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Articles on this Page
- 08/28/13--08:29: _Imaging Portals: Dr...
- 12/03/13--10:13: _EHR Insider's Guide...
- 12/03/13--10:19: _EHR Replacement: Do...
- 12/03/13--10:25: _Make ICD-10 Easier:...
- 11/06/18--13:33: _The Power of Consum...
- 11/09/18--12:09: _Epic signs new dent...
- 11/09/18--13:59: _Beyond EMRAM: Reach...
- 11/12/18--06:44: _Athenahealth to be ...
- 11/13/18--00:02: _HIMSS AsiaPac 18 - ...
- 11/14/18--09:52: _What are the top he...
- 12/03/13--10:13: EHR Insider's Guide: The Secrets of Optimizing your EHR
- 12/03/13--10:19: EHR Replacement: Do It Right - An eBook Guide to EHR Replacement
- 12/03/13--10:25: Make ICD-10 Easier: Get Answers, Get Ready, Get Going
- 11/06/18--13:33: The Power of Consumer and Lifestyle Data in Healthcare
- 11/09/18--12:09: Epic signs new dental customer for its EHR
- 11/09/18--13:59: Beyond EMRAM: Reaching digital maturity with models
Epic has a new customer for its comprehensive health records system: Irvine, California-based Pacific Dental Services, which provides business and administrative services for dental offices.
WHY IT MATTERS
It's the first dental support organization to sign on with Epic. The implementation means that all healthcare organizations, including dentists and oral specialists supported by PDS, can use Epic technology can now readily exchange patient data for improved patient care.
The rollout, which is expected to be completed by 2020, will boost care coordination and reduce duplication, according to Epic. Patients of those dental providers will have access to its MyChart patient portal, gaining secure digital access to their health information and the ability to schedule appointments and pay bills.
"Poor oral health has been linked to cardiovascular disease, pregnancy and birth defects, and diabetes," said Alan Hutchison, vice president of population health at Epic. "Through the use of Care Everywhere, dentists across the country will have real-time access to important clinical information."
THE LARGER TREND
This is not Epic's first experience with dental records. Earlier this year, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine announced that it would launch a new Center for Precision Dental Medicine, which will leverage technology for data-driven research into links between dental and overall health.
The college is among the first academic dental institutions to unify dental and medical patient records in Epic, enabling them to be shared among clinicians at Columbia, NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine.
ON THE RECORD
"Oral healthcare is a critical component of overall health and this investment will enable PDS-supported clinicians and their patients to more fully participate in the promise of a seamless, comprehensive healthcare system focused on whole body health," said Stephen E. Thorne, IV, founder and CEO of Pacific Dental Services, in a statement.
Athenahealth is set to be acquired by Veritas Capital and Evergreen Coast Capital for $5.7 billion.
Together, Veritas and Evergreen, the private equity subsidiary of Elliott Management, the hedge fund that has actively urged athenahealth to sell for more than a year, will pay $135 per share for the cloud IT company – about 12 percent more than its valuation at the close of trading this past Friday.
WHY IT MATTERS
The deal brings to a resolution a matter that has been much discussed over the past two years. Elliott, which had a 9 percent ownership position in the firm, had pressured the Watertown, Massachusetts-based company to sell since 2017, claiming it could to better with operational efficiencies that would maximize shareholder value.
Upon completion of the acquisition, which has been unanimously approved by the athenahealth board and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, Veritas and Evergreen plan to combine athenahealth with Virence Health, the former value-based care group of GE Healthcare that was bought by Veritas this years.
Together the companies, operating under the athenahealth brand, will continue developing technologies to help provider customers succeed in the era of accountable care, officials said.
The company will be led by Virence Chairman and CEO Bob Segert, as well as executives from both firms. (Upon the deal's completion, Virence's Workforce Management business will become a separate Veritas portfolio company under the API Healthcare brand.)
THE LARGER TREND
Since 2017, athenahealth has undergone a major restructuring, hired ex-GE chief exec Jeff Immelt as chairman, seen its founding CEO step down amid allegations of past abuse, laid off hundreds of workers and sold its corporate jet.
