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News 5/3/17

May 3, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Practice Velocity CEO David Stern, MD surprises the company’s 240 employees when he tells them they will become shared owners in the Rockford, IL-based company that launched in 2002. “This ownership change will enable our most valued asset – our employees – who for years have demonstrated ownership behaviors in caring for clients, to now be actual owners of the company,” Stern enthused. “As owners, we realize tomorrow’s success is dependent on serving our clients well, every day.”

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Texpress Urgent Care (TX) announced it will implement the company’s VelociDoc EHR.


Webinars

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

Here’s the recording from last week’s HIStalk-sponsored webinar, “3 Secrets to Leadership Success for Women in Healthcare IT,” presented by Nancy Ham (WebPT) and Liz Johnson (Tenet Healthcare).

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Shorter attention spans may appreciate my tweet recap of the webinar.


Announcements and Implementations

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Gastroenterology EHR vendor GMed develops a data extraction tool to help physicians report OAS CAHPS results to survey vendors.

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ClinicTracker offers its behavioral health EHR users document management and archiving services from Paper Alternative Solutions.

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Panama City Surgery Center (FL) implements self-service check-in and real-time patient wait time and progress update technology from Jellyfish Health.

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Multispecialty practice Saltzer Medical Group (ID) signs a long-term managed services agreement with Change Healthcare, which will help ease its transition away from St. Luke’s Health System to becoming an independent practice.

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St. Paul Radiology (MN) renews its agreement with Zotec Partners for RCM technology and services.


People

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Phillip Spinelli (Visiant Health) joins Ingenious Med as SVP and chief revenue officer.

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The American Telemedicine Association elects Peter Yellowlees, MD (UC Davis) president of its Board of Directors. Bart Demaerschalk, MD (Mayo Clinic) and Christopher Northam (HCA) have also joined the board.


Telemedicine

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Doctor on Demand adds lab services, including appointment booking and follow-up guidance, from Quest Diagnostics and Lab Corp. to its virtual consult app.

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Now that’s a good idea: Ireland-based VideoDoc partners with the Irish Postmasters’ Union and Irish Medical Council to offer virtual consults at a post office in Kildare ahead of a potential national roll out. “Postmasters are the heart of rural communities that struggle to access vital services such as a GP consultation,” says IPU General Secretary Ned O’Hara, echoing the struggles US patients in rural areas have in seeking out nearby care. “The IPU looks forward to monitoring the success of this pilot and to its expansion across the network.”


Other

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Peter Masucci, MD highlights his struggle to remain independent in the face of escalating interoperability challenges. The pediatrician, who has affiliated himself with a larger, local physician group to take advantage of economies of scale, finds himself in a position faced by many an EP – mandated conversion to an enterprise EHR. It’s a situation he’s none too pleased with, all the more so because it reeks of information blocking. “It’s a shame that healthcare technology is being manipulated to protect and defend market share instead of being tweaked to enable connectedness across all care sites,” Masucci laments. “As an industry, we need to activate our technologies to heal — not to hinder and distract providers.”


Sponsor Updates

  • The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel names Nordic to its Top Workplaces for 2017.
  • Aprima Medical Software receives the 2017 United States Frost & Sullivan Award for Product Leadership.

Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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Become a sponsor.

JennHIStalk

News 5/2/17

May 2, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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NCQA develops an Oncology Medical Home Recognition program using its patient-centered medical home model as a springboard. The new program will assess an oncology practice’s quality improvement, evidence-based pathways, and care coordination, among other metrics.

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Regarding timing of the new program, NCQA President Margaret O’Kane says the organization has been working on its development to demonstrate “support for patients in all aspects of care — from treatment and managing symptoms to ancillary services, and even financial counseling— as these are keys to providing the best, comprehensive care possible.” When it comes to aligning with quality payment programs and the continued move to value-based care, she adds that, “Earning recognition directly increases clinicians’ payments through MIPS. Practices that earn NCQA Recognition receive automatic full credit in the MIPS Improvement Activities category. And because NCQA programs help a practice improve quality and reduce healthcare costs, they also set practices up to do well in other MIPS categories.”


