Recent Articles:

News 4/1/20

April 1, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

image

AristaMD will use $18 million in Series B funding to further develop and scale use of its e-consult and referral software for primary care physicians. The San Diego-based company has raised $30 million since launching in 2013.


HIStalk Practice Musings

image

Your local, independent bookstore is facing the same plight as your friendly, neighborhood physician practice – dwindling revenues and a struggle to remain open, in some capacity, for the foreseeable future. Thankfully, readers have stepped up: As “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” author Dave Eggers shares in this article, audiobook portal Libro.fm has given 100% of proceeds from purchases to the bookstore of the buyer’s choice, and seems poised to do more.


Reader Comments

From Chip: “Re: Pediatric prep for COVID-19. We fired up a COVID community for pediatricians. We’re already at 1,500 members, 50K views in the last 10 days. People are sharing stories, questions, content. The need is there. Some vendors are stepping up and really helping. Others, not so much.” Chip tells me the online community for pediatricians is vendor-neutral. You can access it here.


Webinars

April 15 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Scaling front-line COVID-19 response: virtual education, screening, triage, and patient navigation.” Sponsor: Orbita. Presenters: Lawrence “Rusty” Hofman, MD, medical director of digital health, Stanford Health Care; Kristi Ebong, MPH, MBA, SVP of corporate strategy, Orbita. The presenters will describe how chatbots can be quickly deployed to streamline individual navigation to the appropriate resources, administer automated virtual health checks for monitoring and managing specific populations, increase access to screening and triage for high-risk populations across multiple channels (web, voice, SMS, and analog phone), and reach individuals in multiple languages.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

RCM vendor PatientPay raises $6 million in a financing round led by Mosaic Partners.

CNBC adds to the national coverage of physician practices struggling to stay open during the pandemic.


People

image

MTBC names Mike Cuesta (CareCloud) chief marketing officer and Wesley Stolp (HealthPrime) (not pictured) EVP of sales.


Announcements and Implementations

The Steadman Clinic (CO) goes live on Modernizing Medicine’s new telemedicine technology.


Telemedicine

image

As demand for telemedicine services skyrockets, GoodRx launches a telemedicine marketplace, giving consumers the ability to compare services and prices. The company acquired virtual visit business HeyDoctor last fall.

image

This article zeroes in on the quick pivot many practices are making from in-person to virtual visits. After launching telemedicine services on March 20, Chattanooga Family Practice has conducted 21,000 virtual visits. “In a word, we’ve militarized and we re-upped our entire office,” says Siobhan Duff, MD of the practice’s shift to all virtual appointments. “I really have to give kudos to my nurses who are the ones who actually educate the patients — I had an 85-year-old woman today that managed to get herself on telemedicine with me alone in her house. So it’s been a feat, and we’re tired.”

image

Luma Health adds virtual visit capability to its patient engagement software.


Other

image

Members of Facebook group RVs 4 MDs to Fight the Coronavirus connect RV owners with healthcare workers in need of temporary housing away from their families as they care for COVID-19 patients. Created last week, the group has so far connected 50 first responders in California, Texas, and Michigan with RVs.

image

Urgent care clinic chain Affordacare (TX) notifies patients of an early February ransomware attack that may have exposed PHI.


Sponsor Updates

  • Nordic offers free best practices and suggestions as responses to healthcare organization questions in its Ask Nordic service.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

News 3/30/20

March 30, 2020 News 1 Comment

Top News

image

The plight of physician practices in the throes of COVID-19 continue to make headlines, with financial strains, staff shortages, and lack of PPE becoming the biggest talking points.

Physicians in Texas, worried about making payroll and paying already-reduced rent, lament the vicious cycle that has been kicked off by telling mild to moderately ill patients to stay home: Fewer in-person visits lead to lower reimbursements, while telemedicine visits fall short of comparable reimbursement rates, resulting in furloughs or layoffs that ultimately necessitate closing up shop – a decision that leaves patients with no other option but their local hospitals, which are already becoming overwhelmed.

“I’m in a small, independent practice,” says Austin-based family physician Erica Swegler, MD “and I just don’t hear much if any attention being paid to our peril, which is very real. It’s going to happen very quickly that we just won’t have the resources to keep our doors open.”

