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ADVANCE Perspectives: Healthcare Information Professionals

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust selects Allscripts for Fully Integrated Health IT Solution
December 21, 2016 12:17 PM by ADVANCE Perspectives
By ADVANCE Perspectives
 
United Kingdom—The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust has selected Allscripts fully integrated health IT solution to help achieve its objective to become a fully digital hospital. The Trust, a long-term user of the Allscripts Patient Administration System (PAS), will adopt Allscripts Sunrise as its new electronic health record (EHR) and the Allscripts dbMotion Solution to provide community-wide interoperability.
 
The Trust currently uses the Allscripts PAS to support all aspects of patient management and care. By adding Allscripts Sunrise, combined with Allscripts dbMotion, the Trust will create a community-aware EHR that can share harmonized patient information across care providers, to enable better informed, safer and more efficient care to its 450,000 patient population.
 
“Allscripts has proven to be a supportive and innovative partner,” said Mark Stanton, CIO at the Trust. “We are delighted to extend our relationship further as we take this next step in our strategy for digital excellence.”
 
Used by hospitals and health systems around the world, Allscripts Sunrise is a highly configurable EHR that offers workflows to help drive adoption of clinical decision support, which can lead to improved patient outcomes. Allscripts dbMotion is a data connectivity and harmonization solution that helps healthcare organizations meaningfully share data across disparate systems within clinicians’ workflows.
 
“The Dudley Group is among the UK’s most forward-looking healthcare providers, and we are delighted to be selected to help achieve their objectives of transforming the delivery of care to their community,” said Steven Brain, Vice President and Managing Director, Allscripts, UK. “We are confident our partnership will equip the Trust with the tools it needs to better manage the care of both individuals and populations of patients.”
 
To learn more about Allscripts, visit www.allscripts.com.

1 comments »     
Zelis Healthcare Announces New Addition to Executive Team
October 28, 2016 12:07 PM by ADVANCE Perspectives

By ADVANCE Perspectives

 

Bedminster, NJ and Atlanta, GA — Zelis Healthcare, a market-leading healthcare information technology company, is pleased to announce that John Camperlengo, Esq., is the new general counsel and chief compliance officer of Zelis Healthcare.

 

Mr. Camperlengo has served as the top legal executive for privately-held and publicly-traded healthcare and finance firms for more than 25 years. Previously, he was general counsel and chief compliance officer at Quartet Health where he oversaw legal, compliance and risk management departments.

 

Mr. Camperlengo was also previously general counsel, chief compliance officer and corporate secretary of Gentiva Health Services, chief compliance officer for drug chain Duane Reade Holdings and he held senior legal positions with Prudential.

 

Earlier in his career, Mr. Camperlengo was a military judge advocate for the Marine Corps. He retired holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. “We look forward to John’s contributions as a member of our executive team,” said Doug Klinger, CEO of Zelis Healthcare.

 

“I am excited to be joining Zelis Healthcare,” said Mr. Camperlengo. “I look forward to bringing my diverse experiences and legal expertise to the Zelis team and to supporting our efforts to achieve growth objectives and ensure our client experiences continue to remain extremely positive.”

 

To learn more about Zelis Healthcare, visit www.zelis.com.

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Verisma Launches First Online Request App Tailored to Patients and Requestors
September 16, 2016 11:43 AM by ADVANCE Perspectives

By ADVANCE Perspectives

 

Verisma, a provider of release of information (ROI) automation systems, announced this week the launch of an industry first: the Verisma Request App (VRA). This self-service online request solution is targeted to the specific needs of not just patients, but all types of requestors. VRA gives healthcare providers an additional tool for improving patient satisfaction by making the medical records request process available 24/7. Ultimately VRA is intended to facilitate not only automated requests, but also automated fulfillment of requests.

 

One of the challenges with paper authorization forms is they don’t educate the patients and their representatives about what they are signing, so VRA helps providers mitigate this risk by including easy-to-understand, customizable descriptions with hyperlinks to additional information.

 

Verisma brings disclosure management security and compliance with the introduction of VRA, as the solution is designed for 100% compliance with HIPAA, the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA). It requires multi-factor authentication and digital signature without making the processes burdensome to the patient or the patient’s representative.

 

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Once the patient or their representative submits the online form, the data automatically creates a transaction in Verisma Release Manager (VRM) — the company’s flagship ROI Automation offering — thereby eliminating a significant number of steps performed on the front-end by the Release of Information Specialist. Since VRM and VRA are EHR-neutral, the request is easily fulfilled regardless of where the records reside (current EHR, legacy EHR, paper, or off-site storage).

