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News 4/4/17

April 4, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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The CVS Health Foundation continues its support of the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics with an award of over $1 million to 33 FCC clinics across the country. Recipients will use the $20,000 to $35,000 in funding to support chronic disease management and prevention programs, improve care coordination, and increase access to care. Clearwater Free Clinic (FL) has already earmarked its funds for new EHR software.


Webinars

April 26 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “SSM Integrated Health Technologies Clinical Data Migration: Functional and Technical Considerations.” Sponsored by Galen Healthcare Solutions. Presenters: Sandy Winklemann, MHA, RHIA, project manager, SSM Integration Health Technologies; Tyler Mawyer, MHA, managing consultant, Galen Healthcare Solutions; Kavon Kaboli, MPH, senior consultant, Galen Healthcare Solutions. GE Centricity and Meditech to Epic EHR transition. Join us for a complimentary webinar as present the decisions that are important to consider when performing a clinical data migration from the point of view of  the healthcare organization program manager, the clinical analyst, and the technical implementation team. Our expert panel will survey data migration considerations, best practices, and lessons learned. The webinar will present a unique client perspective, offering insight into considerations surrounding staffing, clinical mapping, legacy application support, and validation and testing.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Columbus, OH-based Healthy Roster raises $1.9 million to further develop its EHR and app for student athletes and trainers. Founded in 2015, the company has close to 10 staff members, and is the third company launched by co-founder and CEO Nathan Heerdt; he founded JobBoards.com in the late 90s and Caster Ventures in 2007.


Announcements and Implementations

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Arizona Connected Care selects referral management technology from Fibroblast to streamline referrals among its ACO network of 450 physicians.


People

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The Community Health Centers of Burlington (VT) promotes Alison Calderara to CEO. She takes over from Greg Robinson, who was fired last November along with three others amidst disagreements (and a software conversion) with the board about CHCB’s direction.

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Zipnosis CEO Jon Pearce joins the American Telemedicine Association’s Industry Council Executive Committee.

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Mary Jo Potter (Healthcare Angels) joins SnapMD’s Corporate Advisory Board.

Marta Roth, MD (Roth Family Medicine) joins the American Health Council’s physician board.


Research and Innovation

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A Johnson & Johnson study of 10,000 adults finds that health risk assessments – screening tools used by employers and payers to identify health risks associated with stress, sleep, and quality of life – can be a valuable tool in identifying people at risk for depression. A quarter of respondents experienced mild depressive symptoms; one in five of those deteriorated over time with a corresponding increase in symptoms.


Telemedicine

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San Francisco-based PlushCare brings its virtual consult services to New Jersey – one of a handful of states that still have no regulatory guidance around the definition, practice, and reimbursement of telemedicine. New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute President and CEO Linda Schwimmer says the company’s services “may be a good option” for residents of The Garden State: “I say ‘may be’ because that comes down to the quality of their care and experience,” she explains. “The reason why we would like to see a clear law and regulations on telehealth is because from a consumer protection standpoint, I want patients to have assurances that the services are provided by licensed healthcare professionals and that NJ has oversight over those providers.”


Other

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Heads up, USPS: New Zealand’s postal service turns to fried chicken delivery to diversify in the midst of plummeting sales. NZ Post has partnered with Kentucky Fried Chicken for a trial run of home deliveries in the port city of Tauranga, with the expectation that the pilot will expand to about half the country in the near future.


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News 4/3/17

April 3, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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The National Governors Association selects Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania to participate in its Rural Health Learning Collaborative. The program will help states identify and implement solutions that will improve healthcare access for their communities, which typically suffer from physician shortages, and high rates of uninsured and aging patients.


Webinars

April 26 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “SSM Integrated Health Technologies Clinical Data Migration: Functional and Technical Considerations.” Sponsored by Galen Healthcare Solutions. Presenters: Sandy Winklemann, MHA, RHIA, project manager, SSM Integration Health Technologies; Tyler Mawyer, MHA, managing consultant, Galen Healthcare Solutions; Kavon Kaboli, MPH, senior consultant, Galen Healthcare Solutions. GE Centricity and Meditech to Epic EHR transition. Join us for a complimentary webinar as present the decisions that are important to consider when performing a clinical data migration from the point of view of  the healthcare organization program manager, the clinical analyst, and the technical implementation team. Our expert panel will survey data migration considerations, best practices, and lessons learned. The webinar will present a unique client perspective, offering insight into considerations surrounding staffing, clinical mapping, legacy application support, and validation and testing.

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


People

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WEDI elects Laurie Darst (Mayo Clinic) chair and Jay Eisenstock (Aetna) chair-elect of its Board of Directors.

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The Society of Behavioral Medicine appoints Gary Bennett, Jr (Duke University) president and Sherry Pagoto (University of Massachusetts) president-elect.


Announcements and Implementations

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MTBC adds analytics for ACOs and medium to large group practices to its line of business intelligence tools.

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Healthcare Administrative Partners offers MIPS measure assurance services to its specialty practice clients. Services include analytics, Provider Quality Report Card, qualified registry set up, and practice profile and evaluation.

