Are You Giving Patient Engagement the Proper Care and Attention?

Patient Engagement

As consumers, we crave convenience and simplicity, and across an array of industries, technology has made it increasingly easy to search for and purchase products and services. From getting a pizza delivered to buying a car online, the process often involves entering a few pieces of information, hitting send, and waiting for a confirmation email.

A Changing Landscape

Unsurprisingly, people want this same level of convenience and simplicity when they're seeking care. This change in consumer demand for convenience is further compounded by fundamental shifts in the healthcare ecosystem. Among these shifts are cost-sharing models that have increased patient out-of-pocket expenses, healthcare systems that are increasingly shifting toward delivering value-based care, and innovations in digital health solutions.

While patients want to play an active role in managing their well-being, that is often easier said than done in a system that uses a combination of manual processes and non-integrated point solutions to try and meet consumer demand. Disparate and burdensome methods of managing patient engagement often lead to inefficiencies within provider organizations, resulting in missed appointments, increased registration and eligibility-based denials, incomplete payments, higher collections and write-offs, and low patient satisfaction.

Consumer Dissatisfaction

Healthcare consumers today feel like they're fighting an uphill battle. According to Change Healthcare's 2020 Harris Poll Consumer Experience Index, 67% of respondents agreed that it “feels like every step of the healthcare process is a chore.” A similar percentage, 62%, agreed that “the healthcare system feels like it is set up to be confusing.”

Furthermore, if consumers don’t receive the level of convenience and digitization they want from their current provider, they’re more than willing to seek it out elsewhere. In a recent Black Book survey, 80% of respondents indicated they would be willing to change providers for more convenience even if they were receiving good care from their current provider. An even higher percentage of patients, 90%, do not think they have to continue seeing a provider if that provider does not “deliver an overall satisfactory digital experience.”

A Patient-Centric Approach

Improving the patient experience starts with humanizing revenue cycle management (RCM) —the administrative process that takes the patient from registration and appointment scheduling to the final payment of a balance. Simply making administrative touchpoints self-service and easy to understand throughout the patient’s financial journey can help humanize revenue cycle management for providers.

How is that possible? By thinking about the patients’ side of the administrative process and leveraging innovative technologies like artificial intelligence, robotic process automation (RPA), natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning. The more that providers’ staffs are able to automate repetitive tasks, the more time they're able to spend helping provide a seamless patient engagement journey that is focused on a patient’s specific needs. In other words, reducing human intervention throughout our technologies allows providers to infuse more human interaction with each patient as they navigate their healthcare journey.

According to Change Healthcare’s 2020 Harris Poll Consumer Experience Index, what patients really want is a retail-like shopping experience with modern, streamlined communication, as the vast majority (81%) agreed that “shopping for healthcare should be as easy as shopping for other common services” via a streamlined access point online. A clear majority (71%) also said they want their health insurance and healthcare providers (68%) to communicate with them using more-modern platforms.

Simplified Scheduling and Payment

The entire clinical-care journey is focused on the specific needs of the patient rather than the provider, so why shouldn’t the patient’s financial journey be handled the exact same way? From a patient-satisfaction perspective, patients are not separating their clinical journey from their financial journey, so providers should start viewing it the same way.

It should be easy to schedule an appointment and modify that appointment if needed. Patients should have to (securely) provide their personal and insurance information only once (digitally and in advance), then be squared away when they show up for their appointment with their provider. In addition, because of COVID-19 and the heightened awareness surrounding personal interaction, it’s important to provide patients with no-contact check-in and waiting room options.

By humanizing RCM, providers can achieve a cohesive end-to-end journey that allows patients to quickly and easily get the care they need complete with clear communication, price transparency ,  and a provider who truly takes the time to understand their unique situations. By putting the patient back at the center of their care journey, providers can improve care outcomes while also driving maximized business outcomes for their organizations.

Spotlight

Jefferson Center for Mental Health

Jefferson Center for Mental Health helps to bring hope for a brighter future for thousands of community members who struggle with mental health challenges. As the community nonprofit mental health center serving Jefferson, Gilpin and Clear Creek counties, Jefferson Center serves people throughout its three-county area with over 400 staff at over 20 locations, in addition to working in schools, nursing homes, senior centers and other community settings. Center staff has expertise in numerous areas including children and family issues, adults with serious mental illness, suicide prevention, early intervention, juvenile justice, and trauma treatment. Jefferson Center offers a full continuum of specialized behavioral health services for every age, including wellness services and community classes. Jefferson Center targets those most in need: last year, 85% of clients served had incomes below $10,000, and 72% had serious mental illness or other disability.