Community clinics in Washington face a similar plight, despite a nationwide HRSA grant last week of $100 million for 1,400 health centers. Neighborcare Health CEO Michael Erikson says eliminating dental services in favor of focusing on virus screenings and treatment for its predominantly Medicaid population also contributes to the problem: “You take those … factors … and you have already started to lose revenue before you’re gearing up for new ways of providing care. We are on a pathway to losing $3 million a month.”

Larger, multi-location providers aren’t immune to the same struggle. In the midst of canceling or postponing elective surgeries and shifting many of its physicians to remote care, partners and physicians at the Orthopedic Center of Palm Beach County (FL) have decided to forego their salaries in order to keep their 100 staff members employed.


HIStalk Practice Musings

image

Good news for those who’ve had to convert to e-reading during the pandemic: The nonprofit Internet Archive has created a National Emergency Library of 1.5 million 20th Century titles available to download for free.


Webinars

April 15 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Scaling front-line COVID-19 response: virtual education, screening, triage, and patient navigation.” Sponsor: Orbita. Presenters: Lawrence “Rusty” Hofman, MD, medical director of digital health, Stanford Health Care; Kristi Ebong, MPH, MBA, SVP of corporate strategy, Orbita. The presenters will describe how chatbots can be quickly deployed to streamline individual navigation to the appropriate resources, administer automated virtual health checks for monitoring and managing specific populations, increase access to screening and triage for high-risk populations across multiple channels (web, voice, SMS, and analog phone), and reach individuals in multiple languages.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Canadian health IT and primary care company Well Health invests $6 million in Toronto-based telemedicine vendor Insig. Well Health will use Insig’s technology to launch virtual care capabilities.


People

image

Adrian Rawlinson, MD (Breakaway Growth Fund) joins chronic disease-focused digital health company Welkin Health as CMO.


Announcements and Implementations

image

MTBC launches outsourced staffing, technology, and support services for RCM and EHR vendors.

HIEs in Idaho and Nevada offer providers free access to their networks during the pandemic.


Telemedicine

image

Membership-based telemedicine company Gennev expands its menopause-focused services to include primary care.

image

PracticeSuite adds e-consult capabilities to its EHR and RCM software.

The Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center at Mercer University School of Medicine partners with the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth to offer rural physicians free access to telemedicine services for six months.

image

The BMJ publishes guidelines to help physicians choose between phone and video appointments, conduct COVID-19 screenings remotely, and to offer advice for arranging follow-up care.


Other

image

Texas Academy of Family Physicians CEO Tom Banning delivers 1,500 masks to 37 Austin-based practices. The masks were sourced from a manufacturing facility in Mexico that converted from producing materials for the oil and gas industries to PPE.

image

In another industry pivot that is becoming common during COVID-19, Maverick Whiskey flips its distillery in San Antonio to manufacturing hand sanitizer. Owner Ken Maverick, MD an ophthalmologist and medical director of the San Antonio Eye Bank, plans to donate production to the city, which will allocate it to area hospitals.

image

Time publishes an insider’s look at working at a drive-thru testing site, highlighting the challenges providers face in anticipating demand, conveying comfort and concern while wearing PPE, and realizing that scheduling more providers for shorter shifts can prevent fatigue: “I’m an emergency room doctor, so I’m used to 12 hour shifts,” says one urgent care medical director who worked a 15-hour shift during her clinic’s first day of drive-thru testing. “Those N95 [face masks] definitely make you feel tired and spacey, and make breathing difficult. People can’t hear you as well, so you speak louder. And after several hours of yelling through the mask for patients to hear—that’s exhausting.”

image

Paging Dr. Jayne: Crocs offers healthcare workers a free pair of shoes while supplies last.

image

If sugary sustenance is more your thing, Krispy Kreme will give a free dozen doughnuts to healthcare workers every Monday through May 11.


Sponsor Updates

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

News 3/25/20

March 25, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

image

HHS allocates $100 million to help nearly 1,400 health centers across the country acquire medical supplies, support COVID-19 screening and testing needs, and expand telemedicine capabilities.


HIStalk Practice Musings

image

Residents in neighborhoods with Little Free Libraries are transitioning those spaces to little free food pantries to help neighbors in need. These haven’t popped up in my neck of the woods, but I have seen them filled to the brim with books in my parents’ Florida subdivision.  Find these libraries in your area here and consider donating books and non-perishables. They’ll likely become great literary resources as public libraries wind down operations for the near-term.


