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January 6, 2014 News No Comments

1-6-2014 1-46-58 PM

McKesson announces the general availability of its Paragon Ambulatory Care Practice Management solution, which is an extension of its single database HIS for inpatient facilities and designed for hospital-owned practices. I understand the PM module was developed internally, as opposed to a bolt-on of one of McKesson’s acquired products and that an EHR module is also in the works. Sounds like McKesson is positioning itself to compete with Epic and Cerner in the IDN space.

A 16-provider dermatology practice in Massachusetts agrees to a $150,000 payment and a corrective action plan after admitting to potential HIPAA violations. In October, 2011 an unencrypted thumb containing the PHI of 2,200 patients was stolen from an employee’s car. The provider promptly reported the breach to HHS and patients; HHS then informed the practice that the Office of Civil Rights would launch a compliance review. The OCR concluded that the practice had not conducted an accurate and thorough analysis of potential risk and vulnerabilities as part of its security management process; failed to have written policies and procedures for in compliance with the Breach Notification Rule; and, had not trained its employees on security processes.  The lesson for practices: encrypt those thumb drives, perform risk assessments, and be in compliance with policy and training requirements.

The majority of patients using a txt4health diabetes awareness app reported the tool made them more likely to make diet-related behavior changes and lose weight, though only 39 percent of the participants completed the 14 week program. Researchers concluded that the text messaging program has “potential to significantly influence people’s health habits,” but admits it “may not be appropriate for everyone.”

In a Kaiser Permanente study also involving diabetics, researchers found patients that refilled their medications using online portals increased their medication adherence and improved their cholesterol levels. Medication non-adherence and poorly controlled cholesterol declined six percent among exclusive users of the online refill function, compared to occasional users or non-users.

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University Hospital (GA) reports that 16,000 patients from University and its affiliated practices are accessing their medical records through the health system’s Epic patient portal.

HIMSS Analytics awards 14 ambulatory clinics associated with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (OH) with Stage 7 Ambulatory Awards for EMR adoption. Children’s also earned Stage 7 for its inpatient setting.

Brightree and athenahealth will coordinate the patient referral process for providers using athenaClinicals and athenaCoordinator services and post-acute providers using Brightree’s clinical and billing platform.

Good news for telehealth providers: as of January 1, a new Montana law requires state-regulated insurance companies to reimburse providers for telehealth services at the same rate as in-person visits.

1-6-2014 4-55-09 PM

Speaking of telehealth, the California-based Telecure is waiving its $25 telemedicine visit fee for patients who share details of the experience on Twitter or Facebook. The company’s CEO says Telecure is wanting to raise “awareness of alternative ways of receiving quality healthcare.” Am I the only person who is more leery of  taking advantage of medical care that is discounted to “free” versus?

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City estimates that 55 percent of area physicians are now employed by hospitals, including virtually all cardiologists and most cancer specialists. Dr. Gregg, by the way, provides some insight on why many physicians are choosing to ignore the trend and remain independent.

Almost three-fourths of physicians using EHRs in 2011 reported clinical benefits, according to a Health Services Research report. The majority of physicians said the EHR alerted them of a potential medication error or critical lab value, while one-third claimed the EHR helped identify needed tests or communicate with patients.

1-6-2014 1-43-00 PM

The School of Business at the University of Miami and CareCloud launch CareCloud Scholars, a program to engage graduate students with South Florida’s healthcare community and promote healthcare innovation.

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