 

“Verisma is innovating release of information from the patient’s perspective,” explained Andrew McManus, senior vice president of Verisma. “With VRA, hospitals will experience substantial ROI workflow efficiencies and greater productivity for their HIM departments. VRA significantly decreases the time, and in some cases the costs, for patients to receive their records. Overall, VRA is an automated medical records request process that maintains compliance and security, and ultimately improves requestor, patient, and provider satisfaction.”

 

ADVANCE Opinion Poll: What is your accuracy rate for ICD-10 coding after the first six months?

 

“VRA represents a big step forward for patients seeking greater access to their medical records beyond the data points available in EHR portals,” states Linda Kloss, RHIA, a health information thought leader and member of the Verisma Strategic Advisory Board. “It is also a big advance for ROI management.  Productivity and cost control are essential in ROI today, but they can’t be achieved at the expense of compliance shortcuts.”

 

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Zelis Healthcare Adds Steven Wolinsky, MD, to Executive Team
September 2, 2016 8:36 AM by ADVANCE Perspectives

By Tamer Abouras

 

Zelis Healthcare, a leader in health information technology, has announced that Steven Wolinsky, MD, is joining the company’s executive team as its new chief medical officer. Wolinsky’s knowledge, experience and longstanding relationships within the field will help power growth for Zelis in Claims Integrity, as well as across the board.

 

Wolinsky is board certified in Internal Medicine, with 32 years of experience working with payers and providers to improve healthcare access, quality and cost.

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Wolinsky previously served as senior medical director at Horizon Blue Cross of New Jersey. In that role, he was a key leader focused on driving integrated care, population health, medical cost control, clinical informatics and health economics operations.

 

Wolinsky has also served as senior medical director for Empire BlueCross of New York and Anthem, proving each time to be a key leader focused on driving medical policy, medical cost control and provider network relationship operations. Prior to those executive roles, Wolinsky founded and operated primary care practices in New Jersey.

 

Wolinsky is a Summa *** Laude graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and earned an MD at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He completed post-graduate training at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York.

 

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Wolinsky to our Zelis Healthcare senior executive leadership team,” said Doug Klinger, CEO of Zelis Healthcare. “In addition to his personal experience as a primary care provider, his expertise in provider reimbursements and medical cost control brings incomparable value to Zelis Healthcare and its clients. His proven leadership will undoubtedly enrich our Claims Integrity team and our leadership team, and he is positioned well to drive enhancements to our current offerings and develop new products and services.”

 

ADVANCE Opinion Poll: What is your overall accuracy rate for ICD-10 coding after the first six months?

 

“I look forward to joining Zelis Healthcare in an effort to enhance teams, products and services and ensure our goals with regard to growth objectives and client satisfaction are achieved,” added Wolinsky.

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Surescripts Passes Amazon & Uber
August 18, 2016 9:03 AM by ADVANCE Perspectives

By ADVANCE Perspectives

 

Surescripts, the nation’s leading health information network, processed 9.7 billion secure health data transactions in 2015 — a 48% increase over 2014 — according to data in the company’s 2015 National Progress Report. With an average of 3.8 million electronic prescriptions in the United States each day, Surescripts surpassed the daily number of Amazon packages shipped (1.4 million) and Uber rides taken (2 million) worldwide.

 

During 2015, the Surescripts network connected more than 1 million healthcare professionals and provided access to information on more than 240 million patients. Additionally in 2015, 77% of all prescriptions were digital — up from 67% in 2014, and 58% in 2013 — as more doctors ditch the paper prescription pad in favor of e-prescribing.

 

Surescripts’ 2015 National Progress Report shows that healthcare providers are increasingly using technology that’s connected to the Surescripts network to securely exchange clinical data. Last year, the Surescripts network processed 1.4 billion electronic prescriptions, 1.05 billion medication histories and 15.3 million clinical messages, indicating tremendous growth in secure access to and sharing of patient health information between doctors, pharmacists, hospitals and health plans.

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The number of providers enabled to use electronic prescribing of controlled substances increased 359% in 2015, resulting in a more than 600% increase in e-prescriptions for these critical medications that require greater security and scrutiny to prevent fraud and abuse. In December 2015, opioids, which include painkillers like morphine and oxycodone, comprised 32% of all controlled substance e-prescriptions. Opioid overdose killed over 28,000 Americans in 2014 and leads the nation’s drug abuse epidemic as the number-one cause of preventable death, according to the CDC

 

Since 2010, the number of medication histories processed by Surescripts more than quadrupled, potentially saving hospitals more than $400 million, and helping to prevent more than 25,000 patient readmissions and more than 15,000 adverse drug events in 2015 alone. With medical errors estimated as the third-leading cause of death in the United States, access to a patient’s medication history at the point of care is key to improving the medication reconciliation process and preventing errors.

