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News 3/18/20

March 18, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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RubiconMD raises $18 million in a Series C funding round led by Deerfield Management, bringing the company’s total raised to $40 million. RubiconMD specializes in e-consult software that enables primary care physicians to connect with specialists.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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It had to be done: I picked up “Love in the Time of Cholera” from my home library after finishing Amy Tan’s “The Valley of Amazement” a few days ago. If you like multi-generational, historical fiction with sweeping romanticism and a dash of despair, this book is for you. (The movie is great, too.) I’ll also suggest Marquez’s Nobel Prize-winning “100 Years of Solitude,” a title that may soon reflect our isolation-induced states of mind.

While I have plenty of already-read titles to choose from at home, I will likely find myself soon wanting to read newer books. Please email me with your suggestions, plus advice on easy-to-use e-reader apps and digital libraries.

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Today marks the second time in three days I’ve noticed my mail carrier not wearing gloves. My mail doesn’t seem to have a consistent delivery person, so I’m wondering if USPS leaves it up to the employee, or if they choose to disregard federally mandated safety directives. This ProPublica piece provides some insight, none reassuring.


Webinars

March 25 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Streamlining Your Surgical Workflows for Better Financial Outcomes.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: David Bocanegra, RN, nurse informaticist, IMO; Alex Dawson, product manager, IMO. Health systems that struggle with coordinating operating rooms and scheduling surgeries can increase their profitability with tools that allow for optimal reimbursement. This webinar will identify practices to optimize OR workflows and provider reimbursement, discuss how changes to perioperative management of procedures can support increased profitability, and explore factors that can impede perioperative workflow practices.

March 26 (Thursday) 12:30 ET. “How to Use Automation to Reduce ‘My EHR is Slow’ Complaints.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. A common challenge is that a clinician is ready to work, but their technology is not. EHRs can be slow, logins not working, or printers and scanners are offline. Troubleshooting these end user tickets quickly is nearly impossible, especially in complex environments that might include Citrix or VMware Horizon. This webinar will present real-world examples of how leading health systems are using purpose-built technology with embedded automation and intelligence to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, and prevent end user performance issue across their IT infrastructure and EHRs.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Addiction treatment app and pharmacy delivery startup PursueCare announces an undisclosed amount of Series A financing.


Announcements and Implementations

PracticeSuite adds Ability Network’s payer claims management software to its health IT and RCM technologies for independent practices.

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NextGen announces GA of its Patient Experience Platform, which includes patient access, engagement, and virtual visit capabilities.


People

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Susan Thompson (Alight Solutions) joins Embold Health, an analytics vendor focused on physician performance, as SVP of Sales.


Government and Politics

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ONC extends the comment period for its draft Federal Health IT Strategic Plan to April 3.

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Given the susceptibility of Medicare-aged patients to COVID-19, the National Association of ACOs asks CMS to exclude spending on COVID-19 care from expenditures that count towards Medicare program thresholds. NAACO has also asked that deadlines be extended for submitting quality reporting data and applying to certain payment models.


Telemedicine

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I find this hard to believe, given the test supply shortage I keep reading about in the news: CareClix partners with several community labs to make at-home COVID-19 testing kits available to its virtual care customers. Test results should be available within several days.

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Nationwide urgent care chain American Family Care launches telemedicine services in its hometown of Birmingham, AL.

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Ob/Gyn practice MomDoc (AZ) launches virtual care services with technology from EVisit.


Other

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Laxmikant Bhoiwala, MD cites a dwindling supply of masks, gloves, and sanitizing products as the main reason he decided to move his East Greenbush, NY-based primary and urgent care practice online: “I was talking to my supplier, they ran out of supply completely. Without proper gear, there’s no sense in coming into close contact with patients. It’s in our best interests and for the patients too.”

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Google has started inserting this COVID-19 alert at the top of search results for just about anything related to healthcare.

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Still SMH.


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News 3/16/20

March 16, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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Patient intake software vendor Phreesia publishes COVID-19 stats culled from customers that have used its patient screening tool on 1.5 million patients between February 10 and March 12:

  • Patients reporting exposure risk increased from 0.13% of patients screened in February to 0.36% in March.
  • Nearly 11% of all patients reported at least one COVID-19 symptom risk factor between March 2-12.
  • A third of those who self-reported exposure risk reported one or more symptoms.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Find yourself working from home today? Mr. H has collected advice from readers on working from home, specifically in the areas of your environment, software, setting up and maintaining a daily routine, and how to avoid feeling disconnected.

