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Health Management Technology News
  March 26, 2014
In this issue:
 

► Tackling hospital charges with audits and transparency

► Dell serves up ‘hospital IT in a box’ for India

► Wearable electronics to drive additional $70 million in battery revenue during next four years

► ZirMed announces top four best practices for meeting PQRS quality measures

► Healthcare law opens opportunities for tech startups


Tackling hospital charges with audits and transparency

Equifax, the credit rating agency, once spent a year auditing hospital bills for insurance companies. More than 90 percent of the 40,000-plus bills included overcharges.

That was back in 1998. Today, hospitals claim their bills are much more accurate — if no less complex and expensive.

Several companies are trying to shed light on these costs for the people paying the bills. Medicare audits, for example, have recovered more than $4.8 billion in hospital charges since 2009.

Audit and transparency companies are now offering their services to the nation’s bigger companies, which typically pay the majority of the hospital costs of their employees.

“Employers are starting to see the real costs of what they’re buying and paying for,” said Marianne Fazen, executive director of the Dallas-Fort Worth Business Group on Health.

“Transparency is going to be a top factor in their negotiations” — with insurers, with audit firms and with hospitals themselves, she said.

Audit and transparency firms like Group & Pension Administrators and Compass in Dallas, San Francisco-based Castlight Health and Atlanta’s Advanced Medical Pricing Solutions are trying to get hospitals to accept a different type of payment.

Read the full Dallas News article here ► 

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Dell serves up ‘hospital IT in a box’ for India

Dell Services has launched its first cloud-based hospital information system (HIS) solution for the mid-market segment in the Indian healthcare sector.

It is the first offering for the pure-play Indian market from Dell’s Healthcare and Life Sciences division, which is the company’s fastest growing and tallest vertical in services. Until now, Dell’s healthcare services here have been limited to providing IT outsourcing service delivery and offshore support, and in the case of a few major players, playing a consultant role.

In an interaction with this correspondent, Sid Nair, vice president and global general manager, Healthcare and Life Sciences at Dell Services, said that the company believes the Indian healthcare sector, growing at about 15 percent, is a vast and untapped resource, the mid-market segment in particular. Dell defines the mid-market segment as any hospital that has about 100 beds, and this includes medium-size hospitals that are part of hospital chains.

Veera S. Raghavan, executive director, practices and solutions group at Dell’s healthcare services, calls it “hospital IT in a box,” offers on a “pay per use” model with nil capital investments as a big incentive for healthcare providers in the mid-market segment.

“We’re focused on the mid-market and are not going after the big players with this one. But it is of course easily scalable. The market doesn’t have something like this, and what is there is largely outdated. Currently, there are lot of boutique vendors, but there is no standardization,” said Mr. Raghavan. For this, Dell is collaborating with Ubq Technologies (which provides the Hospital Information Systems solution in the front-end) and Ramco Systems for the ERP on the cloud.

Read the full The Hindu article here ► 

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Wearable electronics to drive additional $70 million in battery revenue during next four years

The global market for batteries used in wearable electronics will grow more than tenfold in just four short years, propelled by portable new products especially suitable for active sports and fitness lifestyles, according to a new report from IHS Technology.

Worldwide revenue for wearable electronics batteries is projected to reach $77 million by 2018, up considerably from a mere $6 million by year-end in 2014. This year marks the first time of significant volume for the market from a virtually non-existent base last year, and revenue will continue to climb very rapidly in the next few years ahead.  By 2018, industry takings will have grown nearly 120 percent from 2014 levels.

“Wearable electronics will be the key to sustaining the current very-high-growth levels of battery revenue in consumer electronics,” said Thomas McAlpine, power supply and storage component analyst for IHS. “The tremendous expansion in store will come thanks to an increase in the shipments of smartwatch products, wearable health monitoring devices and smart glasses—products geared toward an active lifestyle combining advanced technological trends in miniature computing with newly smart consumer imperatives in fitness and fashion.

In all, annual shipments for wearable electronic devices will reach an estimated 56 million units by 2018, fueling continued demand for the batteries that power these products, McAlpine noted.

Read the full ENC article here ► 

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ZirMed announces top four best practices for meeting PQRS quality measures

ZirMed revealed the top best practices for maximizing Medicare reimbursements under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) quality measures and avoid penalties beginning in 2015. ZirMed estimates that eligible providers (EPs) and group practices can gain approximately a total of $3,000 through 2016 by improving PQRS repealing processes.

The Affordable Care Act provides a 0.5 percent incentive payment to EPs and group practices who report on PQRS in 2014. Beginning in 2015, there will be a 1.5 percent penalty—which will increase to 2 percent beginning in 2016—on all Medicare Part B Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) amounts for covered professional services. EPs can avoid the payment penalty if they report at least one valid measure via claims, a participating registry, or through a qualified EHR, or report one valid measure in a measures group via claims or a participating registry during the 2014 PQRS program year.

ZirMed recommends the following best practices to help providers participate in PQRS successfully:

  • Determine which measures are most applicable for your practice. Providers should report on the measures that occur most frequently in their organization so that staff will remember to include PQRS codes on each claim when PQRS reporting becomes part of the organization’s normal workflow.
  • Put upfront checks and procedures in place to ensure that PQRS data is included on all claims that require it. Sending a single batch of claims without PQRS data could seriously jeopardize a provider’s chance of qualifying for the bonus as there is no way to add PQRS data to a claim once it has been submitted.

Read the full ZirMed press release here ► 

Return to the table of contents ► 


Healthcare law opens opportunities for tech startups

The Affordable Care Act's website started out as a technological disappointment, but digital startups see plenty of opportunities to capitalize on the legislation on the eve of the enrollment deadline.

The law has prompted entrepreneurs to launch websites and mobile apps designed to help people sign up. The Obama administration, which took heated criticism for the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov last fall, will enroll as many people as it can by the March 31 deadline.

"Before the ACA, you really didn't have a centralized and large influence to push the industry toward these kinds of innovations," said Judd Hollas, CEO of EquityNet, who has seen an increase in healthcare-related ventures on his crowdfunding site that helps companies raise money from private investors.

Read the full SF Gate article here ► 

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