CMS,Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,PPACA

CMS Awards $8.6 Million in Funding to States to Help Stabilize Markets

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded $8.6 million in funding to 30 states and the District of Columbia to provide State insurance regulators with the opportunity to enhance States’ ability to strengthen their respective health insurance markets through innovative measures that support market reforms and consumer protections under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). States can use the funds for activities such as:

  • Conducting economic analyses and market scans of the State’s health insurance market to improve and expand the number of affordable healthcare coverage options under new flexibilities offered to states by CMS guidance and regulations; and
  • Examining plan policies, procedures and claims related data related to access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment services, including opioid treatment services.

“These grants build on CMS’s ongoing efforts to give states the tools and flexibility they need to help people struggling to afford the year over year premium increases caused by Obamacare regulations,” said  CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “We recognize that States are in the best position to assess the needs of their consumers and develop innovative measures to ensure access to affordable health coverage. These grants make yet another down payment on our work to enhance States’ ability to stabilize and improve their respective health insurance markets.”

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consumerization,Generation Z,Millennials,patient experience,satisfaction surveys

Paving the road to consumerized healthcare – and better patient experiences – in the United States and beyond

Robbie Hughes, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Lumeon

Written by: Robbie Hughes, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Lumeon

When you think of one industry in particular that has mastered the creation of a seamless, digitally integrated experience for the customer journey – with automated coordination across all stakeholders and touchpoints – what comes to mind?

Despite the criticism that it receives, the airline industry can be considered a success when it comes to its ability to orchestrate the customer’s journey and improve customer experience. Gone are the days when a passenger would call a travel agent to book or manage their itinerary. We now research, book and manage flights digitally though a website or app. This allows us to check-in, upgrade and receive loyalty benefits, and keeps us up-to-date with real-time flight status, from check-in times to delays, all the way through to compensation, rebooking and satisfaction surveys. In other words, airlines are seamlessly connecting what could otherwise be a highly fragmented journey for their traveller – from exploring flight options, to completing a journey, and everything in between.

Online services now provide consumers with a simple, elegant experience, while the true sophistication happens seamlessly in the background by automating and orchestrating the engagement, with business processes and fluid data exchange. This sort of seamless and automatic, digital experience is exactly what consumers have come to expect from everything they touch in their daily lives.

Healthcare is no exception. The industry is in the midst of a movement toward the consumerization of the industry, largely driven by Millennials and Generation Z who are accustomed to our new world of always-on, instant service.

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Halifax Health,sepsis,Vocera,Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer and Vocera arm Halifax Health with rapid sepsis identification solutions for improved patient outcomes and safety

Wolters Kluwer Health and Vocera Communications,  (VCRA) have teamed to arm Halifax Health with a high-powered surveillance solution to advance its battle against sepsis. Linking the real-time clinical surveillance and analytics of the POC Advisor platform with Vocera’s hands-free communications technology and mobile app accelerates the diagnosis of sepsis and the timely delivery of patient-specific advice to nurses and other clinical staff at the point of care.

“Time is the enemy when it comes to sepsis, with the likelihood of death increasing by 8 percent for each hour that passes without treatment,” said Ginny Kwong, M.D., Vice President and Chief Medical Information Officer for Halifax Health. “Complicating early diagnosis is the need to aggregate data scattered across multiple clinical systems before it can be analyzed, and the results communicated to the point of care in a meaningful way.

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clinical process improvement solutions,LogicStream Health,UnityPoint Health

UnityPoint Health achieves early success with LogicStream health clinical process improvement solutions

MINNEAPOLIS – August 15, 2017 – LogicStream Health announced today that UnityPoint Health® is
already realizing the impact of its Clinical Process Improvement solutions on core initiatives, less than
three months after implementation. The West Des Moines, Iowa-based health system is leveraging
LogicStream to optimize its electronic health record (EHR) and understand its current EHR build.

“LogicStream gives us the ability to inform operational decisions and answer complicated questions
around record-usage data captured from the EHR. These are questions we’ve asked previously, but were
never able to answer in real-time,” said Denise Gomez, chief nursing informatics officer at UnityPoint
Health. “With self-service access to LogicStream, we’re able to look at things like sepsis screenings and
compare protocol utilization to evidence-based best practices in real-time. This makes our teams
extremely efficient at making high-quality, data-driven decisions.”

