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CMS releases new proposal to improve Accountable Care Organizations

Shared Savings Program Proposed Rule reflects focus on primary care and improved incentives for participation, quality, and efficiency

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today released a proposal to strengthen the Shared Savings Program for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) through a greater emphasis on primary care services and promoting transitions to performance-based risk arrangements. The proposed rule reflects input from program participants, experts, consumer groups, and the stakeholder community at large. CMS is seeking to continue this important dialogue to ensure that the Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs are successful in providing seniors and people with disabilities with better care at lower costs.

CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said, “This proposed rule is part of our continued commitment to rewarding value and care coordination – rather than volume and care duplication.  We look forward to partnering with providers and stakeholders to continuously refine and improve the Medicare Shared Savings program.”

Through the Affordable Care Act, ACOs encourage doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to work together to better coordinate care when people are sick and keep people healthy, which helps to reduce growth in health care costs and improve outcomes.  ACOs become eligible to share savings with Medicare when they deliver that care more efficiently while meeting or exceeding performance benchmarks for quality of care.

The Shared Savings Program now includes more than 330 ACOs in 47 states, providing care to more than 4.9 million beneficiaries in Medicare fee for service. Recently, CMS announced first year Shared Savings Program (SSP) results:

  • 58 SSP ACOs held spending below their benchmarks by a total of $705 million and earned shared savings payments of more than $315 million.
  • Another 60 ACOs had expenditures below their benchmark, but not by a sufficient amount to earn shared savings.

Other Affordable Care Act initiatives to improve care and reduce costs have helped reduce hospital readmissions in Medicare by nearly 10 percent between 2007 and 2013 – translating into 150,000 fewer readmissions – and quality improvements have resulted in saving 15,000 lives and $4 billion in health spending during 2011 and 2012.

CMS is seeking comment on a number of adjustments to improve the Medicare Shared Savings Program, including:

  • Providing more flexibility for ACOs seeking to renew their participation in the Program. Many ACOs elect to enter the Program under a one-sided risk model, where the organization participates in shared savings with the Medicare program, but does not take on additional performance-based risk. More experienced ACOs that are ready to share in financial losses in return for the opportunity for a higher share of savings may elect to enter a two-sided model. CMS is proposing to give ACOs the option of a longer lead time to transition to a two-sided performance risk model after their first agreement period. ACOs would have the opportunity to renew under the one-sided model for one additional agreement period. ACOs that enter the Shared Savings Program under the two-sided performance risk model would see no change.
  • Encouraging ACOs to take on greater performance-based risk and reward. CMS is proposing to create a new two-sided risk model, called “track 3,” which integrates some elements from the Pioneer ACO model, such as higher rates of shared savings and prospective attribution of beneficiaries – a list of assigned beneficiaries provided at the start of the performance year, and no further beneficiaries will be added to the list during the performance year.
  • We are seeking comments on a number of care coordination tools that would make two-sided performance risk models more attractive to ACOs such as expanded use of telehealth, beneficiary attestation, and more flexibility around post-acute care referrals to help ACOs better coordinate care for beneficiaries using these services. These tools could all help encourage participating providers to improve quality and care coordination for Medicare beneficiaries, which in turn would result in better patient experiences and greater shared savings for both the ACO and the Medicare program.
  • Emphasis on primary care. CMS proposes to refine the way Medicare beneficiaries are assigned to an ACO to place greater emphasis on primary care services delivered by nurse practitioners, physician assistants and clinical nurse specialists and to allow certain specialists not associated with primary care to participate in multiple ACOs.
  • Alternative methodologies for benchmarks. CMS seeks comment on alternative methodologies that would make ACO benchmarks for determining shared savings and losses gradually more independent of the ACO’s past performance and more dependent on the ACO’s success in being more cost efficient relative to its local market. For example, we are considering whether shared savings received by an ACO should be added back to the benchmark in future performance periods.
  • Streamlining data sharing and reducing administrative burden. CMS proposes to streamline the process for ACOs to access beneficiary claims data necessary for health care operations such as quality improvement activities and care coordination while retaining the opportunity for beneficiaries to decline to have their claims data shared with the ACO.

A fact sheet with more information about the proposed rule is available at: http://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2014-Fact-sheets-items/2014-12-01.html

The proposed rule will be open to a 60-day comment period.

