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Monday Morning Update 10/23/23

October 22, 2023 News No Comments

Top News

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Medication management company Cureatr shuts down without notice, blaming a lack of financing and a failed acquisition.

The company acquired SinfoniaRx in March.


Reader Comments

From Tolstoy: “Re: startups. The wave of shutdowns and fire sales is just starting as former stars run out of cash.” Agreed. Companies that ran big early-round raises in a go-go market are just now seeing the invisible investor strings that were attached – the moneyed folk are demanding profitability, growth, and proof that the company’s moat exists and is not drying up. Inexperienced operators, especially first-time founders, are new to a market that values being cash-stingy to ride out the storm. Some will attempt to pivot, which rarely works. The lowest-quality startups will shut down, but most will come hat-in-hand to established companies hoping to sell the business, its IP, or its office furniture at a dismal fraction of now-laughable historic valuation. Meanwhile, the valuation premium for startups versus publicly traded companies is narrowing and founders are packing up their rosy pitch decks being forcefully relocated from the CEO chair to the boardroom. The upside is that the cream floats to the top when irrational exuberance meets reality, so winners will emerge stronger.

From Belzer: “Re: Waystar IPO. Good timing?” It’s hard to say given the long IPO drought and SPAC distraction. The PE-owned company’s string of acquisitions has piled up quite a bit of debt, with the S-1 showing interest payments of $149 million in 2022 on $704 million in revenue, resulting in a $66 million pretax loss. The company was valued at around $3 billion in 2019 when a majority stake was sold. Rumors of an $8 billion valuation floated around last summer when the IPO plans leaked.

From Plowboy: “Re: Henry Schein. We are placing orders by phone while the company keeps its site offline.” The medical and dental supply vendor took its systems offline on October 14 due to a cybersecurity incident, although its practice management software was not affected.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Poll respondents who quit because of non-job issues cite management ethics by far as their most common issue.

New poll to your right or here: Looking back five years, which aspects of healthcare have been significantly improved by technology? I ran this a few years ago, so let’s see how the responses differ.


Webinars

October 25 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Q&A: What’s new with the NSA? A No Surprises Act update.” Sponsor: Waystar. Presenters: Joseph Mercer, JD, managing director, Marwood Group; Heather Kawamoto, VP of product strategy, Waystar. The No Surprises Act created a lot of change,  and those changes are still coming. A panel of revenue cycle experts answer frequently asked questions and offer a concise update on the NSA, including legislative developments, FAQs, and tips for navigating changes.

October 25 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “AMA: The Power of Data Completeness.” Sponsor: Particle Health. Presenters: Jason Prestinario, MSME, CEO, Particle Health; Carolyn Ward, MD, director of clinical strategy, Particle Health. Is your healthcare organization looking to drive profitability and scale quickly? Our experts will explore how comprehensive clinical data can revolutionize the health tech landscape. This engaging discussion will cover trending topics such as leveraging AI and data innovation to enhance patient care and outcomes, real-world examples of organizations leading the charge in data-driven healthcare, overcoming challenges in data completeness and interoperability, and visionary perspectives on the future of care delivery.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

EClinicalWorks announces that it expects to generate $900 million in revenue in 2023, up from the previous year’s $800 million. The company will continue to invest in AI, including ChatGPT integration, an AI-based image model for document management, and RCM improvement.

Weight loss drug startup Calibrate will sell itself to a private equity firm and restructure the business, which recently pivoted from selling prescriptions directly to consumers to having employers offer its services as an employee benefit. The company has struggled with refund-demanding customers who couldn’t get their prescriptions filled due to short supplies, as well as those who found that their insurance wouldn’t cover the high cost of GLP-1 drugs.

Nomad, whose app connects travel nurses with hospitals, lays off employees for the second time this year as budget-challenged health systems reduce their use of expensive travel nurses. 


Sales

  • The US Defense Health Agency awards Amwell and Leidos a contract valued at up to $180 million to provide a hybrid care platform that will replace MHS Video Connect.

People

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Tony Ambrozie, MBA, MIM (Baptist Health South Florida) joins CVS Health as chief digital and technology officer, pharmacy and consumer wellness.

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Net Health hires Ron Books (ECI Software Solutions) as CEO.

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Matter Communications promotes Paul Berthiaume to SVP.


Privacy and Security

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HealthAlliance Hospital (NY) discharges or transfers all of its inpatients and diverts ambulances following a cyberattack. Owner Westchester Medical Health Network says the incident also affected Margaretville Hospital and Mountainside Residential Care Center.


Other

Cedars-Sinai researchers develop an AI tool that can detect atrial fibrillation in people who don’t have symptoms, including in diverse settings and patient populations.


Sponsor Updates

  • Inovalon partners with HealthVerity as part of its new Preferred Data Partner Program to advance the use of real-world evidence in research.
  • NeuroFlow publishes a new case study, “Prudential Helps High-Risk Disability Claimants Access Support Through Population-Wide Suicide Risk Assessment & Prevention.”
  • Surescripts shares a new podcast, “A Recap of NACDS Total Store Expo 2023.”
  • Wolters Kluwer announces that its Emmi patient engagement and education solution has received a 2023 Black Book award for highest client/user satisfaction from managed care providers.
  • InterSystems partners with Indonesian EHR vendor Zi.Care to provide expert services via the InterSystems Iris for Health – Indonesia Edition data platform.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

Morning Headlines 10/20/23

October 19, 2023 Headlines No Comments

Uniguest expands presence and capabilities in healthcare through acquisition of PCare

Audience engagement platform vendor Uniquest acquires PCare, which offers interactive patient systems.

Pair Team Raises $9 Million Series A to Expand Access to Health Care Services for Medicaid’s Most Vulnerable Patients

Tech-enabled primary and social care management company Pair Team raises $9 million in a Series A funding round.

Telehealth Privacy and Security Tips for Patients

HHS OCR publishes a checklist covering “Telehealth Privacy and Security Tips for Patients.”

News 10/20/23

October 19, 2023 News 5 Comments

Top News

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OptumInsight CEO Neil de Crescenzo leaves the company a year after it acquired Change Healthcare in a $13 billion deal, according to a LinkedIn post. He had been CEO of Change since 2013.

OptumInsight’s new CEO is Roger Connor, who will also continue his role as EVP of enterprise operations and services for parent company UnitedHealth Group.

A reader tipped me off to de Crescenzo’s s departure in mid-September, but the company did not respond to my inquiries.

OptumInsight offers transaction processing, technology, analytics, and revenue cycle management. Its annual revenue is nearly $5 billion.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor FinThrive. The Plano, TX-based company helps 3,200 healthcare organizations increase revenue, reduce costs, improve patients financial experience, and ensure regulatory compliance across their entire revenue cycle continuum. Its SaaS-based RCM Platform delivers the industry’s widest breadth of capabilities, including integrated workflows supporting patient access, revenue integrity, claims management, contract management, and collections management teams within a centralized work environment. The company helps its customers bring modern digital experiences to their patients, including self-scheduling, virtual check-in, price estimations, patient payments and payment plans, and ongoing SMS-based secure communications – with no app downloads required. Its platform also leverages machine learning, robotic process automation, end-to-end RCM analytics, and billing and coding education resources to increase efficiency and drive sustained ROI. Thanks to FinThrive for supporting HIStalk.

Here’s a FinThrive explainer that I found on YouTube.


Webinars

October 25 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Q&A: What’s new with the NSA? A No Surprises Act update.” Sponsor: Waystar. Presenters: Joseph Mercer, JD, managing director, Marwood Group; Heather Kawamoto, VP of product strategy, Waystar. The No Surprises Act created a lot of change,  and those changes are still coming. A panel of revenue cycle experts answer frequently asked questions and offer a concise update on the NSA, including legislative developments, FAQs, and tips for navigating changes.