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Children's Medical Center,InstaMed

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center selects InstaMed for seamless and secure patient payments

PHILADELPHIA, PA and NEWPORT BEACH, CA (August 8, 2017) – InstaMed, healthcare’s most trusted payments network, has been selected by Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, a nationally recognized not-for-profit children’s hospital in Hartford, CT, as the organization’s healthcare payments solution. Connecticut Children’s will join more than 100 Epic organizations using InstaMed to deliver a fully integrated patient payment experience that allows guarantors to quickly and easily pay their medical bills anytime, anywhere.

Connecticut Children’s commitment to family-centered care, quality and respect led them to seek new ways to improve and simplify the payment experience for both staff and guarantors. The organization sought a solution that seamlessly integrated within their Epic system and met the highest levels of security while being able to meet an aggressive implementation timeline. The InstaMed and Connecticut Children’s teams collaborated to achieve Connecticut Children’s goals. The entire process was completed within sixty days, from Connecticut Children’s first contact with InstaMed through the go live of patient payments integrated into Epic. InstaMed’s status as a PCI Level One Service Provider, P2PE Validated Solution Provider, HITRUST certified, EMV certified and HIPAA compliant allows Connecticut Children’s to deliver a secure and compliant healthcare payments experience that reduces their PCI scope and minimizes compliance costs and inefficiencies.
“Our steadfast focus is to make the patient and family experience at Connecticut Children’s the best one possible, so we need things like the payment process to be seamless and easy for both our staff and guarantors,” said Peter Borla, Corporate Controller, Connecticut Children’s. “The team at InstaMed understood our requirements and our Epic software and was able to design a fast implementation that immediately delivered results and never distracted or hindered our staff or processes.”
“Seamless payment experiences in other industries are creating strong consumer demand for a better healthcare payments experience,” said Bill Marvin, President and CEO of InstaMed. “We are thrilled to welcome Connecticut Children’s to the InstaMed Network. Serving the needs of children’s hospitals and the incredible work they do is a special mission for me and for all of the employees at InstaMed. We are proud that 9 of the top 10 ranked children’s hospitals in the country are on the InstaMed Network.”

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Alzheimer's,Diagnostic Biomarkers of Alzheimer's Disease as Identified in Saliva using 1H NMR-Based Metabolomics,ecognizing early Alzheimer's disease,saliva

Diagnostic biomarkers in saliva show promise in recognizing early Alzheimer’s disease

Your spit may hold a clue to future brain health. Investigators at the Beaumont Research Institute, part of Beaumont Health in Michigan, are hopeful that their study involving small molecules in saliva will help identify those at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease – a neurologic condition predicted to reach epidemic proportions worldwide by 2050.

Their study, “Diagnostic Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease as Identified in Saliva using 1H NMR-Based Metabolomics” was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Investigators found salivary molecules hold promise as reliable diagnostic biomarkers.

The study exemplifies the quest by scientists to combat Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain disorder with no cure and few reliable diagnostic tests. In the United States, Alzheimer’s is a health epidemic affecting more than 5 million Americans. Investigators seek to develop valid and reliable biomarkers, diagnosing the disease in its earliest stages before brain damage occurs and dementia begins.

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Los Angeles Times,The Associated Press,The New York Times,The Star Tribune,The Washington Post,USA Today

The very real possibility of making babies from skin cells offers tantalizing hope, ethical quandaries

Researchers say in vitro gametogenesis — creating babies from skin cells — is only a couple decades away from being possible. That means a gay couple could have a child genetically related to both parents, but it also means someone could for all intents and purposes clone themselves. In other public health news: teens and mental health, maternal age, superbugs in hospitals, knee pain and more.

