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News 11/9/17

November 9, 2017 News 2 Comments

Top News

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EyeMD EMR Healthcare Systems acquires ophthalmology-specific software for ASCs from competitor Health Care Intranet Technologies. CEO Abdiel Marin believes the new software will ease data transfer between its EHR customers and ASCs, and help the company gain more ASC market share.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

I neglected to mention earlier this week that Lorre is running her year-end special for new HIStalk (and HIStalk Practice) sponsors – avoid the pre-HIMSS rush, sign up now, and get the rest of this year free. She’ll also offer a deal to wayward former sponsors who want to return to the fold.


Webinars

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November 15 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “How Hospitals and Practices Can Respond to Consumerism by Better Engaging Patients Through Price Transparency and Payment Options.” Sponsored by: Change Healthcare. Presenters: Kathy Moore, president, Moore Martini Medical; Linda Glidewell, VP of business development, consumer payment solutions, Change Healthcare. Healthcare consumerism and high-deductible health plans require providers to offer upfront estimates and payment options throughout all points of service. In his webinar, we’ll discuss consumerism as a critical area of opportunity in revenue cycle management and review numerous areas across the revenue cycle where your staff interacts with patients and leaves lasting impressions. From your first interaction with patients on the phone to discuss financial responsibility; to collecting payments at all points of service; to offering payment plans and various payment options — these are all areas that can be game-changing. With the right approach to consumerism, you can improve patient collections and optimize revenue from the start while also improving the overall patient experience.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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Modernizing Medicine adds new image management features, including improved centralized access and device integration, to its Modmed Ophthalmology EHR.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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EHR, PM, and RCM vendor ISalus Healthcare relocates to larger office space in downtown Indianapolis. Fun fact: “Salus” is the ancient Roman Goddess of health, prosperity, and public welfare. Company founders tweaked the name to indicate their desire to positively impact healthcare with Internet-driven technologies. 


People

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FastMed Urgent Care names Webster Golinkin CEO. Golinkin founded RediClinic in 2005 and stayed on with the company after it was acquired by RiteAid in 2014. He went on to become a member of RiteAid’s senior management and CEO of its population health management-focused Health Dialog business.

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Tom Visotsky (HCS) joins Kno2 as VP of vertical market sales.


Telemedicine

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina begins offering employer-sponsored plan members virtual consults from MDLive.

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MDLive partners with online dermatology provider Iagnosis Healthcare to launch teledermatology consultations for consumers. It will offer the service to employers and payers on January 1, 2018.


Government and Politics

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Seattle Mariners fans poke fun at Andy Slavitt’s mis-tweet after Tuesday’s contested vote in Maine over Medicaid expansion.


Other

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Bring Your Daughter to Work Day takes on a whole new meaning: Identical triplets Vicky, Sarah, and Joanna Bedell – all OB/GYNs who attended school at Brandeis University in Boston – join their mother Janet Gersten, MD at her recently renamed New Age Women’s Health practice in Miami. As she contemplates retirement, Gersten sees a bright future ahead for her daughters. “The idea is to have a group practice with the three of them and have other doctors join them,” she says. “We invested in a building; it’s been customized to fit our needs for the practice and research business, and there’s room to grow there for other practitioners.”


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Readers Write: What Do Patients Want? Digital Convenience, of Course!

November 9, 2017 Guest articles No Comments

What do Patients Want? Digital Convenience, of Course!
By Kermit Randa

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The era of healthcare consumerism is here. With it, patients expect the same modern, digital conveniences they receive in other areas of their daily lives. They want easier ways to understand what they owe and convenient options to pay their balances. They also want greater freedom to choose their healthcare providers, and growing numbers of patients are increasingly comparing provider pricing. As a result, healthcare organizations are moving from antiquated payment processes to providing patients with the electronic conveniences they seek.

To that end, MGMA and Navicure collaborated to conduct our first Digital Payment Progress Report survey, where we sought to understand billing payment preferences and behaviors among provider organizations. We then compared some of these findings with Navicure’s Patient Payment Check-Up, conducted by HIMSS Analytics, to assess differences in attitudes and behaviors between patients and providers. The results were intriguing.

In particular, physician practices show some clear advantages over hospitals when it comes to the use of digital billing and payment systems. For instance:

Group practices believe patients are more comfortable sharing mobile/email contact information than do hospitals. In fact, while 64 percent of group practices claim patients are comfortable sharing their email addresses, only 56 percent of hospitals say the same. That may be because providers in smaller group practices have a more personal relationship with the patient than hospital providers. And in reality, most patients (79 percent) are perfectly comfortable providing their email address. Still, 77 percent of providers today send paper bills, which creates incredible opportunity for the industry to leverage email to deliver bills electronically, saving scads of paper, postage, and time, thereby reducing days in A/R.

