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News 6/1/17

June 1, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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HealthTap opens its first office in New Zealand to better serve the local Waikato District Health Board and its digital SmartHealth initiative, which launched last year with HealthTap’s virtual care technology to better connect patients with local healthcare providers. The Palo Alto, CA-based company will also use the new location to sell regional employers on its HealthTap Compass product, a virtual consult package that also includes reminders, tips, and health management tools.

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Anita Hogan (Hewlett Packard Enterprise) will head up the Asia-Pacific hub.


Webinars

June 22 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Social Determinants of Health.” Sponsored by Philips Wellcentive. Presenter: David Nash, MD, MBA, dean, Jefferson College of Population Health. One of the nation’s foremost experts on social determinants of health will explain the importance of these factors and how to make the best use of them.

June 29 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Be the First to See New Data on Why Patients Switch Healthcare Providers.” Sponsored by Solutionreach. As patients pay more for their care and have access to more data about cost and quality, their expectations for healthcare are changing. And as their expectations change, they are more likely to switch providers to get them met. In this free webinar, we’ll look at this new data on why patients switch and what makes them stay. Be one of the first to see the latest data on why patients leave and what you can do about it.

July 11 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET.  “Your Data Migration Questions Answered: Ask the Expert Q&A Panel.” Sponsored by Galen Healthcare Solutions. Presenters: Julia Snapp, manager of professional services, Galen Healthcare Solutions; Tyler Suacci, principal technical consultant, Galen Healthcare Solutions. This webcast will give attendees who are considering or in the process of replacing and/or transitioning EHRs the ability to ask questions of our experts. Our moderators have extensive experience in data migration efforts, having supported over 250+ projects, and migration of 40MM+ patient records and 7K+ providers. They will be available to answer questions surrounding changes in workflows, items to consider when migrating data, knowing what to migrate vs. archive, etc.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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Internist Mehnaz Haq, MD (NJ) goes live on MTBC’s cloud-based, voice-enabled TalkSoft EHR. The company brought in Amazing Charts founder Jonathan Bertman, MD in April to lead development and launch of the new technology.

SRS Health adds OBERD’s patient-reported outcomes management capabilities to its data-collection platform.

Presagia Sports will integrate Privit’s physical evaluation and health history registration software with its EHR for athletes, trainers, and sports medicine professionals.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Heal begins offering its app-powered house calls in Washington, DC and parts of Northern Virginia. The company, which got its start in California, has hired Kari Scantlebury, MD (Inova Fairfax Hospital) as its first East Coast medical director.

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Encoda will use an undisclosed amount of funding from Clearwell Group to expand its billing and analytics business. The Tampa, FL-based business plans to grow its sales and marketing team, focus on new product development, and look for acquisition opportunities. Its last purchase was in 2015, when it acquired Carrollton, GA-based Strategic Management Consultants.


Research and Innovation

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I would if I could: A Fitbit study finds that seven-plus hours of sleep each night is best for health; fewer hours result in negative impacts to short-term memory, cell regeneration, and mood stability. The wearables company analyzed millions of hours of sleep data from several of its devices to determine that magic number. Results of the study are comparable to those achieved in a sleep clinic, leading head researcher Conor Heneghan to boldly pound the first nail into the sleep clinic coffin: “Fitbit has transformed what people can learn about their sleep habits by taking the ability to track sleep stages out of a lab and putting it on the wrist.”


Telemedicine

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Mesa, AZ-based EVisit raises $2 million in a funding round led by Traeger Grills CEO Jeremy Andrus and venture capital firms Kickstart Seed Fund and Arizona Founders Fund. The company has raised $3 million since opening for business in 2013. It will use the financing to accelerate support, sales, and marketing efforts – a timely move given that the press section of its website hasn’t been updated since January 2016.

In other HealthTap news, the company takes advantage of the recent passage of telemedicine-friendly legislation to launch its subscription service in Texas.

Occupational health provider US HealthWorks selects American Well to power its new USHW CareConnectNOW telemedicine service for employers.