October 25 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “AMA: The Power of Data Completeness.” Sponsor: Particle Health. Presenters: Jason Prestinario, MSME, CEO, Particle Health; Carolyn Ward, MD, director of clinical strategy, Particle Health. Is your healthcare organization looking to drive profitability and scale quickly? Our experts will explore how comprehensive clinical data can revolutionize the health tech landscape. This engaging discussion will cover trending topics such as leveraging AI and data innovation to enhance patient care and outcomes, real-world examples of organizations leading the charge in data-driven healthcare, overcoming challenges in data completeness and interoperability, and visionary perspectives on the future of care delivery.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Audience engagement platform vendor Uniquest acquires PCare, which offers interactive patient systems.

Henry Ford Health and Ascension Michigan form a joint venture to combine their Detroit-area operations, with the combined $10.5 billion business giving them 44% of the Detroit area hospital market by revenue. 

Private equity firm Ardian will increase its stake in Europe-focused healthcare software vendor Dedalus to 92%. Board member Albert Calcagno, who has no healthcare or software experience, has been appointed CEO, with Andrea Fiumicelli moved to board chair.


Sales

  • Medicare Advantage insurer EternalHealth will implement Inovalon’s Converged suite for quality measurement and risk scoring.
  • USA Health Children’s and Women’s Hospital goes live on AdaptX’s Obstetric Advisor to improve maternal health equity.
  • Culbertson Memorial Hospital will go live on Oracle Health CommunityWorks next month.
  • Virtua Health will allow its doctors to prescribe Woebot Health’s mental health support app to people who are waiting for behavioral health provider appointments.

People

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Bamboo Health hires Jeff Smith, MBA (Lumeris) as CEO. He replaces interim CEO Jay Desai, MBA, who will continue as executive board chair. Former CEO Rob Cohen, MBA left the company in July 2023 to join Livara as CEO.

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Adrian Agostini (Booster) joins Experity as chief revenue officer.

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Industry long-timer Rob Titemore, most recently with Sonifi Health, died August 13 in a motorcycle accident. He was 52. Visitation will be November 18 in Burlington, MA.


Announcements and Implementations

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Insurer Oscar Health describes in an excellent “Continuous Hackathon” website how it is using large language models in pursuit of three goals: creating better client experiences, impacting behavior to generate better outcomes, and automating processes to reduce cost. Some of its ideas for using AI to move care delivery outside of the medical office:

  • Assign members to virtual primary care doctors.
  • Use AI to interpret EHR lab results as an initial draft for the virtual care provider. Co-founder and CTO Mario Schlosser says in an X post that the response of providers is binary – either they delete the summary immediately or they accept it with minimal changes.
  • Automate the creation of care summaries. Schlosser says that providers modify the AI-written summary often, adding their own personal style or adding context.
  • Collect patient information before starting a virtual patient visit.

In Japan, Fujitsu and Toppan Holdings will collaborate to create research databases from de-identified EHR data and apply analytics to improve the efficiency of drug development and care delivery.

Ronin and MD Anderson experts describe the development of an AI-powered digital tool that identifies cancer patients who are likely to require an unscheduled ED visit within 30 days due to treatment side effects, concluding that 50% of those visits as well as 19% of hospitalizations are avoidable.

Prudential’s implementation of NeuroFlow’s technology for conducting remote clinical assessments of disability claimants triggered 4,200 self-harm or suicide alerts from 24% of the monitored population, enabling the insurer to promptly connect them with mental wellness resources and resulting in a 34% reduction in their symptoms of depression.


Government and Politics

HHS OCR publishes a checklist covering “Telehealth Privacy and Security Tips for Patients.”


Other

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A survey of employers finds that health insurance premiums increased 7% in 2023, outpacing worker wage increases and inflation as family coverage averaged $23,968 per year. Employers paid an average of 71% of the cost, although 65% of workers were enrolled in self-funded plans in which the employer pays for health services directly. Employers say that the key health benefits concerns of their employees involve the high cost-sharing that they bear, their ability to schedule timely appointments, and the complexity of prior authorization. More than half of employers think that telemedicine will be important or very important for providing access to behavioral health services and primary care.

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An interesting series of tweets from Science.io co-founder and CEO Will Manidis makes these observations in predicting healthcare’s “top deck of the Titanic” moment as consumers abandon the existing system and create their own:

  • The status quo is that costs have increased constantly and clinic waitlists remained full because: (a) clinicians are in limited supply; (b) insurers pay rather than patients; (c) demand is inelastic and trust is high; and (d) regulatory capture.
  • He says that all four factors are shifting as (a) LLM-assisted doctors will gain technology leverage; (b) the payer-PCP model will shift to online services that treat individual conditions; (c) patients who are disillusioned by the opioid epidemic and by poor treatment at physician offices will exit the system instead of calling for it to be improved; and (d) FDA’s healthcare regulation doesn’t reflect patient desires and instead rewards incumbents.
  • Technology will allow new companies to be more efficient than incumbents as vendor overpromising fades.
  • Amazon, Walmart, and CVS are building a cash-pay, free-market parallel care system.
  • Margins on low-acuity care will increase due to telemedicine and consumerization, which will also offer cross-selling opportunities for high-margin lifestyle management plans.

A fascinating and potentially HIT-adjacent article in The Atlantic ponders the “failed experiment” of retail self-checkout, which mentions but does not primarily blame customer dishonesty as its main challenge. The initial promise of quick checkout and the ability to deploy freed-up cashiers to offer more customer assistance never materialized, as finicky technology, purchases such as alcohol that require employee review, and assigning a single staff member to oversee the enter kiosk area have diminished the technology’s potential. Snips:

  • Self-checkout allows cutting back on low-wage cashiers, but the problem-prone technology requires a lot of expensive IT resources to keep running.
  • It hasn’t been proven to be faster or more convenient, but customers are fooled because instead of just waiting in line, they fumble through the scanning and bagging process in doing the cashier’s job with a small fraction of their efficiency.
  • Retail store owners used self-checkout as a reason to cut staff in general, resulting in messier stores, poorly stocked shelves, and lack of employees to assist customers.
  • Retailers aren’t likely to abandon the concept because they spent fortunes installing the technology, but they will likely need to provide more human assistance.
  • The article concludes, “A familiar limitation of many grand tech-industry promises endures: At the bottom of all the supposed convenience, you do actually just need a lot of people to operate a store.”

Sponsor Updates

  • Divurgent releases a new The Vurge Podcast, “From Operations to IT: An Inside Look.”
  • Ellkay will present at the CommonWell Health Alliance 2023 Annual Meeting and Fall Summit November 6-8 in Kansas City, MO.
  • HealthMark Group employees volunteer at Operation Kindness.
  • Optimum Healthcare IT posts a case study titled “Sentara: Strategic Portfolio Management with ServiceNow.”
  • Censinet and First Health Advisory will partner to offer cybersecurity risk assurance solutions, including the Censinet RiskOps platform for managing and mitigating third-party and enterprise risk.
  • Nordic releases a video titled “The Download | Restart, refuel, or hang tight: The EHR dilemma.”
  • Inovalon collaborates with Amazon Web Services to develop software to support better healthcare outcomes and economics.
  • MRO will exhibit at the NCQA Health Innovation Summit October 23-25 in Orlando.
  • Heart of Florida Health Center realizes a 21% increase in payment collections with EHR and Healow Payment Services software from EClinicalWorks.
  • Redox partners with healthcare-focused digital transformation consultancy Productive Edge to offer the Healthcare Data Strategy Accelerator and Healthcare Data Integration Accelerator programs.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 10/19/23

October 19, 2023 Dr. Jayne No Comments

Clinical informaticists are often asked to help their organizations with strategies to combat health misinformation, whether it’s through implementing patient education solutions, providing input for patient-facing websites, consulting on social media campaigns, or creating content for distribution through mixed channels.