Patients typically pay their physician practice bills faster. Twenty-six percent of hospital respondents say it takes patients longer than six months to pay their balance, while only 13 percent of practice respondents report it takes this long. Our survey also showed group practices having more success with patients paying at the time of service. That’s likely due to the nature of services offered in a doctor’s office being more predictable, making it easier to provide a cost estimate. And, it’s something practices should take advantage of if they aren’t already doing so.

More ambulatory organizations can provide a cost estimate than hospitals. Nearly 80 percent of ambulatory organizations can provide a cost estimate to patients, while only 69 percent of hospitals can offer one. As previously mentioned, this may be because it’s easier to put a price tag on the services provided in a doctor’s office, which translates into a simpler process for providing an estimate; whereas hospitals may not know the final cost until all procedures/services are completed and the patient is released. But, estimates will become increasingly important — our survey also showed that when patients comparatively shop for services, the results they find make a significant impact on the provider they choose. That’s especially true among younger patients: Seventy-five percent of patients comparing prices are between 18-34 years old. Practices will improve transparency, trust, and satisfaction among their patients if they offer pricing up front.

5 Ways to Put These Findings to Use

While practices may be ahead of hospitals in the areas of cost estimation and electronic billing, they’re still behind when it comes to meeting patient demand. Insights from the Digital Payment Progress Report can be helpful as practices look for ways to address patient billing and payment challenges to help bridge the gap between outdated processes that are holding back progress and patient expectations for electronic payment options.

Here are five things practice administrators can tackle to get started:

  1. Review the 5 Ps (people, processes, products, performance, and patients) to uncover where disconnects are in the payment process and develop an action plan to reduce them.
  2. Ask your patients. Conduct a short online or informal in-office survey to find out what they’re looking for in payment options.
  3. Train your teams. Provide ongoing training to help front-office teams educate patients on payment options, and cross-train the entire office to ensure everyone on the team fully understands the impact their role has on the revenue cycle process and increasing patient satisfaction.
  4. Educate your patients. Patients want a quick and easy to read, short and uncomplicated, one-page document that explains their payment options. Make sure front-office staff are able to confidently discuss financial responsibilities with patients.
  5. Establish measurable objectives for data and quality metrics. Define, collect, and respond to performance metrics to understand your practice’s revenue cycle goals and whether or not they’ve been achieved.

Ultimately, our survey showed there’s strong need for digital payment options such as patient estimates, credit card on file, online bill pay, and more. It also showed there’s agreement all around when it comes to the impact these tools can have on improving collections, reducing days in A/R, and reducing bad-debt write-offs. As healthcare consumerism continues to expand and the future of billing and payments becomes more digital, practices are well-positioned for success when they can pin-point key areas of improvement and proactively give patients what they want – electronic payments and accurate estimates.

Kermit Randa is chief growth officer of Navicure in Atlanta.


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News 11/8/17

November 8, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Learning Machine brings blockchain to the medical licensure process with a pilot program that puts medical education credentials on a blockchain records-issuing system endorsed by the Federation of State Medical Boards. As part of the program, healthcare professionals can use a linked app to maintain secure profiles that include records of professional degrees, transcripts, and credentials. Learning Machine VP of Business Development Natalie Smolenski stresses that the program puts professionals – rather than vendors – in charge of their data. “That is the great promise of blockchain technology,” she adds. “Now individuals can own their digital property without reliance upon trusted intermediaries to serve as custodians of that property.”


Webinars

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November 15 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “How Hospitals and Practices Can Respond to Consumerism by Better Engaging Patients Through Price Transparency and Payment Options.” Sponsored by: Change Healthcare. Presenters: Kathy Moore, president, Moore Martini Medical; Linda Glidewell, VP of business development, consumer payment solutions, Change Healthcare. Healthcare consumerism and high-deductible health plans require providers to offer upfront estimates and payment options throughout all points of service. In his webinar, we’ll discuss consumerism as a critical area of opportunity in revenue cycle management and review numerous areas across the revenue cycle where your staff interacts with patients and leaves lasting impressions. From your first interaction with patients on the phone to discuss financial responsibility; to collecting payments at all points of service; to offering payment plans and various payment options — these are all areas that can be game-changing. With the right approach to consumerism, you can improve patient collections and optimize revenue from the start while also improving the overall patient experience.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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Eye Care Leaders announces availability of custom MyCare EHR and PM solutions and services for ophthalmology practices.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Private equity firm Alpine Investors takes a controlling interest in behavioral health EHR vendor Exym. Alpine’s Nick Horn will take on the role of Exym CEO while founder Matt DeBeer will transition to CTO. Exym launched its flagship pre-EHR Activity Tracking System in 2005.