The proposed rule is available for viewing at:  http://www.ofr.gov/(X(1)S(tofvuj12vvyo3oiwkp3jkln3))/inspection.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Comments may be submitted at: http://www.regulations.gov/
This document is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on 12/08/2014 and available online at http://federalregister.gov/a/2014-28388

December 1, 2014 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 Reaches 10,000 Clinician License Milestone

Up to 40,000 Total Users Now Taking Advantage of the EHR Rated #1 for Usability

NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI–(Marketwired – November 24, 2014) – Amazing Charts, a leading developer of Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems for physician practices, today announced it has surpassed 10,000 total clinician licenses sold. Each clinical license represents approximately four staff users, so Amazing Charts estimates there are now more than 40,000 users of the Amazing Charts Electronic Health Record system at over 6,500 independent medical practices.

This milestone underscores the success of Amazing Charts EHR, a top-rated clinical documentation system for independent medical practices. In multiple physician surveys, Amazing Charts EHR has been recognized for ease of use, affordability and overall customer satisfaction. More than 60 percent of Amazing Charts clinicians practice Primary Care Medicine, with nearly 37 percent practicing Family Medicine and 21 percent practicing Internal Medicine. Top specialties include Pediatrics, Neurology, Cardiology, and Pain Medicine.

“I want to thank our customers for reaching this significant milestone,” said John Squire, president and COO of Amazing Charts. “Our success with independent Primary Care practices puts us squarely in the middle of the struggles facing physicians today. Our mission is to help practices stay independent with new tools like our new Practice Management module, which is fully integrated with our EHR to save time and eliminate errors, while helping to increase revenue and profitability.”

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 6,800 private practices. Founded in 2001 by a family physician, today Amazing Charts.com, 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 260,000 clinicians since 1995. For more information, visit: www.amazingcharts.com.

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

November 24, 2014 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.

Broader Approach Urged for Evaluating Financial Performance of Employed Physicians

(Nov. 21, 2014, Westchester, Ill.) – Current approaches to measuring the financial performance of employed physicians can obscure the value that employed physicians bring to an organization, according to new research released today by the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

Based on productivity alone, fewer than 25 percent of senior financial executives surveyed expected to see a positive return on investment during the first two years of physician employment, a finding that researchers described as “not surprising” in light of current payment methodologies and productivity decreases that often occur when physicians move into an employment setting. However, instead of using “loss per physician” as a financial metric, researchers say, a health system should fully account for the value that employed physicians bring to the system. That is, looking at the system as a whole, management should determine an acceptable level of expense to generate sufficient revenues to maintain the system’s financial health and invest in physician financial support accordingly.

“It’s vital to ensure that the contributions of physicians are accurately valued and described,” said HFMA president and CEO Joseph J. Fifer, FHFMA, CPA. “Physician commitment to care transformation is critical to an organization’s success in making the transition to a value-based health system.”

The report was issued against a backdrop of continued growth in physician employment by hospitals and health systems, with 64 percent of hospital- and health system-based senior financial executives surveyed pursuing a physician employment strategy. The report also addresses clinically integrated networks and accountable care organizations as viable alternatives to physician employment for those providers seeking greater alignment.

Fundamental elements of a physician strategy identified and addressed in depth in the 24-page report include the following:

  • Determining the best alignment opportunities for physician practices in a particular market
  • Building a sufficient primary care base to support specialty services
  • Communicating the need for flexibility and change in physician compensation agreements
  • Developing physician leadership and governance structures

The research findings are detailed in Strategies for Physician Engagement and Alignment, based on quantitative and qualitative research conducted by HFMA in March 2014. Of 118 responses to the survey of senior financial executives, 55 percent represented stand-alone hospitals and 45 percent represented health systems. Site visits and interviews also were conducted with five hospitals, health systems, and medical groups.

To download the full report, visit hfma.org/valueproject.

About HFMA
With more than 40,000 members, the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) is the nation’s premier membership organization for healthcare finance leaders. HFMA builds and supports coalitions with other healthcare associations and industry groups to achieve consensus on solutions for the challenges the U.S. healthcare system faces today. Working with a broad cross-section of stakeholders, HFMA identifies gaps throughout the healthcare delivery system and bridges them through the establishment and sharing of knowledge and best practices. We help healthcare stakeholders achieve optimal results by creating and providing education, analysis, and practical tools and solutions. Our mission is to lead the financial management of health care. hfma.org

November 21, 2014 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.

ONC Welcomes 2 New Members to their Office of Communications and Public Affairs

ONC Acting National Coordinator Lisa Lewis about two new hires at ONC’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs.  Here’s her letter to the ONC team:

Team –

We have two new members on the ONC Team. Chartese Day and Amanda Woodhead started with ONC on Monday, November 17th. Chartese and Amanda bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Office of Public Affairs and Communications (see bios below). We are very excited to have them on the team! Both of their offices are in HHH 729D. Please stop by and say hello as schedules allow.

