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Health Management Technology News
May 21, 2014

In this issue:
 

 FDA down-classifies camera pills, IV set air purge systems

 Healthcare beware! Introducing the new gold rush

 In healthcare, sometimes it’s provider choice vs. price

 Gov. Mike Pence pushes fellow conservatives to offer healthcare solutions

 7 recent hospital transactions and partnerships

 Patrick Dempsey partners with CrowdMed to help solve difficult medical cases


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FDA down-classifies camera pills, IV set air purge systems

In moves that will likely make life a bit easier for prospective makers of two types of medical devices, FDA has published Final Orders governing the classification of colon capsule imaging systems and intravascular administration set automated air removal systems that downgrade both from Class III to Class II, with the addition of special controls for both device types.

The new Final Orders will take effect on June 16. After that date, a manufacturer of either type of device will only need to prove that its device is “substantially equivalent” to an already approved device, rather than complete the more arduous Premarket Approval (PMA) process, as previously had been the case.

In the case of colon capsule imaging systems, that predicate device is Given Imaging's (Yoqneam, Israel) PillCam Colon 2  capsule endoscopy system. Makers of IV set automated air removal systems will need to convince FDA that their prospective offerings are substantially equivalent to Anesthesia Safety Products' (Woburn, MA) AirPurge System to achieve approval by the 510(k) route.

Read the full report from Qmed.com here

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Healthcare beware! Introducing the new gold rush

As the healthcare industry is transforming and becoming more consumer driven, the “5 Ps” are becoming the hub of the industry: prevention, personalization, prediction, preemption and personal responsibility. As a result, there is a rush of new stakeholders who are entering the game and changing many of the rules. Who are these new breed of companies and what are they bringing to this industry?

How are they transforming the way healthcare is practiced?

The foundation driving change in regard to how providers and patients interact and how medicine is practiced is “information technology.” We have witnessed a whole generation of content providers and social media companies – from Google, Facebook and Twitter, to Web MD and zillions more – that are playing the role of democratizing this data and taking it a step further by building consumer participation and responsibility into the mix.

Healthcare is a largely untapped market for specialized telecommunications systems with a strong immediate potential; therefore, it presents a handsome alternative revenue stream for this group. Telecommunication companies – or “telecoms” – are striving to customize their traditional offerings to meet the unique requirements and regulatory standards of the healthcare industry. These range from providing connectivity for enterprise mobility, asset management and exchange of health data in various formats; platforms for healthcare IT tools; mobile apps for physicians and healthcare professionals; all the way to patient engagement solutions. At a more consumer level, the telecommunications industry is targeting the increasingly health-conscious consumer with mobile apps that support education, health and wellness, patient monitoring as well as mobile communication.  On a larger scale, telecoms will eventually look toward creating a connected community or a smart city of which healthcare will be one component.

We are also waiting with bated breath to see if media companies will seriously enter this space for the long haul. Time Warner Cable recently announced the “Virtual Visit” program, implemented via Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Connected Care, whereby patients will be able to interact with their doctors via an encrypted two-way video without leaving their home. This product will be offered as a bundled service consisting of connectivity installation, customer premises equipment (modems and video conferencing equipment), and technical support in patients’ homes. There are other cable companies in addition to Time Warner Cable that are entering this space such as Cox Communications and Comcast who are doing similar pilots and seeking additional revenue streams from healthcare. War has already begun with AT&T’s recent announcement to acquire DirecTV leading to more consolidation among internet and TV providers.  Should we now expect Google who, as of recent, has been making moves to acquire gaming companies, to gear toward healthcare tech companies? Google has been trying to reinvent themselves and move outwards laterally for a while now.

Read the full article from Forbes here

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In healthcare, sometimes it’s provider choice vs. price

Some people who don’t have strong ties to doctors or hospitals seem willing to accept narrower networks of providers in return for lower prices. In other words, unlimited choice of doctors and hospitals may not always be the third rail in American health care it once was.

