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News 6/3/20

June 3, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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Chronic care management and remote patient monitoring company Wellbox acquires the CCM division of Oculus Health, which will now focus on the development of AI-powered, patient relationship management software.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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More industry insider reading recommendations, this time from Hyland Product Management AVP Scott Craig, who says he always keeps three or four books on his Ipad for those rare moments of downtime. His quarantine reads included “The Feather Thief” by Kirk Wallace Johnson, “Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and “The Curiosity Muscle” by Diana Kander and Andy Fromm. I’m most interested in The Feather Thief, which Craig describes as a book that covers “the amazing, weird history of tying flies using feathers from exotic birds. Natural history and true crime intersect in a very entertaining way. Spoiler alert: The book is about someone who steals rare and sometimes extinct birds from a museum for fly tying.”

Thanks to Anita, who wrote in to recommend I check out BookBub: “You sign up (free) and tell them your likes, and every day you get an email with books that fit your profile. Some are Amazon deals, some are free. Good if you chew through mysteries like I do!” I’ve already signed up and am eager to discover new authors.


Webinars

June 10 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “COVID-19: preparing your OR for elective surgeries.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Janice Kelly, MS, RN, president, AORN Syntegrity Inc.; David Bocanegra, RN, nurse informaticist, IMO. The presenters will cover the steps and guidelines that are needed for hospitals to resume performing elective surgeries and how healthcare information technology can optimize efficiencies and financial outcomes for the return of the OR.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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NextGen Healthcare reports Q4 results: revenue up 1%, adjusted EPS $0.20 vs. $0.23, swinging to a GAAP loss that fell short of Wall Street expectations but still beating revenue expectations.

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After raising $45 million earlier this year, Maven Clinic acquires Bright Parenting and will add the company’s app-based parenting content to its pediatrics and parenting program set to launch later this year. The program will include access to Maven’s telemedicine network.

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Georgia-based telemedicine company MyIdealDoctor merges with RelyMD, a North Carolina-based telemedicine company launched in 2015 by Wake Emergency Physicians P.A. The combined company will operate under the RelyMD brand, and will partner with ApolloMD to bring their virtual visit services to its practice and hospital customers.


People

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Joy Efron (Glytec) joins AI-powered, physician assistant software startup Saykara as VP of marketing.

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MDLive names Cynthia Zelis, MD (University Hospitals) CMO.


Announcements and Implementations

Patagonia Health adds Medsender’s digital patient data collection capabilities to its EHR and practice management software for public and behavioral health agencies.


Sponsor Updates

Blog Posts


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 6/1/20

June 1, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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Tia will use a $24.75 million funding round to expand its virtual and brick-and-mortar clinical services to new markets. The Series A financing will also enable the company to add pregnancy services, according to co-founder Carolyn Witte, who came to the company from Google.

Tia launched in 2016 with a text-based app that offered women cycle tracking and health and wellness advice. It opened its flagship clinic in NYC last year to offer primary and mental healthcare. Its opening garnered such interest that it was forced to scale back services for a time while it dealt with onboarding new patients and finishing build-out of its facility.

Its virtual visit capabilities, available through its Connected Care Platform, saw a surge in use during COVID-19 quarantine periods, with half of its 3,000 members transitioning to video visits.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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I love coming across industry folks who have the same literary leanings: Identity security company SailPoint Chief Product Officer Paul Trulove shares my like for Ken Follett’s Kingsbridge series. Highly recommended if you love 1,000-plus pages, architecture and/or historical fiction. His favorite book of all time is “The Eagle Has Landed” by Jack Higgins – a story that appeals to his fascination with World War II. He’s currently reading “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles. Both books are now on my “reserve for curbside pick-up” list! Email me with your recommendations any time.


Webinars

June 10 (Wednesday) 1 ET. “COVID-19: preparing your OR for elective surgeries.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Janice Kelly, MS, RN, president, AORN Syntegrity Inc.; David Bocanegra, RN, nurse informaticist, IMO. The presenters will cover the steps and guidelines that are needed for hospitals to resume performing elective surgeries and how healthcare information technology can optimize efficiencies and financial outcomes for the return of the OR.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Canadian healthcare and technology company Well Health Technologies makes a $250,000 investment in Phelix.ai, which has developed healthcare automation software for patient scheduling, intake, and billing. Well Health will offer its Oscar EMR end users access to Phelix’s technology. The company has also acquired Toronto-based Indivica, its seventh EHR vendor acquisition.