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar production and/or promotion services.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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EHR hosting and IT services company ITelagen relocates to a new headquarters in Sarasota, FL. The company hopes to lure its employees in Charlotte, NC, and Jersey City, NJ, to the new office with incentives and perks that include onsite daycare, a gym and game room, and café.


People

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Tom Fuelling (Laurel & Wolf) joins SnapMD’s corporate advisory board.

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Jim Lachner (HCA) joins Culbert Healthcare Solutions as regional executive – advisory services.

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Patient ID verification company MedicFP gives Chairman Ruben Jose King-Shaw, Jr the additional title of CEO. Interim CEO Wendell Elms becomes EVP of business development.


Announcements and Implementations

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Spry Health develops a wearable for chronically ill patients that monitors vital signs and delivers analytics and proactive insights to their caregivers. The Silicon Valley-based startup, which launched in 2013 out of Stanford’s StartX accelerator, plans to formally launch the device early next year.

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Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates implements Epic at its 19 offices in North and South Carolina.

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EWellness Healthcare offers patients preparing for hip, knee, or back surgery an eight week-long series of solo or virtually-assisted digital physical therapy sessions at PrehabPT.com.

Vincari adds mobile image capture to its documentation app for physicians.


Government and Politics

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ONC Director Steve Posnack previews the upcoming Patient Matching Algorithm Challenge, which will incentivize teams to develop consistently patient identity and data matching solutions with $75,000 in prize money.


Other

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Healthcare isn’t the only industry keeping the fax machine alive: Resistbot launched several weeks ago with a tool that lets users turn their texts into messages faxed to their elected officials. The company has thus far sent 800,000 pages to Capitol Hill. Over 150,000 of those were related to repeal and replace legislation.

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Attention public bathroom connoisseurs: The nonprofit Bryant Park Corp. spends $280,000 to update public bathrooms in New York City’s Bryant Park. Inspired by field trips to the Waldorf Astoria and other luxury hotels, the revamped restrooms feature attendants, fresh flowers, imported tile, classical music, artwork, and the latest in energy-saving toilets and sinks. The facilities were, of course, introduced via a toilet-paper cutting.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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

JennHIStalk

Readers Write: A Proposed Rule Peace Offering: More Regulatory Slack

Proposed Rule’s Peace Offering to Physicians: More Regulatory Slack
By Kerri Wing, RN

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Items outlined in the proposed rule for the 2018 Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) recently released by CMS signal a growing awareness of the need for relaxed regulatory burden in healthcare. The proposed rule seeks to counter regulatory sprawl by realigning various reporting programs around common quality measures, and by actively seeking stakeholder feedback on additional opportunities for reporting program simplification.

While the bulk of the rule relates to hospital reporting programs, proposed changes for eligible professionals are also highlighted. Items in the proposal impacting physicians and EPs include:

  • Bringing the EHR Incentive Program (Meaningful Use) reporting period and clinical quality measures into alignment with the Merit-based Incentive Program (MIPS).
  • Eliminating MU penalties for EPs using de-certified EHR technology.
  • Exempting EPs who furnish “substantially all” of their services in ambulatory surgery settings from MU payment adjustments.

The Meaningful Use / MIPS Crossover

Proposed updates echo the “pick-your-pace” flexibilities extended to physicians under MACRA, which reduced clinical quality measure (CQM) and reporting period requirements for physicians on the quality payment program’s MIPS track. Under the IPPS rule, CMS is proposing to modify the MU reporting period for EPs to a continuous 90-day period during the 2017 calendar year. The rule also proposes that CQMs available to EPs under MU mirror those available under MIPS.

Streamlining that CQM cross-walk should simplify reporting for physicians and specialists participating in hospital programs. It’s nice to see CMS recognize that hospitals are part of the larger hub where data resides, and the value of migrating the industry in unison.

EHR Limitations

From a clinician perspective, the biggest challenge is having the right technology to meet CMS requirements. Providers often struggle to keep pace with reporting periods because regulations often don’t leave EHR vendors enough time to develop the regulatory requirements. The proposed rule would give providers hinged to EHR technology that has been de-certified by the ONC an opportunity to apply for penalty exemption.

