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Patient Safety and the Use of eCW’s Electronic Health Records Software

WESTBOROUGH, Mass.—December 6, 2016— At eClinicalWorks, we are deeply committed to ensuring the safety of all patients whose health care providers rely on our software.  For this reason, we have made a sustained effort to continuously improve our system and processes and to educate users on the proper use of our software to ensure patient safety.  Even with these efforts, given our large base of users and the complexity inherent to all EHR systems, we periodically identify potential patient safety risks related to the use of our software.  As part of our ongoing effort to respond to and minimize such risks, eCW is making this announcement to ensure that all participants in the healthcare process – clinicians, pharmacies, and patients and their family members or caregivers – are aware of key patient safety risks and are focused on the roles they can play in minimizing those risks.

Ensuring the safety of patients requires collaboration and communication between individuals, their physicians, others involved in healthcare delivery, and EHR companies.  With this in mind, we are issuing the following reminders:

  • The use of eCW’s EHR software carries with it risks related to medication management, electronic prescribing, and the ordering process for tests and procedures, which are among the most complex functions performed by any EHR system.
    • In December 2015, for instance, in response to certain identified concerns, eCW advised users to install all software upgrades and patches and make adequate network resources available to allow the system to operate properly.  Prior to and since that time, eCW has issued other similar patient safety-related notices, all of which are available to eCW users at my.eclinicalworks.com.
  • Consistent with our prior advisories, clinicians should continue to be vigilant about medication management, e-prescribing and the ordering of tests and procedures. Specifically, clinicians should review and adopt the measures outlined in both eCW’s December 2015 advisory and the other patient safety-related notices issued by eCW.  These measures include the following:
    • Upgrade to the most current version of eCW’s software: In July 2016, the company directed all users to upgrade to the latest version of V10-SP1-C20.8 or higher to ensure that all changes designed to improve patient safety are implemented.  If you have not already done so, you should immediately install version V10-SP1-8 or higher, as well as all update patches. Failure to continually install updates may result in the software not receiving all necessary corrective fixes.
    • Upgrade to the most current version of the Multum or Medispan drug databases:eCW releases regular updates to commercial drug database information to ensure that the most current medication information is used. For cloud customers, this information is updated automatically; for non-cloud customers, the content update should be downloaded regularly.
    • Designate a patient safety officer: As our previous advisories have made clear, every physician office should designate a patient safety officer to serve as the primary liaison with eCW on patient safety-related matters.
    • Read every patient safety notice: Patient safety advisories and similar notices are an important way in which eCW communicates about potential risks to patient safety related to the use of our software. These notices explain the potential risk and recommend actions to mitigate the risk.  Providers should carefully read every patient safety notice, alert, or advisory that we issue and implement the recommended actions to ensure patient safety.  Again, eCW users can view a complete collection of these notices at my.elinicalworks.com.
    • Confirm order accuracy: To avoid errors, providers should always confirm that prescriptions and orders created using eCW’s software are accurate.
    • Encourage patients to confirm accuracy: You should ensure that your patients and their family members or caregivers are informed about medications, dosages, and other pertinent information about prescriptions and orders. Among other things, this should include encouraging them to obtain online patient portal accounts.  Additionally, you should instruct them to confirm that the correct medication has been dispensed by their pharmacists and that other types of orders have also been properly fulfilled.
    • Follow correct steps for modifying medications: Rather than modifying an existing medication by changing the dosage or route, clinicians should discontinue the original medication and reorder it with the revised dosage or route.
    • Exercise caution in the use of custom medications: Because the use of custom medications poses a higher risk of prescription errors, providers should limit their use whenever possible.  When custom medications are necessary, care should be taken to ensure that the prescriptions are properly transmitted and fulfilled.
  • Patients and their family members or caregivers should adopt the following safeguards:
    • Be educated about your care: Ask your physician to give you or your caregiver access to eCW’s online patient portal, where you can review your visit summaries, medication orders and tests.
    • Know your medications and orders: Be aware of the prescription medications (including names, dosages, and delivery methods) and the clinical, diagnostic, or other evaluative tests that have been ordered by your physician.
    • Be sure to confirm accuracy: Confirm that the correct medication has been dispensed by your pharmacist and that tests are performed as ordered.
  • Anyone – clinicians, prescribers, pharmacists, patients, caregivers, or others – who becomes aware of patient safety concerns or unexpected software issues should immediately report them to eCW at my.eclinicalworks.com and/or to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s complaint website at www.healthit.gov/healthitcomplaints.

December 9, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Vaco Expands Healthcare Business with Acquisition of Pivot Point Consulting and Greythorn

Vaco, Pivot Point Consulting and Greythorn join to form new healthcare IT powerhouse

NASHVILLE, TN, Dec. 7, 2016 – National consulting and talent solutions firm, Vaco, today announced the formation of Pivot Point Consulting, a Vaco Company. Vaco’s healthcare IT division, Vaco Healthcare, acquired Pivot Point Consulting based in Seattle and Greythorn based in Bellevue, WA to offer expertise in EHR implementation, training, optimization, legacy and go-live support, project management and strategic advisory services. The new HIT services firm brings together more than 50 employees and 250 consultants across the nation.

