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.

POSTS BY TAG | news



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


• A new study released in JAMA found that popular heartburn, indigestion and acid reflux medicines may significantly elevate the chances of developing chronic kidney disease. Researchers studied the medical records of over a quarter million people and followed over 10,000 people, concluding that the use of the drugs was independently associated with a 20-50 percent higher risk of chronic kidney disease. Source

• Andy Slavitt, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced that the agency may replace the meaningful use program in 2016. Slavitt talked about the meaningful use program at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco this week and summarized his comments in a series of tweets. "In 2016, MU (meaningful use) as it has existed — with MACRA — will now be effectively over and replaced with something better," wrote Slavitt. Source

• MedStar Health is collaborating with Uber to expand transportation options for patients and increase access to health care appointments. Patients can log into the "Ride with Uber" app, submit their appointment data through a form, view wait times and approximate costs for their visits, and then request a ride. Studies have shown that transportation is one of the top reasons patients miss appointments and estimate that missed appointments can cost the US health care system up to $150 billion each year. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple lost 0.07 percent of the mobile device marketshare to Android this week among pMD's charge capture physician users. Apple has been feeling the sting of the market decline, with shares seeing a 29% drop from the stock's high in May last year.


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 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 Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule this week to HIPAA regulations, allowing certain HIPAA-covered groups to disclose patient information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Psychiatrists are now able to report potentially violent patients who are subject to the federal "mental health prohibitor," which disqualifies them from purchasing and handling guns. The modification doesn't allow the reporting of diagnosis or other clinical information outside of limited patient demographic information. Source

• AT&T is opening "AT&T Foundry for Connected Health," a new innovation center that will focus on helping startup companies develop digital health products that connect caregivers and patients via wireless monitoring. The goal is to develop products that expand wireless information sharing for health devices so that medical centers can better monitor and treat patients. This is the first of AT&T's innovation centers to be focused solely on health care. Source

• IBM introduced new health and wellness solutions at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, including an app that builds cognitive solutions for diabetes management. IBM partnered with Medtronic to apply cognitive analytics to patient data from insulin pumps and glucose monitors and predict hypoglycemia up to three hours before onset. Source

On The Front Lines:


Health care providers must have received an even dose of iPhone and Android devices over the holidays because the net mobile device marketshare held steady! Apple generated a flurry of media attention when it was discovered that they registered several car-related Internet domains, including 'Apple.car,' fueling rumors of an upcoming Apple-branded car.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.72%
Android: 9.28%

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:


• Kaiser Permanente, the nonprofit insurance company with its own integrated hospitals and clinics, announced that it will open an independent medical school in Southern California in 2019. Leaders in the organization say they want to bring Kaiser's "21st century medicine" model of integrated care to a broader audience by teaching the future generation of doctors. The medical school would be one of the first to be run by a health system without an academic partner. Source

• A new study found that nearly one-third of doctors who are in the early stages of their medical career suffer from depression or have symptoms of depression during their training. The study was conducted globally but the research found no statistically significant difference among the prevalence in U.S. studies vs. elsewhere, between medical specialties, or between men and women. Depression among residents has been linked to poor quality care and increased medical errors. Source

• Rising obesity rates among the elderly are causing problems among U.S. nursing homes, who often don't have the resources to provide complete care for large numbers of obese patients. Medicaid, which covers more than 60 percent of all nursing home residents, does not reimburse nursing homes for the specialized equipment required, including motorized lifts, larger wheelchairs, bedside toilets and shower chairs, and longer intramuscular needles and blood pressure cuffs. However, unlike emergency rooms, nursing homes are not required to admit patients. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple rounded out the week with an impressive net 0.19 percent growth over Android in mobile devices among pMD's physicians charge capture users. With Christmas just one week away, we can speculate what physicians put on their wish-lists this year!


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.72%
Android: 9.28%

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 released a list of 758 hospitals that will see their Medicare payments reduced by 1 percent in 2016 for ranking in the bottom quarter nationally under an Affordable Care Act program. More than half of the hospitals that Medicare penalized in 2015 for having the worst performance for hospital-acquired conditions are on that list for the second year in a row. View how individual hospitals scored from 2015-16: Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program data

• A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund found that approximately one in four U.S. physicians are not prepared to effectively manage and coordinate the care of patients who have multiple chronic conditions. The research comes at a time when Medicare and commercial insurers are moving away from fee-for-service payments to value-based care that rewards better outcomes. Care coordination is important for managing chronic illnesses and improves the quality of patient care while decreasing health care costs. Source