OTHER ARTICLES
Future of Healthcare

The Need for Cost Clarity

Article | January 8, 2021

With consumers’ share of healthcare costs expanding, we need to do a better job making charges more transparent and more predictable My husband recently stubbed his toe. Badly. Badly enough that I encouraged him to go see a doctor. He was reluctant. While I suspected he’d rather just garner sympathy by complaining to me while limping around the house (just kidding, honey), his stated reason was all too familiar: “I have no idea what we’ll have to pay. They’ll want to do anX-ray,it might need surgery, and I have no idea what it’ll cost.” All true. We have good health insurance; but like most Americans, when we go to the doctor or have a procedure, what we will actuallyhave topay out of pocket remains a mystery.This is something that we can and should change. As consumers we are shouldering more and more of the cost of healthcare. And the biggest increases are for those of us with employer-sponsored plans. According to an analysis of federal data by the Commonwealth Fund,deductibles in employer plans more than doubled between 2008 and 2017, from $869 to $1,808. Especially troubling, an accompanyingCommonwealth Fund survey revealed that only 62% of adults were very or somewhat confident in their ability to afford healthcare. This increasing burden is also evident when you look at the crushing levels of medical debt in the United States. According to a new studyby JAMA, medical debt is now the largest contributor to personal debt. And the data for this study was collectedbeforethe COVID-19 pandemic. Some of this debt is driven by unpredictability—if the heart procedure you needed costs several thousand dollars more out of pocketthan you thought it would, you may not be prepared, emotionally or financially, to pay it. This is a bad outcome, obviously. The risk of nonpayment rises for the provider; and a recuperating patient is burdened with the stress of a large,unexpected bill. More skin in the game Soas consumers are paying more out of pocket, some may become reluctant to seek care (like my husband) or seek more information about what they willhaveto pay for the care they receive. Consumers are also armed with incredible levels of price transparency with other products—everything from hotel rooms to clothing to household items. With so much skin in the game, and the internet providing so much information, consumers’ expectations are changing when it comes to healthcare. State and federal regulators are also beginning to take action, a trend that will likely accelerate. Most hospitals are now required to publicly disclose the prices they charge. This does not, however, solve the issue for consumers. While it provides a measure of visibility into pricing for insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid, it doesn’t show what share the patient will ultimately pay. Making the complicated simple The complexity of pricing in healthcare is well documented. Niall Brennan, CEO of the Health Care Cost Institute, a nonprofit that analyzes medical costs, suggests that healthcare costs are too high.As a recent Wall Street Journal article reported, a price of a C-section varied from $6,241 to$60,584 at one hospital. This all has to do with the vagaries of the agreements that hospitals sign with multiple insurance companies and government payers. In turn, each insurance company will have its own deductible and out-of-pocket schedules, which providers don’t have access to. We are seeking to change this at Change Healthcare. We are piloting our Care Cost Estimator with a few innovative providers. With the Care Cost Estimator, weleverage our unique dataset, and the largest eligibility network in the industry, to make the unpredictable, predictable.Because we’ve managed 15 billion healthcare transactions—and our network covers 1 million physicians, 6,000 hospitals, and 2,400 payers—we have an unmatched ability to analyze what real-world patients are paying for practically any procedure, performed at almost any hospital or clinic. With a cloud-based transaction engine, providers will now be able to tell their patients how much they will have to pay out of pocket for a given procedure.And this analysis takes place in real time. Removing unpredictability in pricing This gives providers the opportunity to offer added value for their patients, taking some unpredictability out of whatis often a stressful transaction. In addition, it accelerates patient payment cycles which, as the patient’s share of the cost burden increases, is becoming more and more important. We’re not talking $50 co-pays anymore; it’s thousands of dollars per transaction. If necessary, providers can also help the patient plan for the expense, offering financing options, thus reducing unpaid bills. For the patient, it allows more informed decision-making and peace of mind. Testing the beta version of our Care Cost Estimator with our partners will allow us to receive real-world feedback and collaborate with customers on how to continuously improve the product as we scale it. We expect the ROI for providers, in addition to the payment-cycle improvements, will include greater patient satisfaction and loyalty. For the patient, it provides information necessary to help make proper decisions and plan emotionally and financially; in other words, giving the consumer the same information for vital healthcare transactions that’s available to them for practically any other purchase. This kind of win-win solution is at the core of Change Healthcare’s mission to improve the healthcare experience for everyone—including my husband and his broken toe!

