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News 7/18/18

July 18, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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Rite Aid decides to give virtual consults another go, announcing it will add telemedicine software from InTouch Health to health kiosks already installed in its pharmacies. The retail clinic has dabbled in telemedicine over the last several years. It partnered with OptumHealth to offer virtual visits in its clinic exam rooms in 2012, and piloted 25 HealthSpot kiosks in 2015. HealthSpot unexpectedly closed its doors six months later.


Webinars

July 26 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “The Patient’s Power in Improving Health and Care.” Sponsor: Health Catalyst. Presenter: Maureen Bisognano, president emerita and senior fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Patients, even those with chronic diseases, only spend a few hours each year with a doctor or a nurse, while they spend thousands of hours making personal choices around eating, exercise, and other activities that impact their health. How can we get patients to be more engaged in their care, and help physicians, nurses, and healthcare providers transition from a paradigm of “what’s the matter” to “what matters to you?” This webinar will present stories of patients and healthcare organizations that are partnering together with tools, processes, data, and systems of accountability to move from dis-ease to health-ease.

July 31 (Tuesday) 12:30 ET. “How to Proactively Troubleshoot End User Experience Issues in Healthcare IT.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. Presenter: Goliath Technologies engineering staff. An early warning system for EHR access problems helps prevent downtime and user access problems before they impacts patients and collects objective technical evidence of the issue’s root cause. This webinar will describe how hospitals protect their investment in Allscripts, Cerner, Epic, and Meditech EHRs by anticipating, troubleshooting, and preventing end user experience issues and collecting the technical data needed to collaborate with their vendors on a solution.

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


People

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Daryl Rolley (PRGX) joins Medicat as CEO. The Atlanta-based company provides EHR and practice management software to colleges and universities.

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Payformance names Alicia Torres (Altarum) president and CEO.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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After combining and recapitalizing late last year, Advance Health and CenseoHealth rebrand as Signify Health. The technology-enabled care management company hired former Athenahealth Chief Product Officer Kyle Armbrester as CEO in April.


Telemedicine

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NuPhysicia Health of Texas and AMD Global Telemedicine launch The Working Clinic, a new telemedicine joint venture aimed at giving small employers easy access to on-site care.

CoreHealth adds telemedicine capabilities from EDocAmerica to its wellness software for employers.

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A Deloitte survey of 624 physicians reveals that the biggest barriers to telemedicine adoption are potential medical errors, a lack of access to technology, and the security and privacy of patient data. Survey takers cited “interoperability of virtual care technologies” as their top requirement for increased adoption.


Other

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Multi-state addiction treatment facility operator Sunspire Health notifies affected individuals of a phishing email scam that compromised several accounts, some of which may have contained patient information.


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News 7/16/18

July 16, 2018 News No Comments

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Joe Harpaz joins Modernizing Medicine as president and COO. Harpaz previously led the tax technology software business of Thomson Reuters. He joins the specialty-focused EHR and practice management vendor just over a year after it secured a $231 million investment from Warburg Pincus. The Miami-based company has raised over $330 million since opening its doors in 2010.


Webinars

July 26 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “The Patient’s Power in Improving Health and Care.” Sponsor: Health Catalyst. Presenter: Maureen Bisognano, president emerita and senior fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Patients, even those with chronic diseases, only spend a few hours each year with a doctor or a nurse, while they spend thousands of hours making personal choices around eating, exercise, and other activities that impact their health. How can we get patients to be more engaged in their care, and help physicians, nurses, and healthcare providers transition from a paradigm of “what’s the matter” to “what matters to you?” This webinar will present stories of patients and healthcare organizations that are partnering together with tools, processes, data, and systems of accountability to move from dis-ease to health-ease.

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


Announcements and Implementations

In an effort to improve internal practice communication, DrChrono adds group chat capabilities from Stitch to its EHR.

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Advocare taps GuideIT to lead an EHR procurement and implementation project across its 181 locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


People

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Sarah Cho (Scripps Health) joins Health Center Partners of Southern California as VP of clinical transformation and health informatics for its Integrated Health Partners subsidiary.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Healthy Plus will relocate from Lee’s Summit to Independence, MO, promising to add 125 jobs over the next two years. The Medicare-focused services and software company found itself in hot water last fall after employees alerted the local media to the startup’s payroll problems. Both of the company’s co-founders, former University of Missouri-Kansas City basketball coach Sean Bledsoe and former Kansas City Chiefs player Chris Smith, seem to have shaky financial track records. Bledsoe was involved in a federal lawsuit related to his failure to pay back loans for his former company, VC Medical, whose employees also complained of payroll issues. Smith has faced legal troubles related to unpaid medical bills.


