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News 10/30/19

October 30, 2019 News 1 Comment

Top News

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Dialysis clinic operator Fresenius Medical Care North America announces GA of TheHub, a connected care platform offering patients, providers, and home therapy nurses access to real-time care coordination and remote monitoring tools.


Webinars

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


My Walmart Health Experience

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Imagine my surprise when I found out several months ago that Walmart would be opening its pilot Walmart Health clinic in my hometown of Dallas, GA. Of all the practices in all the towns in all the world … Professional curiosity prompted me to make the 12-minute drive to check it out before its official opening in late September. Necessity saw me take advantage of its services twice in nearly as many weeks, with both visits being on behalf of family members.

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Thanks to media coverage of the clinic, I was already aware of its flat-rate, up-front pricing – a definite bonus for patients like me who don’t have traditional insurance and thus always anticipate hidden charges and undisclosed fees any time I set foot in a healthcare facility.

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Setting up the appointments was easy. The Zotec-powered scheduling software made things quick and painless, even though I was registering a new patient. Appointment times were plentiful for our first visit. and I was thankful they were able to work us in on the same day for our second (even though no appointments were listed as available on the website).

Upon our first arrival, I noticed that the clinic’s reception area was bright, spacious, and very modular in design – most of the furniture and décor looked as if it had come from Ikea. The waiting area had a children’s nook, a self-serve beverage station, and several benches with built-in charging stations. What looked like a Silver Sneakers chair aerobics class was going on in an adjoining community room. Though there was a reception desk, I was greeted by an attendant, tablet in hand, who walked up to ask for ID, and then bade me have a seat. The only thing that made me aware I was at Walmart was the fact that the clinic’s “back door” opened into the main store, prompting some customers to wheel their shopping carts through the waiting area.

During the short wait to be seen during our second visit, the attendant told me the clinic uses three software systems – Athenahealth and Orchard for labs. She couldn’t remember the third, and so I can only speculate that it’s a separate system for optometry, behavioral health, or dental.

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After being called back, a medical assistant came in to the exam room to attend to vitals and patient history. I noticed on the way in that the clinic’s inner office looked much like any other practice in terms of layout. I did think it odd that the director’s office was made entirely of glass, affording no privacy or place for quiet contemplation.

The family physician who saw us was in fact the director, Anand Mehta, MD who came to the company after a stint with Wellstar – one of the largest health systems in the state. I appreciated his great bedside manner, and the fact that he asked me my thoughts about the clinic, many of which aligned with his reasons for taking the job – the ability to provide more affordable care to patients who would otherwise fall through the pricing/coverage cracks, and less bureaucracy for patients and providers alike.

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Checkout was easy, and the final cost was indeed the $40 listed on the website. The clinic texted me a post-appointment survey within several hours of my visit. I’ll certainly recommend the clinic to family and friends, especially those who aren’t attached to long-time providers.

Much has been made in the media of retail’s attempts to get into healthcare. Walmart certainly has the size and scale to make the attempt, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to success. Walgreens’ decision to close many of its clinics highlights the fact that not every retailer’s business model will work. From my experience, it seems like Walmart definitely has a shot.


Announcements and Implementations

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Charlotte Behavioral Health Care will implement the SmartCare EHR from Streamline Healthcare Solutions at its four locations in Punta Gorda, FL.

BetterPT and PromptEMR join forces to offer physical therapy clinics integrated software that includes EHR, RCM, practice management, and patient engagement capabilities.


People

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Vijay Kotte (DaVita Medical Group) joins R1 RCM as EVP of physician services.


Other

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This seems like a good add-on to social determinants of health software: Lyft launches the Jobs Access Program to give eligible users free rides to job interviews and workplaces during the first three weeks of employment. The company’s healthcare endeavors already include partnerships with health systems and Medicaid programs to offer patients rides to and from medical appointments, and integration with appointment-scheduling software from companies like Everseat.


Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD will exhibit at the APTA PPS event October 30-November 2 in Orlando.

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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 10/28/19

October 28, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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Walgreens will close 150 of its company-managed clinics by the end of the year as part of previously announced cost-cutting efforts that it hopes will help shave off $1.8 billion in costs. Clinics run in partnership with local health systems will remain open. Cost-cutting measures also include layoffs at its corporate headquarters in Chicago, plus reducing and reorganizing its global digital and IT teams under a new CIO.