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As you can tell from the picture above, I enjoy being surrounded by color; and having a subtly scented candle, comfy chair, and natural and soft lighting. The dry erase calendars are a fairly recent addition. I wish I had ordered them years ago, as I’m a highly visual person who enjoys writing down to-do lists. I do wish I had a door, but the house is quiet enough during the work day that I don’t find myself inundated by too many interruptions (that aren’t of my own choosing).


Webinars

March 25 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Streamlining Your Surgical Workflows for Better Financial Outcomes.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: David Bocanegra, RN, nurse informaticist, IMO; Alex Dawson, product manager, IMO. Health systems that struggle with coordinating operating rooms and scheduling surgeries can increase their profitability with tools that allow for optimal reimbursement. This webinar will identify practices to optimize OR workflows and provider reimbursement, discuss how changes to perioperative management of procedures can support increased profitability, and explore factors that can impede perioperative workflow practices.

March 26 (Thursday) 12:30 ET. “How to Use Automation to Reduce ‘My EHR is Slow’ Complaints.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. A common challenge is that a clinician is ready to work, but their technology is not. EHRs can be slow, logins not working, or printers and scanners are offline. Troubleshooting these end user tickets quickly is nearly impossible, especially in complex environments that might include Citrix or VMware Horizon. This webinar will present real-world examples of how leading health systems are using purpose-built technology with embedded automation and intelligence to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, and prevent end user performance issue across their IT infrastructure and EHRs.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Online men’s health company Vault raises $30 million, joining the likes of Ro in giving men a more discrete way of getting treatment for conditions they categorize around the body, brain, and sex. Founded by a former Amazon exec, the company includes an initial in-person screening, and virtual and app-based treatments in its membership plans.

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Alpharetta, GA-based managed services company Medicus IT acquires competitor Nexus Practice IT Services, which serves customers in the Midwest.


People

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New York-based HIEs Healthix and NYCIG will merge, retaining the Healthix name. NYCIG Nick VanDuyne will become Healthix’s SVP and CIO.


Announcements and Implementations

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ScriptDrop announces GA of direct-to-consumer online prescription deliveries. The company has formerly offered its services to patients through their local pharmacies.

To better identify Medicaid patients most at risk from COVID-19, Medical Home Network will implement predictive health risk screening software from ClosedLoop.ai across primary care practices within its ACO in Chicago.


Government and Politics

Allscripts announces its support for the recently released final interop rules from HHS, with CEO Paul Black pointing to the company’s focus on its “EHR-agnostic, open architecture and culture.”


Telemedicine

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The Consumer Technology Association publishes “Guiding Principles on Virtual Care,” a set of voluntary recommendations for developers and providers using telemedicine and remote patient monitoring written with input from Doctor on Demand, 98point6, Livongo, and Validic, among several others.


Other

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The American Association of Family Physicians offers a checklist to help prepare physician offices for COVID-19.

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Hackers develop a fake website that replicates the COVID-19 outbreak tracking map developed by Johns Hopkins University in an effort to lure unsuspecting people to click links that release malware.

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In Illinois, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District recovers from a ransomware attack that knocked its computer systems offline several days ago, just as its COVID-19 messaging was ramping up.


Sponsor Updates

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Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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News 3/11/20

March 11, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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A number of telemedicine companies, including online pharmacy Ro, begin offering free COVID-19 online screening assessments, followed if necessary by free video consults to assist at-risk patients with their next care steps. Ro will coordinate follow-up care for high-risk patients with local public health departments.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

I’d love to hear from readers working in the trenches as to how you are preparing for or caring for COVID-19 patients. Is technology playing a role? Has the virus heightened your practice’s interest in or utilization of telemedicine? How are supplies and staffing levels being handled? Please email me or comment below. I’m eager to share frontline stories that other provider readers can learn from. As I wait for comments to come in, be sure to keep up with Dr. Jayne’s posts, as I’m sure she’ll likely give us a bird’s eye view of her clinical care experience.


Webinars

March 25 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Streamlining Your Surgical Workflows for Better Financial Outcomes.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: David Bocanegra, RN, nurse informaticist, IMO; Alex Dawson, product manager, IMO. Health systems that struggle with coordinating operating rooms and scheduling surgeries can increase their profitability with tools that allow for optimal reimbursement. This webinar will identify practices to optimize OR workflows and provider reimbursement, discuss how changes to perioperative management of procedures can support increased profitability, and explore factors that can impede perioperative workflow practices.