Government and Politics

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In a letter to the nation’s doctors, CMS Administrator Seema Verma explains that the proposed streamlining of the Evaluation & Management documentation and coding system will result in enormous time-savings: “Most specialties would see changes in their overall Medicare payments in the range of 1-2 percent up or down from this policy, but we believe that any small negative payment adjustments would be outweighed by the significant reduction in documentation burden. If you add up the amount of time saved for clinicians across America in one year from our proposal, it would come to more than 500 years of additional time available for patient care.”


Other

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The New York Times points out that administrative costs aren’t just a problem for hospitals: For every 10 physicians that provide care in a practice setting, seven additional staff members handle billing-related tasks. A related study found physicians spend an extra three hours each week on billing, while support staff devote 19 hours to similar activities.

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Practice management software vendor MedEvolve notifies 200,000 Premier Immediate Medical Care patients that files with identifying information were left on an FTP server inadvertently made public between March 29 and May 4. The company also determined that an unauthorized file was accessed, and that a screen shot of a part of the file was posted online in May by DataBreaches.net.

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Quartz editors comb through the 915 health and fitness skills available in Amazon’s Alexa skills store to find that 65 have no medical disclaimers, and that the majority “provide mediocre health advice in the best-case scenarios.” When asked to weigh in on Alexa’s diagnostic abilities, Georgetown University neurologist Tian Wang, MD didn’t mince words: “Based on my judgment, these are all bad responses. If this is the best that Silicon Valley can offer, then it will still take a long way for the robotic machine to take over our jobs.”


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News 7/11/18

July 11, 2018 News No Comments

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A study of 235 physicians working in New York City-based practices with five or fewer MDs finds lower rates of burnout than the national average. Researchers from NYU Langone Health (NY) believe these smaller care settings give physicians a greater sense of independence and autonomy than that experienced by their counterparts practicing within the hamster wheels of larger medical groups and health systems.

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An increasingly acrimonious letter exchange between administrators at Lee Health (FL) and physicians practicing at its outpatient clinics bears out the correlation between smaller practice size and less chance of burnout. The correspondence, which has been going on for several months, details physician grievances with workplace culture, an oppressive focus on bottom lines over medical practice, and a lack of physician input – all of which, the physicians contend, have negatively impacted patient care and increased burnout. “We are being micromanaged at every step by countless administrators,” the physicians write, “many of them with non-clinical backgrounds. The culture of imposing new rules without meaningful physician input is what at the end negatively affects patient care and safety.”


Webinars

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


Announcements and Implementations

DrChrono offers end users access to Collectly’s digital billing and collections messaging services.

Azalea Health adds public health reporting capabilities from Iron Bridge to its EHR software.

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Nimblr makes its appointment-scheduling virtual assistant available through Amazon Alexa.


People

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Primary care consortium Health Center Partners of Southern California names Victoria Abrams (VBA Physician Network Services) EVP of its Integrated Health Partners subsidiary.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Health screening kiosk company Higi raises $21.3 million in a Series C funding round that brings its total raised to just over $61 million. The Chicago-based company’s 11,000 retail stations and app collect biometric data from consumers and their devices, which can then be shared with care teams.

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Atlanta-based chronic care management company Rimidi raises $6.6 million in a Series A investment round.

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Vein911 Vein Treatment Centers founder Christ Pittman, MD launches Health Performance Specialists, a Tampa, FL-based management services organization for independent physicians.


Government and Politics

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ONC will award up to $40,000 in prizes to software developers who can demonstrate new and innovative ways to use Certified Health IT Product List data. Submissions are due October 31.


Telemedicine

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A Manatt Health analysis of telemedicine policies and Medicaid programs across the US finds that nearly all 50 states provide reimbursement for some form of telemedicine. While most offer reimbursement for live video conferencing, only 29 reimburse for one additional type – store and forward, remote patient monitoring, or email and phone. Colorado is the only state that permits reimbursement for all variants. Twenty states received “Progressive” rankings, while 19 were labeled “Moderate,” and 12 “Restrictive.”


Other

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MSK Group (TN) notifies patients at its orthopedic practices of a data breach first discovered on May 7. The breach, which the group stresses has not compromised patient or employee information, involved several instances of unauthorized system access over several months.


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News 7/9/18

July 9, 2018 News No Comments

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AdvancedMD acquires competitor NueMD. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

Mr. HIStalk is running his annual Summer Doldrums Special on sponsorships and webinars. If you’ve been considering becoming a sponsor, now is a great time to take advantage of special rates on great benefits. Email Lorre for more information.

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I am back on the grid after taking time off to shuttle family members to the beach and summer camp (for my second stint as a “counselor”), and to help my tennis team earn a spot in the playoffs. Summer tennis poses a unique set of challenges thanks to soaring temperatures, oppressive humidity, and shifting vacation schedules. Matches are almost more about staying hydrated and upright than winning. I seem to suffer more from muscle strains during warmer months – a problem that culminated in a minor calf injury just before I officially unplugged. Before heading to Dr. Google, I took advantage of telemedicine to ask the on-call physician for advice on how best to treat the affected area. It was free thanks to my health-sharing plan, convenient, and informative – characteristics that fly in the face of recent headlines declaring telemedicine a bust.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

In North Carolina, Mecklenburg Medical Group physicians drop their lawsuit against Atrium Health and its non-compete policies. As reported here several weeks ago, MMG physicians will open the stand-alone Tryon Medical Partners practice after Labor Day.


