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News 2/19/20

February 19, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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Maven raises a $45 million Series C round of financing led by Icon Ventures, bringing the virtual clinic company’s total raised to nearly $90 million. Focused on women’s and family health, the company offers its services to employers and health plans.

The New York City-based company made sure to mention celebrity investors Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, Mindy Kaling, and 23andMe co-founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki in its funding announcement.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Research shows that the interest of private equity firms in acquiring physician practices has increased year-over-year since 2013. Of the 18,000 practices looked at between 2013 and 2016, PE firms bought 355, increasing from 59 to 136 within those three years. PE firms typically sough anesthesiology, multispecialty, emergency medicine, family medicine, and dermatology practices. Researchers point out that a PE firm’s ROI requirement may “conflict with the need for longer-term investments in practice stability, physician recruitment, quality, and safety. There may be additional pressures to increase revenue streams (eg, elective procedures and ancillary services), direct more referrals internally, and rely on lower-cost clinicians.”


Announcements and Implementations

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MedEvolve announces GA of AI-powered workflow automation capabilities for patient pre-registration.

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Georgia Health Information Network adds lab-results sharing to its HIE services.

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NJ Spine and Wellness implements MTBC’s CareCloud EHR, practice management, and patient relationship management software at its four locations.


Telemedicine

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Amazon’s virtual care clinic begins seeing the company’s Seattle-based employees and dependents. The Amazon Care app enables users to schedule virtual visits and home or office visits with NPs for further follow-up, and to order prescriptions for delivery. Amazon staffs the clinic with providers from subsidiary Oasis Medical, which it says prevents it from accessing patient data it’s not legally entitled to. Oasis Medical Director Martin Levine, MD previously headed up Iora Health’s Medicare clinics in Seattle.

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Onsite health care company Premise Health launches a virtual care offering that includes primary, acute, episodic, and some behavioral healthcare services. In making the announcement, the company stressed that Premise Virtual providers are salaried, use the same EHR (presumably Epic, which it installed at its clinics a year ago), and share the same training and value-based incentives.


Research and Innovation

New Research from Western New York-based HealtheLink, the University of Connecticut, and Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation shows that practices that incorporate health information exchange into their workflows – particularly care notifications – can reduce their patients’ ED visits by 13% and their 30-day hospital readmissions by 10%. Adding such capabilities also helped practices save several hours a week in chart preparation and appointment planning, and reduced patient cycle times by up to 40 minutes.


Sponsor Updates

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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 2/17/20

February 17, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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Remote patient monitoring startup CloudCath raises $12 million in a Series A funding round led by Capital Integral. CEO and co-founder Aly ElBadry says the company’s catheter-focused technology enables dialysis providers to catch and manage complications earlier than traditional monitoring methods.


Webinars

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


Announcements and Implementations

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Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute implements patient billing software from Cedar.


Research and Innovation

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New research from Cornell University confirms what previous studies have found: Physicians prescribe more medications after marketing visits from pharmaceutical reps touting those drugs. However, the new study shows that the amount is well below what other studies have suggested. The Cornell research found no correlation between wining and dining doctors and their propensity afterwards to write prescriptions for “higher-quality” medications. While the marketing visits are well worth the time in terms of ROI for pharma companies, there is no direct link to improved clinical outcomes for patients based on the drug prescribed afterwards.


Other

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This article highlights the world of paramedical tattooing, in which tattoo artists provide customers who want to camouflage stretch marks, surgery scars, and discolored skin. Tattoos of areolas are among the most commonly requested paramedical designs. Eric Catalano offers free paramedical tattooing on “Wellness Wednesdays” at his Eternal Ink studio in Missouri. He started offering the service after seeing the joy a fingernail tattoo brought to a customer who lost two fingers in an accident: “Financially it doesn’t make sense, but it’s just something that I love to do. Every time I see that emotion, I’m 100 percent sure this is something that I can’t stop doing.”

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Designer Danielle Baskin proposes developing face ID masks so that users can log into their devices without having to take off their masks. Baskin’s other products and art projects include:

  • Founder Fitness Club, which prints pitch decks on yoga mats so users can attract investors at the gym.
  • Womb Escape Game, an escape room kit for newborns that comes with a tiny “We Escaped!” sign for first baby photos.
  • Giant Cover Letter, a service that sends attention-grabbing 5’ cover letters to potential employers.
  • Cryptocutlery, which offers a pocket knife equipped with a cryptocurrency ledger wallet.