“Expanding our team to include Pivot Point and Greythorn enhances Vaco’s extensive healthcare network and nationwide scale with award-winning expertise and accreditation,” Vaco Healthcare Managing Partner Matt Simpson said. “We are excited to offer our clients even more in the way of consulting, contract and direct-hire solutions.” The newly combined organization will:

  • Service the full scope of EHR implementation from pre-selection to support, project management, training, go-live, optimization and legacy support.
  • Offer a LIVESite division that provides top tier credentialed trainers and go-live support consultants along with advisors on best practices, gap analysis and key expense management savings.
  • Provide strategic advisory services to guide response to value-based care, revenue cycle transformation, quality improvement programs, privacy and security demands, and the value of advanced analytics.

Pivot Point Consulting is a healthcare IT consulting firm that provides implementation, staff augmentation and advisory services for healthcare provider organizations. In 2016, Pivot Point ranked number 1 in KLAS for Epic Consulting in the Select Category and number nine in Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work. They are leaders in EHR consulting services, strategic planning, project management, PMO, legacy and go-live support. With employees in 30 states, the company has provided services to over 40 healthcare organizations, including large multi-hospital networks, academic institutions, pediatric hospitals and local community clinics.

“This new venture broadens our global reach and complements our extensive menu of services,” said Rachel Marano, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Pivot Point Consulting. “Combining the talents of these three businesses strengthens the options for our current and prospective clients.”

Greythorn specializes in placing top industry talent in healthcare IT on a project and permanent basis. Like Pivot Point, Greythorn has a significant focus in providing resources with Epic EHR expertise. Through their LIVESite delivery system, Greythorn provides Epic training experts, hands-on training leadership support, strategy and planning, project management, and staff engagement and retention solutions. The company also offers a dynamic Open Source/Big Data direct-hire staffing team that continues expansion within that community.

“The cultures of our three businesses match extremely well,” said Ben Weber, Managing Partner of Greythorn. “Greythorn has produced results here in the U.S. for over 16 years. We look forward to building on our success as part of this new company.”

Pivot Point Consulting, a Vaco Company begins offering services to healthcare provider organizations as an integrated business on Jan. 2, 2017.

About Vaco

Vaco offers consulting, contract and direct-hire solutions in the areas of accounting, finance, technology, healthcare, operations and general administration. With more than 30 offices across the nation and beyond, Vaco has been on Inc. magazine’s list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies for the last 10 years. Vaco is dedicated to developing creative client solutions, long-term relationships and lifelong careers. For more information, visit vaco.com.

About Pivot Point

Established in 2011, Pivot Point Consulting is a healthcare IT consulting leader providing implementation, optimization, project management, legacy support and strategic advisory services nationwide. The company has earned many industry and workplace quality awards including: #1 in KLAS for Epic Consulting in the Select Category in 2016, #3 for HIT Implementation Support and Staffing in the 2015/2016 Best in KLAS: Software & Services report, #9 in Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in 2016, #4 Fastest Growing Company by Consulting Magazine in 2015, Consulting Magazine’s Seven Small Jewels Award, Puget Sound Business Journal’s #1 Fastest Growing Eastside Seattle Firm, Puget Sound Business Journal’s #3 Fastest Growing Firm in Washington, Rising Star of the Profession by Consulting Magazine and Crain’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in 2014 & 2015. For more information about Pivot Point Consulting, visit www.pivotpointconsulting.com.

About Greythorn

Greythorn is a specialist technology and healthcare IT recruitment consultancy, placing highly skilled talent across the United States and Canada in full-time and contract roles.

Through a boutique approach and specialist expertise that focuses on specific industries and technologies, Greythorn partners with like-minded businesses that are looking for true value from a recruitment partner. For more information, visit greythorn.com.

December 7, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Teladoc Sets Record with 100,000 Telehealth Visits during November

Engagement with Clients and Members Continues to Boost Telehealth Utilization

LEWISVILLE, Texas (December 6, 2016) – Teladoc, Inc. (NYSE: TDOC), the undisputed leader in telehealth, providing access to care for millions, announced today that a company record was set during the month of November with a total of 101,600 patient visits. The impressive milestone was fueled by an increase in utilization among existing members, along with new members and expanded clinical services. The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) predicted the telehealth industry to record a total of 1.25 million visits in 2016, and Teladoc is accounting for significant growth in the market as demonstrated by its new record monthly visit volume.