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently released results of a health misinformation tracking poll pilot with the goal of following health-related misinformation in the US, especially in communities where misinformation can gave the greatest negative impact. This round of tracking looked at important topics: COVID-19/vaccines, reproductive health, and firearm violence. Plans are in place to investigate other health topics in coming months. A Health Misinformation Monitor report will be distributed to those who are working to fight health-related misinformation.

Those of us seeing patients on the frontlines spend a good chunk of our time counseling against misinformation. It’s challenging because we would often rather use that time to talk about other important topics like dietary changes, lifestyle adjustments, and cancer screenings. We’re still seeing patients that are falsely convinced that COVID vaccines are killing healthy patients, that sex ed causes promiscuity, and the increased rates of firearms deaths “aren’t a thing.” In addition to taking time away from other health topics, having these conversations over and over is exhausting, so I’m excited to see what this new resource makes available for clinicians.

I’m onboarding a new consulting client and a significant amount of time is slated to help the organization improve productivity. We’re going to work to streamline its meetings, improve communication, and get some process guardrails in place. As I met with several high-ranking members of the company this week, it was obvious that one of them was multitasking on his phone the entire time we were meeting. I’m no stranger to the fact that conflicts come up, but what I experienced was not only rude, but also wasted the resources of the others who were on the call. I’m still figuring out all the dynamics in this organization, but at least one person who wasn’t on that particular call also mentioned the behavior as “habitual” for this leader. True leadership is being willing to reschedule meetings, to step out when you have a conflict or distraction, or to delegate meetings to others who can cover them.

In the worst case when one has to field text messages during a call, can I offer a pro tip: install the relevant texting app on your laptop so that you can manage your phone’s messages without actually having to touch your phone (let alone have it visible to others on the call). The solution won’t necessarily help with inattentiveness, but it will reduce the obviousness of undesired behavior.

Speaking of communications and productivity, one of the biggest time wasters I see among the large organizations I work with is trying to use too many “pull” communications and not enough “push” communications. Pull refers to materials that someone has to go to in order to get information, such as visiting a page on the company intranet or going to a reporting dashboard. They require effort on the part of the end user, who may need to remember that they need the information and also may need to remember where they need to go to get it. Push communications put the information in the hands of the user without a hunt. This method can be great for distribution of data that’s episodic, like a weekly census report.

I just had a conversation with one of my clients this week about using the right method for the right data. They were using a compound push/pull method. They pushed a link out to the audience on a daily basis, but then the users had to click the link, log in to a dashboard, and reset a filter to today’s date to see the daily data. A simple stopwatch exercise showed that this took about 30 seconds for the recipient to get to the right data, assuming they didn’t get distracted by another task along the way.

I asked the sender what the purpose of the email was and was told that it was to distribute end-of-day metrics that are finalized during a 2 a.m. reporting package. That sounded reasonable, but the need for users to log in and adjust filters to see the data didn’t. I talked to a couple of data consumers, who agreed the process was annoying. They are required to look at the data daily, but said that greater than 95% of the time they don’t need to do any further digging, so a snapshot would be fine.

I multiplied the daily review of data times the number of people looking at it times the average hourly rate of the end users. The company is spending $7,500 annually for employees to click links and adjust filters. In comparison, automated distribution of each day’s static data can be added to the reporting package for about $120 in work effort. I’m not surprised that no one thought of this before. It’s magic moments like this that make consulting fun as well as beneficial to the client. I’m hoping that they take this as an a-ha moment and look at some of their other communications to see what kind of savings they can generate.

It’s also a good exercise for organizations to examine how well their communications are reaching the target audience. If you’re maintaining a website for people to visit to get information, how many unique visitors is it getting and at what frequency? If you’re sending emails, what is your open rate? If you’re throwing things out in a Teams or Slack channel, are you measuring whether the materials actually make it to the audience? It’s important to understand too that different people consume information differently, and for some really important notifications, you may need to send them through multiple channels – email, messaging, intranet/web sites, and more.

People also need reminders when there are deadlines. Simply sending it once and then claiming “well, it was on the Slack channel” doesn’t help with knowledge distribution for most organizations.

From a patient advocacy standpoint, I’m excited for plans to eliminate the reporting of medical debt for consumer credit scoring. The initiative is being handled under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has rulemaking authority for the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The process involves convening a Small Business Review Panel to identify next steps. Medical debt impacts millions of patients and it can negatively impact their employment prospects, ability to obtain housing, or purchase a vehicle. The rulemaking process doesn’t move at the speed of light, so it will be 2024 before we see how this is going to shape up. Some credit agencies are already excluding paid-off debts and small debts from reporting, but the new initiative will expand consumer protections.

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I’m finally able to say “that’s a wrap” to my recent travels. I’ve also caught up with some old friends, made some new friends, and got to learn about both mining and particle physics at the same place, so how can one top that? Now that I’ve been bitten by the travel bug, it’s only a matter of time before I decide where I’m heading next.

If you could go anywhere in the US for vacation, where would you visit? Leave a comment or email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

Morning Headlines 10/19/23

October 18, 2023 Headlines No Comments

Waymark Announces $42M in New Funding

Waymark, which offers tech-enabled care support services to primary care teams and their Medicaid patients, announces $42 million in funding.

Ventricle Health secures $8M in seed financing led by RA Capital Management, along with Waterline Ventures and others to accelerate national delivery of its value-based home care model for heart failure patients

Ventricle Health, a virtual and at-home cardiology care provider, raises $8 million in seed funding.

Allara, a telehealth platform for women with chronic hormonal conditions, raises $10M Series A

Membership-based virtual care startup Allara raises $10 million in a Series A funding round.

Healthcare AI News 10/18/23

October 18, 2023 Healthcare AI News 2 Comments

News

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OpenAI adds voice capabilities to the ChatGPT mobile app, which can carry on a conversation with the user through one of several available natural-sounding voices. Existing voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, and Cortana will need to follow quickly or risk becoming instantly obsolete. 

Rumors suggest that OpenAI will soon launch AI-powered autonomous agents, which can interact with other software such as email or calendars to complete tasks without supervision.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center develops an EHR-embedded AI tool to identify pediatric patients who are at risk for blood clots. Outcomes were no better than for patients in the control group, however, which the researchers say may be due to physicians rejecting the tool’s recommendation to start blood-thinning therapy only 25% of the time due to fears of causing a major bleed. Yale medical school dean F. Perry Wilson, MD, MSCE observes that the VUMC study illustrates a key point that making accurate predictions is table stakes that vendors shouldn’t launch an “accuracy arms race” since “even perfect prediction is useless if no one believes you or if they don’t change their behavior.”


Business

UAE-based M42 launches Med42, a clinical large language model that answers medical questions using synthesized knowledge. The company claims it outperforms ChatGPT 3.5. It’s free for non-commercial use and research and can be downloaded from Hugging Face.


Research

ChatGPT performs at least as well as primary care physicians in choosing treatment options for newly diagnosed depression, and unlike doctors, it does not exhibit gender or socioeconomic bias. ChatGPT nearly always recommends psychotherapy for mild cases versus the 4% of PCPs who do so. It also favors using antidepressants alone for severe cases, while doctors usually add anxiolytics or hypnotics.

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A Klick Labs study finds that AI analysis of a 10-second recording of a person’s voice can determine if they have Type 2 diabetes with nearly 90% accuracy. The company says that the non-intrusive, accessible approach will allow screening large numbers of people for Type 2 diabetes and potentially other chronic conditions.

Researchers are surprised to find that ChatGPT does a poor job of reviewing urology residency application letters.


Other

Experts predict that AI will play an outsized healthcare role in Canada because of clinician shortages in rural areas, with initial use in creating clinician documentation, providing easier access to patient records, helping with staff scheduling, and reviewing digital images.

Healthcare AI experts list ways that AI can help in healthcare, which include providing patient-friendly explanations, performing back office functions, predicting next events in a patient’s journey, analyzing images, keeping patient data private, and training itself. On the downside, it can create disinformation that sounds plausible, introduce bias in agreeing with what the user says, provide a false sense of security, and cause professionals to question whether their knowledge or careers are obsolete.


