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News 1/28/19

January 28, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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A study of over 70,000 adults with and without a designated primary care doctor finds that those who do identify as having primary care more high-value care, less low-value care, and better patient experiences. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that 25 percent of surveyed adults didn’t take advantage of primary care services even though they had health insurance coverage. That finding, according to the study’s authors, point to a lack of primary care access, physician shortages, and the propensity of younger patients to seek care outside of the traditional primary care business model – all signs that point to the value technology could play in connecting more adults with primary care services.


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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Seattle-based startup Vyrty raises $3 million to scale a its mobile Sync.MD PHR, which it claims gives patients the ability to download their health data from any source and share it with their providers. I  have to admit I’m surprised this type of company is getting funding given Apple’s increasingly wide health record app reach, not to mention the already saturated EHR/PHR market. Granted, technology like Sync.MD might be appealing to Android users. The company has also developed a health record card that can be read by providers using a special card reader.

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Global investment company Investcorp acquires practice management company Health Plus Management for an undisclosed amount. Health Plus CEO Stuart Blumberg, who founded the company in 1994, will remain with the business.

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CNBC profiles 98point6, an on-demand primary care service that offers patients access to care via chatbot and messaging for a monthly fee. The company has raised $86 million since launching in 2015, and recently announced its availability to patients in all 50 states. The leadership team includes former Amazon Prime head Rob Schwietzer and family planning software developer Robbie Cape. Its bread and butter thus far seems to be contracts with self-insured employers like Seattle Children’s Hospital and


People

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EHR and practice management company CentralReach names Cheryl Michael (Envera Health) chief product officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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Northern Virginia Pulmonary and Critical Care Associates selects EHR and practice management software from TSI Healthcare, plus cloud-hosting services, and help with MIPS.


Government and Politics

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CMS launches the What’s Covered Medicare app to give members easier access to program resources, especially coverage information. The app is part of the government’s EMedicare initiative, which launched last year as a set of digital tools that give patients better insight into their Medicare coverage and healthcare costs.


Other

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New York City-based direct primary care company Parsley Health opens its first stand-alone clinic using a design aesthetic based on principles that mimic nature. The calming effect is grounded in science: Research shows that natural references within a space can lower heart rate and blood pressure. LED lights are used instead of fluorescents, which produce slight flickers that can be irritating to the nervous system and the cause of headaches. Even the clinic’s hallways, which mimic nature, are designed to reduce stress, improve comfort, and provide a greater sense of safety. The company, which also operates three clinics inside of WeWork co-working offices, also plans to open a clinic in Los Angeles.


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News 1/23/19

January 23, 2019 News No Comments

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Aledade adds $10 million to its Series C funding round, bringing its total to $56 million. The financing, led by Mosaic Health Solutions and Echo Health Ventures, brings the ACO development company’s total funding to over $130 million since launching five years ago. It hopes to add 80-plus employees over the next year, plus focus on building payer partnerships.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Forty-one physicians declare their intent to break away from Novant Health (NC) and form their own medical group – a move similar in nature to last year’s decision by dozens of Atrium Health physicians to leave amid legal wranglings to form Tryon Medical Group. Those physicians now span eight offices to care for 80,000 patients.  Head cardiologist Dale Owen, MD said at the time that the breakaway was because, “We didn’t feel like we were in control of our practice. We didn’t feel like we were serving the patients properly either.”


Announcements and Implementations

Medical dictation vendor Computers Made Effective will offer IM Your Doc’s real-time messaging and video consult solution.


People

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Maven Clinic hires Melissa Frieswick (Virgin Pulse) as chief revenue officer.

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Greenway Health names Kali Durgampudi (Nuance) chief technology and innovation officer.


Telemedicine

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Athletico Physical Therapy (IL) selects telemedicine technology from Mend to offer virtual PT consults to its patients in 12 states.

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The Pill Club, an app-based birth control prescription and delivery company, raises $51 million in a Series B round led by VMG Partners.


