The pMD Blog

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pMD Blog...

where we cover interesting and relevant news, insights, events, and more related to the health care industry and pMD. Most importantly, this blog is a fun, engaging way to learn about developments in an ever-changing field that is heavily influenced by technology.

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Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• A bill that was aimed at accelerating the pace of federal drug approvals was scaled back this week with the introduction of new legislation, which removed many of the most controversial provisions. Critics of the original bill, called 21st Century Cure, included top officials at the FDA and argued that the changes would risk patient safety. The new draft bill represents a less aggressive streamlining of the drug approval process. Source

• The Department of Defense plans to build its own digital service team in an effort to improve federal IT projects and other data problems, and is opening a unit in Silicon Valley. The department unveiled its Cyber Strategy this week, which outlines plans to collaborate with the private sector to improve cybersecurity. Through this new program, the DOD hopes to improve capabilities that will help both the federal organization as well as the wider US marketplace, such as health care and technology. Source

• The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has introduced a new five-star ranking system to rate hospitals on patient quality and experience. The star ratings will use data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, which measures patient experience at approximately 3,500 Medicare-certified acute care hospitals. The metrics assessed in the ranking system include facility cleanliness, staff responsiveness, and clinician communication. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple finally broke a five-week losing streak to Android, coming up with a 0.07 percent net gain of the mobile market share among pMD's charge capture physician users. Also this week, Apple met with IBM and announced that as part of their partnership they will deliver iPads with apps that are tailored specifically for seniors. The apps aim to monitor seniors' health, remind them of their medications and doctor's appointments, and connect them to their family and home care services. The program will be piloted in Japan.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.45%
Android: 9.55%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.


Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• CMS put forth a payment formula reform that will increase hospital inpatient payments by 1.1 percent for the 2016 fiscal year. The increase is down from last year's 1.4 percent raise. By law, CMS must update payment rates for Inpatient Prospective Payment System hospitals every year and must account for changes in the costs of goods and services used by these hospitals in treating Medicare patients. Source

• An analysis found that the overall number of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) has increased to 585 at the start of 2014, and that nearly 70 percent of Americans live in a region served by an accountable care organization. Approximately 5.6 million Medicare patients, or 11 percent, will receive their health care from an ACO this year. Source

• A controversial bill that would limit "personal belief" exemptions to school district vaccination requirements passed in a 7-2 vote this week and will now go before the judiciary committee for review. A study was also released this week by the Journal of the American Medical Association that showed even more evidence that childhood immunizations are not linked to autism. The recent surge in number of measles cases puts pressure on public health officials and lawmakers to boost vaccination rates and end exemptions. Source

On The Front Lines:


For the fifth week in a row, Apple has lost mobile market share to Android among pMD's physician charge capture users. To Android's glee, Apple's 0.11 percent loss this week puts the total drop at 0.38 percent. The first shipment of Apple Watches arrives in stores today, and with it are more than 3,000 new third-party apps for the new smartwatch.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.38%
Android: 9.62%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.


Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• The Senate approved bipartisan legislation this week to permanently replace Medicare's highly unpopular Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. The ongoing Congressional actions for this bill go back as far as February 2003. The bill will increase Medicare reimbursement rates for physicians and will also extend the Children's Health Insurance Program for two more years. Health policy experts hail the bill as a move toward pay-for-performance reimbursement rather than fee-for-service. Source

• CMS has imposed a record number of Medicare Advantage fines in the first quarter of 2015. The agency has focused on cracking down on bad practices among Medicare Plan Sponsors, and almost $2.5 million in civil money penalties have been collected so far this year. CMS has the authority to take contract action if they determine that a sponsor fails their requirements or no longer meets the applicable conditions of the program. Source

• A new study found that the growing amount of paperwork involved in patient visits may cause patients to avoid visiting a doctor or hospital altogether. Participants in the survey reported that paperwork cuts into the time the clinicians spend with patients, and the majority would rather search for treatment on non-life-threatening issues on the Internet than deal with health care paperwork. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple took a tumble this week among pMD's physician charge capture users, losing 0.11 percent of the mobile device pie to Android. Users may be focused on the Apple Watch, which drew in nearly 1 million pre-orders for the new device since last week.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.49%
Android: 9.51%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.


Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a new social media initiative this week in an attempt to highlight the consequences of prescription drug abuse and overdoses. The campaign, "When the Prescription Becomes the Problem," tells the stories of people who have been affected by prescription painkiller abuse and are working to improve their lives. According to the CDC, there were 16,235 deaths involving prescription opioids in 2013 alone. Source

• Ebola researchers announced a breakthrough in their testing against the virus responsible for the deadly outbreak in West Africa. Two new Ebola vaccines protected lab monkeys against the virus, requiring only one dose of the vaccine and without apparent side effects. The vaccines have not yet been tested on people, but safety trials among healthy volunteers are expected to begin early this summer. Source

• The White House reported this week that it will enlist the help of hospitals and medical professionals to fight the health risks associated with climate change. They stated that "rising temperatures can lead to more smog, longer allergy seasons, and an increased incidence of extreme weather-related injuries." The announcement aims at building a health care infrastructure that is resilient to the adverse health effects of climate change. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple lost a total of 0.08 percent of the mobile device pie to Android this week, making that three weeks in a row now that Apple has lost market share. Users may be focused on the Apple Watch instead, which can be pre-ordered starting today. Apple will also be taking in-store appointments to let users try on the watch in-person.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.60%
Android: 9.40%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.


Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• This past Thursday, CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) announced a partnership that will give participants of the State Innovation Models initiative access to new online tools and resources to improve their health systems. The federal effort aims to advance states' usage of health information technology, health information exchange, and interoperability. Source

• The White House released a plan to combat antibiotic-resistant infections from contaminated medical devices, in light of the outbreaks linked to the contaminated duodenoscopes and endoscopes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hopes to slash rates of the deadly superbug by replicating a research program that saw successful results among four Chicago hospitals. Source

• Google and Ethicon, a medical device company and Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, have partnered to build a cutting edge platform for robotic surgery. The companies aim to develop new robotic tools for surgeons and operating room professionals, including improved medical device technology, robotic systems, imaging, and data analytics. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple lost yet another piece of the mobile device pie to Android this week among pMD's charge capture physician users, with a 0.03 percent slip. Today also marks the fifth anniversary of when the iPad first went on sale in 2010. Since Apple released the revolutionary tablet, almost 250 million have been sold and the device has evolved to be thinner, faster, and better.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.68%
Android: 9.32%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.


Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed new regulations this week under Stage 3 of Meaningful Use. The regulations are largely focused on the advanced use of electronic health records (EHR) through interoperability and patient engagement. By 2017, nearly all providers would be required to report on a set of quality measures over a full calendar year in order to earn incentives or avoid payment penalties. Source

• The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), or "doc fix," this week, which would impose automatic 21 percent Medicare reimbursement cuts for providers. Now, the Senate must address the bill before a two-week recess that would overlap with the March 31 deadline. Source

• A new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine this week found that lack of communication between hospital clinicians and primary care providers often results in poor care coordination after discharge, and a greater chance of patient readmissions. Some of the challenges that clinicians faced included lack of time, difficulty reaching other clinicians, lack of personal relationships with other clinicians, lack of information feedback, and medication list discrepancies. Source

On The Front Lines:


This week Apple lost a sliver of the mobile device pie to Android, giving up 0.03 percent of pMD's charge capture physician users. In Apple news, CEO Tim Cook explained in a recent interview with Fortune his plan to donate all his wealth, a current net worth of $120 million, to philanthropic projects. “You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for change,” said Cook.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.71%
Android: 9.29%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.


Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• House and Senate leaders introduced legislation on Thursday that could fix the widely unpopular Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and would halt automatic Medicare cuts to doctors. The deal was crafted by House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and is expected to cost $210 billion. If Congress fails to pass the deal by March 31, there would be a 21.2 percent cut to physicians' Medicare reimbursements. Source

• A lab safety report was published on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website this week, calling the agency's commitment to safety "inconsistent and insufficient." The CDC was involved in several major incidences in 2014, prompting the review by an external advisory committee. The report recommends that all CDC labs go through an external review and accreditation process. Source

• Lawmakers discussed problems created by the lack of interoperability among electronic health record (EHR) systems at a Tuesday hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Policy experts argued that EHR vendors treat lack of interoperability as a competitive advantage. "EHR vendors do not have a business case for seamless, affordable interoperability across vendor platforms, and provider organizations find it an expense that they often can't justify," said a health policy expert at the hearing. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple gained a sweet 0.09 percent of the mobile device pie from Android among pMD's physician charge capture users this past week. Apple is also working on the next generation of its Apple TV, which will be a significant overhaul of the latest device. The new TV is reported to have its own App Store as well as Apple's virtual assistant, Siri, and will debut a software development kit (SDK) allowing developers to create their own apps for the streaming box.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.74%
Android: 9.26%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.


Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a new accountable care organization (ACO) model on Tuesday, calling it the "Next Generation" ACO model. The model will give participants more predictable, and more risky, financial targets as well as more opportunities to coordinate care and engage beneficiaries. This is part of CMS' larger effort toward "paying providers based on the quality, rather than the quantity of care they give patients." Source

• Apple announced a new framework this week called ResearchKit, which allows iPhone users to participate in medical trials and studies through health data sharing capabilities. The new health care framework is aimed at furthering medical research and making studies more accessible. Thousands of volunteers signed up for the early trials within a day of the launch. Source

• Oregon's failed health insurance exchange program, Cover Oregon, was formally disbanded with a bill signed by Gov. Kate Brown. This announcement came as no surprise, as state officials announced last spring that they intended to shut the site following numerous technical issues that made the site unusable. The state will rely on HealthCare.gov to sign up individuals for health insurance coverage. This leaves only 13 states and the District of Columbia with their own state-based exchanges. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple lost 0.04 percent to Android this week in the mobile device war among pMD's charge capture physician users. Apple has also been the topic of a huge counterfeit scheme in China regarding its Apple Watch. Although the real Apple Watch won't go on sale until late April, knockoff devices are flooding China's black market. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so this could be an indication of huge success for the real devices come April.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.65%
Android: 9.35%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's charge capture physician users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.


Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• Supreme Court justices met this week to discuss King v. Burwell, a case that focuses on federal subsidies paid to millions of Americans who bought health insurance through exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act. The argument is over whether subsidies issued through exchanges operated by the federal government are legal; the justices remain divided along political lines. Source

• CMS released their 2015 Quality Measures report, an assessment of quality measures used by the agency. The report found that the U.S. has made significant progress in improving the national health care delivery system, and that improvements have been made in 95% of the 119 performance measures from 2006 to 2012. Source

• Nina Pham, the critical care nurse who worked at a Texas hospital and first contracted Ebola last year, has filed a civil lawsuit against Texas Health Resources (THR) this week. The lawsuit claims that THR's Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital was deceptive and did not provide adequate protective gear or training. THR disputed some of the allegations, stating that they were "false and irresponsible." Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple is on a hot four week win streak, taking away 0.08 percent of the mobile device pie from Android this week among pMD's charge capture physician users. Rumor has it that Apple is also working on a new, larger iPad, and is telling their suppliers to start production in the second half of this year. The whopping 12.9 inch iPad will allegedly have additional inputs, like a USB port, and is said to be geared toward enterprise customers and professional users.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.69%
Android: 9.31%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's charge capture physician users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.


Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• The Federal Communications Commission embraced net neutrality rules on Thursday. The vote will ensure that health technology and telehealth companies won't face higher costs for Internet fast lanes. These new regulations will prove critical for the growing digital health sector that relies on moving large quantities of data quickly. Source

• CMS announced results of its week-long ICD-10 end-to-end testing period on Wednesday, stating that it accepted 81% of claims that were submitted. The testing period included 661 billing companies, clearinghouses, providers, and suppliers, who submitted approximately 15,000 claims in total. The testing periods are designed for providers to determine whether ICD-10 codes submitted to Medicare will be accepted under the new program. Source

• A survey released this week found that few physicians practices are, in fact, on track with their ICD-10 implementation. Navicure, a health care billing and payment vendor, conducted the survey, which showed only 21 percent of physician practices feel they are on track with preparation efforts. The majority of respondents stated they paused their ICD-10 preparation efforts when the last delay was announced last October. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple gained 0.06 percent of market share in the mobile battle against Android this week, increasing their win streak to three weeks in a row. Apple is also gaining attention worldwide as Swedish telecom manufacturer, Ericsson, is now suing Apple for reportedly infringing on 41 percent of its patents that are used in iPhone and iPads. Apple stated that Ericsson "seeks to exploit its patents to take the value of these cutting-edge Apple innovations."


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.61%
Android: 9.39%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's charge capture physician users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.