Other

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A plastic surgeon’s office in Beverly Hills tries to pick up the pieces after a disgruntled ex-employee stole patient files, financial data, and photos of celebrity patients while in surgery, many of which she then shared via social media. Originally hired as a translator and driver for Zain Kadri, MD the former staffer convinced physicians and patients to let her sit in on surgeries, during which she surreptitiously took photos and videos. She is also thought to have been behind a break-in several weeks ago that saw all of the practice’s digital files stolen.


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Readers Write: America’s Doctors Need a Neutral Internet

America’s Doctors Need a Neutral Internet
By Matthew Douglass

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In 1984, Stewart Brand, a close friend of the founders of the Internet, famously said, “Information wants to be free. Information also wants to be expensive.” Three years ago, I detailed why classifying the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act was so important to preventing Internet services and accompanying information from becoming expensive for Internet consumers and businesses. An active public debate occurred that year, with a record 3,700,000 public comments submitted to the FCC, including the views of hundreds of top investors, leading technology companies, churches, and civil society groups.

After much public debate and consideration, the FCC in 2015 voted to regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility in an effort to “protect innovators and consumers” and reassert the Internet’s “core of free expression and democratic principles.” Cable and telecommunications companies are now explicitly restricted from discriminating among website providers and content, or treating them in a different manner. Today, the Internet thrives as it has since its invention: There are no fast lanes or slow lanes, and no company’s Web traffic can receive preferential treatment or prioritization.

Just two years after that rulemaking by the FCC, Ajit Pai, the new head of the FCC, has now proposed repealing that critical decision. Changing these existing rules could allow Internet service providers to charge different prices to consumers and businesses based on the influence of the company transmitting data or the type of information being transmitted.

As was successfully argued a few years ago, differently priced lanes on the Internet would primarily benefit incumbent Internet applications and be particularly burdensome for Internet consumers and small businesses fighting to compete with larger, entrenched companies.

The Health IT Connection

Medical practices in the US are becoming increasingly reliant on EHRs to run their businesses and treat patients. The future of EHRs is in the cloud, especially for independent physicians who are particularly sensitive to technology costs for their lean, small businesses. The last thing that independent physicians need is to have to bear additional costs to their business on top of what they already spend on critical medical technology.

Imagine if there were more expensive lanes on the Internet that promised faster speeds. By definition, the less expensive lanes would be slower. Since healthcare applications are now mission-critical for doctors to be able to treat their patients, customers of ISPs that introduce tiered pricing would be forced to choose the faster, more expensive plans. Physicians operating their practices on a shoestring budget would be directly affected and would potentially face significant harm. At a time when the entire healthcare industry is shifting to value-based care, we should be looking at ways to ensure the financial viability of independent practices, rather than endangering their existence by imposing additional, unnecessary costs.

Another ramification of allowing ISPs to determine which traffic belongs in a fast lane is that they could preferentially speed up or slow down the services of specific companies. For instance, a digital health company owned by an ISP could be given preferential speed over the services of competitors. This situation would directly impede competition, discourage startup companies from entering the space, and reduce freedom of choice for physicians and patients. America’s doctors and patients should determine which Internet-enabled healthcare services will thrive based on better functionality, not because of delivery speeds decided by ISPs with potential conflicts of interest.

If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Increase the Cost

The Internet Association and its member companies, including mine, has reasserted its support of the existing FCC regulation of the Internet: “The [I]nternet industry is uniform in its belief that net neutrality preserves the consumer experience, competition, and innovation online. In other words, existing net neutrality rules should be enforced and kept intact.”

Doctors need new, innovative technologies and freedom from the burden of new, unnecessary costs to be able to do their jobs well in our rapidly evolving, 21st century information economy. The last thing they need is the heavier burden of additional costs required to run technology that is essential for patient care. A neutral Internet without fast or slow lanes is crucial for the US to maintain the innovative and entrepreneurial engine that has driven our powerful information-driven economy for decades.

