Category Archives: General News and Commentary

Breaking News: FTC Orders ProMedica to Divest Itself of Toledo’s St. Luke’s Hospital

ProMedica has lost its court battle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the hospital system is once again being ordered to divest itself of St. Luke’s Hospital in Maumee, Ohio (near Toledo). In a unanimous opinion, the federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati today denied ProMedica’s petition to overturn a FTC ruling originally issued in 2011 that said it would be “illegal and anti-competitive” for ProMedica to merge with St. Luke’s (which had already happened in May of 2010). Read the judge’s ruling in its entirety Circuit Judge Raymond M. Kethledge asserted in the ruling today that ProMedica’s merger [...]

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Clinical Link Enhancement: ZirMed Announces New, Secure, HIPAA-Compliant Messaging Feature

ZirMed today announced a new, secure, HIPAA-compliant messaging feature for Clinical Link, the company’s cloud-based communications platform. This enhancement enables ZirMed users to exchange messages and clinical documents with any provider organization in the U.S., regardless of an organization’s EHR or practice management system. Clinical Link secure messaging helps providers meet the need for HIPAA-compliant physician communications without the delays associated with faxing, scanning and lost paperwork. The solution also supports provider organizations in their goal to meet Meaningful Use Stage II requirements, enabling seamless transitions of patient care by facilitating digital document exchange across care locations. “Our clients are [...]

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MedSnap ID Now Available To GNYHA Services And Essensa Healthcare Members

MedSnap ID bills itself as the first smartphone-based computer vision solution to address the time-consuming and error prone task of patient medication history taking. Using an iPhone® camera and durable Snap Surface, MedSnap ID automatically Snaps an image of a patient’s pills.  MedSnap ID then identifies all of the pills on the Surface, including generic, brand name and over-the-counter medications, and screens them for interactions and other safety issues. Clinician users can create a customized patient medication list with detailed instructions, pictures of each pill, and additional pertinent information appropriate for either patients or other clinicians. Medication lists can be [...]

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Is the “Office Visit” Becoming Cheeky? House Calls Are Making a Strong Comeback

Something old is becoming something new again. That Norman Rockwell image of the friendly, white-coated physician toting his iconic black bag of miracles –making a house call no less–  is actually making a comeback. In fact, physicians making house calls is being talked about as an innovative and disruptive new business model. Walter Park, 68, of San Francisco, says house calls prevented his expensive return visit to the hospital, where he initially stayed for seven weeks after a heart attack in 2012. After his discharge, specialists from the University of California, San Francisco, were among those who visited his home [...]

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Collapsed Healthcare System May Be Biggest Threat to Syrians

As the war grinds on into its fourth year, more Syrians have died from lack of adequate medical care than from actual combat, according to Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union’s commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response. She went on to say that normally preventable diseases are killing twice as many Syrians as fighting. In an interview with Al-Monitor on April 11 in Washington, where she attended a coordination meeting at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) with other groups struggling to keep up with the spreading humanitarian consequences of the Syrian crisis, Georgieva said that “over 200,000 people [...]

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Cutting Readmission Rates: AHRQ Report Indicates that Passing the Buck to Primary Care isn’t the Answer

According to a recent AHRQ report, U.S. hospitals spent $41.3 billion treating patients readmitted to the hospital within a month of being sent home, frequently for conditions that could be better managed by a primary care doctor –but clearly, not always. The AHRQ report used 2011 data from federal and state databases to determine the most common reasons patients were readmitted to the hospital and the total cost of each. The report broke down its findings for Medicare, Medicaid, privately insured and uninsured patients. Here are the top conditions for which patients were readmitted and the total cost: Medicare Congestive [...]

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Sign of the Times: CollabRx and Affymetrix Partner to Optimize Genetic Variant Annotation (GVA) Service

High-throughput DNA sequencing platforms are now widely available. As a result, personal genomes are being sequenced with increasing regularity in both research and clinical settings. However, the resulting and massive amounts of variants data continue to challenge those who would make sense of it all for us. And that is why you will continue to see collaborations like the one announced below —highly targeted and/or disease-specific. CollabRx, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLRX), a leading provider of software and IT systems that support clinical decision-making in oncology, and Affymetrix, Inc. (NASDAQ: AFFX), an industry leader in genomics analysis, yesterday announced an agreement to [...]

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The Wrong Kind of Transparency: Obama Administration Wants to Expose Whistleblowers?

The Obama administration wants potential government whistleblowers to identify themselves, before the fact, by registering themselves and their intent with the FBI. There are few supporters of the idea, but they do exist. They suggest that it’s an appropriate way for the government to quickly distinguish between true insider threats and legitimate whistleblowing activity. Everyone else is pointing out that it’s a terrible idea, if not antithetical to the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, considered a landmark piece of legislation. Indeed, if whistleblowers were organized, the president’s action would be equated to union busting, as anonymity is likely more important [...]