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Circling like vultures, several EHR vendors – including Allegiance MD, CureMD, and MTBC – look to lure in SOAPware EHR customers with special promotions as the company prepares to sunset its technology early next year.


Government and Politics

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The Kaiser Family Foundation develops an individual mandate penalty calculator to help consumers compare potential tax penalties with the cost of healthcare plans found on federal and state-based exchanges. Open enrollment on the exchanges continues through December 15. Entering my credentials just for fun finds that my household would be subject to a $2,085 penalty, and would be eligible for $683 in monthly financial assistance. The calculator determined that the lowest-cost plan in my area would cost around $500 a month with assistance and $1,200 without. I can only assume the yearly deductible would be $10,000 or more.

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A new PDMP report from St. Louis County health officials in Missouri finds that physicians write 1.5 prescriptions for controlled substances per person; that number jumps to three for women over 65. Data from the first three months of the program, which launched in April, will hopefully give prescribers and government officials a good start at understanding prescribing habits among the PDMP’s 54 participating cities and counties.

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CMS Administrator Seema Verma does a little redecorating at the CMS offices in Baltimore.


Telemedicine

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San Francisco-based Sappira launches the text-based HeyDoctor primary care app in 19 states. Consults are $20 a pop – significantly cheaper than a typical video consult, but in my mind also significantly hampered by a lack of contextual interaction. (Emojis can only convey so much, after all.) The app will go live in 10 more cities by the end of the year.

EverythingBenefits adds Teladoc’s HealthiestYou telemedicine app to its line of products for payroll,and benefits broker and administrators.


Research and Innovation

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A new study finds that an AI-based weight-loss coaching app for diabetic patients is just as effective as face-to-face coaching in terms of weight lost and healthy meals eaten.


Other

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Premier Medical Group (TN) brings phone systems and its Athenahealth EHR back on line after experiencing an unspecified technical outage for several hours. The group is the area’s largest multispecialty practice, with four locations and 60 providers.

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The local paper profiles Jack "Jay" Saux, MD and his costumed efforts at St. Tammany Cancer Center (LA) to help patients get through the physical and emotional trials that come with cancer treatment. “They have this terrible disease, you’re spending a lot of time preparing treatments and helping them get through the toxicities and side effects of treatments,” says Saux, who has used his physician pirate alter ego to raise money for local healthcare charities. "And the thing they appreciate the most is when you sat down and held their hand or told them a story or let them take a picture of you in your costume."


Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD will exhibit at the American Academy of Ophthalmology conference November 11-14 in New Orleans.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the Kentucky Primary Care Association Conference November 8-10 in Lexington.

Blog Posts


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News 11/7/17

November 7, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Citing family reasons, Outcome Health COO Vivek Kundra steps down amidst allegations that the patient education media company over-promised and under-delivered on waiting room screen time. The company, which held a high-profile ribbon cutting for new corporate headquarters in downtown Chicago last month, has seen several major advertisers pull their ads from its network. Omnicomm Group, Healix, and Bristol-Myers Squibb pulled over $20 million worth of advertising earlier this week, pending third-party reviews. Outcome Health, which announced a $5 billion valuation earlier this year, will conduct its own internal audit of the 250-plus ad campaigns it ran last year.


Webinars

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November 8 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “How Clinically Integrated Networks Can Overcome the Technical Challenges to Data-Sharing.” Sponsored by: Liaison Technologies. Presenters: Dominick Mack, MD, executive medical director, Georgia Health Information Technology Extension Center and Georgia Health Connect, director, National Center for Primary Care, and associate professor, Morehouse School of Medicine;  Gary Palgon, VP of  healthcare and life sciences solutions, Liaison Technologies. This webinar will describe how Georgia Heath Connect connects clinically integrated networks to hospitals and small and rural practices, helping providers in medically underserved communities meet MACRA requirements by providing technology, technology support, and education that accelerates regulatory compliance and improves outcomes.