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The company seems to be having a hard time figuring out how to best meet the healthcare needs of its customers. It announced in April it would open primary care clinics managed by VillageMD at five of its Houston stores by the end of the year. It has dabbled in operating senior centers in partnership with Humana, urgent care centers with UnitedHealthcare, and dental clinics with Aspen Dental. A high-profile partnership with Microsoft announced at the beginning of this year promised to equip some of its retail locations with digital health corners.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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Fans of Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart series may not realize it is based on a book of the same name written by Janette Oke in 1983. As an avowed #Heartie and book lover, I had to pick up the copy above when I saw it on sale for a whopping $1 at my church’s used book sale. It’s easy reading and tells quite a different tale than its television counterpart, which has become quite the G-rated soap opera. The book and its sequel, “When Comes the Spring,” helped get me through a weekend spent nursing a sick family member, which culminated in a trip to the local Walmart Health clinic. I’ll have more about that experience in my next post.

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And speaking of Hallmark Channel, its 24/7 Christmas movie blitz kicked off this past weekend, which also helped to keep the spirits of me and my patient up. I steadfastly refuse to put up any Christmas décor before Thanksgiving, but have decided it’s ok to sneak in a holiday-themed movie or two (or 20) before Black Friday. #Hearties will be happy to know that Hallmark Drama will air a Christmas cookie bake-off show on November 13 featuring cast members from When Calls the Heart.


Webinars

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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NextGen Healthcare reports Q2 2020 results: revenue up to $134.3 million versus $130 million a year ago; EPS remains static at $0.24. President and CEO Rusty Frantz attributes the growth in revenue to “strong bookings bolstered by cross-selling, RCM traction, multiple ‘all-in’ deals, and competitive displacements.”

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Membership-based One Medical (rumored to be prepping for an IPO) opens its third location in San Francisco, opting for retail space within the Westfield UTC mall, a trend in medical real estate that seems to be catching on, especially with the likes of local health systems looking to shuffle administrative staff off-site. Emory Healthcare, for example, will transition administrative departments to a shuttered Sears in Atlanta’s ailing Northlake Mall (where I, coincidentally, grew up shopping). Saratoga Hospital in New York has announced similar plans that include a $4 million clinic.

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Medicare-focused Iora Primary Care opens its second practice in Charlotte, NC. It now has nearly 50 locations across the country. The company, which has developed its own EHR and population health management software, has raised nearly $225 million since launching in 2011.


People

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Sunwave, a healthcare IT vendor focused on substance abuse treatment centers, names James Brooks (Promise Healthcare) COO.


Announcements and Implementations

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South Bend Clinic (IN) will expand its use of NextGen software to include mobile and population health management technologies, and RCM and managed cloud services.

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Physician’s Computer Company announces GA of e-prescribing for pediatricians.


Government and Politics

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At a meeting of the Royal College of General Practitioners in London, chairwoman and family practitioner Helen Stokes-Lampard tells Health Secretary Matt Hancock that it takes 17 minutes to log into her practice’s IT system, which still runs on Windows 7. Hancock, who elicited a round of boos from college members when he revealed he is registered with a virtual GP practice run by Babylon Health rather than one run by NHS, sympathetically admitted her practice’s state of affairs is outrageous: “The biggest frustration for me is just the low grade of most technology. We’ve got to solve it. We’ve got to make sure we have the investment but also the rules for things like interoperability…”

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CMS publishes the long-awaited application for the Primary Care First program. Dr. Jayne has included everything you might want to know about the program in her latest Curbside Consult. Applications are due January 22.


Telemedicine

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Addiction recovery-focused telemedicine vendor Workit Health will open a brick-and-mortar clinic in New Jersey.

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Catherine Lockwood, MD launches an online clinic for patients with Lyme disease.


Sponsor Updates

  • A UCLA study finds that use of Healthwise’s shared decision-making tools in primary care clinics increased the participation of prediabetic patients in diabetes prevention programs.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the 2019 AAP National Conference & Exhibition October 25-29 in New Orleans.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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News 10/23/19

October 23, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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Los Angeles-based Carbon Health hires Will Abbott (CVS Health) as COO and Sujal Mandavia, MD (TeamHealth) as CMO.

The tech-heavy primary care company plans to open 100 new clinics and launch new virtual care and preventative care offerings over the next 18 months. It announced a $30 million funding round in June. It


Webinars

October 24 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “The power of voice: Will AI-drive virtual bedside assistants become mainstream?” Sponsor: Orbita. Presenters: Nick White, co-creator of DeloitteAssist and principal in Deloitte’s Smart Healthcare Solutions practice; Bill Rogers, CEO and co-founder, Orbita. Conversational AI and virtual health assistants are bringing new opportunities to care facilities to improve patient journeys and yield radical workflow efficiencies. Will the hospital rooms of the future continue to provide traditional bedside call buttons? Or will these be replaced with digitally reimagined, AI-driven, voice-powered agents? Learn from the expert who created today’s industry-leading, market-proven, virtual bedside assistant.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Announcements and Implementations

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Azalea Health adds Red Spot Interactive’s patient relationship management software to its EHR and practice management product.