“This new milestone of more than 100,000 monthly patient visits further substantiates that Teladoc has the scalable platform, clinical expertise and member support needed to effectively manage the increased volume as more and more consumers are engaging with us,” said Stephany Verstraete, chief marketing officer, Teladoc.  “Our innovative approach to driving adoption is proving effective in shifting member mindset; members are embracing Teladoc as a valued care option.”

Further substantiating the significance of the Teladoc milestone is that the CDC has reported total flu visits to be below the national baseline this year. Rather, it is the Teladoc member engagement initiatives, broad network of U.S. board-certified physicians, and expansion into clinical specialties that are credited with fueling Teladoc’s growth in patient visits. In addition to the record high of monthly visits, Teladoc also set a daily visit record high during November of 4,158 visits, along with the busiest hour which saw 425 visits, or one visit every 8.5 seconds.

“Our superior member engagement practices combined with the strength and breadth of our offerings are enabling us to meet consumers where they are, provide the quality services they need, and deliver industry-leading ROI for our clients and partners,” added Verstraete.

For more information on the Teladoc telehealth solution, visit https://www.teladoc.com/.

About Teladoc

Teladoc, Inc. (NYSE:TDOC) is the nation’s leading provider of telehealth services and a pioneering force in bringing the virtual care visit into the mainstream of today’s health care ecosystem. Serving some 7,000 clients — including health plans, health systems, employers and other organizations — more than 17 million members can use phone, mobile devices and secure online video to connect within minutes to Teladoc’s network of more than 3,100 board-certified, state-licensed physicians and behavioral health specialists, 24/7. With national coverage, a robust, scalable platform and a Lewisville, TX-based member services center staffed by 400 employees, Teladoc offers the industry’s most comprehensive and complete telehealth solution including primary care, behavioral health care, dermatology, tobacco cessation and more. For additional information, please visit www.teladoc.com.

December 6, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Healthcare Professionals Say Trump Administration Will Improve U.S. Healthcare System

Aprima survey also reveals physicians and administrators predict changes to Obamacare but no repeal; and a reduction in regulatory burdens for providers

Dallas, TX (December 6, 2016) – Aprima Medical Software, a leading provider of innovative electronic health records (EHR), practice management (PM) and revenue cycle management solutions (RCM) for medical practices, today announced the results of a post-presidential election survey of healthcare professionals, which explored predictions for healthcare under a Trump administration. The majority of the 312 physicians and practice staff participating in the survey (52%) believe a Trump presidency will improve healthcare in the U.S, while 48% anticipate a positive financial impact on their practice.

*Findings based on a November, 2017 Aprima Medical Software survey of 313 healthcare professionals.

The majority of healthcare professionals (62%) also expect changes to some aspects of the Affordable Care Act, though less than one-third expect a total repeal. Fifty-nine percent are optimistic that physician practices will experience a decrease in regulatory burdens, though respondents were divided in terms of the potential impact on provider compensation models and on patient access to care.

“This presidential election cycle was one of the most unpredictable in recent history and we were curious to understand what customers and prospects believe the impact will be on our industry,” said Michael Nissenbaum, CEO and president of Aprima. “I think it’s particularly notable that the majority of the survey participants expect a Trump administration to be better for healthcare than what we’ve experienced under the Obama administration, though 30% predict it will be worse. Healthcare providers, like the rest of the country, appear cautiously optimistic, though not overwhelmingly convinced that we’ll see positive changes under the new administration.”

The survey, which was emailed to almost 19,000 healthcare professionals following the November 8 election, allowed participants to clarify why they believed healthcare would be better or worse under a Trump administration. Many expressed predictions that certain aspects of Obamacare will be repealed and replaced with programs that include fewer regulatory burdens on providers and lower premiums for consumers. Other healthcare professionals voiced concerns that the number of uninsured patients will increase and create additional burdens on the industry.

“The survey results reflect some uncertainty about how provider compensation will be impacted,” said Nissenbaum. “In recent years, we have seen a shift from fee-for-service compensation models to plans that reward providers for cost-effective care and quality-outcomes. Though 38% of the healthcare professionals predict we’ll continue in this direction, 40% believe we’ll see a shift back to fee-for-service. Participants were also evenly split in terms of how patient access to care will be affected, with 36% anticipating access becoming more difficult and 36% predicting no significant impact to accessibility.”

Of those responding to the survey, 89% were affiliated with independent physician offices and included both Aprima customers and non-customers. Physicians and other clinical professionals represented 52% of the participants, while 48% were administrative staff members.

About Aprima Medical Software, Inc.

Aprima provides innovative electronic health record, practice management and revenue cycle management solutions for medical practices. Throughout the company’s 18-year history, Aprima has delivered quality solutions that have helped thousands of users enhance patient care and satisfaction, as well as improve their practices’ bottom lines. The Aprima EHR/PM sets the benchmark for ease-of-use, speed, and flexibility, thanks to its single database and customizable design that adapts automatically to individual physician workflows. The Aprima solution has earned Certification for Meaningful Use Stage 2 and been awarded pre-validation status for NCQA PCMH recognition. The company is based in Richardson, Texas and performs all development, support and implementation from within the U.S. To learn more about how Aprima can help your practice, please visit www.aprima.com, call us at 844 4APRIMA or email us at info@aprima.com.

