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News 6/10/19

June 10, 2019 News No Comments

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Barbara McAneny, MD (right) hands over AMA’s presidential duties to Patrice Harris, MD (center) at the association’s annual meeting in Chicago. Members voted allergist and immunologist Susan Bailey, MD president-elect.


HIStalk Practice Musings

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Highly recommended reading: I flew through “Kingdom of Copper,” wrapping up the second book of the Daevabad trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty on the same day that I saw the new Aladdin movie. (Pure coincidence, I assure you.) If you’re a fan of Ottoman and Arabian mythology and folk tales, and magical suspense that doesn’t let up, this book is for you. A word of warning, though: The book is deep in details, so reading the first novel, “City of Brass,” is required. I found myself flipping to the glossary several times to make sure I was keeping the various tribes of magical beings straight. The third book in the series has yet to be released.

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Check out this article if you need scientific evidence on the benefits of reading to compel you to visit your local library. Highlights include:

  • Book-lovers live two years longer than everyone else, irrespective of other factors like gender and wealth. Researchers have determined that “[d]eep reading promotes empathy and emotional intelligence – cognitive processes that can lead to greater chance of survival.” This statistic makes me wonder if social determinants of health should include metrics beyond traditional literacy levels, such as access to public libraries.
  • Information is more easily absorbed when read from print rather than a digital screen. I am apparently among the 39% of US adults who read only print books.
  • Building a book collection “boosts adult literacy, numeracy, and technological problem solving.”
  • Reading wards off brain deterioration.

Feel free to share additional reading statistics and book recommendations with me via email.


Webinars

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


People

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Dana Fields (Ardent Health Services) joins Privia Health as SVP and chief compliance officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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The Oregon Council for Behavioral Health will offer member organizations EnSoftek’s DrCloudEHR.


Research and Innovation

A survey of 550 consumers finds that 57% have physicians who offer mobile apps. The same percentage say they prefer to communicate with their physicians via app rather than phone. Their top app functions include scheduling appointments, viewing lab results, and requesting prescriptions. Patients may love apps, but nearly 70% still prefer in-person visits to video consults.


Other

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It’s time for your yearly Glammogram: The New York Times looks at the lengths clinics will go to to get women in for their annual mammograms. Perks like VIP nights with chair massages and goody bags, beverage bars, and warm robes in different designs and sizes are just a few things providers are trying out to entice new patients, retain current ones, and make sure their mammography services remain profitable. Practices have also added night and weekend appointments, and online scheduling and follow-up to make sure women can access convenient care. New York City-based Pure Mammography has even opened up a clinic in a local mall and rented out a mall kiosk to attract shoppers. 

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In Australia, industry experts question the predatory-like lending practices of Afterpay, a “buy now, pay later” company that recently began offering short-term payment plans for medical and dental treatments. Late fees make up a fifth of the company’s revenue. “We’re not quite the US, where if something goes wrong you can be completely ruined,“ says associate professor Dan Woodman, “but we are getting to that point where we speculate a little bit in the future and hope for the best. Paying off your medication or radiology didn’t used to be a thing. Now it is.”

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The AMA’s meeting is in full swing in Chicago. Aside from the normal presentations, elections, and networking – plus a “Medicare for All” protest rally outside of the venue and tweet-worthy bacon doughnuts – not much else seems to be going on. CMS Administrator Seema Verma is set to make an appearance later today. 

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Primary care physician Audrey Provenzano, MD compares the EHR-less days of the “Country Doctor” with her average patient encounter, which is typically short on time and personal interaction. While admitting that EHRs are indispensable, she says:

“I cannot look at “Country Doctor without a searing sense of loss for our profession. In each image I see that ineffable moment of connection in which a caregiver is wholly focused on a patient’s concern. I long to establish that connection with each of my patients, whether we are discussing a new tumor or a fleeting rash. But so often, I am running late, the patient needs orders placed, and the screen pulls me away.”


Sponsor Updates

  • Intelligent Medical Objects holds a grand opening ceremony for its new headquarters in Rosemont, IL.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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News 6/5/19

June 5, 2019 News No Comments

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San Francisco-based primary and urgent care company Carbon Health raises $30 million in a Series B funding round led by Brookline Growth Partners. The company will use the financing to expand its clinics into retail spaces beyond California, and to embark on more ambulatory care partnerships with health systems.

