August 23rd Health Exec Briefing

Top Story

Aetna’s pending $37B acquisition of Humana
Humana, Kentucky’s largest health insurance provider and largest employer in Louisville, is being offered over $30B by Aetna Insurance. If this acquisition is finalized, Aetna will be the second-largest health insurance company in the country. 90% of states approve the merger but many still believe it will reduce choices and raise costs for customers.
(Healthcare Dive, August 16)

EHR News

EHR Vendors Operationalize Carequality Interoperability Plan
Ambulatory EHR vendors such as Epic and athenahealth are now live on the Carequality Interoperability Framework to foster better transmission of health data between EHRs. Carequality makes interoperability easier because it adopts a universal set of legal standards, policy requirements and technical specifications. Read more about how Carequality is promoting innovation in interoperability. 
(EHR Intelligence, August 16)

4 EHR Best Practices for Improving Clinical Workflows
Adoption of EHRs in the healthcare industry is up to nearly 100 percent. Writer Sara Heath has listed out a set of practices for users and healthcare professionals to ensure optimal performance and improved clinical workflow of an EHR system.
(EHR Intelligence, August 15)

Veteran Affairs mulls commercial EHR
The Department of Veteran Affairs is switching its homegrown electronic health record system to a commercial product which would involve a significant amount of business process reengineering and several change management activities.
(FCW, August 11)

Does EHR Implementation Hurt Providers
Harvard researchers hypothesized that switching EHRs would cause negative short-term effects to health providers due to workflow and continuity disruption. Read more on the effects of EHR implementation in hospital settings.
(Health IT Outcomes, August 17)

Business in Healthcare

Healthcare Returned Double Digits This Year
Healthcare and materials sector are the only two sectors with companies that have produced double digit returns this year even considering the market volatility. Read more about how healthcare companies are expanding.
(Investopedia, August 15)

Salesforce joins growing field of telehealth players with integrated two-way video chat
New telehealth feature from Salesforce powered by Salesforce SOS and Health Cloud allows patients to connect with care teams via any mobile device. This cutting-edge solution combines the features of real-time support, contextual care, and ease of use. Read more on how this Salesforce treatment is helping the market and improving patient experience.
(Healthcare Dive, August 18)

Why data and analytics aren’t enough to change healthcare
Every other major industry has been revolutionized by data operations and finally hospitals have been given the opportunity to use data to improve efficiency and drive innovation through updated electronic health records.
(Health Data Management, August 16)

Chinese billionaire takes 9.9% stake in Community Health Systems
On August 3rd, Chinese billionaire Tianqiao Chen accumulated 11.3 million shares of Franklin, TN-based CHS, making Chen CHS’ largest shareholder. CHS posted a $1.43 billion loss this month due to the sinking value of hospitals it had acquired over the years. Read more on Chen’s major investments over the years and how CHS has been struggling to regain control over operations.
(Modern Healthcare, August 15)

Studies & Reports

The Next Generation of Healthcare for the Next Generation
According to a study, more than 90% of patient complaints were focused towards inadequate physician communication, disaffected staff, and disorganized administrative operations. A combination of economic and commercial trends is altering how customer experience is perceived and implemented in provider organizations.
(Becker’s Hospital Review, August 17)

How to address 7 common RCM customer service mistakes
Patient satisfaction is considered a key focus for hospitals yet medical bills are often complex and convoluted, leaving patients confused and unable to get answers to their billing questions. Becker’s and several members at RCM solutions provider Navigant Cymetrix outline seven customer service mistakes hospitals make and how they can overcome these issues.
(Becker’s Hospital CFO, August 16)

Bundles of joy? How new payment models for maternal care could deliver lower costs
Last year, Community Health Choice, a Medicaid managed-care organization, spent over $130 million on doctors, hospitals, and physicians in prenatal and intensive care units. Community Health Choice attempted the bundle-payment system but developing the best model for payment is a complicated process that requires a lot of time before widespread implementation.
(Modern Healthcare, August 13)

Improvements in Healthcare

Q&A: Breaking down barriers to interoperability
The industry-wide push for improving health IT systems and devices could be very essential for population health management but patient data is gathered across a variety of disparate systems and devices so hospitals and health systems face several challenges with interoperability. Healthcare Dive spoke with Jitin Asnaani, director of CommonWell Health Alliance, about current interoperability barriers and how health IT vendors can help achieve interoperability goals.
(Healthcare Dive, August 18)                                                

CMS supports modular approach to Medicaid IT improvements
States are being encouraged to apply for modular certification of Medicaid Management Information Systems (MMIS) to increase Medicaid programs’ ability to update their systems as well as allow earlier access to enhanced rates for implementing IT systems. Read more on how modular enhancements target and fix issues.
(Healthcare Dive, August 18)

Former HHS official touts patient consent for improved health data privacy
Modern Healthcare reports that giving patients more control over their health information could help with privacy concerns. Authors of a Bloomberg BNA opinion piece suggested considering new technological capabilities for data protection and privacy. Read more on the HIPAA and how it protects people’s health data.
(Healthcare Dive, August 16)