 

ADVANCE Opinion Poll: What is your overall accuracy rate for ICD-10 coding after the first six months?

 

In 2015, Surescripts continued to expand its network capabilities and connections. The company entered new and underserved markets like long-term and post-acute care, and enabled in-demand functionality like electronic prior authorization and patient record sharing. Surescripts is in the early adopter phase of its National Record Locator Service, a first-of-its-kind service that gives providers a fast and easy way to locate and exchange patient records. This ensures that providers have a more complete view of a patient’s health history, no matter where in the country the patient received care.

 

To view the 2015 National Progress Report, visit www.surescripts.com/report.

 

[Source: BusinessWire]

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Tapping Crowd-Sourced Data Unearths a Trove of Depression Genes
August 5, 2016 7:00 AM by ADVANCE Perspectives

By ADVANCE Perspectives

 

Here’s a look at some interesting research on gene typing released by the National Institutes of Health this week.

 

(NIH) — Scientists have discovered 15 genome sites — the first ever — linked to depression in people of European ancestry. Many of these regions of depression-linked genetic variation turn out to be involved in regulating gene expression and the birth of new neurons in the developing brain.

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But – in a twist – the researchers didn’t have to sequence anyone’s genes. Instead, they analyzed data already shared by people who had purchased their own genetic profiles via an online service and elected to participate in its research option. This made it possible to leverage the statistical power of a huge sample size to detect weak genetic signals associated with a diagnosis likely traceable to multiple underlying illness processes.

 

This novel use of crowd-sourced data was confirmed with results from traditional genetics approaches in the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health.

 

Roy Perlis, MD, MSC, of Harvard/Massachusetts General Hospital — a grantee of the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) — and colleagues from industry, report on their findings August 1, 2016 in the journal Nature Genetics.

 

It’s well known that at least some depression runs in families and some risk is inherited. Yet, prior to this study, conventional genome-wide approaches had failed to reliably identify chromosomal sites associated with the illness in populations with European roots. Since depression is thought to be like fever — a common set of symptoms likely rooted in multiple causes — lumping together genetic data from people with different underlying illness processes likely washed out, or statistically diluted, subtle evidence of effects caused by risk genes.

 

To increase their odds of detecting these weak genetic signals, the researchers adopted a strategy of studying much larger samples than had been used in the earlier genome-wide studies. They first analyzed common genetic variation in 75,607 people of European ancestry who self-reported being diagnosed or treated for depression and 231,747 healthy controls of similar ethnicity. These data had been shared by people who purchased their own genetic profiles via the 23 and Me website and agreed to participate in the company’s optional research initiative, which makes data available to the scientific community, while protecting privacy.

 

The researchers integrated these data with results from a prior Psychiatric Genomic Consortium genome-wide-association study, based on clinician-vetted diagnoses of more than 20,000 patients and controls of European ancestry. They then followed-up with a closer look at certain statistically suspect sites from that analysis in an independent 23 and Me “replication” sample of 45,773 cases and 106,354 controls.

 

ADVANCE Opinion Poll: What is your overall accuracy rate for ICD-10 coding after the first six months?

 

In all, Perlis and colleagues found 17 genetic variations linked to depression at 15 genome locations. In addition to hinting at a link between depression and brain gene expression during development, there was also evidence of overlap between the genetic basis of depression and other mental illnesses. While the genome sites identified still account for only a fraction of the risk for depression, the researchers say the results support the strategy of complementing more traditional methods with crowd-sourced data.

 

“We hope these findings help people understand that depression is a brain disease, with its own biology,” said Perlis. “Now comes the hard work of using these new insights to try to develop better treatments.”

 

For more information, visit genome.gov and nih.gov.

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A New Way to Watch Your Health
July 21, 2016 10:48 AM by ADVANCE Perspectives

By Tamer Abouras

 

It seems ironic that in a day and age where human beings reportedly live longer, we’re regularly putting out fires on the personal health front.

 

The process is, in a way, almost circular. We started out with healthy, natural foods; then found ways to cut corners and process things — and somewhere in this period began developing bacteria-fighting drugs that fended off and made routine ailments that once felled our forefathers; and finally, with more information available to us than ever before, we discovered that in spite of living longer and having access to medicines our predecessors couldn’t have dreamt of, our chronic need for pharmaceutical intervention comes from relying too heavily on those processed innovations.

