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News 2/27/19

February 27, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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An AdvancedMD survey of physician practices already using telemedicine finds convenience for patients to be a top benefit, with one respondent noting that, “All our centers are in rural areas so this is a huge benefit for second opinions and surgical consults for our patients so they don’t have to drive 2+ hours.”

Top frustrations with the technology include reimbursement issues, credentialing and licensure, and staff adoption, which tied with privacy and security concerns. Respondents believe that improved reimbursement and parity laws, followed by easier-to-use software, and better EHR integration will drive telemedicine’s growth.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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I’m shopping around for braces and visited the first of three orthodontics practices yesterday. I was struck by how much this particular practice focused on customer service, and thought I’d share some of the highlights.

  • The new patient intake process was easy thanks to the practice’s portal. I was emailed a link to the forms several days before my appointment. One of the questions asked about my hobbies and interests – a nice touch that I presume will help staff kick off future small talk.
  • The portal seemed to be part of the practice’s billing system, as it also took me through steps to determine potential payment options based on my credit history.
  • The check-in desk had a welcome sign with my first name on it, plus those of other patients.
  • Every staff member smiled when we made eye contact.
  • A Girl Scout troop toured the facility while I was there, which tells me the practice’s owners invest in their local community (and love Girl Scout cookies).
  • I was offered a tour of the facility, something that’s never been offered to me before by any other type of provider.
  • After speaking to the orthodontist for 20 minutes or so about treatment options, I was smoothly handed off to the practice manager, who then walked me through a few further options, including payment details presented to me on a tablet. Up-front costs for healthcare procedures, as far as I know, are unheard of.
  • I left with paper copies of all that we had discussed, and came home to find a digital version had been emailed to me through the portal.
  • I don’t know that there’s a huge need for virtual visits in orthodontia, but I bet this practice is already weighing its options.
  • It will be interesting to see how the other two practices compare price-wise. I often wonder if prices are higher at places that obviously have a lot of overhead/bells and whistles.

All in all, it was about as painless a process as I could have hoped for. It was also a stark contrast to some of the physician practices I have frequented in the past. I know business models are different, but the attention to customer service detail makes me think the two other practices I’ll be visiting in the next few weeks will have a hard time competing. And it certainly sets a high bar for any other type of provider I may have to seek in the future.


Webinars

March 6 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Pairing a High-Tech Clinical Logistics Center with a Communication Platform for Quick Patient Response.” Sponsored by Voalte. Presenters: James Schnatterer, MBA, clinical applications manager, Nemours Children’s Health; Mark Chamberlain, clinical applications analyst, Nemours Children’s Health. Medics at Nemours Children’s Health track vital signs of patients in Florida and Delaware from one central hub, acting as eyes and ears when a nurse is away from the bedside. Close monitoring 24 hours a day integrates data from the electronic health record, such as critical lab results, and routes physiological monitor and nurse call alerts directly to the appropriate caregiver’s smartphone. This session explores how the Clinical Logistics Center and more than 1,600 Zebra TC51-HC Touch Computers running Voalte Platform connect care teams at two geographically dispersed sites for better patient safety and the best possible outcomes.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Toronto-based healthcare app hosting and compliance startup MedStack raises $2.4 million in a funding round led by Telus Ventures.


Announcements and Implementations

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Community HealthNet Health Centers in Indiana selects remote patient monitoring technology from Reliq Health Technologies for a three-month trial with patients most at risk for diabetes and hypertension.

PatientPop offers a free benchmarking report to help practices understand how they stack up to their peers in the areas of Google rankings, website presence and performance, and online reputation.


Telemedicine

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Doctor on Demand develops a primary care software package that will enable employers and payers to integrate the vendor’s telemedicine services with existing networks.

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The MAVEN Project will use VSee’s telemedicine technology to expand access to its advisory and mentorship services for PCPs working in FQHCs.


Research and Innovation

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A survey from Eastern New York-based HIE Hixny finds that 85 percent of the 1,000 residents surveyed expect providers to share patient records with one another. A similar percentage expects health data to be shared via HIE, which speaks to the increasingly consumer-centric nature of health data sharing.