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Midtown Outpatient Surgery Center (FL) implements the ASC Cloud EHR from SurgicalNotes.

Daw Systems adds electronic prior authorization capabilities from CoverMyMeds to its cloud-based ScriptSure e-prescribing technology.

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Desert Radiology (NV) extends its agreement with Zotec Partners for RCM services covering its seven outpatient facilities in Las Vegas.


Telemedicine

Maryland legislators consider a bill that would expand telemedicine coverage to include counseling for addiction treatment. If passed, the bill, could help ameliorate the state’s shortage of mental health professionals and curb its growing addiction problem: Opioid-related deaths have doubled from 529 in 2011 to 1,089 in 2015.


Other

It’s never too late for funny: Amazon introduces Petlexa , enabling our four-legged friends to communicate their orders via squeak, bark, or meow.


Sponsor Updates

  • Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at AORN International Surgical Conference & Expo April 1-5 in Boston.

Blog Posts


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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Population Health Management Weekly Wrap Up 4/2/17

April 2, 2017 News No Comments

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Christopher Stanley, MD (Catholic Health Initiatives) joins Navigant as Healthcare practice director.

Reuters reports that Advisory Board Company and Evolent Health are considering a merger of some or all of their businesses but ABCO has other bidders, among them Press Ganey. Advisory Board and UPMC created Evolent in 2011 and it went public in 2015, with Advisory Board owning 13.7 percent of the shares.

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Nan Hayworth, MD – the only female physician ever elected to Congress – joins HealthEC’s Board of Directors.

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The AAFP creates the Center for Diversity and Health Equity, an initiative still in its infancy that will focus on understanding and addressing the role social determinants of health play in overall population health management initiatives. Planned activities include research on current social determinants, a concerted effort in partnership with other medical organizations to recruit students from underrepresented minority groups into family medicine, and the development of tools and resources to help family physicians address SDOH with their patients.

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Cerner and Nevada, MO launch a county-wide prescription drug monitoring program as part of their Healthy Nevada program. The regional PDMP is a step in the right direction, covering 40 percent of the state’s population via participating counties. Missouri is the only state without a statewide PDMP. Its legislators have two potential bills in the work – one that would focus on monitoring the prescription records of physicians and another that would look at the prescription histories of patients.

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Thomas Jefferson University’s Jefferson College of Population Health and Hearst Health award Intermountain Healthcare (UT) the $100,000 Hearst Health Prize for its Mental Health Integration program. The program, which integrates mental health screening and treatment within primary care and certain specialty practices, has tracked 100,000 patients over a 10-year period and found:

  • Higher rates of active depression screening when compared with traditional practice models
  • Lower rates of utilization
  • Significant reductions in payment to the health system.

Charlotte County Public Schools in Florida selects Marathon Health to take over management of its onsite wellness center for employees scheduled to open May 17. Marathon Health embedded point-of-care clinical decision support tech from Medicomp Systems within its Healthcare Engagement System platform late last year.

The Garage releases the latest version of its Bridge population health management technology.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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News 3/30/17

March 30, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Just in time for National Doctor’s Day: An AMA survey of 1,200 physicians finds that 90 percent are satisfied with their career choice – a surprising statistic given the enormous regulatory, reimbursement, and technology challenges they have faced over the last several years. (Respondents cite administrative burdens, stress, and lack of time as their top three challenges.) Thankfully, 75 percent report that helping people is a top career motivator. I’m also heartened to learn that 73 percent of today’s MDs knew before they had reached the age of 20 that they wanted to enter the field of healthcare – 33 percent even knew it before their teenage years. As a patient, it’s comforting to think that (hopefully) my provider is devoted to healing his patients no matter how high the odds are stacked against him.


Webinars

April 26 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “SSM Integrated Health Technologies Clinical Data Migration: Functional and Technical Considerations.” Sponsored by Galen Healthcare Solutions. Presenters: Sandy Winklemann, MHA, RHIA, project manager, SSM Integration Health Technologies; Tyler Mawyer, MHA, managing consultant, Galen Healthcare Solutions; Kavon Kaboli, MPH, senior consultant, Galen Healthcare Solutions. GE Centricity and Meditech to Epic EHR transition. Join us for a complimentary webinar as present the decisions that are important to consider when performing a clinical data migration from the point of view of  the healthcare organization program manager, the clinical analyst, and the technical implementation team. Our expert panel will survey data migration considerations, best practices, and lessons learned. The webinar will present a unique client perspective, offering insight into considerations surrounding staffing, clinical mapping, legacy application support, and validation and testing.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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Qualifacts Systems develops a mobile version of its behavioral health EHR for care teams working in the field. In addition to EHR capabilities, CareLogic Mobile features GPS location services that track when providers arrive and depart from a patient’s home.

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Health information exchange company Hemcare Health Services launches RecordsBank.org, a fee-based medical records retrieval, exchange, and storage service for patients, providers, payers, and lawyers.

