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Healthsense Launches New Health Dashboard, Delivering Instant Insight for Proactive Care

Minneapolis, Minn. –October 16, 2014Healthsense, Inc., the fastest growing provider of technology-enabled care solutions for the senior care continuum, announced today the release of its eNeighbor® Dashboard™, a first-of-its-kind application which utilizes proprietary analytics to help providers make more informed care decisions.
 
The eNeighbor Dashboard arms care providers with the actionable information needed to address the rising costs and challenges of caring for a clinically complex, rapidly growing senior population. It provides caregivers with access to the right data at the right time so they can deliver high quality care and reduce unnecessary costs to the healthcare system.
 
Part of the Healthsense eNeighbor remote monitoring platform, the eNeighbor Dashboard is a web-based preventative monitoring application that quickly and easily identifies health concerns through a tiered analysis of data collected by sensors placed in an individual’s home. These sensors continuously gather data on activities of daily living (ADL), key wellness indicators such as sleep quality and activity, and other physiological information.
 
“By collecting comprehensive ADL information, we are able to visualize alterations in patterns that often reveal an oncoming change in a person’s level of wellness. Individualized summaries of activity changes and trending reports provide actionable information to care providers, allowing for proactive care and the avoidance of exacerbations of chronic or acute conditions,” said Julie Carr, Healthsense Director of Clinical Operations.
 
This information, collected throughout each 24-hour period, is compared against previously established individual benchmarks and rated by significance of change. An analysis is displayed for each category with trending information over time based on pre-established activity levels. This gives providers further insight into the health and wellbeing of their care population, making it easier to identify health changes that may need further analysis or intervention. The trending information also allows providers to ascertain whether those in their care are responding to treatment or changes in their environment.
 
“The eNeighbor Dashboard is the latest example of Healthsense’s commitment to provide innovative technology that delivers measurable value to caregivers and those in their care,” saidA.R. Weiler, Healthsense President and CEO. “By enabling proactive care management through more timely interventions, the eNeighbor Dashboard helps to lower total medical expenses while improving caregiver productivity. This results in enhanced top- and bottom-line financial performance through greater staff efficiencies, broader service offerings and a lower cost of care.”
 
Healthsense will debut the eNeighbor Dashboard at the National LeadingAge Conference, October 20-23, in Nashville (Booth #1324).

About Healthsense, Inc. 

Healthsense is the fastest growing provider of technology-enabled care solutions for the entire senior care continuum. With our full range of health and safety monitoring systems, providers are empowered to proactively deliver the highest quality care possible through critical health information. Caregivers reduce costs, increase independence and enhance senior experiences when armed with the right information at the right time.
Visit www.healthsense.com for more information.
October 16, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 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.

New Affordable Care Act Initiative to Support Care Coordination Nationwide

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced the availability of a new initiative for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program. Made possible by the Affordable Care Act, ACOs encourage quality improvement and care coordination through the use of health information technology, helping to move our health care system to one that values quality over quantity and preventing illness over treating people after they get sick.

The new ACO Investment Model is designed to bring these efforts to better coordinate care to rural and underserved areas by providing up to $114 million in upfront investments to up to 75 ACOs across the country.

“The ACO Investment Model will give Medicare Accountable Care Organizations more flexibility in setting quality and financial goals, while giving them greater accountability for delivering quality care efficiently,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “We are working with these organizations to make necessary investments that encourage doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to work together to better coordinate care and keep people healthy.”

Through the CMS Innovation Center, this initiative will provide up front investments in infrastructure and redesigned care process to help eligible ACOs continue to provide higher quality care. This will help increase the number of beneficiaries – regardless of geographic location – that can benefit from lower costs and improved health care through Medicare ACOs. CMS will recover these payments through an offset of an ACO’s earned shared savings.

Eligibility is targeted to ACOs who joined the Shared Savings Program in 2012, 2013, 2014, and to new ACOs joining the Shared Savings Program in 2016. The application deadline for organizations that started in the Shared Savings Program in 2012 or 2013 will be December 1, 2014.  Applications will be available in the Summer of 2015 for ACOs that started in the Shared Savings Program in 2014 or will start in 2016.

Recently, ACOs in the Pioneer ACO Model and the Medicare Shared Savings Program generated over $372 million in total program savings for Medicare ACOs while also improving the quality care delivered to Medicare beneficiaries.