Also, let’s extend our thanks to Peter Ashkenaz for serving as the acting OPAC Director for the last few months. Peter, you are greatly appreciated!

Sincerely, Lisa

*************************************

Chartése Day

Chartése joined ONC on Monday, November 17th as the new Director of the Office of Public Affairs and Communications (OPAC). Prior to ONC, Chartése spent more than a decade as a senior strategist at top international public relations firms leading award-winning programs and campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, major healthcare trade associations and non-profit groups. Chartése has deep expertise in public health awareness and education campaign programming, stakeholder engagement, regulatory communications, issues management, crisis and litigation communications and multicultural outreach. Chartése’s specific therapeutic area and category experience includes implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), infectious disease, cardiovascular, pain management, respiratory, women’s health, mental health and food and nutrition. Her past clients have included Universal Health Services, CareFirst, Kaiser Permanente, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, American Nurse Credentialing Center, Wal-Mart, Merck, Pfizer, and  Johnson & Johnson among others.

A native of Washington, D.C., Chartése began her career as an aide for the Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton, District of Columbia Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Chartése earned a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Maryland and a Bachelors of International Business from George Mason University.

Amanda Woodhead

Amanda Woodhead joined ONC on Monday, November 17th as the Stakeholder Engagement Lead in OPAC.  Amanda comes to ONC following six years at health IT vendor, Emdeon. While there, she led corporate communications and media efforts including traditional, tradeshow, social media and crisis communications as well as industry relations and executive events. She previously served as a public relations manager at Windsor Health Group, a senior publicist for Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson publishers and a public affairs officer for the U.S. Naval Hospital, Okinawa, Japan.

Amanda holds a BA in Journalism from Mississippi University for Women and a MS in International Relations from Troy State University. She is an active volunteer with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of her father, a multiple myeloma survivor. In 2012, she participated in the Washington DC area Man and Woman of the Year campaign to benefit LLS and was awarded the community involvement award for outstanding community outreach. She lives in Arlington with her spouse and 8 year old daughter and spends most weekends (in the fall at least) watching SEC football and cheering on the Mississippi State Bulldogs!

November 20, 2014 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.

Virtual Care Provider Zipnosis Secures Capital Investment from Arthur Ventures

Partnership will Help Accelerate New Market Growth for SaaS Company

Minneapolis, MN (Nov. 18, 2014) – Arthur Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on software companies in the healthcare market, has invested in the seed round for SaaS start-up, Zipnosis, a simple-to-use online diagnosis and treatment option for minor health conditions (www.zipnosis.com).

Minneapolis-based Zipnosis partners with health systems across the country to power virtual care services that are white labeled. By connecting patients and local clinicians online, Zipnosis makes mainstream medicine not only affordable, but easily accessible to anyone with a web-enabled device.

According to new research by Deloitte, 75 million “virtual” doctor visits, or 1 in 6 will occur this year alone. Revenue in the telehealth services industry is expected to increase by an annualized 30.7 percent to $320.2 million in the next five years, including revenue growth of 23.1 percent in 2014, according to a new report from market researcher IBISWorld.

“We recognize the increasing role telehealth will play in improving the country’s existing healthcare landscape,” said James Burgum, managing partner of Arthur Ventures. “Arthur Ventures invests in businesses that help solve clearly defined problems by leveraging the power of technology as a business amplifier and accelerator. We believe Zipnosis is making it easier and faster to connect for care—impacting healthcare delivery in our country by improving access and increasing clinical capacity.”

“Arthur Ventures’ investment will help accelerate our exponential, organic growth over the next two years,” said Zipnosis Co-Founder and CEO Jonathan Pearce.  “Their experience growing massively successful software companies provides Zipnosis with key strategic guidance through this exciting phase of our company.”

Through the Zipnosis platform, patients can receive prompt, high-quality care for common medical conditions such as sinus infections, female bladder infections, pink eye, or cold, cough and flu through via mobile phone, computer and tablet—all for a flat-rate $25-$35 service fee payable by a credit card or health savings card.

The company’s asynchronous model ensures adherence to evidence-based medicine, while guiding connections between clinicians and patients. The platform is incredibly efficient, leading clinicians to provide diagnosis and treatment for common ailments in less than two minutes a visit.  Additionally, the platform attracts new patients to a health system, building an incremental revenue stream for hospitals without adding additional clinical headcount.