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The company, which has raised nearly $37 million since launching in 2015, has developed an app that lets patients schedule appointments, pay for services, chat with providers, and conduct virtual video visits.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Atlanta-based startup Medxoom raises $3 million, which it will use to hire additional staff, and further scale marketing and sales for its healthcare pricing app.

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Feedtrail raises $1 million for its real-time patient feedback app.


People

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Noel Marsden (Brightstar) joins CareCloud as CFO.

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OneOncology names David Stewart (Tennessee Oncology) CIO and Garrick Bernstein (One Medical) CFO.


Announcements and Implementations

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The Louisiana Physicians Accountable Care Organization enlists Aledade to help its six independent primary care practices implement and use population health management and care coordination technology.

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Dallas-based IPA Genesis Physicians Group selects patient referral and analytics software from Fibroblast.

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Practice management and RCM vendor PracticeSuite leverages Payment Data Systems technology to offer customers new electronic payment capabilities.

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Family Healthcare of Siouxland implements scheduling software from MyHealthDirect at its six clinics located across Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

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NextGen announces GA of an integrated physical and behavioral health EHR.


Government and Politics

The State of Maryland goes live on NIC’s RxGov PDMP. NIC signed a five-year contract with the Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients, which will manage the program.


Sponsor Updates

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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Contact us online.
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News 6/3/19

June 3, 2019 News No Comments

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MGMA’s latest look at provider compensation finds that modest increases have occurred across primary and specialty care, with PCPs seeing a 3.4% rise and specialty physicians seeing a 4.4% increase between 2017 and 2018. Total compensation across provider titles has increased between 7% and 11% over the last five years, a trend that will no doubt continue as practices seek to attract shrinking pools of talent with attractive compensation packages. The Midwest and South offered the most lucrative compensation rates, while Eastern regions offered the lowest.


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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Cardiologist Joseph Galichia, MD and his medical group will pay $5.8 million to settle claims that he violated the False Claims Act by improperly billing the federal government for unnecessary surgical procedures. This is Galichia’s third offense. He settled similar allegations in 2000 and 2009 to the tune of $2.8 million.


People

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ClearData names Suhas Kelkar (BMC) chief product officer and Thomas McKeever (Accela) general counsel, chief legal officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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Naugatuck Valley Radiology Associates (CT) implements Royal Solutions Group’s appointment scheduling and check-in, patient communication, and payment software.

Aledade enlists the California Medical Association to help it enroll physician practices in its first ACOs in the state. Sacramento-based CalHIPSO has agreed to provide interested practices with technology integration support.


Telemedicine

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App-based house call company Heal adds virtual consult services.


Other

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Health Quest Systems notifies patients of a 2018 data breach that may have compromised PHI. The breach occurred through phishing attacks at affiliates Health Quest Medical Practice, Health Quest Urgent Care, and Hudson Valley Newborn Physician Services. HQS has since implemented multifactor authentication and provided additional cybersecurity training to its employees.

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University of North Carolina innovation scholar Aneesh Agarwal creates the Clinic Locator app to help consumers find free or affordable health clinics in their area. The app currently has 1,000 clinics listed across the country.


Sponsor Updates

  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the SCPHA Association Annual Clinical Network Retreat June 7-9 in Myrtle Beach, SC.
  • Nordic releases a new podcast, “How to build an effective hub-and-spoke relationship.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

News 5/29/19

May 29, 2019 News No Comments

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Paradise Medical Group reopens in Paradise, CA with financial support from Blue Shield of California after its main clinic was destroyed during last year’s disastrous Camp Fire. The fire destroyed 18,000 buildings – including most of the homes of PMG staff – and left 85 people dead.

PMG President Richard Thorp, MD says, “In the wake of the Camp Fire, we were engulfed in how to reconnect phones and medical records, answer phones and renew destroyed medical supplies and medications when we quickly realized that we had the possibility of going bankrupt as we continued to provide care for our community. In an answer to prayer, Blue Shield of California with the encouragement of the California Medical Association extended gifts of financial and operational support that pulled PMG back from the brink of collapse.”

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The practice, which had been operating out of temporary facilities in nearby Chico, has also leveraged Teladoc’s telemedicine software to begin offering virtual consults.


