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From the PRM Pro 1/9/19

January 9, 2019 From the PRM Pro No Comments

Fielding Regulatory Change in a Cloud-Based World
By Jim Higgins

Jim Higgins is the CEO and founder of Solutionreach in Lehi, UT.

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We all know that the United States has one of the most complex healthcare systems in the world — and much of this complexity comes from regulatory oversight. The vast number of rules and regulations that govern the industry can be absolutely confusing and overwhelming. Virtually everything that happens in healthcare is overseen by at least one regulatory body — and many tasks are overseen by multiple organizations. A recent study looked at the regulatory burden placed on health systems, hospitals, and post-acute care providers just by federal regulations and found that these organizations must comply with 629 independent regulatory requirements from nine different entities, and spend nearly $39 billion annually in efforts to stay compliant.

Some of the most important regulations have a huge impact on communication with patients. These are especially important to pay attention to, as patient communication is critical to practice success. Let’s take a quick look at some of the regulatory issues you should be paying attention to as you move into 2019.

What to Watch in 2019

The first step to staying compliant with all relevant laws and any changes is knowledge — you must understand what the laws currently say. The major regulations that you should be aware of related to patient communication include:

  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
  • TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act)
  • CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act)
  • CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation)
  • PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act)

At this point, there is nothing official in the works for the upcoming year for the regulations listed above. However, the TCPA tends to be litigated a lot, so there could be some incremental changes or rulings that you may need to adjust to in 2019. Keep a close eye on that.

In addition, patient communication may be affected by some other upcoming changes, including:

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This is a European regulation that went into effect in May 2018, and governs privacy and the protection of consumer information. You will need to comply with these rules if you serve anyone outside of the United States in 2019 and beyond.
  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). This is a California privacy law that goes into effect in January 2020. It adds an additional layer of compliance over HIPAA when it comes to patient data.

Finding ways to quickly (and affordably!) respond to regulation changes like these is critical to the success of your organization. This is one of the benefits of cloud technology.

Compliance and the Shift to Cloud-Based Technology

Cloud computing has changed the world as we know it — and healthcare is not exempt. Cloud-based technology has been embraced as a win for both practices and patients alike. Experts note that the use of cloud-based technology has been proven to reduce costs, improve backup and disaster recovery, and make data easier to access. Cloud computing allows information to be passed easily and quickly between providers, patients, and labs. With secure, yet simple access from any location and a lack of cumbersome software updates, cloud technology is scalable — meaning that small practices can take advantage of the same technology that large enterprise organizations do without hassle. It’s easy to see why 84 percent of healthcare organizations use cloud-based services and 69 percent have plans to expand their use of the cloud.

How Does Cloud-based Technology Impact Compliance?

Cloud computing has been nearly universally embraced as a way to improve an organization’s performance, accessibility, and revenue. But it is also very good at responding to change quickly and effectively. Think about it — vendors can roll out updates and changes much faster on the cloud than old-fashioned, server-based systems (which have to be physically visited on site). In healthcare’s regulation-filled world, this speed and flexibility can be a huge benefit.

But is it Really Safe?

It hasn’t been that long since many healthcare professionals worried that using the cloud was far too risky. The thought was if all of that data isn’t locked down securely on your site, how could you be certain that the information was safe? If you could access it from anywhere, couldn’t cyber criminals do the same? Fortunately, the answer to that is a big NO.

According to one study, 91 percent of businesses said the cloud actually makes it easier to meet government compliance requirements. Data that was once stored in a physical location is now protected by advanced encryption methods online. This encryption makes sensitive information more difficult for unauthorized parties to access. In addition, the government has set up processes for organizations to take advantage of cloud-based services while staying compliant.

What should you do to ensure compliance when working on the cloud? HHS recommends the following:

  1. 1. Make sure service provider enters into a HIPAA-compliant business associate agreement (BAA).
  2. 2. Address specific concerns in a service level agreement (SLA).
  3. 3. Select a vendor that is reputable and experienced.