About Zipnosis:

As one of the nation’s leading virtual care providers, Minneapolis-based Zipnosis is defining digital medicine, providing virtual care for common medical conditions from the convenience of a web-enabled device. Founded in 2008, the company is continuing to improve patient care one click at a time by making it easy for patients and providers to connect online. Whether through Zipnosis.com or its white label product offered by hospital and clinic partners around the country, users can be diagnosed, treated and triaged if necessary, to the appropriate level of care—receiving infallible care in a manner that is most convenient to them. Zipnosis’ asynchronous model ensures compliance to the evidence-based clinical guidelines by more than 70 percent for many of the conditions it treats. Find out more about Zipnosis, at www.zipnosis.com, Facebook.com/Zipnosis, and Twitter.com/Zipnosis.

About Arthur Ventures:

Founded in 2008, Arthur Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on early-stage software companies. The firm has offices in Fargo, North Dakota and Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Additional information on Arthur Ventures can be found at www.arthurventures.com.

November 18, 2014 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.

Xerox and HealthSpot to Expand Telehealth Access in the US

Norwalk, Conn. — November 12, 2014 In a move that expands patient access to care,Xerox (NYSE: XRX) is investing in HealthSpot Inc., a pioneer in patient- and provider-driven healthcare technology. The investment enables groundbreaking telehealth to be delivered to patients in convenient locations nationwide.

Through proprietary cloud-based telemedicine software the HealthSpot® platform allows patients to interact with nationally recognized doctors. The average visit to one of HealthSpot’s fully enclosed, 40-square foot kiosks takes 15 minutes, offering patients convenient, timely access to doctors, specialists and prescriptions.

The investment from Xerox means HealthSpot can rapidly scale deployment of its kiosks and access Xerox’s relationships across the healthcare industry. Over the next five years, HealthSpot plans to deploy kiosks to retail pharmacies, large employers, long-term care centers and emergency departments throughout the nation.

“HealthSpot is at the center of healthcare’s shift to a patient-centered model of care, and our investment in the company demonstrates Xerox’s commitment to transforming traditional healthcare into a high-value delivery system for patients, providers and payers,” said Connie Harvey, chief operating officer of Commercial Healthcare for Xerox. “By combining the HealthSpot platform with our powerful brand and more than 40 years of healthcare experience, we’re helping patients unlock affordable access to care while positioning Xerox to play a significant role in the future of healthcare.”

Xerox is also partnering with HealthSpot to combine its software platform with Xerox’sbusiness process services expertise. As the exclusive BPO provider, Xerox will deliver cloud hosting, system integration, claims eligibility and claims submissions solutions. The kiosk will use Xerox’s IT infrastructure for appointment booking, as an interface to electronic health records and for insurance coordination.

“Telehealth is recognized as a solution for access, but to become a true extension of traditional healthcare requires more than just a mobile app and a videoconference with patients. We need an integrated and secure IT offering that is scalable, and our Xerox partnership will do just that,” said Steve Cashman, HealthSpot CEO. “Xerox is a dominant leader in healthcare services today, reaching two out of every three U.S.-insured patients and working with most U.S. states. Together with providers, payers and a powerful IT foundation, we will bring patients the evolution in care that they’ve long been waiting for.”
The terms of the investment were not disclosed.

# # #

About Xerox

Xerox is a global business services, technology and document management company helping organizations transform the way they manage their business processes and information. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., we have more than 140,000 Xerox employees and do business in more than 180 countries. Together, we provide business process servicesprinting equipment, hardware and software technology for managing information — from data to documents. Learn more atwww.xerox.com.

Xerox® Xerox and Design® are trademarks of Xerox in the United States and/or other countries.

About HealthSpot®HealthSpot® is healthcare, reimagined. A pioneer in connected care, HealthSpot has built a comprehensive healthcare delivery platform that combines cloud-based software with the award-winning HealthSpot station, digital medical devices and mobile applications. HealthSpot’s platform radically transforms today’s healthcare system by enabling the delivery of quality, affordable medical care through a diverse professional care network for patients in efficient, convenient locations like pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, employer and community sites, universities and the home. For more information on HealthSpot, go to www.healthspot.net.

The HealthSpot name and logo are registered marks of HealthSpot Inc. 

November 12, 2014 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.

Logicalis US Reveals Eight Mistakes Hospitals Make with Electronic Patient Records

Solution Provider Helps Healthcare CIOs Contribute More Strategic Value to Their Organizations

NEW YORK, November 11, 2014 – A few short years ago, electronic medical record (EMR) systems were employed by only a handful of the most sophisticated physicians and hospitals.  Now, as a result of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act’s “Meaningful Use” incentives, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), providers are scrambling to purchase and implement EMR systems.  But that doesn’t mean they’re using them.  Doctors are disillusioned by spending more time with the computer than their patients, and they aren’t taking full advantage of the vast capabilities EMR software suites make available to them.  According to Logicalis US, an international IT solutions and managed services provider (www.us.logicalis.com), there are eight critical areas where healthcare professionals can sharpen their IT skills and optimize their utilization of data residing in feature-rich electronic medical records.

