MedStar launches EHR usability campaign, with videos showing UX, workflow challenges

Healthcare IT News | February 05, 2019

Effective software depends on user feedback, with developers rely on a culture of open communication to learn more about bugs and usability issues. That goes electronic health records too, and MedStar Health is showing, not telling, how they could. The MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, in partnership with the American Medical Association, has launched a new advocacy website, EHRSeeWhatWeMean.org, to highlight for vendors some of the the usability challenges clinicians grapple with every day. On the website, MedStar hosts a series of videos showing how poor UX can present various risks to patient safety and can hinder quality of care. It also decries the gag clauses, often contained in contracts between EHR vendors and their healthcare system customers, that can prevent healthcare providers from openly discussing workflow challenges and proposing solutions.

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Over the past five years, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has successfully implemented a Fraud Prevention System using "big data" and predictive analytics approaches to fight fraud, waste and abuse in the Medicare fee-for-service program….


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FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

Virta Health Highlights Lasting, Transformative Health Improvements In 5-Year Diabetes Reversal Study

Virta Health | June 07, 2022

Virta Health, the leader in type 2 diabetes reversal, revealed preliminary five-year results from its landmark clinical trial at the American Diabetes Association 82nd Scientific Sessions. Presenting four unique abstracts, Virta highlighted myriad, lasting health improvements for people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, including blood sugar control, clinically-significant weight loss, reduced inflammation, and improvements in other markers of cardiometabolic health. These transformative health outcomes coincided with medication reduction or elimination for many trial patients, including Jane Ann Dimitt. For over two decades, Jane Ann was prescribed increasing levels of medications as her blood sugar and weight continued to climb. By the time she joined Virta in 2015, her A1c had reached 11.4%; the next step was insulin. Through Virta’s treatment, Jane Ann lowered her blood sugar to 5.5% (below even the prediabetes threshold) and lost over 50 pounds, while drastically reducing her reliance on medications. She also saw improved mobility, decreased inflammation and neuropathy, and now has the energy to play with her grandchildren—all without needing the insulin doctors said was imminent. The outcomes of Jane Ann and Virta’s other trial patients contradict the belief that progression of diabetes—and a lifetime of increasing medications—is inevitable. One-fifth of Virta patients completing five years of treatment saw full remission. One-third of patients achieved A1c below 6.5% without any diabetes medications, or only requiring Metformin. Notably, inflammatory markers, triglycerides, and HDL cholesterol all improved significantly. These outcomes, in conjunction with previous research demonstrating improvements in cardiovascular disease risk factors, depression symptoms, sleep, and knee pain, establish the promise of Virta’s approach to impact a wide range of conditions amid America’s metabolic disease epidemic. In the U.S., costs are rising as patient outcomes continue to worsen, including surges in amputations, hyperglycemic events, and diabetes-related deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, getting patients to stick with an intervention remains a significant challenge in diabetes therapy. Rates of medication adherence—that is, whether patients take their medications as prescribed—fall as low as 34% over the first three years for those starting insulin. For the National Diabetes Prevention Program, considered the gold standard in lifestyle interventions, only 13% of patients were retained at one year. In contrast, in Virta’s trial nearly 50% of participants with type 2 diabetes were retained at five years. Of those who continued past year two, 72% remained for an additional three years to year five. For Kim Shepherd, who lost 55 pounds, eliminated 10 different medications, reversed her diabetes, and even saw her GERD (acid reflux) and plantar fasciitis disappear, the reasons to stick with the treatment are clear. “Diabetes runs in my family, and I know that this disease can rob you of your whole life; it can take your eyes, your feet, and your kidneys. I have 4 kids and 9 grandkids to keep up with. I’ve learned to love hiking and biking. Nothing is worth losing all of that and going back to how I was before.” Additional key outcomes demonstrating the success of Virta’s approach at five years include Sustained blood sugar control. Virta patients experienced persistent improvements in blood sugar on average, while requiring significantly fewer medications. Medication deprescription. Half of patients prescribed insulin at the start of the trial no longer needed it at five years. Across all diabetes drugs, prescriptions were reduced by nearly 50%. Weight loss. Average weight among Virta participants decreased by 7.6%, exceeding the 5% benchmark for clinically significant weight loss by more than 50%. Broad improvement in cardiometabolic health. In addition to improvements in triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, and markers of inflammation, patients even showed encouraging signs in reversing the progression of chronic kidney disease. “Virta’s patients are helping redefine what long-term success can look like in type 2 diabetes care. The patient outcomes set a new standard for real-world applications of diabetes treatment." Dr. Alan Moses, former Senior Vice President and Global Chief Medical Officer of Novo Nordisk, and Virta advisor Trial participants with prediabetes also saw meaningful improvements, with progression rates far below what has been demonstrated in other studies. Further, Virta patients sustained 6% weight loss over five years, exceeding the clinically-significant benchmark for diabetes prevention and far surpassing the 2% weight loss observed in the NIH Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle intervention. The study is also notable for its longevity. Five-year published results are extremely rare in digital health, where most studies follow populations for no more than a year, and usually significantly less. For many Virta patients, the five-year clinical trial has facilitated a lasting lifestyle change, improving not only traditional markers of health but overall mood, quality of life, and outlook on the future. Says patient Denise Lamb, who has maintained diabetes reversal alongside a nearly 70 pound weight loss, “My journey has been phenomenal. The Virta program has not only helped me achieve healthy blood glucose, but also attain a far better weight, normal blood pressure, and better understanding of my body. Virta’s lifestyle changed my lifestyle!” About Virta Health Virta Health helps people reverse type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions. Current approaches manage disease progression through increased medication use and infrequent doctor visits. Virta reverses type 2 diabetes through innovations in technology, nutrition science, and continuous remote care from physicians and behavioral experts. In clinical studies, 94% of patients reduce or eliminate insulin use, and weight-loss exceeds FDA benchmarks by nearly 150%. Virta works with the largest health plans, employers, and government organizations and puts 100% of its fees at risk based on clinical and financial outcomes.