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Virtual physical therapy company PT Genie opens its new headquarters in Orlando. It plans to hire dozens of employees by the end of the year.


People

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Ambulatory surgery center software company Surgical Notes hires John Carradine (A-LIGN Compliance and Security) as CFO.

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Healthwise promotes Landon Reese to chief product officer.


Announcements and Implementations

EHR vendor Exscribe Orthopaedic Healthcare Solutions selects software development and RCM outsourcing services from MTBC Force.

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Chicago-based Pinnacle Dermatology implements RCM software from R1.


Research and Innovation

A survey of 2,000 consumers finds that choosing a provider, rather than having one assigned, will be the biggest determining factor in their continued use of telemedicine once brick-and-mortar clinics reopen. Consumers also say they’ll favor telemedicine services that won’t require downloading extra apps or programs.


Other

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McKinsey looks at telemedicine’s potential given its COVID-19-induced popularity, estimating that nearly $250 billion of current US healthcare spending could be virtualized. Specifically, analysts believe 24% of outpatient visits could be delivered virtually, and another 9% could be delivered “near virtually;” 35% of home health visits could be virtualized; and 20% of ER visits could be avoided with virtual urgent care offerings.


Sponsor Updates

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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News 5/27/20

May 27, 2020 News 3 Comments

Top News

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NextGen Healthcare launches an advisory service that will be led by CMO Betty Rabinowitz, MD.

The five-member team will initially focus on helping ambulatory organizations navigate value-based care or risk-bearing contracts while improving quality and outcomes.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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It’s finally happened. I’ve gone through all the books in my personal library that I care to re-read, and am now having to borrow from friends until my local public library re-opens. I tried e-reading, but gave up after I couldn’t find titles I was interested in. Reading old favorites over the last few months has made me realize I don’t enjoy E.M. Forster as much as I once did. I was a bit of a Merchant Ivory film fan once upon a time.

What books/authors have you relied on during quarantine? What fun summer reads do you have lined up? Email me or leave a comment below.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Practice management and RCM company Jorie Healthcare Partners, which has offices in Chicago and India, launches a technology division after acquiring an unnamed software vendor.


People

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Home health and remote patient monitoring company Electronic Caregiver names Mark Francis (AWS) Chief Digital Health Integration Officer.


Announcements and Implementations

In Columbus, Ohio, the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County selects managed care software from Streamline Healthcare Solutions.

Premier Family Physicians in Austin begins offering app-based house calls and virtual visits from Remedy.

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Utah Cancer Specialists implements precision medicine informatics software from Xifin.


Government and Politics

Officials in Franklin County, MO vote to back out of the regional PDMP, citing lack of need and updates on the program’s impact, and concern that it’s being used as a law-enforcement tool. Prescribers have, since 2018, been required to report prescriptions for certain controlled substances through the Web-based program. The county had ranked as one of the highest in the nation for opioid prescriptions, according to CDC data. Missouri is the only state in the country without a statewide PDMP.


Research and Innovation

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Telemedicine’s exponential uptick has helped with care continuity during the pandemic, but has left many physicians with billing-induced headaches – hardly ideal at a time when practices are struggling to stay afloat. A survey of 983 physicians conducted by the Pennsylvania Medical Society found that a third of respondents believe reimbursement to be “difficult” or “very difficult.” For all the news around telemedicine’s explosion and headlines shouting “no going back,” I have to wonder if billing difficulties will curtail enthusiasm for virtual visits once the pandemic truly wanes.

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MGMA’s latest look at physician compensation finds primary care salaries increased 2.6% between 2018 and 2019 to nearly $275,000. Top-earning specialties were urgent care and pulmonology. These figures will prove to be interesting benchmarks when contrasted with data for 2019-2020, which has so far seen practices reported a 55% decrease in revenue and a 60% decrease in patient volume since the beginning of the pandemic.


