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Morning Headlines 9/2/15

September 1, 2015 Headlines No Comments

MEA|NEA Acquires The White Stone Group

MEA|NEA, a health information exchange platform vendor, acquires The White Stone Group whose HIPAA-compliant communications platform will be integrated into MEA|NEA’s existing platform to create a single communication and data sharing solution designed to connect patients, providers, payers, and health plans.

New technology allows Cincinnati VA to give care across US

The Cincinnati VA Medical Center’s Tele-ICU program is profiled by a local paper after expanding its initial capacity of overseeing 72 beds, to its current role overseeing 213-beds in VA Medical Centers across the US.

Cincinnati hospital slashes ICU costs in GE software test

Jewish Hospital (OH) reduces its ICU length of stay by 28 percent and cuts costs by $9,000 per patient by incorporating nutrition-monitoring software by GE.

Fresh from new product launch, Medfusion raises $3M capital infusion

Patient portal vendor Medfusion raises $3 million in fresh funding after introducing a new “patient encounter journey” feature to its platform that allows patients to pre-register for appointments and submit co-pays online.

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September 1, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 9/1/15

August 31, 2015 Headlines No Comments

CMS continues ICD-10 education, names “ombudsman”

CMS names Williams Rogers, MD as the ICD-10 ombudsman. Rogers currently leads the Physician Regulatory Issues Team for CMS.

Vermont becomes final state to legalize e-prescribing of controlled substances

Five years after the DEA legalized e-prescribing of Schedule II through V drugs, Vermont becomes the 50th state to change its prescribing regulations and adopt e-prescribing of controlled substances.

Sanofi To Collaborate With Google Life Sciences To Improve Diabetes Health Outcomes

Google’s Life Sciences unit announces yet another diabetes-related business partnership, this time with the world’s leading insulin manufacturer, Sanofi. The team will co-develop Web-enabled insulin injectors and glucometers.

DoD Announces Award of New Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Hub in Silicon Valley

The DoD will partner with private industry and academia to fund a new Silicon Valley-based innovation center focused on developing “flexible hybrid electronics,” including advanced sensors for use in new wearable devices and health monitoring technologies.

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August 31, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 8/31/15

August 30, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Mutual self-interest leads to antitrust concerns

Paul Levy, the former CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, publishes a blog calling for an anti-trust investigation into Epic as Partners goes live and pressures affiliated practices to do the same.

Epic traffic jams on tap

A local paper warns Madison residents of the upcoming traffic nightmare that Epic’s UGM conference will bring this week.

A Mouthguard That Could Measure Concussions

Former Arizona State University rugby player Anthony Gonzalez invents a mouth guard that measures impact force and combines that data with the users age, gender, and medical history to predict the likelihood of a concussion.

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August 30, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 8/28/15

August 27, 2015 Headlines 2 Comments

ICD-10 Medicare FFS End-to-End Testing: July 20 through 24, 2015

CMS publishes the latest results from ICD-10 end-to-end testing: 87 percent of submitted claims were accepted, while the remaining rejected claims were attributed to submission errors. There were zero rejected claims associated with CMS systems issues.

Insurers Win Big Health-Rate Increases

Despite assurances from the White House that insurance premiums would remain stable, several states have approved 2016 premium hikes running as high as 36 percent to cover the cost of insuring a higher mix of sick ACA patients than initially anticipated.

A Blood Test and App May Help Identify Patients at Risk of Suicide

Researchers at the University of Indiana School of Medicine and the Indianapolis VA Medical Center have created an app-based mental health survey that, when combined with recent blood test results, can predict a patient’s likeliness to experience suicidal ideation within the next year with a 92 percent accuracy rate.

Administrative Investigation Improper Use of Web-based Collaboration Technology Office of Information and Technology

The VA OIG finds that VA employees, including its former CIO, had been inappropriately using Yammer, an online messaging and file-sharing system without formal VA approval or monitoring.

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August 27, 2015 Headlines 2 Comments

Morning Headlines 8/27/15

August 27, 2015 Headlines No Comments

CVS Health to Partner with Direct-to-Consumer Telehealth Providers to Increase Access to Physician Care

CVS announces that it will partner with three national telehealth vendors, American Well, Teladoc, and Doctor on Demand to offer remote visits to patients and to connect its MinuteClinic providers with specialists available for real-time consults.