Keeping up with ONC certification is a challenge that only so many EHRs can sustain, and market consolidation leaves providers with fewer options. Many providers who have invested heavily in these platforms are at the mercy of their EHR for quality reporting, but the technology is unable to maintain updates needed to keep pace with shifting requirements. The proposed penalty avoidance keeps providers from suffering twice for EHR limitations and offers providers breathing room to evaluate alternative technology solutions. (Though it’s worth noting that although MU penalties may be avoided, certified EHRs are still required for MACRA.)

ASC Exemptions

Many specialty EPs furnish the majority of their services in ambulatory surgery center settings. The proposal to exempt these EPs from 2017 and 2018 MU payment adjustments would eliminate reporting burdens for EPs with limited office time. CMS is requesting feedback on whether to set the “substantially all” ASC threshold at 75 percent or 90 percent of patient cases.

An Industry-wide Rally for Less Regulatory Burden

While the IPPS proposed rule’s impact on EPs is limited, the message it conveys is promising for physicians. CMS recognizes regulatory burdens to be a widespread problem. Offering more of a grace period and relaxed reporting requirements reduces the burden on everyone.

Equally notable is the open invitation to submit feedback on a gamut of issues related to regulatory overhaul. This includes an RFI on topics including but not limited to data sharing, payment system re-design, reporting elimination or streamlining, and how CMS issues regulations and policies. The RFI points to increased opportunities for provider influence and collaboration in assuaging regulation.

Providers interested in weighing in on the RFI have until June 13 to comment. Those commenting should encourage CMS to continue aligning quality reporting programs and further streamline the submission process. Essentially: Do more of what you’re doing right now.

As the industry inches towards a universal reporting program, it behooves both hospitals and physician practices to stay attuned to regulatory changes in inpatient and outpatient settings alike. Additional reporting program crossover is highly probable.

Kerri Wing, RN is director of clinical analytics at IHealth Innovations in Louisville, KY.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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

JennHIStalk

News 5/1/17

May 1, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Metamorphosis hurts: Athenahealth shares fall 20 percent in trading late last week following its report of Q1 results. Mr. H provides a recap of the investor call here.


Webinars

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


Announcements and Implementations

RamSoft adds patient payment estimation and authorization capabilities from Availity to its RIS/PACS and Tele Plus technologies for radiology practices.

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Compulink Business Systems develops an all-in-one EHR, PM, and RCM solution for multispecialty ambulatory surgery centers.


People

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John Brooks III (Joslin Diabetes Center) joins Saturn Care as a business advisor.

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The Radiology Business Management Association elects Thomas Dickerson president and Christie James (Massachusetts General Physicians Organization) president-elect.

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Nordic promotes Vivek Swaminathan to president of its managed services division; Katherine Sager to EVP of consulting services; and Matt Schaefer to EVP of strategic services.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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If, like me, wading through quarterly earnings reports and investor call transcripts leaves you barely able to tell EPS from EHR, try Quartz’s emoji guide to quarterly earnings. I would LOVE to see something similar written up about health IT vendors.


Telemedicine

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In an interview with the local paper, MDLive CEO Scott Decker predicts the company’s telepsychiatry services will eventually be as big as its offerings around urgent care for minor ailments. “It’s about 10 percent of our business now,” he adds. “I think its market is tremendously untapped. It could be as big as our core business over time, and it probably fits our model even better than a basic physician office visit. A virtual visit can take away the stigma that has been associated with behavior health issues.” Dekker also promised that dermatology services would launch sometime this summer.

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Athene Telehealth officially opens for business in New Jersey. Founded by CEO Freida Srisuk in 2016, the company offers its services primarily to long-term care and rehab facilities.


Other

I’ve been remiss in sharing Vince and Elise’s annual series on the state of the HIS physician practice market. You can find their market overview here, and their top 10 vendor review here

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Chicago-based health IT incubator Matter partners with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis philanthropy Three Lakes Partners to launch the $1 million IPF Catalyst Challenge. The contest aims to highlight new, high-tech oxygen therapy solutions, and management apps and tools for IPF patients and their caregivers.