March 26 (Thursday) 12:30 ET. “How to Use Automation to Reduce ‘My EHR is Slow’ Complaints.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. A common challenge is that a clinician is ready to work, but their technology is not. EHRs can be slow, logins not working, or printers and scanners are offline. Troubleshooting these end user tickets quickly is nearly impossible, especially in complex environments that might include Citrix or VMware Horizon. This webinar will present real-world examples of how leading health systems are using purpose-built technology with embedded automation and intelligence to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, and prevent end user performance issue across their IT infrastructure and EHRs.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Employer-focused mental health services startup Lyra Health raises $75 million, bringing its total raised to $175 million since launching in 2015.

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Digital diabetes prevention company Fruit Street Health raises $17 million.


People

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CoherentRx’s Patient Education Genius names David Brooks (Wayne County Health) chief strategy officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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Ashley Addiction Treatment Center (MD) implements Medsphere’s RCM Cloud software.

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Health Gorilla announces GA of electronic ordering for COVID-19 tests from LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics through its lab network API. The service will be expanded to additional labs in the coming weeks.


Research and Innovation

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An Athenahealth analysis of 160 million claims made across specialties finds online payments to be on the upswing, especially in pediatrics, which accounted for a third of Web-based payments. Though still the preferred method, use of desktop interfaces declined while use of mobile devices increased 63% between 2018 and 2019. Practices that increased portal adoption amongst their patients by at least 15% over a year-long period saw a median increase in payments of 5%.

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A Software Advice survey of 1,000 patients finds that 64% prefer providers who offer AI-powered tools like chatbots. Awareness of what telemedicine is and whether or not it is offered has increased from 28% in 2017 to 87% today, leading to 84% of survey respondents saying that they prefer practices that offer virtual care.


Other

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Inspired by practices in South Korea, Murphy Medical Associates announces that it will offer drive-thru testing for COVID-19 at all of its locations in Connecticut and New York. Patients can sign up online to schedule their test. Results will be delivered via telemedicine consult.

SMH: Providers are putting hand sanitizer and masks under lock and key after a rash of theft by patients. Family physician Brett Oliver, MD noticed bottles of sanitizer disappearing from his practice’s exam rooms: “I’ve been in medicine for two decades and I interact with a lot of sick people, but gosh I haven’t encountered the level of fear you’re seeing now.”


Sponsor Updates

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Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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Contact us online.
Become a sponsor.

News 3/9/20

March 9, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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HHS releases the ONC’s Cures Act Final Rule and publishes an accompanying website to offer overview information and additional resources for those that need a quick way to digest the 1,244-page document.

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In skimming the overview, these points stand out:

  • The final rule calls on healthcare stakeholders to develop certified APIs that will enable people to access and share data via their smartphones, without placing additional burdens on clinicians.
  • It requires that healthcare stakeholders make electronic health data available to patients at no cost.
  • Transparency is encouraged when it comes to patient safety issues within health IT, though emphasis is given to protecting IP.
  • Enforcement of the final rule is set to start in May, with certification conditions taking effect in six months.

Several industry associations have been quick to send out press releases acknowledging publication of the rules and their overall support of secure, easy access to patient data. MGMA has yet to publicize their reaction, while Epic and the AMA have issued statements saying they are in the process of reviewing the document..


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

We’re back to regularly scheduled programming this week thanks to the cancellation of HIMSS. (I can finally get “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” out of my head.) While I’ll miss getting the chance to catch up with friends, walk the show floor, and soak up the Orlando sunshine, I won’t miss the low-level virus anxiety I’m sure I would have felt around 45,000 of my closest acquaintances.

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Thanks so much to PCC, Lenovo Health, Healthfinch, and KLAS for extending invites to me for their HIMSS networking events.

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Special thanks go to Mr. H for his hour-by-hour coverage of conference planning news. His hard work resulted in one of HIStalk’s busiest days ever – a fact that, as @KTGossHealthIT tweeted, health IT marketers may want to take note of as they consider whatever’s left of their 2020 marketing budgets. I’m sure Lorre would love to hear from anyone interested in a sponsorship or webinar.


Webinars

March 26 (Thursday) 12:30 ET. “How to Use Automation to Reduce ‘My EHR is Slow’ Complaints.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. A common challenge is that a clinician is ready to work, but their technology is not. EHRs can be slow, logins not working, or printers and scanners are offline. Troubleshooting these end user tickets quickly is nearly impossible, especially in complex environments that might include Citrix or VMware Horizon. This webinar will present real-world examples of how leading health systems are using purpose-built technology with embedded automation and intelligence to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, and prevent end user performance issue across their IT infrastructure and EHRs.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Employer-focused digital health engagement startup Well expects to hire an additional 400 people at its office in Chapel Hill, NC.

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Concierge care coordination app developer Pager raises $33 million in a Series B round that brings its total raised to $63 million.


People

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Patient engagement company CipherHealth promotes Jake Pyles to president and Alex Hejnosz chief strategy officer, and hires Thomas Arena (Waystar) chief revenue officer.