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

Morning Headlines 10/18/23

October 17, 2023 Headlines No Comments

Aspirus and St. Luke’s Move Closer to Affiliation

Aspirus Health (WI) will acquire St. Luke’s (MN), pending the signing of a definitive agreement that calls for Aspirus to implement Epic and its other standard systems at St. Luke’s within 24 months of closing.

Reimagine Care Announces Investment from Memorial Hermann to Help Transform the Cancer Care and Recovery Experience

Reimagine Care, a provider of virtual and at-home cancer care, secures funding from Houston-based Memorial Hermann Health System.

Sharecare confirms receipt of unsolicited proposal from Claritas Capital

Atlanta-based digital health and wellness company Sharecare considers an acquisition proposal from private equity firm Claritas Capital.

News 10/18/23

October 17, 2023 News 15 Comments

Top News

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Waystar announces that it filed IPO documents in August that reportedly value the company at up to $8 billion.

Waystar says it booked $196 million in sales for the quarter ending June 30 versus $173 million for the same quarter last year.

The revenue cycle management company was formed in 2017 with the merger of Navicure and ZirMed. Waystar has since acquired Connance, HealthPay24, Patientco, PARO, Digitize,AI, and ESolutions. 


Webinars

October 25 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Q&A: What’s new with the NSA? A No Surprises Act update.” Sponsor: Waystar. Presenters: Joseph Mercer, JD, managing director, Marwood Group; Heather Kawamoto, VP of product strategy, Waystar. The No Surprises Act created a lot of change,  and those changes are still coming. A panel of revenue cycle experts answer frequently asked questions and offer a concise update on the NSA, including legislative developments, FAQs, and tips for navigating changes.

October 25 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “AMA: The Power of Data Completeness.” Sponsor: Particle Health. Presenters: Jason Prestinario, MSME, CEO, Particle Health; Carolyn Ward, MD, director of clinical strategy, Particle Health. Is your healthcare organization looking to drive profitability and scale quickly? Our experts will explore how comprehensive clinical data can revolutionize the health tech landscape. This engaging discussion will cover trending topics such as leveraging AI and data innovation to enhance patient care and outcomes, real-world examples of organizations leading the charge in data-driven healthcare, overcoming challenges in data completeness and interoperability, and visionary perspectives on the future of care delivery.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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The loss of a legacy customer and associated $4.5 million in annual revenue prompts RCM vendor Streamline Health Solutions to move forward with a corporate restructuring plan that includes a 24% reduction in its workforce and the promotion of Benjamin Stilwill to CEO. Former CEO Wyche “Tee” Green will transition to executive chairman. STRM shares have lost 40% of their value in the past 12 months versus the Nasdaq’s 31% gain, closing Tuesday at $0.30 and valuing the company at $18 million.

Aspirus Health will acquire St. Luke’s in signing a definitive agreement that has been unanimously approved by the boards of both health systems. The agreement calls for Aspirus to implement Epic and its other standard systems at St. Luke’s within 24 months of closing, which is expected in the spring of 2024. St. Luke’s went live on Meditech Expanse in mid-2019. The combined organization will operate 19 hospitals and 130 outpatient locations with 14,000 employees.

Drug chain Rite Aid files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and hires a new CEO as it struggles with slowing sales, debt, and a Department of Justice opioid lawsuit.


Sales

  • AdventHealth will use tech-enabled clinical support from Wellvana to improve access and outcomes within its network of primary care clinics in Florida.

People

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Samir Shah, MD (Envision Healthcare) joins Qure.ai as chief medical officer.

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Cordea Consulting names Travis Earlywine (Lowes) regional VP of sales.


Announcements and Implementations

Highmark Health (PA) will implement Google’s new Vertex AI Search technology across its enterprise. It is initially using the generative AI tool as a part of an automated, post-visit medical documentation workflow pilot project.

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King’s Daughters Medical Center (MS) implements BridgeHead Software’s HealthStore clinical data repository as a part of decommissioning its legacy Meditech Magic EHR. KDMC went live on Meditech Expanse last December.

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Guelph General Hospital in Ontario goes live with Sectra’s cloud-based enterprise imaging technology.


Government and Politics

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The VA will establish four AI centers to test and apply new AI solutions at partner VA medical centers. The centers support the VA’s recently announced AI strategy, which includes using AI to improve care outcomes and experiences for veterans.


Privacy and Security

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Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center (AZ) works to restore computer systems after a September 27 ransomware attack.

University of Vermont Medical Center President and COO Stephen Leffler, MD tells lawmakers at a joint subcommittee hearing in Washington, DC that more federal grants should be made available to help health systems purchase stronger cybersecurity software. Leffler also shared the details of the hospital’s recovery from a 2020 ransomware attack, which led to 28 days of downtime and $65 million in costs.


Other

Epic employees complain on Reddit that the company has announced that it will no longer allow them to work from home during heavy snow days. Some of them note that Epic’s new hires often have never driven in snow and therefore are prone to creating automotive mayhem.


Sponsor Updates

  • Healthwise posts a case study of how Duke Health used its health education to increase the success rate of its smoking cessation program.
  • Availity offers RevSpring’s staff-assisted payment and merchant services as part of its Availity Essentials multi-payer platform.
  • AvaSure will host its 2023 Symposium October 25-26 in Grand Rapids, MI.
  • Inovalon’s Claims Management Pro solution is offered on the PointClickCare Marketplace.
  • Baker Tilly publishes a new case study, “Handled with care: UT Health San Antonio’s Oracle HCM journey towards one cloud.”
  • Nordic publishes another episode of its In Network podcast, “Designing for Health: Bre Loughlin.”
  • Bamboo Health publishes a new case study, “Revolutionizing Nevada’s Behavioral Health Referrals: A Leap Forward for 988 Suicide Prevention and Crisis Lifeline Services.”
  • Censinet releases a new Risk Never Sleeps Podcast featuring cybersecurity expert Frank Riccardi.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

Morning Headlines 10/17/23

October 16, 2023 Headlines No Comments

Streamline Health Executes Strategic Restructuring, Provides Corporate Update

RCM vendor Streamline Health Solutions announces layoffs, the loss of a legacy customer, and management changes including a new CEO.

Rite Aid Takes Steps to Accelerate Transformation and Position Company for Long-Term Success

Rite Aid files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and names a new CEO as part of its corporate restructuring strategy.

Healthcare payments startup Waystar makes IPO filing public

Waystar goes public with its IPO filing, announcing plans to list its shares on the Nasdaq alongside a bump in quarterly sales.

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 10/16/23

October 16, 2023 Dr. Jayne No Comments

Generative AI continues to be a hot topic around the virtual physician water cooler. My colleagues have come to expect me to have my finger on the pulse of innovation, even though interacting with these solutions is a small part of my current work in clinical informatics.

OpenAI recently announced that “ChatGPT can now see, hear, and speak,” heralding an opportunity for a “more intuitive type of interface” that allows the user “to have a voice conversation or show ChatGPT what you’re talking about.” The blog details the potential of the technology to impact daily life.

As an aspiring amateur chef, I’m intrigued about the potential to “snap pictures of your fridge and pantry to figure out what’s for dinner (and ask follow up questions for a step by step recipe).” At any given time, my kitchen has a stack of recipes that I find intriguing. It would be great if artificial intelligence could parse them and determine which ones I might be more likely to make, and what ingredients I need to make their creation a reality.

Plus and Enterprise users get first crack at the new features, with voice coming on mobile platforms and images being available on all platforms. As for voice, the goal is for users to be able to have a conversation with the virtual assistant after choosing one of five voice options.

As an early adopter of the Garmin Nuvi back in the dark ages before Google Maps, I miss my former trusty companion “Ken the Aussie” and was hoping that there would be a similarly engaging option available with the new solution, especially since the company states they worked with professional voice actors to create the options. Alas, I didn’t find an internationally-accented voice – the options are named Juniper, Sky, Cove, Ember, and Breeze.