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s February Health Tracking Poll asked people with employer-based coverage if they would choose a plan that cost them less money but had a more limited range of doctors and hospitals. Only 34% said yes. About the same share of the public overall–37%–said the same thing. But among people who buy their own insurance in the non-group market or are uninsured, more than half–54%–said they would accept more limited choice to get a lower price.

Many people who are uninsured or who bounce from plan to plan every year in the non-group market may never have had a regular doctor or hospital, and the uninsured may be more worried about paying for health coverage that they are now legally required to buy than about having a broad choice of providers. Often, the price difference between broad- and narrow-network plans is substantial. A McKinsey study put it at 26%. It can be even larger.

Read the full blog entry from The Wall Street Journal here

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Gov. Mike Pence pushes fellow conservatives to offer healthcare solutions

Gov. Mike Pence exhorted fellow Republicans Monday to be "solutions conservatives" when it comes to health care reform.

That means offering "real alternatives to the big government answers of the political establishment," Pence said during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute where he promoted his plan for an alternative approach to Medicaid in Indiana.

Although Pence faced a friendly audience at the conservative think tank, his Medicaid plan has been criticized by some on the right since its unveiling last week.

"Pence's health care plan is just like his supposed rejection of Common Core (educational standards), which ended up basically accepting that horribly flawed system under a different name," said S. T. Karnick, director of research at the free-market think tank Heartland Institute in Chicago.

Pence has asked the federal government for permission to restructure Indiana's Medicaid program, while getting additional federal funding to expand access to the program through the 2010 Affordable Care Act that Republicans -- including Pence -- say should be repealed.

Pence needs federal approval for the plan, which he hopes could start as early as next year. He's been discussing options with the Obama Administration for more than a year, but his current proposal won't be officially submitted until next month, following a 30-day comment period in Indiana.

Read the full article from IndyStar.com here

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7 recent hospital transactions and partnerships

The following hospital mergers, acquisitions and general transactions took place within the past week, beginning with the most recent.

1. Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, Cadence Health Reach Definitive Merger Agreement
Northwestern Memorial HealthCare in Chicago and Cadence Health in Winfield, Ill., approved a definitive merger agreement.


2. Merger Talks Begin Between Saratoga Hospital, Glens Falls Hospital
Executives at Saratoga Hospital in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Glens Falls (N.Y.) Hospital entered discussions about a possible merger.


3. Kindred Healthcare Proposes $1.6B Gentiva Health Services Takeover
Kindred Healthcare, a post-acute care services provider based in Louisville, Ky., made an unsolicited proposal to acquire Atlanta-based home health and hospice services provider Gentiva Health Services in a transaction that would be valued at $1.6 billion.


4. CHE Trinity to Sell 2 Hospitals to Munson Healthcare
CHE Trinity Health, based in Livonia, Mich., signed a non-binding letter of intent to sell two hospitals to Traverse City, Mich.-based Munson Healthcare.


Read the full report from Becker’s Hospital Review here

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Patrick Dempsey partners with CrowdMed to help solve difficult medical cases

CrowdMed, an online crowdsourced medical diagnosis platform that helps solve even the world's most difficult medical cases, announced that actor Patrick Dempsey has made an investment in the company. Almost one in 10 Americans – and 350 million people globally – are affected by the approximately 7,000 different types of rare or difficult-to-diagnose medical conditions. With this investment, Dempsey is working with CrowdMed to help expand the platform and give an additional resource to those facing undiagnosed illnesses.

"CrowdMed was designed to help people in need who have nowhere to turn, no options and no answers, which is the same reason I founded The Patrick Dempsey Cancer Center for Hope & Healing," said Dempsey. "After meeting with several Silicon Valley healthcare startups, I was immediately drawn to CrowdMed's mission of helping those who have run out of alternatives. I remember being overwhelmed when my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer almost a decade ago, and I know how challenging it can be trying to make the best medical decisions for oneself or a loved one. The patients who are turning to CrowdMed can't even begin to think about treatment options because they haven't been able to find an accurate medical diagnosis yet – but hopefully we can change that."

Read the full press release here

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  READ ALL NEWS AT HEALTHMGTTECH.COM


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