Sponsor Updates

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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 2/12/20

February 12, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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HealthLynked acquires Cura Health Management and its ACO Health Partners subsidiary for $1.75 million. HealthLynked, which offers data-sharing technology that links member providers and patients, will launch an ACO division with its newly-acquired, 75-physician ACO in Jacksonville, FL.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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Readers continue to chime in with their opinions on loved and loathed classic novels. Teacher nominates “Love Story” by Erich Segal as “being one of the most loathsome books that I have encountered. I was in elementary school when the book/movie was distributed and even the nuns were gaga over it. Boring .…”

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Natalie suggests that folks check out the movie “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” based on the book of the same name. She says that, according to author Seth Grahame-Smith, the original text of the novel was well-suited for use as a zombie horror story: ”You have this fiercely independent heroine, you have this dashing heroic gentleman, you have a militia camped out for seemingly no reason whatsoever nearby, and people are always walking here and there and taking carriage rides here and there .… It was just ripe for gore and senseless violence. From my perspective anyway.”

I loved the book and the movie (which is like the movie “Shaun of the Dead,” but with more corsets), and went on to read and love “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” Other authors have given similar treatments to classic novels. I can’t give myself the ok to read “Android Karenina” by Ben Winters because I haven’t yet read the original. I know there are other parody books out there. Email me with your favorites.

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And speaking of favorites … “The Lord of the Rings” is one of mine, and so I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read about the North Yorkshire police force’s efforts to return a very precious ring to its owner.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

In Canada, Well Health Technologies acquires MedBase Software’s Open Source Clinical Application Resource (Oscar) EMR assets for nearly half a million dollars. Well Health will integrate MedBase into its Well EMR Group, which serves nearly 1,500 clinics across the country including 20 proprietary facilities.


Announcements and Implementations

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The American Oncology Network will implement Cedar’s patient engagement and payment software at its partner facilities across 11 states.

InSync Healthcare Solutions adds electronic medication administration capabilities to its EHR.


People

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Mental, behavioral, and rehab health software vendor Therapy Brands names Kimberly O’Loughlin (Greenway Health) CEO.

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Adil Karam (Cor Partners) joins Payspan as VP of information security and compliance.

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Talkspace hires former Teladoc executive Mark Hirschhorn (ArisGlobal) as president, CFO, and COO; and Andrew Moers (Blue Apron) as CMO.


Telemedicine

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XRHealth will launch telehealth clinics that use virtual reality and remote patient monitoring to treat patients for a variety of conditions that include stroke and brain injury rehabilitation, neurological disorders, menopause, and memory decline.

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George Washington University researchers determine that remote monitoring; virtual visits; and text messaging, especially in the areas of smoking cessation during pregnancy, consistency in breastfeeding, and adherence to contraception have vital roles to play in the care of women who live in areas that lack easily accessible Ob/Gyn facilities. They believe more studies are needed to determine just how effective telehealth interventions can be in evidence-based care.

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Addiction-focused telemedicine startup Boulder raises $10 million.


Research and Innovation

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An analysis of 1.5 million Yelp reviews finds consumers are more likely to give lawyers five stars than they are doctors. Attorneys are 72% less likely to receive one-star reviews than physicians, and they attain higher star ratings on average. Perhaps we should all consider sending a Valentine to our favorite MDs. They obviously need some love.


Other

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Penn Medicine PCP Jeffrey Millstein, MD writes about the value of the patient story in the education of medical students rotating through his office: “We can teach and demonstrate clinical diagnosis, interviewing and examination techniques, and even share powerful stories of meaningful doctor-patient relationships. But there is nothing like listening to a patient explain what it is like to feel truly heard by a physician. This was an invaluable lesson for my student, and a humble reminder for me. It’s the sort of wisdom you can never get too much of.”

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Online prescription and virtual care company Ro launches Health Guide, a Web-based resource for consumers looking for information on a variety of health conditions. A third of the content is written by physicians, and all of it is reviewed by them.


Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD becomes a corporate sponsor of the Association of Independent Doctors, offering half-off membership discounts to select applicants.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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News 2/10/20

February 10, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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Medicare-focused primary care company Iora Health raises $126 million in a Series F funding round led by Indian investment firm Premji Invest, bringing its total raised to nearly $350 million. In addition to expanding beyond its 48 practices, the Boston-based company will use the financing to add enhanced interoperability features to its proprietary care collaboration technology.


HIStalk Practice Musings

It’s interesting that statistics show that primary care visits are on the decline, according to the study I mentioned last week, and yet primary care companies like Iora and One Medical are attracting financing. (And private equity firms have made headlines for their interest in medical groups.) Those businesses, of course, attract a specific kind of clientele – Medicare beneficiaries, and those who can pay for a membership or whose employer offers one. Perhaps investors and shareholders are looking to support new primary care models that are more tech-savvy and more willing to think outside the box when it comes to who they offer services to and who they partner with (health systems, payers, employers.) Readers, feel free to educate me by leaving a comment below.

After mentioning this list of most loved and hated classic novels, several readers emailed me with their two cents. Chip, who admits to attending “one of those obnoxious East Coast liberal arts schools,” argues that the “definition of ‘classics’ from that list implies that it’s just a book written before 1950. Puzo and Christie are hardly literature, imo, even though I have enjoyed reading them a lot. Where are Shakespeare, Milton/Chaucer, Dickens, Twain, Faulkner, Hemingway, Morrison, etc.?