Kansas Medical Mutual Insurance Co. subsidiary KaMMCO Health Solutions and the Connecticut State Medical Society will partner to develop and launch a statewide HIE in late summer. CSMS no doubt looked to work with KaMMCO based on its relationship with the Kansas Health Information Network; KaMMCO SVP Laura McCrary also serves as KHIN’s executive director.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Carbon Health raises $6.5 million in a seed funding round led by BuildersVC, which also invested in co-founder Eren Bali’s previous online marketplace for education. The startup, which has a brick-and-mortar clinic in San Francisco, has developed technology aimed at helping independent physicians leverage virtual services and mobile capabilities like telemedicine, prescription refills, and appointment scheduling.


People

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Pam Matthews, RN (Pam Matthews & Associates) joins the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative, an HIE trade association based in Grand Junction, CO, as interim executive director.

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Solutionreach promotes Justin Everette to VP, marketing; Paul Kocherhans to SVP, sales; and Lance Rodela to VP, product management.


Other

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Today marks the 84th anniversary of National Doctor’s Day. The commemorative event was the brainchild of Eudora Almond, a physician’s wife who presumably wanted to recognize local physicians in her community for their devotion to patients. Rumor (Wikipedia, actually) has it that she chose March 30th because it is the anniversary of the first use of general anesthesia in surgery. President Bush officially recognized the day as a national holiday in 1990.


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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Readers Write: Making Cost Estimates Part of the Patient Financial Conversation

March 30, 2017 Guest articles No Comments

Making Cost Estimates Part of the Patient Financial Conversation
By Jim Denny

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Imagine bringing your car in for repair and asking for an estimate, only to be told the mechanic couldn’t provide one. You probably wouldn’t leave your car with this body shop; instead, you’d take it down the road to the mechanic that could give you an upfront price. While most consumers wouldn’t get their cars fixed without fully knowing the cost, healthcare organizations still expect patients to agree to treatment without a full understanding of the cost involved. In some cases, this leads people who have serious health issues to delay treatment for fear of how much they will have to spend. The lack of transparency, coupled with the perceived payment inflexibility, causes patients to feel like they can’t control their healthcare expenses.

The reality is many healthcare organizations are not providing cost information to patients, even if they have it readily available. In a recent national survey, 75 percent of provider respondents stated they can share cost estimates; however, less than 25 percent of patient respondents say they requested one at their last visit, and only 16 percent received one without asking for it. These figures indicate that patients may not always be aware that cost estimates are available to them, and that providers may not always offer this information proactively. This represents a missed opportunity to strengthen communication, limit confusion, and set clear payment expectations.

Why the Disconnect?

One of the reasons that organizations may not offer estimates (even if they are capable of generating them) is a concern about reliability. Healthcare organizations often believe that providing potentially incorrect information could be worse than not providing any information at all. However, survey results indicate that patients have a different view, with most expressing that they would appreciate the information even if it is not 100-percent accurate. In fact, nearly two-thirds of respondents would find any estimate, or one that falls within 10 percent or more of their actual costs, to be extremely helpful. This reinforces the point that a less-than-exact figure is still considered valuable. Organizations should not allow this fear of inaccuracy to hold them back, and should look at operationalizing estimates, providing one before a patient asks for it.

Making Estimates Part of the Routine

To enable these discussions, organizations must make sure that the process of generating and sharing an estimate is embedded into operational workflow. If this effort is too cumbersome or takes staff off task, then they are more likely to skip over it — and given the lack of patient awareness that estimates are available, the patient may not know to ask for the approximation if it’s not offered, leading to even less estimates provided to patients.

To seamlessly weave cost estimation into financial discussions, organizations should consider using technology that streamlines the process, making it as easy for staff as pushing a button during registration or during other front-office activities. Not only should the estimate reflect the total cost of care, but it should also involve a real-time eligibility check that determines unmet deductibles, co-pay, and co-insurance amounts, so the organization can provide the patient with as close an approximation as possible of what the patient will owe. The cost estimation technology should be part of a comprehensive revenue cycle solution that allows staff to see the complete picture of the patient’s account, helping them to knowledgeably answer questions if they arise, while further streamlining the billing process for both front- and back-office staff.

Organizations should also train their staff on what the cost estimate conversation should entail and how it fits into the larger financial discussion. Staff should learn about how to encourage patients to carefully review the estimate and ask follow-up questions. Note that these conversations can be difficult and complex, so proper education may involve scripts and role-playing exercises to ensure that each staff member is comfortable with his or her role in communicating information, and is aware of the impact he or she can have on patient satisfaction.

A Key Step in Improving Transparency

Being proactive about cost estimates is not only the right thing to do from a patient experience perspective, but it also may increase the likelihood of payment because the patient has received upfront information that allows him or her to plan for the expense. The more organizations can incorporate cost estimates into early financial conversations, the more clarity they will provide to patients, ultimately enhancing the transparency of the encounter, and increasing the patient’s trust and satisfaction with the organization.

Jim Denny is founder, president, and CEO of Navicure in Duluth, GA.


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More news: HIStalk, HIStalk Connect.

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