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Future of Healthcare

Benefits of Healthcare Branding

Article | December 4, 2020

Effective Healthcare branding changes how the public perceives a healthcare organization. Brands are all about perceptions. The way your customers perceive your organization determines your brand. That encompasses your doctors, your board members, your nurses, and your patients. The process of healthcare branding helps organizations ensure they are perceived the way they want to be; as trusted, knowledgeable, caring, and experienced. More than a tagline, name, messaging, or logo, the recognizable feeling that these elements induce is your healthcare company's brand. Healthcare branding ensures that these elements meet in a cohesive system informed by positioning and personality and are constantly implemented across your brand's touchpoints. Why is Healthcare Branding So Essential? Healthcare branding was not always so important. Patients had the freedom to select any healthcare provider. Insurance was the principal determiner of their healthcare provider. It depended upon their workplace. Those without insurance got treatment at community clinics and emergency rooms. As you know, times have changed a lot in a big way. Changing the entire healthcare landscape, the Affordable Care Act put patients in the driving seat. Most of the patients now have access to healthcare insurance and successfully manage their own health. Patients without insurance have the options of out-of-pocket online pharmacies and providers. Healthcare providers have changed their performance metrics system to value-based assessments such as patient satisfaction. More than treatment, now the emphasis is on prevention. It has become a market that is direct-to-consumer healthcare. As a result, the consumer has become the controller of the healthcare brand-consumer relationship. As patients have turned empowered consumers, the benefits of healthcare branding have grown to the point that healthcare companies cannot ignore them. If they do, it affects their business. What are the Benefits of Healthcare Branding? Effective healthcare branding, directed by research and a clear strategy, has many valuable benefits: Identify Changing Patient Needs The needs of patients today have changed from the start of COVID-19. Even when a global pandemic hasn’t fundamentally changed the healthcare landscape, patients’ needs are continually evolving. Healthcare branding gives you the tools to understand evolving patient needs better and rebrand your company to meet them. Brand research includes qualitative research (including one-on-one patient interviews) and quantitative analysis. Insights gathered from brand research are critical in optimally positioning a healthcare brand. It is vital during dynamic and unpredictable markets, as in what happened during this COVID-19. Beyond brand research, effective healthcare branding ensures your healthcare brand is continually aligned with shifting market trends and their impact on patient needs. Establish Trust It isn’t easy to think of a quality more essential to a healthcare organization's success than trust. A healthcare brand is broken or made by the degree to which it is trusted by those it serves. When it comes to healthcare branding, trust is conveyed through everything from messaging to visual identity. Photography, colors, and typography all contribute profoundly to perceiving a brand as trustworthy. In healthcare branding, verbal identity is more important than visual brand identity in establishing it as an expert in the healthcare space. Everything from a reassuring, confident voice in its website copy to guides designed to update patients on necessary healthcare topics and regular publication of articles are proven and well-known ways in healthcare branding to build up trust. Set Your Brand Apart from the Competition However, trust is not the only thing needed in the modern age for effective healthcare branding. The days, judging a healthcare organization based on its medical practice's reputation alone have gone. Patients have become empowered consumers as time passed. The competition to treat these empowered consumers too has become increasingly fierce. Here comes the importance of effective healthcare branding, tracking all your online and offline activities, and evaluating them every day. Your healthcare brand is just one among the many other brands for internet-savvy consumers to choose from. First and foremost, all consumer decisions, including patients' decisions, are based on emotions. So, you have to think of ways to persuade your consumers' feelings to help your healthcare branding in the crowded marketplace. Competitive differentiation is more vital than ever. Effective healthcare branding makes you find out opportunities and ways for differentiation in the challenging and competitive landscape. And, you can capitalize on these opportunities and ways with powerful storytelling and unique positioning. Improve the Patient Journey Patient experience, as mentioned earlier, is a game-changer in the healthcare industry today. Healthcare branding gives you various ways to shape and improve patient experience powerfully. After all, a good percentage of patient experience happens outside the healthcare facility these days. The beginning stages of the patient journey are the awareness and consideration stages. Healthcare branding tools, such as content marketing, are critical in influencing patients in these stages. A website of your healthcare brand can make or break your patient’s pre-treatment experience. It is the selection phase of the patient journey. A premium and well-designed website optimized for conversion will enrich the patients' online experience, looking to book an appointment or answer a question. Healthcare branding is helpful in defining the patient treatment experience. When correctly leveraged, healthcare branding allows your healthcare brand to enhance the patient journey from when the patient hears about the brand to the moment of finishing the treatment. At every patient journey stage, healthcare branding fosters patient trust, builds patient loyalty, and reinforces patient-provider relationships. Takeaway Modern healthcare companies are operating in a competitive landscape where healthcare branding is more important than ever. Patients have become informed and empowered consumers. Digital healthcare brands have redefined the marketplace. Healthcare branding is vital if your healthcare company hopes to stand out from the rest and develop lasting and meaningful relationships with your patients. Fortunately, there are many ways to differentiate your healthcare brand and make it sounds unique meaningfully. Positioning, identity, storytelling, and patient experience represent a powerful area where healthcare brands can better align themselves with their patients' needs and stand out from the competition. Frequently Asked Questions Why is healthcare branding important? Healthcare branding helps you effectively project the personality of your healthcare organization and products. A good thought process to brand your healthcare product will make people remember you forever. What is hospital branding? Hospital branding is the process of making your healthcare organization be perceived better by potential clients. Effective branding makes your patients remember you through the best patient experience and the organization's external look. What are the three branding strategies? There are many effective branding strategies. Line extension, brand extension, and new brand strategy are essential types of branding strategies. You can have any strategy based on the nature of your product.