ACOs are one part of the overall effort provided by the Affordable Care Act to help lower costs and improve care and quality. For example, the Affordable Care Act has helped reduce hospital readmissions in Medicare by nearly 10 percent between 2007 and 2013 – translating into 150,000 fewer readmissions – and quality improvements has resulted in saving 15,000 lives and $4 billion in health spending during 2011 and 2012.

For more information on the ACO Investment Model, please visit: http://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/ACO-Investment-Model/

ACO Investment Model CMS Fact Sheet: http://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2014-Fact-sheets-items/2014-10-15.html

October 15, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 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.

Computer Assisted Coding Applications Slated for Strong Growth Potential

HIMSS Analytics’ Autumn 2014 edition of the Essentials of US Hospital IT Market highlights the promising sales opportunities for IS Infrastructure and HIM applications

CHICAGO (October 15, 2014) – Computer Assisted Coding applications are poised for increased growth among hospitals, according to data from the latest HIMSS Analytics Essentials of the U.S. Hospital IT Market report (Autumn 2014 edition). Released today, the report evaluates the support service applications and medical devices used most by hospitals across the U.S.

Leveraging data from the HIMSS Analytics® Database, the report profiles 25 support service applications and medical devices being used in hospitals across the nation in terms of their market penetration (saturated, mature to maturing) against their projected sales volumes (decelerating, marginal to accelerating). Computer Assisted Coding was observed as having the highest growth potential. This is a significant finding for health Information Technology (IT) vendors as this accelerated projected sales volume is occurring in a maturing market.

“In preparation for the shift to ICD-10, it is no surprise that the sales potential for coding solutions is high,” said Lorren Pettit, Vice President of Market Research for HIMSS Analytics. “The findings suggest that market opportunities are ripe for vendors with Computer Assisted Coding solutions.”

The 25 applications observed are divided into the following categories:

  • Ambulatory
  • Clinical & Business Intelligence
  • Document/Forms Management
  • Health Information Exchange (HIE)
  • Health Information Management (HIM)
  • Home Health
  • IS Infrastructure
  • IS Security
  • Medical Devices

Nearly half of the applications (11 of the 25) profiled can be characterized as standard business tools due to their relatively high market penetration level. Five applications were marked for a healthy growth trajectory over the next five years, while 15 applications reflected a growth trajectory of less than 10 percent during the same period.

The report also covers the market utilization of each application in the marketplace at more than 5,400 U.S. hospitals tracked by HIMSS Analytics. The market utilization assessment for each application is determined by the number of hospitals in the market which have installed the application.

Please contact consulting@himssanalytics.org for more information on purchasing the HIMSS Analytics Essentials, Autumn 2014 Edition, and for a copy of the Executive Summary. Visit the HIMSS Analytics website for more information.

# # #

About HIMSS Analytics

HIMSS Analytics collects, analyzes and distributes essential health IT data related to products, costs, metrics, trends and purchase decisions. It delivers quality data and analytical expertise to healthcare delivery organizations, IT companies, governmental entities, financial, pharmaceutical and consulting companies. Visit www.himssanalytics.org.

HIMSS Analytics is a part of HIMSS, a cause-based global enterprise that produces health IT thought leadership, education, events, market research and media services around the world. Founded in 1961, HIMSS encompasses more than 52,000 individuals, of which more than two-thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations across the globe, plus over 600 corporations and 250 not-for-profit partner organizations, that share the cause of transforming health and healthcare through the best use of IT. HIMSS, headquartered in Chicago, serves the global health IT community with additional offices in the United States, Europe and Asia.

I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 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.

ONC Announces Lucia Savage, Esq. As New Chief Privacy Officer

Karen DeSalvo sent the following announcement about the change:

Good morning ONC Team,

I am thrilled to announce that Lucia Savage, Esq. will join HHS and ONC as the Chief Privacy Officer.  She brings to our team a set of rich experiences at the intersection of health information, privacy, and modernizing the health care delivery system.  She has stellar qualifications and a passion for health IT in this nation and our work. I am confident that she will bring her wealth of experience to advance critical privacy and security policies in health IT development and implementation.

Lucia is currently Senior Associate General Counsel at UnitedHealthcare, where she supervises a team that represents UnitedHealthcare in its work in large data transactions related to health information exchanges, health care transparency projects, and other data-driven health care innovation projects.  She has served on the Governance Board of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Multi-Payer Claims data base project (2011-2013), and collaborated with health information exchanges and state agencies in their planning with payers.

