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Health Management Technology News
  March 11, 2014
In this issue:

► Administration drops proposed Medicare changes

► R.I. Hospital’s emergency department first to test Google Glass on medical conditions

► Brightree first to validate ICD-10 readiness

► Slew of changes to health-care law creates more confusion for consumers

► More than 85% of healthcare CEOs say aging population and evolving technology will transform the sector

► Finalists unveiled for the RFID Journal Awards

Administration drops proposed Medicare changes

The Obama administration says it’s pulling the plug on proposed changes to the Medicare prescription program that ran into strong opposition on Capitol Hill. Among other changes, the regulation proposed to remove three classes of drugs from a special protected list that guarantees seniors access to a wide selection of critical medications.

The three classes of drugs facing removal were antidepressants, antipsychotics and drugs that suppress the immune system to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ.

The administration hoped to save a total of $729 million by 2019 with the change. But patient groups including the National Kidney Foundation and the National Alliance on Mental Illness pushed back hard.

Medicare administrator Marilyn Tavenner said Monday in a letter to Congress that the administration will not move forward with the changes.

Read the article here ► 

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R.I. Hospital’s emergency department first to test Google Glass on medical conditions

Rhode Island Hospital’s emergency department will become the first in the nation, officials say, to use Google Glass technology to stream live images of a patient’s medical condition to a consulting specialist located elsewhere.

If an ensuing six-month feasibility study is successful, project coordinator Dr. Paul Porter envisions an ambulance crew someday responding to a stroke victim, using the eyeglass technology to provide real-time video and audio to a neurologist back at the hospital who could then order a clot-busting, brain-saving drug immediately.

For now the hospital will test the technology only with emergency room patients suffering skin rashes or other dermatological afflictions and who volunteer to be part of the study.

The reason, says Porter, is because the standard of care now for such problems is a simple visual inspection and asking patients questions, such as, “Does it itch?” This way if any kinks in the technology develop — a lost video or audio feed, for example — patient care won’t be compromised.

Porter was the force behind the hospital soliciting Google to see if its latest Glass technology could be used in what the doctor calls “tele-medicine.” Google Glass is a special pair of glasses equipped with smartphone components and a tiny transparent screen that appears on the right lens. It allows the wearer, largely through voice commands, to link to the Internet, access GPS and to send live audio or visual images of what the wearer is seeing at that moment.

Porter has been interested in telemedicine since 2011 when, as an Army reservist, he ran an emergency room in Baghdad. Because of the dangers of moving soldiers around, Porter often emailed images of soldiers’ wounds to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, MD, where specialists could evaluate the injuries and suggest treatment.

Then last December, Porter was on a plane, reading about Google Glass, when he realized the opportunity he was looking for. With the help of two Rhode Island Hospital residents, Peter Chai and Roger Wu, the team prepared a research proposal, received approval from hospital officials and began working with experts at Pristine, a Texas startup company, which last year developed the only form of Google Glass that meets strict federal patient privacy laws.

Read the full Providence Journal article here ► 

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Brightree first to validate ICD-10 readiness

Brightree LLC announced that it has successfully participated in national ICD-10 testing by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Brightree submitted multiple test claims across all product lines and has received 100 percent acceptance that the test claims have been acknowledged and accepted by CMS.

“We understand that the healthcare industry is going through a tremendous shift to meet the regulatory demands of transitioning to ICD-10, and by proactively participating in the national CMS test period last week, we assure our customers that we are prepared to help them navigate these changes,” said Chris Watson, Chief Operating Officer, Brightree LLC. ”The early acknowledgment by CMS validates our ICD-10 readiness and we are confident that we will be ready in advance of the transition date.”

Claims for all healthcare services and hospital inpatient procedures with a date of service on or after October 1, 2014, must use ICD-10 diagnosis and inpatient procedure codes. Claims that do not use ICD-10 codes following the transition date will no longer be processed by CMS. Brightree will also be participating in the CEDI voluntary ICD-10 end-to-end testing program for DME providers in July.

Read the full article here ► 

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Slew of changes to health-care law creates more confusion for consumers

As the deadline approaches for most Americans to obtain health insurance, a flurry of changes by the Obama administration has led to a frenzied effort among employers, insurance companies, politicians and consumers to try and understand what they might mean.

The latest batch of adjustments came on March 5th, when the administration disclosed that it was delaying, once again, the deadline for people with old private health plans to buy beefed-up versions required under the health-care law. The cancellations of the old plans have been politically damaging for Democrats and the White House, because President Obama had vowed that the law would not prevent people from keeping insurance plans that they liked.

By allowing many people to keep their old plans for two years longer, the administration softened the blow for congressional Democrats up for reelection this fall. No longer do members have to fear a wave of cancellation letters right before the November midterm election.

But the changes have contributed to consumer confusion, as people try to sort through their options on the already hard-to-understand subject of health insurance, and race to meet a March 31 deadline to carry health coverage or face a fine. And the changes fuel suspicions that the law is deeply flawed, forcing the administration to try to patch it on the fly.

Read the full Washington Post article here ► 

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More than 85% of healthcare CEOs say aging population and evolving technology will transform the sector

Long-term care providers seeking to leverage new technology are part of a much larger trend: 86% of global healthcare CEOs believe that tech will fundamentally transform the sector in the next five years, according to a new survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Researchers at the accounting firm polled 1,344 global business leaders, including 81 healthcare CEOs, to compile its 17th annual Global CEO Survey.

While leaders in many business sectors recognized the transformative power of technology, healthcare CEOs are particularly attuned to how an aging population also will be a major factor in the coming years. About 85% of healthcare leaders cited demographic changes as a “transformative trend,” compared with 60% of all respondents.

Healthcare is at an inflection point when it comes to technology adoption, the survey suggests. While 93% percent of healthcare CEOs said they plan to change their technology investments, only 33% have done so already.

Read the full McKnight’s article here ► 

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Finalists unveiled for the RFID Journal Awards

RFID Journal has unveiled the finalists for its 2014 RFID Journal Awards. The winners will be announced at RFID Journal LIVE! 2014, the company’s 12th annual conference and exhibition, to be held at the Orange County Convention Center, in Orlando, Fla., on Apr. 8-10. All finalists will be invited to speak at the event, and the winners in each category, along with the finalists, will receive a prestigious crystal award.

“The scope of the deployments in this year’s submissions was truly impressive, showing that RFID has matured to the point that some companies are using it on a large scale,” said Mark Roberti, RFID Journal’s founder and editor. “In fact, the field of award entries for Best RFID Implementation was so strong this year that, for the first time in the award’s eight-year history, we have decided to name four finalists. I have no doubt that attendees at LIVE! will benefit from hearing all of the finalists present their stories live on stage, and from viewing the new products featured in our Best in Show category.”

Read the full press release here ► 

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