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 recent Kaiser Health News analysis found that beginning in October, most US hospitals will face some sort of Medicare penalty for excessive 30-day readmissions between 2011 and 2014, losing a combined $420 million in the fourth year of the federal readmission reduction program. The analysis found that Medicare fined a hospital if it had a higher number of readmissions than the agency deemed appropriate based on the hospital's mix of patients and how the hospital industry performed overall. Source

• IBM finalized plans to acquire Merge Healthcare for $1 billion, in the hopes that the medical imaging software company can teach IBM’s cognitive computing unit Watson to read medical images. Currently, Watson can analyze mathematical data and can employ natural language processing to read large written data sets. But IBM researchers estimate that medical images account for at least 90 percent of all medical data today, and images aren’t currently something Watson can work with. Source

• Yelp announced that it is teaming up with ProPublica to provide patients with more robust rating information for health care organizations, including ER wait times, quality of doctor communications and patient room noise level, based on patient satisfaction surveys. Yelp plans to update the data each quarter for 4,600 hospitals, 15,000 nursing homes and 6,300 dialysis clinics in the US. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple lost even more mobile device market share to Android this week among pMD's physician charge capture users with a net 0.05 percent drop. This puts Apple below the 90 percent threshold for the first time since we began reporting the iOS-Android wars over a year ago. While this stat may not exactly be music to Apple's ears, they did announce that 11 million people have signed up for the trial version of its music streaming system in the month since it was launched.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 89.97%
Android: 10.03%

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) has forecasted a sharp increase in health care spending over the next decade, a significant change from the relatively low growth rate in recent years. The results of CMS' study indicate that health care spending will grow by an average of 5.8 percent per year between 2014 and 2024 and will make up 20 percent of the US gross domestic product in 10 years. The driving factors behind the spending growth will be the expansion of insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, faster economic growth, and the aging population. Source

• A study revealed that small drones can be effective methods of transportation for common and routine blood-tests. The new findings could help patients in rural areas of the world that lack passable roads and efficient transportation. The drones are able to provide health care workers with quick access to lab tests needed for diagnosis and treatments. Source

• A report on a clinical trial testing an experimental Ebola vaccine in Guinea after the outbreak of the viral and deadly disease has shown promising initial results. The report indicates that the vaccine could be highly effective and safe in preventing the Ebola virus. While the vaccine is not intended to prevent any future outbreaks, it is most effective for patients who are treated within six days of being exposed to the Ebola virus. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple continues its downward trend this week in the mobile device wars against Android, losing 0.10 percent among pMD's charge capture physician users. Apple still dominates the physician market share, but it is clear that Android is making a slow but steady increase. Will we see Apple dip under 90 percent next week, or can they hold on? Check back next week for the results!


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.02%
Android: 9.98%

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 Joint Commission announced they will be offering a new certification for integrated care, which assesses how well health care providers incorporate patient care transitions, including handoff and information sharing during changes between hospital and outpatient care facilities. The certification aims at improving patient care coordination, decreasing readmissions, and reducing emergency department use. Source

• A study this week published by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston revealed that antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria are harder to treat than non-resistant strains. The researchers performed studies on mice using three different types of bacteria, and each test yielded the same results: mice infected with the antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria were more likely to die than those infected with a non-resistant strain. The study further emphasizes the need to develop new methods to prevent, control, and treat superbugs, “the health crisis of this generation.” Source

• Last Friday, a drone delivered medicine and medical supplies to a remote clinic in Wise County, Virginia. Under a flight plan authorized by the FAA for research, the hexacopter drone delivered 10 pounds of drugs and supplies from an airport in nearby Tazewell County. This delivery, called a “real 'Kitty Hawk' moment’” by Virginia senator Mark Warren, is the first government-approved use of drones for medication delivery. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple gained 0.05 percent this week from Android in net mobile devices among pMD's charge capture physician users. Given Apple's outstanding Q3 earnings results announced this week, this could be the start of a big climb for Apple. The summer months usually indicate slower iPhone sales, but as excitement increases over the upcoming iPhone 6S models out this fall, we could see Apple consume an even more dominant share of the mobile device pie for physician software.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.12%
Android: 9.88%