“The primary issues with EMR today are the continued lack of utilization and mismatched expectations by clinicians and administrators about the native problem-solving capabilities of EMR,” says Ed Simcox, Healthcare Practice Leader for Logicalis Healthcare Solutions.  “Many hospitals use only a portion of the capabilities available in EMR today, and many applications are not configured in a way that promotes usage of their deep capabilities. Hospitals and physicians have made significant investments in EMR; now it’s time to improve and optimize their utilization.”

Eight Mistakes Hospitals Make in EHR

  1. Lacking complete records: Surprisingly, one of the biggest issues with EMR today is the inability to access all available data on a patient.  While a doctor or hospital may use an EMR system, patient data resides in multiple, disparate systems, providing clinicians an incomplete picture. Hospitals are clearly still struggling with interoperability.  Connecting data sources would offer a single view to the provider looking for a consolidated patient record making interoperability a priority for CIOs. While possible today, this is not yet the norm. Fortunately, though, with the proper project planning and data governance discipline, access to consolidated health records is on the horizon.
  1. Missing patient images: A subset of patient data visibility is imaging.  While there are numerous Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) vendors, most do not provide a single source for all images associated with a patient’s record.  EMRs today do a good job of allowing a doctor to look at a patient’s basic information, but not necessarily all of the related images for that patient, beyond radiology.  Images are most prevalent in radiology, but they’re also becoming increasingly important in other medical specialties from cardiology and OBGYN to surgery and wound care. To be most effective, a patient’s electronic medical records need to include all of these images.  Imaging is also important to the finance offices of hospitals and medical practices for storing patients’ insurance cards, driver’s licenses, etc., which need to be accessed on an as-needed basis.
  1. Not following best practices: One of the chief reasons EMR implementations are viewed as unsuccessful is a lack of adequate user training. Users can “get by” based on what they have taught themselves or learned on the floor from peers, but these practices may not be the most effective way of using the features in a system. In a healthcare organization that combines Lean and Six Sigma approaches to deliver performance improvements, many core processes can be improved.  The goals are to save time and reduce costs and overhead.  Using an objective third party to evaluate clinical and financial workflows and processes helps healthcare organizations optimize the use of their technology and, more importantly, the use of their employee resources.
  1. Failing to consider DR: Because health systems are critically reliant on electronic records, system failure is not an option. EMR downtime can cost thousands of dollars per minute. Business disruption, lost revenue, and most importantly, patient safety are at issue during EMR outages. Besides practicing downtime procedures, it’s important to perform periodic data center assessments to identify areas of weakness that can impact end-user experience.  Failing to address gaps leaves the organization vulnerable to downtime.  Another important area to consider is disaster recovery (DR).  Logicalis encourages healthcare clients to examine whether tapping the cloud for disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) might be right for them.  Cloud providers working with healthcare clients should be HIPAA-certified, and clients should ask if a DRaaS solution employs redundancy so that, if part of the system goes down, it automatically fails over to another system to maintain continuous uptime for the healthcare data system.
  1. Missing out on Meaningful Use 2: Under ARRA’s Stage 1 Meaningful Use, healthcare organizations procured and implemented EMR systems. Now, under Meaningful Use Stage 2, they’ll have to prove they’re using them in very specific ways.  Meaningful Use Stage 2, for example, requires providers to offer patient portals to give patients access to their own healthcare data.  It also requires doctors to be able to perform key tasks such as ordering prescriptions electronically through the medical records of a specific patient.  Providers unable to demonstrate meaningful use through activities like these and others by October 1, 2015, will be penalized 1 percent of their Medicare reimbursements, making this a “use it or lose it” scenario. The good news is, actions can be taken now to ensure organizations are prepared for Meaningful Use attestation.
  1. Lacking in mobility: Like business users, many physicians today want to use their own personal devices – iPads or cell phones – to access EMR and text information. If those devices are not secure, however, then they are in violation of HIPAA rules.  With the wide variety of mobile phones and tablets available to clinicians, putting the right security in place to address each device and individual user may mean turning to an experienced third party that can assess the environment and provide specific solutions. Organizations should also ensure they have a regularly updated personal device usage policy that promotes the use of secure, manageable devices.
  1. Missing out on ICD-10 Readiness: Many institutions have taken a wait-and-see approach to implementing ICD-10, a list of medical classification codes.  The requirement to adopt ICD-10 has been delayed until October 1, 2015, but providers that continue to wait will be ill-prepared to address the huge amount of change ICD-10 will bring to the coding environment.  Moving from ICD-9 will increase classifications from 17,000 codes to 141,000 codes. ICD-10 requires more diagnostic specificity, so doctors may now have to use multiple codes for the same condition. This requires a greater attention to detail and a working knowledge of the codes. Fortunately, through careful thought and planning, providers only need to train clinicians on a small subset of the entire code set. Doing so will avoid assumptions and misinformation and will reduce denied insurance claims and reimbursements.  A thorough assessment, planning, communication and training will give providers the tools they need to prepare for this transition.
  1. Lacking in analytics: Hospitals and medical practices capture and store large volumes of data.  The challenge is locating, integrating, gathering and analyzing that data to improve patient safety, contain costs, increase efficiencies, and improve clinical outcomes.  In healthcare, big data isn’t about choosing a platform. It’s about creating a data governance strategy, rationalizing data, and prioritizing analytics initiatives to make the best use of clinical and financial data.

