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June 20, 2016 News No Comments

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HHS announces $100 million in funding over the next five years to help qualified organizations assist small and solo practices implement value-based care programs (including health IT) under MACRA, especially providers in rural and underserved areas, and communities facing a shortage of healthcare professionals.


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June 28 (Tuesday) 2:00 ET. “Your Call Is Very Important.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenters: Cyndy Orrys, contact center director, Henry Ford Health System; Brian Cooper, SVP, West Interactive. The contact center is a key hub of patient engagement and a strategic lever for driving competitive advantage. Cyndy will share how her organization’s call center is using technologies and approaches that create effortless patient experiences in connecting them to the right information or resource. Brian will describe five key characteristics of a modern call center and suggest how to get started.

Contact Lorre for webinar services. Past webinars are on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel. Be sure to ask for her “Summer Doldrums Special” that we always run through Labor Day and you’ll get a great deal.

Announcements and Implementations


Panorama Orthopedics & Spine Center (CO) selects care coordination technology from PinpointCare to help oversee its OrthoPlus program, part of the Medicare Bundled Payments for Care Improvement BPCI initiative. (Check out my January 2016 interview with Panorama Orthopedics & Spine Center COO Lance Goudzwaard here.)


Kinney Drugs, the drug-store division of KPH Healthcare Services, joins the HealtheConnections RHIO in New York, linking medication prescribed with medications picked up at over 70 New York Kinney Drugs stores.  


The International Union of Engineers opens a clinic for its 4,500 Kansas City, KS members and retirees. Kansas City-based Cerner will run the clinic, one of 40 employer-based clinics it oversees across the country.


House call technology company TrueCare24 develops an AI-based messenger bot that can find and schedule healthcare appointments for users. Baymax (a nod to Big Hero 6, perhaps?) integrates with Facebook Messenger, Slack, and Skype to connect users with primary care.



Robert Cohen (Evolent Health) joins Appriss as president of its Healthcare Division.



Columbia, SC-based Doctors Care PA develops and launches a direct-to-consumer telemedicine service to complement its chain of 55 urgent care practices. The company first began using telemedicine two years ago at several of its busiest locations to minimize wait times.

Government and Politics

HRSA will provide a $250,000 annual grant for up to three years to help state medical boards join and implement the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. An initiative of the Federation of State Medical Boards, compact members will work to develop and implement an expedited licensing process for physicians looking to practice medicine across state lines. Seventeen states have joined the initiative thus far. Pennsylvania will likely make 18; legislation related to joining the compact passed the House late last week.


Athenahealth SVP and General Counsel Dan Haley explains why the company has not – and will not – sign ONC’s transparency pledge, which in Haley’s words, “requir[e] adherents first to promise to provide the free market with accurate and transparent pricing and functionality information; and second, to bury market-facing communications in mandatory disclosures intended to vindicate that first part.” Haley lists the bevy of government pledges that have conspired to force the industry to follow federal rules under the guise of positive PR, including the Blue Button Pledge and Interoperability Pledge, concluding that, “it might be time to draw a line by taking a Pledge Against Pledges.”


Yes, those hazy days of summer cookouts are upon us. In case you were wondering, Y93.G2 refers to “Activity, grilling and smoking food,” while Y93.G9 refers to “Activity, other involving cooking and grilling.”



Google rolls out “symptom search,” a new smart phone feature for its Search app developed with help from Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic. Users will now see “digital cards” pop up below the search box with (presumably) more precise information relevant to their healthcare-related query. “A lot of times, what people find scares the daylights out of them,” says AAFP President Wanda Filer, MD “so if these Google cards can add context, that’s going to help doctors and patients out tremendously.”


Sad but true: Columbia University and French National Institute computer scientists discover that 59 percent of social media links have never been clicked, meaning that most people share content without ever reading it. While I’m a big believer in the power of Twitter, I do realize it can turn into a news-cycle vacuum, with one small group of [insert niche here] tweeters inadvertently controlling the type and volume of information shared. That being said, there’s only so much time in the day, and it’s far more convenient (though not necessarily prudent) to share content you think your network will like than to vet it beforehand. Researcher Arnaud Legout backs me up: “This is typical of modern information consumption. People form an opinion based on a summary, or a summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.” That being said, I encourage you to click on the links in this post so that you can dig deeper via the original source.

Sponsor Updates

  • Nordic receives RightSourcing’s Gold Supplier Award.



JenniferMr. H, Lorre, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg

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