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Future of Healthcare

Ways to Drive Practice Revenue and Reduce Your Accounts Receivable

Article | February 19, 2022

Managing accounts receivable (A/R) in private practice is a constant battle for physicians. Though most understand that lowering their A/R is critical for improving their practices’ efficiency and profitability, physicians often do not know how to address issues like lengthy collection periods and insurance claim denials. It can be complex to manage A/R, as doing so involves various parties, including insurance carriers, the patient, the front office and billing staff, and the provider. All must work together to achieve a clean claims rate and avoid denials. The best way to improve medical billing A/R is to reduce claim denials and speed up the patient collections process. In addition, you’ll need to ensure that patients and staff are filling out paperwork correctly and submitting claims on time. Other areas to manage are the follow-ups to correct errors and past-due accounts. Accounts receivable is a collaborative effort Each member of the practice staff plays an integral role in reducing claims denial rates. Take an all-hands-on-deck approach in order to identify issues and develop solutions. Start by making every team member privy to the A/R management process. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and involved. It will also help to increase efficiency, avoid redundancies, and eliminate mistakes that could waste time or profitability. The front office staff is the front line of A/R. They are the first to verify and update patients’ insurance and personal details like address and contact information. They must also ensure that patients sign certain documents, like financial policies. Providers are the next line of A/R. Providers select current procedural terminology (CPT) codes, and must be mindful of tedious details such as bundling correctly in order to ensure that claims are approved. A conscientious provider should not only select appropriate billing codes but also double-check the patient information that the front office staff provide. The billing office is a final line of defense and should triple check that the patient’s information and the CPT codes are correct. Billing office staff are also responsible for ensuring the claims are submitted on time and that duplicates are not submitted. Establish financial policies Every practice needs clearly defined financial policies around patients or clients. Having these policies in place helps to clarify financial details and creates workflows and processes for staff to follow. Here are a few elements to consider: State whether the practice will accept personal checks and, if so, what charges or actions are in place for bounced checks. Consider implementing technologies that convert paper checks to electronic transactions and verify them before patients leave the office. Include a financial responsibilities section with information about who is responsible for the claim(s) if a patient’s insurance carrier partially or fully denies their claim. Define the debt collection process. Patients should quickly know how long they have to pay their bills and at what point you may sell their debt to a third-party debt collectors agency. Medical records can be copious, and practices often need to make physical copies of them. Consider implementing a policy that covers a pay-per-page cost associated with medical records. Automate patient statements and payments Offer different payment options for patients by implementing technologies and creative solutions that make it easier for them to pay their bills. Look for solutions that reduce manual work and provide reporting that tracks efficacy across delivery modes. Here are a few approaches to consider: Automate sending statements via text message or email to help improve the rate of online payments. Add QR codes to online and paper statements to help patients quickly access payment portals. Offer payment plans, especially with low to no interest, to make it easier for patients to pay down balances. Establish a written collections process Not collecting patient payments at the time of service is the biggest challenge to patient collections. Establishing a written collections process can help to alleviate that pain point and clarify the practice’s policies and procedures so that patients can understand them more clearly and easily. Here are some guidelines to follow when creating your policies: Include when, how, and how often bills are sent. Provide information on payment plans and assistance programs, if available. Explain the different available payment options and whether patients can pay over the phone, online through a payment portal, etc. Clarify which extraordinary collection actions may be used, including selling the debt or taking legal action. One of the most important processes to develop with collections is to respond to patients’ behavior. Communication should not be a one-size-fits-all approach. Patients expect personalization, and reaching out to them based on their preferred means of communication leads to optimal results. Perseverance is vital when it comes to collections. By establishing clear policies and implementing integrated technology throughout your processes, you can improve the patient experience by eliminating confusion while streamlining workflow to reduce the administrative burden on billing and administrative staff. Although implementing these steps can help your practice lower your accounts receivables, sometimes choosing to outsource to a medical billing company can help you save time, money, and resources. Medical billing companies can provide medical practices with specialized expertise, technology, and infrastructure to efficiently manage the revenue cycle and ensure timely payments. Outsourcing medical billing can also free up staff time and resources, allowing healthcare providers to focus on patient care and other essential aspects of running their practice. Whether you choose to outsource or to keep your medical billing in-house, these tips will help you to reduce your costs and increase your revenue.