When medical students begin studying for careers as physicians, they pledge to “first, do no harm.” The FCC would be wise to take a similar approach to net neutrality as it stands today: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Matthew Douglass is co-founder and SVP of customer experience at Practice Fusion in San Francisco.


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 5/31/17

May 31, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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The DoJ announces that EClinicalWorks will pay $155 million to settle a federal False Claims lawsuit alleging that the Westborough, MA-based company misrepresented its EHR product and paid customers kickbacks for promoting it. Its website states that over 70,000 facilities run its software – including 125,000 physician and NP end users. The company and three of its founders will pay the settlement. Mr. H provides a more thorough analysis of the settlement (and the reader-reported events that preceded it) here.


Webinars

June 22 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Social Determinants of Health.” Sponsored by Philips Wellcentive. Presenter: David Nash, MD, MBA, dean, Jefferson College of Population Health. One of the nation’s foremost experts on social determinants of health will explain the importance of these factors and how to make the best use of them.

June 29 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Be the First to See New Data on Why Patients Switch Healthcare Providers.” Sponsored by Solutionreach. As patients pay more for their care and have access to more data about cost and quality, their expectations for healthcare are changing. And as their expectations change, they are more likely to switch providers to get them met. In this free webinar, we’ll look at this new data on why patients switch and what makes them stay. Be one of the first to see the latest data on why patients leave and what you can do about it.

July 11 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET.  “Your Data Migration Questions Answered: Ask the Expert Q&A Panel.” Sponsored by Galen Healthcare Solutions. Presenters: Julia Snapp, manager of professional services, Galen Healthcare Solutions; Tyler Suacci, principal technical consultant, Galen Healthcare Solutions. This webcast will give attendees who are considering or in the process of replacing and/or transitioning EHRs the ability to ask questions of our experts. Our moderators have extensive experience in data migration efforts, having supported over 250+ projects, and migration of 40MM+ patient records and 7K+ providers. They will be available to answer questions surrounding changes in workflows, items to consider when migrating data, knowing what to migrate vs. archive, etc.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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Nextech Systems develops single sign-on capabilities for its EHR and PM software, enabling users to automatically log in to Nextech Select when logging into Windows.

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Skyland, NC-based Allergy Partners, a GE Centricity customer, will implement patient portal and billing software from Medfusion at its facilities across the country.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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San Francisco-based Genome Medical launches its genetic consultation services with an undisclosed amount of Series A funding led by venture firm Canaan Partners. The company offers virtual consultations directly to consumers and as an outsourced service for physicians. CEO Lisa Alderson (Invitae), Robert Green, MD (Brigham and Women’s Hospital) and Randy Scott (Invitae) founded the company last year.

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Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School will fund the formation of Brown Physicians Inc., a Rhode Island-based nonprofit that will bring together six independent, academic physician practices eager to insulate themselves from the stranglehold of a healthcare landscape increasingly dominated by just a few health systems. The new organization will enable its 500-plus physician members to pool resources related to care coordination, research, and administrative needs.

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Digital patient education tech vendor Outcome Health raises $500 million in a Series A round led by Goldman Sachs. The Chicago-based company hopes the cash infusion will help it meet its goal of supporting 70 percent of all practices in the US by 2020; and expanding its customer base to include payers, pharmacies, clinical trials, and international markets. CEO Rishi Shah founded the company as ContextMedia in 2006 with President Shradha Agarwal while both were at Northwestern University.


People

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Michael Pollack (KBL) joins Rennova Health as interim CFO.

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ClearHealth Quality Institute hires Doug Clarke (American Telemedicine Association) as executive director.


Telemedicine

The Alabama Dept. of Public Health will use a $139,650 Appalachian Regional Commission grant to build and install telehealth carts in 19 county health clinics. “The use of telehealth technology greatly eases the burden on patients in rural areas by eliminating the need to travel to see a doctor or specialist in one of our major metropolitan areas like Birmingham or Mobile,” said Governor Kay Ivey during her announcement of the grant.

