HMT: GE to acquire API Healthcare, are doctors not tech savvy?, MN blames IBM and Yahoo-AOL marriage
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Health Management Technology News
January 23, 2014
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In this issue:

GE to acquire API Healthcare

AHMC Healthcare Inc. patient data breach impacts approximately 729,000 patient

Why aren't doctors more tech-savvy?

Minnesota slams IBM on health insurance exchange woes

Yahoo-AOL marriage would be rocky

GE to acquire API Healthcare

GE (NYSE: GE) announced today it has agreed to acquire API Healthcare, a healthcare workforce management software and analytics solutions provider, headquartered in Hartford, WI. The acquisition aligns with GE’s Industrial Internet strategy to invest in strong, innovative businesses that enhance GE’s portfolio in software, data and analytics. The acquisition, subject to regulatory approval, is anticipated to close in the first quarter of 2014. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Improving operational efficiencies is critical for healthcare administrators today. Patients wait to be admitted and discharged. Doctors wait for test results. Staff wait for assignments. Rooms wait to be cleaned. Every hour spent waiting represents billions of dollars in costs to hospitals in aggregate each year. API Healthcare’s complementary offerings will expand GE Healthcare’s current Hospital Operations Management (HOM) portfolio, which gives hospitals real-time access to operational data.

“Labor costs represent over 50 percent of hospital operating budgets,” said Michael Swinford, President & CEO, GE Healthcare Services. “With this acquisition, GE Healthcare will be able to address a significant portion of hospital operations costs – assets, patients and labor – with a mix of software, real-time data, powerful analytics and professional services.”

API Healthcare’s solutions – staffing and scheduling, patient classification, human resources, talent management, payroll, time and attendance, business analytics, and staffing agency offerings – are used by more than 1,600 hospitals and staffing agencies in the U.S. API Healthcare has been rated by KLAS as having the top time and attendance solution for the last 10 years (2002-2012) and the top staffing and scheduling solution provider in 2012.

“Health care productivity is more important than ever for hospitals as more patients enter the system and operational costs continue to climb,” said John Dineen, President & CEO, GE Healthcare. “In addition to clinical systems, hospitals need operational management systems to drive enterprise-wide efficiencies, reduce unnecessary costs and enable improved patient care. Over the next 5-7 years, we believe sales of these systems will accelerate towards double-digit growth and GE Healthcare will lead the way.”

GE Healthcare will work with hospitals and health systems in three key areas:

  • Asset Optimization: Manage and track the utilization of assets throughout their lifecycle, helping to lower costs and improve efficiency.
  • Patient Flow Optimization: Manage and track patients and workflow from admission to discharge in real-time, lowering costs and increasing transparency.
  • Workforce Optimization: With the addition of API, enable better insight into staffing and scheduling to help ensure the right staff member is assigned the right patient at the right time.

Read the full GE press release here

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AHMC Healthcare Inc. patient data breach impacts approximately 729,000 patient

Wites & Kapetan, P.A. is investigating potential claims involving the theft of two laptops on October 12, 2013 from a secured administration office of AHMC Healthcare Inc. (“AHMC”). According to AHMC, the laptops contained protected health information for approximately 729,000 Medicare patients treated at the following AHMC hospitals: (1) Garfield Medical Center, (2) Monterey Park Hospital, (3) Greater El Monte Community Hospital, (4) Whittier Hospital Medical Center, (5) San Gabriel Valley Medical Center, and (6) Anaheim Regional Medical Center. The protected health information contained in the laptops includes patient names, Medicare/insurance identification numbers, diagnosis/procedure codes, and insurance/patient payments. AHMC has stated that about 10% of its patients’ social security numbers also have been compromised.

Read the full news release here

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Why aren't doctors more tech-savvy?

Whenever I feel like taking a trip back in time, I save myself the trouble of building a time machine and instead just head over to a doctor’s office. For a Millennial, or really anyone who lives a modern lifestyle, getting medical care is a rare departure from an otherwise technology-fueled existence.