I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Philips is first to bring adaptive intelligence to radiology, delivering a new approach to how radiologists see, seek and share patient information

  • Introduced at RSNA 2016, new health informatics technology uses data and contextual awareness to optimize the radiologist’s user experience, hanging protocols and workflow
  • Illumeo with adaptive intelligence makes sharing the most relevant patient data with colleagues or referring physicians easy, to support confident diagnoses to improve patient care

Amsterdam, the NetherlandsRoyal Philips (NYSE: PHG; AEX: PHIA) today announced the introduction of Illumeo, a new imaging and informatics technology with adaptive intelligence* that redefines and enhances how radiologists work with medical images. The intelligent software is the first to combine contextual awareness capabilities with advanced data analytics to augment the work of the radiologist. Its built-in intelligence records the radiologists’ preferences and adapts the user interface to assists the clinician by offering tool sets and measurements driven by the understanding of the clinical context. Illumeo aims to enable faster diagnoses, to drive well-informed care decisions and improved patient care. The new technology integrates with existing systems such as Philips IntelliSpace PACS and will eventually extend its workspace efficiency beyond radiology to other domains.

One single view for most relevant case-related information

The new Illumeo technology offers a radically new approach to how radiologists will see, seek and share clinical information, enabling them to provide an even more critical contribution to patient care. Through its Data Analytics Engine, the software provides the radiologist with the most relevant case-related information from various sources in one single view. This holistic ‘Patient Briefing’ includes the patient problem list**, laboratory results, prior radiology reports, imaging orders or scanned documents (such as handwritten referral letters from GPs and referring specialists) obtained from health information systems like the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) or Radiology Information Systems (RIS). It integrates and organizes this data and helps radiologists to bridge the stages of diagnosis to treatment to follow-up, while being able to rely on a current, comprehensive patient picture. 

“As the number of patients and complexity of care continues to increase, the amount of data and information we deal with on a daily basis is overwhelming,” said Dr. Eliot Siegel, Professor of Diagnostic Radiology for the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, USA. “In order to help solve this problem, having solutions that streamline information and provide context to what is most relevant to a specific case is critical. This will provide a more efficient workflow, which is key to enabling quicker, more confident diagnoses.”

Anatomy-aware enables smart images and data presentation

Illumeo is also anatomy-aware. Built-in intelligence understands the anatomical context and thus what the radiologist is looking at on the screen. It then automatically suggests the right tool sets (such as tools for easy measurement and analysis of vessels) to help the radiologist focus on the diagnosis***. Its intelligent clinical Semantic Labelling Engine reads and analyses image tags and image series descriptions from a variety of vendors and provides automated semantic labelling with meaningful descriptions. It will make it easier and faster to retrieve specific relevant medical images, and manage their display and quantification. Illumeo is adapting to and remembering radiologists’ preferred hanging protocols: the complex process of organizing and displaying medical images for optimal examination, based on many variables such, modality, body part, available comparison images.

With Illumeo, the radiologist can also generate dynamic reports that can include 3D images or image quantifications based on minimal user input. This information integrates with PACS and can be accessed via EMR systems and can be shared as a multidisciplinary patient information dashboard across the hospital enterprises to facilitate collaboration. The report is designed to be shared with colleagues or the referring physicians and supports the transition of radiology into a ‘value-based’ care delivery model.

“Radiologists are central in the diagnosis process, with a critical role in definitive diagnostics and improvement of patient care,” said Jeroen Tas, CEO, Connected Care and Health Informatics, Philips. “By supporting clinicians with adaptive intelligence and providing health IT solutions to foster collaboration between multidisciplinary care teams, we aim to extend the power of their clinical expertise.”

Illumeo with adaptive intelligence’s main highlights include:

  • Contextual relevance – provides the radiologist with meaningful patient data via the ‘Patient briefing’ and is anatomy-aware, to suggest the right tools based on what the user is looking at.
  • Adaptive intelligence – allows for an intelligent, tailored user experience and workflow. It achieves this by recording and reproducing the user’s hanging protocols in a consistent manner.
  • Reduced variability – incorporates guidelines built into the system to remind radiologists of best practices and ultimately assist in standardizing care throughout the institution.
  • Extensibility – integrates easily within existing systems by leveraging the latest interoperability standards (such as HL7 FHIR, DICOM RESTful web service, etc.), in order to present relevant patient data. It is scalable—meaning the platform will grow with an institution as it evolves.  