I can’t wait to explore the image options. One of the use cases that OpenAI lists includes “analyze a complex graph for work-related data.” I have some absolutely crazy pictures of whiteboard drawings that I’ve collected over the years and can’t wait to unleash AI technology on those and see what sense it can make of them, if any. New York Times reporter Kevin Roose got a sneak peek at a beta version of the technology recently and shared his results. He noted some issues:

  • Taking a picture of the front page of the newspaper, he asked ChatGPT to summarize it. The AI hallucinated, “inventing a statistic about fentanyl-related deaths that wasn’t in the original article.”
  • The technology “flopped” when asked to assist with a crossword puzzle.
  • It referred to a stuffed dinosaur as a whale.

It was also unable to assist with deciphering a diagram for assembling a piece of IKEA-esque furniture, although I’m less surprised by that than the other issues mentioned. He also noted limitations in how the technology processes images of human faces, although he mentions this is functioning as designed. Developers wanted to avoid it being used for facial recognition or critiquing people’s appearance. As someone who has cared for teens who have been cyberbullied, I’m grateful for the latter.

The New York Times reporter found the voice capabilities to be particularly powerful, referring to it as “Siri on steroids” with a “fluid and natural” voice that has “slight variations in tone and cadence that make it feel less robotic.” He notes that his request to hear the story of the Three Little Pigs “in the character of a total frat bro” was “a sleeper hit.” (The example is available in the article, if you’d like to give it a listen – I agree it was pretty funny.)

Honestly, I can’t wait to ask it to tell me a story about healthcare IT from the perspectives of some of the archetypal personas we see in the industry: the exuberant CEO, the frustrated project manager, the surly end user, and the burned-out clinician. It would probably be more entertaining than some of the talks we saw at conferences like HLTH, hands down.

Earlier in the month, OpenAI had also announced that its Dall-E image generator was being incorporated into ChatGPT. When AI-generated images first came on the scene, there were a lot of concerns about copyright issues, competition with human artists, and the role of AI in the creative process. Now that the technology is becoming more accessible, some of my physician colleagues have also been concerned about the potential for using generative AI to create images that can be passed off as medical records in order to manipulate a physician into providing treatments or medications for which a patient might otherwise be inappropriate.

There was a big discussion among our group about the potential for diversion of controlled substances if patients presented with AI-generated x-rays, CTs scans, or MRIs. I’m seeing an increasing number of physicians paying attention to political happenings, so of course there was concern with the potential to use AI to manipulate upcoming elections. Of course, there are plenty of bad human actors that already have the technology to do those sorts of things, but somehow things just seem scarier to some when automation is involved.

OpenAI isn’t the only company that’s doubling down on chatbot investments. Google recently released improvements that allow Bard to access information from Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Drive accounts through a feature called Bard Extensions. It can also draw from YouTube and Google maps for information. Although those enhancements potentially represent a substantial increase in generative power for sophisticated applications, I’m more interested in straightforward but potentially complex tasks, like helping me parse through the hundreds of emails I receive each day across both my personal and HIStalk accounts and helping me identify which ones might be most intriguing.

Given my consulting work helping organizations streamline their meeting calendars, I’d also love to unleash a chatbot to parse calendar data to help me figure out which meetings should be moved to maximize attendance, which should be kept where they are, and which might be able to be eliminated. Of course, most of the organizations I work with are still devotees of Office 365, so Bard isn’t going to be much help there.

What do you see as the areas with the greatest potential for generative AI, and what do you see as the biggest potential pitfalls? Leave a comment or email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

Readers Write: Easing HCC Coding Adoption by Using Insights and Assessment for More Accurate Data

October 16, 2023 Readers Write No Comments

Easing HCC Coding Adoption by Using Insights and Assessment for More Accurate Data
By Shahyan Currimbhoy

Shahyan Currimbhoy, MS is vice president of product of Edifecs of Bellevue, WA.

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Healthcare provider organizations that are participating in Medicare Advantage plans are acutely focused on the adoption and execution of Hierarchical Condition Category (HCC) coding. HCC is a healthcare risk adjustment model that is used to predict the healthcare costs of individuals or populations based on medical conditions. Adoption requires disciplined and accurate documentation and coding of all relevant medical conditions to properly reflect the health status of patients. Accuracy is critical. Even the slightest inconsistency or error can impact risk scores and subsequent reimbursements to providers.

HCC coding is an important model for healthcare reimbursement risk adjustment because it offers the benefit of accurately predicting healthcare costs. Unfortunately, as it has been put into practice, it has elevated some operational challenges. It’s no secret that coding has long-been an administrative burden on the healthcare system. Over time, we’ve learned that automated, integrated, and system-wide technology can help reduce these burdens. In the present evolution of our healthcare system, we also know the viability of value-based care (VBC) desperately depends on alignment between documentation, provider engagement, and claims coding.

The implementation of HCC coding requires a thoughtful approach. If done right, organizations could quickly see opportunities to refine and improve the encounter documentation process and care delivery.

Your HCC Coding Approach: Collaborate with Clinicians

As care teams recognize HHC coding as a critical component of an organization’s business model, identifying the right deployment approach is an important early step. Each health system will take a different approach, but change must be met with ease and collaboration. Organizations that attempt to move into alternative payment models (APM) by flipping the switch overnight on new processes or technologies will encounter pushback from care teams and coding staff. Value-based payment participants will have a better outcome if they ease into the transition, including starting with tools that are made for VBC, and weaving them into the existing team structure and processes.

Care teams and coding staff will have questions. Will HCC coding be addressed before, during, or after the visit? Will coders and clinicians collaborate in person or electronically? Consult your clinicians before determining the best approach. Excluding them will undoubtedly result in a missed opportunity to best understand how strategy could impact their day-to-day workflows, which can lead to a more challenging implementation process.

A collaborative approach will result in more accurate coding in the long run, playing a huge role in reducing the time providers are spending confirming or rejecting a suspected condition.

Coding Insights and Provider Education Support Entering High-Risk Sharing Arrangements with Confidence

Even with automation and collaboration tools, care teams that have incorporated HCC can still find themselves coding inconsistently. For leadership to understand where education and resources are needed, there needs to be provider-level visibility of coding efficacy. Without data-driven insights into provider quality risk operations, this can prove challenging.

With the proper sources, providers can build patient registries, identify where the patients are, and build standard care pathways to ensure that patients are getting proper care. Leadership can gather the clinicians to share knowledge and identify variations in care. Treating HCC coding as a discipline, rather than as an administrative or financial function, helps ensure alignment between providers and the coding team, which drives improved patient outcomes.

Organizations with confidence to move into high-risk sharing arrangements can use automation and natural language processing (NLP) to drive scalability, collaborative tools that allow care teams to work in unison, and performance analytics to help the whole care team continue to improve.

Using “MEAT” to Fully Assess New Conditions Against Patient History

VBC payment models often require a comprehensive understanding of a patient’s medical history, always culled from various sources and locations. Consolidating diagnostic codes linked to HCCs becomes difficult when a patient is treated at multiple departments within a clinically integrated network (CIN) with separate EMRs. In today’s state of financial resources, the right integrations and automation tools are key.

Organizations are empowering clinical review specialists by giving them a comprehensive view of each patient’s medical history, as well as the tools needed to help identify the gaps in care. If medical history is reviewed prior to an encounter, it can reduce some of the burden on clinicians during the patient visit. With the comprehensive view and additional time, providers can better assess new potential conditions using the acronym “MEAT” as suggested by the AAPC (monitoring, evaluating, assessing/addressing, and treating).