People

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David Guthrie (Guthrie Technology Services) joins PatientPoint as chief product officer.

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Practice management company United Derm Partners hires Brian Hoffman (Sound Physicians) and Shelley Olesen (Modernizing Medicine) as VPs of development.


Announcements and Implementations

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Sevocity announces GA of software that combines EHR, practice management, and billing technology.

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SeniorWell selects PracticeEHR technology to better enable its mobile healthcare services for nursing homes.

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Spear Physical Therapy (NY) selects RCM solutions and services from WebPT-backed BMS Practice Solutions.


Telemedicine

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EVisit flouts media wisdom and launches virtual consult services aimed at pre-diabetics and diabetics.


Research and Innovation

A literature review of 22 studies conducted in nine countries finds that patients who stick with the same physician over time live longer than those who doctor-hop. The finding highlights the need for patients to find – and stick with – a family physician they can trust, as well as the need for newer care access points like retail clinics, telemedicine services, and urgent care centers to make sure they are embedded within the care continuums of their local practices.


Other

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DNA testing seems to be garnering its fair share of privacy- and government-related headlines this summer. I wonder how many consumers contemplate the shift in family relationships that may occur once they get their results back. Conversations around my vacation dinner table made it clear that the potential for finding long-lost relatives – or family members you didn’t even know you had – becomes greater once you join the databases of companies like Ancestry.com and 23andMe – repositories from which it’s all but impossible to delete your data.

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Australia’s HealthEngine physician review and appointment-scheduling website temporarily shuts down its user review system after discovering identifying information had been left exposed in its source code. The data breach is the latest in a string of missteps that has also led the company to cease its third-party referral service and banner advertising. Founder and CEO Marcus Tan has promised to create an advisory group to help better steer the company’s future products and services, and to give users better transparency and control over how the company uses their data.


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News 6/27/18

June 27, 2018 News No Comments

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Greenway Health hires Richard Atkin (Vista Equity Partners) as CEO following the departure of Scott Zimmerman, who has left to pursue other opportunities. Atkin’s health IT tenure includes leadership stints at Vista Consulting Group, Sunquest Information Systems, and Allscripts-Misys. Fun fact: Matt Hawkins, who was CEO of Vitera when it was acquired by Greenway in 2013, replaced Atkin as president of Sunquest in 2014.


Webinars

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


Announcements and Implementations

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Redirect Health will implement CareCloud’s practice management and EHR software at the clinics and outpatient surgery centers it manages across Arizona.

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MTBC will integrate blockchain technology with its EHR in a phased approach that will initially focus on allowing patients to give providers access to medication-related information. I must admit, I’m still a little fuzzy on the ins and outs of blockchain, especially as it relates to patients and how likely they’ll be to understand it, access it through a third-party’s PHR, and then use it successfully. MTBC’s press release explains further:

“The blockchain technology, called Hyperledger, links directly to the company’s EHR that includes a portal for patients to access their Personal Health Records (PHR) through a computer or smartphone via iOS and Android applications. Through the PHR, patients can grant varying levels of medical record access to physicians of their choosing, no matter what EHR system that provider uses in his or her practice. Once an approved physician adds data in the blockchain, those details are then mirrored to the EHR in real time, so the original record remains up-to-date, secure, and comprehensive while complying with regulatory guidelines.”


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Private equity fund Francisco Partners considers putting specialty-focused EHR vendor Nextech Systems up for sale.

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App-based pregnancy and postpartum care company Babyscripts acquires competitor IBirth for an undisclosed sum. IBirth founder and CEO Judith Nowlin will become chief growth officer at Babyscripts.

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EHR and practice management company Compulink changes its name to Compulink Healthcare Solutions. The rebranding coincides with a 20,000 square-foot addition to its headquarters in Newbury Park, CA, where it employs 160.


People

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Healthwise CMO Adam Husney, MD will also assume the responsibilities of president at the evidence-based health education, technology, and services nonprofit.


Research and Innovation

Allscripts-backed Practice Fusion will funnel health data from EHR end users to Icon, a drug development and commercialization services company that will use the data in its health research. Initial areas of study will focus on real-time identification of eligible patients for research studies, data collection for late-phase and post-market research programs, and registry development.


Telemedicine

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1.800MD launches NaviGo Health, a portal-based set of healthcare tools that includes virtual consults, pharmacy and mail-order discounts, liaison services that include bill negotiation, and real-time insurance eligibility verification.

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EWellness secures a $1.5 million investment from Triton Funds that it will use to expand sales and marketing efforts for its telemedicine-based Phzio physical therapy technology.


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