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Innovation Insight for Healthcare Provider Digital Twins

Article | September 4, 2020

A digital twin is a digital representation of a real-world entity or system. The implementation of a digital twin is a model that mirrors a unique physical object, process, organization, person or other abstraction. For healthcare providers, digital twins provide an abstraction of the healthcare ecosystem’s component characteristics and behaviors. These are used in combination with other real-time health system (RTHS) capabilities to provide real-time monitoring, process simulation for efficiency improvements, population health and long-term, cross-functional statistical analyses. Digital twins have the potential to transform and accelerate decision making, reduce clinical risk, improve operational efficiencies and lower cost of care, resulting in better competitive advantage for HDOs. However, digital twins will only be as valuable as the quality of the data utilized to create them. The digital twin of a real-world entity is a method to create relevance for descriptive data about its modeled entity. How that digital twin is built and used can lead to better-informed care pathways and organizational decisions, but it can also lead clinicians and executives down a path of frustration if they get the source data wrong. The underlying systems that gather and process data are key to the success for digital twin creation. Get those systems right and digital twins can accelerate care delivery and operational efficiencies. Twins in Healthcare Delivery The fact is that HDOs have been using digital twins for years. Although rudimentary in function, digital representations of patients, workflow processes and hospital operations have already been applied by caregivers and administrators across the HDO. For example, a physician uses a digital medical record to develop a treatment plan for a patient. The information in the medical record (a rudimentary digital twin) along with the physician’s experience, training and education combine to provide a diagnostic or treatment plan. Any gaps in information must be compensated through additional data gathering, trial-and-error treatments, intuitive leaps informed through experience or simply guessing. The CIO’s task now is to remove as many of those gaps as possible using available technology to give the physician the greatest opportunity to return their patients to wellness in the most efficient possible manner. Today, one way to close those gaps is to create the technology-based mechanisms to collect accurate data for the various decision contexts within the HDO. These contexts are numerous and include decisioning perspectives for every functional unit within the enterprise. The more accurate the data collected on a specific topic, the higher the value of the downstream digital twin to each decision maker (see Figure 1). Figure 1: Digital Twins Are Only as Good as Their Data Source HDO CIOs and other leaders that base decisions on poor-quality digital twins increase organizational risk and potential patient care risk. Alternatively, high-quality digital twins will accelerate digital business and patient care effectiveness by providing decision makers the best information in the correct context, in the right moment and at the right place — hallmarks of the RTHS. Benefits and Uses Digital Twin Types in Healthcare Delivery Current practices for digital twins take two basic forms: discrete digital twins and composite digital twins. Discrete digital twins are the type that most people think about when approaching the topic. These digital twins are one-dimensional, created from a single set or source of data. An MRI study of a lung, for example, is used to create a digital representation of a patient that can be used by trained analytics processes to detect the subtle image variations that indicate a cancerous tumor. The model of the patient’s lung is a discrete digital twin. There are numerous other examples of discrete digital twins across healthcare delivery, each example tied to data collection technologies for specific clinical diagnostic purposes. Some of these data sources include vitals monitors, imaging technologies for specific conditions, sensors for electroencephalography (EEG) and electrocardiogram (ECG). All these technologies deliver discrete data describing one (or very few) aspects of a patient’s condition. Situational awareness is at the heart of HDO digital twins. They are the culmination of information gathered from IoT and other sources to create an informed, accurate digital model of the real-world healthcare organization. Situational awareness is the engine behind various “hospital of the future,” “digital hospital” and “smart patient room” initiatives. It is at the core of the RTHS. Digital twins, when applied through the RTHS, positively impact these organizational areas (with associated technology examples — the technologies all use one or more types of digital twins to fulfill their capability): Care delivery: Clinical communication and collaboration Next-generation nurse call Alarms and notifications Crisis/emergency management Patient engagement: Experiential wayfinding Integrated patient room Risks Digital Twin Usability Digital twin risk is tied directly to usability. Digital twin usability is another way of looking at the issue created by poor data quality or low data point counts used to create the twins. Decision making is a process that is reliant on inputs from relevant information sources combined with education, experience, risk assessment, defined requirements, criteria and opportunities to reach a plausible conclusion. There is a boundary or threshold that must be reached for each of these inputs before a person or system can derive a decision. When digital twins are used for one or many of these sources, the ability to cross these decision thresholds to create reasonable and actionable conclusions is tied to the accuracy of the twins (see Figure 2). Figure 2: Digital Twin Usability Thresholds For example, the amount of information about a patient room required to decide if the space is too hot or cold is low (due to a single temperature reading from a wall-mounted thermostat). In addition, the accuracy or quality of that data can be low (that is, a few degrees off) and still be effective for deciding to raise or lower the room temperature. To decide if the chiller on the roof of that patient wing needs to be replaced, the decision maker needs much more information. That data may represent all thermostat readings in the wing over a long period of time with some level of verification on temperature accuracy. The data may also include energy load information over the same period consumed by the associated chiller. If viewed in terms of a digital twin, the complexity level and accuracy level of the source data must pass an accuracy threshold that allows users to form accurate decisions. There are multiple thresholds for each digital twin — based on twin quality — whether that twin is a patient, a revenue cycle workflow or hospital wing. These thresholds create a limit of decision impact; the lower the twin quality the less important the available decision for the real-world entity the twin represents. Trusting Digital Twins for HDOs The concept of a limit of detail required to make certain decisions raises certain questions. First, “how does a decision maker know they have enough detail in their digital twin to take action based on what the model is describing about its real-world counterpart?” The answer lies in measurement and monitoring of specific aspects of a digital twin, whether it be a discrete twin, composite twin or organization twin. Users must understand the inputs required for decisions and where twins will provide one or more of the components of that input. They need to examine the required decision criteria in order to reach the appropriate level of expected outcome from the decision itself. These feed into the measurements that users will have to monitor for each twin. These criteria will be unique to each twin. Composite twins will have unique measurements that may be independent from the underlying discrete twin measurement. The monitoring of these key twin characteristics must be as current as the target twin’s data flow or update process. Digital twins that are updated once can have a single measurement to gauge its appropriateness for decisioning. A twin that is updated every second based on event stream data must be measured continuously. This trap is the same for all digital twins regardless of context. The difference is in the potential impact. A facilities decision that leads to cooler-than-desired temperatures in the hallways pales in comparison to a faulty clinical diagnosis that leads to unnecessary testing or negative patient outcomes. All it takes is a single instance of a digital twin used beyond its means with negative results for trust to disappear — erasing the significant investments in time and effort it took to create the twin. That is why it is imperative that twins be considered a technology product that requires constant process improvement. From the IoT edge where data is collected to the data ingestion and analytics processes that consume and mold the data to the digital twin creation routines, all must be under continuous pressure for improvement. Recommendations Include a Concise Digital Twin Vision Within the HDO Digital Transformation Strategy Digital twins are one of the foundational constructs supporting digital transformation efforts by HDO CIOs. They are digital representations of the real-world entities targeted by organizations that benefit from the advances and efficiencies technologies bring to healthcare delivery. Those technology advances and efficiencies will only be delivered successfully if the underlying data and associated digital twins have the appropriate level of precision to sustain the transformation initiatives. To ensure this attention to digital twin worthiness, it is imperative that HDO CIOs include a digital twin vision as part of their organization’s digital transformation strategy. Binding the two within the strategy will reinforce the important role digital twins play in achieving the desired outcomes with all participating stakeholders. Building new capabilities — APIs, artificial intelligence (AI) and other new technologies enable the connections and automation that the platform provides. Leveraging existing systems — Legacy systems that an HDO already owns can be adapted and connected to form part of its digital platform. Applying the platform to the industry — Digital platforms must support specific use cases, and those use cases will reflect the needs of patients, employees and other consumers. Create a Digital Twin Pilot Program Like other advanced technology ideas, a digital twin program is best started as a simple project that can act as a starting point for maturity over time. Begin this by selecting a simple model of a patient, a department or other entity tied to a specific desired business or clinical outcome. The goal is to understand the challenges your organization will face when implementing digital twins. The target for the digital twin should be discrete and easily managed. For example, a digital twin of a blood bank storage facility is a contained entity with a limited number of measurement points, such as temperature, humidity and door activity. The digital twin could be used to simulate the impact of door open time on temperature and humidity within the storage facility. The idea is to pick a project that allows your team to concentrate on data collection and twin creation processes rather than get tied up in specific details of the modeled object. Begin by analyzing the underlying source data required to compose the digital twin, with the understanding that the usability of the twins is directly correlated to its data’s quality. Understand the full data pathway from the IoT devices through to where that data is stored. Think through the data collection type needed for the twin, is discrete data or real-time data required? How much data is needed to form the twin accurately? How accurate is the data generated by the IoT devices? Create a simulation environment to exercise the digital twin through its paces against known operational variables. The twin’s value is tied to how the underlying data represents the response of the modeled entity against external input. Keep this simple to start with — concentrate on the IT mechanisms that create and execute the twin and the simulation environment. Monitor and measure the performance of the digital twin. Use the virtuous cycle to create a constant improvement process for the sample twin. Experience gained through this simple project will create many lessons learned and best practices to follow for complex digital twins that will follow.

