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News 8/29/17

August 29, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD touch down in Houston to tour disaster-relief areas and meet with local officials to plan for further federal assistance for victims of Hurricane Harvey and its resultant record-breaking rainfall of 48 inches so far.

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Those same local officials are already utilizing data collected on Medicare beneficiaries that rely on electricity- or battery-powered medical devices to identify patients in need of assistance or evacuation in the wake of the storm. The CMS EmPOWER program breaks the data down by zip code, and is capable of offering up specific details to aid in more specialized assistance. Officials are particularly worried about dialysis patients, as well as those using wheelchairs, ventilators, and cardiac devices.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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After receiving multiple flyers and “I’m sorry I missed you” cards stuck in my front door, I finally set aside time this morning to participate in the US Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey. The survey took nearly an hour to complete over the phone, making me wonder why they haven’t found a way to put it online. It seems fairly labor intensive for the bureau employee who has to walk the neighborhoods and conduct the interviews, not to mention the supervisors who call residents back if they believe quality control is lacking. The last section of the survey – on household emergency preparedness – hit home given the events going on right now in Texas and Louisiana (not to mention Dr. Jayne’s latest Curbside Consult).

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In addition to the supplies suggested by the CDC and Red Cross, households should put together an evacuation plan and a communications plan that outlines how folks can stay in touch with one another if cell service goes down. You can find more tips on preparing for an emergency at Ready.gov.


Webinars

September 13 (Wednesday) 1:30 ET. “How Data Democratization Drives Enterprise-wide Clinical Process Improvement.” Sponsored by: LogicStream Health. Presenter: Katy Jones, program director of clinical support, Providence Health & Services. Providence is demonstrating positive measurable results in quality, outcomes, and efficiency by implementing clinical process improvement solutions in arming operational and clinical stakeholders with unlocked EHR data. Providence’s army of process engineers use their self-service access to answer questions immediately instead of waiting for reports to be written and double checked for possibly inaccurate information. The presenter will describe practical applications that include antibiotic stewardship, hospital-acquired infections, and comprehensive knowledge management.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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Heywood Healthcare’s medical group selects opioid addiction recovery support software from Q2i in hopes of reducing overdoses, relapses, ER visits, and admissions.

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Community Oncology Alliance will offer patient survey tools from Bivarus to help its member practices meet MIPS and Oncology Medical Home reporting requirements.

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Marathon Health adds behavioral health services to its traditionally primary care-focused onsite employee health centers.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Online physician search and appointment scheduling software company ZocDoc is the only healthcare IT company to make Glassdoor’s list of companies that offer 100-percent coverage of healthcare premiums for their employees. Other recognizable names include Twitter, GoDaddy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Glassdoor. “We believe that access to healthcare is the one big problem we are trying to solve in America,” says CEO Oliver Kharraz, “and we really should do our part.”

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Corporate ride-sharing company FlitWays Technology branches into healthcare with the launch of a non-emergency medical transportation service in 50 US cities. Providers can use the FlitWays app to book rides and track patient pick up, route, and drop off.


People

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Digital patient education company Outcome Health hires Nandini Ramani (Twitter) as chief engineering officer. The Chicago-based business made headlines earlier this summer when it raised $500 million in a Series A round that put its valuation at $5 billion.


Telemedicine

Allscripts adds Vidyo telemedicine capabilities to its FollowMyHealth patient portal.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo signs telemedicine-friendly reimbursement legislation for adult care facilities in New York. Bill sponsor and State Assemblywoman Addie Jenne is confident accessible virtual consults will help prevent arduous trips to doctor’s offices, as well as visits to the ER. The law is well timed, given new RAND Center research that predicts over half of all US adults will spend time in nursing homes at some point in their lives – potentially for long stays with costs upwards of $50,000. Public and private payers will surely be looking for ways in which telemedicine can help curb costs as the predicted silver tsunami comes to fruition.


Government and Politics 

The local news looks at the flip side of the war on opioids, highlighting one woman’s struggle to get her prescription filled in South Carolina, which has mandated physician use of the state’s SCRIPT PDMP. While the law has cut down on doctor shopping, many feel it is an invasion of patient privacy. Wendy Montgomery, who takes opioids for her rheumatoid arthritis, certainly seems to feel over scrutinized at her local pharmacy. “It’s been embarrassing to even go get it filled now,” she says. “They look at you like you’re a drug addict.”


