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News 5/27/20

May 27, 2020 News 3 Comments

Top News

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NextGen Healthcare launches an advisory service that will be led by CMO Betty Rabinowitz, MD.

The five-member team will initially focus on helping ambulatory organizations navigate value-based care or risk-bearing contracts while improving quality and outcomes.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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It’s finally happened. I’ve gone through all the books in my personal library that I care to re-read, and am now having to borrow from friends until my local public library re-opens. I tried e-reading, but gave up after I couldn’t find titles I was interested in. Reading old favorites over the last few months has made me realize I don’t enjoy E.M. Forster as much as I once did. I was a bit of a Merchant Ivory film fan once upon a time.

What books/authors have you relied on during quarantine? What fun summer reads do you have lined up? Email me or leave a comment below.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Practice management and RCM company Jorie Healthcare Partners, which has offices in Chicago and India, launches a technology division after acquiring an unnamed software vendor.


People

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Home health and remote patient monitoring company Electronic Caregiver names Mark Francis (AWS) Chief Digital Health Integration Officer.


Announcements and Implementations

In Columbus, Ohio, the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County selects managed care software from Streamline Healthcare Solutions.

Premier Family Physicians in Austin begins offering app-based house calls and virtual visits from Remedy.

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Utah Cancer Specialists implements precision medicine informatics software from Xifin.


Government and Politics

Officials in Franklin County, MO vote to back out of the regional PDMP, citing lack of need and updates on the program’s impact, and concern that it’s being used as a law-enforcement tool. Prescribers have, since 2018, been required to report prescriptions for certain controlled substances through the Web-based program. The county had ranked as one of the highest in the nation for opioid prescriptions, according to CDC data. Missouri is the only state in the country without a statewide PDMP.


Research and Innovation

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Telemedicine’s exponential uptick has helped with care continuity during the pandemic, but has left many physicians with billing-induced headaches – hardly ideal at a time when practices are struggling to stay afloat. A survey of 983 physicians conducted by the Pennsylvania Medical Society found that a third of respondents believe reimbursement to be “difficult” or “very difficult.” For all the news around telemedicine’s explosion and headlines shouting “no going back,” I have to wonder if billing difficulties will curtail enthusiasm for virtual visits once the pandemic truly wanes.

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MGMA’s latest look at physician compensation finds primary care salaries increased 2.6% between 2018 and 2019 to nearly $275,000. Top-earning specialties were urgent care and pulmonology. These figures will prove to be interesting benchmarks when contrasted with data for 2019-2020, which has so far seen practices reported a 55% decrease in revenue and a 60% decrease in patient volume since the beginning of the pandemic.


Other

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After being swamped with patients at his practice seeking testing for COVID-19, Alex Salerno, MD takes matters into his own hands and launches a mobile testing for vulnerable populations in New Jersey’s Orange county. He’s so far spent $100,000 on retrofitting a used van and purchasing PPE, some from the black market. The investment has enabled him to mobilize 100 staffers who offer testing from the van and in the homes of patients. The mayor has been a major proponent: “We have seven senior buildings in a 2.2-square-mile area, so it includes a lot of vulnerable people. We know that the more we get tested, the more we know, the better we can fight this thing. And so having his van is really something that’s tremendous for our community.”

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The local news profiles Hixny’s efforts to help the New York State Department of Health better identify and track cases of COVID-19. The HIE began in early March to tailor its flu surveillance capabilities to better identify patients with COVID-19 symptoms. The organization is now preparing to help with contact-tracing efforts.


Sponsor Updates

  • Healthwise celebrates its 45th anniversary.
  • The Healthcare Technology Report includes AdvancedMD CEO Raul Villar on its list of “The Top 50 Healthcare Technology CEOs Of 2020.”

Blog Posts


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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News 5/13/20

May 13, 2020 News 1 Comment

Top News

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Value-based primary care care improvement company Stellar Health raises $10 million in a Series A investment round.


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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Parthenon Capital makes an undisclosed investment in prescription savings and analytics vendor RxSense. WebMD announced earlier this year that it would incorporate RxSense’s consumer-friendly SingleCare prescription savings technology into its own drug discount service.


Announcements and Implementations

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Houston-based startup Octagos Health announces GA of remote monitoring software for implanted cardiac devices.

PracticeSuite adds credentialing and coding services from AIMA Business and Medical Services to its line of practice management, EHR, billing, and telemedicine software.

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South Bend Clinic (IN) implements DocASAP’s online scheduling software for virtual visits.

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Doctor on Demand makes its service available to Medicare Part B beneficiaries, and will waive their copays during the pandemic.

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True Women’s Health (MI) launches a virtual care and patient engagement app utilizing OptimizeRx’s RMDY software.