Other

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I didn’t realize Bitcoin was still a thing, given cryptocurrency’s nosedive in 2018: Will Powers, DO opens a new practice in Detroit that excites video game fans and crypto enthusiasts alike. Powers mentioned in a Reddit thread that he’s using BitPay to accept Bitcoin, and is having to work out the legal and financial tax ramifications of accepting cryptocurrency. He’s been a fan of Bitcoin since 2012, when he began mining it to heat his house. I’m not sure if that means he used his financial gains to pay his heating bills, or his presumably home-grown mining machine literally generated enough heat to keep the household warm and toasty. Those things can definitely warm up a room.


Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD will exhibit at the American Academy of Dermatology meeting March 1-5 in Washington, DC.
  • Culbert Healthcare Solutions will exhibit at the AAAP conference March 1-4 in Savannah, GA.

Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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News 2/25/19

February 25, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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While physician burnout has by no means been eradicated, new findings from the AMA, Mayo Clinic (MN), and Stanford University School of Medicine (CA) show that its epidemic-level status is weakening. A survey of 5,000 physicians found that the burnout rate dropped below 50 percent for the first time in the last eight years. Though progress is being made, physician burnout is still the most prevalent among US workers.


Webinars

March 6 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Pairing a High-Tech Clinical Logistics Center with a Communication Platform for Quick Patient Response.” Sponsored by Voalte. Presenters: James Schnatterer, MBA, clinical applications manager, Nemours Children’s Health; Mark Chamberlain, clinical applications analyst, Nemours Children’s Health. Medics at Nemours Children’s Health track vital signs of patients in Florida and Delaware from one central hub, acting as eyes and ears when a nurse is away from the bedside. Close monitoring 24 hours a day integrates data from the electronic health record, such as critical lab results, and routes physiological monitor and nurse call alerts directly to the appropriate caregiver’s smartphone. This session explores how the Clinical Logistics Center and more than 1,600 Zebra TC51-HC Touch Computers running Voalte Platform connect care teams at two geographically dispersed sites for better patient safety and the best possible outcomes.

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


People

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HIPAA One names Garrett Hall (KLAS Research) VP of strategy.


Announcements and Implementations

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Florida Eye Clinic implements ClearWave’s patient check-in technologies at its main facility in Altamonte Springs.


Government and Politics

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo allocates $6 million for improvements at five facilities in Brooklyn. Community healthcare provider Bridging Access to Care will use its $560,000 on upgrading its infrastructure and IT systems. The funding comes from the state’s Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program budget of $203 million.

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The National Health Services Corps will offer up to $75,000 in student loan repayment for providers who commit to working full-time for three years in a rural or underserved area hit especially hard by the opioid crisis. Applications are due February 28.


Telemedicine

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The South Australian Government will open a Royal Flying Doctor Service clinic in the remote town of Innamincka, which has 12 residents and 50,000 outback tourists annually. When not staffed, the clinic will offer telemedicine capabilities.


Other

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Bizarre: In Florida, Port Richey Mayor Dale Massad shoots several rounds at police who arrive at his home with a search warrant to determine if he is indeed operating an illegal medical practice. Massad’s medical license was revoked nearly 30 years ago. He was elected mayor in 2015, a position Governor Ron DeSantis revoked after Massad was taken into custody.

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Did you hear about the doctor who quit making cheese because he got tired of the daily rind?: The local paper profiles Pennsylvania pediatrician Emiliano Tatar, MD and his growing side hustle as a cheesemaker. Tatar credits his flexible schedule with helping him become the basement-based culinary artisan he is today. “Luckily,” he says, “primary care pediatrics has great work-life balance. It’s certainly not an easy job, but it does allow me to stay home one day a week. I make the cheeses on that day while the kids are at school. The rest of the process is aging, which involves quick daily checks and small adjustments. I also try to pick cheese styles that are relatively low-maintenance.”


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicomp Systems announces a new solution to monitor and present hierarchical condition codes (HCCs) at the point of care.
  • IMO announces availability of Periop IT content through Epic’s Foundation System.
  • AdvancedMD will exhibit at the Association of Dermatology Administrators and Managers event February 26-28 in Washington, DC.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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News 2/20/19

February 20, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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CVS shares fall 8 percent on the news of mixed Q4 results and lower-than-expected annual revenue of $54.42 billion. The company estimates it will need to spend up to $550 million this year on integrating the Aetna assets it purchased last November for $70 billion.

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It will be interesting to see how well it does keeping up with the likes of Amazon and Walmart, both of which are attempting to turn more of their virtual and physical square footage over to healthcare products and services, many of which promise to incorporate some sort of health IT. Retail healthcare players definitely seem to be encroaching on the turf of traditional primary care, which is in danger of becoming disconnected from today’s evolving care continuum.