Research and Innovation

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University of Washington researchers develop an app that can potentially detect the onset of pancreatic cancer. The BiliScreen app analyzes a person’s selfie to look for jaundice before its visible by the naked eye. The app builds off the university’s work on a similar tool for newborns. An initial study with 70 patients found that BiliScreen correctly identified cases of concern nearly 90 percent of the time when compared to traditional blood tests.


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News 8/28/17

August 28, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Category 4 Hurricane Harvey is downgraded to a tropical storm, causing record-breaking flooding in Houston and surrounding areas. Torrential rainfall, which has also begun to impact Louisiana, is expected to last for several more days. Weather experts predict Harvey will be one of the worst flood disasters in US history. HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD has declared a public health emergency, freeing up resources to deploy over 400 doctors, nurses, and medical staff to set up six medical assistance teams in Dallas and two 250-bed medical stations in Baton Rouge.

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Five deaths and at least two dozen injuries have been reported so far. As news reports attest, recovering from the storm will likely take months, particularly for those living in poorer and/or rural areas. Nonprofit Direct Relief has put together a collection of maps that show the impact Harvey will have on areas with high concentrations of immigrants, the elderly or disabled, and those living in poverty.

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While citizen volunteers have helped to provide enough rescue boats in Harris County, relief-related needs remain great. Check out CharityNavigator’s list of vetted organizations providing assistance to contribute.


Webinars

September 13 (Wednesday) 1:30 ET. “How Data Democratization Drives Enterprise-wide Clinical Process Improvement.” Sponsored by: LogicStream Health. Presenter: Katy Jones, program director of clinical support, Providence Health & Services. Providence is demonstrating positive measurable results in quality, outcomes, and efficiency by implementing clinical process improvement solutions in arming operational and clinical stakeholders with unlocked EHR data. Providence’s army of process engineers use their self-service access to answer questions immediately instead of waiting for reports to be written and double checked for possibly inaccurate information. The presenter will describe practical applications that include antibiotic stewardship, hospital-acquired infections, and comprehensive knowledge management.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Amazon sets its EHR dreams aside for a moment to celebrate its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods, instituting lower prices across brick-and-mortar stores with a promise to eventually offer Prime members discounts at check out. Fun fact: Researchers at Zillow have found that homes near specialty food stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes cost more and appreciate faster than those (like mine) that suffer from a lack of proximity.

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College dropouts Tanay Tandon and Deepika Bodapati raise $3.7 million to fund development of a portable blood analyzer named for a healing plant in one of my all-time favorite books, The Lord of the Rings. The co-founders attest that the Athelas device can perform a blood-cell count test from the comfort of a patient’s home. They also stress that they’re taking advantage of all the lessons learned from Theranos, submitting data to the FDA in hopes of receiving clearance this year to begin marketing the device to oncologists.


People

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Robert Harrington, MD (Reliant Post-Acute Care Solutions) joins SurveyVitals as president and CMO.

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Galen Danielson (RehabAuthority) and Craig Rettke (not pictured) join Physical Rehabilitation Network, a Carlsbad, CA-based operator of over 100 physical therapy facilities, as regional VPs of operations.


Telemedicine

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Pasadena, CA-based Indica MD launches medical marijuana telemedicine services in California and New York via website and eVisit app. Indica, for those like me who didn’t know, is one of three types of marijuana.

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Edwards Air Force Base in California begins offering virtual consults via Doctor on Call Telehealth on designated family days.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan will offer its federal employee beneficiaries access to Teladoc’s services in 2018.


Government and Politics

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In its push to combat the opioid epidemic, HHS announces plans to create a Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force to assess, establish, and seek feedback on pain management best practices. Committee nominations are due September 27.

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Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announces that the state will make controlled substance prescription information available through EHRs and pharmacy management systems via Appriss Health’s PMP Gateway tool. Jerome Adams, MD confirmed earlier this month as US Surgeon General, was honored at the same meeting for his three years as state health commissioner. Adams made it clear in confirmation proceedings that combatting the opioid epidemic will be one of his top priorities.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office in Florida becomes the first such organization in Florida to use heroin overdose-tracking software. Developed by the Office of National Drug Control Policy High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, the software also creates a real-time map of overdoses, giving the sheriff’s office insight into trends and planning needs.


Other

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McLaren Medical Group (MI), part of the McLaren Healthcare system, notifies patients of a March data breach at its Mid-Michigan Physicians practice. The information of seven patients was accessed without proper authorization.


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicity publishes a new white paper, “Interoperability 2.0: Solving Health Care’s Data Aggregation Problem.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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Population Health Management Weekly Wrap Up 8/27/17

August 27, 2017 News No Comments

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Adirondack Health Institute (NY) names John Morley, MD (Jacobi Medical Center) chief physician executive of population health.