House call company Avalon Physician Services (MI) selects virtual COVID-19 symptom screening and remote monitoring software from Wanda Health.

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Zocdoc adds telemedicine services powered by Twilio to its Web-based provider search and appointment-booking tools. It will also offer the software as a white-label service to providers.


People

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MTBC promotes Karl Johnson to president of its MTBC Force division.

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Steven Sell (Health Net) joins Agilon Health as CEO.

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PT Genie names Bob Malone (Fernweh Health) CEO.


Research and Innovation

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Just 13% of surveyed consumers report feeling confident enough to return to in-person visits with their local physician within the next two months, according to a Black Book survey of 600 people. Of those that have recently used telemedicine in place of in-person visits, 78% were satisfied with their experience. Since the survey didn’t address the likelihood of that same group continuing with virtual visits for routine care, I reached out to several physicians to gauge their thoughts on the post-pandemic future of telemedicine. You can read their comments here.


Other

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Privia Health reports 40,000 seniors used its virtual care technology to connect with their Privia Medical Group providers during the initial months of the COVID-19 outbreak. The company developed its own telemedicine software in 2017 and now performs 7,000 online visits each day.

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Urgent care chain CityMD mistakenly tells 15,000 patients that the positive results of their COVID-19 antibody tests mean they are immune to the virus. Public health officials have stressed that positive results do not equal immunity. Blaming the incorrect messaging on an editing error in the patient portal, the company has reached out to affected patients to ensure they have the correct information.


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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Physicians Weigh in on Telemedicine’s Post-Pandemic Future

May 12, 2020 Uncategorized No Comments

As states begin reopening and physician practices reassess how to operate in healthcare’s “new normal,” many – if not all – providers who emerge to offer post-pandemic care will weigh the pros and cons of continuing to incorporate virtual visits. 

HIStalk Practice sat down with several physicians from Lee Health Physicians Group in Fort Myers, Florida to gauge their experience with telemedicine over the last several months, and their thoughts on how this method of care delivery may finally gain a permanent foothold in day-to-day operations.

What has uptake of telemedicine been like among your patients? Have they been receptive, or have they put off care until they can be seen in person?

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Elizabeth Midney-Martinez, MD: “The majority of my patients were very hesitant at first. I care for a mostly geriatric population, so as you can imagine, it was difficult at first for many of them because of the technology. There has been a minority of patients who are not able to do telemedicine, but I’ve only had this come up twice in the last several weeks because they do not have a computer, tablet, or their phone is antiquated.”

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Andre Anderson, MD: “The majority of the patients that have used our telemedicine interface have shared that they enjoy it. It gives them the opportunity to continue receiving quality medical care without leaving the comfort of their home. Caregility’s interface is very simplified and easy to use for any age group. Some of my patients have shared that it might be difficult to convince them to come to the clinic in the future if telemedicine is still available. They really enjoy it.”

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Jose Orellana, MD: “My patients have been very receptive with our telemedicine services because they see it as an advantageous and convenient way to access to quality medical care that supplements the practice of medical visits. They also welcome the cut down of medical expense for them, and it extends access to consults from specialists. It also has increased patient engagement by allowing the patient to engage with his/her provider more frequently in a convenient way. Also, our elderly patients feel personally empowered because they do not need a family member to take them to the provider’s office (and miss a day from work) or the need of transportation, therefore cutting on their expenses, especially if they live on a fixed income.”

Do you foresee your organization using telemedicine as much once the pandemic is over?

Midney-Martinez: “I think that this could be used perhaps in a different clinical setting. In my case in particular, since I am the only physician in my small community, I think I will continue to do mostly in-person visits. I would like to be able to see patients via telemed for simple things on my day off to be able to earn more RVUs though, but I do not know if this will be an option moving forward.”

Anderson: “I think it will be hard for insurance companies to discontinue providing payment for telemedicine visits. The convenience factor is a big upsell for the patients. We live in an era that relies heavily on electronics and I think virtual visits will continue if it does not sacrifice quality patient care. It is a great means to reach populations that have difficulties with transportation as well. Telemedicine can also be done ‘on the fly,’ which allows prompt evaluation for patients and should lead to decreased negative outcomes.”

Orellana: “Absolutely, I believe telemedicine is here to stay. It provides an edge to our institution in a competitive healthcare landscape and it complements medical practice; it is the new frontier in medicine and allows us to reach patients in remote locations and areas of shortage of medical professionals. It expedites the care for minor but urgent conditions in a complex but integrative manner.

Finally, what best practices or words of advice (or warning) can you offer to physicians looking to embrace telemedicine as a key part of their practice moving forward?