Other

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After being swamped with patients at his practice seeking testing for COVID-19, Alex Salerno, MD takes matters into his own hands and launches a mobile testing for vulnerable populations in New Jersey’s Orange county. He’s so far spent $100,000 on retrofitting a used van and purchasing PPE, some from the black market. The investment has enabled him to mobilize 100 staffers who offer testing from the van and in the homes of patients. The mayor has been a major proponent: “We have seven senior buildings in a 2.2-square-mile area, so it includes a lot of vulnerable people. We know that the more we get tested, the more we know, the better we can fight this thing. And so having his van is really something that’s tremendous for our community.”

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The local news profiles Hixny’s efforts to help the New York State Department of Health better identify and track cases of COVID-19. The HIE began in early March to tailor its flu surveillance capabilities to better identify patients with COVID-19 symptoms. The organization is now preparing to help with contact-tracing efforts.


Sponsor Updates

  • Healthwise celebrates its 45th anniversary.
  • The Healthcare Technology Report includes AdvancedMD CEO Raul Villar on its list of “The Top 50 Healthcare Technology CEOs Of 2020.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 5/13/20

May 13, 2020 News 1 Comment

Top News

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Value-based primary care care improvement company Stellar Health raises $10 million in a Series A investment round.


Webinars

None scheduled in the coming weeks. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Parthenon Capital makes an undisclosed investment in prescription savings and analytics vendor RxSense. WebMD announced earlier this year that it would incorporate RxSense’s consumer-friendly SingleCare prescription savings technology into its own drug discount service.


Announcements and Implementations

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Houston-based startup Octagos Health announces GA of remote monitoring software for implanted cardiac devices.

PracticeSuite adds credentialing and coding services from AIMA Business and Medical Services to its line of practice management, EHR, billing, and telemedicine software.

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South Bend Clinic (IN) implements DocASAP’s online scheduling software for virtual visits.

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Doctor on Demand makes its service available to Medicare Part B beneficiaries, and will waive their copays during the pandemic.

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True Women’s Health (MI) launches a virtual care and patient engagement app utilizing OptimizeRx’s RMDY software.

House call company Avalon Physician Services (MI) selects virtual COVID-19 symptom screening and remote monitoring software from Wanda Health.

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Zocdoc adds telemedicine services powered by Twilio to its Web-based provider search and appointment-booking tools. It will also offer the software as a white-label service to providers.


People

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MTBC promotes Karl Johnson to president of its MTBC Force division.

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Steven Sell (Health Net) joins Agilon Health as CEO.

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PT Genie names Bob Malone (Fernweh Health) CEO.


Research and Innovation

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Just 13% of surveyed consumers report feeling confident enough to return to in-person visits with their local physician within the next two months, according to a Black Book survey of 600 people. Of those that have recently used telemedicine in place of in-person visits, 78% were satisfied with their experience. Since the survey didn’t address the likelihood of that same group continuing with virtual visits for routine care, I reached out to several physicians to gauge their thoughts on the post-pandemic future of telemedicine. You can read their comments here.


Other

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Privia Health reports 40,000 seniors used its virtual care technology to connect with their Privia Medical Group providers during the initial months of the COVID-19 outbreak. The company developed its own telemedicine software in 2017 and now performs 7,000 online visits each day.

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Urgent care chain CityMD mistakenly tells 15,000 patients that the positive results of their COVID-19 antibody tests mean they are immune to the virus. Public health officials have stressed that positive results do not equal immunity. Blaming the incorrect messaging on an editing error in the patient portal, the company has reached out to affected patients to ensure they have the correct information.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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Physicians Weigh in on Telemedicine’s Post-Pandemic Future

May 12, 2020 Uncategorized No Comments

As states begin reopening and physician practices reassess how to operate in healthcare’s “new normal,” many – if not all – providers who emerge to offer post-pandemic care will weigh the pros and cons of continuing to incorporate virtual visits. 

HIStalk Practice sat down with several physicians from Lee Health Physicians Group in Fort Myers, Florida to gauge their experience with telemedicine over the last several months, and their thoughts on how this method of care delivery may finally gain a permanent foothold in day-to-day operations.

What has uptake of telemedicine been like among your patients? Have they been receptive, or have they put off care until they can be seen in person?

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Elizabeth Midney-Martinez, MD: “The majority of my patients were very hesitant at first. I care for a mostly geriatric population, so as you can imagine, it was difficult at first for many of them because of the technology. There has been a minority of patients who are not able to do telemedicine, but I’ve only had this come up twice in the last several weeks because they do not have a computer, tablet, or their phone is antiquated.”