 

It’s from this paradoxical situation that the world of simplified nutritional information and advice has sprung up and begun to thrive (there’s practically a cottage industry just for tips on how much water to drink.)

 

And these days, because that information is so abundant, the key for health information providers is finding creative, convenient ways in which to provide it to healthcare consumers (who seem to love nothing more than receiving a specific reading of their physiological state).

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According to a press release from San Diego’s Personal Health 360 (ph360), “ … nearly 1/4 of Americans using wearable devices such as FitBit and Apple Watch to track their steps, calories, sleep patterns and vitals on a regular basis.” … According to Business Insider senior research analyst Will McKitterick, consumers want more from their wearables and are looking for new ways to utilize the information they provide.”

 

Enter ph360’s Shae. “Shae, an interactive virtual health assistant dubbed ‘Siri for your health,’ is the evolution of health platform ph360 which claims to be able to turn a user's wearable data into practical recommendations regarding diet, exercise, and lifestyle activities that directly influence an individual's well-being,” the release read.

 

Matt Riemann, ph360’s founder and the developer of Shae, said, “Shae tells you what to eat, when to hydrate and how to exercise for optimal health and energy. The real-time recommendations are even specific enough to tell you exactly how your dinner meal has been influencing your sleeping patterns, and to recommend foods to eat for breakfast if you want to stay alert or productive all day."

 

ADVANCE Opinion Poll: What is your overall accuracy rate for ICD-10 coding after the first six months?

 

If Pokemon Go is any indication, people are more willing than ever to share information about themselves via their smart devices. Here’s hoping helpful health applications can be just as much of a catch.

 

Shae has more than doubled its Indiegogo campaign goal, so for more information about when it may come to market and start helping you track your daily input and output, visit ph360.me/shae.

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Lifesource Health, Inc. Launches Mobile EMS Application
July 14, 2016 1:03 PM by ADVANCE Perspectives

By Tamer Abouras

 

A new press release from Lifesource Health, Inc. provides information on a groundbreaking new mobile app, At The Scene, which allows for Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics to have “ … immediate, real-time access to accurate patient health information at the scene in an emergency situation, allowing for more accurate patient assessment and improved care.”

 

Per the release, “This innovative technology enables a mobile app to give first-responders immediate access to a patient’s medical records, saving lives. Pilot testing is beginning in July in New York State and will be followed by the beginning of Fourth Quarter 2016 in Georgia.”

 

According to Timothy Kelly, chief executive officer of Lifesource Health who is also a New York State EMT, ““At The Scene brings vital electronic patient medical data into the hands of first responders, allowing them to provide a higher level of patient care when time is of the essence.”

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Kelly envisions At The Scene to making first-responders more efficient, improving their response effectiveness and ultimately saving lives, and he developed the app with that vision in mind.

 

ADVANCE Opinion Poll: What is your overall accuracy rate for ICD-10 coding after the first six months?

 

“We are excited to begin using At The Scene,” said Thomas Zecher, EMT-P for Black River Ambulance Squad in Black River, New York. “In an emergency, timing is crucial. Emergency responders do not have time to search for patient records but need access to accurate patient medical histories. This app will give our team the tools they need to quickly and efficiently treat patients, which will be a tremendous benefit for all involved.”

 

According to a Johns Hopkins University study, medical misinformation errors lead to over 240,000 deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary spending every year in the U.S.

 

For more information about the At The Scene app, visit lifesourcehealthinc.com.

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3M Health Information Systems Integrates McKesson InterQual Connect
July 1, 2016 12:04 PM by ADVANCE Perspectives

By Tamer Abouras

 

Some big revenue cycle management news from McKesson Health Solutions and 3M Health Information Systems!

 

InterQual Connect is now being integrated with the 3M ClinTrac Suite from 3M Health Information Systems, McKesson Health Solutions has announced. 3M is the first vendor of provider care management and revenue cycle software to bring InterQual Connect’s medical review and automated authorization capabilities to its customers.

Now, providers that use 3M ClinTrac software applications can complete the InterQual medical review and authorization request within their current workflow, and electronically submit directly from 3M ClinTrac to every payer that has InterQual connectivity, removing the need for phone, fax or multiple portals. Instead, they can use InterQual Connect’s secure payer connectivity to request an authorization and, in most cases, automatically receive the authorization determination right away, without manual work and without leaving 3M ClinTrac.

 

By eliminating manual work and streamlining the authorization request process, providers can drive down administrative costs, make authorizations faster, and improve the patient experience — all while ensuring appropriate care with InterQual’s evidence-based criteria.