Midney-Martinez: “Telemedicine is a wonderful way to keep in contact with your patients when not able to be with them in person. I have been able to keep patients out of the hospital this way. It also keeps patients out of urgent care, since most of their problems are minor issues that can be easily addressed like headache, rash, UTI, etc. I have found that even though my patients were resistant at first, once they connected with me, they were very happy, excited, and many told me they wished we could do it like this ‘all the time.’”

Anderson: “Telemedicine can help expedite care, but it still has its limitations. Physical exam is an integral part of the interview process and of course is difficult to assess virtually. However, good history-taking usually leads to an appropriate diagnosis. HIPAA is always an area of concern and should still be respected even during virtual visits. My biggest advice to other physicians is to always remember to smile! (You’re on camera.)”

Orellana: “Initially, telemedicine may create a technological hurdle for both patients and providers as we grapple with new technology. There is a learning curve with this technology and patients need time and education to register and install the appropriate app. Telemedicine as a tool must have HIPAA compliance and good IT support to be efficient and effective. Also, telemedicine may lead to a breakdown in care continuity if patients access a random doctor who does not know the patient and the patient’s medical history. The medical institution must provide the tools to providers to easily connect with their own patients. Providers must realize that telemedicine is a supplement to medical visits; in specific conditions, a physical exam is necessary to make a full diagnosis.”


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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News 5/11/20

May 11, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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Primary and urgent care company Carbon Health adds $26 million to its Series B round thanks to additional funding from investor DCVC. The San Francisco-based company, which also has clinics in Los Angeles and Reno, NV, has raised $62.5 million since opening in 2015.

It has used the money to hire several hundred employees and to expand its COVID-19 testing efforts, which include a readiness program designed to help employers test employees and monitor their exposure. It also plans to expand access to its telemedicine service from 16 states to all 50 by the end of the summer.


Webinars

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


Announcements and Implementations

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Equicare Health adds videoconferencing software to its line of cancer care coordination and patient engagement technology.

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Bizmatics announces GA of Virtual Md, new white-label telemedicine software.

Safety Net Connect adds access to HubMD physicians through its Converge e-consult software.

DrChrono integrates machine-learning charting capabilities from EHRsynergy with its EHR.

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Employer-focused MyTelemedicine launches Zeally Health, giving providers access to customizable virtual visit technology.


People

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Asif Ahmad (Dimensional Dental)  joins radiology management company LucidHealth as CEO.


Other

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Nonprofit Fair Health develops an interactive telemedicine tracking map that displays comparative data on volume, urban versus rural use, as well as top procedure codes and diagnoses across the country.

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Privia Health Chief Clinical Officer Keith Fernandez, MD confirms that the company has sent emails to Privia Medical Group patients asking them to participate in a COVID-19 crowdsourcing survey. De-identified symptom and treatment data collected from the daily questionnaires will be used to help the federal government better assess what treatments are being used and how patients are responding to them. Sixteen thousand Privia patients have opted in thus far. Wake Forest Baptist and Atrium Health in North Carolina have also opted in to the program, which uses portal technology donated by Oracle. 

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As states begin to reopen, physician practices say their top challenges will be:

  • Developing COVID-19 safety guidelines.
  • Ensuring necessary supplies are on hand.
  • Dealing with unpredictable patient volumes.
  • Managing fear of exposure among patients and staff.

Sponsor Updates

  • Nordic posts a podcast titled “Rise in telehealth sessions alone won’t create great patient experiences.”
  • AdvancedMD publishes a new e-book, “Telehealth: The Ultimate Guide to Maximizing Revenue, Keeping More of What You’re Paid, and Thriving Through Thick and Thin.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

News 5/6/20

May 6, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

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CVS Health shares increase 3% on reports of Q1 sales of $67 billion and EPS of $1.91. CEO Larry Merlo says the retailer has seen a pandemic-induced spike in its digital services, with Minute Clinic’s virtual visits increasing 600%.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Chronic care management technology and services startup TimeDoc Health raises $5.7 million in Series A round of funding led by Vocap Investment Partners. It plans to use the financing to enhance EHR integrations, develop remote patient monitoring capabilities, and expand its sales team.


Announcements and Implementations

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EyeXam announces GA of a new app that incorporates telemedicine capabilities from GenieMD with its eye care and diagnosis software.

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HealthTalk AI adds access to virtual visits to its patient engagement and relationship management technology.

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Health IT and billing company MDS Medical will outsource its revenue cycle management using MTBC Force software and services.

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Doximity adds video visit capabilities to its physician networking app. The company will make Dialer Video available to users for free through January 2021.

Online prescription savings service GoodRx adds SteadyMD to its list of pediatric telemedicine providers.


Government and Politics

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Walmart returns $12.6 million from the Provider Relief Fund to the federal government with the explanation that it didn’t request the funds. The company operates three healthcare clinics and several COVID-19 testing sites.


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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Recent Comments

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