The new technology will be showcased at booth # 6735 at the RSNA Annual Meeting, taking place Nov. 27 – Dec. 2, in Chicago, Ill. For more information on Philips integrated informatics solutions, visit our clinical informatics webpage.  For details on Philips presence at RSNA 2016, please visit www.philips.com/rsna and follow the conversation @PhilipsLiveFrom and the event hashtag, #RSNA16 for live updates throughout the event.

* Adaptive intelligence is seen as an emerging concept of combining domain specific models and knowledge (e.g. in the field of Radiology) and Artificial Intelligence to create an adaptive and contextual experience, anticipating users and augmenting their work. The current release of Philips Illumeo exhibits the first step into Adaptive Intelligence.

** Work in progress. Not available for sale in the U.S.A.

*** Anatomy awareness supports launch in context of ‘inspection modes’ enabling quantification on the fly suggesting quantification on the fly when hovering over veins. 

December 2, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Amazing Charts Makes Five Predictions for Health IT in 2017

BOSTON, MA–(Marketwired – December 01, 2016) – Amazing Charts, LLC, a leading developer of Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Practice Management (PM) systems for physician practices, today issued five health IT predictions for 2017.

#1 Telemedicine will no longer be futuristic. Contrary to popular belief, telemedicine does not necessarily mean live video conferencing with a physician halfway across the country who lacks a full picture of the patient’s health status. Patients would rather receive “low tech” remote care from a local primary care physician they already know.

Telemedicine happens whenever an EHR system adds to a patient’s clinical chart the messages, pictures, or videos sent securely via smartphone. Use of smartphones for telemedicine will further increase with the introduction of add-on hardware for real-time collection of biometric data such as temperature, blood pressure and pulse.

This trend will be fueled by the expansion of reimbursement for non-face-to-face services. Medicare’s new billing code for Chronic Care Management is just one example of how the future of value-based care is not about 15-minute office visits, but instead keeping patients out of the office with follow-up phone calls about medications and answering patient questions via text.

#2 Practices will focus on reengineering patient access. As part of Medicare’s new Quality Payment Program, the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) is designed to encourage providers to expand patient access with “practice improvement activities,” such as same-day appointments for urgent needs, longer office hours, and after-hours clinician advice.

Physicians also want to shift the responsibilities such as appointment scheduling from the office staff to the patient. Delegating that type of chore to the patient saves the staff time; and, patients not only don’t mind doing the work, they perceive value in self-service options that give them total control.

While tablet-based patient intake solutions have not become widespread because the hardware is costly and requires complex systems integration, simple web forms and PDF attachments can get the job done just as well.

#3 Physicians will get financially creative. A host of factors is pushing independent physicians to be more financially creative. These include the frustrations of making claims to insurance carriers, the new Medicare fee-for-value payments creating uncertainty in gauging reimbursement levels, and burnout with the “corporate medicine” model of seeing dozens of patients each day for lower fees.

One example of financial creativity is the direct care model which establishes a financial relationship between patient and provider, cutting out the middleman of insurance payers. This model includes concierge and direct primary care, where patients become members who pay a fixed monthly fee for unlimited care. There are also a growing number of cash-only practices for walk-in and urgent care.

Beleaguered small practices under financial stress are also looking for novel ways to generate cash. The new rules allowing reimbursement of telemedicine and other non-face-to-face services will encourage physicians to bill for activities they were already doing for free, such as phone calls with patients to discuss medications.

#4 Physicians will opt out of Medicare thanks to MACRA. Like all well-intentioned laws, The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) will have unintended consequences. Some providers in small independent practices will either opt-out of Medicare entirely, or decline to accept new Medicare patients if they currently fall below the threshold for exemption (less than $30,000 in Part B billings or 100 Part B patients).

To ease small practices into MACRA, the Final Rule issued by the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) relaxed many of the requirements for 2017. By 2018, however, MACRA starts to impose more financial risk and stricter reporting requirements with less clarity around the return on investment. Small practices might just drop Medicare altogether and transition to a direct-care practice based on cash, membership, or a hybrid (see prediction #3 above).

#5 EHRs will become more interoperable. The next certification cycle from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) positions the EHR as a secure repository, allowing certified ancillary tools to be “snapped” into it. This will be driven by a new Application Programming Interface (API) called Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR). FHIR is a more granular way to exchange data without the rigid workflow of traditional Health Level Seven International (HL7).

Providers will benefit from the broader choice of technology solutions that can be used alongside the EHR to improve overall outcomes. Amazing Charts is currently developing a FHIR API to connect our EHR with other best-of-breed vendors for solutions such as population health management. This way small practices can leverage their investments in EHR systems to the maximum extent possible.

Furthermore, MIT researchers have proposed a cryptocurrency-backed system (like Bitcoin), called MedRec, for managing medical records that use the Ethereum blockchain. It is a novel, decentralized record management system for EHRs that uses blockchain technology to manage authentication, confidentiality, accountability, and data sharing.