Prior to joining UnitedHealthcare, Lucia was General Counsel at the non-profit Pacific Business Group on Health, where she oversaw the legal affairs and state policy initiatives for one of the nation’s oldest employer health care purchasing coalitions and its small group health insurance exchange, PacAdvantage.  At PBGH, Lucia applied her 15 years of experience as an employee benefit attorney, in both compliance and litigation, and expanded her practice to include health care regulation, data transactions, health care reform, and HIPAA implementation.  Before joining PBGH, she served as Stanford University’s benefits compliance officer.

Lucia has a BA from Mills College in Oakland, CA, and received her Juris Doctor summa cum laude from New York University School of Law in May 1989, where she was awarded the Order of the Coif.  She is a member of the State Bar of California, the American Corporate Counsel Association, and the American Health Lawyers Association. Lucia has authored many articles and given many lectures.  Most recently, she has been emphasizing the importance of cost and quality transparency in health care, and has been working on the complex issues of maintaining patient privacy while working to fully realize the potential of health information exchange for better patient care in a learning health care system.

Lucia will join ONC on October 20th.  I know that you will all welcome her and help to make her transition as seamless and smooth as possible.  She is ready to hit the ground running and is looking forward to getting to know everyone.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Kathryn Marchesini who has served as Acting Chief Privacy Officer over the past few months. Kathryn is an exceptional public servant, brilliant attorney and excellent manager.  She has been and will continue to be a valued and invaluable member of our team.

Best,

kd

Karen B. DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc

October 14, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 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.

96 Percent Of Healthcare Providers Say Their Infrastructure Is Not Fully Prepared To Leverage Cloud, Big Data, Mobile, Social To Optimize Their EMR

Survey indicates healthcare providers plan to enhance security, improve application performance, and invest in cloud 

Alexandria, Va., October 13, 2014 – MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of health and government IT, today announced the results of its new study, “FutureCare:  Cloud, Big Data, Mobile, and Social Optimize the EMR.”  The report, sponsored by EMC Corporation, explores how FutureCare-enabling technologies (cloud, Big Data, mobile, and social) are driving profound change and how deployment of these tools can help optimize Electronic Medical Records (EMR) for improved patient care coordination.  The report reveals that while many providers have implemented or plan to implement these technologies in the next two years, 96 percent of healthcare organizations say their infrastructure is not fully prepared for the evolution of their EMR today.

Health IT leaders have started to adopt FutureCare-enabling technologies.  Two-thirds of healthcare providers run EMR applications in the cloud, with the majority currently using private cloud models (49 percent), followed by hybrid and public clouds (35 percent).  Healthcare providers are also using Big Data and analytics in conjunction with their EMR with 50 percent saying Big Data is helping them to reduce readmissions and track and evaluate patient outcomes more effectively.  Providers are also using Big Data to conduct cost/benefit analysis to reduce project risk (46 percent), manage clinical and IT staffing levels (38 percent), and prescribe preventative care (24 percent).

Mobile and social technologies are also starting to make an impact on healthcare providers.  Fifty-seven percent of health IT leaders say mobile has become an important tool in viewing real-time patient information as caregivers work toward making more informed patient care decisions.  Additional mobile use cases include clinical notifications (46 percent), ePrescribing (41 percent), and patient communication and reminders (38 percent).  Fifty-four percent of organizations are also using social in conjunction with their EMR to facilitate secure collaboration; 52 percent are communicating with patients and sending medication/follow up reminders; and 31 percent are collecting data from wearable technology.

Cloud, Big Data, mobile, and social technologies impact business and clinical workflows by improving data access, enhancing patient care, and reducing costs.  To reap these benefits, health IT leaders expect 2015 IT spending to increase for all four areas – cloud, Big Data, mobile, and social.  As a result of FutureCare technology investments, U.S. hospitals expect to save billions in annual IT spending.  By 2016, healthcare providers anticipate:

  • Big Data can help them save 21 percent of their annual IT budget, or $7.2B
  • Cloud can help them save 20 percent of their annual IT budget, or $6.9B
  • Mobile can help them save 16 percent of their annual IT budget, or $5.5B
  • Social can help them save 11 percent of their annual IT budget, or $3.8B

Working within their IT budget constraints, healthcare providers will prioritize areas of focus based on hospital and Integrated Delivery Network (IDN) deployment status and goals.

