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News 3/21/17

March 21, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Former Rep. John Fleming, MD (R-LA) will join HHS in the new role of deputy assistant secretary for health technology at an unspecified date. The job will effectively put him at the head of ONC (which is facing an uncertain organizational future in light of potential budget cuts) and in good company with former National Coordinators Vindell Washington, MD and Karen DeSalvo, MD – both natives of Louisiana. Fun fact: Fleming is a third-degree black belt, and was one of the first family physicians in his area to offer evening and weekend hours to better accommodate patient schedules.


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

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Specialty care technology company Integra Connect develops a set of services – including patient risk analysis and stratification, and real-time care coordination and management – for oncology practices participating in the CMS Oncology Care Management program.

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Gainesville Radiology Group (GA) extends its PM and RCM agreement with Zotec Partners.

HBI Solutions enlists health IT services firm J2 Interactive to assist its predictive analytics end users with implementation, adoption, and training.


People

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The Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians elects Flora Sadri-Azarbayejani, DO president.


Telemedicine

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Navigating Cancer adds telemedicine and remote-monitoring capabilities to its Care Management technology for oncologists.


Research and Innovation

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WebMD and the Scripps Translational Science Institute embark on a pregnancy study using WebMD’s Pregnancy app to better understand contributing factors to a healthy pregnancy. Using Apple’s ResearchKit software, study participants will be able to record and share information during and after pregnancy, including medication use, vaccinations received, blood pressure,and weight change. Women will also be able to share biometric data from connected wearables, and receive visualizations of their data and that of their peers. I sincerely hope they’ve taken mental health into account. How comforting would it be for an expectant mother to realize that the crying jag she’s been on for the last two days is fairly normal for her peer group? Or, for her OB to determine that the pre-baby blues she’s experiencing are indicative of the depression she may sink into after her due date?

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A JAMA Pediatrics analysis of 37 studies finds that mobile health interventions had a small but significant effect on the health outcomes of the 30,000 minors aggregated in the studies. The researchers conclude that, “Given the ubiquity of mobile phones, mobile health interventions offer promise in improving public health.” “Promising” seems to be the key word here, as physicians have yet to fully figure out the best way in which to receive and act on the data, not to mention get reimbursed for it.


Other

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The local paper highlights the love Michigan State University College of Medicine students showed family medicine on Match Day. Nearly 43 percent of the 200 students accepted into residency programs chose primary care. It’s an encouraging statistic given a study released earlier this month that found the US will face a shortage of up to 43,000 PCPs by 2030.


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News 3/20/17

March 20, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Physician billing and coding company RevMD opens its first office in Puerto Rico. The Scottsdale, AZ-based company, which also has a presence in Bangalore, India, will initially employ 12 at its office in San Juan. It plans on hiring an additional 38 staffers by this September.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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I finally blocked an afternoon out to spend watching Hidden Figures – one of the best films I’ve seen in quite awhile. (You can read a synopsis of the plot here.) It painted such a vivid picture for me of that era, and gave me a great excuse to talk about civil rights, women’s rights, and the importance of life-long learning and a strong work ethic and with the young female family member who accompanied me. We both were happy to learn that former NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who I considered to be the film’s main character, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015. If you’re interested in catching up and keeping up with the work women have done and are doing for the space program, check out "From Hidden to Modern Figures” at NASA.gov


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

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Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates (GA) connects to the statewide HIE via GaHIN’s Georgia ConnectedCare technology, which includes deep patient search functionality and access to Medicaid data via the Georgia Dept. of Community Health.

PCIHIPAA adds an online HIPAA checklist tool to its OfficeSafe technology to help physicians understand and track HIPAA compliance.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Dallas-based startup Blockit raises $152,000 in seed funding to further develop a real-time physician and patient scheduling app for episodes of care that will also include referral and stand-alone appointment-making capabilities. CEO Jake McCarley’s background includes stints with GuideIT and Dell, while CMO Mark Carver, MD is a practicing anesthesiologist and corporate medical director at Mednax.


Telemedicine

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New York-based Upstate Concierge Medicine rebrands its virtual services for employers to United Concierge Medicine to better reflect its reach beyond Upstate New York. The company has also upgraded its UCMnow app, which as is or via white label.

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Teladoc adds Accolade’s concierge healthcare services to its telemedicine package for employers and payers. The partnership comes just a few weeks after Accolade announced that it will embark on a $2 million office expansion project that will include the hiring of an additional 250 employees at its headquarters in Plymouth Meeting, PA.