MEAT serves as the connective tissue between documentation, provider intervention, and claims coding, and is essential for any reliable risk adjustment program. VBC relies on this alignment, confirming that money is flowing to organizations that are most at risk, and ensuring that patients with chronic conditions are served efficiently. Combined with tools that simplify HCC recapture, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, these approaches can save time across the care team and ensure care continuity and revenue capture for chronic disease management.

Stop Using Old Solutions for New Practices

Automation tools and assessments like MEAT help care teams, providers, and coders ensure that HCC coding accurately reflects the true burden of patient populations. Without the necessary systems and technology infrastructure in place, following the guidelines in practice can be challenging. Health systems that are incorporating VBC arrangements often expect to solve new problems with old solutions, and that is just simply not realistic. Organizational efficiencies leading to increased clinician satisfaction, improved financial performance, and better clinical outcomes can be realized with the right operational components to support automation, visibility, and collaboration for both provider organizations and health plans.

Morning Headlines 10/16/23

October 15, 2023 Headlines No Comments

Sphere Announces Agreement to Divest Commercial Division

Sphere will sell its Commercial Division to commerce enablement company NMI, allowing it to sharpen its focus on core business such as its TrustCommerce healthcare gateway, Health IPass patient engagement solutions. and Qgiv digital fundraising platform for non-profits.

VA’s new artificial intelligence centers will focus on iteration in AI testing process, agency official says

The VA will establish four new AI centers to test and apply new AI solutions at partner VA medical centers.

Walgreens plans to close some 60 VillageMd clinics

Walgreens will close 60 of its drugstore-attached VillageMD clinics as it pursues $1 billion in cost reductions following a Q4 loss that is the first in its 122-year history.

Monday Morning Update 10/16/23

October 15, 2023 News No Comments

Top News

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Walgreens will close 60 of its drugstore-attached VillageMD clinics as it pursues $1 billion in cost reductions following a Q4 loss that is the first in its 122-year history.

Walgreens paid $5.2 billion in late 2021 to increase its stake in VillageMD. The Walgreens interim CFO insisted in Thursday’s earnings call that the company will “unlock the embedded profits at Village” by cutting costs, improving execution, and “right-sizing the footprint” in focusing on the highest-opportunity markets and expanding integration of the company’s digital assets.

Walgreens also says it will reduce retail inventory and optimize product mix, which might make one wonder why the highly-compensated executives waited for a crappy quarterly earnings report to do so. Actually, maybe the company agrees since they have already canned the CEO, CFO, and CIO.

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Worth a read is the analysis by AI company founder Sergei Polevikov, who says half of the company’s 2023 loss of $3 billion is due to money-losing VillageMD while the remainder is because of “kitchen sinking,” where all of the company’s problems are blamed on previous management in an opportunity to clean up the ugly books. He previously wrote a brilliant piece titled “Why did I say No to 100 SPAC offers? Because SPACs are Ponzi schemes” in which SPAC salespeople pushed him to take his AI company public, but didn’t bother to ask questions about profits or ROI since their interest was pumping and dumping, fueled by insiders hyping the company to unload shares to retail investors who shortly after took it in the shorts.


Reader Comments

From Boyd Blender: “Re: PE firm acquiring a health system. That would be an unwelcome intrusion.” The intrusion has already occurred, as private equity firms already own health systems, physician practices, clinics, ambulance services, hospices, insurers, drug companies, ED staffing firms, health IT software vendors, pharmacy chains, dental and vision offices, and funeral homes. Meanwhile, ever-larger health systems are exhibiting PE-like behavior in closing less-profitable sites, running investment firms, and strong-arming patients to pay balances due while generously enriching their executives. Patient expectations of empathy, customer focus, and an emphasis of quality over revenue – even when the patient is an executive of the same health system — usually lead to disillusionment.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Many poll attendees wouldn’t attend any conferences if they had to pay their own way, but some say they would self-fund trips to a vendor’s user group meeting, HIMSS, or ViVE. I’ve long held that at least on the provider side, conferences are bestowed as paid vacations for executives with little expectation of ROI. I say that from experience, having enjoyed the budget and paid time off to traipse off to conferences about which my health system employer asked little and for which I held minimal expectation of benefit to my employer.

New poll to your right or here: Which of the following non-job issues were the main reason you left an employer? Everybody understands quitting over better opportunities, boss conflicts, or lack of challenge or inspiration, so I’m looking for broader, company-wide issues.

I’m never going to trust Google to lead AI innovation until it improves Gmail. I use it in the most basic ways possible, but still marvel that (a) selecting all items in Promotions and then clicking Delete All runs what looks like a primitive macro that leaves many emails undeleted; and (b) deleting emails on mobile brings up a pointless and unmovable “Conversation moved to trash” message that hides the next email. Only a UI-indifferent engineer could find Gmail easy to love. I’ve used it since mid-2005 and its appearance and sometimes frustrating behavior hasn’t changed much, like Google is reluctant to mess with it.

Sign up as a new HIStalk sponsor and Lorre will give you the rest of this year for free, a deal that rewards action rather than indecision.


Webinars

October 25 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “Q&A: What’s new with the NSA? A No Surprises Act update.” Sponsor: Waystar. Presenters: Joseph Mercer, JD, managing director, Marwood Group; Heather Kawamoto, VP of product strategy, Waystar. The No Surprises Act created a lot of change,  and those changes are still coming. A panel of revenue cycle experts answer frequently asked questions and offer a concise update on the NSA, including legislative developments, FAQs, and tips for navigating changes.

October 25 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “AMA: The Power of Data Completeness.” Sponsor: Particle Health. Presenters: Jason Prestinario, MSME, CEO, Particle Health; Carolyn Ward, MD, director of clinical strategy, Particle Health. Is your healthcare organization looking to drive profitability and scale quickly? Our experts will explore how comprehensive clinical data can revolutionize the health tech landscape. This engaging discussion will cover trending topics such as leveraging AI and data innovation to enhance patient care and outcomes, real-world examples of organizations leading the charge in data-driven healthcare, overcoming challenges in data completeness and interoperability, and visionary perspectives on the future of care delivery.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Sphere will sell its Commercial Division to commercial enablement company NMI as a non-core business. UPDATE and correcting an earlier version of this item: the company is retaining the healthcare offerings as part of its specialized integrated verticals, selling only the Commercial Division that serves non-integrated SMB retail customers. Sphere says the sale will allow it to focus on fully integrated payment and software experiences, which in healthcare includes its TrustCommerce healthcare gateway and Health IPass patient engagement solutions.

UnityPoint Health and Presbyterian Healthcare Services end their plans to merge.

Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz provides vendor advice from health system digital health leaders on selling AI products:

  • Frame the problem instead of assuming that buyers seek AI for AI’s sake.
  • Identify the person who is charged with fixing the problem, not the one who is most excited about AI.
  • Understand the buyer’s roadmap to solving problems, their buy versus build framework, and their value proposition for choosing a startup versus an incumbent vendor.
  • Define the ROI case and KPIs to avoid “death by pilot.”
  • Focus on user workflow since organizations aren’t interested in standalone solutions and those that add steps the clinician’s work.
  • Be transparent about why you need data and how it will be managed.
  • Pricing methods include mirroring the cost of an existing solution that will be replaced, API-based pricing that allow customers to build their own applications, a straight SaaS subscription, and charging based on what employees would be paid to achieve similar results.
  • Raise investor funds based on the high cost of compute resources that are needed to develop products. Those funds are one form of product moat, along with hiring skilled AI people, gaining access to proprietary data, and achieving market lock-in where health system customers are reluctant to replace incumbent vendors.

Announcements and Implementations

A Kerala, India-based startup creates user-friendly scheduling software that updates the assigned appointment time with a prediction of when the visit will actually begin based on the doctor’s real-time schedule. The system also allows doctors to transfer their appointments.