• The Beijing government declared an environmental state of emergency on Tuesday as poisonous air quality prompted the government to close schools, roads, and shut down factories. The toxic air covered the city in a thick haze and officials warned people to take precautions with their health. The municipal air quality index was a 308, rated hazardous by U.S. standards and a level at which people should not go outdoors. Beijing’s air quality index is forecasted to return to "very unhealthy" levels on Saturday, according to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Source

On The Front Lines:


The holidays are a hot time of year for Apple, who went up 0.02 percent this week in the mobile device wars against Android. And just in time for the holidays, prices for the Apple Watch have gotten cheaper, fueling speculation that a new version could be on the way.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.53%
Android: 9.47%

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:


• Lahey Hospital and Medical Center has settled with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights for $850,000 due to potential HIPAA violations. The alleged privacy and security violations stemmed from the theft of a laptop computer in 2011 with unencrypted patient records. According to the Civil Rights Office's list of major breaches, the records of more than 154.1 million individuals have been exposed in 1,401 incidents since records started being kept in September 2009. Source

• Shareholders of Anthem and Cigna approved the $48 billion merger of the two health insurers this week, into what would be the nation’s largest health insurance company. Anthem’s acquisition of Cigna would create an insurance company with over 50 million health plan members. The merger still needs approval of federal regulators, and groups representing medical care providers like the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association have already urged the U.S. Justice Department to closely scrutinize the deal. Source

• A new analysis from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that in 2014, health care spending in the U.S. grew at a rate of 5.3 percent to $3.0 trillion, or $9,523 per person. Health care's share of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) also increased from 17.3 percent in 2013 to 17.5 percent in 2014. Economists speculate that the main factors responsible for the spending increase in 2014 are coverage expansion associated with the Affordable Care Act and faster growth in prescription drug spending. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple increased its market share among pMD's charge capture physician users this week by 0.08 percent, growing its overall share to a dominant 90.51 percent. In Apple news, Samsung has agreed to pay Apple $548 million in damages following a 2012 decision that found that Samsung had violated key Apple patents. Apple first sued Samsung in 2011, saying Samsung had copied the look and feel of the iPhone in its own smartphones devices.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.51%
Android: 9.49%

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.


Happy Thanksgiving from pMD! We're bringing you our weekly health care recap early this week so that you can eat leftovers and get some quality R&R this Friday.

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


• Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Allergan confirmed Monday they will merge to form the world’s biggest drug company by sales in a $160 billion tax inversion deal. The deal is structured to reduce Pfizer’s tax bill by moving its headquarters out of the U.S. to Ireland. Allergan is based in Dublin, and the companies said they expect to have an effective tax rate of 17 to 18 percent in the first full year compared to the current 25 percent for Pfizer. Source

• USDA announced it is expanding its Rural Development's Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program with $23.4 million in additional funding for 75 new projects in 31 states. Baptist Health in Little Rock, Arkansas has received USDA grants to set-up a critical care network to create an interoperable system between six medical centers. AV equipment allows specialists to virtually make rounds, reaching patients faster. Source

• Researchers found that pigeons can be trained to identify malignant and benign breast tumors by looking at a mammogram or a slide from a biopsy, almost as accurately as a radiologist or a pathologist would. The birds may be useful as replacements for human subjects in medical image perception studies, and they may also be useful in exploring the effect of technical aspects of color parameters on the accuracy of perception. Source

On The Front Lines:


November has been a sweet month for Apple, who gained 0.06 percent of the mobile device pie this week against Android, growing its market share to 90.43 percent. It looks like pMD's physician charge capture users may be getting a head start on their holiday shopping. Apple also acquired Faceshift this week, the maker of the motion capture technology used in Star Wars films. Faceshift worked with game and animation studios on technology designed to quickly and accurately capture facial expressions using 3D sensors.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.43%
Android: 9.57%

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:


• America's largest health insurance company, UnitedHealth Group, announced that they may exit the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange after significant losses. The private insurer claims to have lost $425 million from health plans sold on the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces and has lowered profit projections for the remainder of the year. Withdrawal by UnitedHealth would be a major setback to the federal health insurance exchange, which is currently enrolling customers for 2016. Source

• New cases of Ebola emerged in Liberia this week, two months after the country was declared free of the disease in September. The infected patients include a father and his two children, who were taken to an Ebola treatment center. Guinea was previously thought to be the only nation that still had active cases of Ebola, which has killed around 11,300 people in the latest outbreak. Source

• Two ongoing studies to determine the patient impact of long work shifts for doctors have been criticized as unethical and done without the informed consent of the patients, according to complaints sent to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). One study assigns first-year medical residents from internal medicine programs to up to 30 consecutive hours, exposing patients to greater risk of harm. Currently, first-year residents are limited to 16-hour shifts and other residents to 24-hour shifts. Source