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High School Students Use Crowdsourcing to Find a Cure for Melanoma

In a groundbreaking effort, 3,500 of the country’s top high school students will build the world’s largest wiki on melanoma research — and work toward finding that needle in a haystack to cure melanoma. The effort is led by www.SaveJordan.org, which will use crowdsourcing to drive user-generated content related to melanoma cancer research to a wiki site. “The idea is to bypass mainstream medicine and medical research and compile fresh ideas,” said Jordan Guernsey, the 29-year-old father of two and Stage IV cancer survivor who is the force behind SaveJordan.org. “The young people working on SaveJordan.org are the best and brightest future [...]

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Consolidation Trend Continues: Tufts Medical Center and Lowell General Hospital Forming System

Tufts Medical Center and Lowell General Hospital are joining forces to form a new health care system they say will offer lower-cost medical services from Southern New Hampshire to south of Boston at a time of changes sweeping through the industry. The alliance would link a 415-bed Boston teaching hospital that has been scrambling for a niche in the fast-consolidating market with one of the state’s largest community hospitals. Lowell General, which two years ago took over a crosstown rival, Saints Memorial Medical Center, has 434 beds on two campuses. Under terms of a tentative agreement approved by both boards, each nonprofit [...]

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ICD-10 Industry Surveys Show Directly Conflicting Results

Just before the transition to ICD-10 was officially delayed, NueMD conducted a survey of 1,300 healthcare professionals to gauge their attitudes towards ICD-10. The survey, which garnered responses from all 50 states, found that 55 percent of respondents thought the transition to ICD-10 should be delayed or should not happen at all. When comparing those results to  a 2012 survey that asked the same question, 56 percent of respondents wanted a delay or no transition, suggesting there hasn’t been any change in attitude over the last 18 months. The NueMD survey also measured healthcare professionals’ thoughts on financial and operational [...]

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University of Kentucky Hospital Joins Virginia Purchasing Collaborative

The University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington, Ky., announced  today that it has joined the supply chain collaborative established  by the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, Va., and VCU Medical Center in Richmond, Va. In 2007, the two Virginia hospitals combined their purchasing efforts and began working with UHC and its supply contracting company, Novation. The University of Kentucky Hospital will now also benefit from the power of combined purchasing volume, which will help all three hospitals reduce their costs. University of Kentucky Hospital, University of Virginia Health System, and VCU Medical Center are all participants in UHC Supply Chain Intelligence, through which they have access to an extensive portfolio of product [...]

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Friday Rant: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed…

What happened to the good ol’ days –you know, when SCM vendor marketing budgets were properly anemic? SAP announced the concept of a “Supply Chain Control Tower” a little over a week ago at its supply chain conference in Las Vegas. If you’re curious about what it is, here’s my stab at it: Great marketing. Dammit, it’s a control tower not a dashboard! And because most of us in the SCM space have little experience dealing with a well-financed, first degree marketing assault, it will probably work —and that’s a good thing. If nothing else, it is validating the work of [...]

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Guide for Public Health and Primary Care Integration: The “Practical Playbook” Rolls Out Nationwide

On March 5, 2014, the de Beaumont Foundation, Duke Community and Family Medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched A Practical Playbook: Public Health & Primary Care Together, a new website designed to promote and facilitate collaborative health projects between public health officers and primary care providers. In the first month, A Practical Playbook has been met with high praise, even as project team members work behind the scenes to enhance functionality and add even more content to its list of 700+ resources. Dr. Michael McGinnis, a senior scholar at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Executive Director of the [...]

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Less Than Half of Americans Polled Believe Humans Have Anything to Do with Climate Change

In looking back at the winter that just came to a close, and according to a new Harris Poll, Americans in each region of the country feel quite a bit differently about the Winter that just passed. When it comes to the temperature, almost nine in ten Midwesterners (88%) and over four in five Easterners (84%) say it was colder than normal, as do 71% of those in the South. In the West, they are a little more divided as 45% believe it was warmer than normal, one-third (33%) say it was about the same as normal and one in [...]

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Holding Patients Hostage: UPMC and Highmark Ripping the Community Benefit Standard to Shreds

The Stockholm Syndrome is a phenomenon that occurs when people who are held hostage –by captors who express concern for their welfare– eventually develop a tendency to identify with their captor’s interests. Far more ridiculous theories have been promoted to explain how UPMC, Western PA’s dominant healthcare provider, could get away with refusing to do business with Highmark, the area’s largest and most dominant insurer. Instead of the resolve getting stronger among those who could actually do something to fix this, remarkably, it seems to be weakening. For the hundreds of thousands of UPMC patients who are insured by Highmark, and appear [...]

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