When asked how prepared their infrastructure is for the evolution of the EMR, just four percent of respondents stated that they are already prepared – 96 percent have more work to do.  To optimize the EMR and ensure the infrastructure can support further growth, health IT leaders say they will enhance security systems (47 percent), improve application performance (38 percent), invest in cloud solutions (31 percent), and modernize backup and recovery solutions (31 percent).

“It’s clear that cloud, Big Data, mobile, and social technologies can positively impact patient care delivery, population health, and achieve improved levels of fiscal efficiency,” says David DeAngelis, healthcare general manager, EMC Corporation.  “EMC is committed to enabling healthcare providers to build a trusted hybrid cloud infrastructure as the foundation for FutureCare technologies and improve patient care diagnosis and treatment.”

“Accurate diagnosis is the first step on the journey to a cure,” said Steve O’Keeffe, founder, MeriTalk.  “The healthcare industry needs to change its IT diet to ensure better healthcare outcomes for America.”

The MeriTalk study is based on an online survey of 151 hospital IT decision makers, conducted in August 2014.   The report has a margin of error of 7.95 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

Download the “FutureCare:  Cloud, Big Data, Mobile, and Social Optimize the EMR” infographic today at:  www.meritalk.com/futurecare.

About MeriTalk

MeriTalk is an online community and go-to resource for government and healthcare IT issues – www.meritalk.com.  MeriTalk hosts a series of Exchange communities in Big Data, cloud computing, data center consolidation, mobility, and cyber security.  In addition, MeriTalk develops research studies, manages events, builds applications, and routinely testifies on the Hill on IT and workforce issues.

October 13, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 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.

Exostar Obtains $5 Million Investment for their Growing Healthcare Business

HERNDON, VA, October 7, 2014Exostar, an innovative information technology company offering cloud-based solutions that enable secure, cost-effective business-to-business collaboration, today announced a $5.0 million investment to enable them to accelerate the growth and expansion of their healthcare and life science business.

Exostar’s cloud-based authentication identity hub for the healthcare industry, Secure Access Manager (SAM), connects customers with other organizations securely across large communities of users. The investment, made by the Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, will help Exostar maintain its rapid growth in these markets and expand into related verticals.

The healthcare industry continues to become more reliant on secure connections, not only to ensure organizations meet all compliance issues, but to support critical digital health applications such as ePrescribing, Health Information Exchange (HIE), and clinical collaboration.  Exostar leverages over a decade of experience helping companies access, utilize and share business-critical information and applications through an easy-to-use, secure Software as a Service (SaaS) model.

“Exostar has successfully expanded from its Aerospace & Defense heritage into other vertical markets that have similar requirements for secure collaboration, complex supply chain needs or identity management to support their core business processes,” said Richard Addi, Exostar’s CEO.  “Our solution is an ideal fit for the healthcare and life science community that needs to set up connections with partners and their applications quickly and securely.  Exostar helps its customers connect with thousands of partners in their ecosystem without compromising network security or intellectual property.”

Originally established by some of the largest companies in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry, the Exostar life sciences identity hub today includes more than 600 life science focused companies, government agencies and universities supporting the collaboration initiatives of thousands of individuals.

“Exostar’s secure cloud-based access and existing user base delivers a strong complement to the current and future needs of the data-driven healthcare industry,” said Joe Volpe of Merck’s Global Health Innovation Fund.

About Exostar

Exostar powers secure business-to-business information sharing, collaboration and business process integration throughout the value chain.  Exostar supports the complex trading needs of many of the world’s largest companies in aerospace and defense, life sciences, and other industries.  Exostar’s cloud-based identity assurance products and business applications reduce risk, improve agility and strengthen trading partner relationships and profitability for over 100,000 companies in 150 countries worldwide.  The Exostar community includes market leaders such as AstraZeneca, BAE Systems, Bell Helicopter, The Boeing Company, Computer Sciences Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corp., Merck, Newport News Shipbuilding, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Co. and Rolls-Royce.  For more information, please visit www.exostar.com.

About Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, LLC

Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, LLC (GHIF) invests in emerging companies that deliver breakthrough health care solutions, which advance Merck’s mission to discover, develop and provide innovative products and services that save and improve lives. For more information, visit http://www.merck.com/ghi.

October 7, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 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.

American Sentinel University Offers New Healthcare-focused Online Master of Business Intelligence and Computer Science Programs

AURORA, Colo.Oct. 7, 2014 – American Sentinel University, an accredited career-focused online university, announced its redesigned online Master of Science Business Intelligence and Analytics (MSBIA) and Master of Computer Science and Healthcare Computing (MCSHC) degree programs will begin Oct. 6, 2014.