Veritas has been in buying mode for health IT companies recently, including its Verscend Technologies subsidiary's aquisition of Cotiviti this summer.
ON THE RECORD
Jeff Immelt, executive chairman of athenahealth, said the deal "maximizes value for our shareholders and accelerates our goal to transform healthcare." By joining with Virence, athenahealth "will create new opportunities for collaboration and growth," he added. "Operating as a private company with Veritas's ownership and support will provide athenahealth with increased flexibility to achieve our purpose of unleashing our collective potential to transform healthcare."
"We are excited by the opportunity to partner with athenahealth, one of the largest and most connected provider networks in the nation, to drive outcomes that matter the most to our customers," added Virence CEO Bob Segert. "athenahealth and Virence have complementary portfolios and highly-talented people, and this combination expands our depth and reach across the continuum of care. I'm looking forward to combining our mission-driven cultures to create an even stronger healthcare IT company."
Setting the context regarding military health systems for the broad audience who may not have direct experience with them or understand how they work, Dr Charles Alessi, Chief Clinical Officer, HIMSS, who is also the moderator of the IMHIT panel on Day Two of the conference, explained that the populations in military health systems are not necessarily very old compared to civilian ones and not necessarily multi-morbid.
“There are a unique set of circumstances – firstly, there are the occupational health requirements in military health which are really very different to what you expect to find in civilian life. Secondly, care often has to be delivered in small, isolated communities and that in itself poses some significant challenges, often associated with clinical governors ensuring that clinicians that look after that population are in the right system and are really following guidance in the appropriate way.
When military personnel go to places on their own, they need systems of governance which are really quite robust,” said Dr Alessi.
He also added that are very unique challenges in terms of information exchange for military personnel and military systems. One of them is the fact that interoperability is as much of a problem in military health as it is within civilian life. Secondly, integration is a significant issue, such as integrating information back into civilian registers. The last challenge is cybersecurity, given the dangers associated with people being able to see the information and operating in environments where the Internet infrastructure may not be optimal.
The top two challenges and priorities in a military environment
“Security and the interoperability are the two main challenges, and interoperability because in the garrison environment, which is what we call healthcare in Australia on (military) bases. We have healthcare on bases but our personnel would also have to use civilian health systems as well, both private and public hospitals. The challenge for us is to be able run our system, which is a system within the Australian healthcare system, isolated but able to connect to those other environments as well.
But if we go overseas, we often work in parallel with both nations here in various missions – we have Australians, Singaporeans, British and vice-versa, how do we then ‘talk’ to those systems as well? How do we ensure the oversight and security of those information?” replied Air-Vice Marshal Tracy Smart, Surgeon General, Australian Defence Force.
Rear Admiral (Dr) Tang Kong Choong, Chief of Medical Corps, Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), expressed similar concerns: “Cybersecurity is also a big challenge of the SAF when implementing the military health IT system within the military IT system, and there are standards to be met. That was interesting because when we tried to integrate our military health IT system with the national healthcare IT system, there were a lot of challenges because we had to meet those stringent security requirements and it took a lot of time to do testing and vulnerability assessments.”
The other challenge that Rear Admiral (Dr) Tang mentioned was the personnel within the military that had the expertise to develop the health IT track that they are now looking at. Traditionally, the SAF does not develop staff in these areas of expertise, so it is about looking outward at how to better grow their people and maybe even bring in external experts who can advise on how to do things better.
“From our perspective, the main challenge of coming up with a fully-functional and deployable model is to clarify the taxonomy of that so we can actually operate on a global basis in austere environments and we can be part of that whole command decision-making chain so that we can garner and collectively use our data.
The second challenge for us is a truly, fully integrated electronic healthcare records. We have a complex situation as we not only have four nations to deal with but within England particularly, the NHS has multiple different systems as well. So actually trying to achieve a fully integrated EHR within the UK is a challenge,” said Air Vice-Marshal Alastair Reid, Defence Medical Director, HQ Surgeon General, Ministry of Defence, United Kingdom.