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Lakeshore Foundation Research Collaborative prepare to launch a study to determine telemedicine’s efficacy in treating patients with multiple sclerosis. Over 800 patients from Alabama and Mississippi – states that face a dearth of MS rehabilitation expertise – will be given tablets loaded with 36 exercises to perform at home. Organizers are eager to see if patient adherence and outcomes are similar to or better than those achieved in traditional clinic settings.


Government and Politics

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CMS releases more details about its identity theft-prevention plans to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare ID cards. Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Numbers will be replaced by randomly generated Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers unique to each beneficiary. CMS will start mailing new cards in April 2018 in hopes of meeting the final replacement deadline of April 2019. Physicians will have nearly two years of transition, during which they can use both the old and new numbers.


Research and Innovation

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A 33-page RAND report outlines the hold chronic conditions have on patients (and their pocketbooks) in the US: As of 2014, sixty percent had at least one chronic condition, and forty percent had more than one. Older adults tended to have two or more diseases at the same time. Given their longer life spans, women are more likely then men to suffer from such disease states. The proliferation of such disease states has taken a toll on individuals, the collective health system, and the economy, as daily headlines and the figures above can attest. Statistics like these put in stark relief the need for preventative health services grounded in population health management programs that focus more on social determinants of health than the latest wearable device.

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AMA digs into its latest Physician Practice Benchmark Survey to find that 47.1 percent of the 3,500 survey respondents own their own practice – the first time fewer than 50 percent of physicians have reported such a stat since the survey launched several decades ago. Nearly 56 percent work in practices owned by other physicians. Most continue to work in practices with 10 or fewer physicians.


Other

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Managed care company Molina Healthcare shuts down its patient portal as it investigates a likely data breach. The breach was initially brought to its attention last month by an anonymous member who inadvertently discovered the ability to view the online medical claims of other members. The Long Beach, CA-based company made news several weeks ago when it fired CEO Mario Molina (son of the company’s founder) – a move he attributes to his vocal criticism of Republican repeal-and-replace efforts.


Sponsor Updates

  • GE Healthcare previews its upcoming film, “Heroines of Health.”
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the 2017 MPHCA Annual Conference May 30-June 2 in Biloxi, MS.
  • Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at the 2017 International MUSE Conference May 30-June 2 in Dallas.
  • As of May 18, people have counted on Healthwise information 2 billion times.
  • AdvancedMD publishes a MIPS Improvement Activities fact sheet.
  • Aprima will exhibit at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies Annual Meeting June 5-7 in Boston.

Blog Posts


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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News 5/25/17

May 25, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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STAT publishes a well-written look at former CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt’s new life as a “wonk-turned-evangelist,” focusing on his seemingly non-stop efforts to protect the Affordable Care Act through a series of town hall events. “It’s not about a bunch of policy arguments,” Slavitt emphasizes. “It’s about getting out here in the real earthy world where people are going to have to place their votes, and it’s one senator at a time.”

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Slavitt maintains that sponsoring organizations – of which there seem to be few aside from the Save My Care coalition – are not in fact bussing people in to attend his in-person appearances, as Rupert Murdoch has recently asserted. “That’s what he said,” Slavitt says. “And you know, we just had 3,300 people on a call from Alaska. Where do they get bussed in from?”


Webinars

None scheduled in the coming weeks. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Announcements and Implementations

Charlotte County Public Schools taps Marathon Health to take over operations of its onsite health center, upping the company’s presence in Florida to 21 facilities.

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Onsite primary care clinic company Activate Healthcare will implement Twine Health’s Employee Health Activation platform, which helps employers enroll and engage employees in the management of chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes. Activate will integrate Twine technology with its NextGen EHR via Redox’s interface engine.

Innovaccer offers consultation services for IPAs looking to transition to ACOs.


People

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Allscripts adds Mara Aspinall (Health Catalysts) to its Board of Directors.