“As a leading provider of high-demand healthcare degrees, American Sentinel understands the constant need for a better educated healthcare industry. By enhancing our programs and courses, students are offered a new level of education,” says Blair Smith, Ph.D., dean, informatics-management-technology programs at American Sentinel University. “The learning outcomes mapped to these enhancements provide the healthcare industry with highly-prepared professionals who will play a significant role in patient safety, quality of care and managing modern medical technological shifts.”

New Focus on Healthcare Business Intelligence and Analytics
The MSBIA is a nationally accredited 36-credit hour online program designed to prepare students to understand and apply technologies that identify, extract and analyze business data. The program teaches students to quantify business operations and how to use data to understand and improve them.

The redesigned MSBIA program keeps up with current industry trends such as big data, cloud and mobile computing. The MSBIA program provides greater emphasis on clinical and healthcare business intelligence and the need for analytics in modern business practice.

“As one of the first universities in the nation to offer a graduate business intelligence degree, American Sentinel recognizes that BI is a key component in emerging and growing business trends,” says Smith. “We’ve updated this program to reflect the latest industry trends as business intelligence and analytics look to play an even bigger role in healthcare organizations.”

Developing Computer Science and Healthcare Computing
The MCSHC is a nationally accredited 36-credit hour online program designed for professionals interested in building on the skills necessary to design and develop real-world administrative information systems and methodologies.

The redesigned MCSHC program provides students with the knowledge to develop information systems, as well as recommend data management, analytic and information presentation requirements for healthcare decision-making and solution inquiry systems.

Students will be exposed to and proficient in the understanding of technology platforms used in e-health and telehealth applications, including an aptitude in health data evaluation.

The program is also suitable for students interested in general computer science as the content, assignments and projects are applicable to many industries and disciplines in addition to healthcare.

“Working professionals can benefit from our redesigned programs and gain advanced knowledge and experience that are essential to keeping their company or organization competitive and helping them increase their job security and upward mobility,” says Smith.

Enrollment Begins on Oct. 6, 2014
American Sentinel University will begin accepting enrollment applications for its Master of Science Business Intelligence and Analytics and Master of Computer Science and Healthcare Computing degree programs on Oct. 6, 2014. For more information, please visithttp://www.americansentinel.edu/degree-programs, call 1.866.922.5694 or email the American Sentinel admissions team at admissions@americansentinel.edu

About American Sentinel University
American Sentinel University delivers the competitive advantages of accredited associate, bachelor’s master’s, and doctorate-level online degree and certificate programs focused on the needs of high-growth sectors, including healthcare, informatics, management, technology, and geospatial information systems. The university is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), which is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. For required student consumer information, please visit: www.americansentinel.edu/doe

I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 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.

Why Accountable Care Organizations Are Failing

By Richard Amerling, M.D.

Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), a key piece of the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”) “reform” plan, are failing because they must fail. ACOs are based on faulty assumptions, poor economics, and junk science. They would not exist in a truly free market, and are best viewed as a product of government central planners and crony capitalism.

I first characterized ACOs about a year ago as little more than HMOs with lipstick in response to a report on the poor performance of the 32 pioneer ACOs. Now comes news that three more of the original groups will jump ship, leaving only 19 of the original 32 still on board. A nearly 50 percent attrition rate should be seen as a death knell for the concept, as these were likely the best of the best, and the inducements most generous. Reasonable people would head back to the drawing board. But we are dealing with government bureaucrats, health policy wonks, and administrators. They will damn the torpedoes and push on at flank speed.

What is wrong with the ACO model? Pretty much everything. The idea that an organization with control over health care dollars will be able to improve actual hard outcomes (as opposed to secondary endpoint numbers) is a collective fantasy. Keeping patients healthy and out of hospitals is already the goal of all physicians I know. The only problems we encounter in collaborating are those imposed by federal regulations (HIPAA). The real problem is that outpatient primary care physicians are not paid enough to devote adequate time to patients with complex problems. The ACO does not solve this problem. Rather, it creates financial disincentives to hospitalize patients or to refer for advanced care (similar to HMOs). This will lead to poor outcomes for the sickest patients, and ultimately, higher costs.

Money saved by rationing care (or by improving care; let’s be optimists), will be consumed largely by the considerable administrative infrastructure required of the ACO. This includes hiring even more administrators to track outcomes and costs, installing and maintaining expense electronic health record systems, and training of staff. EHRs have many problems, do not improve productivity, and impinge on the patient-physician relationship, impairing quality of care.