Sponsor Updates

  • GE Healthcare partners with Partnerships for Affordable Health Access and Longevity to address the healthcare needs of underserved communities in India.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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

JennHIStalk

News 4/27/17

April 27, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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DocuTap acquires online scheduling startup Clockwise.MD for an undisclosed sum. It is the first acquisition for the Sioux Falls, SD-based vendor of EHR and PM technologies for urgent care clinics. Acquired by private equity firm Warburg Pincus last year, DocuTap has raised over $28 million since opening for business in founder and CEO Eric McDonald’s basement in 2000. The company will take on Clockwise.MD’s 30 employees and Atlanta-based HQ. Clockwise.MD co-founder Mike Burke, who will join DocuTap’s executive team says that the combined teams will “keep working on the patient experience with specific expertise in wait time transparency, and we’ll continue to do it in urgent care and beyond.”


Webinars

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April 28 (Friday) 1:00 ET. “3 Secrets to Leadership Success for Women in Health IT.” Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Nancy Ham, CEO, WebPT; Liz Johnson, MS, FAAN, FCHIME, FHIMSS, CHCIO, RN-BC CIO, Acute Care Hospitals & Applied Clinical Informatics – Tenet Healthcare. Join long-time C-level executives Liz Johnson and Nancy Ham as they share insights from nearly three decades of navigating successful healthcare careers, share strategies for empowering colleagues to pursue leadership opportunities, and discuss building diverse executive teams. This webinar is geared toward female managers and leaders in healthcare IT seeking to further develop their professional careers. It’s also intended for colleagues, executives, and HR personnel who are looking to employ supportive techniques that ensure diversity in the workplace.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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CareSet Labs releases an open data set under the slightly tongue-in-cheek PaPR acronym that highlights the different ways (e-prescribing, fax, paper) prescribers send prescriptions to pharmacies. Culled from Medicare Part D data, the CareSet data breaks down trends by individual prescriber.

Eye Care Leaders plans to add DrFirst’s medication management and e-prescribing software to its EHR for ophthalmologists this summer.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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University Radiology (NJ) decides to invest in OpenDoctor, a company that specializes in white-label appointment scheduling and communications software. University Radiology has used OpenDoctor’s technology at its 20 locations for the last several years.


People

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Sally Szumlas, RN (Family Health Network) joins the American Osteopathic Association as COO.


Government and Politics

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AAFP sends CMS an 11-page list of suggestions for simplifying MACRA. It wastes no time in highlighting its disdain for MIPS, which it cites as “an overbuilt system … unlikely to be successful in identifying high-value clinicians.” The association wants CMS to do away with documentation guidelines for evaluation and management codes for PCPs in the MIPS and AAPM pathways, and get ride of the “complicated and entirely uncalled for MIPS APM category.” It also lobbies for moving away from health IT utilization measures for Advancing Care Information.

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The CDC launches the $100,000 Healthy Behavior Data Challenge to gain insight into how data sources and collection from wearables, apps, and social media can be used to inform public health research and programs related to nutrition, exercise, sedentary behaviors, and/or sleep. Up to three teams with the most promising concepts will be invited to test their ideas for public health surveillance. The first round of submissions is due August 4.


Research and Innovation

AHRQ awards Indiana University researchers nearly $300,000 to develop software that will enable patients with chronic heart failure to access and act upon data from their implantable cardiac devices and other self-report information. The Power to the Patient technology will then serve up reports and recommendations via patient portal or smart watch.


Other

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Health Datapalooza gets into swing in Washington, DC. Several HHS leaders have already or are scheduled to make appearances. Secretary Tom Price, MD didn’t pull any IT punches in his opening remarks this morning, referring to health IT as a burden “on physicians and all healthcare providers. The promise of big data and health IT is so great, absolutely remarkable. But we must not, cannot continue to get this wrong with the sense that sometimes comes out of this town, and that is a one-size-fits-all, inflexible system for our nation’s physicians and patients simply will not work.”


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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

JennHIStalk

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