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“The old way of obtaining authorizations isn’t fast enough or cost-efficient in the age of health information systems and value-based care,” said Nilo Mehrabian, vice president of product management, decision management, McKesson Health Solutions. “By integrating InterQual Connect with 3M ClinTrac, we’re streamlining utilization management to help providers focus more time on care delivery instead of chasing after authorizations. Bringing InterQual Connect’s exception-based UM model to more providers is crucial for a world focused on value.”

 

InterQual Connect is part of the InterQual product line, McKesson’s flagship decision support solution. InterQual Criteria help payers and providers ensure appropriate care across the medical and behavioral health continuums of care, which helps improve quality and reduce unnecessary cost. The InterQual clinical development team synthesizes the current, best evidence into a fully referenced decision support tool that is reviewed and updated annually. InterQual’s development process, honed over nearly 40 years, is founded on rigorous review of the literature, and includes extensive peer review by practicing clinical experts across the United States.

 

ADVANCE Opinion Poll: What is your overall accuracy rate for ICD-10 coding after the first six months?

 

The 3M ClinTrac Suite of flexible software applications helps care providers and quality management personnel improve accuracy, lower costs and coordinate revenue management demands with patient care activities. Healthcare organizations use 3M ClinTrac to coordinate patient care, plan for discharge and reduce length of stay, improve and report on quality indicators, reduce billing delays and denials, and maintain compliance with privacy and payment rules.

 

For more information, visit mckesson.com.

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Population Health Management Primed for a Boom
June 20, 2016 1:30 PM by ADVANCE Perspectives

By Tamer Abouras

 

According to a new report from Frost & Sullivan, population health management (PHM) — a bundle of solutions supporting value-based care delivery — may represent “ … the biggest opportunity in health information technology (IT) in the post-electronic health records (EHR) era.”

 

Per a press release regarding the official analysis, Frost & Sullivan reports that, “As healthcare stakeholders in the U.S. adopt solutions supporting value-based care delivery, the potential multi-billion dollar market for population health management (PHM) is set to thrive. Payers are aligning reimbursements to the quality of healthcare, driving providers to adopt outcome-based healthcare delivery models. PHM solutions can help achieve the elusive Triple Aim, which offers quality care at optimized costs with improved access. Essentially, PHM will account for the entire patient population in a coordinated and cost-effective manner. It goes beyond healthcare analytics to data management, risk management, care management and performance management solutions.”

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The new analysis, entitled “U.S. Population Health Management Market — Analysis and Competitive Landscape Assessment,” sees the market expanding 284% during the next 5 years, increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 30.9% until 2020.

 

"The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) aims to link almost 50 percent of Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) to alternative payment models by 2018. Commercial payers are seeking support to improve performances around member cost containment, engagement and supervision," explained Frost & Sullivan transformational health industry analyst Koustav Chatterjee. "This shift from volume to value-based healthcare delivery is accelerating adoption of PHM technology and service solutions helping providers effectively manage chronic conditions and prevent unnecessary system utilization."

 

ADVANCE Opinion Poll: What is your overall accuracy rate for ICD-10 coding after the first six months?

 

The report is not without its potential caveats and cautions, however.

 

"Although PHM requires heavy, long-term investment, payers and providers need to focus on the benefits of quality compliance, patient loyalty and consistent profitability," stressed Chatterjee. "Providers must initiate customized intervention based on patients' primary conditions and potential risk profiles to drive positive outcomes."

 

"The market will experience fierce competition as small, modular PHM firms compete against large, platform providers," added Chatterjee. "Winners will successfully weigh in market needs and offer secured, interoperable and highly customized PHM solutions that achieve the triple aim."

 

The complete report is available at frost.com.

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Smart Home Elderly Monitoring Market Predicted to Grow More Than 600% by 2020
June 9, 2016 12:38 PM by ADVANCE Perspectives

By Tamer Abouras

 

A recent study by Strategy Analytics has concluded that the market for elderly monitoring products and services in the Smart Home remains small in 2016, despite favorable market conditions and high levels of consumer interest. The new report, entitled Smart Home Application Focus: Elderly Monitoring, does predict steady growth over a five year period as market forces and improved product offerings help to spur adoption.

 

Strategy Analytics estimates that in 2015, fewer than 75,000 homes in the U.S. and 30,000 homes in Western Europe used technology solutions for elderly monitoring. By 2020, the user base is set to grow to more than 600,000 homes in the U.S. and 579,000 homes in Western Europe, an increase of more than 600%, opening up new opportunities for providers of technology solutions for elderly monitoring.