Webinars

March 26 (Thursday) 12:30 ET. “How to Use Automation to Reduce ‘My EHR is Slow’ Complaints.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. A common challenge is that a clinician is ready to work, but their technology is not. EHRs can be slow, logins not working, or printers and scanners are offline. Troubleshooting these end user tickets quickly is nearly impossible, especially in complex environments that might include Citrix or VMware Horizon. This webinar will present real-world examples of how leading health systems are using purpose-built technology with embedded automation and intelligence to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, and prevent end user performance issue across their IT infrastructure and EHRs.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

As coverage of the plight of independent physician practices during the pandemic increases (The LA Times addresses it in this article), the AMA offers tips to keep them in business:

  • Implement a process for rapid decision-making and planning.
  • Understand your insurance coverage.
  • Evaluate ongoing financial obligations.
  • Make a financial contingency plan.
  • Assess current and future supply needs.
  • Understand how to continue business operations.
  • Consolidate administrative resources, including coding tools.
  • Manage workflow.
  • Utilize digital health tools.
  • Communicate guidelines for employees.
  • Plan ahead for employee furloughs.
  • Stay abreast of new care delivery flexibilities.
  • Prepare for exposure incidents.
  • Identify and implement COVID-19 specific clinical protocols.

image

Patient billing company Inbox Health raises $3.5 million in a funding round led by Healthy Ventures.


Telemedicine

MedBridge adds virtual visit capabilities to its Digital Patient Engagement capabilities.

PingMD makes its telemedicine app available to providers for free during the pandemic.

image

Virtual smoking cessation company CoolQuit adds COVID-19 screening to its telemedicine services.

image

CareCloud adds telemedicine software to its EHR and practice management platform.

image

Concerns about Telus Health’s Babylon telemedicine app continue to mount in Alberta, Canada, as privacy advocates question the app’s protections, especially the company’s disclaimer that it stores video recordings on its servers and may share them with corporate partners and foreign governments. Alberta’s privacy officials have said it could take up to a year to review the privacy impact assessment Telus Health submitted before the app was made available to citizens across the province. 

image

PatientPop adds telemedicine capabilities to its patient relationship management technology.


Other

Providers, first responders, and community groups in Manhattan, KS form a COVID-19 Clinical Task Force to identify and allocate medical supplies and hospital bed capacity to providers most in need on any given day. “We just don’t have the supplies to last indefinitely,” says family physician and task force member Ryan Knopp, MD “so all of us are constantly trying to ascertain where we can get an influx of supplies. The beauty of this collaborative group is we’re at the level of sharing those resources with our community partners, so quite frankly if I’ve got an extra abundance of masks this week and I know a pediatric group doesn’t have any, I’m going to have my office manager take a few over there.”

image

Several practices in Fresno, CA share their experience in shifting primary care patients to virtual visits as a way to free up appointment times for those in need of more urgent care during the pandemic: “What we’re trying to do is just keep the regular visits at home and then the urgent visits at the clinic,” says Juan Batista, MD. “You can say we’ve had an increase, but we’ve had an actual decrease in terms of physical contact with patients. That’s the main thing we’re trying to do for the ERs.”


  • Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD publishes a new e-guide, “Making Telemedicine Seamless for Patients and Practices.”

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

News 3/23/20

March 23, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

image

Officials in Seat Pleasant, MD announce a $200 million remote patient monitoring effort aimed at caring for those most at risk for COVID-19, especially senior citizens and those in underserved areas.

The city will give 300,000 citizens Internet-equipped tablets with access to geriatric-focused telemedicine services from EagleForce and patient portal capabilities, including prescription data. The tablets will also interface with the city’s Smart City Hub, automatically alerting health officials to chronic illness or virus symptoms and the need for additional resources.


HIStalk Practice Musings

image

I’ve come across several folks sharing virus-related and/or public-health-inspired reading recommendations. Health & Human Rights Strategies founder and CEO Nicole Fisher shares her stack above. Click here for her larger twit pic.

image

Need to reach for something that will take your mind off of things? Adventure Journal recommends these five books.

image

And finally, if you’re looking for something totally out of left field, check out the Taco Bell Quarterly. (Warning: The language can be a bit spicy.)


Webinars

March 25 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Streamlining Your Surgical Workflows for Better Financial Outcomes.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: David Bocanegra, RN, nurse informaticist, IMO; Alex Dawson, product manager, IMO. Health systems that struggle with coordinating operating rooms and scheduling surgeries can increase their profitability with tools that allow for optimal reimbursement. This webinar will identify practices to optimize OR workflows and provider reimbursement, discuss how changes to perioperative management of procedures can support increased profitability, and explore factors that can impede perioperative workflow practices.