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 and the AMA announced a new grace period for ICD-10 code submission mistakes for one year after the Oct. 1 transition date. As long as the incorrect code is in the same diagnostic family as the correct code, CMS will still accept the claim for reimbursement. The announcement comes as a response to concerns that medical practices wouldn't be paid if they made minor coding mistakes on claims. Source

• The Obama administration rolled out two new Medicare programs this week that would pay doctors and hospitals based on the quality of care they provide rather than the traditional fee-for-service model. One program would require all hospitals in 75 metropolitan areas to accept a flat fee for the costs associated with a hip or knee replacement. The other program would increase or decrease payments to home health agencies in nine states, depending on how they perform on certain quality measurements. Source

• A House bill, the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2015, was introduced this week that would gradually expand telemedicine services for Medicare beneficiaries. The bill would remove current geographic barriers to rural, underserved and metropolitan areas, expand the list of eligible telehealth providers, allow remote patient monitoring for chronically-ill patients, and cover additional outpatient health services for telemedicine. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple gained an ever-so-slight 0.01 percent increase over Android this week in mobile device market share among pMD's charge capture physician users. Apple also released its first public beta of iOS 9 to developers this morning. New iOS 9 features include a smarter Siri, app multitasking with picture-in-picture, new mass transit information in Maps, and the introduction of a News app.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.24%
Android: 9.76%

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 Supreme Court ruled to uphold nationwide health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act in King v. Burwell. The ruling allows the federal government to continue providing tax subsidies to help lower and middle-class people buy health insurance, and all but ensures that the Affordable Care Act will survive after President Obama leaves office in 2017. Source

• The Google X research division has created an experimental health-tracking wristband that can be used in clinical trials and drug tests and would give physicians and researchers more data on patients' health. The medical device is intended to be prescribed to patients and can measure pulse, heart rhythm, and skin temperature. Source

• The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it will begin cracking down on hospitals and nursing homes for workplace hazards in an effort to formalize workplace safety regulations. The inspections of the care facilities could include potential hazards related to disorders caused by patient handling, as well as dangers from blood-borne pathogens, workplace violence, and tuberculosis. Source

On The Front Lines:


This week Apple lost 0.02 percent of the mobile device pie to Android among pMD's charge capture physician users. On a positive note, Apple has updated the terms of its AppleCare+ plan for iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Apple Watch to cover batteries that retain less than 80% of their original capacity. Users won't have to settle for losing precious battery life in older phones!


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.29%
Android: 9.71%

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:


• Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that they will raise the reimbursement level for health insurers under the reinsurance program, which covers costs for higher-cost, sicker patients. The reimbursement increase was made under an Affordable Care Act provision intended to protect health insurers from excessive medial costs, and to encourage them to participate in new high-risk markets. Source

• CVS has signed an agreement to buy Target's pharmacy business for $1.9 billion and operate the 1,660 pharmacies that are housed in Target's stores. They will re-brand the pharmacies as CVS/pharmacy and also take over Target's 80 in-store health clinics. The deal allows CVS to expand its customer base and improve Target's struggling pharmacy business. Source

• The FDA has set a final deadline for the food industry to eliminate industrial trans fats from the food supply by 2018. The decision will remove the artery-clogging artificial fat from the American diet altogether, and prevent an estimated 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease every year. The agency has ruled that partially hydrogenated oils, the source of trans fats, were no longer deemed safe for consumption. Their elimination will save approximately $140 billion over 20 years in health care and other other costs. Source

On The Front Lines:


At the close of this week's mobile device tug-of-war, the numbers are out and the result is net neutral for Apple and Android! Although neither operating system proved victorious, Apple is planning a second-generation Apple Watch that is said to have a new front-facing FaceTime video camera, expanded Wi-Fi capabilities, and additional models based on new materials. We'll have to wait until 2016 to find out just how awesome the second-generation wearable device will be.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.31%
Android: 9.69%

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:


• Representative Gary Palmer (R-AL) introduced bill H.R. 2652, the third bill related to ICD-10 submitted to the House of Representatives in the past five weeks. Rather than delay the ICD-10 transition beyond October 2015, H.R. 2652 would instead create a two-year grace period. For those two years, both ICD-9 and ICD-10 claims would be accepted, and CMS would not reject claims due to ICD-10 coding errors. Source

• Walgreens is teaming up with UnitedHealth Group and Blue Cross-Blue Shield to make non-emergency telemedicine services available to about 40 million more people by next year. Source

• Outgoing AMA president Robert Wah, MD, speaks his mind about the Meaningful Use program and ICD-10 implementation, saying “the Meaningful Use requirements for electronic records are a heavy burden and a prison for innovation,” and “We believe ICD-10 will further disrupt physician practices when we’re already facing headaches like Meaningful Use.” Source

On The Front Lines:


For the third week running, Apple lost a percentage of the total market share among pMD's physician charge capture users, dipping down an additional 0.02 percent. iPad users can look forward to multitasking with the release of iOS 9, which will introduce Split View for the iPad Air 2. Users can interact with two applications at once, and they can also watch video while browsing other apps using the new picture-in-picture feature.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.31%
Android: 9.69%

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 week, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association announced a nine percent increase to their value-based spending, which now totals $71 billion. Value-based care rewards improved patient outcomes and care coordination instead of the traditional fee-for-service model based on the volume of medical services rendered. Source

• On Tuesday, CMS released the results from its second round of end-to-end ICD-10 testing. 88 percent of over 23,000 test claims sent were accepted. Many of the rejected claims did not pass due to other errors, and only two percent were rejected for invalid ICD-10 codes. Source

• The California Senate approved legislation this week that would extend Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid program) health coverage to low-income, immigrant children regardless of whether they are in the country legally. The bill, which passed to the Assembly on Tuesday, would make California the first state in the U.S. to provide such coverage. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple lost 0.05 percent of the mobile device pie among pMD’s physician charge capture users this week. Apple is hard at work gearing up for the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which starts on Monday. Keep an ear out for conference news about iOS 9, a new subscription music streaming service, and further updates to the Apple Watch!

FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.33%
Android: 9.67%

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:


• Susannah Fox was named the new Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) yesterday. Fox, the first female CTO of HHS, has voiced her intent to support the "data liberación" strategy and free health data stored in siloed government databases. Source

• On Tuesday, CMS proposed its first update in 12 years to Medicaid managed-care plans. The new rule would financially encourage states to fund electronic health record (EHR) systems for long-term care and behavioral health providers, who have been previously excluded from receiving federal incentives for EHR use. Source

• The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications through July 6 for grants awarded through its Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program. The department plans to award a total of $19 million dollars toward hardware, software, and other infrastructure to support telehealth and other DLT services. Source

On The Front Lines:


This week, Apple took a slight 0.01 percent dip in the total market share among pMD's physician charge capture users. Elsewhere in tech news, BrandZ’s Most Valuable Global Brands of 2015 list was published this week. Apple regained the top spot on the list, and last year’s winner, Google, came in at number two.

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:


• House committee members voted unanimously on Thursday to pass the 21st Century Cures Act, which is aimed at streamlining the drug approval process in the U.S. Congress did not cut the 340B drug discount program to fund the Cures bill; the 340B program is considered a backbone for hospitals that serve low-income Medicare and Medicaid patients. Source

• Banner Health officials chose 34 SNFs in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area as "recommended facilities" for patients leaving its hospitals who need short-term skilled-nursing care. The preferred providers will work closely with Banner to return patients home more quickly and prevent hospital re-admissions, in exchange for a greater volume of referrals. Source

• A recent survey found that 83 percent of health care executives believe that the ICD-10 transition will happen on Oct. 1, 2015 with no further delays. Meanwhile, Rep. Diane Black (Tennessee) has introduced the ICD-TEN Act, a bill requiring an 18-month transition period to test the submittal of ICD-10 claims during which time medical practices would not be penalized. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple saw a tiny 0.01 percent jump in market share this week among pMD's physician charge capture users. Users may be a tiny bit excited about Apple's next operating system, iOS 9, which will reportedly feature new optimizations to support older generation iPhones and iPads.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.39%
Android: 9.61%

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.