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services integrates Safety Net Connect’s e-consult software with its Cerner EHR.

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Bridge Connector announces GA of Destinations, “no-code” software that enables end users to integrate health data from EHRs, CRMs, and patient engagement systems.

Community Health Centers of Pinellas (FL) experiences a 54% decrease in ED visits by chronic care patients within nine months of implementing Orb Health’s Collaborative Virtual Care service for chronic care management.

PracticeSuite incorporates access to Relatient’s patient engagement software with its practice management and RCM technology.

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Youth-focused behavioral healthcare provider Choices implements managed care and EHR software from Streamline Healthcare Solutions across its facilities in six states and Washington, DC.

Mend adds data and document exchange capabilities from NetDirector to its patient intake and telemedicine platform.


Telemedicine

WellVia will use Health Gorilla’s FHIR-based APIs to enable its telemedicine end users to easily exchange health data and place lab orders.


Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD will exhibit at the American Medical Billing Association conference October 24-25 in Las Vegas.
  • EClinicalWorks congratulates customer The Family Clinic on winning the 2019 CPC+ Practice of the Year award.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

News 10/21/19

October 21, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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EverCommerce announces that it will combine two of its subsidiaries – EHR and practice management software developer ISalus Healthcare and RCM business AllMeds. Both are focused on specialty practices. The newly integrated company will expand offerings in telemedicine and chronic care management, and open a new facility in Knoxville, TN later this year.


Webinars

October 24 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “The power of voice: Will AI-drive virtual bedside assistants become mainstream?” Sponsor: Orbita. Presenters: Nick White, co-creator of DeloitteAssist and principal in Deloitte’s Smart Healthcare Solutions practice; Bill Rogers, CEO and co-founder, Orbita. Conversational AI and virtual health assistants are bringing new opportunities to care facilities to improve patient journeys and yield radical workflow efficiencies. Will the hospital rooms of the future continue to provide traditional bedside call buttons? Or will these be replaced with digitally reimagined, AI-driven, voice-powered agents? Learn from the expert who created today’s industry-leading, market-proven, virtual bedside assistant.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Less than a week after announcing $26 million in new funding, New York City-based Parsley Health opens its first membership-based primary care office in Los Angeles. The $150 monthly fee includes five office visits, five health coach visits, unlimited online messaging, and telemedicine capabilities.

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Cancer care company 21st Century Oncology is reportedly looking for a buyer. The Florida-based chain of treatment centers emerged from bankruptcy two years ago with a new CEO, Kim Commins-Tzoumakas, focused on helping it recover from a $2.3 million HIPAA violation and an investigation into improper Meaningful Use reporting. Insiders say a deal could value the company at as much as $1 billion.


Announcements and Implementations

The New Jersey Primary Care Association will work with LabCorp and population health management company HealthEC to develop a database and information exchange platform that will connect NJPCA’s 23 community health centers.


Government and Politics

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Members of the Indiana State Medical Association argue for exemptions from the January 1 deadline that will mandate the electronic prescribing of controlled substances within the state. Testifying before a committee at the Statehouse, Steve Tharp, MD pointed out that, “Our concern is for those practitioners who work in small practices or outside a large health system that have not yet adopted e-prescribing due to financial or technological barriers.” He proposed exempting physicians who write no more than 100 prescriptions annually. Over 80 percent of the state’s physicians already use e-prescribing.

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The Maryland Department of Health launches a portal that residents can use to access vaccination records without requiring physician consent. The portal, linked to the state’s ImmuNet registry, is part of a pilot program funded by the HHS Office of the Chief Technology Officer.


Telemedicine

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Avera Health’s ECare telemedicine network will use a $4.3 million grant to develop a telehealth certificate program that, once completed, will help providers demonstrate training in the delivery of quality virtual care.

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A study of 200 post-partum mothers finds that lactation consults via video can lead to higher breastfeeding rates. As someone who has had a lactation consultant on speed dial, I can just imagine the benefits video consults can bring to moms – especially those new to breastfeeding. Seeing the football hold versus hearing about it over the phone could make all the difference to an anxious mother who is ready to give up.

Cytta Corp. successfully conducts a real-time telemedicine consult between researchers at the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica and stateside physicians.


Other

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Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan helps to open the new Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic in Charlotte. The NBA legend donated $7 million to build the facility, which, as part of the Novant Health network, will cater to the needs of the under- and uninsured. Jordan’s donation will also help to open a second facility.


Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the TACHC Annual Conference October 21-22 in The Woodlands, TX.
  • Healthwise will exhibit at Allscripts ACE HHS October 21-23 in Dallas.

Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

News 10/16/19

October 16, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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The Carolina Journal digs into the details of the struggle Tryon Medical Partners in North Carolina went through to get its independent practice off the ground. Made up of physicians who sued to break away from Atrium Health, Tryon’s success so far seems to rest largely on the shoulders of cardiologist Dale Owen, MD: “Owen dragged people out of retirement, hunted for office space on the sly, had doctors answering phones for weeks —  all to create Tryon Medical Partners. He wants to kindle a movement that will burn across the nation.”

Owen helped lead 88 Atrium physicians to Tryon, and is doing his best to help seven CaroMont Health physicians walk away from hospital employment and into independent practice with Tryon.

Interestingly, CaroMont Health physician Michael McCartney, MD feels he lost control of his practice in 2016 when he switched to the hospital’s Epic system. “It became more what’s best for the hospital system,” he said. “We lost control of the ability to set the cost, so it became hospital pricing instead of out-patient family physician pricing. So, those patients with a high deductible are suddenly getting hit with more charges, and we can’t change that.”


HIStalk Practice Musings

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Confession: I have never read “Ulysses” by James Joyce. I somehow made it through high school and college without having it as required reading. And so I’m not well-versed in the life of the Irish author, who died while living in Switzerland in 1941. Apparently he has quite the cult following, with devoted Joyce fans celebrating Bloomsday (named for the protagonist in the novel) every June 16. Fans and Irish lawmakers, who all but banned the book when it first came out, are now proposing to move Joyce’s remains back to Ireland in time for the centennial celebration of the book. “There may be people who are not fans of this and want to let sleeping dogs lie,” said one Dublin councilor. “Joyce is a controversial figure, there are no doubts about that. Exile was a key element in his writing but for it to follow him into eternity? I don’t think that was part of the plan.”

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In other random literary news, researchers have analyzed millions of books written between 1820 and 2009 using a sentiment analysis algorithm designed to help them measure changes in well-being; essentially, they’ve combed through millions of books for a retrospective look at levels of happiness. A few findings:

  • An increase in income does generate an increase in happiness, but it takes huge gains to have a national impact.
  • Living one more year had the same effect on happiness as a 4.3% increase in GDP.
  • One less year of war had the same effect on happiness as a 30% increase in GDP.

Perhaps we’ve been happier than the algorithm gave us credit for, since the researchers stressed that, “At this point, what we have is really, really crappy software. Computers can’t understand nuance or jokes.”


Webinars

October 24 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “The power of voice: Will AI-drive virtual bedside assistants become mainstream?” Sponsor: Orbita. Presenters: Nick White, co-creator of DeloitteAssist and principal in Deloitte’s Smart Healthcare Solutions practice; Bill Rogers, CEO and co-founder, Orbita. Conversational AI and virtual health assistants are bringing new opportunities to care facilities to improve patient journeys and yield radical workflow efficiencies. Will the hospital rooms of the future continue to provide traditional bedside call buttons? Or will these be replaced with digitally reimagined, AI-driven, voice-powered agents? Learn from the expert who created today’s industry-leading, market-proven, virtual bedside assistant.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Announcements and Implementations

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Beaver Medical Group  (CA) implements Epic across its 18 facilities.

Coastal Medical in Rhode Island selects pre-appointment intake software from PatientWisdom.

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Four County Mental Health Center (IN) deploys the SmartCare EHR from Streamline Healthcare Solutions.

Aunt Bertha adds Innovaccer’s social determinants of health resource referral software for providers to its consumer-facing Web tool that offers similar resources.

Practice EHR adds TreatWrite’s cloud-based progress tracking documentation system for speech, occupational, and physical therapists to its EHR and practice management software.


Telemedicine

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Mendocino Coast Clinics, an FQHC with three locations in Fort Bragg, CA, will use its recent HRSA grant of nearly $50,000 to implement telemedicine services pediatric psychiatric care.

In Rochester, NY, Catholic Family Center begins offering telemedicine consults between its two clinic locations and its intensive residential treatment centers.

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Retail telemedicine companies face more competition with the launch of Musely’s FaceRx dermatology service. The company got its start as a website dedicated to beauty content. CMO Marie Jhin, MD is also president of and a practicing dermatologist at Premier Dermatology in San Carlos, CA.


Other

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The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine revokes the license of Randall Bock, MD for posting pictures of 27 patients on Youtube without their consent. Bock’s license was also suspended in 2015 and 2018 due to the shady treatment and illegal billing of his suboxone patients.


Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD will exhibit at ASDS October 24-27 in Chicago.
  • Culbert Healthcare Solutions will exhibit at the Association of Administrators in Academic Pediatrics meeting October 17-18 in Miami.

Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

Get HIStalk Practice updates.
Contact us online.
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