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November 15 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “How Hospitals and Practices Can Respond to Consumerism by Better Engaging Patients Through Price Transparency and Payment Options.” Sponsored by: Change Healthcare. Presenters: Kathy Moore, president, Moore Martini Medical; Linda Glidewell, VP of business development, consumer payment solutions, Change Healthcare. Healthcare consumerism and high-deductible health plans require providers to offer upfront estimates and payment options throughout all points of service. In his webinar, we’ll discuss consumerism as a critical area of opportunity in revenue cycle management and review numerous areas across the revenue cycle where your staff interacts with patients and leaves lasting impressions. From your first interaction with patients on the phone to discuss financial responsibility; to collecting payments at all points of service; to offering payment plans and various payment options — these are all areas that can be game-changing. With the right approach to consumerism, you can improve patient collections and optimize revenue from the start while also improving the overall patient experience.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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Mediware adds billing capabilities to its MediLinks EHR for practices offering physical, occupational, and speech therapies.

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Drchrono develops Apple Face ID recognition capabilities for its tablet-based EHR to help providers save time when logging in.

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The Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients, an HIE serving patients in Maryland and Washington, DC, renews its contract with Verato for its cloud-based patient-matching software.

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The Paso del Norte Health Information Exchange in El Paso, TX selects health data integration technology from Innovaccer to onboard six physician practices with three different EHRs. The company will also provide performance measures reports, and analytics for future population health management initiatives.

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Surescripts develops real-time prior authorization capabilities and prescription pricing benefits. It’s e-prescribing network will pull data from CVS Health; Express Scripts; plus Aprima, Allscripts, Cerner, Epic, Practice Fusion, and GE Healthcare EHRs as well as pharmacy benefit management systems to offer prescribers and patients cost information at the point of care. Given that I am a cash-paying consumer of healthcare, this will hopefully make my hunt for affordable medications that much easier. Perhaps it will even shorten the fact-finding pharmacy missions I go on ahead of time so that I can present my PCP with a list of medications and their prices during my consult, all in an effort to avoid being prescribed name-brand medicines that don’t fit my budget, and that necessitate follow-up phone calls to request cheaper alternatives.


People

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Allergy and Asthma Center of Duncanville (TX) Medical Director Harold DelasAlas, MD becomes a fellow of the American College of Physicians.

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Optium Cyber Systems names Mark Anderson (AC Group), Cory Jammal, MD (Memorial Pathology Consultants) (not pictured) and Susan Lehrer to its new healthcare-focused advisory board.


Telemedicine

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Mozzaz adds secure messaging – including video calls – to its digital health platform for behavioral health that includes EHR, PM, and patient portal capabilities, and wearables integration.


Research and Innovation

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A Kyruus survey of 1,000 healthcare consumers on appointment-scheduling habits finds that most turn to the Web to kick off their search, and most prefer to schedule appointments by phone – a notion that may seem antiquated to some but proves that providers should not completely eschew phone-based customer service in favor of more high-tech methods of booking. Three out of four survey takers consider hospital or health system affiliation when looking for new providers – a stat that makes me wonder if these consumers are considering the facility fees that come with such relationships.


Other

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In an new report, the American College of Physicians advocates for enhanced patient safety efforts in outpatient settings – an area that has largely been overshadowed by efforts in the inpatient setting. Recommendations include embedding patient safety goals into daily workflows, enhancing health IT to accommodate such workflows, addressing physician burnout’s impact on such errors, and development of ambulatory-focused patient safety metrics.

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And speaking of physician burnout: This article looks at the role physician health programs have in helping drug- and alcohol-addicted doctors get back on their feet. Forty seven states offer such confidential programs, which typically work in conjunction with state medical licensing boards and have shown high success rates. Eighty percent of physicians have remained sober during the five-year program, while 70 percent continued with their healthcare careers.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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

Jenn_125

News 11/6/17

November 6, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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NHS rolls out a telemedicine pilot program in London to help improve healthcare access. The GP at Hand program will give 3.5 million patients the option of transferring their care – and health records – to five participating practices that will offer virtual care and face-to-face appointments as needed. Patients have the option of switching back to their brick-and-mortar practice if they aren’t satisfied. Critics of the pilot worry that those patients ineligible for the program – particularly those with complex conditions – will place even more burden on already overworked practitioners.

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The health service has tapped UK-based telemedicine startup Babylon Health to provide the technology. The company, which has worked with NHS on an AI-powered triage chatbot, has raised $85,000,000 (presumably US) since launching in 2013.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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Webinars

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November 8 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “How Clinically Integrated Networks Can Overcome the Technical Challenges to Data-Sharing.” Sponsored by: Liaison Technologies. Presenters: Dominick Mack, MD, executive medical director, Georgia Health Information Technology Extension Center and Georgia Health Connect, director, National Center for Primary Care, and associate professor, Morehouse School of Medicine;  Gary Palgon, VP of  healthcare and life sciences solutions, Liaison Technologies. This webinar will describe how Georgia Heath Connect connects clinically integrated networks to hospitals and small and rural practices, helping providers in medically underserved communities meet MACRA requirements by providing technology, technology support, and education that accelerates regulatory compliance and improves outcomes.