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Notably, conditions for growth in this category are favorable, with individuals living significantly longer lives. At the same time, the costs of in-home healthcare and nursing facilities are on the rise; the elderly and their families are willing to pay for technology solutions that make aging in place possible. In Strategy Analytics' most recent Smart Home Consumer Survey, 34% of respondents with elderly relatives 70 years of age or older and living apart from them at a separate residence reported an interest in free services for elderly monitoring, while 30% reported a willingness to pay these services.

 

While the elderly and their families report a willingness to pay for technology solutions that make aging in place possible, the fact is that the overwhelming majority of them still haven't made a purchase. According to Joe Branca, a senior industry analyst of Smart Home Strategies at Strategy Analytics, "There aren't currently any solutions on the market that integrate the physical, cognitive, social and nutritional elements of elder care, and incorporating new features along these lines would help to deliver more value to elderly individuals and their families."

 

ADVANCE Opinion Poll: Which metric has performed best since your ICD-10 changeover?

 

Current key players in the U.S. are Alarm.com, Nortek Security & Control, Lively (GreatCall) and Care Innovations. In Western Europe, LivOn, Essence and Dutch Domotics are among the companies offering solutions in this space.

 

The new report contains a detailed analysis of key market drivers, the size of the opportunity for companies providing solutions in this space and the value chain behind elderly monitoring solutions. It also provides an analysis of the competitive environment as well as commentary on the landscape for emerging technologies.

 

For more information about the report, visit analytics.com.

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Verisma Appoints Linda L. Kloss to Strategic Advisory Board
May 25, 2016 12:23 PM by ADVANCE Perspectives

By Tamer Abouras

 

Verisma, a leader in release of information (ROI) automation systems for the healthcare industry, announced this week that Linda L. Kloss, MA, RHIA, FAHIMA, an executive leader with four decades of healthcare and nonprofit leadership, has joined the company’s strategic advisory board.

 

“We are pleased to have Linda Kloss partner with us as a strategic advisor,” said Andrew McManus, senior vice president of Verisma. “Her extensive career and expertise in the industry will be extremely valuable in helping us to deliver value to our healthcare clients through insights and best practice strategies for fully compliant ROI.”

 

Kloss is a leading expert on health information governance and management practices advancing sound information policy and regulatory compliance. She is the author of Implementing Health Information Governance: Lessons from the Field, the first practical how-to book on health information governance practices for the digital era. As the former CEO of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), Kloss expanded the group’s influence at a critical time in the transition from paper to electronic health records (EHRs), the adoption of health information standards and code sets and U.S. healthcare’s first privacy and security laws and regulations.

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Kloss serves as a member of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS), which advises the Secretary of Health and Human Services on national health information policy and currently co-chairs its Subcommittee on Privacy, Confidentiality and Security. She regularly consults on strategic and change leadership and has been associated with a number of successful health information technology companies in the past.

 

“I am delighted to join Verisma’s strategic advisory board,” said Kloss. “Traditionally, ROI has been somewhat hidden in the ‘backroom.’ Not anymore. ROI today demands intelligent technology to ensure compliance while improving service quality and cost effective workflow. I believe that Verisma’s sophisticated platform and service-oriented vision, combined with their controls and accountability, will assist providers in reaching and exceeding patient services and compliance goals.”

 

The Verisma strategic advisory board is composed of leaders and executives who have built their careers in the healthcare industry. Their specialties range from The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other legislation to health information management and executive leadership. The advisory board members include:

 

Cliff Baker, managing partner, Meditology — Baker is an industry leader in healthcare information technology, privacy and security with more than 17 years of industry experience. He has worked with the nation’s leading healthcare organizations across all sectors of the industry.

 

Jon Neiditz, partner, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP — Neiditz is one of the Best Lawyers in America in Information Management Law. He co-leads the Big Data, Privacy and Information Security Practice and co-chairs the Data Protection Committee of the International Technology Law Association (ITechLaw).

 

ADVANCE Opinion Poll: Which metric has performed best since your ICD-10 changeover? 

 

Verisma Systems’ flagship ROI Automation System, Verisma Release Manager (VRM), is utilized by well-known healthcare organizations nationwide. VRM automates workflow to improve turnaround times, reduce errors and drive down costs — effectively automating medical records release while delivering comprehensive release audit capabilities. It is the only release technology with integrated HIPAA guidance and compliance review support.

 

For additional information, visit verisma.com.

