November 29th Health Exec Briefing

Top Stories

Giving thanks for health and healthcare progress
Many worry about the fate of the nation’s health and healthcare system after the recent election results but there are still many things to be thankful for this holiday season. Read about the eight things that we can all give thanks for such as cost control, medical innovations, and an increase in wages for healthcare jobs.
(Modern Healthcare, November 26)

Cigna projects $2B in operating profits this year
According to a Monday regulatory filing, the Bloomfield, Connecticut-based Cigna disclosed its full-year operating profits will surpass $2 billion. Alleged tensions between Cigna and Anthem executives have led the U.S. Department of Justice to challenge the insurers’ efficiency as one company, as each accused the other in September of breaching their acquisition contract.
(Becker’s Hospital Review, November 28)

3 Health Information Exchanges Make Health IT Investments
In the past month, there have been a handful of health information exchanges looking to add to their health data exchange capabilities. Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services contracted with openAirWare to improve its handling of health IT standards continuity of care document and clinical document architecture. Read more about the new HIE investments and how they provide better care.
(Health IT Interoperability, November 23)

What’s New in Healthcare

CMS highlights progress toward care equity
Director of the Office of Minority Health at CMS Cara V. James stated, “As we continue implementing the CMS Equity Plan for Medicare, we will focus on building on our accomplishments, strengthening our partnerships, and monitoring and evaluating our progress.” If ACA faces full appeal, reductions in racial disparities achieved over the past several years could be reversed if no replacement plan is put in place.
(Healthcare Dive, November 27)

A few tips to improve workplace wellness programs
Career expert Dana Manciagli offers advice to employers hoping to boost participation in their workplace wellness programs. Technology seems destined to play a larger role in workplace wellness programs, but payers and employers are still determining best practices for using technology like wearable devices to improve outcomes.
(Healthcare Dive, November 27)

Financial Updates

Medicare cancer patients without additional coverage hit with high out-of-pocket costs
Researchers at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University examined data for 18,166 Medicare beneficiaries who participated in the January 1, 2002, to December 31, 2012 study, a nationally representative panel study of U.S. residents older than 50. Read about the findings and how the costs of cancer care for Medicare patients have increased.
(Becker’s Hospital CFO, November 28)

Health IT salaries rising, professionals in higher demand, study finds
The average health IT employee makes approximately $93,000, according to’s 2016 Health IT Salary and Report. But while about half of the respondents are satisfied with their salary, many feel they should be making about $15,000 more. Read more about the average health IT salaries and how they vary based on professional positions.
(Healthcare IT News, November 28)

Why can’t devicemakers and insurers get along?

The heart of the conflict between insurers and devicemakers has been payers’ skepticism about paying for new, often costly devices that haven’t shown long-term benefits in clinical trials. While both sides in these disputes say they need a more efficient way to topple payment roadblocks, generating evidence through clinical trials can be a costly journey.
(Modern Healthcare, November 26)

Healthcare Innovations

How health systems across the US are improving price transparency
The pressure for physician organizations, hospitals and health systems to deliver transparent, competitive pricing is coming from multiple sources such as PwC U.S. Federal and state governments while consumers are asking for more affordable healthcare options. According to a new report, some business is being diverted away from hospitals and toward retail clinics.
(Becker’s Hospital CFO, November 23)

Stanford researchers: Artificial intelligence is ripe for healthcare
One Hundred Study on Artificial Intelligence, written by a panel of AI experts from multiple fields including healthcare, will continue as an ongoing activity, with periodic reports examining how AI will touch different aspects of daily life. Read about how Stanford researchers are incorporating AI into clinical decision support, patient monitoring, and surgery.
(Healthcare IT News, November 28)

How to attract, nurture and retain top talent in healthcare
Chief marketing officer at talent and learning management software solutions firm HealthcareSource, David Wilkins offers three key strategies to accomplish boosting job satisfaction and retaining talented staff: Attract and hire the right people for your organization; “grow your own” long-term loyalty; and keep the folks you already have.
(Healthcare Dive, November 28)

EHR News

MA Digital Health Council to Spark State Health IT Growth
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker recently announced the state’s Digital Health Council during its first meeting last week at the Mass. General Hospital Museum of Medical History and Innovation. The Council will work with information established from the Initiative to create a three-year growth plan, and will continue to support programs to carry out the plan and report annually on its progress.
(EHR Intelligence, November 28)

$1.2M Sutter Health Grant Uses EHR Data for Precision Medicine
According to a press release, Sutter Health network has received a $1.2 million grant from the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine to develop an app that will use both patient-reported and EHR data for multiple sclerosis patients. The app, called MS-SHARE, will collect EHR data and patient-reported data alongside the latest findings from the Precision Medicine Initiative.
(EHR Intelligence, November 23)

Health IT Standard eDOS Enables EHR Interoperability, Savings
Officials from the ONC for Health IT and American Clinical Laboratory Association claim that a lesser-known health IT standard for ordering laboratory tests and services both enables EHR interoperability and the ability to generate cost savings. A lack of EHR interoperability has made the process of performing and recoding a lab test or service labor-intensive.
(Health IT Interoperability, November 28)

Telehealth & mHealth

New York Eases Telehealth Rules for Mental Health Providers
The state allows more providers to use a telepsychiatry platform to treat rural patients and those in need of emergency care after citing a severe shortage of psychiatrists. State officials said the relaxed rules of the Mental Hygiene Law address a severe shortage of mental health providers, especially for those living in rural areas or in need of emergency services.
(mHealth Intelligence, November 28)

Study: Telemedicine Helps Small Hospitals Reduce NICU Transports
A Mayo Clinic study found that online access to specialists helped one of every three complicated births avoid a transfer to a larger hospital with an NICU. Jennifer Fang, MD, stated that, “The enhanced access to neonatologists allowed one-third of the babies to stay with their families in the local hospital. This allowed the patients to receive the correct level of care in the right location, increasing the value of care.”
(mHealth Intelligence, November 23)

IBM Takes Remote Skin Cancer Detection To A New Level

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is projected to cause more than 10,000 deaths in 2016 in the United States alone. Cognitive & Computer Vision Scientist at IBM, Noel Codella stated that, “using an imaging technique called Dermoscopy, expert dermatologists can detect disease in early stages, but there are two challenges that remain.” Read about the new discoveries that enables skin care diagnoses via smartphones.
(Health IT Outcomes, November 28)

Security & Analytics

How Gwinnett Medical increased effectiveness of its analytics effort
Beth Grimes, director of enterprise data analytics at Gwinnett Medical Center in Georgia, stated that analytics applications have been important keys for getting value out of data, and making it actionable. The organization has been able to increase the effectiveness of its analytics efforts by pursuing an organized approach to using analytics.
(Health Data Management, November 28)

US-CERT Updates Cybersecurity Incident Notification Guidelines
The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team announced its new cybersecurity incident notification guidelines, which will go into effect on April 1, 2017. The guidelines stated that, “Agencies must report information security incidents, where the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of a federal information system of a civilian is compromised.” Read more on the new cybersecurity reporting guidelines.
(Health IT Security, November 28)

CMS Finalizes Annual List of Value-Based Care Quality Measures
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published a list in conjunction with the National Quality Forum that intends to give healthcare stakeholders the opportunity to provide input and suggestions on the use of process and outcome metrics for pay-for-performance financial arrangements. Read about the several quality measures for use in value-based care initiatives.
(Health IT AnalyticsNovember 23)