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Monday Morning Update 10/18/21

October 17, 2021 News No Comments

Top News

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Transcarent will offer Walmart’s pharmacy services to its self-insured employer customers.


Reader Comments

From Slattery: “Re: digital health. Are prescription delivery services really digital health companies or technology disruptors?” Startup folks have been motivated by investors to declare that just about any healthcare business that has a website and app is “digital,” hoping to be anointed as the next high-valuation Facebook or Salesforce. Examples: mail order pharmacies, Medicare Advantage insurers, vanity prescription drug companies, weight loss companies, primary care chains that have developed a basic app, online counseling services, and fitness tracker manufacturers. Health IT websites and publications gush over their latest funding rounds and acquisitions without asking questions such as, (a) are they really doing anything new? (b) can they can improve outcomes or cost? (c) does their incidental use of technology really make them a tech company that can scale with low overhead? and, (d) do they offer a sustainable competitive advantage with a high barrier to entry over the companies that are already serving their potential customers? I also look hard at who is paying for their services and whether those buyers are likely to continue doing so given that companies live or die by recurring revenue that must be predictably extracted from fickle markets. There’s also the telehealth-highlighted tension between giving consumers what they want versus what the science says is best for them in a a transactional environment where they won’t likely see the patient again anyway. Healthcare is different because it’s horrendously expensive, notoriously consumer-indifferent, and loaded with bureaucratic paper-pushers, but odds are slim that a couple of kids and their slick app will take money away from the incumbents. Maybe worst of all is that companies will profit by catering to the most financially capable users while not only failing to make the underlying health system better, but quite possibly making it even worse than it already is for those without those means.

From Tubeless Tired: “Re: blood collection tubes. Our hospital has been told that we can get just half our normal supply of blue top, pink top, and light green top tubes over the next several months. We are asking providers to evaluate the clinical need for tests, evaluate and reduce when possible the frequency of standing orders such as PT/INR, and only draw a tube when actual testing has been ordered instead of as part of any hold request.” This is probably a useful heads-up for informatics teams that will probably need to make system changes to preserve blood tube supplies.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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It’s not EHR vendors that are making doctors unhappy, poll respondents say. Good comments: HITPM says doctors are trained and paid to treat acute illness reactively, so the high-earning specialists who swoop in and out of a patient’s life aren’t the ones complaining – it’s the lesser-compensated physicians who help keep people away from those specialists who aren’t happy. IANAL ponders whether doctors who envy their overseas counterparts do so selectively in forgetting that along with the absence of administrative overhead and price-gouging in those countries comes lifetime earnings that could be half or three-quarters less. IANAL also adds that doctors themselves spawned the role of insurers and their overhead by pushing to keep physician compensation private.

New poll to your right or here: In your most recent physician or hospital encounter, did your provider review your records from a different organization?


Webinars

October 28 (Thursday) 1 ET. “A New Streamlined Approach to Documentation and Problem List Management in Cerner Millennium.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: Deepak Pillai, MD, physician informaticist, IMO; David Arco, product manager, IMO; Nicole Douglas, senior product marketing manager, IMO. IMO and Cerner announce the launch of the IMO Core CSmart app, an in-workflow offering to improve clinical documentation and problem list management in Cerner Millennium. The presenters will review the challenges and bottlenecks of clinical documentation and problem list management, discuss how streamlined workflows within Cerner Millennium can reduce clinician HIT burden, and demonstrate how IMO Core CSmart can help clinicians document with ease and specificity, improve HCC coding, and make problem lists more relevant. Additional sessions will be offered on November 17 and December 1.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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MSD Partners will make a strategic investment in digital consulting firm West Monroe.


Sales

  • Stillwater Medical Center (OK) will implement system integration from Summit Healthcare and patient identity modernization from NextGate to provide a simplified and interconnected health record.
  • Physicians Ambulance Service (OH) chooses Spok Go for communication between ambulance staff and hospitals during critical patient transports.
  • In Switzerland, University Hospital Basel will implement Sectra’s radiology module.

Announcements and Implementations

A Well Health survey of frontline clinical support staff finds that most are burned out by communicating with patients on the telephone, which has worsened during the pandemic as those employees try to coordinate complicated vaccination appointments and to support virtual care. 

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The NBA will allow its players to self-test for COVID-19 via Cue Health, which provides a smartphone-connected nasal swab reader to provide results in 20 minutes. Only unvaccinated players – about one player per team – will be required to take the test on practice, meeting, and travel days, while all players will still need to pass a PCR test right before a game.

In Abu Dhabi, all 59 public and private hospitals, 1,100 clinics, and 380 pharmacies have connected to the Malaffi HIE as mandated by the emirate’s Department of Health.

A Waystar survey of health system executives finds that 64% of organizations plan to implement robotic process automation and/or AI in their revenue cycle in the next three years, most often to improve financial performance.


Other

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A pharma article describes the benefits of using real-world data (such as from EHRs and claims) to develop drugs for rare diseases: (a) patients are dispersed geographically and can’t be easily found and studied otherwise; (b) FDA hasn’t developed study endpoints for conditions that have no approved treatments; and (c) small numbers of patients and doctors mean that symptoms, diagnosis, and progression are hard to understand. The author mentions AllStripes, which uses EHR data (including unstructured physician and encounter notes), imaging data, and genetic testing results. The company recruits individual patients to participate.

Virtual-first health insurance plans cost less and are convenient, but online visits aren’t ideal for first encounters or for detecting new problems. The KHN article also observer that telemedicine doctors are often work-from-home contractors who are paid based on patient volumes and who often don’t have access to medical records from other providers.

Fascinating testimony from the trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes: the company’s second lab director had zero lab experience or credentials – he was the dermatologist of COO Sunny Balwani. Sunil Dhawan, MD, who replaced the previous (and qualified) director who quit over the company’s questionable technology, testified that he was paid $5,000 per month to sign whatever Balwani sent him, having never met any company employee, patient, or clinician and without knowing anything about its technology.


Sponsor Updates

  • OneMedNet will provide imaging platform vendor Arterys with real-world data to aid in the development, validation, and regulatory approval of its solutions.
  • NetSmart will exhibit at the Fall Conference October 19-21 in Memphis, TN.
  • Pure Storage announces it has been positioned by Gartner as a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for Primary Storage.
  • The Philadelphia Business Journal names Quil Health CEO Carina Edwards a 2021 Woman of Distinction.
  • Redox adds former MuleSoft executive Simon Parmett to its Board of Directors.
  • Goldman Sachs recognizes Talkdesk founder and CEO Tiago Paiva as one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2021 at its Builders + Innovators Summit.
  • Tegria partners with the Seattle Kraken’s One Roof Foundation to support South Park community health initiatives.
  • Vocera publishes a new case study, “MercyOne Elkader Medical Center – Unifying Staff Through COVID-19.”

Blog Posts


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