Webinars

March 6 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Pairing a High-Tech Clinical Logistics Center with a Communication Platform for Quick Patient Response.” Sponsored by Voalte. Presenters: James Schnatterer, MBA, clinical applications manager, Nemours Children’s Health; Mark Chamberlain, clinical applications analyst, Nemours Children’s Health. Medics at Nemours Children’s Health track vital signs of patients in Florida and Delaware from one central hub, acting as eyes and ears when a nurse is away from the bedside. Close monitoring 24 hours a day integrates data from the electronic health record, such as critical lab results, and routes physiological monitor and nurse call alerts directly to the appropriate caregiver’s smartphone. This session explores how the Clinical Logistics Center and more than 1,600 Zebra TC51-HC Touch Computers running Voalte Platform connect care teams at two geographically dispersed sites for better patient safety and the best possible outcomes.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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Silicon Valley startup MDout launches a healthcare application portal small and medium-sized practices can use to outsource the digitization and cloud-based storage of their medical forms.

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Multi-state Trumpet Behavioral Health selects CentralReach’s EHR and practice management software.

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Commonwealth Radiology Associates (MA) selects RCM and practice management software and services from Healthcare Administrative Partners.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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The local paper profiles Matthews-Vu Medical Group, a Colorado-based practice that has found a sweet revenue spot in serving patients that rely on Medicare, Medicaid, and TriCare – health insurance plans that many practices in the area have begun to eschew. Run by a husband-and-wife team, the EClinicalWorks customer employs 125 and will open its fourth location next month. The practice’s trajectory took off after hiring former UCHealth Medical Group President and CEO Debbie Chandler to lead the practice. Operations director Paul Novotny insists that practice leadership “will never return to the world of corporate medicine; we are the other guys. We recruit physicians who have been in private practice and don’t want all of the headaches of running the business side. They just want to take care of patients and let someone else take care of managing the practice.”


Government and Politics

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CMS launches the “Beyond the Policy” podcast to keep stakeholders abreast of its policies and efforts to foster innovation.


People

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Atlanta-based healthcare consultancy Coker Group names Christopher Kunney SVP.

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The Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine names Brian Iriye, MD (High Risk Pregnancy Center) president.


Other

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The local paper highlights the impact ADK Wellness Connections has had since launching in October. A project of the DSRIP-affiliated Adirondack Health Institute in New York, the ADK referral network has helped community members and their providers find and coordinate healthcare and social services from among 63 partner organizations via three care coordination sites. The backbone of the network seems to be software from Unite Us, which enables real-time referrals, in-app messaging and notifications, plus an SDOH dashboard with HIE-like capabilities to ensure service providers have access to the same data.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

News 2/18/19

February 18, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine in California determine that life expectancy increased by 51.5 days for every 10 additional PCPs per 100,000 people over a 10-year period. More specifically, those 10 additional PCPs resulted in a 0.9-percent reduction in cardiovascular deaths, a 1-percent reduction in cancer deaths, and a 1.4-percent decline in respiratory deaths. Additional specialists increased life expectancy by 19 days. “The surprising result was how much PCP supply has declined despite so much emphasis on primary care over the last decade,” says lead author Sanjay Basu, MD. “I think the problem comes down to money. We pay less for prevention than treatment — and the former is where primary care lives.”


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

While I can’t say I missed the #HIMSSanity of HIMSS this year, I did miss getting to rub elbows with HIStalk readers and catching up with Lorre and the elusive Mr. HIStalk. (I still get a thrill when he covers a news item I’ve suggested.) Jonathan Bush’s absence also seemed to have left a void. (One of my favorite HIMSS sessions was one several years ago that featured Bush and CIO/gentleman farmer John Halamka.)

Based on the reviews of Mr. H and Dr. Jayne, it seems there was definitely a lack of health IT celebrities this year, perhaps reflecting the post-MU era that has resulted in a consolidating industry controlled by big health systems, big vendors (some now without their founding fearless leaders), and faceless private equity firms. It seems attendees were more excited about sock giveaways than game-changing health IT concepts.