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Spotlight

Jefferson Center for Mental Health

Jefferson Center for Mental Health helps to bring hope for a brighter future for thousands of community members who struggle with mental health challenges. As the community nonprofit mental health center serving Jefferson, Gilpin and Clear Creek counties, Jefferson Center serves people throughout its three-county area with over 400 staff at over 20 locations, in addition to working in schools, nursing homes, senior centers and other community settings. Center staff has expertise in numerous areas including children and family issues, adults with serious mental illness, suicide prevention, early intervention, juvenile justice, and trauma treatment. Jefferson Center offers a full continuum of specialized behavioral health services for every age, including wellness services and community classes. Jefferson Center targets those most in need: last year, 85% of clients served had incomes below $10,000, and 72% had serious mental illness or other disability.

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Healthcare Analytics

Keystone Healthcare Partners Establishes Partnership with Trinity Medical to Expand Emergency Medicine Footprint into Louisiana

Keystone Healthcare Partners | February 05, 2024

Keystone Healthcare Partners a leading provider of emergency medicine, hospital medicine, critical care medicine, and telehealth staffing and management services, as well as revenue cycle management, recently announced that it has formed a partnership with Trinity Medical in Ferriday, Louisiana. Keystone's delivery of emergency medicine services at Trinity Medical will commence on February 1, 2024. This contract represents an exciting expansion of Keystone's regional influence into Louisiana; the company has managed contracts in Mississippi for decades. Glenn Adams, Keystone's CEO & Co-founder, notes, "We are excited to kick off another partnership with a client where we see opportunity for real impact. We've hit the ground running to shore up areas of frustration for the client and bring value-add and innovative solutions, such as Keystone Connect AI technology to the emergency medicine program." While the healthcare landscape has been challenging for rural and critical access hospitals, the two entities share a patient-centered ethos that will be paramount to the partnership. The two entities share a community- and patient-focus that is embodied by Trinity's motto, "People you know, caring for people you love." "We are very excited to start our partnership with Keystone Healthcare," states Keisha Smith, CEO of Trinity. "My goal for Trinity Medical has always been to provide our patients with the best healthcare and customer service possible in the Miss-Lou area. We feel that Keystone shares the same goals that we have and will be a true asset to our hospital. Henry Ford stated, 'Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.' We are looking forward to a long lasting, successful partnership with Keystone Healthcare." Trinity Medical, a 23-bed licensed facility, continues to grow and upgrade their services and facilities in addition to recruiting physicians to meet the growing needs of their expanding community. About Keystone Healthcare Keystone Healthcare™ is a leading provider of Emergency Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Critical Care Medicine and Telehealth clinical management services and staffing solutions for hospitals. We efficiently deliver high-quality, patient-centered care through strong physician leadership and involved management that drive our innovative and integrated business model. About Trinity Medical Trinity Medical is operated by Concordia Parish Hospital Service District No. 1. Trinity Medical, formerly Riverland Medical Center, opened in 1964 as Concordia Parish Hospital and has continuously served the residents of the area for more than 55 years. In addition to emergency and acute care, Trinity Medical offers surgical services, diagnostic imaging, infusion center, cardio-respiratory care, gastroenterology, lab services, otolaryngology, urology, and an in-hospital rehabilitation service as well as an extensive range of out-patient services, both diagnostic and for treatment.

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Digital Healthcare

UCI Health Reaches Definitive Agreement to Acquire Four Southern California Hospitals From Tenet Healthcare Corporation

UCI Health | February 02, 2024

The Regents of the University of California, on behalf of the University of California, Irvine, has entered into a definitive agreement with Tenet Healthcare Corporation to acquire Tenet's Pacific Coast Network. The network will become part of UCI Health, the clinical enterprise of UC Irvine. "UC Irvine has deepened its healthcare commitment to the future of Orange County, our region and California," said UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman. "This journey in healthcare is deeply intertwined with the University of California's dedication to bettering our communities, expanding access to premier healthcare, and pioneering the medical innovations of tomorrow, today. Our vision will bridge gaps in regional care and reinforce UCI's place among the nation's leading academic health systems while advancing solutions to challenges facing healthcare." Pending customary regulatory approvals, clearances, and closing conditions, the proposed acquisition would bring four medical centers in Lakewood, Los Alamitos, Fountain Valley and Placentia and associated outpatient locations into the UCI Health system. UCI Health currently delivers care at UCI Medical Center in Orange and a growing network of multispecialty care centers. "At UCI Health, we are excited to add these new care sites to the UCI Health network and extend the benefits of our compassionate, high-level care, clinical innovation, and scientific discovery," said Chad Lefteris, president and chief executive officer of UCI Health. "As Orange County's only academic health system, UCI Health is unique in its ability to offer the highest level of advanced care powered by the research and innovation of a world-class public research institution." UCI Health recognizes a unique opportunity to build on the quality care already being delivered in the communities served by Tenet Healthcare's Pacific Coast Network. "These four hospitals are well-regarded in their communities for providing high-quality, compassionate care," said Saum Sutaria, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Tenet Healthcare. "The local communities will benefit from the nationally recognized advancements, medical knowledge, research, and community focus that UCI Health brings as an innovative academic health system. UCI Health recognizes a unique opportunity to build on the quality care already being delivered in the communities served by the Pacific Coast Network." In a region with a population greater than that of two dozen states, UCI Health operates the only Level I trauma center, locally based National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal-neonatal service and is the largest regional burn center and leading provider of complex tertiary and quaternary care. The system's clinical excellence has consistently placed UCI Health in the top 10 for quality and safety among the nation's leading comprehensive academic health systems. The acquisition also means more patients will have access to advanced therapies in the region's largest and most diverse portfolio of clinical trials, ranging from cancer to neurosciences, digestive diseases, orthopedics and internal medicine specialties. UCI Health and Tenet Healthcare's Pacific Coast Network patients can continue receiving care at their local facilities as they normally would from the care teams they know and trust. The transaction is expected to be completed in spring 2024, subject to customary regulatory approvals, clearances, and closing conditions. "It is a privilege to provide world-class care to Californians and we are excited to welcome the clinicians and co-workers from these Tenet Healthcare sites to UCI Health as partners in improving the health of local communities," Lefteris said. About UCI Health UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system in Orange County. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif. The 459-bed, acute care hospital, listed among America's Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 23 consecutive years, provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County's only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center, gold level 1 geriatric emergency department and regional burn center. About UC Irvine About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation's top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 37,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It's located in one of the world's safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County's second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. About Tenet Healthcare Tenet Healthcare Corporation is a diversified healthcare services company headquartered in Dallas. Our care delivery network includes United Surgical Partners International, the largest ambulatory platform in the country, which operates or has ownership interests in more than 480 ambulatory surgery centers and surgical hospitals. We also operate 58 acute care and specialty hospitals, approximately 110 other outpatient facilities, a network of leading employed physicians and a global business center in Manila, Philippines. Our Conifer Health Solutions subsidiary provides revenue cycle management and value-based care services to hospitals, health systems, physician practices, employers, and other clients. Across the Tenet enterprise, we are united by our mission to deliver quality, compassionate care in the communities we serve.