There are two truths healthcare organizations must acknowledge: Government regulations will always be a big part of the industry. And taking advantage of consumer-driven technological advancements (like the cloud) is critical to the future success of healthcare practices. Fortunately, these two facts are not mutually exclusive. With a little legwork, it is possible to stay ahead of regulatory change while still meeting the demands of today’s digital world.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 1/9/19

January 9, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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Kindred Healthcare offshoot Lacuna Health acquires American Chronic Care, which provides chronic care management technology and services to ACOs, FQHCs, and physician groups. Lacuna was launched one year ago to offer care management services to practices, ACOs, hospitals, and post-acute providers.


Webinars

January 17 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Panel Discussion: Improving Clinician Satisfaction & Driving Outcomes.” Sponsor: Netsmart. Presenters: Denny Morrison, PhD, chief clinical advisor, Netsmart; Mary Gannon, RN, chief nursing officer, Netsmart; Sharon Boesl, deputy director, Sauk County Human Services; and Allen Pendell, SVP of IS and analytics, Lexington Health Network. This panel discussion will cover the state of clinician satisfaction across post-acute and human services communities, turnover trends, strategies that drive clinical engagement and satisfaction, and the use of technology that supports those strategies. Real-world examples will be provided.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Digital pregnancy management company Babyscripts raises $6 million in a funding round led by Philips. The company hopes to expand its remote monitoring and patient engagement technologies to accommodate mothers after birth.


Announcements and Implementations

Rockford Radiology Associates (IL) selects RCM software and services from Zotec Partners.

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McFarland Clinic will implement patient engagement software from Relatient across its 25 clinics in Iowa.

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Health Here announces GA of Clinic Q, a patient intake and payments app that also features Apple Health record integration.

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In Georgia, SouthCoast Health signs on with practice management company Privia Medical Group.


People

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Iora Health names Tyler Jung, MD (Molina Healthcare) CMO.


Telemedicine

Q2i adds telemedicine capabilities to its patient app and care team portal for the medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder.

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First announced last fall, Genneve begins offering virtual consults for menopausal women in California, Georgia, New Jersey, and Washington. It plans to expand its telemedicine services to all 50 states within the next year.


Other

I’m always up for a good read, and I’m always intrigued by tales from the physician trenches, which often end up being about much more than the diagnosis. If you’re looking for new titles to read in 2019, check out the following …

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Physician burnout seems to be a hot literary topic these days. Part-time physician, author, and “recovering perfectionist” Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever, MD has penned “Recapturing Joy in Medicine” to offer providers stories and tips on how to prevent or handle burnout. Wohlever says that, “It’s a book that acknowledges how hard things are for doctors, but at the same time calls us out to rise and to have the courage to speak up in our organizations. We need to call out abuse when it’s abuse. We need to lead again.”

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Some physicians, however, turn to their patients to inspire their literary endeavors: Chuck Radis, will recount his time as a DO on Peaks Island in Maine when he publishes “Go By Boat.” Described as the first in a trilogy that will focus on people, nature, and medical care, the book promises to highlight his unique experiences in traveling by boat to treat people who wanted to avoid mainland healthcare at all costs. “There was a dramatic mixture of health on the islands,” Radis says. “Certainly there were high rates of alcoholism and drug use on one hand of the spectrum. On the other end, there were very elderly people still extremely active into their 90s and living alone.”


Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD announces the winners of its annual Healthcare Innovator of the Year Awards.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

News 1/7/19

January 7, 2019 News No Comments

Top News

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Vatica Health acquires CareSync’s care coordination and chronic care management technology. Vatica, which bills itself as a health IT and services company for value-based care, made a $1 million bid to acquire the company’s assets four months after it abruptly closed its doors.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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The balmy weather in my Southeastern neck of the woods belies the fact that it’s early January. It’s a nice change of pace from the rain-soaked weeks that have plagued my area (and tennis game) since what seems like Halloween. Time spent outside this past weekend made me feel as if I had finally come out of hibernation. And speaking of the weather, the forecast looks good for tonight’s championship game. My enthusiasm for this particular bowl game waned after my alma mater’s nail-biting loss last year. (But seriously, it’s the end of a collegiate era now that Mark Richt has announced his retirement.)

Thanks to these companies for recently supporting HIStalk Practice. Click a link for more information.