March 26 (Thursday) 12:30 ET. “How to Use Automation to Reduce ‘My EHR is Slow’ Complaints.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. A common challenge is that a clinician is ready to work, but their technology is not. EHRs can be slow, logins not working, or printers and scanners are offline. Troubleshooting these end user tickets quickly is nearly impossible, especially in complex environments that might include Citrix or VMware Horizon. This webinar will present real-world examples of how leading health systems are using purpose-built technology with embedded automation and intelligence to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, and prevent end user performance issue across their IT infrastructure and EHRs.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Aledade CEO and former ONC lead Farzad Mostashari, MD posts a tweet thread about the dire financial impact COVID-19 will have on independent practices. His main points:

  • Physicians are telling patients to stay away from practices, resulting in fewer visits and decreased payments, which then lead to layoffs.
  • Productivity is taking a nosedive in areas of outbreak as infected employees move to self-quarantine and practice owners worry about paying out sick leave and making payroll.
  • An emphasis on telemedicine visits has practices scrambling to implement new technology to conduct visits at lower reimbursement rates.

Announcements and Implementations

image

InteliChart adds EVisit’s telemedicine capabilities to its Healthy Outcomes patient engagement software, including a pre-configured COVID-19 workflow that features virtual screening, triage, and treatment available for free through July.


Government and Politics

image

CMS will grant exceptions for reporting requirements and data-submission extensions for healthcare providers participating in Medicare quality reporting programs.

image

The CDC incorporates Microsoft’s Healthcare Chat Bot into its COVID-19 online self-assessment tool.

Following its decision to expand access to telemedicine services for Medicare beneficiaries, CMS publishes a Telehealth Toolkit for General Practitioners.

As companies like Carbon Health, EverlyWell, and Nurx announce the release of testing kits for COVID-19, the FDA warns consumers that it has not approved any for at-home use.


Telemedicine

image

Health Recovery Solutions announces GA of a COVID-19 remote patient monitoring kit that includes software, tablet, several Bluetooth devices, and relevant clinical pathways.

image

Online care companies Hims and Hers launch online COVID-19 screening assessments.

image

Health officials in Alberta, Canada, institute new billing codes to ensure physicians are paid equally for virtual and face-to-face visits. The move comes after physicians voiced their frustration with Alberta’s launch of a free telemedicine app from Telus Health that they said undermined the virtual care services already in place at their practices, which were reimbursed at lower rates than in-clinic visits.


Other

image

HHS partners with Walmart to open drive-thru virus-testing locations at two of its stores in Chicago. The pilot phase will initially cater to healthcare workers and first responders, and process up to 150 tests per day.

Apple updates its Siri virtual assistant with information from the CDC and HHS to help users with questions about COVID-19.

image

Laura Jordhen, MD shares COVID-19 advice after working in Shanghai’s United Family Xincheng Hospital as chief of its family medicine department:

In Shanghai, we have enough PPE to meet our needs. My message to U.S. family physicians has been that you can’t combat this alone. It needs regional coordination. It needs planning for what if — for example — your rural care team is ill? If you’re in a physician shortage area and your physician has been exposed and is out for 14 days, what is your contingency plan? This crisis requires groups and health systems to come together. They can say, “We’re not seeing cough and cold patients at clinics A, B and C; they all go to clinic D because it has all the masks.” That’s how you can be good stewards of your resources. It’s a really different way of organizing care.

image

A thief poses as a delivery man to steal 29 COVID-19 testing kits from El Rio Health Center in Tucson, AZ.


Sponsor Updates

  • PerfectServe offers clients free COVID-19 automated patient and family outreach software and free services to implement best practices.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

News 3/18/20

March 18, 2020 News No Comments

Top News

image

RubiconMD raises $18 million in a Series C funding round led by Deerfield Management, bringing the company’s total raised to $40 million. RubiconMD specializes in e-consult software that enables primary care physicians to connect with specialists.


HIStalk Practice Musings

image

It had to be done: I picked up “Love in the Time of Cholera” from my home library after finishing Amy Tan’s “The Valley of Amazement” a few days ago. If you like multi-generational, historical fiction with sweeping romanticism and a dash of despair, this book is for you. (The movie is great, too.) I’ll also suggest Marquez’s Nobel Prize-winning “100 Years of Solitude,” a title that may soon reflect our isolation-induced states of mind.