Other

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A blog in Health Affairs suggests several ways CMS can support resource-strapped small practices participating in MIPS, especially those that don’t have the IT infrastructure necessary to meet reporting requirements. (According to 2017 MIPS performance data, smaller practices fared worse than their larger counterparts in the areas of Composite Performance Score and financial penalties.) Suggestions include simplifying or reducing quality reporting requirements, and providing up-front funds for health IT purchases.


Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD publishes a new guide, “What NOT to do When Working with a VBC RCM Outsource Supplier.”
  • Aprima’s PRM, Version 18 earns ONC Health IT Certification from the Drummond Group.

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News 1/21/19

January 21, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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A county-by-county analysis finds that opioid use and overdose deaths increased in places where pharma companies focused their marketing efforts, and that the number of interactions between pharma reps and MDs is a more telling indicator of opioid prescriptions than the dollar amount associated with the interaction. One in 12 US physicians are the recipients of opioid marketing, with one in five of those being family medicine providers.

“The widespread practice of taking doctors out to lunch or dinner to talk about opioid products is probably contributing more to the opioid crisis in the US than these less common instances of docs receiving really large-value payments,” explained lead researcher and pediatrician Scott Hadland, MD. “Our findings suggest that direct-to-physician opioid marketing may run counter to national efforts to reduce overdose deaths,” he added, “and that policymakers should consider limits on marketing as part of a robust, evidence-based response to the US overdose crisis.”


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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EHR and practice management company EMDs consolidates operations and relocates its headquarters to new office space in Austin, TX. The vendor’s Practice Partner and Plus 4.0 solutions earned ONC Health IT certifications earlier this month.


Announcements and Implementations

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Discovery Behavioral Health, a substance use and addictive behavior treatment provider with 60 facilities across the US, selects KipuHealth’s behavioral health-focused EHR.

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DaVita Physician Solutions develops and implements CKD EHR by Epic at 20 DaVita practices in 12 states. The software was developed over nine months to help DaVita providers treat patients with chronic kidney disease, and was designed to work in tandem with their Epic systems. The company hopes to roll the new technology out to all DaVita providers by 2020.


People

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Paul Shenenberger (Summit Health Management) joins Privia Health as CISO and SVP of IT operations.


Government and Politics

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MyPractice24 owner and CEO Ed Henry pleads guilty to to one count of government property theft as part of his involvement in a medical kickback scheme that defrauded Medicare using the chronic care management company’s services and help from conspiring physicians.


Other

What a novel idea: Research surfaces that finds reading for pleasure relieves symptoms of physician burnout.

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Oh the eye-rony: A patient on his way to an appointment at Gilbert Eyecare (VA) crashes his car into the practice after accidentally pressing the gas pedal instead of the brakes. Optometrist David Gilbert has since put up a sign that reads, “Walk-ins Welcome. Drive-Thru Not So Much.”

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More eyecare humor: A practice in Louisiana offers free eye exams to all NFL officials after the New Orleans Saints championship loss to the Los Angeles Rams, a turn of events many have attributed to a botched call by referees.


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News 1/16/19

January 16, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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CVS CEO Larry Merlo tells the National Press Club that the retail pharmacy chain has a bold vision for its role in the healthcare ecosystem now that its Aetna acquisition has been finalized. According to Merlo, the company will add wearable devices, push notifications, and predictive analytics to its health IT repertoire, which already includes prescription price transparency tools from within its Epic EHR. New concept stores will feature these capabilities in action, giving customers access to patient navigators who can help them act on preventive recommendations, take advantage of immunizations and screenings for chronic conditions from pharmacists, and better understand CVS Health services and their insurance benefits.

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The company will also launch a five-year, $100 million program that will partner with community organizations to help improve access to care and management of chronic conditions and opioids through its chain of MinuteClinics. CVS will provide grant funding to more than 100 free clinics and community health centers in 2019 alone.


