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June 6, 2011 News No Comments

6-6-2011 7-24-50 AM 6-6-2011 7-23-29 AM

Merge Healthcare acquires Ophthalmic Imaging Systems (OIS) for approximately $30.3 million in stock. OIS’s products include OIS EMR and PM, as well as EMR and PM products through its Abraxas Medical Solutions subsidiary.

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EMR costs make adoption difficult for small practices, even with incentives. That was the general consensus of several speakers who testified last week for the House Small Business Committee’s healthcare and technology subcommittee. Sasha Kramer MD, a solo dermatologist from Washington state, summarized the situation nicely:

HIT holds promise as a tool to increase quality and efficiency in the health system. However, there are significant barriers to full-scale adoption and implementation of HIT – specifically, cost, regulatory barriers, financial penalties, an unpredictable marketplace and system integration. It is imperative that Congress ensure small physician practices are able to make the investment in technology that will enable the American healthcare delivery system to coordinate care and make a measurable impact on quality without imposing overly burdensome procedures or failed financial investments upon physician practices.

Meanwhile, AHRQ announces plans to conduct a two-year, $425,000 study of the barriers Medicaid providers encounter in trying to achieve Meaningful Use. Note to AHRQ: save some money and see above because I bet the issues are basically the same.

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Boston Laser implements Sage Portal for online appointment scheduling, registration, and messaging.

RIS/PACS provider DR Systems announces plans to release a fully certified ambulatory EHR for imaging specialists later this year.

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The AMA names James L. Madara, MD as EVP and CEO. He served as dean at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and as CEO of the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Practice Fusion earns full ONC-ATCB certification.

Adena Health System (OH) picks eClinicalWorks EHR for its 150 employed physicians, as well as non-affiliated community practices.

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Ingenix says its transition to its new name, OptumInsight, is complete.

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Consulting and implementation services firm MD Solutions partners with dashboardMD to enhance its analytics reporting offerings.

Every so often I am reminded how expensive EMRs can be and that EMR can be big business. Case in point: the 15-provider Great Hudson Valley Family Health Center (NY) recently completed a $1 million implementation of GE Centricity. The practice claims that $500,000 was related to training costs. The FQHC includes 11 physicians and four NP/PAs, so the total cost was about $67K per (primary care) provider.

e-MDs says that 21 of its provider clients in Texas have already received Medicaid EHR incentive checks.

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Danbury Orthopedic Associates (CT) selects SRS EHR for its 20 provider practice.

CMS issues a proposed rule allowing certain qualified organizations access to patient-protected Medicare data on providers and hospitals. The intent would be for the qualified entities to combine the Medicare data with information from private carriers to evaluate provider performance, and presumably help consumers and employers make better healthcare decisions.

CMS releases a list of providers who have received Medicare EHR Incentive payments. If I were a provider, I am not sure I’d love having this information available for the world to view, even if the money does come from taxpayers.

IPAs may make a resurgence as doctors look for ways to unite with larger systems for the purpose of forming ACOs. The IPA model lost favor about 10 years ago and in many cases became financially unviable. IPAs may be a better solution today, as providers consider options for sharing savings and risk and collecting quality metrics on specific populations. I’ve always known that healthcare and fashion had many similarities. In honor of the returning IPA, I think I will pull out my stone-washed jeans.

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