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The local news covers UnitedHealthcare’s MyConnections program in Phoenix, AZ, which – in true population health management fashion – looks to connect people in need with resources like housing, food, and transportation. Amanda Desmet, for example, was homeless for over 10 years until a MyConnections case manager enrolled her in the program through a local homeless shelter. She is now living in an apartment and pursuing a college degree. The payer, which has launched the pilot in several other cities, hopes to expand the program in Arizona in the near future.

In order to bolster its analytics capabilities and data security, Map Health Management incorporates Wolters Kluwer Health’s terminology and data mapping solution into its behavioral health population management software.

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Cambridge, MA-based MIT’s student and faculty ambulatory care center chooses Cerner’s Millennium EHR and HealtheIntent population health management software.

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VitreosHealth develops a predictive analytics-fueled digital communications tool for case managers, giving them the ability to reach large swaths of their patient populations with targeted messaging.

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The DoD prepares for the next phase of its Building Military Communities pilot program, which aims to connect service members – particularly those living on remote installations – with local resources to ensure their health and wellness. Launched last year in seven states, the pilot is moving from a staffing and resource research and discovery phase to actively communicating about resources to service members and their families. US Public Health Service Capt. Kimberly Elenberg, who is involved with the pilot, will next look at using mobile health technology to aid in that communication.

ZeOmega’s Jiva population health management platform earns NCQA certification.


Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the NACHC Community Health Institute & Expo August 27-29 in San Diego.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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

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News 8/24/17

August 24, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Findings from a NueMD survey of just under 1,000 physicians support similar studies on physician awareness of and preparedness for MACRA: A surprising 50 percent aren’t at all familiar with the legislation. Of those who are aware of it, 56 percent aren’t sure if they’ll need to participate in 2017. (They had yet to receive notification from CMS as to their participation status.) Just under 50 percent haven’t “encountered” MACRA resources, which makes me wonder if they simply haven’t had the time to hunt for them. A paltry nine percent feel MACRA will have a positive impact on their small practice, while 63 percent consider the jury to still be out. Granted, those percentages came from respondents who admitted to not knowing much about MACRA and its Quality Payment Programs. A higher percentage of those more in the know expect it to impact their practice in a positive way.


Webinars

September 13 (Wednesday) 1:30 ET. “How Data Democratization Drives Enterprise-wide Clinical Process Improvement.” Sponsored by: LogicStream Health. Presenter: Katy Jones, program director of clinical support, Providence Health & Services. Providence is demonstrating positive measurable results in quality, outcomes, and efficiency by implementing clinical process improvement solutions in arming operational and clinical stakeholders with unlocked EHR data. Providence’s army of process engineers use their self-service access to answer questions immediately instead of waiting for reports to be written and double checked for possibly inaccurate information. The presenter will describe practical applications that include antibiotic stewardship, hospital-acquired infections, and comprehensive knowledge management.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Dispatch Health brings its mobile urgent care services to Arizona. Launched in Denver in 2013 in partnership with local emergency services, the company bills itself as a solution for illnesses and injuries that may not warrant a costly and time-consuming trip to the ER. Patients can request a visit via the company’s app, and can expect to pay a flat fee of $275 if not insured. Dispatch Health providers check in with patients three days after a visit, and then monitor patient information via available HIEs 14 and 30 days afterwards. “We’re not another fragmented access point to health care,” says Chief Strategy Officer Kevin Riddleberger. “This is not redundant care; (it) fills in the gaps.”


People

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Jennifer Stoll joins OCHIN as VP of government and public affairs.


Announcements and Implementations

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Comprehensive Healthcare (WA) selects SmartCare EHR software and data warehousing services from Streamline Healthcare Solutions to better integrate primary care, behavioral health, and substance abuse services among its 20 facilities and with third-party service providers.


Government and Politics

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The DoD’s Department of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve honors ChartLogic with its Service Member Patriot Award in recognition of the company’s efforts to support employees who are members of the Guard and Reserve. The department also recognized ChartLogic EVP and US Army veteran Chris Langehaug with its Citizen Patriot award. ChartLogic is a division of Medsphere, which leverages VistA technology as part of its OpenVistA technology for acute care.

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Kinda kicking myself: CMS Administrator Seema Verma speaks at the newly combined Health:Further/HIMSS Summit of the Southeast conference. I attended last year as it was an easy drive from my home and I’m always looking for an excuse to visit Nashville. From what the tweets tell me, Verma focused her remarks on the role CMS plays in healthcare delivery innovation by way of giving states more flexibility with those delivery methods.