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“Gatsby is a work of pure genius and anyone who rated it a 4 or below shouldn’t be allowed to vote. Some whose opinion mean a lot to me swear that ‘Moby Dick’ is the one great novel, but I never started it and keep meaning to. ‘Catcher In The Rye’ never resonated with me.  It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t revelatory. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (and their kin) are timeless and wickedly clever, and the source of every good romcom scene ever filmed.”

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He loathes “To The Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf, and has barely anything better to say about the works of Ayn Rand.

I’ll share more comments in upcoming posts. Please share your favorite and hated classics via email.


HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests

Thanks to the following companies that recently supported HIStalk Practice. Click a logo for more information.

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Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Consumer health data aggregation startup HealthChampion opens a second office in Chicago. The company’s app, which also offers users a health rating akin to a credit score, went live last May. It employs 20 people across its three offices, including one in Milwaukee, and hopes to double that by the end of next year. Prior to Health Champions, founder Terrence Ryan founded and led LaunchPoint, a cloud-based healthcare analytics firm.

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Canadian online counseling company Wellin5 acquires San Francisco-based Therachat for an undisclosed sum. Wellin5 opened its first US office in Sacramento, CA last year.


Announcements and Implementations

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Healthstat will implement SentryHealth’s population health management software across its 300 onsite health clinics.


Research and Innovation

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Scientists in Spain are refining technology that has helped a blind woman see a low-resolution version of her environment manifested by glowing dots and shapes. They have developed camera-equipped glasses that sends live video feed of her surroundings to a computer, which then turns it into electronic signals. These are sent via cable to the woman’s brain through a port at the base of her skull, which is wired to an implant in her brain’s visual cortex. Having completed the six-month project, she says she will definitely sign up for any future iterations of the technology.


Other

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Job alert: The island of Colonsay in the Inner Hebrides, off the coast of Scotland, is in need of a physician to care for its 134 patients. (Summer tourists swell that number to 600.) The current husband-and-wife physician team will retire in May. “This practice won’t work for the wrong person,” says GP Jan Brooks. “They can’t be easily daunted, and it has to feel exciting for them. But this is a special island and the rewards are special, too.”


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicomp Systems will work with clinical text structuring company Emtelligent to develop new solutions that will support efficient clinical workflows and improve usability.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

Get HIStalk Practice updates.
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Become a sponsor.

News 2/5/20

February 5, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that primary care visits are declining amongst commercially-insured adults, with visits between 2008 and 2016 declining by 24% and the amount of adults not seeking PCP appointments increasing to 46%. Visit declines were most prevalent in young adults, those without chronic conditions, and those living in low-income areas. Out-of-pocket costs rose by about $10 per visit.

The study’s authors attribute the decline to a decrease in a patient’s perceived need for appointments, increased costs, and the increasing availability of alternative sources of care.

These findings shouldn’t surprise anyone working in the world of digital health, and I’m willing to bet they won’t surprise PCPs themselves. As more and more virtual care options become available through traditional providers, payers, employers, and directly to consumers, it’s no wonder people are foregoing treks to the clinic when they can receive care – albeit, potentially disconnected – from the comfort of wherever they already are.


Webinars

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


Announcements and Implementations

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PatientPop adds neighborhood-based social media site NextDoor to the list of practice profile sites it monitors and manages as part of its patient relationship management services for providers.

HIM vendor HealthMark Group, patient intake management company OTech Group, and Ridgemont Equity Partners will co-develop software to help practices manage patient check-in and medical records release processes. HealthMark CEO Bart Howe will lead development efforts.

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Autism care organization Learning Arts (CA) implements CentralReach’s EHR and practice management software.


People

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Premier Health Group in Vancouver names Amit Mathur president. Mathur was formerly COO of telemedicine vendor Livecare Health, which Premier acquired last month.

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Pediatric health IT company Office Practicum names Alan Horton (Medecision) CTO and Bethany Williams (Wayster/ZirMed) SVP of product. Horton will take over from founder Greg Anderson, who will remain chairman of the board.

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Care team communication vendor LeadingReach promotes Earl Reddell to VP of engineering, Amanda Beita to VP of enterprise development, Mason Hering to VP of marketing, and Jason Siegel to VP of enterprise sales.


Government and Politics

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Federal authorities arrest Reinaldo and Jean Wilson, husband-and-wife owners of telemedicine companies Advantage Choice Care and Tele Medcare, for their roles in an illegal kickback scheme that swindled Medicare out of $56 million. The couple allegedly orchestrated a ring of providers that ordered medically unnecessary orthotic braces for Medicare patients.


Telemedicine

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Premier Health Group announces GA of CloudMD, a direct-to-consumer telemedicine app for patients in British Columbia.


Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD will exhibit at the NILA Mid-Winter Meeting February 7-8 in Scottsdale, AZ.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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