While I have plenty of already-read titles to choose from at home, I will likely find myself soon wanting to read newer books. Please email me with your suggestions, plus advice on easy-to-use e-reader apps and digital libraries.

image

Today marks the second time in three days I’ve noticed my mail carrier not wearing gloves. My mail doesn’t seem to have a consistent delivery person, so I’m wondering if USPS leaves it up to the employee, or if they choose to disregard federally mandated safety directives. This ProPublica piece provides some insight, none reassuring.


Webinars

March 25 (Wednesday) 1 ET: “Streamlining Your Surgical Workflows for Better Financial Outcomes.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: David Bocanegra, RN, nurse informaticist, IMO; Alex Dawson, product manager, IMO. Health systems that struggle with coordinating operating rooms and scheduling surgeries can increase their profitability with tools that allow for optimal reimbursement. This webinar will identify practices to optimize OR workflows and provider reimbursement, discuss how changes to perioperative management of procedures can support increased profitability, and explore factors that can impede perioperative workflow practices.

March 26 (Thursday) 12:30 ET. “How to Use Automation to Reduce ‘My EHR is Slow’ Complaints.” Sponsor: Goliath Technologies. A common challenge is that a clinician is ready to work, but their technology is not. EHRs can be slow, logins not working, or printers and scanners are offline. Troubleshooting these end user tickets quickly is nearly impossible, especially in complex environments that might include Citrix or VMware Horizon. This webinar will present real-world examples of how leading health systems are using purpose-built technology with embedded automation and intelligence to proactively anticipate, troubleshoot, and prevent end user performance issue across their IT infrastructure and EHRs.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Addiction treatment app and pharmacy delivery startup PursueCare announces an undisclosed amount of Series A financing.


Announcements and Implementations

PracticeSuite adds Ability Network’s payer claims management software to its health IT and RCM technologies for independent practices.

image

NextGen announces GA of its Patient Experience Platform, which includes patient access, engagement, and virtual visit capabilities.


People

image

Susan Thompson (Alight Solutions) joins Embold Health, an analytics vendor focused on physician performance, as SVP of Sales.


Government and Politics

image

ONC extends the comment period for its draft Federal Health IT Strategic Plan to April 3.

image

Given the susceptibility of Medicare-aged patients to COVID-19, the National Association of ACOs asks CMS to exclude spending on COVID-19 care from expenditures that count towards Medicare program thresholds. NAACO has also asked that deadlines be extended for submitting quality reporting data and applying to certain payment models.


Telemedicine

image

I find this hard to believe, given the test supply shortage I keep reading about in the news: CareClix partners with several community labs to make at-home COVID-19 testing kits available to its virtual care customers. Test results should be available within several days.

image

Nationwide urgent care chain American Family Care launches telemedicine services in its hometown of Birmingham, AL.

image

Ob/Gyn practice MomDoc (AZ) launches virtual care services with technology from EVisit.


Other

image

Laxmikant Bhoiwala, MD cites a dwindling supply of masks, gloves, and sanitizing products as the main reason he decided to move his East Greenbush, NY-based primary and urgent care practice online: “I was talking to my supplier, they ran out of supply completely. Without proper gear, there’s no sense in coming into close contact with patients. It’s in our best interests and for the patients too.”

image

Google has started inserting this COVID-19 alert at the top of search results for just about anything related to healthcare.

image

Still SMH.


Sponsor Updates

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

More news: HIStalk.

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

Founding Sponsor


  

Platinum Sponsors


  

  

Gold Sponsors


 

Subscribe to Updates




Search All HIStalk Sites


Loading

Recent Comments

  • Hugh Curmudgeon: Troll beater - I agree, the challenge of migrating to VBC is very hard, and in some cases, potentially not even wort...
  • Troll beater: That was a pretty tough comment Hugh. While I agree with some points made I think one thing is missing: the advisory ...
  • Hugh Curmudgeon: So...the EMR companies are going to put out press releases when they assemble their existing staff to do their jobs? I d...
  • Brian Foster: RE: "Doctor on Demand makes its service available to Medicare Part B beneficiaries, and will waive their copays during t...
  • It's All Good: RE: Telemedicine company Medici raises $24 million in a Series B round. It will be very interesting to see how qui...