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Ordering Medicines Online
May 19, 2016 11:34 AM by ADVANCE Perspectives

By Tamer Abouras

 

Back in my college days — which grow more distant daily — I qualified for free Amazon Prime and as such, started receiving many packages in the mail. The vast majority weren’t mine, of course — my mom, who’s been an avid online shopper since the advent of the practice, began ordering everything of need or consequence that wasn’t perishable using my Amazon account, thanks to its free two-day shipping.

 

Naturally, as she and other Americans (and people all over the world) grew in comfort with online shopping, the buying of everyday products became more and more common. It may have started with special shampoo and hair care products, but before long food and even medicinal items became regular parts of frequent online purchases.

 

Although there aren’t any inherent dangers or problems associated with online shopping for your meds, the removal of a traditional pharmacist as something of a middleman does require healthcare and pharmaceutical consumers to become that much more educated about the products they’re getting when they place an order. And according to new data from Ireland’s Health Products Regulatory Authority, that group is quite substantial in size, with over 70,000 people in that country alone having purchased medicines online.

SEE ALSO: The Consumerization of Healthcare

According to RTE News, “The authority said that while the authenticity and safety of medicines available via the internet is a concern for two-thirds of people, almost a third were surprised to learn that it is illegal to buy prescription medicines online. The survey shows that the influence of the internet as a channel of health information is significant with one in four using it to source information on medicines. The survey found that 70% of people use it to research a particular health problem, 46% research types of medicines for particular conditions and 39% use it to diagnose symptoms.”

 

While in the United States it is legal to buy some prescription as well as over-the-counter products online, the FDA issues several strong warnings to consumers, imploring them to be completely informed before taking anything they buy from the internet.

 

“There are many websites that operate legally and offer convenience, privacy, and safeguards for purchasing medicines. But there are also many “rogue websites” that offer to sell potentially dangerous drugs that have not been checked for safety or effectiveness. Though a rogue site may look professional and legitimate, it could actually be an illegal operation,” said an article covering online medicines on the FDA’s website. “These rogue sites often sell unapproved drugs, drugs that contain the wrong active ingredient, drugs that may contain too much or too little of the active ingredient, or drugs that contain dangerous ingredients.”

 

The FDA also offers a handy list of things to consider any time you get a prescription refilled:

 

·         Check the physical appearance of the medicine (color, texture, shape, and packaging)

·         Check to see if it smells and tastes the same when you use it

·         Alert your pharmacist or whoever is providing treatment to anything that is different

 

Be aware that some drugs sold online:

 

·         Are too old, too strong, or too weak

·         Aren’t FDA-approved

·         Aren’t made using safe standards

·         Aren’t safe to use with other medicines or products

·         Aren’t labeled, stored, or shipped correctly

·         May be counterfeit

 

ADVANCE Opinion Poll: Which metric has performed best since your ICD-10 changeover?

 

They also provide information on how best to protect yourself when purchasing medicines online:

 

·         Only buy from state-licensed pharmacy websites located in the U.S.

·         Don't buy from websites that sell prescription drugs without a prescription

·         Don't buy from websites that offer to prescribe a drug for the first time without a physical exam by your doctor or by answering an online questionnaire

·         Check with your state board of pharmacy or the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to see if an online pharmacy has a valid pharmacy license and meets state quality standards

·         Look for privacy and security policies that are easy to find and easy to understand

·         Don't give any personal information—such as a social security number, credit card information, or medical or health history—unless you are sure the website will keep your information safe and private

·         Use legitimate websites that have a licensed pharmacist to answer your question

·         Make sure that the website will not sell your personal information, unless you agree

 

So, this can be directed to my mom as much as anyone else: when buying your medicines online, proceed with caution!

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Making Mental Health Apps Available
May 11, 2016 1:50 PM by ADVANCE Perspectives

By Tamer Abouras                                                                                          

 

In the wake of any mass shooting tragedy and lost in the debate over the role of guns in American society is the consistently sobering fact that virtually all parties agree on: the need for mental health reform and expansion in the United States is urgent.

 

In spite of the fact that this is always the place both gun control and gun rights advocates can find common ground, mental health often lags behind other medical issues both in terms of legislation and innovation. And why wouldn’t it? These issues concern the most complex part of human anatomy: our brains.

 

As Deborah Estrin, a computer science professor at Cornell University and one of the founders of Open mHealth, a non-profit start-up focused on bringing clinical meaning to mobile health data, told Forbes last fall, “Really effective applications are not trivial to design — they take time to explore and to validate.”

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So taking those caveats into consideration, it’s all the more impressive that Walgreens has stepped up with a new mental health platform as part of a campaign and collaboration with Mental Health America (MHA).