Telemedicine

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Indianapolis-based TelaCare Health Solutions adds behavioral healthcare to its virtual consult services.


Other

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Tanzanian officials announce that the East African country will begin using Zipline drones early next year for real-time delivery of medical supplies including blood, vaccines, medicines, sutures, and IV tubes. The initiative calls for 120 drones at four bases across the country that will serve over 10 million people at 1,000 clinics. The drones will speed up deliveries that typically take up to eight hours by road to under 30 minutes. Zipline has partnered with neighboring Rwanda on a similar, thus far successful effort. It’s looking at bringing the drone delivery service to rural and tribal communities in the US.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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From the PRM Pro 8/24/17

August 24, 2017 From the PRM Pro No Comments

This is the first in a new monthly series on patient relationship management.


Leveraging PRM to Reach Patients Without Losing the Human Interaction Element
By Jim Higgins

These days, there’s not a health IT solution that doesn’t promise to “bridge the gap between patients and doctors.” You hear it from solutions across the health IT spectrum – from apps to EHRs. Admittedly, these tools do improve communication to some extent, allowing providers to collect patient data and use it to inform care interactions. However, they often still fall short of one critical aspect that is at the heart of every good patient-provider relationship – providing patients with personalized communication and outreach.

Even with smartphone adoption among US adults on the rise (77 percent of adults own a smartphone, according to Pew Research), nothing can replace human interaction. People want to talk to their doctors about their issues and concerns on a one-on-one basis. They want reassurance and information. Most importantly, they want a partner who has a vested interest in their care.

In order to maintain vital human interaction with patients, create lasting relationships, and improve patient experience, providers need technology that is tailored to patients and nurtures positive patient relationships. This is where patient relationship management (PRM) technology comes in.

Understanding Patient Needs for Human Interaction

Because human interaction is still so key to patient-provider relationships, physicians will only benefit from smarter technology that helps them better communicate with their patients. To do this, physicians should consider how the personal technology habits of patients have evolved. Whether they’re in their late 50s or early 20s, the growing majority of patients want to be reached by their doctors in the same way they’re reached by friends and family – via text messaging and personalized email. For example, 92 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 said they own a smartphone. Older adults, including Gen Xers and boomers, are following suit. Eighty-eight percent of adults ages 30-49 own a smartphone, as do 74 percent of those ages 50-64. Additionally, according to a recent study on patient-provider relationships, 73 percent of patients want to be able to text their physician’s office. An even greater number (79 percent) would like to receive text messages, especially about appointments.

The bottom line: Patients want to be involved in their healthcare. Using technology they are accustomed to from daily personal use can improve transparency; engage patients on a more frequent, personal basis; and, in doing so, boost overall satisfaction.

A More Personalized Approach to Communication Through PRM

PRM strategies can help providers communicate with their patients on a more personal level. PRM doesn’t simply offer a “one size fits all approach” to physician practices. A practice can incorporate tools like online scheduling applications, appointment reminders, texting capabilities, and email campaigns into their communication with their patients in a variety of ways.

Let’s say a practice wants to do a better job of reaching millennials. As millennials age and have more spending power, their preferences for convenience are expected to disrupt the traditional healthcare system. To address this, the practice could start texting or emailing appointment reminders to their millennial patients to better cater to that generation’s preferred method of communication. Doing this would help to limit missed visits, which can help improve care and reduce cost.

A physician may also consider other ways of personalizing communications. While regular e-newsletters that address the specific needs and concerns of millennials don’t replace the human touch, they demonstrate that a health organization is compassionate and committed. Finally, a provider can text invitations for patients to leave reviews after a visit, encouraging its most digitally savvy patient demographic to post positive reviews to attract and retain patients.

Or, let’s say the healthcare organization wants to reach its boomer patients. For these individuals, practices can employ similar PRM tools — but in a different way. Like millennials, boomers are also open to text and email communication. Digital appointment reminders and self-scheduling follow-up appointments offer patients the flexibility they look for in a physician. A PRM tool can also be used to dispatch marketing campaigns, letting boomer patients know about a new service or product that’s tailored to them, such as bone-density screenings or 3D mammograms.

Using PRM to Improve Patient Experience

Tools that help practices improve and maintain human interaction with their patients are key to improving efficiency, care quality, and patient satisfaction. While technology can’t replace the human touch, patient relationship management strategies and solutions can help practices build better, longer-lasting relationships with their patients, leading to more effective care.

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Jim Higgins is the CEO and founder of Solutionreach in Lehi, UT.


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