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Webinars

January 17 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “Panel Discussion: Improving Clinician Satisfaction & Driving Outcomes.” Sponsor: Netsmart. Presenters: Denny Morrison, PhD, chief clinical advisor, Netsmart; Mary Gannon, RN, chief nursing officer, Netsmart; Sharon Boesl, deputy director, Sauk County Human Services; and Allen Pendell, SVP of IS and analytics, Lexington Health Network. This panel discussion will cover the state of clinician satisfaction across post-acute and human services communities, turnover trends, strategies that drive clinical engagement and satisfaction, and the use of technology that supports those strategies. Real-world examples will be provided.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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In Oregon, addiction treatment and recovery services provider OnTrack Rogue Valley selects EnSoftek’s DrCloudEHR.

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ClinicTracker adds Carequality-powered HIE integration capabilities to its EHR for behavioral health.

Modernizing Medicine adds patient communication tools from Relatient to its EHR and practice management software.

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Austin Regional Clinic (TX) selects Apple Watch-powered dictation software from Notable Health to help providers cut down on data entry time in its Epic EHR. (Based on the press release, I initially thought Notable had developed software to help providers extract relevant health data from a patient’s Apple Watch and then enter it into their EHR. Now I’m wondering if that software has been developed, and if so, by who.)


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Health IT vendor DAS Health acquires Altex Business Solutions, an EHR and practice management company focused on small practices. It is the Tampa, FL-based company’s sixth acquisition in three years.

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In Canada, WELL Health Technologies acquires open-source EHR vendor NerdEMR and Butterfly Medical, which offers NerdEMR support services, for $2.5 million.


People

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Grand Rounds names Ami Parekh, MD (University of California at San Francisco) CMO.


Telemedicine

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Medici acquires virtual visit competitor Chiron Health (the telemedicine partner of choice for five EHR vendors) for an undisclosed amount. Medici, which has raised $47 million over the last two years, acquired provider-to-provider consult company DocbookMD several months ago.

In an effort to expand the scope of its care, Rancho Neurology and Sleep Medicine (CA) launches a sleep apnea screening program using telemedicine technology from OnDemand Visit.


Other

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I know Mr. H gives ride-sharing health IT stories short shrift, but I think this one’s worth paying attention to: Ohio State University plans to launch a pilot program that will provide expectant mothers on Medicaid with app-based rides to medical appointments, grocery stores, and pharmacies. Patients from eight neighborhoods – those with the highest infant mortality rates – will be eligible to participate. The program will be funded with money from the City of Columbus’ $50 million Smart City Challenge prize.

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Chaplaincy Health Care notifies 1,000 hospice and behavioral health patients of a privacy breach resulting from an email phishing scheme that compromised some PHI.

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An astute car salesman alerts authorities after a man claiming to be a Texas doctor walks in to the dealership and attempts to buy a $73,000 car. Sensing something fishy, the salesman called the doctor’s practice in an effort to confirm his identity. Proving that not all car sales reps are out to take advantage, the salesman contacted police after receiving a photo of the doctor, which didn’t match that of the identity thief’s.


Sponsor Updates

  • Nordic posts a podcast titled “Preparing for changes to value-based care reimbursement in 2019.”
  • AdvancedMD publishes a case study featuring Surgical Specialists of Jackson (MS).

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

News 12/19/18

December 19, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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Vancouver, WA-based PeaceHealth acquires Portland, OR-based urgent care chain Zoom Care for an undisclosed sum. Zoom opened in 2006 and grew to 425 employees and 37 clinics in Oregon and Washington, with a heavy emphasis on digital health offerings. 

PeaceHealth EVP Mike Dwyer says Zoom’s technology was a big factor in its purchasing decision: “It’s reflecting where society is going. We’ve got to be able to deliver care in meaningful ways the way people want to receive it. Care over an application-based platform, a digital-based platform, home health care. All of these things are really going to be driven in ways that create greater access, lower cost, and get people the care that they need when they need it. For us, that segmentation is something that we’re trying to address. The 65-year-old wants to touch health care differently than the 19-year-old. We want to be prepared for that and allow for more people to participate and gain access than not.”