 

According to a press release on Walgreens’ website, “The Walgreens mental health platform aims to improve health outcomes through early screening and intervention, to heighten consumer awareness and reduce stigma associated with mental illness, and to connect more people with clinical resources in their community who can help. The initiative launches in conjunction with Mental Health Month, observed each May in the United States.”

 

The platform will have the ability to connect users to, “ … free, scientifically based online screenings for a number of conditions, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD and others.”

 

“We’re proud to help meet the need for mental health resources in our communities, to encourage those who have questions or concerns to seek answers, and to work closely with other providers and partners to help more people get the support and services they need,” said Alex Gourlay, Walgreens president.

 

Walgreens’ press release specifies that, among other things, the company’s mental health platform will include such functions and conveniences as:

  • New to therapy consultations pharmacist phone calls to Walgreens patients who are new to targeted medication therapies, including depression
  • Pharmacy chat 24/7 online access to Walgreens pharmacy staff for secure, 1-on-1 chat to address medication-related questions or concerns. Staff specially trained in a number of areas, including stress and depression
  • Depression screenings for select disease states, provided through Walgreens specialty pharmacy locations and the Walgreens Connected Care offering

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Walgreens deserves a lot of credit for putting in the required due diligence to develop an app with the ability to provide major assistance to the one-in-five Americans who are affected by mental health conditions each year, according to the National Institutes of Health.

 

As Gourlay said himself, “Walgreens is dedicated to championing everyone’s right to be happy and healthy, and our commitment extends to supporting our customers and patients to both good physical and mental health.”

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Don’t Be Played for a Health Information Fool
April 27, 2016 2:05 PM by ADVANCE Perspectives

By Tamer Abouras                                                                                          

 

Try as we might, it’s very difficult to resist running to stereotypes. At some point — perhaps carelessly or unwittingly — we all succumb to lazy generalizations based upon little (if any) empirical evidence.

 

It’s human and even in the instances where a stereotype is broadly correct, the idea behind avoiding them is largely to help avoid entering a situation prejudiced or lacking in objectivity. If you naturally assumed all college students were glued to their smartphones and incapable of holding an in-person conversation, for instance, you might be a little flummoxed if one did.

 

Still, inasmuch as you don’t want to go ahead and designate all southerners as lovers of country music or all Californians as instinctively laidback, the results of data-gathering such as surveys and polls are that they help increase our understanding about particular groups. So if someone were to tell you that people with lower literacy levels were more likely to obtain their health information from commercial sites several levels below a peer-reviewed journal, would you be all that surprised?

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According to findings published in the ARC Journal of Urology from researchers at Loyola Medicine and Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, you shouldn’t be — but the degree to which these less educated and less literate people are being mislead may be worse than imagined.

 

A EurekAlert! press release about the article, entitled “The influence of literacy and education on online health information seeking behavior in cancer patients,"  stated that, “Researchers conducted a prospective study of 27 patients who were newly diagnosed with urologic cancer such as cancer of the bladder, kidney, prostate or testicles. Patients were asked to do an internet search about their cancer, and the computer was equipped with software that tracked their activity. Participants also took a literacy test and were asked about their education.”

 

"These findings should encourage physicians to guide patients towards appropriate high quality websites, particularly patients with low literacy and/or education levels," senior author Gopal N. Gupta, MD and colleagues wrote in the article.

 

ADVANCE Opinion Poll: Which metric has performed best since your ICD-10 changeover?

 

And what were those findings? See for yourself:

 

·         17 patients sought information from advertisement websites. Of those, 71% had below-average literacy scores

·         10 patients sought information on non-advertisement websites. Of those, 80% had above-average literacy scores

·         Of the websites visited by those with a high school education, 32.9% were advertisements

·         Among patients with at least a bachelor's degree, only 12.7% of the visited websites were advertisements

 

So there are plenty of causes for concern, just in terms of how many people lack college degrees, but here’s something a little more worrisome that the study bears out: The National Adult Literacy Survey estimates that as many as 50 million Americans have marginal literacy skills.

 

In a day and age where health misinformation runs rampant throughout the internet and can be packaged as new therapy or alternative forms of treatment, Gupta and his colleagues wrote that the study’s findings put an extra onus on medical professionals to fully inform patients and direct them to accurate, reliable sources of information.

 

“Clinicians need to be mindful of the variability in literacy and education of their patients in order to guide their patients towards balanced and reputable online health information sources," the researchers concluded.”

 

In the meantime, borrow one journalistic tip if you find yourself confronted by a “can’t believe it’s true” sort of health fact before subscribing to it: triple-check your sources.

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