Key benefits that military health systems can gain from health information exchange
Due to Singapore’s relatively small defence force, Rear Admiral (Dr) Tang said that the SAF does not run hospitals so the specialist care that is required for the service staff would be provided by (civilian) hospitals. Because of that, there can be a potential gap of knowledge of not knowing what happened to that service staff while he or she is in hospital, so that is where the integration of the National Electronic Health Record (NEHR) system has been very useful. SAF medical staff can access that information from their own EMR system through a contact switch and see what the service staff has undergone in terms of procedures, prior diagnoses as well medications that were prescribed.
“That gives us a very good understanding of the whole spectrum of care from the time the person has been referred till he or she has recovered, we are able to get that information through the integration with the NEHR,” he added.
For Lt Col David Bullock, Deputy Director, Health Knowledge Management, Information Warfare Division, Joint Capabilities Group, Australian Defence Force, Australia, the real benefits from health information exchange in the military and digitisation of the defence force lie in the data generated from service staff that can be used for predictive and prescriptive models of care using analytics. For instance, studying the data and trends can potentially help reduce common injuries that happen to service staff. With that, the related risks can be understood better from an epidemiological profile, which allows for the provision of smarter training regimes.
“One of the real benefits that we got out of our e-Health system that we put in place in 2014 is data that we never had before. That data has really driven major efficiencies – over the course of the contract that we signed in 2012 to enable our services has saved us 51 million dollars over time. We are now actually able to compare per capita costs with the Australian population and it is not a big difference compared to the civilian population. It can drive better understanding of business even with that premium and a better way to deliver healthcare.
It just allows us to do our job better and our job is both caring for our people as healthcare providers and also enabling their operational capabilities. So it enables us to be better across the board from prevention, protection, treatment to then recovery and also transitioning them to their new life as a civilian post-service,” shared Air-Vice Marshal Smart.
Hospital IT executives in Europe share many of the same priorities and face many similar challenges as CIOs in other regions of the globe, including the United States, according to the HIMSS Analytics Annual European eHealth Survey 2018 released on Wednesday.
Among them: empowering patients, sharing health information, protecting sensitive data and managing the growing need for a deeper talent pool.
WHY IT MATTERS
Healthcare entities around the globe are all facing what is essentially the same set of opportunities and challenges in digital transformation.
Whether you call it patient experience, engagement or empowerment, HIMSS Analytics found that consumers owning and managing their own data, whether in apps or wearables, is a high priority among the 571 health information and technology professionals who participated in the survey.
"The level of achievement varies," said Jorg Studzinki, director of research and advisory services at HIMSS Analytics. "While countries like Germany and Switzerland need better and more electronic patient records, other ones, especially the Nordics and the Netherlands, can already change their focus toward more innovative ways to provide care, create networks of collaboration and let the patient actively participate in managing more aspects of self-care and prevention."
"In the second wave of digitization, healthcare has to move toward a shared care model," said Jordi Piera, chief information and R&D officer at Badalona Serveis Assistencials, member of the Global Conference Education Committee at HIMSS and secretary of the strategic IT board at the Catalonian Healthcare Department. "Patients should be able to receive all types of care in their prefered location," he added. "This will, in turn, increase the efficiency and sustainability of our organizations."
Enabling that shared care model will also require strong cybersecurity in the age of consumerism. HIMSS Analytics research found that operating with insufficient budget for infosec will continue to be a large challenge for hospitals and healthcare entities in the years ahead – and that is true even though attacks grow increasingly sophisticated.
"Public healthcare institutions are regularly attacked by hackers and often they lose valuable information," Piera said. "We need to put a greater emphasis on protecting our systems; the number of cyberattacks is on the rise and our IT infrastructures and staff are not ready for them. Furthermore the number of patient devices connected to the systems is growing and this poses even greater risks."
WHAT COMES NEXT: NEED FOR NEW TECH TALENT
Empowering patients, achieving interoperability and securing health information fueling the need for new skill sets and, as such, giving rise to emerging career roles.
"While a few years ago it was often sufficient to put digital transformation into the hands of a CIO or an IT director, this is not enough anymore," Studzinki said. "Chief digital officers and chief innovation officers appear in more organizations, especially in larger ones. And it is likely that we will see even more of this differentiation of job roles in the future."
Focus on Artificial Intelligence
In November, we take a deep dive into AI and machine learning.