Zoom management may be breathing a sigh of relief now that the deal is done, given its last several rocky years: Zoom’s failed attempt at launching a health plan in 2014 brought pressure from state regulators, who launched several investigations into its financials last year. One of the healthcare company’s major investors, Endeavour Capital, also called the veracity of its financial statements into question in 2017, though that lawsuit was resolved and Endeavour ended up investing another $24 million.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

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The local hospital’s festive tree display caught my eye, especially those decorated by the radiology staff and nursing. Urine and blood samples hanging from a tree wrapped in a paper-based (!) EKG just screams Christmas, no? Given that the holidays are almost upon us, I’ll wish you all well until HIStalk Practice resumes publishing on January 7.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Announcements and Implementations

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Patient referral, engagement, and CRM vendor ReferralMD announces GA of text and email patient communication software.


People

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ClearData names Michael Donohue (Axial Exchange) chief marketing officer and Dean Fredenburgh (AWS) chief revenue officer.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Digital behavioral health assessment vendor Tridiuum secures $9.5 million in a Series B round led by Sopris Capital. The company expects to double its sales force by this time next year.

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EHR and practice management company CentralReach acquires Bronco Billing, a managed billing services business. It will rebrand to CR BillMax Services to better integrate with CentralReach’s offerings for applied behavior analysis providers. CentralReach acquired behavioral health analytics vendor Chartlytics earlier this year.


Telemedicine

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CVS Health’s MinuteClinic rolls out Teladoc-powered video visits in Wyoming. The service is now available in 18 states.

Birmingham, AL-based VirtualCare raises seed funding from the Alabama Futures Fund. The startup offers membership-based virtual and in-office primary care to consumers and employers.


Research and Innovation

More evidence of physician dissatisfaction with health IT: A report from Geneia finds that 86 percent of surveyed physicians believe data-reporting demands have reduced their job satisfaction, though those that use analytics for population health purposes are a bit more optimistic about the ability of those tools to improve (and be reimbursed for) care.


Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks publishes a podcast titled “How EClinicalWorks is Reducing the Risk of Physician Burnout.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

News 12/17/18

December 17, 2018 News No Comments

Top News

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DaVita agrees to sell its medical group to UnitedHealth for $4.34 billion – $500 million less than initially settled on. The drop in price is the result of “underlying business performance,” according to an SEC filing, and a bid to win regulatory approval for a deal that was first announced in 2017. The acquisition, expected to close early next year, will put DaVita’s assets under UnitedHealth’s Optum division.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information.


Announcements and Implementations

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NextGen Healthcare announces GA of cloud-based HIE capabilities.

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The Eye Care Institute (KY) installs Clearwave patient check-in and insurance verification kiosks

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Mental healthcare company Emergence Health Network (TX) will work with behavioral health IT vendor Valera Health to develop a virtual healthcare program that will include video sessions, group chats, and analytics.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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K Health raises $25 million a Series B funding round, which brings its total to over $44 million since getting off the ground in 2016. The New York City-based startup has developed an AI-powered diagnostic app for consumers that also connects them (and their data) with certain providers in the city.


People

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Oncology practice management company OneOncology names Bill Frist, MD to its Board of Directors. The former Senate Majority Leader serves on several healthcare boards including Teladoc and Select Medical.

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Geoffrey Clapp (Peak State Ventures) joins Cricket Health as chief product officer.

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Patient relationship management company Navigating Cancer hires Bill Bunker (Kernel Labs) as CEO. Bunker replaces co-founder Gena Cook, who will remain with the company as president.


Research and Innovation

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A cheeky new study finds that primary care docs would have more than enough time to spend with patients, in addition to the onerous demands of digital charting, if they’d simply re-prioritize: “ This study confirms a widely held suspicion that general practitioners waste valuable time on ‘personal care’ activities. Primary care overlords, once informed about the extent of this vast reservoir of personal time, can start testing methods to ‘persuade’ general practitioners to reallocate more personal time toward bulging clinical demands.” Researchers offer a few time management suggestions: Reduce bathroom break frequency to every other day and skip time with older children “who don’t like them much anyway.”


Sponsor Updates

  • Nordic CEO Bruce Cerullo is recognized as one of the top 50 large-company CEOs in the US, as rated by employees.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

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