa to support the development of a rural healthcare system under Nelson Mandela.


Telemedicine

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Cherry Health COO Tasha Blackmon is looking into telemedicine ahead of her April 1 start date as CEO at Michigan’s largest FQHC. Blackmon believes partnerships with other local healthcare organizations will help usher Cherry Health into the age of virtual visits. “We’ve talked about partnerships, potentially, with schools like Michigan State University’s medical school, since we’re right here in the same community and we currently host some of their medical students,” she says. New collaborative partnerships is something that we’re definitely looking into.”

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This is a blockchain idea I can wrap my head around: MedCredits preps to launch an Ethereum-based teledermatology app. Patients will pay for their virtual consults via MedCredit tokens once the technology goes live later this year. The company’s token seed round concludes January 14. It plans to add mental health services next year.


Research and Innovation

A survey of 348 ophthalmologists finds that EHR utilization leads to decreased productivity in terms of number of patients seen each day. It’s a statistic that seems to be echoed across specialties. Ophthalmology seems especially inclined to suffer given that EHR adoption has increased to 72 percent over the last seven years. 


Other

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Longs Peak Family Practice (CO) notifies patients of a November data breach stemming from three separate unauthorized access incidents that may have compromised data related to patient identification and insurance details. The practice was able to restore files related to a ransomware hack – one of the three breaches – from back ups.

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The local paper covers the benefits of virtual scribes, highlighting the relationship podiatrist Timothy Barry, DPM has with Philippines-based Joanna Fajardo. Barry, who says the availability of more local scribes are slim to none, found Fajardo through Hello Rache, which pays her nearly three times the amount she was making as a hospital-based nurse. Barry’s cost is half of what he would pay for an in-person assistant. Hello Rache was launched in Arizona last year by Mark Carnett, DO after “years of fighting with his EMR and leaving work after 5.”


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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