“Quality” benchmarks are numerical targets for blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, etc., determined by various guideline panels, most of which are dominated by industry-supported physicians. This will lead to inappropriate over-treatment in many individuals, with greater expense and worse outcomes over time. For example, aggressive targeting of low blood sugar has been shown to cause weight gain and higher mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes. It’s not a coincidence that Big Pharma heavily supported ObamaCare.

ACOs are based on the assumption that fee-for-service medical practice is responsible for the high cost of medical care. This is demonstrably false. Direct third party payment, spearheaded by Medicare, is the culprit.

And of course, when Uncle Sam is your partner, there is always risk that rules and payment will be changed, sometimes arbitrarily and without warning. As reported in Modern Healthcare, “as ACOs grow more efficient and Medicare adjusts savings targets accordingly, it may also grow increasingly difficult for ACOs everywhere to earn savings.” Furthermore, “Medicare’s ACO programs so far have produced inconsistent results, some of which policy experts and ACO executives have blamed on how Medicare calculates how much ACOs potentially saved the program. Last week, the CMS announced that the initiatives saved Medicare $817 million through 2013. Dozens of participants shared $445 million of that amount, but three-quarters of ACOs saw nothing after failing to do sufficiently well against the financial benchmarks” [emphasis mine]. So, only a handful saw any real profit, and you can be sure Medicare will alter their formula to not allow whatever they consider to be excessive profit.

It is clear that for ACOs to be profitable, they will need to engage in the old HMO practice of cherry-picking healthy patients. Last week I saw a 65-year-old woman with kidney disease on top of severe lung, liver and heart disease. It took more than an hour just to sort through her records and medications. ACOs will go out of their way to avoid recruiting patients such as this. The only hope for such patients is within the traditional fee-for-service system.

Our hope is that this system is allowed to survive.

###

Richard Amerling, MD is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and a renowned academic nephrologist at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Amerling studied medicine at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, graduating cum laude in 1981. He completed a medical residency at the New York Hospital Queens and a nephrology fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He has written and lectured extensively on health care issues and is President of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Amerling is the author of the Physicians’ Declaration of Independence and is a seasoned speaker and on-air contributor
October 6, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 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.

Nextech to Acquire MDIntelleSys, the Leading Cloud-Based EHR for Eye Care

Tampa, Florida – October 2, 2014 – Nextech Systems, a leading provider of specialty-focused healthcare technology solutions for physician practices, and MDIntelleSys (MDI), a leading cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) for ophthalmologists, today announced that they have entered a strategic agreement in which Nextech will acquire MDI. The acquisition of MDI effectively doubles Nextech’s ophthalmology market share while adding clinical depth and ophthalmic expertise to Nextech’s suite of solutions. It will also allow Nextech to immediately provide its cloud-based practice management solutions to MDI customers.

“This strategic acquisition strengthens Nextech’s position as the industry leader in specialty-specific healthcare IT solutions, and by combining our product portfolio with MDI, we will be able to offer a collective SaaS presence in our markets,” says David Henriksen, CEO of Nextech. “Together, MDI and Nextech will drive product innovation and deeper engagement with our customers and partners to support the unique needs of specialty physicians.”

Nextech is the largest specialty-specific EHR provider and is the only specialty EHR to be ranked in Medscape’s “Top Favorite EHR List.” Nextech’s industry leading position is supported by the strategic experience and financial strength of healthcare technology focused private equity firm Francisco Partners. In October of last year, Francisco Partners made a strategic investment in Nextech due to its strength and stability as the largest all-in-one specialty specific solution. Through this acquisition, MDI clients are now able to take advantage of Nextech’s full product suite of integrated solutions, including practice management, marketing, inventory and optical shop management modules. These customers will also gain access to Nextech’s consultative services with regard to meeting requirements for meaningful use and ICD-10.

“It is the goal of both Nextech and MDI to capitalize on our joint success in the ophthalmology market to further advance our solution offerings,” says Dan Montzka, MD, founder, chairman and CEO of MDIntelleSys. “This transaction will enhance both companies’ offerings immensely, better serving the needs of more than 25,000 ophthalmologists in the United States alone.”