Reader Comments

From Joe MD: “Re: Georgia Dept. of Public Health will use Appriss Health’s PMP Gateway software to help prescribers connect to the state’s PDMP via their EHRs … grant from the CDC. Linking individual EMRs to the maybe 50 State databases is a crazy approach where there are viable HIEs, such as in parts of Texas and in Indianapolis (among others). A far better approach would be to use the HIE as a gateway to Appriss so that when the clinician connects to the HIE, they get as much of the patient’s information as possible and they don’t have to integrate multiple sources.

Being financially driven, Appriss Health priced its offering to one of our HIEs in Texas in a manner to ensure that the HIE cannot afford it. From one of our local HIEs: ‘Appriss wanted $50 per prescriber per year. The problem is they wanted that from us for all the prescribers in the HIE, whether we got paid or not.’

We are using CDC and other grants to create a monopoly for a private company and, possibly worse, we are creating an unsustainable infrastructure that undermines HIEs. While the intent (opioid control) is noble, it’s still a monopoly and we all are poorer if more HIEs fail because they are not bypassed. My cynical side says that Appriss is thinking that once the pipes are built to each EMR they can be the HIE of the future.”


HIStalk Practice Musings

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I wrapped up Elizabeth Kostova’s “The Swan Thieves” over the long weekend. It was a compelling read – easy to pick up and hard to put down. The story of a psychiatrist treating a famous painter obsessed with an early French Impressionist certainly appealed to my love for art history. It’s the third title I’ve read by Kostova, whose most famous work is “The Historian,” which is another engrossing book that combines story lines with history and a touch of the unbelievable.

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Bill Gates has more summer reading suggestions, including “Nine Pints” by Rose George. He describes it as “filled with super-interesting facts that will leave you with a new appreciation for blood.”

I’m always looking for reading recommendations to pass along. Email me with your suggestions.


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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Spokane, WA-based startup Medcurity raises $700,000 to brings its TurboTax-like software for HIPAA compliance to market. The company, which launched last December, is initially targeting smaller clinics and practices, and business associates – entities that typically don’t have their own compliance departments.

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NextGen Healthcare CEO Rusty Frantz says the company’s Q4 results exceeded revenue expectations thanks to growth in bookings and deal size, and the launch of integrated ambulatory care software. Frantz remains confident in the company’s ability to deliver 20% operating margin in the next three years.

From the earnings call:

  • Revenue came in at $134 million, slightly under last year’s Q4.
  • Frantz highlighted several KLAS recognitions including accolades for practice management, product functionality, and improved interoperability.
  • The company’s new integrated ambulatory care software has given it a strong foothold in the replacement market.
  • It expects to save $3 million by migrating client hosting services to AWS.
  • Value-based care transitions and increased regulatory “intensity” have prompted the company to put R&D expansion plans for its Bangalore office in India in place.
  • The company will also invest in expanding its sales and marketing team.

Announcements and Implementations

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In a savvy marketing move, Headspace announces it will offer AMA members free access to its meditation and mindfulness app. The offer comes on the heels of research showing that physician burnout costs the US healthcare system nearly $5 billion a year, and that WHO now recognizes burnout as a legitimate diagnosis.

Care Compass Network in New York adopts integrated analytics and population health management software from SpectraMedix and GSI Health.


Government

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Independent practices in North Carolina face a June 1 deadline to connect to the state’s HIE or risk losing the ability to submit bills to state-funded payment programs like Medicaid. Technology costs are seen as the number-one barrier to connecting to NC Health Connex, particularly for small practices and those run by physicians nearing retirement. Legislation has been introduced to extend the deadline by another three years.


Telemedicine

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App-based therapy company Talkspace raises $50 million in a Series D round led by Revolution Growth.


Other

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CNet reviews Forward Health’s tech-heavy, membership-based primary care clinic, highlighting the minimalist décor, 3D body scanner, and Apple Health-like app that pings employees when patient readings soar to unacceptable levels. Most interesting to me, however, was the reviewer’s love of the clinic’s speech-to-text capabilities, which then showed up on a giant touchscreen, giving both physician and patient the luxury of eye-to-eye contact during their hour-long appointment. “I’ve had patients come in for appointments and cry because it’s such a powerful experience for them,” says Medical Lead Nate Favini, MD. “Until this point, they’ve probably hardly made eye contact with their doctor, and now they’re seeing all of this information intuitively show up in front of them.”

