By MICHELLE RONAN NOTEBOOM
It’s taken me two days to recover from 3-1/2 days of HIMSS15 and I wonder how the other 43,138 attendees are faring. Actually I am pretty confident that few people escaped Chicago without swollen feet and exhausted minds and bodies.
The convention is a mammoth event that offers a little something for everyone, whether you are interested in policy, technology, education, networking, buying, or selling. Some folks, including Greg Rakas of epatientfinder, believes the event is almost too big and overwhelming. In Greg’s words, “We have the most professional people and vendors in all of medicine there resorting to magicians and games of chance to lure people in. I found that to be a little disappointing and pandering.”
Others, like Houston Johnson, CEO of Practice Insight, were quite satisfied with the overall experience. “We met with many of our partners and that’s really why we come here,” Johnson shared. “It gives us a chance to talk to our existing resellers and meet new resellers.”
The exhibit hall – which supposedly measures 22 football fields – creates a bit of a sensory overload. While walking the floor with a friend of mine, he remarked that it’s a bit like New York City with all the big crowds and flashing lights. Over 1,000 exhibitors pay thousands of dollars for the opportunity to draw the attention to their offerings, hence the magicians, late afternoon cocktail receptions, and iPad, Apple Watch, and GoPro giveaways.
I made it to Chicago Sunday morning and hit the ground running. After arriving at the mammoth McCormick Center I headed to the CHIME meeting just as several hundred CIOs were returning from lunch. Three of the industry’s most prominent CIOs were the keynote speakers for a session entitled, “Health IT Leader 3.0 Great Ideas In Action.” Ed Marx of Texas Health Resources shared his insights on employee engagement, while Patricia Skarulis of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center discussed security. Finally Timothy Stettheimer of Ascension Information Services offered some great wisdom on life and work balance.
I then trekked to The Venture+ Forum, which focuses on new and emerging healthcare solutions. The format is very face-paced with entrepreneurs pitching their companies in five minutes or less, and then answering a few questions from a panel of four industry veterans. I sat through about 10 of the pitches and was struck by the variety of technologies that were being promoted, as well as the quality (or lack there of) of the presentations. It’s a tough format if you are not a polished speaker as you have just a brief amount of time to present your story. A couple of the pitches were so confusing that I never quite figured out what their product was or the solution it solved. One thing I did learn was that if you are answering questions, it’s best not to begin every single response with, “that’s a great question.”
Our intrepid tech columnist Michelle Noteboom caught up with eClinicalWorks CEO Girish Navani last week to talk with him about his company’s future, his patient engagement strategy and his plans for international expansion.
Michelle Noteboom: What’s the latest news from eClinicalWorks?
Girish Kumar: There’s a lot Michelle. I like to put it into some buckets so that I can define them. The core is our EHR and practice management space and the focus continues to be on usability and always making it’s more provider-friendly; the whole space around using touch and speech. We seem to be doing some innovative work in that arena to make EHR even more usable than just point and click. In that space we’re seeing continuous growth based on good customer satisfaction and retention.
That’s part one. Obviously the government mandates dictate a lot of other things. Meaningful Use 3 comes on the horizon. Interoperability is a big deal and I think we’ve done some good work with Epic and eCW integrations now for our mutual customers, which is making interoperability even better with faster deployment for our clients.
That’s the core. There are three other things. One is revenue cycle management, which averages 2.9%. We’ve gotten good momentum in that space, with both new customers and convergent customers.
Population health: we’re competing with stand-alone companies in that space reasonably well in both ACO product lines. We did well with other quality programs, so that’s an area that we’ll continue to invest.
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Show Floor Landmark: Interoperability Showcase
eClinicalWorks offers ambulatory clinical solutions consisting of EMR/PM software, patient portals and a community health records application. With more than 85,000 physicians and 545,000 users across all 50 states using its solutions, customers include physician practices, out-patient departments of hospitals, health centers, departments of health and convenient care clinics.
Epic Scores Another Big Win
Scripps Health selects Epic to replace its existing GE Healthcare’s Centricity Enterprise (inpatient) and Allscripts Enterprise (outpatient). The San Diego-based Scripps includes five acute-care campuses, 26 outpatient clinics, and 2,600 affiliated physicians.
No doubt that this is one that Cerner had hoped to win.
Marlin Equity Partners Acquires e-MDs
Marlin Equity Partners acquires ambulatory EMR provider e-MDs. Marlin will merge e-MDs with its existing portfolio company MDeverywhere, a provider of RCM and credentialing services for physicians. e-MD founderContinue reading…
Medicine is obsessed with numbers. Or rather, journalists and medical administrators are. Here are two related examples of how large a grain of salt one must put on numbers.
Cardiac surgical procedures, like everything else in medicine, have quality indicators. One of these is what we doctors call “30-day mortality”. What this term means is that surgeons are evaluated in part on how many of the patients they operated on died within a month of having surgery. Presumably a surgeon whose patients rarely die within 30 days is a better surgeon than one whose patients die all the time. The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, whose members deal frequently with the elderly, thinks this number, 30, harms old people. http://nyti.ms/1AR3OqB. The problem, according to Paula Span of the New York Times, is that surgeons refuse to operate on people who are more likely to die within 30 days, and that they keep patients alive in ICUs until day 31 to keep their numbers up. Bad doctors! Continue reading…
As the digital economy transforms health the most transformative ideas and consumer engagement solutions can sometimes challenge the industry’s ability to adopt and implement them. Reimbursement reforms, risk sharing, migration towards high deductible plans and the expansion of public and private coverage are converging to unleash an increasingly sophisticated consumer into the marketplace. Health systems and physician practices are consolidating and marketing their services direct to consumers in an attempt to underscore the critical differentiators valued by consumers – access, quality and affordability. In today’s consumer economy, access remains a critical criterion for choosing and patronizing a provider or a practice. To assist the move toward consumerism, employers are introducing tools to facilitate comparison-shopping for services seen as “consumer-driven.” The cost of elective and non-emergency services are highly variable and employers want employees to become consumers making decisions based not only on access but also cost.Continue reading…
Epic’s Faulkner Shares Charitable Foundation Plans
In an interview with Modern Healthcare, Epic founder/CEO Judith Faulkner reveals that she will leave much of her wealth to a specially created charitable foundation that will operate and fund not-for-profit organizations in healthcare and other areas. The 71-year-old Faulkner says that almost all her shares of Epic stock will go to the foundation upon her death, or sooner if she chooses.
The plan is also designed to keep Epic private. “My stock will go to the foundation,” Faulkner said. “The foundation will control the stock. This plan is designed to preserve the company as a private company forever.”
Faulkner, who has an estimated worth of $2.8 billion, says she never wanted the money personally or for her family and wonders, “What would you want with all that money? It doesn’t seem right and I can’t tell you why.”
What’s not to like about Faulkner’s values or her plan?
AMA: What’s the ICD-10 Contingency Plan?
The AMA and about 100 other physician groups urge CMS to develop an ICD-10 contingency plan in the event of a “catastrophic” backlog following the October 1 transition. The organizations want CMS to make public its plans to make advanced payments or reimbursements for services already rendered, work with ONC to ensure EHR systems are ICD-10 ready, and confirm contractors won’t audit for the correct code.
The silver lining here is that these organizations are (finally) not asking for a delay in implementing ICD-10. CMS apparently has drafted a contingency plan in the event of claims process disruptions but does not plan to make it public. In this age of more transparency, CMS needs to make the plan public – even though provider groups will surely find fault with the plan. But, isn’t it better to continue moving the conversation forward, just in case of there is a catastrophe?
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