About Amazing Charts

Amazing Charts provides Electronic Health Records (EHR/EMR), Practice Management, and other Health IT solutions to healthcare practices. Based on number one user ratings for usability, fair pricing, and overall satisfaction, Amazing Charts EHR has been adopted by more than 10,000 clinicians in over 7,100 private practices. Founded in 2001 by a family physician, today Amazing Charts, LLC operates as a subsidiary of Pri‐Med, an operating division of Diversified Communications (DC) and a trusted source for professional medical education to over 275,000 clinicians since 1995. Visit www.amazingcharts.com for more information.

Amazing Charts is a trademark of Amazing Charts, LLC. All products or service names mentioned herein are trademarks of their respective owners.

December 1, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

UCSF Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Partners with referralMD to Reduce Patient Wait Times

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA (November 15, 2016) – ReferralMD is proud to announce a partnership with the University of California at San Francisco, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (UCSF-OMS). UCSF has implemented ReferralMD’s leading enterprise patient access platform in order to lower their patient wait times, provide regular feedback to referring providers, prevent lost referrals, and centralize their referral management process.

UCSF-OMS previously received faxed referrals from hundreds of referring providers, converted them to PDFs and then stored them in shared folders. This process was inefficient and error-prone, leading to lost referrals and no time to provide status updates to referring providers.

After 90 days of using the ReferralMD platform, UCSF-OMS saw the following changes:

–        48% lower waiting times

–        100% staff adoption

–        Ability to automate appointment status updates to 395 referral sources

–        0 lost referrals

“As a high-volume group practice we receive referrals through a variety of channels,” said Jake Blackshear, Department Manager at UCSF-OMS. “ReferralMD consolidates these channels into a single interface and automates much of the follow up. Our staff is saving time and our referring providers are getting better service. It’s a win-win.”

“The industry shift to value-based healthcare drives the importance of partnership and collaboration among health systems” said Jonathan Govette, co-founder and CEO of ReferralMD. “We are excited to partner with a best-of-breed institution like UCSF to improve patient access and communication for its’ community network.”

About UCSF-OMS

The UCSF Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is one of four academic departments in the School of Dentistry. In addition to a significant role in the education of both dental and medical students, the department operates clinics, research labs and residency programs across five core areas: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Dental Implants,Orofacial Pain and Sleep Dentistry, Hospital Dentistry and Pain Research

The University of California, San Francisco, is a center of health sciences research, patient care, and education devoted solely to graduate education and located in San Francisco, California.” UCSF is ranked 3rd among research-oriented medical schools in the United States and ranked 3rd for primary care by U.S. News and World Report, making it the only medical school to achieve a top-5 ranking in both categories.

About ReferralMD

ReferralMD improves collaboration and patient access between health systems by providing communication tools with clinical decision support for expedited physician-to-physician (P2P) e-consults and referrals. Please visit www.getreferralmd.com to learn more.

November 16, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

CareCloud Completes $31.5 Million Series C Funding Round to Further Modernize Healthcare

MIAMI, FL – (November 15, 2016) – CareCloud, the platform for high-growth medical groups, today announced an oversubscribed $31.5 million Series C funding round, including new investments by diversified financial services leader The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC) and commerce technology giant First Data Corporation (NYSE: FDC). Blue Cloud Ventures joined as a new investor and led the round. CareCloud will use the capital to rapidly scale its team and its clinical and financial platform as it transforms how physician practices modernize the patient experience and deliver value-based care.

“The healthcare sector is evolving quickly, especially with respect to patient engagement and consumerism,” said James G. Graham, Head of Treasury Management at PNC. “Our team brings to bear deep industry knowledge and sophisticated treasury management capabilities for our customers. Aligning with CareCloud will help both of us continue to lead the way with physicians’ practices and patients.”

“We are excited to partner with Ken Comée and the team at CareCloud as they continue to deliver on their vision of providing the healthcare industry’s best-in-class, cloud-based, comprehensive technology platform,” added Mir Arif, partner at Blue Cloud Ventures.

CareCloud supports medical practices through a flexible and powerful cloud-based platform that streamlines workflow and supports more efficient and effective patient engagement. The platform modernizes revenue cycle management, practice management (PM), electronic health record (EHR) and patient engagement activities within high-performance medical groups.

CareCloud’s technology is tailored to medical groups focused on expanding operations and advancing patient care, especially in cardiology, general surgery, orthopedics, dermatology, ophthalmology, neurology, internal medicine, urology and family medicine specialties. Pairing award-winning design with deep clinical and billing expertise, CareCloud offers integrated clinical and financial technology that adapts to varied payment models. By using an open API architecture powered by the most advanced app platform in healthcare, the company enables rapid deployment of innovative solutions for patients and development of EHR and clinical tools designed to address physician workflows.