By joining forces with MDI, which ranked number one in nine categories on the American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators (ASOA) 2013 EHR Customer Satisfaction Survey, Nextech is able to further extend its position as the premier specialty-specific solution for ophthalmology practices. Nextech will leverage MDI’s Software as a Service (SaaS) capabilities to expand the company’s cloud offering, extending the usability and reach of Nextech’s integrated solution. Nextech will now offer both a client-server model and cloud-based solution to meet each practice’s unique needs.

“Over the years, I have admired MDI’s excellence in customer service, clinical product focus and its unique SaaS offering.   A testament to the leadership and passion of Dr. Montzka and his team,” says Dr. Kamal Majeed, Founder and Board Member of Nextech. “Combined with Nextech’s all-encompassing products and mobile platforms, this partnership creates a powerful and most unique offering in the market.”

Dr. Dan Montzka will assume the role of Chief Medical Officer at Nextech. While still subject to customary closing conditions, MDIntelleSys, LLC will now be known as MDIntelleSys, a Nextech company. The product portfolios from both companies will continue to move forward as Nextech and MDI work to advance and combine their respective solution offerings.

About Nextech

Nextech deploys specialty-focused healthcare technology for physician practices. As a trusted advisor to thousands of specialty providers since 1997, Nextech delivers consultative guidance, professional services and innovative tools that enable clients to increase efficiencies while meeting their long-term business goals. The company’s robust solutions integrate seamlessly with value-added modules to create a single, intuitive platform that streamlines clinical, administrative, financial and marketing workflows. To learn how Nextech’s advanced offerings help specialty providers succeed in a fast-changing healthcare environment, visitwww.nextech.com.

About MDIntelleSys

MDIntelleSys, A Nextech Company, located in Clearwater, Florida designs, develops and markets intelligent healthcare solutions for ophthalmologists. MDI’s electronic health records (“EHR”) software, called IntelleChart, is the leading cloud based EHR specifically designed for eye care specialists. For additional information visit: www.mdiehr.com.

About Francisco Partners 

Francisco Partners is a global private equity firm that specializes in investments in technology companies. Since its launch over a decade ago, FP has raised approximately $7 billion and invested in more than 100 technology companies, making it one of the most active investors in the industry.  The firm invests in transaction values ranging from $50 million to over $2 billion, where the firm’s deep sub-sector knowledge and operational expertise can help a company realize its full potential. For further information, please visit: www.franciscopartners.com.

I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 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.

Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative (MAeHC) Quality Data Center (QDC) Gaining Momentum with New Customers and Enhanced Capabilities

Growing Clientele and Innovative Developments Further QDC’s Technology Leadership

Waltham, Mass., October 6, 2014– The Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative (MAeHC), a non-profit pioneer and leader in healthcare delivery through health information technology, today announced a number of milestones highlighting the rapid growth of its Quality Data Center (QDC), a fully HIPAA-compliant modular electronic health record (EHR) solution for meeting internal and external clinical reporting requirements. Increased industry demand for the QDC’s premiere online reporting tool has given rise to several new customers, growing partnerships and continued innovative technology developments.

MAeHC has recently started working with new customers looking to utilize the QDC, including the Central Massachusetts Independent Physician Association (CMIPA) and Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH). These organizations benefit from MAeHC’s holistic end-to-end management of quality measurement and reporting. At Boston Children’s Hospital, MAeHC is providing both Eligible Provider (EP) and Eligible Hospital (EH) certified modular EHR services with the QDC to help meet Meaningful Use (MU) Stage 2 reporting requirements. Through a central point of connection, the QDC is able to take in clinical data via a standard CCDA Document or Continuity of Care Document (CCD), which provides the discrete data required to generate both the inpatient (EH) and outpatient (EP) certified measure results for BCH.

With CMIPA, MAeHC is developing care management capabilities across payer-specific care management programs, claims-based utilization management reporting and tracking, and clinical quality measurement (CQM) for EHR data. “MAeHC has been helping us with the unique situation of working with multiple EHRs, all with distinct interface requirements, to ensure that the data we need populates into the QDC so we can execute care management programs,” said Paul Bergeron, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Central Massachusetts Independent Physician Association. “The MAeHC team has acted as a trusted partner throughout the process, working through challenges and identifying the best solutions to fit our needs. We could not accomplish our goal of facilitating connected care without them.”