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November 15 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “How Hospitals and Practices Can Respond to Consumerism by Better Engaging Patients Through Price Transparency and Payment Options.” Sponsored by: Change Healthcare. Presenters: Kathy Moore, president, Moore Martini Medical; Linda Glidewell, VP of business development, consumer payment solutions, Change Healthcare. Healthcare consumerism and high-deductible health plans require providers to offer upfront estimates and payment options throughout all points of service. In his webinar, we’ll discuss consumerism as a critical area of opportunity in revenue cycle management and review numerous areas across the revenue cycle where your staff interacts with patients and leaves lasting impressions. From your first interaction with patients on the phone to discuss financial responsibility; to collecting payments at all points of service; to offering payment plans and various payment options — these are all areas that can be game-changing. With the right approach to consumerism, you can improve patient collections and optimize revenue from the start while also improving the overall patient experience.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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First Look MRI (GA) selects RIS, communications, portal, speech recognition, and PACS technology from RadNet subsidiary ERad. The practice seems to pride itself on being consumer-friendly: It doesn’t require a specialist’s referral and advertises a flat imaging fee of $400.

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Family Christian Health Center, an FQHC based in Harvey, IL, selects RCM services and software from Visualutions.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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I don’t get it: Apple’s much-hyped iPhone X sells out over the weekend across 20 major US cities. Customers were seen buying two phones at a time, most likely to gift or re-sell. Craigslist and Ebay listings for the phone soon ventured near the $5,000 mark.


People

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Sam Johnson (Relatient) joins Chattanooga, TN-based telemedicine vendor WeCounsel as CEO.

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Great Lakes Management Services hires John Hart (National Surgical Healthcare) as CFO.


Telemedicine

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Global/Georgia Partnership for Telehealth expands its school-based telemedicine services to include over 100 schools across 25 school systems. GPT Director of School-based Telehealth Loren Nix affirms that the nonprofit’s programs are not meant to take away from a local physician’s business – a concern not unheard of as such services gain in popularity. “As we begin initial planning with schools interested in implementing telehealth,” Nix explains, “we strongly encourage them to conduct a local scavenger hunt to assess and tap into existing healthcare providers in their area. It should never be the intention of school-based telehealth centers to erode the local medical community.”

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The local news profiles CServ, a Mount Dora, FL-based telemedicine startup that provides virtual therapy services to children with autism. Though it officially launched in 2014, the company dates its true genesis to the 1999 development of its interface by affiliate CNOW Telehealth Solutions.


Research and Innovation

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American Association of Neurology researchers uncover a surprising cog in the wheel of physician burnout – typically associated with burdensome regulatory programs and EHR documentation. Over 300 AAN members cited a lack of professionalism in an open-ended survey question about well-being, referring to themselves as “worker bees,” “widgets,” and “hotel clerks” who aren’t treated as professionals; nor understood or respected by peers, management, or policymakers. “I think that at the core, neurologists are burnt out because they do not feel adequately respected and reimbursed for choosing one of the most challenging and dynamic specialties in medicine,” wrote one survey taker. “We feel that the ‘deck is stacked against’ cognitive specialists such as neurologists in favor of the proceduralists/surgeons.”


Other

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Endocrinologist Celeste Hart, MD opens an art gallery below her practice in Tallahassee, FL – a business decision that fulfills her lifelong love of art collecting. The Anderson-Brickler Gallery and North Florida Regional Thyroid Center are located in the same building her grandfather, a general practitioner, built to house his practice in 1954.

A judge sentences Lynn Espejo to 45 months in jail for stealing $612,000 over a three year-period from practices she helped manage as an employee of Blanford Medical Services and Practice Management Services. Espejo used the illicit funds and a PMS debit card to buy a car, pool, and house.

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I always enjoy the extra hour afforded to me when Daylight Saving Time ends, though I can never seem to remember how it will affect my calendar invites to colleagues in Arizona and Hawaii (both states opted out of the Uniform Time Act when it was passed by Congress in 1966). I ate up my extra hour yesterday with a good book and browsing the Web a bit. I came across this enlightening article about the origins of DST, for which we have to thank the lobbying efforts of several industries.


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