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Health Technology

Beckman Coulter Unveils DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer, Expanding Portfolio with Proven Six Sigma Performance

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics | January 30, 2024

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics, a clinical diagnostics leader, will unveil its new DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer, an automated clinical chemistry analyzer, at Medlab Middle East in Dubai, taking place February 5-8, 2024. The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer is one of several recent Beckman Coulter solutions designed to address the complete needs of healthcare systems that are looking to complement central hub laboratories by advancing the technology and capabilities of satellite and independent hospital laboratories. "Healthcare systems around the world are strategically adopting hub-and-spoke models for better efficiency and healthcare access," said Kathleen Orland, Senior Vice President, Business Unit, General Manager, Chemistry and Immunoassay for Beckman Coulter Diagnostics. "Hub-and-spoke clinical laboratory models optimize resources to improve access to testing services and enhance overall standardization for quality testing and positive impact on inventory and cost management across a health system. The new DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer advances capabilities of spoked labs with a broad menu of high-quality assays that deliver consistent, commutable results across Beckman Coulter's AU clinical chemistry systems, positively impacting clinical decision-making and patient outcomes." The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer features advanced automation technology, onboard guided workflows, and standardized reagents for use across healthcare networks. Its menu of more than 120 assays has been independently and objectively verified for high quality Six Sigma performance, supporting confidence in clinical results, reducing QC trouble shooting and lab operational costs. "Our Six Sigma assessment has shown that the DxC 500 AU analyzer easily exceeds the demands of the new, more stringent CLIA 2024 performance specifications," stated Sten Westgard, Director of Client Services and Technology for Westgard QC. The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer is for in vitro diagnostic use only. It is available throughout North America and the Middle East. Global commercial availability is planned for March 2024. About Beckman Coulter. Inc. A global leader in advanced diagnostics, Beckman Coulter has challenged convention to elevate the diagnostic laboratory's role in improving patient health for more than 80 years. Our mission is to Relentlessly Reimagine Healthcare, One Diagnosis at a Time – and we do this by applying the power of science, technology and the passion and creativity of our teams. Our diagnostic solutions are used in complex clinical testing, and are found in hospitals, reference laboratories and physician office settings around the globe. We exist to deliver smarter, faster diagnostic solutions that move the needle forward from what's now to what's next. We seek to accelerate care with an extensive clinical menu, scalable lab automation technologies, insightful clinical informatics, and optimize lab performance services. Headquartered in Brea, Calif., with more than 11,000 global team members, Beckman Coulter Diagnostics is proud to be part of Danaher. Danaher is a global science and technology leader. Together we combine our capabilities to accelerate the real-life impact of tomorrow's science and technology to improve human health. ©2024 Beckman Coulter. All rights reserved. Beckman Coulter, the stylized logo, and the Beckman Coulter product and service marks mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Beckman Coulter, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

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Healthcare Analytics

Keystone Healthcare Partners Establishes Partnership with Trinity Medical to Expand Emergency Medicine Footprint into Louisiana

Keystone Healthcare Partners | February 05, 2024

Keystone Healthcare Partners a leading provider of emergency medicine, hospital medicine, critical care medicine, and telehealth staffing and management services, as well as revenue cycle management, recently announced that it has formed a partnership with Trinity Medical in Ferriday, Louisiana. Keystone's delivery of emergency medicine services at Trinity Medical will commence on February 1, 2024. This contract represents an exciting expansion of Keystone's regional influence into Louisiana; the company has managed contracts in Mississippi for decades. Glenn Adams, Keystone's CEO & Co-founder, notes, "We are excited to kick off another partnership with a client where we see opportunity for real impact. We've hit the ground running to shore up areas of frustration for the client and bring value-add and innovative solutions, such as Keystone Connect AI technology to the emergency medicine program." While the healthcare landscape has been challenging for rural and critical access hospitals, the two entities share a patient-centered ethos that will be paramount to the partnership. The two entities share a community- and patient-focus that is embodied by Trinity's motto, "People you know, caring for people you love." "We are very excited to start our partnership with Keystone Healthcare," states Keisha Smith, CEO of Trinity. "My goal for Trinity Medical has always been to provide our patients with the best healthcare and customer service possible in the Miss-Lou area. We feel that Keystone shares the same goals that we have and will be a true asset to our hospital. Henry Ford stated, 'Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.' We are looking forward to a long lasting, successful partnership with Keystone Healthcare." Trinity Medical, a 23-bed licensed facility, continues to grow and upgrade their services and facilities in addition to recruiting physicians to meet the growing needs of their expanding community. About Keystone Healthcare Keystone Healthcare™ is a leading provider of Emergency Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Critical Care Medicine and Telehealth clinical management services and staffing solutions for hospitals. We efficiently deliver high-quality, patient-centered care through strong physician leadership and involved management that drive our innovative and integrated business model. About Trinity Medical Trinity Medical is operated by Concordia Parish Hospital Service District No. 1. Trinity Medical, formerly Riverland Medical Center, opened in 1964 as Concordia Parish Hospital and has continuously served the residents of the area for more than 55 years. In addition to emergency and acute care, Trinity Medical offers surgical services, diagnostic imaging, infusion center, cardio-respiratory care, gastroenterology, lab services, otolaryngology, urology, and an in-hospital rehabilitation service as well as an extensive range of out-patient services, both diagnostic and for treatment.