“We’re modernizing the healthcare experience for both physicians and patients at the precise point where care happens — the medical practice,” said Ken Comée, CEO at CareCloud. “To simplify and improve the process of delivering and financing healthcare within a rapidly changing ecosystem, you need a technology platform that is flexible with tools as easy to use as we see in banking, shopping and our other everyday activities. We couldn’t imagine better partners than PNC and First Data working with us to reimagine healthcare commerce for physicians and patients alike.”

CareCloud is working to address new opportunities in patient consumerization and value-based care, accelerating market trends that are detailed in a new briefing paper released today: “The New Medical Economy.” Healthcare market dynamics are shifting; patients are becoming more directly responsible for an increasing percentage of costs (as much as 25 percent, according to the AMA) through the rise of high-deductible health plans and changes in the health insurance marketplace. At the same time, medical groups are seeing new opportunities for innovation in a landscape of regulatory uncertainty.

CareCloud’s prior investors all participated in the round, including Norwest Venture Partners, Intel Capital, Tenaya Capital and Adams Street Partners. The company previously entered into a debt financing agreement with Wellington Financial to provide access to additional growth capital.

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About CareCloud

CareCloud is the leading provider of cloud-based revenue cycle management, practice management (PM), electronic health record (EHR) and patient engagement solutions for high-performance medical groups. CareCloud helps clients increase profitability, streamline workflow and improve patient care nationwide. The company currently manages more than $4 billion in annualized accounts receivable on its integrated clinical and financial platform. To learn more about CareCloud, visit www.carecloud.com.

About PNC

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking; residential mortgage banking; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. For information about PNC, visit www.pnc.com.

About Blue Cloud Ventures

Blue Cloud Ventures (BCV) is a New York–based growth equity fund focused on providing flexible capital to innovative cloud-based enterprise software companies. Within three years, BCV has raised two sequential funds, backed 20 market-leading software companies and differentiated itself with its unique investment strategy of providing right-sized financing to target gaps in the growth and late stage funding markets. For more information, visit www.bluecloudventures.com

November 15, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Vital Enters into an Agreement to Acquire Innovative Healthcare Informatics Company, Karos Health

MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 01, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Vital Images, Inc. (Vital), a Minneapolis-based enterprise medical imaging and informatics company, has entered into an agreement to acquire Karos Health (Karos), an innovative global healthcare informatics company.

The acquisition will allow Vital and Karos to offer customers and OEM partners a robust imaging and informatics solution-set. The combined technologies provide a customer-centric, modular platform that allows hospital systems to solve a broad set of enterprise imaging challenges without requiring large-scale, disruptive PACS replacement of existing systems. The combined organizations will build on Karos’ vast experience in enabling healthcare interoperability, while Vital will continue its market leadership in advanced visualization, diagnostic viewing and image-processing algorithms to support personalized medicine.

“Karos Health’s solution-set enables collaboration between healthcare providers and patient engagement, while providing secure access to complete the patient’s health record – anytime, anywhere,” says Jim Litterer, president and CEO of Vital Images. “Karos’ technology allows Vital to provide one modular solution, giving CIOs globally the ability to adapt and grow their service delivery without disrupting existing investments.”

The non-disruptive approach championed by both Vital and Karos enables hospital systems to optimize diagnostic imaging workflows and deliver enterprise-wide imaging information to the EMR, helping to improve both patient and business outcomes.

Rick Stroobosscher, CEO of Karos Health, adds “From a marketplace perspective, this transaction will deliver a comprehensive solution to help hospital systems confidently navigate the global move towards personalized medicine, population health and the requirements of value-based care.”

Statement from Jim Litterer, president and CEO of Vital
https://youtu.be/HFH2VTZ1Sag

Statement from Paul Markham, VP Marketing at Vital
https://youtu.be/X4Jd9usoU-8

About Karos Health
Karos Health is focused on elevating the quality of patient care by enabling the sharing and storing of clinical information. Karos’ Rialto platform empowers healthcare enterprises to enable cross-community access to information, facilitating collaboration between healthcare providers and patients. Karos’ EasyViz is a breakthrough product for image display, delivering diagnostic quality imaging information when and where needed. Rialto and EasyViz are based on open standards that ensure safe and secure handling of patient health information and is backed by a team with decades of experience in healthcare interoperability. For more information about Karos, visit www.karoshealth.com.

About Vital Images, Inc.
Vital Images, Inc., a Toshiba Medical Systems Group company, is a leading provider of diagnostic imaging and enterprise informatics solutions to help healthcare organizations deliver exceptional care while optimizing resources across multi-facility organizations. The company’s solutions are scalable to meet the unique needs of hospitals and imaging centers and are accessible throughout the enterprise anytime, anywhere. For more information, visitwww.vitalimages.com or join the conversation on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

November 3, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Vocera Acquires Extension Healthcare

SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 27, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Vocera Communications, Inc. (NYSE:VCRA), the leading healthcare communications company, today announced that it has acquired Extension Healthcare for approximately $55 million in an all-cash transaction. Based in Fort Wayne, Ind., Extension Healthcare is a leading provider of clinical, event-driven communication and workflow collaboration software for the hospital environment.

