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Health Management Technology News
  April 18, 2014
In this issue:
 

 Nuance PowerShare Network unveiled for cloud-based medical imaging and report exchange

 ‘This thing is working,’ Obama says in announcing 8 million health care signups

 GOP steps up demand for documents on White House role in botched healthcare rollout

 More proof that American healthcare prices are sky-high

 Health Management Technology’s Resource Guide sign-up

 Better, broader healthcare for Latinos being pursued

 California healthcare sign-ups exceed projections


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Nuance PowerShare Network unveiled for cloud-based medical imaging and report exchange

Nuance Communications, Inc. announced the immediate availability of Nuance PowerShare Network, the industry’s largest cloud-based network for securely connecting physicians, patients, government agencies, specialty medical societies and others to share essential medical images and reports as simply as people exchange information using social networks. Nuance PowerShare Network promotes informed and connected physicians and patients who can instantly view, share and collaborate while addressing patients’ healthcare needs.

“By integrating this with our EHR, PowerShare will enable physicians to manage inbound imaging through one point of access and login. Physicians in our 11 hospitals and 100-mile radius referral network see this cutting-edge technology as a way to deliver the highest level of patient care.”

“Organizations are being tasked to communicate efficiently both in and out of their networks to provide clinical insight to physicians beyond one person or office to a much broader team involved in the continuum of care,” said Keith Dreyer, DO, PhD, FACR, vice chairman of radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) IT and Informatics Committee. “Nuance PowerShare Network addresses the information sharing challenge physicians face today with a network that supports things we’ve dreamed of doing for years,” he adds.

Fully Connected Patients & Providers

Nuance PowerShare Network is already used by more than 1,900 provider organizations for sharing images via the cloud using open standards. Made possible through the acquisition of Accelarad, this medical imaging exchange eliminates the costly and insecure process of managing images on CDs and removes silos of information in healthcare that inhibit providers from optimizing the efficiency and quality of care they provide. Anyone can join the network regardless of IT systems in place to instantly view and manage images needed to consult, diagnose or treat patients, enabling clinicians to more seamlessly evaluate and deliver care for patients who transition between facilities or care settings.

Nuance is already used by more than 500,000 clinicians and is a critical component within the radiology workflow and a trusted partner for 1,600+ provider organizations that rely on Nuance PowerScribe for radiology reporting and communications. Healthcare organizations that use Nuance PowerScribe, a group that produces more that 50 percent of all radiology reports in the U.S., can immediately leverage their existing investment and begin sharing radiology reports along with images, such as X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, EKGs, wound care images, dermatology images or any other type of image. This simplifies secure health information exchange between multiple providers, patients and disparate systems without costly and time-consuming interfaces, CD production or the need to install additional third-party systems.

“The challenge of sharing images with interpretive reports is something we’ve heard about consistently from our customers and EHR partners, and we know Nuance PowerShare Network will overcome this major obstacle, helping physicians treat patients more efficiently and effectively,” said Peter Durlach, senior vice president of marketing and strategy, Nuance Communications. “This nationwide network, one that is fully integrated into the EHR workflow and already connected to approximately half of all clinicians producing diagnostic imaging information, is a ground breaking solution that delivers immediate benefits at an unprecedented scale to our healthcare system.”

Read the full press release here  

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‘This thing is working,’ Obama says in announcing 8 million health care signups

President Barack Obama announced Thursday that 8 million people had signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, including what White House officials said were a sufficient number of young, healthy adults, a critical milestone that might counter election-year attacks by Republicans on the law’s success and viability.

The total exceeds by 1 million the target set by the administration for people to buy insurance through government-run health care exchanges. In particular, the number of young people signing up appears to have surged during the final weeks of enrollment.

“This thing is working,” Obama told reporters in the White House briefing room, in what amounted to a second victory lap after he announced two weeks ago that 7.1 million people had signed up during an initial enrollment period. “The Affordable Care Act is covering more people at less cost than most people would have predicted a few months ago.”

Still, critics of the law cautioned that promising top-line numbers were not by themselves proof of success. Although more young people signed up for health insurance, for example, the number remained below the level that some analysts believe is optimal for keeping premiums low in the insurance marketplaces.

The administration said Thursday that 28 percent of those who bought policies were between the ages of 18 and 34, but some analysts said the optimum level would be 40 percent.

“In an ideal world, you’d want to get as close to that as possible,” said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “But what is important is what the insurance companies expected, and this is what they expected.”

