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Health Management Technology News
May 22, 2014

In this issue:
 

 ZirMed acquires Intelligent Healthcare

 Healthcare stocks are about to do something they have never done before

 Across healthcare boardrooms, that’s Madam Chairman to you

 Uncle Sam and healthcare: A deadly combination

 Jerry Brown, legislative analysts differ on healthcare costs

 Wireless tiny medical implants could change healthcare


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ZirMed acquires Intelligent Healthcare

ZirMed announced that it has acquired California-based Intelligent Healthcare, a data-driven clinical integration and population health management company. ZirMed will immediately begin integrating Intelligent Healthcare’s population health management analytics platform into its technology suite.

“We’ve always been focused on improving our clients’ bottom line by helping them improve operational efficiencies and get reimbursed more quickly for the services they provide,” said Tom Butts, CEO of ZirMed. “Today, provider organizations need tools to support traditional fee-for-service models and prepare for fee-for-value models of care as quality and reimbursement are increasingly linked. The ability to provide both financial and clinical integration in this environment is a natural extension of our core business. Our goal has always been to help providers operate as efficiently and profitably as possible so that they can focus on their primary job—treating patients and providing quality care. The acquisition of Intelligent Healthcare will further solidify our ability to provide end-to-end revenue cycle solutions for the entire healthcare marketplace.”

Intelligent Healthcare’s population health management solution aggregates clinical and financial data from a variety of disparate healthcare information systems to deliver real-time quality tracking, gaps in care and population health management solutions for value-based reimbursement programs.  Intelligent Healthcare’s highly scalable solution stratifies at-risk patients, provides deep cost and utilization analysis, and supports provider organizations as they work to meet and exceed goals for public and private P4P, Medicare Shared Savings Programs, Commercial Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), PQRS/HEDIS scores, Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) models, and other value-based care programs.

“Intelligent Healthcare has built a reputation as a trusted partner for managing value-based programs. We’ve been dedicated to taking population health in a new direction by aggregating information from multiple data silos and focusing on the entire patient population,” said Paul Katz, CEO and Founder of Intelligent Healthcare. “ZirMed was a very natural fit for our organization—they have an extremely modern platform that excels at collecting and normalizing very high-quality data, which is essential for effective analytics and population health management. Together, we are well positioned to help providers succeed in this era of value-based care.”

Read the full press release here

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Healthcare stocks are about to do something they have never done before

Grabbing all the headlines these days have been momentum and growth stocks. Even the once-quiet and boring utilities are getting some of the glory as the best performing sector year-to-date. But there's another sector that's bringing in not-so-shabby returns in 2014 and beating every other part of the market in the last 12 months: healthcare.

Over the past year, the S&P 500's health-care sector is up 19 percent, and it's up nearly 2 percent in the past 30 days alone.

Richard Ross, global technical strategist at Auerbach Grayson, says health-care stocks, which have traditionally been seen as defensive, are have been on the offense the past few years. But, he thinks that's about to change given the technicals on the SPDR S&P Health Care ETF (XLV), which tracks the sector.

"I think that trend is nearing an end and you want to be a seller of healthcare up here," said Ross, a "Talking Numbers" contributor.

Read the full article from Yahoo Finance here

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Across healthcare boardrooms, that’s Madam Chairman to you

In health care boardrooms across Massachusetts, you’re starting to hear something that has a nice ring to it: Madam Chairman.

Nearly a third of our hospital boards are now helmed by women, and for the first time, the two biggest health insurers in this state, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, have women chairing their boards.

Phyllis Yale, a well-known health care consultant from Bain & Co., will preside over her first full board meeting at Blue Cross Wednesday, while Mary Ann Tocio, the president and chief operating officer of Bright Horizons, was put in charge of Harvard Pilgrim’s directors last week.

How rare is this in the business world? Only three percent of Fortune 500 companies have female board chairs.

Women are shattering the glass ceiling in health care, so boys, watch out for the shards. We’re just getting started.

The most visible part of this transformation has been in the corner office at hospitals, where 21 women serve as president or CEO, from Betsy Nabel at Brigham and Women’s to Kate Walsh at Boston Medical Center. That represents a quarter of the medical institutions in this state.

Read the full article from The Boston Globe
here


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Uncle Sam and healthcare: A deadly combination

Cynics have said that government doesn’t do anything well. Let’s leave aside that broad assertion and contemplate a narrower issue: Can any objective observer think that government management of healthcare works well? Certainly under President Obama there are glaring defects in the way federal health-related bureaucracies function.

As Betsy McCaughey reported, starting in October, 2012, Team Obama adopted a policy of grading hospitals on the criterion of which ones spend the least in total and the least per beneficiary under the Medicare program—essentially penalizing hospitals for treating seniors for joint replacements, cataract surgery, bypass surgery, etc., and rewarding hospitals that cut back on such treatments. This policy was adopted even though a 2011 study showed that heart attack patients of the same age are 19 percent more likely to die in lower-spending hospitals.

As Memorial Day nears, there have been sickening reports of Veterans Administration bureaucrats falsifying records to make it look like veterans have been receiving treatments within the legally required time frame when, in fact, they haven’t. Federal bureaucrats have been cooking the books to receive bonuses while dozens of vets have died from neglect.

Think about this: If senior citizens and America’s heroes are being cast aside to suffer and die by well-established federal healthcare bureaucracies, what do you think that portends for the rest of us under the tender ministrations of Obamacare? Do you really want unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats to wield life-and-death power over you?

Read the full article from Forbes here

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Jerry Brown, legislative analysts differ on healthcare costs

Last week Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said his caucus would "kick the tires" on Gov. Jerry Brown's calculation that higher healthcare costs would gobble up a large portion of California's surplus tax revenue.

If the governor's estimates were too high, Steinberg said, that could free up more money for other government services. The goal is to "add up $50 or $100 million at a time" until there's enough cash for other programs he wants to fund, like preschool for poor children.

Now the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office has issued a new report saying Brown's estimates on healthcare costs may be $300 million too high.

The crux of the difference is not enrollment numbers — both administration officials and legislative analysts agree that many more Californians than originally expected are signing up for Medi-Cal, the state's healthcare program for the poor.

However, legislative analysts say that each patient won't be as pricey as estimated by the Brown administration — $139 per month instead of $369 per month. The lower assumption is "a more reasonable estimate," the report says.

Read the full article from The Los Angeles Times
here


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Wireless tiny medical implants could change healthcare

Popular Mechanics is not usually a source for a health article, but it is appropriate to write about a new mechanical breakthrough that could revolutionize medical technology. A Stanford University Engineering team developed a tiny medical implant that could change health care delivery for all future implants – it is wireless.

Right now, medical implants, such as pacemakers and ones used for epilepsy, are successful but have a serious drawback. They use batteries, which means they cannot be too microscopic. Also, if the battery runs out, the device or battery has to be replaced. There have been ideas floated about harvesting energy from the body’s heat, motion or other sources, but none has product the electricity needed to ensure that people can rely on the devices.

The wireless solution developed by Ada Poon, a Stanford electrical engineer, and her colleagues offers a promising advance in implant technology. Their work was published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Their mechanism for wirelessly transferring power deep in the body to power electronic medical gadgets could eliminate bulky batteries and recharging systems.

As a Stanford University press release noted, the “technology could provide a path toward a new type of medicine that allows physicians to treat diseases with electronics,” much like pacemakers, nerve stimulators or medical implants devices not yet invented.

Read the full article from Liberty Voice here

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