Fusing Randomized Trials With Big Data: The Key to Self-learning Health Care Systems?

A JAMA article proposes that randomized control trials be fully embedded in EHRs, including functionality to support identifying trial participants, facilitating enrollment, and randomly assigning a treatment.

Recommendations for a National Medical Device Evaluation System

An FDA workgroup tasked with evaluating the agencies approach to post-market surveillance of medical devices publishes a final report recommending that a national, integrated network of registries be established, wherein each registry would be tasked with gathering post-market data about a certain device.

Medicare ACOs Provide Improved Care While Slowing Cost Growth in 2014

CMS publishes ACO performance data for 2014: total Shared Savings Program savings remained flat at $804 million, while Pioneer ACO savings climbed 24 percent to $120 million.

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August 27, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 8/26/15

August 25, 2015 Headlines 3 Comments

Medical Appointment Scheduling System (MASS)

The VA awards Lockheed Martin-owned contractor Systems Made Simple and its software supplier Epic a seven-year contract worth as much as $624 million if all contract options are exercised.

Banner aims to cut costs from UAHN as earnings lag

Banner Health will convert its newly acquired University of Arizona Health Network from its existing Epic systems to Banner’s Cerner platform. UAHN implemented Epic in 2013 at a cost of $115 million.

Pacific Northwest Health Care Organizations Join CommonWell Health Alliance

Five Cerner customers in the Pacific Northwest will begin exchanging health records with local AthenaHealth and Greenway practices through the CommonWell Health Alliance.

Practice Fusion Surpasses 600th Partnership Deal Becoming the Most Integrated Cloud-Based EHR Platform

Practice Fusion announces that it will integrate lab results from Theranos and imaging results from RadNet into its freeware EHR.

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August 25, 2015 Headlines 3 Comments

Morning Headlines 8/25/15

August 24, 2015 Headlines 4 Comments

Inovalon to Acquire Avalere to Drive Strategic Expansion Into Pharma/Life Sciences

Inovalon, a healthcare-focused data analytics vendor, will acquire Avalere Health, a data-focused consulting firm, for $140 million in cash and restricted stocks.

VA’s Backlog of Disability Claims Falls to 8-Year Low

The VA announced this week that its disability claims backlog has dropped 84 percent to 98,000, its lowest point since record-keeping began in 2007.

100 Most Influential People in Healthcare – 2015

Modern Healthcare unveils 2015’s Most Influential People in Healthcare list, which includes: Epic’s Judy Faulkner (#31),  ONC’s Karen DeSalvo, MD (#35), McKesson’s John Hammergren (#73), and Cerner’s Neal Patterson (#99).

July 2015 EHR Incentive Program

CMS publishes the July 2015 Meaningful Use update: 306,000 EPs and 4,400 EHs have attested to MU Stage 1, while 56,000 EPs and 1,500 EHs have attested for Stage 2. $31.3 billion has been paid out to date.

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August 24, 2015 Headlines 4 Comments

Morning Headlines 8/24/15

August 23, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Mercy Health expands strategic partnership with Premier to advance population health management

23-hospital health system Mercy Health (OH) announces that it will implement Premier’s integrated pharmacy and care management program in an effort to further improve its population health management initiative.

Docinfo Tool Provides Consumers Physician Licensure, Disciplinary Data

The Federation of State Medical Boards launches an online search tool that presents consumers with licensure and disciplinary information on providers.

FY16 Strategic Planning

John Halamka, MD and CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center posts a blog outlining the strategic objectives facing health IT in 2016. On BYOD and the use of apps in care delivery, he says “The difference between the $2 app and the $2 billion dollar EHR is that the $2 app is easier to use, more convenient and possibly even more useful.”

Google to launch life sciences company

Google co-founder Sergy Brin announces that the life sciences team within Google’s X Lab will spin off to form its own stand-alone business unit within Google’s newly created parent company, Alphabet. The new company will be led by renowned biologist and now CEO Andrew Conrad, PhD.