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FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

SandboxAQ and Mount Sinai Health System Collaborate on Data Protection

Sandbox AQ | March 24, 2022

Sandbox AQ, an enterprise SaaS company leveraging quantum tech and AI, announced a collaboration with Mount Sinai Health System to launch Post-Quantum Cryptography solutions, a broad security technology solution to protect patient data against current and future cybersecurity threats. Sandbox has developed SaaS-based enterprise modules that incorporate the latest encryption protocol standards recently ratified by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). Through Sandbox AQ, Mount Sinai Health System will incorporate PQC protocols into its network to provide increased security for millions of customers and their sensitive data. "Our collaboration with Sandbox AQ propels our security and technology strategies forward, enabling us to deliver advanced, secure cutting-edge products to our patients. Protecting patient data against cyber threats is incredibly important to us." Kristin Myers, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Mount Sinai Health System and Dean for Information Technology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai "Quantum technology will quickly render today's RSA-based encryption obsolete, which is why it's imperative that we protect the world's sensitive data now against the next generation of cyberattacks," said Jack D. Hidary, CEO of Sandbox AQ, which officially launched today. "Mount Sinai is one of the first healthcare systems planning to implement PQC protocols into its health network to protect its customers and transform its business. We look forward to collaborating with them on this project." About SandboxAQ Sandbox AQ is an enterprise SaaS company delivering solutions at the nexus of quantum tech and AI. Based in Palo Alto, the inspiration for Sandbox AQ and some of the team originated at Alphabet Inc. in 2016. Sandbox AQ launched as an independent, venture-backed entity in 2022. About Mount Sinai Health System The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest academic medical system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. We advance medicine and health through unrivaled education and translational research and discovery to deliver care that is the safest, highest-quality, most accessible and equitable, and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 free-standing joint-venture centers; more than 410 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked in U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of the top 20 U.S. hospitals and among the top in the nation by specialty: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Urology, and Rehabilitation. Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital is ranked in U.S. News & World Report's "Best Children's Hospitals" among the country's best in four out of 10 pediatric specialties. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked among the Top 20 nationally for ophthalmology. The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools," aligned with a U.S. News & World Report "Honor Roll" Hospital, and No. 14 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding. Newsweek's "The World's Best Smart Hospitals" ranks The Mount Sinai Hospital as No. 1 in New York and top five globally, and Mount Sinai Morningside as top 20 globally, and "The World's Best Specialized Hospitals" ranks Mount Sinai Heart as No. 1 in New York and No. 4 globally and the Division of Gastroenterology as No. 3 globally, and the Division of Pulmonary Medicine as No. 6 globally.