Financial Times-backed European startup publication Sifted asks investors which digital health companies they like, although the investors don’t indicate any financial interest in the companies they name:

  • Abtrace (UK) – preventive care monitoring.
  • Floy (Germany) – radiology image analysis.
  • Lighthearted.AI (UK) – wearables for heart condition detection.
  • Lindus Health (UK) – clinical trial platform.
  • Nabla (France) – ambient documentation.
  • Nebu-Flow (UK) – smart nebulizers.
  • Nelly Solutions (Germany)  – digital signatures and credit.
  • Nyra Health (Austria) – digital stroke rehabilitation.
  • Phare Health (UK) – medical coding.
  • Sohar Health (UK) – insurance eligibility.
  • Tortus.ai (UK) – EHR task automation for physicians.
  • Upheal (Czech Republic) – note-taking for mental health professionals.
  • Verisian (UK) – clinical data analysis.

Atrium Health surveys primary care users of Nuance’s DAX Copilot. Almost all report ease of use and an improved documentation experience, while two-thirds think it has improved their care delivery experience.

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A LinkedIn post describes Northwestern Medicine’s pilot project for IT Locker, in which employees who forget their laptops at home can submit a quick form to receive a PIN that allows them to withdraw a loader.


Other

Doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants at Allina Health System’s clinics vote to unionize and will be represented by Service Employees International Union. Physicians who were involved in the organizing campaign complained that understaffing at the clinics is swamping them with managing refill requests, patient messages, and lab results.

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The parents of 28-year-old Ohio hospital ED nurse Tristin Kate Smith, who died by suicide in August, discover and publish “A Letter to My Abuser,” which they found on her laptop. The abuser she references is profit-driven health systems, which she said compromise patient care by laying off staff, ignoring nurse input, and failing to supply security to protect workers, all while providing gratuitous pizza parties and “healthcare heroes” pens. She blames health systems for exploiting nurses who are constantly being asked to do more with less while lining their pockets delivering overpriced healthcare. She concludes, “If I stay, I will lose my sanity – and possibly my life – forever.”


Sponsor Updates

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  • NTT Data sponsors the US Marshals Golf Classic, supporting the families of fallen officers.
  • The 2023 Surescripts White Coat Award recognizes 11 healthcare industry leaders in performance, innovation, and accuracy.
  • Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya implements Meditech Expanse.
  • Spok releases the 2023 State of Healthcare Communications Report.
  • The Dermatology Specialists realizes a 50% reduction in claim submission lab and a 33% reduction in payer rejections after implement RCM optimization services from EClinicalWorks.
  • Atrium Health reports that Nuance’s DAX Copilot solution has improved the documentation experience for almost 85% of physicians.
  • Netsmart will exhibit at the National Association for Home Care and Hospice Conference and Expo October 15-17 in Washington, DC.
  • PerfectServe will exhibit at the American Association of Physician Leadership Fall Institute October 26-29 in Scottsdale, AZ.
  • Sectra releases a new podcast, “The power of remote reading – why radiologists should never settle for less.”
  • Symplr partners with the Daisy Foundation to celebrate nursing excellence with the Moments that Matter video series.
  • Artera, Availity, Consensus Cloud Solutions, Dimensional Insight, EClinicalWorks, HealthMark Group, Linus Health, Meditech, MRO, and Nuance will exhibit at MGMA’s Leaders Conference October 22-25 in Nashville.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

Morning Headlines 10/13/23

October 12, 2023 Headlines No Comments

Access Healthcare Acquires Envera Health

RCM vendor Access Healthcare acquires Envera Health, which offers patient engagement solutions.

Twenty-Three Hospitals in North Dakota Form New Network to Strengthen Rural Healthcare

Nearly two dozen independent hospitals in North Dakota form the Rough Rider High-Value Network to achieve economies of scale; better coordinate care; and improve efficiencies through collaborative IT, health information exchange, and telemedicine.

WellSky Acquires Corridor, Expands Commitment to Offering Best-in-Class Coding, Revenue Cycle Management Services for Post-Acute Industry

WellSky acquires Corridor, which offers coding and RCM services to post-acute care organizations.

Prevounce Health Extends Series A to $7M to Grow Remote Care Management Solutions

Remote patient monitoring and chronic care management company Prevounce Health announces $7 million in Series A funding.

OptimizeRx Announces Agreement to Acquire Medicx Health for $95 million to Expand its Omnichannel Reach to Consumers

OptimizeRx acquires healthcare consumer-focused marketing and analytics software vendor Medicx Health for $95 million.

News 10/13/23

October 12, 2023 News 3 Comments

Top News

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FDA creates a nine-member Digital Health Advisory Committee that will advise it on topics such as AI, augmented and virtual reality, digital therapeutics, wearables, and remote patient monitoring technology.

Nominations will be accepted through December 11 online.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I have never listened to an industry podcast and don’t expect to, but chatty health IT celebrity-seekers are sure cranking out a ton of them. I don’t see how the pool of skilled hosts and expert guests is sufficient to fuel all of the amateur broadcasting that fills my X and LinkedIn feeds, but surely they wouldn’t bother if no one was listening. I can’t see spending 30 minutes listening to a conversation that could be distilled into a couple of sentences, especially if there’s a lot of self-promotion or vendor-paid endorsing going on.

Listening: Eloy, which turned up on a YouTube channel that covers rare progressive rock albums. That led me to happily discover that the band’s catalog is on Spotify. It’s fascinating to listen to music of the wildly creative and diverse 1970s, when bands focused on music rather than choreography, computer trickery, and marketing. The musical groups usually faded quickly into obscurity and unrelated day jobs, with their deepest and most creative thoughts from their teens and early 20s preserved on seldom-heard and rare LPs like insects in amber. The music can be wistfully naive and sometimes primitively executed, but it’s moving to hear knowing that their youthful creators have either died or are into their 70s and 80s.

Just about every social media post I’ve seen about HLTH involves parties, group hugs, and selfies. I’m wondering if anyone found solid business value from attending in lieu of doing actual employer work? It sits well down the list of “conferences I would pay out of my own pocket to attend” in my active poll. Conference attendees apparently set the ROI bar a lot lower than they would for a software purchase, requiring little beyond a target-rich networking environment.


Webinars

October 25 (Wednesday) 2 ET. “AMA: The Power of Data Completeness.” Sponsor: Particle Health. Presenters: Jason Prestinario, MSME, CEO, Particle Health; Carolyn Ward, MD, director of clinical strategy, Particle Health. Is your healthcare organization looking to drive profitability and scale quickly? Our experts will explore how comprehensive clinical data can revolutionize the health tech landscape. This engaging discussion will cover trending topics such as leveraging AI and data innovation to enhance patient care and outcomes, real-world examples of organizations leading the charge in data-driven healthcare, overcoming challenges in data completeness and interoperability, and visionary perspectives on the future of care delivery.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Cigna’s Evernorth Health Services acquires the asynchronous virtual care assets of Bright.md, which it will incorporate into its MDLive virtual care service that it acquired in April 2021 for a reported $1 billion.

RCM vendor Access Healthcare acquires Envera Health, which offers patient engagement solutions.

Yale New Haven Health asks the state of Connecticut to provide financing for its acquisition of three hospitals that are owned by cyberattack victim Prospect Medical Holdings. YNHH also wants Prospect to lower the $435 million acquisition price of the hospitals, whose financial condition is dire to the point of not being able to buy supplies and pay physicians.

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Epic offers SmartUser, the renamed Power User program whose website allows any provider to register for 17 free virtual efficiency classes that offer 1 CME credit. Epic says that attendees report that each course attended saves them one hour per week.

WellSky acquires Corridor, which offers coding and RCM services to post-acute care organizations.


People

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Rick LeMay, MS (Clearwater) joins First Health Advisory as EVP of enterprise security and technology.


Announcements and Implementations

Lumeon announces Conductor for clinical workflow automation, which includes command center orchestration, digital rounding, and a campaign builder.

Wolters Kluwer Health announces Health Language Platform, a FHIR terminology server that works with Microsoft Azure’s FHIR service.