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August 23, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 8/21/15

August 20, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Inside Illumina’s Plans to Lure Consumers with an App Store for Genomes

Illumina, the worlds largest gene sequencing company, forms Helix, a company that will offer free genome sequencing to consumers, and then will monetize that data by selling portions of the genetic information back  to patients incrementally over time as they need it.

ZocDoc Valued at $1.8 Billion in New Funding Round

ZocDoc raises a $130 million funding round on a $1.8 billion valuation, making it one of the most highly valued venture-backed companies in New York.

Electronic medical records systems work, but not together

The Kansas City Star discusses the nations interoperability problems, asking “Why, then, does a windowless office in Truman Medical Center need to scan 2.9 million pages of paper medical records that started out as electronic ones?”

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August 20, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 8/20/15

August 19, 2015 Headlines No Comments

National patient identifier struggles for life

CIO.com covers the renewed public interest in establishing a national patient identifier, detailing several non-government efforts to establish an NPI infrastructure, including CHIME’s partnership with HeroX to back its National Patient ID Challenge with a $1 million prize.

$342B wasted each year due to government healthcare benefits data integration challenges

MeriTalk publishes a study estimating that $342 billion is lost each year due to poor integration between the benefits eligibility systems used by different HHS agencies.

Million Hearts Hypertension Control Challenge 2015

The CDC and HHS launch a competition among providers focused on improving hypertension control by recognizing organizations that demonstrate exceptional hypertension control rates achieved through the use of health IT, integrated team-based care delivery, and effective community outreach programs.

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August 19, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 8/19/15

August 18, 2015 Headlines No Comments

4th official leaves amid hospital system’s improper billing probe

NYC Health & Hospitals Corporation CTO Paul Contino becomes the fourth high-ranking IT official to leave since HHC started its now over budget and behind schedule Epic rollout.

U.S. Army Awards Leidos Medical Research Contract

Leidos wins a $900 million contract to support R&D efforts within the US Army’s Medical Research and Material Command.

American software developer to supply patient data system

In Finland, Epic has been selected as the replacement EHR vendor for the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, in a $424 million contract that is budgeted to grow to $635 million in total project costs over 10-years.

How to Know Whether to Believe a Health Study

The New York Times dissects medical research studies, explaining in plain terms how to evaluate often confusing research methodologies and what characteristics to look for in a trustworthy study. The study also weighs the pros and cons of RCTs versus retrospective data analytics studies based on national datasets.  

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August 18, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 8/18/15

August 17, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Meaningful use of EHRs by doctors fell in 2014

The number of EPs who successfully attested in 2014 fell 13 percent compared to 2013 rates, with some specialties, like family medicine and internal medicine, seeing decreases as high as 40 percent. Steven Waldren, MD and director of the AAFP’s Alliance for eHealth Innovation, points to the cost of upgrading to a 2014 Edition EHR and Stage 2’s patient engagement requirements as the primary culprits for the drop off.

Why it’s time for the government to be part of the public conversation about health and health care

Susannah Fox outlines the philosophies she will rely on in her new role as HHS CTO.

How the NHS Is Locking Out Britain’s Digital-Health Startups

Bloomberg analyzes the negative impact England’s single-payer market is having on local digital health startups, citing the complex NHS procurement process as a key barrier to entry. UK-based entrepreneurs report that there are more opportunities to grow their companies if they move to the US.

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August 17, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 8/17/15

August 16, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Practice Fusion Taps Interim CEO Ahead of Expected IPO

Practice Fusion replaces its founder and CEO Ryan Howard ahead of an expected IPO announcement. New CEO by Tom Langan has only been with the company for a year, and was promoted from his position as chief commercial officer.

Boots, Tesco and Superdrug to get access to NHS medical records

In England, the NHS will begin sending patient summary records to retail pharmacies following a successful 140-pharmacy pilot project that ended this spring.

Top 10 Parkland upgrades: Wi-Fi, new chapel, no fast food

Parkland Hospital (TX) opens its newly constructed hospital, equipped with an interactive patient education system, palm-vein scanners used for patient identification, and a connected ICU that streams 18 points of data from the patient’s monitors to the EHR.

Meet the doctor bringing cheap, 3D printed medical devices to Gaza

Doctors working in the war-torn Gaza strip publish designs to create a 3D-printed stethoscope that costs 30 cents to produce and performs as well as modern commercial alternatives.