First comes making the appointment, which usually requires a phone call. My gynecologist's office, for example, doesn’t use online booking, so scheduling a visit means calling them from my "open plan" office and describing what, if any, "the issue is." Layered on top of this indignity, my last name is basically impossible to spell or pronounce. “Yes, once again that’s K-H-A-Z-as-in-zebra-A-N.”

Filling out forms in triplicate in the waiting room is, for me, relatively painless. By now, I've perfected my ability write my address, insurance ID number, and the words "allergies to most plants and animals" in about 15 seconds or less.

No, the biggest nuisances occur when there's any sort of communication required with or among doctors outside of the appointment. In the past 10 years, I've moved from Texas to Washington to California and back to Washington, but each time, I dragged along a filing cabinet packed with phlebotomy results and shot records. To this day, the trunk of my car contains a sinus x-ray the size of a Renaissance painting because it doesn't exist electronically and it's really expensive to get re-done.

Read the full The Atlantic article here

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Minnesota slams IBM on health insurance exchange woes

IBM sends additional resources to work on Minnesota's state-run MNsure website after Gov. Mark Dayton blames company for problems processing applications for health insurance.

Add Minnesota's state-run MNsure website to the list of troubled health insurance exchanges. The site launched October 1, but it's plagued by problems that Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is pinning largely on software from IBM.

In a five-page letter sent to IBM CEO Virginia Rometty on December 13 and made public by the governor's office on Friday, Dayton detailed 21 specific problems tied to IBM's Curam software. "Your product has not delivered promised functionality and has seriously hindered Minnesotans' abilities to purchase health insurance or apply for public health care programs through MNsure," Dayton wrote. "I request that you immediately deploy whatever people or resources are needed to correct the defects in your product that are preventing Minnesotans from obtaining health insurance through MNsure."

IBM did respond immediately, meeting with state officials and sending dozens of employees to St. Paul to fix the site in mid December. In a statement issued on Friday, IBM said the majority of the concerns about its software had been addressed, and it noted that it's providing onsite services and technical resources -- at no cost to the state -- that go beyond the scope of its contract.

"IBM is just one of several subcontractors working on this project," said IBM spokesperson Mary Welder in a statement. "The prime contractor, Maximus, Inc., has overall responsibility for the MNsure system including integration and testing of all the components prior to October 1."

Like other states choosing to run their own health insurance exchanges, Minnesota was under the gun to get its health insurance exchange site up and running before the end of the year in order to meet the coverage mandates of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). The problems experienced on MNsure have included lost applications and inaccurate assessments of eligibility for financial assistance.

Read the full InformationWeek article here

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Yahoo-AOL marriage would be rocky

AOL's stock has soared recently, partly on rumors that it might merge with Yahoo. Though the two similar companies would seem to make a good marriage, their combined struggles could mean an AOL-Yahoo merger wouldn't be a match made in heaven.

Neither company has suggested a deal is in the works. But there has been a lot of chatter about it -- mostly from a Toronto-based hedge fund manager with stakes in both firms.

"There's no question in my mind," said the fund manager, Ironfire Capital's Eric Jackson. "These companies are going to merge."

AOL (AOL) is up 5% over the past week -- though some of that is also due to the company selling its majority share in the money-losing local news site Patch.

Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) and AOL do seem like a good pair: Both are in the same business of selling online ads pegged to news or entertainment content. A new, combined company could reduce costs by cutting staff, since one advertising team could sell the content of both companies, said Jackson.

AOL owns some potentially lucrative media brands, including the Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Engadget. And after Yahoo's Editor-in-Chief Jai Singh stepped down last week, AOL content chief Arianna Huffington would seem to have an office ready for her at Yahoo.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is under pressure to grow the company's core advertising business. Though Yahoo's stock has soared lately, that has more to do with Yahoo's stake in some lucrative Asian assets than the performance of its ad sales, which is sluggish.

"It would be a way of saying 'we are growing,'" said Jackson, who believes Yahoo could buy AOL tax-free by using the proceeds from a sale of Yahoo Japan. "I think it will be too tempting to pass up."

Read the full CNN Money article here

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