About Logicalis
Logicalis is an international IT solutions and managed services provider with a breadth of knowledge and expertise in communications and collaboration, data center and cloud services, and managed services.

Logicalis employs nearly 3,700 people worldwide, including highly trained service specialists who design, specify, deploy and manage complex ICT infrastructures to meet the needs of almost 6,000 corporate and public sector customers.  To achieve this, Logicalis maintains strong partnerships with technology leaders such as Cisco, HP, IBM, CA Technologies, EMC, NetApp, Microsoft, VMware and ServiceNow.

The Logicalis Group has annualized revenues of $1.6 billion, from operations in Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific, and is fast establishing itself as one of the leading IT and Communications solution integrators specializing in the areas of advanced technologies and services.

The Logicalis Group is a division of Datatec Limited, listed on the Johannesburg and London AIM Stock Exchanges, with revenues of over $5 billion.

For more information, visit www.us.logicalis.com.

November 11, 2014 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.

Modernizing Medicine Closes First $15M Tranche of Expected $20M Round of Funding

New round of funding led by Summit Partners and Pentland Group is expected to support product development, market expansion and company growth

Boca Raton, Florida – November 11, 2014 – Modernizing Medicine, Inc., the creator of the Electronic Medical Assistant® (EMA™), a cloud-based, specialty-specific electronic medical record (EMR) system, announced that it has closed on approximately $15M of an expected $20M funding round. The latest funding comes from existing investors, led by Summit Partners and Pentland Group, many of whom are medical specialists who use EMA.

“At Modernizing Medicine we believe that properly captured and leveraged health data has the power to increase efficiency, improve patient outcomes and transform healthcare,” said Daniel Cane, CEO and co-founder of Modernizing Medicine. “This latest round of funding reinforces that belief and the strength of our market-differentiating products and services. With the investment we intend to continue focused development in the surgical-specialties, while also committing resources for development in telemedicine, IBM Watson and mobile applications.”

Developed by surgical physicians, EMA contains built-in specialty-specific medical knowledge and workflows. It can be accessed via the Internet virtually anywhere and at any time. This flexible format, combined with EMA’s touch-screen interface and advanced ICD-10 capabilities, gives providers the freedom they need to focus on their patients with the reassurance that charting plus coding for billing can be completed at the point of care.

Currently serving eight different medical specialties, more than 4,000 providers have adopted Modernizing Medicine’s EMA in their practices.

“Healthcare professionals need tailored technologies that make it easy not only to manage but also benefit from the exploding amounts of patient data,” said Michael Sherling, MD, Modernizing Medicine’s co-founder and chief medical officer. “In a relatively short time, we have developed a solution that does just that, enabling us to capture substantial market share and emerge as a physician-favorite EMR system. In the dermatology specialty alone, more than 26 percent of U.S. dermatologists now use EMA.”

Modernizing Medicine continues to be recognized for its exceptional culture, leadership and growth. The company expects its employee base to continue to grow with approximately 100 new positions being created in the next 12-18 months. Co-founders Cane and Sherling were recently honored with the Leadership in Health Care Award by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The company was also named in Red Herring’s Top 100 North America list, which recognizes the top private companies across the continent that are expected to achieve significant growth in the near future.