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Speaking of giveaways, I came across this “prescription” pad at my local ice cream parlor and thought it would make for a good HIMSS giveaway next year, perhaps accompanied by a scoop of the attendee’s choice. Warm scones in the morning followed by an ice cream pick-me-up in the afternoon could surely help HIMSS-goers survive the exhibit hall.


Webinars

March 6 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Pairing a High-Tech Clinical Logistics Center with a Communication Platform for Quick Patient Response.” Sponsored by Voalte. Presenters: James Schnatterer, MBA, clinical applications manager, Nemours Children’s Health; Mark Chamberlain, clinical applications analyst, Nemours Children’s Health. Medics at Nemours Children’s Health track vital signs of patients in Florida and Delaware from one central hub, acting as eyes and ears when a nurse is away from the bedside. Close monitoring 24 hours a day integrates data from the electronic health record, such as critical lab results, and routes physiological monitor and nurse call alerts directly to the appropriate caregiver’s smartphone. This session explores how the Clinical Logistics Center and more than 1,600 Zebra TC51-HC Touch Computers running Voalte Platform connect care teams at two geographically dispersed sites for better patient safety and the best possible outcomes.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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Fogo Data Centers adds medical record archiving, migration, and cloud-based hosting solutions to its line of EHR Express services.

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CampDoc works with Applications Research Corp. to develop interfaces that connect its EHR with Jewish Community Center and YMCA operating software.


People

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Practice management company United Rheumatology names Douglas Tardio (HealthCost) CEO, Bill Moore (HealthCost) CTO, and Jim Albano (JF Albano Health Care Services) as EVP of payer relations and operations.


Government and Politics

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The USDA will give funding priority to Distance Learning and Telemedicine program applicants who propose projects that will provide opioid treatment services to patients in 220 at-risk rural areas. Applications are due April 15.


Telemedicine

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The local paper profiles Community eConsult Network, an offshoot of Connecticut-based Community Health Center that has, over the last decade, built up a robust e-consult network that helps low-income patients receive treatment in a more timely and convenient manner. Customers include public and private payers, and other healthcare providers. Dermatologist Chris Norwood, MD sometimes handles 20 e-consults a day through the network, netting about $35 a consult. “I wouldn’t call it profitable,” he admits, “but it’s not an enormous money sink and I think it does help the community greatly. No one is buying a Ferrari with this.” While luxury car dealers might not be profiting, Medicaid is definitely saving money through e-consults, as a CeCN study in Health Affairs last December showed: Patients who had e-consults in four specialties saved Medicaid $82 per patient, per month, versus those who had face-to-face visits with specialists.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

News 2/13/19

February 13, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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Middletown, CT-based PursueCare raises growth capital from WRD Capital and Starboard Capital Partners as it prepares to launch telemedicine services for patients undergoing opioid addiction treatment. CEO Nicholas Mercadante previously served as president and CEO of long-term care company MedOptions, where he helped to develop a telehealth program.


Webinars

None scheduled in the coming weeks. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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As part of its post-Aetna acquisition plans, CVS Health opens three health-focused concept stores in Houston that include an expanded clinic, lab for blood tests and screenings, and wellness rooms for classes and yoga. Customers can also speak with care concierges, who will walk them through the store’s healthcare offerings; and dieticians, who can connect them to Noom’s Web-based weight loss service. Aetna customers will get extra consult time with CVS pharmacists to discuss any care concerns they may have. The company has allotted $2.6 billion to build out additional HealthHubs.


Announcements and Implementations

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Solutionreach adds text message-initiated mobile payment capabilities to its line of patient relationship management software and services.

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After acquiring Aprima last week, EMDs launches Aria Health Services to assist customers with RCM, credentialing, and enrollment.


People

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Optometry-focused RevolutionEHR promotes Corey Crawford to VP of operations.


Research and Innovation

A DrFirst survey of 199 patients finds that more would prefer to communicate with their physicians via text rather than patient portal, making ONC’s decision several years ago to decrease requirements around patient engagement via portals seem to be ahead of its time. Patients also indicated that they would like the ability to text a family member’s care team, and would be open to receiving healthcare and appointment reminders from their providers via text.


Other

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In Colorado, expectant mother Jaci Vincent delivers her baby at Copper Mountain’s ski clinic after realizing her labor had progressed too quickly to make the drive with her mother-in-law to nearby St. Anthony Summit Medical Center. Ski clinic staff, equipped to handle urgent and emergency care, sprang into action to help deliver Mackenzie Copper Vincent.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

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