On The Front Lines:


For the third week in a row Apple has topped Android in mobile device market share, gaining an additional 0.09 percent of the user base among pMD's physician charge capture users. Despite the strong performance by Apple, software developers of iPad Pro pro apps are complaining that Apple’s App Store policies are a barrier to them creating iOS versions of popular Mac app, so it's unlikely we'll see many new apps optimized for the iPad Pro for the time being.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.37%
Android: 9.63%

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:


• A new study suggests that remote telemedicine among patients with heart failure has not decreased hospital readmissions compared with patients discharged from the hospital and treated with usual in-clinic care. Telemonitoring included a Bluetooth-enabled weight scale and blood-pressure/heart-rate monitor integrated with a text device that sent the information to a centralized call center for review. The study was conducted by Better Effectiveness After Transition-Heart Failure (BEAT-HF) and presented at a American Heart Association (AHA) meeting. Source

• Federal health officials reported that obesity rates have continued to rise in recent years despite efforts to fight it. Figures from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey revealed that approximately 38 percent of American adults were obese in 2013 and 2014 and obesity among young people was unchanged. Source

• Google Life Sciences and the American Heart Association announced a five-year, $50 million partnership to bring new and innovative approaches to the causes, treatments, and prevention of heart disease. The collaboration will support research by a team of medical, engineering, and technology professionals and will attempt to prevent and reverse the development of coronary artery disease. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple jumped up a whopping 0.17 percent this week in the iOS - Android mobile device wars among pMD's charge capture physician users. This is the largest increase for Apple over the last quarter. Users are also able to get their hands on the new iPad Pro more easily now that Apple announced increased availability for the device, which supports a Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.28%
Android: 9.72%

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:


• Physicians who practice defensive medicine, or ordering extra procedures and tests, are less likely to be sued for malpractice, according to a recent study published in BMJ. The study, which contains data from nearly 25,000 physicians, shows that the 20 percent of general surgeons who billed the least had a 2.3 percent rate of malpractice claims, whereas the 20 percent of surgeons who billed the highest had a malpractice claim rate of only 0.4 percent. These trends were similar across all specialties. Source

• Two of CMS' Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) dropped out of the program this week, leaving approximately half of the original 32 Pioneer organizations in the program since 2012. The latest two to leave are Mount Auburn Cambridge Independent Practice Association and the Steward Health Care System. ACOs earn bonuses or face penalties based on whether spending for their patients is lower or higher than a target set by CMS. Source

• Researchers at the George Washington University (GWU) Health Workforce Institute released analysis this week disproving recent news reports that the number of medical school graduates would soon outnumber available residency positions. The GWU report found that in 2014, there were 6,837 more available first-year residency positions than there were graduates of all United States medical schools; they expect this number in 2024 to be 4,608. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple increased its presence by 0.04 percent this week in the mobile device market among pMD's charge capture physicians. Apple also debuted a new "Shopping" category to the App Store that combines mobile banking, marketplace, and coupon apps, including those that accept Apple Pay.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.11%
Android: 9.89%

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:


• A new study in the medical journal, JAMA Internal Medicine, reported that patient prices increase after hospitals acquire small private doctor practices. The study looked at the cost and volume of health-care services as physicians became more integrated into hospitals and found that patients pay an average of $75 more every year for outpatient services like check-ups, even though the number of appointments stays the same. Hospital employment of doctors and ownership of physician practices has grown over the past decade. Source

• Controversy around Theranos, a blood-testing start up, emerged when articles published in The Wall Street Journal questioned the accuracy of the company’s blood tests and the extent to which Theranos is actually using their unique technology. CEO Elizabeth Holmes attended a live onstage interview at The Wall Street Journal this week to defend the accuracy and utilization of the technology, alleging that the company uses proprietary lab equipment to deliver results much faster and more cheaply than traditional blood tests. Source

• Medical schools reported record-breaking application and enrollment totals from college students this fall, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Enrollment increased 1.4% to 20,630 in 2015 from 20,343 last year, and medical school applications saw a 6.2% increase to 52,550 this year from 49,480 in 2014. The problem that remains is that the number of medical residency training positions has not grown at the same pace. Source

On The Front Lines:


After riding a four week hot streak, Apple finally lost market share to Android this week with a 0.07 percent loss among pMD's physician users. Apple also released numbers around the status iOS 9 updates this week, revealing that 61% of devices are using iOS 9 since the new operating system was released on September 16. All eyes are set on Apple's Q4 earnings report this Tuesday.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.14%
Android: 9.86%

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.