The New York Times: Babies from skin cells? Prospect is unsettling to some experts
Nearly 40 years after the world was jolted by the birth of the first test-tube baby, a new revolution in reproductive technology is on the horizon — and it promises to be far more controversial than in vitro fertilization ever was. Within a decade or two, researchers say, scientists will likely be able to create a baby from human skin cells that have been coaxed to grow into eggs and sperm and used to create embryos to implant in a womb. (Lewin, 5/16)

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American Academy of Actuaries,American Journal of Managed Care,billing,Health Affairs,Medicaid,telemedicine,The Kaiser Family Foundation

Research Roundup: Wait times; Telemedicine for mental health; Medicaid waivers

Each week, KHN compiles a selection of recently released health policy studies and briefs.

Health Affairs: Outpatient office wait times and quality of care for medicaid patients
We analyzed data on twenty-one million outpatient visits obtained from electronic health record systems, which allowed us to measure time spent in the waiting room beyond the scheduled appointment time. Median wait time was a little more than four minutes. Almost one-fifth of visits had waits longer than twenty minutes, and 10 percent were more than thirty minutes. Waits were shorter for early-morning appointments, for younger patients, and at larger practices. Median wait time was 4.1 minutes for privately insured patients and 4.6 minutes for Medicaid patients. After adjustment for patient and appointment characteristics, Medicaid patients were 20 percent more likely than the privately insured patients to wait longer than twenty minutes, with most of this disparity explained by differences in practices and providers they saw. (Oostrom, Einav and Finkelstein, 5/1)

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Boston Medical Center,DataNext,National Center for Biotechnology Information,pharmacy-based analytics

Could pharmacy-based analytics finally address the paradox of reducing costs while improving quality?

Dawn DeAngelo, Chief Pharmacy Officer, Sentry Data Systems

Written by: Dawn DeAngelo
The National Center for Biotechnology Information recently reported that patient-centered care has made it to center stage in discussions of quality, particularly as insurance payments are increasingly linked to that provision. Clinicians, who have always worked with the best interests of their patients in mind, must now also consider a patient’s holistic care and drug regimens, especially with the industry-wide push for healthcare organizations to produce better outcomes. By reviewing a patient’s overall care and length of stay, and not just a drug’s cost, hospitals can begin to more fully understand trends and make more informed decisions.

Costs, charges and reimbursement, then, must be monitored very closely, and interdependencies between pharmacy and revenue integrity clearly understood. One way to accomplish this goal is through a comprehensive, real-time, patient data set that can provide the transparency needed to gain insights from pharmacy costs, charges and reimbursements, so hospital leadership can take costs out of the system and improve quality of care. That’s why so many of us are hopeful about the future of pharmacy-based analytics, which has the potential to truly transform how health systems care for patients by unlocking insights not found anywhere else.

By aggregating claims with clinical and granular pharmacy data into a longitudinal patient data intelligence platform, healthcare organizations are beginning to gain access to tools that enable them to run evidence-based algorithms against the data to deliver actionable insights into their clinical, operational and financial processes, in near real-time. These targeted results can identify and address pharmacy-related opportunities to lower costs, capture additional revenue, manage utilization, reduce diversion, and improve quality.

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cybersecurity,Information Security at MEDITECH,Protected Health Information

Cybersecurity: 5 ways to keep your EHR data as safe as your patients

The hacking business has hit retail establishments, financial institutions, and now, more than ever, healthcare. It can get overwhelming when you see headlines of healthcare organizations getting attacked with ransomware, malware, viruses, loss of patient records, and all sorts of cybersecurity breaches.

The potential solutions and vendor options to protect your organization can cost a lot of money and can be overwhelmingly technical. What can you do? While it’s not possible to have absolutely perfect cybersecurity, here are 5 simple ways that can help you keep patient data safe.

1. Keep calm and assess the risk.

Don’t overreact. Doing an internal risk assessment is an essential step in looking at the likelihood and impact of potential threats. Identify what your organization has that’s valuable, vulnerable, and exposed. Make a list and then look at what probability or likelihood each has to an attack. If something were to happen, assess what financial, social, and economic impact it may have. For each risk area you identify, determine if you will mitigate (buy a control), transfer (buy cyber insurance for the gap), avoid (remove the vulnerability), or accept (perhaps it’s not cost effective to prevent).

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