Along with new clients, MAeHC has also expanded the depth and breadth of services within existing QDC partnerships, including support for care management activities, disease registry requirements and other specific care management needs. Partner organization Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) utilizes the QDC in normalizing, analyzing and reporting its data. In a joint venture with HealthFidelity, MAeHC is now helping the organization to employ a natural language processing methodology to deliver a robust and comprehensive coded clinical problem list for the medical center. This innovative approach, which involves the use of advanced contextual language processing, generates clinically relevant problem lists for providers so they are better able to manage and coordinate care.

“MAeHC has become a trusted partner to our organization, and the QDC has proven invaluable for the time it saves our physicians and staff,” said John Halamka, CIO, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “Since our first transaction, reporting has been fast and accurate, helping us to meet the performance measurement and reporting requirements of a wide range of government, payer and internal quality initiatives.”

MAeHC has also integrated the QDC with ChartLogic, an EHR solution provider. This partnership will allow ChartLogic to provide a certified CQM solution to help clients using its software with MU reporting. “When determining how our solution was going to handle CQM reporting, we realized the value of outsourcing this task to MAeHC. Not only does the QDC help deliver accurate, reliable reports, but the team at MAeHC is always on hand with support and strategic guidance when we need it,” said Mark Wilson, Director of Software Development at ChartLogic. “With the QDC, we are able to handle larger, more robust sets of data, and the ease of integration with our existing system cannot be beat.”

In an effort to provide further value with the QDC, MAeHC has developed claims data integration, which allows for the aggregation of utilization and cost data with clinical quality data to provide combined cost and quality metrics to providers, enhancing efforts in coordination of care and care management. In addition, QDC customers that are participating in the Pioneer ACO program, or will be participating in Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)-sponsored incentive programs that adhere to the standard electronic CQM reporting methods, can now leverage the QDC to report electronically. For 2012 and 2013 Pioneer ACO submission years, the QDC generated electronic measure results for reporting to CMS, saving many hours of manual CQM data collection and aggregation. The standards for electronic submission are complex, require deep analytic capability and explicit electronic specification adherence. The QDC helps makes this reporting process simple.

“We’re excited that the QDC is really taking off, as the complexity of analyzing and reporting data is too big a burden for provider organizations to bear on their own in today’s healthcare environment,” said Micky Tripathi, CEO, Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative. “We are continuing to expand the functionality of the QDC to offload more of these time-consuming processes so that providers can continue to focus on delivering quality care.”

MAeHC delivers hands-on tactical support and sustainable strategies to help providers improve healthcare delivery within their own organizations and across communities. The QDC uniquely helps MAeHC connect communities by providing a comprehensive, on-demand data warehousing solution that seamlessly extracts and aggregates data from multiple clinical systems and provides timely feedback that helps clinical teams improve overall quality.  For more information regarding the QDC, please visit: http://www.maehc.org/services/quality-data-services/.

About the Central Massachusetts Independent Physician Association

Formed in 1998 and based in Worcester, Mass., Central Massachusetts Independent Physician Association (CMIPA) is the largest physician group of its kind in the area not affiliated with a hospital. Consisting of almost 200 independent, community physicians with approximately 80 primary care physicians (PCPs) and over 110 specialists (SPSs), CMIPA is responsible for 35,000 patients. Dedicated to the delivery of personalized, compassionate, cost-effective health care, CMIPA believes that choice for physicians and patients is the best way to ensure the highest quality of care.

About Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and currently ranks third in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide.

BIDMC is in the community with Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, Anna Jaques Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Lawrence General Hospital, Signature Health Care, Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare, Community Care Alliance, and Atrius Health. BIDMC is also clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and Hebrew Senior Life and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit www.bidmc.org.

About ChartLogic

ChartLogic 8.1 is a complete, cloud-based EHR system. ChartLogic, founded in 1994, offers medical groups revenue cycle management and a powerful EHR suite which includes electronic medical records, superior billing software, and patient portal. ChartLogic 8.1 is guaranteed to meet meaningful use requirements. See www.chartlogic.com for more information.

About Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative (MAeHC)

The Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative is a national leader in the facilitation and management of electronic health record deployment, health information exchange and quality measure reporting. MAeHC is an independent non-profit corporation with a charitable mission to improve the delivery of health care by promoting the use of health IT.  Formed in 2004 as a collaboration of non-profit health care stakeholders to demonstrate the most effective ways to deploy EHRs and HIE to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and affordability of care in Massachusetts, MAeHC now works across the United States with a wide range of physician practices, hospitals, state governments, contracting networks, management services organizations, HIE organizations, technology vendors, and consulting firms.  To learn more about the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, please visit www.maehc.org

I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 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.