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August 16, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 8/14/15

August 13, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Premier, Inc. acquires healthcare analytics leader Healthcare Insights

Premier acquires Health Insights for $65 million, a data analytics vendor focused on budgeting, forecasting, and cost analytics.

Outcome-Oriented Metrics and Goals Needed to Gauge DOD’s and VA’s Progress in Achieving Interoperability

A GAO report finds that the DoD and VA are making progress toward interoperability, but cautions that work will not be finished until sometime after 2018.

Healthcare IT: Zombie start-ups and vulture capital

Accenture publishes a report predicting that half of all funded digital health startups will fail within their first two years of launching, contributing to a culture of vulture capitalism in which larger, more established businesses cherry pick technology and talent from failed startups.

Teladoc Announces Second Quarter 2015 Results

Teladoc announces Q2 results: revenue up 78 percent to $18.3 million, EPS –$7.20 vs. -$2.15.

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August 13, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 8/13/15

August 12, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Health IT Policy Committee Meeting Data Update

According to new data published at yesterday’s HITPC meeting, electronic information sharing is improving among US hospitals and practices. 76 percent of hospitals are exchanging information with outside provider organizations, up from 41 percent in 2008.

94M records stolen so far this year

Driven by massive data breaches at Anthem, UCLA Health, and others, hackers have stolen the personal medical information of 94 million patients thus far in 2015.

Mostashari’s Aledade to form new ACOs in 7 states

Farzad Mostashari, MD Former national coordinator for health IT and current startup CEO, is in the process of registering new ACOs across seven states.

Google’s Life Sciences division to build a miniature glucose tracker

Google X Labs partners with DexCom to co-develop a miniaturized, disposable continuous glucose monitor. DexCom will pay Google $100 million plus royalties for the rights to exclusively distribute the new CGM.

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August 12, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 8/12/15

August 11, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Newport Health Solutions, North Shore-LIJ Sign Letter of Intent to Pursue Joint Venture to Further Develop “Health Connect” Network Technology in NY

North Shore-LIJ Health System (NY) and population health vendor Newport Health Solutions have signed a joint venture agreement to deploy and further develop Newport’s platform across the North Shore-LIJ system, and then collaboratively market the platform commercially.

Health minister says he read riot act to IT leaders over megaproject problems; IBM out, Cerner in

In Canada, British Columbia’s health minister Terry Lake reports that IBM has been fired from the province’s 10-year, $640 million integrated EHR project, and that Cerner has been named as the replacement vendor.

Castlight Health Announces Second Quarter 2015 Results

Castlight Health reports Q2 results: revenue increased 76 percent to $18.5 million but the company still closed out the quarter with an adjusted net loss of $17.6 million and adjusted EPS –$0.19 vs. –$0.21.

UNC Health Care on pace to double budgeted operating income

UNC Health Care reports that it is closing out its fiscal year with $120 million in operating income, 142 percent higher than the $50 million it had forecasted. The health system gives partial credit for the financial turnaround to its now complete Epic implementation, which it says has had a positive impact on its overall financial performance.

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August 11, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 8/11/15

August 10, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Booz Allen Hamilton tapped as lead HealthCare.gov contractor, but CMS can’t quit Optum yet

Booz Allen Hamilton will replace Optum as the next lead contractor to maintain Healthcare.gov, winning a five-year contract worth $202 million. Optum will continue on in its role as quality tester while protests from losing bidders for that segment of work are resolved.

How Identity Theft Sticks You With Hospital Bills

The Wall Street Journal correlates increased health data breaches and instances of medical identity theft with the rapid adoption of EHRs across the country in a story that presents both empirical and anecdotal evidence of the cost that poor IT security compliance has on the people who are victims of medical identity theft.

Health IT Policy Committee and Health IT Standards Committee; Call for Applications

ONC is soliciting applications to fill a variety of volunteer positions on its HITPC and HITSC panels. Selected applicants will serve on the panels for three years.

President Obama Hosts the First-Ever White House Demo Day

The Obama Administration hosts the first-ever White House Demo Day, highlighting entrepreneurs working in a variety of industries, including a number of healthcare startups.

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August 10, 2015 Headlines No Comments

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