Telemedicine

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The Delaware Health Information Network offers virtual consult services courtesy of MDLive as part of a consumer engagement effort that also includes the launch of a PHR, and text-based messaging service that will alert patients when lab results from participating providers are available for viewing.


Research and Innovation

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One year after debuting a mental health screening tool built in partnership with Mental Health America, Walgreens finds that 75 percent of users who complete screenings actively follow up on recommendations, particularly in the areas of treatment and resource referrals, and further screening for anxiety and PTSD. Of that group, over 30 percent enter into treatment and 24 percent discuss results with family, friends, or a provider. MHA will expand its partnership wit Walgreens this summer when it adds a pharmacy chat feature to its website.


Government and Politics

The local paper highlights the optimism physician practices in the Buffalo region of New York have thanks to the recently announced inclusion of the area in the second round of the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus program. Area providers believe the program will help some struggling practices stay in business, attract new providers and practices to the area, and better enable the remote monitoring of patients. Nearly 3,000 practices are participating in the first round of the program. Another thousand are expected to participate in round two, which kicks off in January 2018.


Other

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The first rule of Drop Out Club is …: Scientific American looks at the increasing popularity of online forums geared towards letting physicians air and commiserate about their burnout grievances. Drop Out Club is one such network, offering its 37,000 members an advice forum, job board, and private messaging. “Reading all these stories of people trying to leave made me realize I wasn’t crazy for being unhappy in this career I had worked so hard for,” says former emergency physician Maryam Shapland, MD who is now a medical director at a life insurance company. “Leaving medicine felt like giving up a big part of my identity. But I’m proud of what I do now. Most importantly, I’m happy and thriving.”


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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

JennHIStalk

News 5/24/17

May 24, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Competition for primary care patients heats up in Seattle as Portland, OR-based ZoomCare opens two new clinics in the metro area. The tech-friendly managed primary care company will open another three later this year. Notice of the new facilities comes amidst Seattle-based direct primary care company Qliance Medical Management’s closure and One Medical’s opening of its first clinic in the area. ZoomCare’s insurance arm, Zoom Health, closed last month amidst financial instability and concurrent investigation by state health insurance officials.


Webinars

None scheduled in the coming weeks. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services, including turn-key production and promotion.


Announcements and Implementations

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Femwell Group Health will offer HealthGrid’s patient engagement platform including mobile check-in, automated appointment reminders, and population health management to the physician practices it managers in South Florida.

SocialClime enhances its Web-based patient feedback and engagement tools with RosettaHealth’s data standardization technology.


People

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ClearHealth Quality Institute is looking for volunteers to serve on its Board of Directors and new Telemedicine Standards Committee. The Institute is in the process of taking over the American Telemedicine Association’s accreditation program.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Nomad Health launches its online, broker-free clinical work-finding tool in California. Both states are experiencing physician shortages: California is experiencing a dearth of PCPs while 35 counties in Texas are facing a doctor desert. The New York City-based company launched in 2015 and has raised $4 million.

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Dermatology-focused PM company Dermatologists of Central States receives an undisclosed amount of funding from Sheridan Capital Partners. DoCS provides non-clinical resources to dermatology practices in Ohio through partner practice Dermatologists of Southwest Ohio.


Government and Politics

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Former Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) joins CMS as head of the HHS regional office in Atlanta. Ellmers, who is also a nurse, made a name for herself in health IT circles with the introduction of several pieces of legislation aimed at curtailing the scope of Meaningful Use.

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Industry insiders weigh in on President Trump’s budget proposal and its implications for healthcare-related departments and initiatives.

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FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD focuses his first official blog post on ways in which the agency can fight the opioid epidemic. Gottlieb outlines high-level plans for a new Opioid Policy Steering Committee, which will seek to, among other things, determine whether the mandated education of healthcare professionals on appropriate prescribing recommendations will make a dent in addiction levels. He adds that he and the steering committee will seek input from stakeholders to determine next best steps.


Sponsor Updates


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