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MEDICAL DEVICES

Anthem Announces Subsidiary Brands Under Elevance Health

Elevance Health, Inc | June 20, 2022

As Anthem, Inc. moves closer to rebranding to Elevance Health, Inc. later this month, the company announced the launch of healthcare services brand Carelon and health plan brand Wellpoint to join the company’s family of brands that includes Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The move will optimize and streamline the company’s brand portfolio, reduce complexities, and further underscore its evolution to deliver solutions beyond traditional health insurance, simplify the healthcare experience, and advance health beyond healthcare. “An important part of being a lifetime, trusted health partner is grounded in our ability to ensure consumers have access to services that will meet their whole health needs across their entire healthcare journey. The addition of our new brands to our family of companies will bring together services and products within their respective brands that further integrate our business and health expertise across the industry to solve complex challenges and improve consumers lives.” Gail K. Boudreaux, President and CEO Anthem, Inc Blending a powerful suite of solutions to solve complex healthcare challenges Bringing together decades of experience, the company introduces its new healthcare services brand Carelon to consolidate the company’s existing broad portfolio of capabilities and services businesses under one brand to address the most complex healthcare challenges and support clients and consumers across the entire healthcare continuum. Derived from the word ‘care’ and suffix ‘lon’ meaning full and complete, the name Carelon stands for the importance of providing full and complete care. Carelon will serve one in three people in the U.S. With services ranging from research to integrated whole person care delivery, pharmacy, behavioral health to digital platform and technology services, Carelon will build better care for people and enhance efficiencies systemwide. Through partnerships across healthcare, Carelon will improve outcomes and reduce total cost of care through digitally enabled solutions to improve whole person health. The company expects to fully transition its capabilities and services under the Carelon brand over the next two years. This change further helps to streamline the end-to-end experiences for providers, clients and consumers. “Carelon makes connected care possible for everyone by putting people at the center of what we do and delivering the right balance of care, technology, data-driven insights and expertise to solve complex challenges and help consumers lead healthier lives,” said Pete Haytaian, Executive Vice President of Anthem, and President of Carelon. “Bringing together these solutions will help deliver our strategy, drive growth, and exceed expectations for care providers, consumers, and our other partners.” Launching a brand focused on improving the health of individuals and communities at all stages of life. The company will also launch the Wellpoint brand to unify its Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial health plans in select markets, simplifying interactions that consumers have with these health plans. Wellpoint’s suite of products and services are designed for consumers at any stage of life seeking to make the right care decisions and will offer access to simple, supportive health solutions that will help foster independence, confidence, and whole person health for consumers. ​The company plans to make this transition over the next few years. This change will not impact the company’s affiliated Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Anthem Blue Cross health plans. “Unifying many of our non-Blue Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial health plans under one brand helps consumers, care providers, and the healthcare industry better understand how our organization works together to deliver our distinct set of products and services that address the health and wellbeing of those we serve,” added Boudreaux. “Our Wellpoint health plans will continue to address consumer needs at a personal level, removing barriers and creating more meaningful connections across a lifetime of milestones and experiences.” This step in the company’s rebranding is a continuation of its bold and ambitious purpose to improve the health of humanity by serving people across their entire health journey; connecting them to care, support and resources; and simplifying every step of the healthcare journey to make health more equitable and accessible. On June 28, Anthem will become Elevance Health and will commemorate its official rebranding by ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Shares of the company’s common stock will begin trading under the new ticker symbol ELV as of that morning. About Anthem, Inc. Anthem, which will become Elevance Health on June 28, 2022, is a leading health company dedicated to improving lives and communities, and making healthcare simpler. Through its affiliated companies, Anthem serves approximately 118 million people, including nearly 47 million within its family of health plans. Delivering health beyond healthcare, Anthem is expanding from being a partner in health benefits to a lifetime, trusted health partner.

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HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

Easterseals and the Abbott Fund Join Together to Advance Education and Health Equity