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Andre Anderson, MD: “The majority of the patients that have used our telemedicine interface have shared that they enjoy it. It gives them the opportunity to continue receiving quality medical care without leaving the comfort of their home. Caregility’s interface is very simplified and easy to use for any age group. Some of my patients have shared that it might be difficult to convince them to come to the clinic in the future if telemedicine is still available. They really enjoy it.”

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Jose Orellana, MD: “My patients have been very receptive with our telemedicine services because they see it as an advantageous and convenient way to access to quality medical care that supplements the practice of medical visits. They also welcome the cut down of medical expense for them, and it extends access to consults from specialists. It also has increased patient engagement by allowing the patient to engage with his/her provider more frequently in a convenient way. Also, our elderly patients feel personally empowered because they do not need a family member to take them to the provider’s office (and miss a day from work) or the need of transportation, therefore cutting on their expenses, especially if they live on a fixed income.”

Do you foresee your organization using telemedicine as much once the pandemic is over?

Midney-Martinez: “I think that this could be used perhaps in a different clinical setting. In my case in particular, since I am the only physician in my small community, I think I will continue to do mostly in-person visits. I would like to be able to see patients via telemed for simple things on my day off to be able to earn more RVUs though, but I do not know if this will be an option moving forward.”

Anderson: “I think it will be hard for insurance companies to discontinue providing payment for telemedicine visits. The convenience factor is a big upsell for the patients. We live in an era that relies heavily on electronics and I think virtual visits will continue if it does not sacrifice quality patient care. It is a great means to reach populations that have difficulties with transportation as well. Telemedicine can also be done ‘on the fly,’ which allows prompt evaluation for patients and should lead to decreased negative outcomes.”

Orellana: “Absolutely, I believe telemedicine is here to stay. It provides an edge to our institution in a competitive healthcare landscape and it complements medical practice; it is the new frontier in medicine and allows us to reach patients in remote locations and areas of shortage of medical professionals. It expedites the care for minor but urgent conditions in a complex but integrative manner.

Finally, what best practices or words of advice (or warning) can you offer to physicians looking to embrace telemedicine as a key part of their practice moving forward?

Midney-Martinez: “Telemedicine is a wonderful way to keep in contact with your patients when not able to be with them in person. I have been able to keep patients out of the hospital this way. It also keeps patients out of urgent care, since most of their problems are minor issues that can be easily addressed like headache, rash, UTI, etc. I have found that even though my patients were resistant at first, once they connected with me, they were very happy, excited, and many told me they wished we could do it like this ‘all the time.’”

Anderson: “Telemedicine can help expedite care, but it still has its limitations. Physical exam is an integral part of the interview process and of course is difficult to assess virtually. However, good history-taking usually leads to an appropriate diagnosis. HIPAA is always an area of concern and should still be respected even during virtual visits. My biggest advice to other physicians is to always remember to smile! (You’re on camera.)”

Orellana: “Initially, telemedicine may create a technological hurdle for both patients and providers as we grapple with new technology. There is a learning curve with this technology and patients need time and education to register and install the appropriate app. Telemedicine as a tool must have HIPAA compliance and good IT support to be efficient and effective. Also, telemedicine may lead to a breakdown in care continuity if patients access a random doctor who does not know the patient and the patient’s medical history. The medical institution must provide the tools to providers to easily connect with their own patients. Providers must realize that telemedicine is a supplement to medical visits; in specific conditions, a physical exam is necessary to make a full diagnosis.”


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Recent Comments

  • Hugh Curmudgeon: Troll beater - I agree, the challenge of migrating to VBC is very hard, and in some cases, potentially not even wort...
  • Troll beater: That was a pretty tough comment Hugh. While I agree with some points made I think one thing is missing: the advisory ...
  • Hugh Curmudgeon: So...the EMR companies are going to put out press releases when they assemble their existing staff to do their jobs? I d...
  • Brian Foster: RE: "Doctor on Demand makes its service available to Medicare Part B beneficiaries, and will waive their copays during t...
  • It's All Good: RE: Telemedicine company Medici raises $24 million in a Series B round. It will be very interesting to see how qui...