About Modernizing Medicine

Modernizing Medicine® is transforming how healthcare information is created, consumed and utilized in order to increase efficiency and improve outcomes. Our product, Electronic Medical Assistant® (EMA™), is a cloud-based, specialty-specific electronic medical record (EMR) system with a massive library of built-in medical content. Available as a native iPad application or from almost any web-enabled Mac or PC, EMA adapts to each provider’s unique style of practice and is designed to interface with hundreds of different practice management systems. Today, Modernizing Medicine provides specialty-specific offerings for the dermatology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, otolaryngology, gastroenterology, rheumatology, urology and plastic and cosmetic surgery markets and to more than 1,400 physician practices across the country.

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.

Qualcomm and The George Institute for Global Health Establish the China Center for mHealth Innovation

New Initiative Designed to Support the Development of Community Healthcare and Contribute to Mobile Health Innovation in China

Qualcomm Incorporated, through its Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ initiative, and The George Institute for Global Health, a not-for-profit medical and healthcare research organization dedicated to improving global health, today announced that they are collaborating on the creation of the China Center for mHealth Innovation (CCmHI) to support the Chinese central government’s goal, as stated in the Twelfth Five Year Plan (2011-2015), of improving community healthcare in China.

Hosted by The George Institute for Global Health at Peking University Health Science Center and funded by Qualcomm Wireless Reach, CCmHI is positioned to become a world-class center for mobile health (mHealth) innovation. Working with central and provincial governments, CCmHI will help improve community healthcare in China by developing mHealth solutions, implementing clinical evaluations and contributing to strategies for the implementation and scale-up of effective and affordable mHealth tools.

CCmHI’s main priorities are to:

  • Build Chinese capacity in digital healthcare development and evaluation, including providing opportunities for student internships and fellowships.
  • Develop and evaluate mHealth platforms designed to provide community healthcare workers with evidence-based, personalized guidance about the care of individual patients.
  • Target the 10 leading causes of premature death and disability in China.
  • Provide solutions that are effective in both urban and rural settings.
  • Assist with the integration of mHealth strategies into national and provincial policies and guidelines.
  • Support the development and expanded use of mHealth technologies globally.

Initially, CCmHI will conduct a landscape analysis of digital health policies, laws, standards, programs and research activities in China, all of which will inform CCmHI’s pilot and flagship research efforts. CCmHI aims to develop and field test at least one mHealth program for chronic disease management in its first year, which will lead to larger scale mHealth programs in future years.

China’s Twelfth Five Year Plan (2011-2015) prioritizes the development of affordable, quality, and accessible healthcare for the entire population. CCmHI will contribute to this goal through the development of innovative mobile technology solutions designed to improve community healthcare services. CCmHI aims to support the central government’s deepened commitment to healthcare reform in the Third Plenum late last year, which includes improving technological advancement and development of the healthcare field and strengthening healthcare professionals’ capacity.

With the rapid expansion of mobile internet connectivity across China, the potential exists to affordably create and link sophisticated digital health systems for healthcare workers, electronic health records, point-of-care diagnostics and systems that will enable regional health authorities to monitor and manage the quality and outcomes of community healthcare. Combined with consumer applications that provide tools for self-care using secure data transfer to a cloud-based server, these new digital health systems can enable solutions to healthcare delivery obstacles.

“The George Institute is proud to collaborate with Qualcomm in the establishment of CCmHI as a world-class center for mHealth innovation,” said Stephen MacMahon, Principal Director of The George Institute for Global Health and Honorary Professor of Public Health at the Peking University Health Science Center. “There is a pressing need for fresh approaches to community healthcare in China and globally, particularly in resource-poor areas. CCmHI will address this need by developing new mHealth strategies designed to improve care for individuals at high risk of stroke and other prevalent causes of premature death and disability.”

“Qualcomm appreciates the opportunity to work with The George Institute to help advance community healthcare in China,” said Steve Mollenkopf, chief executive officer, Qualcomm Incorporated. “Since 2006, Wireless Reach has led programs that leverage advanced wireless technologies to achieve economic and social impact in underserved areas throughout China. To date, these programs have directly or indirectly benefitted nearly 850,000 people. Our investment in CCmHI is part of our continuing commitment to improve the lives of Chinese citizens and contribute to the creation of an innovation-based economy in China.”

About The George Institute for Global Health and George Institute China

The George Institute for Global Health is a non-profit medical and healthcare research organization with a mission to improve the health of millions of people worldwide by providing the best evidence to guide critical health decisions, engaging with decision-makers to enact real change, targeting global epidemics – particularly of chronic diseases and injury – and focusing on vulnerable populations in both rich and poor countries. Established in 1999 in Australia and affiliated with The University of Sydney, the Institute today has 4 centres in Australia, China, India and the United Kingdom. It is affiliated with Peking University Health Science Center in China, the University of Hyderabad in India and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

The establishment of the China-Australia Partnership for Health in 2004 marked the beginning of the Institute’s development in China. The George Institute for Global Health China was officially launched in 2007, and in 2012 it was designated an official affiliate of PUHSC.  Today the Institute is one of China’s leading independent health research organizations working in partnership with governments, universities, hospitals and healthcare centres across China.