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Magnolia Pediatrics (RI) hosts an art show at the local library, giving patients and their siblings the opportunity to show off their creative skills. Owner Linda DelVecchio-Gilbert, NP ended up collecting and submitting 83 pieces, which have all won rave reviews from local critics.


Sponsor Updates

  • Aprima will exhibit at the NJMGMA Practice Management Conference June 5-7 in Atlantic City.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

News 5/22/19

May 22, 2019 News 1 Comment

Top News

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A state-of-industry survey of 800 independent practices finds that:

  • Top challenges to growth include declining reimbursements, the increasing financial responsibility of patients, and physician burnout – 75% say care delivery is being negatively impacted by the pull of administrative tasks.
  • 70% of respondents believe integrated technology is essential to improving efficiency and profitability.
  • 60% expect their businesses to grow, while nearly 30% predict their operations will remain static.
  • Tracking regulatory compliance is a challenge for practices of any age, though newer, possibly tech-savvier, businesses have reported slightly higher levels of confidence in their ability to do so.
  • 17% will implement an EHR for the first time over the next year, while 25% are looking to switch vendors. The numbers are similar for purchasing or replacing practice management and billing software within the next 12 months.
  • Slightly higher percentages were recorded for implementing or switching patient engagement technologies.

HIStalk Practice Musings

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Congrats to Nancy, winner of a copy of “The Cunning Man” thanks to her quick recommendation of “The House of God,” a favorite healthcare-related read. Nancy says the book features “classic, true tales from the ED.” Fun fact: Samuel Shem is actually the pseudonym of psychiatrist Stephen Berman, MD who based the novel on his internship experience at BIDMC.

I’m still looking for graduation-related book recommendations. Email me with your favorite titles – given or received – that have helped you mark educational milestones.


Webinars

May 30 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “ONC Data Blocking Proposed Rule: What Health Systems Need to Know.” Sponsor: Philips PHM. Presenter: Greg Fulton, industry and public policy lead, Philips. Proposed data-blocking regulations could specify fines, disincentives, and de-certification of providers who don’t provide an API for patients to extract all of their data. This webinar will describe who is deploying APIs, the scope of data and third-party apps that can be used, the seven costs that do not count as a data-blocking exception, and the health system protections that don’t involve using a vendor. It will also provide examples of data blocking and further exceptions.

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


People

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Erin Page (WellCare Health Plans) joins VillageMD as president of its Texas market.


Announcements and Implementations

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Central Ohio Primary Care will implement document management and communications software and services from Updox at 70 sites.

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The Orthopaedic Surgery Center in Baltimore selects practice management and e-charting software from HSTpathways.


Government and Politics

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The Georgia Dept. of Public Health will use Appriss Health’s PMP Gateway software to help prescribers connect to the state’s PDMP via their EHRs. The department is using an opioid abuse-prevention grant from the CDC to fund adoption of the technology.


Other

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While space flight physicals aren’t about about to overtake sports physicals in popularity anytime soon, this article looks at the thus-far brief history of commercial space flight and the evolving medical requisites of passengers who, more often than not, won’t have NASA-approved physiques. Poor vision and lung trouble have ailed some of the seven passengers that have indulged in space tourism thus far. Researchers believe the majority of space tourists will experience suborbital flights, and will thus potentially face health issues related to anxiety, space motion sickness, loud noises, small spaces, and g-forces.

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The local paper profiles the efforts of Community Health and Wellness Partners to bring fresh produce to its diabetic patients. The Ohio-based practice has partnered with nonprofit Wholesome Wave and the Ohio Dept. of Health to offer 130 patients vouchers for fruit and vegetables that can be used at local markets. The pilot program, which runs through November, is part of the FQHC’s efforts to encourage lifestyle changes over medication.


Sponsor Updates

Blog Posts


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Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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Recent Comments

  • Joe Schneider, MD: Re: Georgia Dept. of Public Health will use Appriss Health’s PMP Gateway software to help prescribers connect to the sta...
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  • Charlie Harris: Re: Rucker blog post. I'm not as smart as Washington insiders -- did ONC Rucker's blog actually say anything??? Maybe ON...
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