The strengths of the two companies and their solutions will deepen interoperability of the Vocera Communication Platform with more than 120 clinical systems, including electronic health records (EHRs), physiologic monitors, enterprise clinical systems, and biomed devices such as ventilators.  It will also extend the scalability of the enterprise-class platform and enable stronger person-to-person and system-to-person workflows within a single system from a single vendor.  The addition of Extension Healthcare’s complementary software to the Vocera Communication Platform creates the most powerful and complete mobile communication and collaboration platform on the market.

“This acquisition extends the power of Vocera’s software platform for hospitals and health systems seeking one partner for all of their care team collaboration, workflow and communication needs,” said Brent Lang, president and CEO of Vocera. “In addition to offering a powerful combination of technology, Vocera and Extension Healthcare share a mission to improve care delivery, efficiency and safety, while also improving the lives of patients, families and care teams around the world.”

Todd Plesko, co-founder and CEO of Extension Healthcare said, “It’s inspiring to be part of healthcare’s next generation of technology that simplifies and improves care team collaboration. With our visions aligned and software platforms combined, this new endeavor will make a positive and lasting impact on healthcare delivery.”

Founded in 2009, Extension Healthcare is known in the market for its clinical integration software solution Engage, which features an advanced clinical rules engine that unifies data from multiple sources simultaneously, enables prioritization of notifications, adds patient context, and sends messages to the right care team members on their mobile devices. The Engage platform allows clinicians to be away from the bedside while staying informed about their patients. As a result of faster care team response times and reduced noise, patients report higher satisfaction. Similarly, using information from location tracking systems, Engage helps reduce interruption fatigue and unnecessary alarms by detecting the presence of a nurse at the patient’s bedside.

Selected by more than 230 healthcare customers, the Engage software platform has enabled multi-disciplinary care teams to improve response times, minimize interruption fatigue, and reduce patient falls, among other benefits. The intuitive technology offers widespread interoperability and will expand Vocera’s product portfolio, differentiate its competitive position, increase its customer base, and expand the company’s market reach.

Vocera and Extension Healthcare have collaborated many times and share more than 40 hospital customers across the United States, including several medical centers within the Veterans Health Administration. The acquisition will enable Vocera to expand customer relationships and grow software revenue faster by providing highly relevant cross-selling opportunities. In addition, the complete solution will better position Vocera to win more large system-wide deals, according to Lang.

Berkery Noyes served as the exclusive financial advisor to Extension Healthcare on the transaction.

About Vocera
Vocera Communications, Inc. offers the most robust clinical communications system in healthcare. Vocera delivers secure, integrated and intelligent communication solutions that enable care teams to collaborate more efficiently by delivering the right information, to the right person, on the right device, in the right location, at the right time. Vocera solutions provide hands-free voice communication, secure text messaging, patient engagement tools, and integrated clinical workflow with EHRs, nurse call systems and physiological monitors.  These solutions help improve operational efficiency, quality of care, safety and satisfaction across the continuum of care. In addition to technology solutions, Vocera drives thought leadership and new standards in care to elevate patient, family, nurse and physician experiences via the company’s research collaborative, the Experience Innovation Network. Vocera is led by President and CEO Brent Lang and is headquartered in San Jose, California, with offices in San Francisco, Tennessee, Canada, India, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. Robert J. Zollars is the Chairman of the Board. For more information, visit www.vocera.com and @VoceraComm on Twitter.

The Vocera logo is a trademark of Vocera Communications, Inc. Vocera® is a trademark of Vocera Communications, Inc. registered in the United States and other jurisdictions. All other trademarks appearing in this release are the property of their respective owners.

About Extension Healthcare
Extension Healthcare’s Engage™ “one platform” approach improves clinical communication, collaboration, care coordination, and workflow with a specific focus on reducing unnecessary clinical interruptions and improving response to critical patient events. With what is traditionally accomplished using several vendors and platforms, Extension combines comprehensive alarm management with secure communications on a single platform. The Extension platform intelligently notifies clinicians about real-time patient events through context-driven notifications to smartphones and other common mobile communication devices. Designed for enabling situational awareness and timely information sharing across care teams inside and outside the hospital, Engage aggregates alarm, patient, and care team data from a variety of systems including physiologic monitors, nurse call and lab systems, electronic health records (EHRs), and location sensing technologies and sends relevant information to enhance the usefulness of alarm and alert notifications. Leveraging the common platform that is purpose built for extensive integration and data aggregation, the Engage Mobile secure texting solution helps to expedite care coordination in response to events. With proven integrations and interoperability selected by more than 230 customers, Extension Healthcare has become a leading solution for improving care quality and patient and caregiver experiences.

October 27, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.