Globally, The George Institute has projects in more than 50 countries, has raised more than $500 million for global health research, and has been ranked among the top 10 research institutions in the world for scientific impact by the SCImago Institution Rankings World Report in 2011-2013.

About the Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ Initiative

Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ is a strategic initiative that brings wireless technology to underserved communities globally. Wireless Reach invests in projects that foster entrepreneurship, aid in public safety, enhance the delivery of health care, enrich teaching and learning and improve environmental sustainability. Formalized in 2006, Wireless Reach has grown to include 105 projects in 40 countries that use advanced wireless technologies to advance social and economic development. To learn more about the Wireless Reach initiative, please visit our website

November 10, 2014 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.

For HIE Staffing, Connectivity, Data Integrity and Data Integration Positions Difficult to Fill

CHICAGO (November 4, 2014) – As health information organizations (HIOs) continue to mature and evolve, current staffing requirements must be studied to recruit and maintain professional talent.

This is the finding of a new study jointly published by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and HIMSS, “Trends in HIE Organizational Staffing: A Deeper Look at Staffing Challenges.”  Survey participants offered insight into hiring practices for key health IT and health information management (HIM) roles within health information organizations (HIOs).

“As healthcare organizations become increasingly interconnected through health information exchange, it’s important for the industry to understand how to operate health information exchanges for best results,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “This survey will provide valuable insights for those who work in organizations that benefit from sharing health information.”

The 2014 survey focused on three types of positions–related to issues of connectivity, data integrity, and data integration–that were identified as difficult positions to fill.  Key findings from the survey include:

•Growing diversity and range of participants such as payers, behavioral health centers, nursing homes and accountable care organizations
•A shift away from HIOs existing as public entities and toward public/private organizations
•The three focus areas of connectivity, data integrity and data integration can refer to a wide range of job titles and responsibilities across HIO operations
• Some job titles are fluid across two roles such as Database Administrator, Interface Engineer and Project or Implementation Manager
• Education requirements for these roles were generally at the bachelor’s or master’s degree levels, with preference for Computer Science, Health IT, Telecommunications or HIPAA/Security concentrations
• Compensation for the three roles targeted in the 2014 survey was slightly higher than the salary ranges identified for all IT roles in the 2012 survey
• The top ongoing challenges in staffing include cost of living and location of HIO; industry competition for qualified candidates; competitive salary and benefits; and finding individuals with appropriate skill sets.  The HIE organization positions reported to have the highest rates of turnover were Data Administrator, HIE Implementation Manager, HIE Project Manager and Physician Liaison
• Respondents continue to use a combination of staffing approaches ranging from full-time and part-time employees to consultants and contractors
• Referrals are still the primary method for identifying HIE technology candidates, though additional sources such as external searches, recruiting firms and industry conferences or events were referenced by several participants
 
“With the continuous demand for qualified employees in healthcare settings, this updated research can help guide hiring managers and educate potential candidates interested in careers focused on connectivity, data integrity and data integration in an HIE setting,” said Carla Smith, MA, CNM, FHIMSS, Executive Vice President, HIMSS North America.  “The research also may lead professionals in healthcare or other fields to consider a career path in health IT based on current needs in the marketplace.”
 

Access the 2014 report through HIMSS and AHIMA.  For additional discussion on this topic, join the conversation in the HIMSS LinkedIn group and the AHIMA LinkedIn group.

The report is a follow-up to a 2012 survey also jointly published by AHIMA and HIMSS, “Trends in HIE Organizational Staffing: AHIMA/HIMSS Staffing Model Environmental Scan.”

Learn more about the research on the HIMSS Blog with a post from HIMSS and AHIMA.

About AHIMA

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) represents more than 71,000 educated health information management and health informatics professionals in the United States and around the world. AHIMA is committed to promoting and advocating for high quality research, best practices and effective standards in health information and to actively contributing to the development and advancement of health information professionals worldwide. AHIMA’s enduring goal is quality healthcare through quality information.www.ahima.org

About HIMSS

HIMSS is a global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT). HIMSS leads efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information technology. HIMSS is a cause-based, global enterprise producing 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 this cause. HIMSS, headquartered in Chicago, serves the global health IT community with additional offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

November 4, 2014 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.