The administration did not release two other statistics that would help determine the success of the law: the number of people among the 8 million who bought insurance for the first time and the number who have made their initial premium payments.

Read the full article from The Dallas News
here
 

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GOP steps up demand for documents on White House role in botched healthcare rollout

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa is ratcheting up pressure on President Obama's top aides to turn over more documents revealing the extent of the White House's direct involvement in the botched rollout of the health insurance exchanges, according to a letter to White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler obtained exclusively by Fox News.

In the letter transmitted to Ruemmler at the White House Thursday morning, Issa asserts "senior White House officials -- as well as the President -- appear to have been far more personally involved in decision-making related to HealthCare.gov than the White House previously represented. Documents obtained by the Committee show the significant involvement of senior White House officials in the rollout of HealthCare.gov."

Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, notes he based that assertion on the contents of more than 8,000 pages of documents that the Department of Health and Human Services has already turned over related to the Oct. 1 rollout in response to a subpoena by the panel months ago.

But Issa charges he has been blocked from getting further documents about the president's personal involvement in the rollout because HHS officials have told him that those other documents have been determined to raise "executive branch institutional interests" and have been held back for further White House review.

The White House, in a statement reacting to Issa's letter, defended its efforts to cooperate with congressional inquiries.

"There is nothing extraordinary about the fact that HHS has made a small number of redactions in the many thousands of pages of documents it has produced. Since the Affordable Care Act became law, this Administration has participated in 14 transcribed interviews, dozens of Committee briefings, 50 Congressional hearings, and produced more than 100,000 pages of documents," the White House said. "And despite the nonstop repeal votes, lawsuits, and Congressional investigations seeking to derail the Affordable Care Act, the 7 million plus Americans who enrolled, can now get quality, affordable health-care."

Read the full article from Fox News here  

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More proof that American healthcare prices are sky-high

As anyone who's ever paid a health insurance premium or a hospital bill knows, medical care is expensive. What Americans may not know is that residents of other countries don't pay nearly as much for the same things.

The latest data from the International Federation of Health Plans, an industry group representing health insurers from 28 countries including the United States, once again illustrates that American patients pay the highest prices in the world for a variety of prescription drugs and common procedures like childbirth and hospital stays.

And despite the persistent claims by nearly anyone holding or seeking public office in the U.S. that America has the best health care system in the world, there's scant evidence that we're getting higher-quality medical treatment or enjoying healthier lives than our counterparts abroad. What's more, the U.S. still leaves tens of millions of its own citizens without health coverage, and will continue to do so even a decade into the implementation of Obamacare.

To illustrate just how much more Americans pay for health care, the International Federation of Health Plans compared the prices for common medicines and services around the world in a report released on Thursday.

Read the full article from The Huffington Post here  

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Better, broader healthcare for Latinos being pursued

Building on a service that has just celebrated its fourth anniversary, community leaders are fortifying their commitment to secure better access to health care for Latinos in the greater Sacramento region.

Surrounded by historic photographs chronicling the lives of Mexican Americans in Sacramento, Consul General Carlos Gonzalez Gutiérrez this week hosted a gathering at the Mexican Consulate in Natomas to celebrate the Ventanilla de Salud, or health window, where people of all backgrounds are welcome to seek health care services. There, clients are screened and referred to medical providers.

Testimonials shared with the officials at the Monday event attest to how critical the bilingual service has been in helping approximately 40,000 people in 24 counties the consulate serves in Northern California. It’s estimated that about 80 percent of Latinos in California are of Mexican origin.

Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, director of the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities, cited research that shows 75 percent of Latinos referred to health care services never returned to those providers after the initial visit. Experts have said this may result from a lack of trust in mainstream medicine or a failure to connect with Latinos culturally.

“One of the great things about the Ventanilla de Salud is that it’s a safe haven for people to get help connecting the dots to access health care,” Aguilar-Gaxiola said.

Read the full article from The Sacramento Bee here  

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California healthcare sign-ups exceed projections

A late surge of sign-ups pushed California's health insurance exchange beyond the original enrollment projections of the Obama administration.

Through Tuesday's end of the enrollment period, nearly 1.4 million Californians had selected a policy through the state's online marketplace, about 1 million more than the federal government had projected last fall.

Covered California, the agency that runs the exchange, released the final sign-up data on Thursday. Still unknown is how many of those who signed up for insurance plans have paid their first month's premium, which will allow them to begin receiving health coverage.

Read the full article from The Porterville Recorder here  

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