Webinars

January 17 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Panel Discussion: Improving Clinician Satisfaction & Driving Outcomes.” Sponsor: Netsmart. Presenters: Denny Morrison, PhD, chief clinical advisor, Netsmart; Mary Gannon, RN, chief nursing officer, Netsmart; Sharon Boesl, deputy director, Sauk County Human Services; and Allen Pendell, SVP of IS and analytics, Lexington Health Network. This panel discussion will cover the state of clinician satisfaction across post-acute and human services communities, turnover trends, strategies that drive clinical engagement and satisfaction, and the use of technology that supports those strategies. Real-world examples will be provided.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Atlanta-based Aetna members can now take advantage of Heal’s app-based house call service. It is the first new market for the California-based company since it launched in 2015.

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Clinical communications and collaboration company PerfectServe acquires competitor Telmediq for an undisclosed sum. Telmediq founder and CEO Ben Moore will become PerfectServe’s chief product officer. PerfectServe was acquired by K1 Investment Management last year.


Announcements and Implementations

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ChiroFusion adds online scheduling to its EHR for chiropractors.


Government and Politics

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Canadian physician and professor Nav Persaud argues for a national EHR for primary care to improve data sharing between institutions. “If we are truly committed to improving the health of Canadians,” he says, “a bold move such as this is needed.” Persaud cites the VA and Singapore as shining examples of organizations that have successfully adopted single-record systems, omitting mention of the VA’s decision to spend billions of dollars on a new system from Cerner, and the 2018 SingHealth data breach that compromised the data of 1.5 million patients and resulted in several staff members being fired for negligence.


Other

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The American College of Physicians includes for the first time sections on telemedicine and EHRs in its annual ethics manual. A snippet:

“The EHR should assist and enhance clinical reasoning and the development of cognitive and diagnostic skills; for example, copy-and-paste and other features should be used carefully and only if they help reflect the physician’s thought processes about the current patient encounter and produce an accurate and complete medical record that meets ethical standards. Electronic health record information retrieval, exchange, and remote access can improve care, but also create risks, including unauthorized disclosure and use of protected health information.”


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News 1/14/19

January 14, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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In Canada, primary care-focused health IT company Premier Health acquires EHR and RCM vendor Cloud Practice for $5 million.


Webinars

January 17 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Panel Discussion: Improving Clinician Satisfaction & Driving Outcomes.” Sponsor: Netsmart. Presenters: Denny Morrison, PhD, chief clinical advisor, Netsmart; Mary Gannon, RN, chief nursing officer, Netsmart; Sharon Boesl, deputy director, Sauk County Human Services; and Allen Pendell, SVP of IS and analytics, Lexington Health Network. This panel discussion will cover the state of clinician satisfaction across post-acute and human services communities, turnover trends, strategies that drive clinical engagement and satisfaction, and the use of technology that supports those strategies. Real-world examples will be provided.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services will implement Cerner Millenium at its 13 facilities.

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Chesapeake Health Care, an FQHC based in Salisbury, MD, decreases patient check-in time by 50 percent after implementing kiosks and software from Clearwave.


Government and Politics

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HIPAA compliance company PCIHIPAA establishes a $10,000 Shutdown Fund to help government employees during the record-breaking shutdown (now in its 24th day). “I’d like to encourage all businesses to try and help the workers that help us,” says PCIHIPAA CEO Jeff Broudy. “Maybe you can establish your own fund, or you can pile on to PCIHIPAA’s. We can join forces to do something good during a bad situation.”

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The New Jersey Department of Health will use a $2.3 million grant from HRSA to develop the Family-Centered Mental Health Access Program, which will provide telemedicine access to pediatric primary, behavioral, and mental healthcare through the state’s Pediatric Psychiatry Collaborative. Organized by Hackensack Meridian Health and Cooper University Hospital, PCC works with PCPs to help refer patients to the most appropriate services.


Other

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@Cascadia’s observation is an apt one, though one could argue that physician practices are operating on razor-thin margins these days, and can’t afford not to be blatant about their need for prompt payment.


Sponsor Updates

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  • The Nordic team continues its partnership with The River Food Pantry in Madison, WI.
  • EClinicalWorks publishes a podcast titled “How Interoperability Fine-tunes a Neurology Network.”

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