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Digital Healthcare

UCI Health Reaches Definitive Agreement to Acquire Four Southern California Hospitals From Tenet Healthcare Corporation

UCI Health | February 02, 2024

The Regents of the University of California, on behalf of the University of California, Irvine, has entered into a definitive agreement with Tenet Healthcare Corporation to acquire Tenet's Pacific Coast Network. The network will become part of UCI Health, the clinical enterprise of UC Irvine. "UC Irvine has deepened its healthcare commitment to the future of Orange County, our region and California," said UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman. "This journey in healthcare is deeply intertwined with the University of California's dedication to bettering our communities, expanding access to premier healthcare, and pioneering the medical innovations of tomorrow, today. Our vision will bridge gaps in regional care and reinforce UCI's place among the nation's leading academic health systems while advancing solutions to challenges facing healthcare." Pending customary regulatory approvals, clearances, and closing conditions, the proposed acquisition would bring four medical centers in Lakewood, Los Alamitos, Fountain Valley and Placentia and associated outpatient locations into the UCI Health system. UCI Health currently delivers care at UCI Medical Center in Orange and a growing network of multispecialty care centers. "At UCI Health, we are excited to add these new care sites to the UCI Health network and extend the benefits of our compassionate, high-level care, clinical innovation, and scientific discovery," said Chad Lefteris, president and chief executive officer of UCI Health. "As Orange County's only academic health system, UCI Health is unique in its ability to offer the highest level of advanced care powered by the research and innovation of a world-class public research institution." UCI Health recognizes a unique opportunity to build on the quality care already being delivered in the communities served by Tenet Healthcare's Pacific Coast Network. "These four hospitals are well-regarded in their communities for providing high-quality, compassionate care," said Saum Sutaria, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Tenet Healthcare. "The local communities will benefit from the nationally recognized advancements, medical knowledge, research, and community focus that UCI Health brings as an innovative academic health system. UCI Health recognizes a unique opportunity to build on the quality care already being delivered in the communities served by the Pacific Coast Network." In a region with a population greater than that of two dozen states, UCI Health operates the only Level I trauma center, locally based National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal-neonatal service and is the largest regional burn center and leading provider of complex tertiary and quaternary care. The system's clinical excellence has consistently placed UCI Health in the top 10 for quality and safety among the nation's leading comprehensive academic health systems. The acquisition also means more patients will have access to advanced therapies in the region's largest and most diverse portfolio of clinical trials, ranging from cancer to neurosciences, digestive diseases, orthopedics and internal medicine specialties. UCI Health and Tenet Healthcare's Pacific Coast Network patients can continue receiving care at their local facilities as they normally would from the care teams they know and trust. The transaction is expected to be completed in spring 2024, subject to customary regulatory approvals, clearances, and closing conditions. "It is a privilege to provide world-class care to Californians and we are excited to welcome the clinicians and co-workers from these Tenet Healthcare sites to UCI Health as partners in improving the health of local communities," Lefteris said. About UCI Health UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system in Orange County. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif. The 459-bed, acute care hospital, listed among America's Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 23 consecutive years, provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County's only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center, gold level 1 geriatric emergency department and regional burn center. About UC Irvine About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation's top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 37,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It's located in one of the world's safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County's second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. About Tenet Healthcare Tenet Healthcare Corporation is a diversified healthcare services company headquartered in Dallas. Our care delivery network includes United Surgical Partners International, the largest ambulatory platform in the country, which operates or has ownership interests in more than 480 ambulatory surgery centers and surgical hospitals. We also operate 58 acute care and specialty hospitals, approximately 110 other outpatient facilities, a network of leading employed physicians and a global business center in Manila, Philippines. Our Conifer Health Solutions subsidiary provides revenue cycle management and value-based care services to hospitals, health systems, physician practices, employers, and other clients. Across the Tenet enterprise, we are united by our mission to deliver quality, compassionate care in the communities we serve.

Read More

Health Technology

Beckman Coulter Unveils DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer, Expanding Portfolio with Proven Six Sigma Performance

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics | January 30, 2024

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics, a clinical diagnostics leader, will unveil its new DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer, an automated clinical chemistry analyzer, at Medlab Middle East in Dubai, taking place February 5-8, 2024. The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer is one of several recent Beckman Coulter solutions designed to address the complete needs of healthcare systems that are looking to complement central hub laboratories by advancing the technology and capabilities of satellite and independent hospital laboratories. "Healthcare systems around the world are strategically adopting hub-and-spoke models for better efficiency and healthcare access," said Kathleen Orland, Senior Vice President, Business Unit, General Manager, Chemistry and Immunoassay for Beckman Coulter Diagnostics. "Hub-and-spoke clinical laboratory models optimize resources to improve access to testing services and enhance overall standardization for quality testing and positive impact on inventory and cost management across a health system. The new DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer advances capabilities of spoked labs with a broad menu of high-quality assays that deliver consistent, commutable results across Beckman Coulter's AU clinical chemistry systems, positively impacting clinical decision-making and patient outcomes." The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer features advanced automation technology, onboard guided workflows, and standardized reagents for use across healthcare networks. Its menu of more than 120 assays has been independently and objectively verified for high quality Six Sigma performance, supporting confidence in clinical results, reducing QC trouble shooting and lab operational costs. "Our Six Sigma assessment has shown that the DxC 500 AU analyzer easily exceeds the demands of the new, more stringent CLIA 2024 performance specifications," stated Sten Westgard, Director of Client Services and Technology for Westgard QC. The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer is for in vitro diagnostic use only. It is available throughout North America and the Middle East. Global commercial availability is planned for March 2024. About Beckman Coulter. Inc. A global leader in advanced diagnostics, Beckman Coulter has challenged convention to elevate the diagnostic laboratory's role in improving patient health for more than 80 years. Our mission is to Relentlessly Reimagine Healthcare, One Diagnosis at a Time – and we do this by applying the power of science, technology and the passion and creativity of our teams. Our diagnostic solutions are used in complex clinical testing, and are found in hospitals, reference laboratories and physician office settings around the globe. We exist to deliver smarter, faster diagnostic solutions that move the needle forward from what's now to what's next. We seek to accelerate care with an extensive clinical menu, scalable lab automation technologies, insightful clinical informatics, and optimize lab performance services. Headquartered in Brea, Calif., with more than 11,000 global team members, Beckman Coulter Diagnostics is proud to be part of Danaher. Danaher is a global science and technology leader. Together we combine our capabilities to accelerate the real-life impact of tomorrow's science and technology to improve human health. ©2024 Beckman Coulter. All rights reserved. Beckman Coulter, the stylized logo, and the Beckman Coulter product and service marks mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Beckman Coulter, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

Read More

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