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Health Management Technology News
  June 12, 2014
In this issue:
 
 In healthcare, Apple will struggle to match huge Samsung ambitions

 Healthcare fee structure: Changes ahead

 Hackathons aren’t just for coders. We can use them to save lives

 Rivals warn Partners’ growth will raise costs

 U.S. healthcare data points to much weaker first-quarter GDP

 6 recent legislative developments affecting healthcare

What you need to know about ICD-10
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Seven Strategies to Improve Patient Satisfaction
Hospital reimbursements are now influenced, in part, by patient satisfaction scores. Read about seven areas to target in your hospital for happier, more satisfied patients.

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In healthcare, Apple will struggle to match huge Samsung ambitions

Apple went public last week with its new Health Kit, the SDK for health applications on iOS 8, and its partnership with the Mayo Clinic. Rival Samsung, though, is already way down the road into healthcare on many fronts including the device, the platform, medical diagnostics, imaging, patient records access and more. Samsung has the big picture in its sights.

Apple, however, is just launching into the health sector. Too little too late from Apple? That was hardly the mood after WWDC. And Apple will bring its incredible branding power and ease of use to the sector, while Samsung brings muscle and aggression.

But let’s be clear. Samsung is well entrenched in health.

Apple AAPL -0.53% earned plaudits last week from an adoring audience but Samsung moved into health two years earlier with its Galaxy S3. Its Note and Galaxy smartphones are now integrated with its own tracking device, the Gear Fit.

So far, so good. Samsung will be a worthy competitor with its health-oriented devices and services. But the endgame in health is integration. Who will control the relationship between patient and health care provider, who will control the data?

Read the full article from Forbes here  

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Healthcare fee structure: Changes ahead

Healthcare's familiar fee-based payment model is rapidly disappearing.

By 2020, two-thirds of payments will be based on value measurements, up from one-third today, according to The 2014 State of Value-Based Reimbursement (registration required), published Wednesday. The study, commissioned by McKesson and conducted by ORC International, was published at this week's AHIP Institute 2014conference.

Both payers and providers want healthcare to move away from fee-based payments, the study found. Today, 90% of payers and 81% of hospitals provide a blend of fee-for-service and other reimbursement models, according to the report. Payers expect fee-for-service to decrease to 32% in five years from 56% today. Hospitals that use a mixed approach today expect similar results: 34% project fee-for-service use in five years, compared with 57% in 2014.

"The most striking thing is how aligned the payers and providers are about both where they are today and where they see things going," Dr. David Nace, vice president and medical director at McKesson Health Solutions, said in an interview. "It's heartwarming because what's needed is alignment."

Read the full article from Information Week
here
 

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Hackathons aren’t just for coders. We can use them to save lives

With growing attention on medical technology “hackathons“—summits that bring together engineers, clinicians, entrepreneurs, and designers to develop innovative solutions to health problems—the conversation has turned to whether they are more hype than impact. After all, what can 250 people in a room for two days really do to solve challenges that experts over decades have been unable to address?

A lot, it turns out. They can break down walls to develop real solutions that save lives. And this is especially true in the realm of global health, where new, low-cost technologies can help to address the intractable shortage of healthcare workers in low- and middle-income countries.

After organizing five medical technology (“medtech”) hackathons across three continents over the past 18 months, I’ve seen these results.

The First Big Win

Back in the fall of 2012, the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) hosted its first hackathon at Mass General Hospital in partnership with MIT’s H@cking Medicine. After watching the first round of “pitches” with cautious interest, Dr. Data Santorino decided to put forth a challenge he’d struggled with for several years in Uganda: newborns die too frequently because of improper resuscitation techniques.

Globally, an estimated 1.8 million babies die each year on the same day they are born because they have trouble breathing. Most of those deaths are preventable and occur in developing countries. As a pediatrician working in rural Uganda, he’d seen that, despite strong training programs like Helping Babies Breathe, there were too many community health workers who aren’t able to properly use an infant bag valve mask (a handheld pump to help establish a steady flow of air). When Dr. Santorino pitched his challenge, he asked, “Can technology help solve this problem?”

Read the full article from Wired here  

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Rivals warn Partners’ growth will raise costs

A coalition of Massachusetts health care providers that compete with Partners HealthCare on Tuesday declared its opposition to a tentative pact allowing Partners to acquire at least three more hospitals, saying the expansion would have “profound and negative effects on the cost of health care” and possibly lead to the “extinction” of some hospitals.

Leaders of the group — including executives from Tufts Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lahey Health, and Atrius Health — outlined their “grave concerns” about a deal struck between state Attorney General Martha Coakley and Partners, the state’s largest hospital and physicians network.

“This agreement does not address the issue of costs and the disparity in payments” between Partners hospitals — including Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s — and their rivals, said Tufts Medical Center president Michael Wagner.

The opposition, in the form of letters to Coakley and a top deputy, marks the first time the competitors have publicly challenged the agreement in principle between Partners and the attorney general’s office.

The agreement would let Partners complete takeovers of three hospitals, South Shore Hospital in Weymouth and two hospitals operated by Hallmark Health north of Boston, and add at least 550 doctors. It would also limit how much Partners can charge for medical services and restrict further growth for five to 10 years.

The coalition — which also includes Cambridge Health Alliance, Mount Auburn Hospital, New England Baptist Hospital, Lowell General Hospital, Signature Healthcare, and Anna Jaques Hospital — called on the attorney general’s office to open the deal with Partners for public scrutiny before it goes to a Suffolk Superior Court judge for final approval. The judge could get the deal as early as next week.

Read the full article from The Boston Globe
here
 

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U.S. healthcare data points to much weaker first-quarter GDP

The U.S. economy likely contracted at a much sharper pace in the first quarter than previously estimated with data on Wednesday showing weaker healthcare spending.

The Commerce Department's quarterly services survey, or QSS, showed healthcare outlays were not as strong as the government had assumed when it published its second gross domestic product estimate for the first quarter last month.

The government reported that the economy contracted at a 1.0 percent annual rate in the January-March period. But with healthcare spending data now in hand, economists say growth probably declined at a rate of at least 1.7 percent.

A widening of the nation's trade deficit in March had already led economists to anticipate a downward revision to GDP when the government publishes its third estimate later this month.

Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody's Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania said the latest numbers on services spending "made the first quarter look even worse."

"Healthcare spending did not add nearly as much to growth as we initially thought in the first quarter," he said.

Read the full article from Reuters here  

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6 recent legislative developments affecting healthcare

The following is a roundup of legislative developments affecting the healthcare industry that have been reported in the last two weeks.

1. Bill to Expand Access to Health Benefits to Illegal Immigrants Passes Senate Committee
The California Senate Health Committee approved Senate Bill 1005 to expand subsidized healthcare programs to undocumented immigrants residing within the state.

2. New Jersey Assembly Advances Caregiver Bill for Discharged Patients
The New Jersey Assembly approved Assembly Bill 2955, which would allow patients admitted to New Jersey hospitals to designate a caregiver who will provide assistance upon discharge.

3. No Bonuses For Poor Performing VA Physicians Under New Legislation
A bill was proposed that would help ensure poor performing physicians at Veterans Affairs hospitals would not receive performance bonuses.

Read the full article from Becker’s Hospital Review here  

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June 2014  HMT digital book

White Papers

What you need to know about ICD-10

Seven Strategies to Improve Patient Satisfaction

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Industry News

AMA adopts telemedicine policy to improve access to care for patients

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HHS: $300 Million in Affordable Care Act funds to expand services


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