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October 5, 2009 News No Comments

Almost one in four providers are using e-prescribing, according a Surescripts report, which also predicts that its own user base of 74,000 will more than double by the end of 2009. Great growth, but three out of four providers apparently don’t find the 2% Medicare bonus enough incentive to make the switch.

Wondering about how adding an EMR will affect your staffing? As this AMA article points out, the effect on staffing is not clear cut.  Some practices are able to reduce staff after implementing an EMR; others add staff, especially if the EMR facilitates practice growth. An implementation expert from Sage suggests that the staffing outcome will vary depending on the practice’s goal for automating: if the goal is to reduce costs, the end result will look much different than if implementation is to improve quality of care or to change a practice’s branding.

heart of tx

The local paper recognizes Heart of Texas Community Health Center for its recent Davies Award of Excellence. My favorite line comes from the clinic’s medical director, who likely had to explain to lots of folks what the Davies is all about: “It’s kind of like winning an Emmy or something.” The health center won the Davies for its ability to demonstrate how technology improved patient care.


athenahealth signs an agreement to purchase AnodyneHealth Partners, a SaaS business intelligence provider. Anodyne will continue to market its BI solution as a standalone product. In addition, athenahealth plans to integrate the service into the athenaCollector platform. The merger agreement includes a cash payment of $22.3 million with the potential for additional consideration of $7.7 million, based on the achievement of certain business and financial milestones. Anodyne has traditionally served large and enterprise-size medical groups. I’m sure athenahealth would like to increase its profile in the large clinic world.

RCM provider ZirMed introduces a new denial management and decision support solution. ZirMed Analytics is designed to help providers with payer- and patient-related revenue issues.

Revenues from medical practices fell 1.9% in 2008, the first nationwide decline in years, according to an MGMA survey. Seems as if the overall reduction in overhead expenses (1.4%) was not enough to compensate for smaller patient volumes and rising patient bad debt (which grew 13% from 2006 to 2008). The findings are based on data from 33,000 providers.


I am heading out to Denver over the weekend to attend MGMA. Look for our Must-See Vendors guide later this week, plus daily coverage while I am there. In looking at the agenda, I was disappointed by the limited number of sessions dedicated to HIT (or maybe the names were so clever that I wasn’t clear on the topics). In any case, I am open to suggestions on sessions to attend. I will, of course, also be making the rounds on the exhibit floor, looking for souvenirs to lug home. Speaking of which, our HIStalk and HIStalk Practice sponsors should have some cool-looking magnets to hand out, so look for the sponsor signs. Dr. Gregg Alexander was our creative genius who designed the magnets, which are sure to be collector items one day.

Two companies that go by clever acronyms form an alliance to help providers with collection efforts before they become bad debt. Internet Payment Exchange (IPayX) provides electronic billing and payment technology and Accelerated Revenue Management (ARM) Solutions offers soft collection capabilities. ARM Solutions will be integrated into the IPayX eInvoice Delivery Service and eCareView Healthcare Billing Portal.

This doctor doesn’t mind using a computer: a former pediatrician is ordered to appear before North Carolina’s medical board, charged with failing to report his DWI arrest and for using the PC of a practice for which he was working to write pornographic stories.

Data on tens of thousands of physicians could be compromised when unencrypted information was stored on a personal laptop that was later stolen. The physician data included personal information, including Social Security numbers, but no patient data.

AHIP and BCBSA team up to create an online tool that gives providers the ability to check patient eligibility with eight major health insurers via a single Web portal. Two pilot projects are set to begin, one in Florida and the other in Ohio.


E-mail Inga.

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