Sutter Health will create an innovation center by early 2024, for which it is seeking a San Francisco location.

Philips announces interoperability between its Capsule Medical Device Information Platform and its Patient Information Center IX.

Israel’s Soroka Medical Center is using facial recognition to match trauma victims that it is treating to photos that have been sent to a hospital-created email address by concerned family members. Tele Aviv-based Corsight AI provided the technology at no charge.

Microsoft introduces new healthcare-related tools to its Fabric analytics platform that can assemble and standardize data from multiple sources – such as EHRs, imaging systems, lab systems, medical devices, and claims data – and present it in a single view. The company also announced Azure AI Health Bot, which can answer staff questions about treatments and protocols and patient portal queries about symptoms and medical terms. Microsoft also announced a text analytics solution, along with generative AI models that create a patient history, simply medical reports into patient-friendly language, and help radiologists identify possible radiology report errors.


Government and Politics

California’s Delete Act is signed into law, requiring data brokers to delete all information they have on file pertaining to the person who makes the request. The state is required to create a single webpage that routes the individual’s request to all data brokers. It also requires companies to delete all information on file, not just the data they collected about the requester themselves.


Other

A Nature comment article says that use of AI in clinical practice may be limited because developers focus on population-level predictive accuracy while failing to take individual patient differences into account, causing the tools to sometimes offer unreliable advice in failing to answer the “are you sure” question. That leaves clinicians to assess factors that may be misleading the technology.


Sponsor Updates

  • Valley ENT reaches 10,000 patients with its first Text2Pay campaign using Healow Payment Services from EClinicalWorks.
  • InterSystems welcomes eight new companies to its Startup Program, bringing the total number of participants to 35.
  • MRO announces that it has been recognized as the top-performing company for release-of-information digital technology and vendor efficiency in the latest KLAS Release of Information Performance Report.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 10/12/23

October 12, 2023 Dr. Jayne 9 Comments

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The theme of this week’s edition of “Where in the world is Dr. Jayne” seems to involve cities that have either “falls” or “rapids” in the name. We just left the fifth iteration, and I have to say each one has been inspirational in its own way. 

This particular example was flanked by a historic site commemorating a failed business venture that attempted to harness the power of the falls. The owners would control the volume of the pool upstream and unleash it when there were wealthy investors visiting, making the falls seem as if they could generate more power than was realistic.

Reading that plaque instantly reminded me of some of the things I see day in and day out in healthcare IT. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what’s real code and what’s vaporware because the demos are extremely slick. Of course, those of us who have been in the trenches for a while know that everything is always cooler before you actually buy it, but it was interesting to be reminded that companies have been overstating their potential as long as there have been commercial endeavors.

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HIMSS registration is open. This year, I’m branching out to a different hotel. It’s right next door to the place I usually stay, so I won’t be hiking longer to the convention center, but I’m hopeful that it will be better maintained than my old standby was the last time I stayed there.

I was hoping that the new management would innovate on conference pricing, but they’ve kept the tiered pricing structure that makes me feel like I’m being nickel and dimed. A Basic Conference Pass is $945 and includes the opening reception, exhibit hall, education sessions, and “select networking events.” You have to spend an additional $300 to get the Conference Plus Pass, which includes the mentioned items plus the post-conference recordings.

I always appreciated those when they used to be part of the base package since it’s impossible to cover the entire exhibit hall for HIStalk and make it to a decent number of sessions. Not to mention that it always seems like there are two sessions I want to attend at the same time, so that was nice. The pricier pass also includes a pre-conference forum and the Thursday night special event. For an additional $90, you can get the Provider Executive Pass, which includes access to the CXO Experience and an Executive Summit. It looks like the session recordings can be added on for the bargain price of $199. The Thursday night event is available a la carte for $85, but no details about the event are available yet.

I went through the process and noticed some subtle changes to the registration process. Depending on what I listed as my “Worksite,” I saw different options for the passes that were available to me, including a disclaimer on the Provider Executive Pass that said it was “subject to HIMSS approval.” I was also asked if I’d like to participate in the new Hosted Buyer program, which provides two nights of hotel accommodation and travel expense reimbursement in exchange for two hours of time meeting with qualified exhibitors. I was asked to “provide up to 2 goals/objective you have for HIMSS24” and of course the first things that came to mind after “avoid the Florida humidity” were snarky, including “find a coffee line that’s less than 30 minutes long” and “exhibit hall booth crawl with Matthew Holt.” The latter has a greater chance of happening than the former, but we’ll have to see what wishes the HIMSS conference fairies grant me in 2024.

During some downtime during my travels, I went hiking with an old friend who also does information technology work. Her organization is open to the public several days per week and sits in the social services realm, so employees tend to be more office based, although they allowed some employees to work remotely at least part time during the pandemic, particularly on the days when the office wasn’t open to the community. In an effort to double down on culture building, they decided to use one of those non-client-facing days to conduct an all day team-building event.

I have to say, her recounting of the day puts some of the “forced fun” events I’ve heard of into perspective. First, management advertised a “secret breakfast location,” where they would ask people to leave their cars for the day. My friend drives a classic convertible that is in the process of restoration and probably shouldn’t sit out uncovered all day, so she asked if she could have the address in advance to drive by and make sure it would be OK, and was told no. Of course, nothing says respect like not trusting an employee to keep a location confidential while making sure their needs are met.

After breakfast, a bus was to pick the group up and take them to their next location. The “limo bus” that arrived was complete with LED lighting and a bejeweled pole dancing apparatus, which left many of the mostly conservative employees dumbfounded. Employees were driven on that ultimate party bus to the local Walmart, where they were given $20 and 20 minutes to scour the store with a buddy and buy something with the caveat that it “can’t be anything you really need” and that they would have to show it to everyone later and explain why they bought it.

My friend thought that was an odd task as there were several things she would have preferred to spend the unexpected money on but didn’t want to have to explain her purchases to the group. At first, I wasn’t totally understanding the assignment as I thought it was to spend money for something for a donation item to a good cause or something similar, but as she clarified the process it seemed even weirder. Ultimately she ended up with a denim jacket since that would fit the assignment, but she admitted to me that she’d likely take it back and spend the money on what she needed in the first place.

From there it was back on the party bus, with other activities that she felt weren’t that productive as far as bringing the team together or helping them get to know one another. She described the pace as frantic and rushed and said they didn’t feel they had enough time to complete what they were being asked to do, and it was just stressing people out. Towards the end of the day, management asked the team to complete survey cards, collecting them in a hat. They then asked participants to draw a random card out of the hat and read it to the group, and I bet they were surprised when comments such as “exhausting” or “total waste of time” or “we have a pole, where’s the dancer” were read aloud.

My friend is betting they might have a different strategy as they plan for next year’s team-building event, but personally I can’t wait to hear what they come up with. Team-building is a tricky business. Done well, it can create new relationships and strengthen existing ones. Done badly, it can highlight how disconnected leadership is from the team.

Speaking of disconnects, one of the side topics around the virtual water cooler this week was the idea of hospitals and health systems purchasing naming rights for stadiums and other public venues. Although the physicians in the discussion see the value of naming as a marketing tool, they questioned how organizations can spend millions of dollars on those opportunities when they can’t find money to retain nursing staff, recruit scarce subspecialty clinicians, or manage medical debt and collections policies in a patient-centric manner.

I wondered how pervasive this issue is and did a quick tour through a Wikipedia listing of sponsored sports venues in the US. I found 23 instances of the word “health” appearing in those names, including AdventHealth, Atrium Health, Dignity Health, Mayo Clinic Health System, Mercy Health, Sutter Health, and UC Health. Comparing the US to other primarily English-speaking developed nations , there were no examples of the word “health” or “hospital” in the listings from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom.

Does your health system employer have naming rights or sponsorships in the community? Does it contribute to better patient care or is it a distraction? Leave a comment or email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

Morning Headlines 10/12/23

October 11, 2023 Headlines No Comments

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