Telemedicine

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Austin, TX-based Software Advice reports physician practice interest in telemedicine solutions nearly triple that of its typical, pre-coronavirus business – a figure it expects to increase as providers implement virtual-first screening protocols.


Research and Innovation

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Findings from this six-month Internet access study, which looked at the ways in which five rural counties in Michigan leverage digital health in some way, shape, or form, seem all the more relevant now that providers are giving more serious thought to implementing telemedicine:

  • Access to and use of broadband in rural homes is too low, creating a barrier to reliable telemedicine services.
  • Consumers are concerned about the cost of virtual visits and the safety of the health data.
  • Providers also cite cost as a big reason they do not leverage or expand their telemedicine offerings.
  • Interoperability of telemedicine services between providers is lacking.

Other

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#HIMSS21 keynote recommendation: Duke University announces that comedian, actor, and physician Ken Jeong will give its 2020 commencement address. After skipping a grade in high school, Jeong graduated from Duke in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in zoology. He graduated from UNC School of Medicine in 1995 and went on to do his residency in New Orleans, fitting stand-up comedy into his 90-hour work weeks. He has kept his medical license up ever since.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

News 3/4/20

March 4, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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GoodRx apologizes and says it will do better after Consumer Reports finds that the prescription savings app has been sharing easily re-identifiable user data with 20 companies, including Facebook and Google.

The company claims it has never and will never sell the personal health data of its users. Moving forward, it will ramp up scrutiny of the information it does share with third parties; implement State of California-mandated privacy protections for all users, including the ability for users to delete their data from the app; and appoint a new VP of data privacy.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

I’ll be posting daily updates from HIMSS next week, so head over to the main site for coverage of health IT’s biggest (yet decidedly smaller) event of the year. HIStalk Practice posts will resume the following week.


Webinars

March 26 (Thursday) 12:30 ET. “How to Use Automation to Reduce ‘My EHR is Slow’ Complaints.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. A common challenge is that a clinician is ready to work, but their technology is not. EHRs can be slow, logins not working, or printers and scanners are offline. Troubleshooting these end user tickets quickly is nearly impossible, especially in complex environments that might include Citrix or VMware Horizon. This webinar will present real-world examples of how leading health systems are using purpose-built technology with embedded automation and intelligence to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, and prevent end user performance issue across their IT infrastructure and EHRs.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Mental health app developer Ginger acquires competitor LiveBetter’s technology. In an interesting twist, LiveBetter is converting to a nonprofit and, through an arrangement with Ginger, will offer its app for free to those in need.

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Anagram raises $9 million in a Series A funding round led by ManchesterStory. The company, formerly known as Patch, has developed billing software that better enables specialty practices to accept out-of-network payments from patients.


Announcements and Implementations

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MyMedLeads adds online appointment scheduling to its leads management software for aesthetic practices.

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Behavioral healthcare provider Archways (FL) selects EHR software from Streamline Healthcare Solutions.

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Medication management app vendor Illuminate Health announces GA of MedGuide, an app designed to help patients and their caregivers better understand how and when to take their prescriptions.

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Proliance Surgeons implements Andor Health’s mobile care coordination software.

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Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (NY) will use CancerLinQ’s software, which pulls patient data from EHRs for real-time clinical decision support.


Telemedicine

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In Canada, CloudMD announces GA of telemedicine kiosks for pharmacies.

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Time and CNBC publish articles on the role telemedicine will play as COVID-19 continues to spread in the US. Both point out that virtual visits are an ideal way to keep the “worried well” and those with mild symptoms out of doctors’ offices and ERs. Barriers to more widespread use include licensing and reimbursement issues, though legislation is already being proposed that could loosen those impediments in the event of an infectious disease outbreak. COVID-19 might, as the Time article puts it, be the tipping point for telemedicine, in that utilization after the virus has waned will increase as more people become comfortable with it.


Other

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The local paper profiles the Medical Urgency Alliance, a group of physicians in Sacramento who have banded together on Chinese messaging app WeChat to offer Chinese residents information on the COVID-19 outbreak. The group’s newsletter, published through the app, helped Sacramento County’s first official COVID-19 patient find diagnosis and care. The physicians have also made themselves available by phone to anyone with coronavirus-related questions, free of charge. 

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Another local paper profiles HandsFree Health, a company founded by former Aetna executives that has developed a voice assistant dedicated solely to healthcare questions. WellBe offers users health and wellness information, medication reminders, appointment scheduling and reminding, and prescription refill ordering. It’s set to go on sale towards the end of April.


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More news: HIStalk.

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