DIGITAL HEALTH BRIEFING: MEDITECH taps Arcadia to strengthen EHR offering - VA awards 1Vision $260 million telehealth deal - UnitedHealthcare, Dexcom tackle diabetes management
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MEDITECH COLLABORATES WITH ARCADIA TO STRENGTH EHR: Electronic health record (EHR) vendor MEDITECH is collaborating with Arcadia Healthcare Solutions, the population health management firm, to strengthen its population health management offering by integrating new data into its web-based EHR system. Arcadia aggregates data from over 40 EHR vendors and claims databases. Using this data, physicians are able to get a more complete picture of a patient's history. Under this agreement, Arcadia is expected to focus on aggregating data that is related to claims and risk stratification, such as risk scores and gaps in care, into MEDITECH's Web EHR.
Having access to Arcadia's data portfolio will help MEDITECH's users improve the care of their patients. For example, risk scores, which calculate the likelihood of an individual experiencing a certain outcome, such as an emergency admission or the development of a serious illness, can be powerful tools for healthcare professionals. Providers can use these scores to adjust interventions, and estimate costs in order to prevent patients from developing more serious conditions.
As the healthcare systems transition towards a value-based reimbursement structure, being able to improve patient outcomes will help the financial viability of providers. Value-based reimbursement structure incentivizes positive outcomes rather than the volume of patients seen or services rendered. And as more healthcare systems move to this model - the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has already made a commitment to tie 90% of Medicare payments to a value model by 2018 - EHR solutions that provide the tools to improve efficiency, lower readmissions, and drive down medical costs will grow in demand.
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VA AWARDS 1VISION HOME TELEHEALTH DEAL WORTH $260 MILLION: On Tuesday, the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) awarded telehealth vendor 1Vision an exclusive contract worth up to $260 million to provide home telehealth services for US veterans. Telehealth refers to a broad range of technologies and services that aim to provide patient care and improve healthcare delivery. The deal makes 1Vision, owned by IT services company HMS Technologies, the only Services-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business to be awarded a contract by the VA. 1Vision will partner with AMC Health, a virtual care and remote patient monitoring tech company to provide veterans with the ability to transmit personal health information such as weight, blood pressure, and glucose levels using Bluetooth-enabled medical devices in their homes. This will vastly improve the ability of veterans in the US to seek out and receive care from their doctors.
The announcement follows on the heels of the recently Senate-approved VETS Act, which aims to reform telemedicine licensing at the VA. The bill would allow doctors to provide vets with telehealth services anywhere in the US, regardless of where they're located. A similar bill was passed by the House of Representatives in November 2017. These reforms are a critical part of the US government's Anywhere to Anywhere initiative. The adoption of telehealth solutions is growing in the US, in part because they can help improve patient care, but also because they can reduce hospitalization costs and readmission rates. In 2017, 71% of US healthcare providers said they were using telehealth technology to connect with patients, up from 54% of healthcare providers in 2014, according to HIMSS Analytics.
UNITEDHEALTHCARE, DEXCOM TACKLE DIABETES MANAGEMENT: UnitedHealthcare, the largest healthcare company by revenue globally, and wearable glucose monitor company Dexcom have teamed up to launch a new initiative to help eligible UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage members manage their Type 2 diabetes. Announced Wednesday during the Consumer Electronics Showcase in Las Vegas, the initiative builds on UnitedHealthcare's Navigate4Me program, which provides participants with a single point of contact to help them navigate the healthcare system. Eligible participants will receive a Dexcom sensor that they wear on their abdomen to monitor blood glucose levels. They'll also receive personalized diabetes coaching from their Navigate4Me assistant and an activity tracker. Making it easier for consumers to access and use the health system could help mitigate the heavy strain chronic illnesses such as diabetes have on the healthcare budgets. In the US, chronic diseases and the health risk behaviors that cause them account for most health care costs, according to the CDC.
HHS BEING SUED OVER "IRRATIONAL" HIPAA ENFORCEMENT: Ciox Health, a Georgia-based health information management company has filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to halt the agency from enforcing parts of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that limit how much providers can charge for patient records, according to FierceHealthcare. The medical records firm specifically referenced changes made to HIPAA in 2013 and 2016, which were "irrational, arbitrary, capricious, and absurd." In 2013, the agency ruled that providers were required to transmit all health records, regardless of whether or not the records were an EHR or not, when a request was made. Ciox argues that this ruling did not account for the costs associated with collecting and transmitting this type of data. In 2016, the HHS went a step further by limiting all records requests charges to a reasonable cost-based fee or a flat fee of $6.50, including those made by third parties. About 4% of requests are made from patients and 40%-50% are from providers sending records to one another, which Ciox processes for free. In the past, Ciox was able to cover the costs of processing these requests by charging third-party commercial businesses, however, the company's ability to recoup these costs has been limited by the changes.
IN OTHER NEWS…
- Researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology have developed an ingestible pill that can track and record data from the human gut in real-time, according to CNET. The non-invasive pill transmits data to a smartphone app and early trial results suggest it could eventually be used as a diagnostic tool for gut-related diseases.
- Heal, an app-based physician house call service, unveiled Wellbe, a central hub for consumer's connected devices, according to MobiHealthNews. Data collected from these devices, which is tracked in real-time, can be shared with the patient's physician in order increase the precision and efficacy of care.