Easterseals | June 23, 2022

Easterseals announced today that it has received a grant of $750,000 from the Abbott Fund, the foundation of the global healthcare company Abbott, to pilot the Project on Education and Community Health Equity from now through 2025. The three-year project aims to address systemic barriers to high-quality education and healthcare experienced by children and families in underinvested communities. Research shows that many young children, particularly children with disabilities and children of color, face significant gaps in access to crucial health and social services that can provide the targeted support they need to be prepared to succeed in school. One example: according to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Black children with autism and other disabilities are diagnosed an average of more than three years after their parents expressed concerns about their development. This delay in diagnosis means these children miss out on age-appropriate care and the chance to improve their health and cognitive skills, often resulting in them entering kindergarten with knowledge and skill deficits that many are not able to overcome throughout their K-12 educational journey. The Project on Education and Community Health Equity will create an integrated system that addresses the educational and healthcare needs of children to help them be kindergarten ready and reach their full potential. This includes work in three areas: expanding access to essential physical and mental health screenings and care for children; providing targeted social services to help families overcome gaps in basic needs, nutrition, transportation, and other social and economic barriers; and ensuring that early childhood administrators and educators have the right training to identify and address health and social challenges and provide culturally appropriate support for children. The project will be implemented at Easterseals Childhood Development Centers in Southern California, Atlanta and North Georgia, and the greater Washington, D.C., area. "Addressing the healthcare needs of infants and toddlers as early as possible in their lives is one of the critical ways in which Easterseals serves young children and families across the country. The Project on Education and Community Health Equity will allow us to better address healthcare disparities experienced by young BIPOC children and their families in historically underserved and marginalized communities, and to better understand the connection between more equitable access to healthcare and kindergarten readiness. Centering communities of color in our efforts is a critical strategy to close the gap. Outcomes from the project promise to inform its future expansion to early childhood and early education programs throughout the Easterseals Network of 70 affiliates in communities nationwide." Erika L. Watson, National Director of Childhood Development, Education and Equity at Easterseals "We're proud to support Easterseals' important work to help close equity gaps in education and community health," said Melissa Brotz, president of the Abbott Fund and vice president of Global Marketing and External Affairs at Abbott. "We're committed to advancing health equity and fighting racial health disparities, and our partnership with Easterseals will help reduce barriers to care for children, their families and their communities." The Project on Education and Community Health Equity builds on results seen through another Easterseals program, the Black Child Fund. Launched in 2021 with support from the Abbott Fund and others, the Black Child Fund advanced early identification and interventions among Black children with autism and other disabilities to reduce health disparities often experienced in early childhood. The Abbott Fund investment launched pilots at Easterseals locations serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford, DuPage and the Fox Valley Region (IL), and Kansas City and St. Louis (MO). Through these pilot programs, an 87% increase in the number of Black families seeking services and support was realized, with more than 300 Black children screened for early diagnosis of autism and other disabilities in just one year. Of these children, 80% were five years old or younger, with 75% requiring and receiving additional services through Easterseals. An important outcome of these pilots has been the strengthening of relationships within Black communities across these Easterseals service areas to ensure more equitable and more culturally responsive services and supports to young children of color with disabilities and their families. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released data revealing that during the pandemic public health emergency, rates for primary and preventive services among children in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) declined substantially. This decline in care for millions of children from low-income families will potentially have a significant impact on long-term health outcomes for the nearly 40 million children in the U.S. who rely on Medicaid and CHIP, including three-quarters of children living in poverty and many with special healthcare needs including infants, toddlers, and young children with disabilities. "Through the Project on Education and Community Health Equity, it is Easterseals' intention to address the disparities in healthcare among young children in low-investment communities and to understand the connection between health equity and early childhood educational attainment. We intend to center the experiences of children of color and their families, for whom inequities have only been exacerbated because of the pandemic," Watson concluded. The Abbott Fund's partnership with Easterseals supports Abbott's 2030 Sustainability Plan, which aims to advance health access and equity through partnership. Abbott's ongoing commitment to address health equity challenges includes targeted programs to increase diversity in clinical trials, create opportunities in STEM for women and underrepresented groups, and empower communities to break down social and economic barriers to better health. About Easterseals Easterseals is leading the way to full equity, inclusion, and access through life-changing disability and community services. For more than 100 years, we have worked tirelessly with our partners to enhance quality of life and expand local access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. And we won't rest until every one of us is valued, respected, and accepted. Through our national network of Affiliates, Easterseals provides essential services and on-the-ground supports to more than 1.5 million people each year – from early childhood programs for the critical first five years, to autism services, medical rehabilitation and employment programs, veterans' services, and more. Our public education, policy, and advocacy initiatives positively shape perceptions and address the urgent and evolving needs of the one in four Americans living with disabilities today. Together, we're empowering people with disabilities, families, and communities to be full and equal participants in society. About Abbott and the Abbott Fund Abbott is a global healthcare leader that helps people live more fully at all stages of life. Our portfolio of life-changing technologies spans the spectrum of healthcare, with leading businesses and products in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic medicines. Our 113,000 colleagues serve people in more than 160 countries.

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