Government and Politics

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HHS offers dedicated resources to help consumers understand repeal and replacement efforts. “We’re taking action to improve choices for patients, stabilize the individual and small-group insurance markets, and expand access to more affordable coverage,” say Secretary Tom Price, MD. “This page will be the place to go for updates on our ongoing efforts.”


Other

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WEDI publishes a helpful primer (a great read for anyone new to the industry) on the rampant growth of data breaches in healthcare.


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Population Health Management Weekly Wrap Up 3/19/17

March 19, 2017 News No Comments

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Virginia Gurley, MD (Cultiva Health Consulting) joins AxisPoint Health as CMO.

The Los Angeles County Dept. of Health Services selects ClientTrack Care Coordination technology from Eccovia Solutions to support a five-year pilot program that will deliver social and healthcare services to 50,000 of the county’s most vulnerable Medicaid patients.

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Texas-based Seven Flags ACO enlists the population health management technology and consulting services of Innovista Health Solutions to help it manage 10,500 patients in value-based contracts. The ACO has also leaned on the expertise of the Texas Medical Association’s PracticeEdge value-based consulting firm.

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BCBS licensee Blue Health Intelligence offers a new analytics platform to help providers and payers address population health and financial management issues.

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Hawaii’s leading health plan HMSA selects Sharecare’s consumer health and messaging platform for a statewide rollout and also makes an unspecified investment in the company, started in 2010 by WebMD founder Jeff Arnold and TV’s Dr. Oz. Sharecare acquired the population health business of Healthways in July 2016.


Sponsor Updates


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 3/16/17

March 16, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Former CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt announces his intention to “affiliate” with the Bipartisan Policy Center as a senior advisor. Slavitt will work alongside former CMS colleague Natalie Davis, who will serve as director of strategic engagement, on the center’s efforts to work with the American people to influence public healthcare policy. He has also announced his plan to work with the Avia Innovation Network, which collaborates with member health systems to develop digital solutions at scale.


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.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Livongo Health announces $52.5 million in a Series D funding round led by General Catalyst, Kinnevik, EDBI, American Investment Holdings LLC, and Microsoft Ventures. The Mountain View, CA-based company, which has developed an app and supporting technology to help people living with diabetes, will use the financing to expand into other conditions and countries. The company has raised $143.2 million since former Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman launched it in 2014.


People

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Former Athenahealth Director of Interoperability John Voith joins Virtudent as SVP of operations. The Boston-based company, which bills itself as a telemedicine startup providing mobile dental care visits, is looking for larger office space as it plans service expansion into New Hampshire.

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Jeff Semenchuk (Hyatt Hotels) joins mobile healthcare marketplace and concierge service Zest Health as CEO.


Announcements and Implementations

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Texas-based Seven Flags ACO enlists the population health management technology and consulting services of Innovista Health Solutions to help it manage 10,500 patients in value-based contracts. The ACO has also leaned on the expertise of the Texas Medical Association’s PracticeEdge value-based consulting firm.

StayWell adds personalized content, personal calendar syncing, and interactive activities and videos to its CareEngage software, which offers digital educational and engagement tools to providers caring for patients with chronic conditions. 

Web-based appointment scheduling software vendor DocASAP joins the Allscripts Developer Program.


Government and Politics

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HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD takes part in a town hall hosted by CNN as part of his PR tour to drum up support for the Republican’s ACA replacement bill. Issues of access in light of the Congressional Budget Office’s latest review of the AHCA seemed to be top of mind for most attendees. Price disputed the CBO’s math, which found that, if enacted, the AHCA would leave 24 million more people uninsured by 2026 than under the ACA. “They do a pretty good job with numbers – coverage is not their strong suit,” he pointed out, adding that the office didn’t look at the bigger picture, which includes Republican plans for additional administrative and legislative actions. “What the CBO looked at was just one-third of the plan,” he said.


Research and Innovation

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A GAO report highlights the disconnect between ONC’s efforts to encourage provider adoption and utilization of EHRs and its ability to measure the effectiveness of that adoption when it comes to patient access. For example, though 87 percent of EPs offered access, just 30 percent of patients took advantage of it. The authors point out that, “ONC cannot determine if patient electronic access is higher for participants in the Blue Button Initiative compared with non-participants or if providers who use the Patient Engagement Playbook achieve more patient electronic access than non-users.” They recommend that ONC develop performance measures to help assess patient access of digital health data and adjust programs as needed.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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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.

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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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