Study: ACA market competition on the upswing, but regional variation persists

FierceHealthcare | March 21, 2019

Although the ACA exchanges show signs of rebounding after 2017’s political turmoil sent some insurers scurrying, marketplaces with little competition are still common, according to a new report. The Urban Institute analyzed the state of competition in the Affordable Care Act exchanges in the 2017 plan year and found that 146 out of 498 nationwide rating regions had just one insurer available. Marketplaces with little competition are especially common in the South. By contrast, that number reached 202 in 2018, following a turbulent 2017 that saw multiple attempts to repeal the ACA. Some insurers crept back into the exchanges for 2019, according to the report, when there were 165 regions with just one available payer, but the trend is still worrying, the researchers said.

Spotlight

It is impossible to live in today ’s world without being exposed to hundreds of chemicals. Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have documented this exposure for years, and the more chemicals the CDC tests for, the more they find in human bodies. And the more we study these chemicals, the more direct link we find to illness and disease. Health care professionals, particularly nurses, are at increased risk for chemical and pharmaceutical exposure and so are healthcare patients. Reducing exposures is an important step as the healthcare sector fulfills its oath to “first do no harm.”


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HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

Base Business Solutions and Uniphore Partner to Bring Emerging Technology to Vietnam’s CX Industry

Uniphore | September 12, 2022

Base Business Solutions a leading provider of cloud and hosted customer experience and contact center solutions in Vietnam announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with Uniphore, the leader in Conversational AI and Automation. Through this partnership, BaseBS will be well positioned to enhance customer experiences, improve employee performance, and better understand customer insights to achieve superior business outcomes. As part of the agreement, BaseBS will offer customers Conversational AI and Automation capabilities across their initiatives around self-service and assisted service channels. Uniphore’s X platform is an integrated conversational AI and automation platform that combines automatic speech recognition (ASR) including the Vietnamese language, natural language processing (NLP), robotic process automation (RPA), emotion AI and knowledge AI that enterprises need in today’s tech-savvy customer era. These technology components translate into specific offerings for customers in the form of chatbots, voice bots, conversational analytics for quality automation, and customer analysis and agent guidance in real-time. The partnership will have far-reaching benefits for customers, employees, and organizations that will impact not only how they do business today as they continue to adjust to the current global situation, but also in the long term. Benefits include Personalized automated resolutions for customers thus bringing in time to value through Uniphore’s U Self Serve product Contact center employee productivity and efficiency will see a boost through U-Assist, a Uniphore product that can guide agents in real-time with in-call alerts, next-best-action and reduce their after-call work Businesses will be able to make data-driven decisions with smarter conversational analytics. Through Uniphore’s U Analyze solution, businesses can transform CX by analysing conversations from across platforms including voice, email, and text to increase effectiveness with omnichannel support and an integrated view of conversations to discover customers' intent and sentiments “BaseBS is extremely pleased to partner with Uniphore on our journey to bring emerging technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and automation to the CX industry in Vietnam. With Uniphore’s conversational AI and automation platform we will be better positioned to enable our customers to personalize conversations, enhance contact center employee productivity and use conversation insights for better decisions.” Mr. Pham Xuan Phuc, Vice President, Base Business Solutions “We are excited about the partnership with BaseBS as they look ahead to strengthen and offer more comprehensive CX solutions for contact centers in the local market,” said Mr. Gokul Gopalakrishnan, Senior Vice President & Business Head, Asia, Uniphore. “We see a natural synergy with BaseBS thereby creating strong joint value propositions, go-to-market strategies, and unmatched CX solutions for enterprises, and experiences for customers.” BaseBS is part of Uniphore’s Reseller partner program. The program provides partners with the necessary resources to leverage cutting-edge technology and enhance their portfolio and offerings resulting in increased revenue growth. Uniphore also launched the Unite App Alliance Partner Program, which enables value-driven collaboration and cross-selling for participating Independent Software Vendors (ISV) to have greater access to and involvement in shaping the direction and strategy of tomorrow’s conversational AI and automation, and supporting CX technology innovation. About Uniphore Uniphore is the global leader in Conversational Automation. Every day, billions of conversations take place across industries — customer service, sales, HR, education and more. Whether they are human to human, human to machine or machine to machine, conversations are at the heart of everything we do, and the new currency of the enterprise. At Uniphore, we believe companies that best understand and take action on those conversations will win. We have built the most comprehensive and powerful conversational automation platform that combines conversational AI, workflow automation and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) with a business user friendly UX in a single integrated platform to transform and democratize customer experiences across industries. Follow our blog and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. About Base Business Solutions Founded in 2005, BaseBS is one of the leading companies providing cloud and hosted customer experience and contact center solutions in Vietnam. BaseBS offers tailor-made CX solutions to hyper-scale and large enterprise clients that empower them to achieve customer service excellence and gain competitive advantages in the market. We are honored as Advanced Technology Partner of Cisco in implementing Call Center & Contact Center infrastructure. A combination of comprehensive industry expertise, a professional team and leading-edge technologies enables our clients to modernize their customer journey and maximize business productivity. Our portfolio is active in a wide range of business areas such as Banking & Finance, Insurance, Retail, Logistics, Hospitality, Medical & Healthcare, etc.

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HEALTHTECH SECURITY

Zócalo Health’s Culturally Competent Virtual Healthcare Services for Latino Communities Now Available

Zócalo Health | October 12, 2022

Zócalo Health, a Latino-founded healthcare service designed for Latino patients, announced the launch of its primary care memberships for residents across California and Texas. Starting members can access same day virtual care visits and care navigation services via Zócalo’s website, introducing the Latino community to an improved and long overdue healthcare experience built on trust, relationships, and culture. Zócalo Health, which premiered as an invite-only service to select members earlier this summer, was founded by Erik Cardenas and Mariza Hardin to strengthen the health and wellbeing of the Latino community by eliminating barriers to high-quality healthcare services. This multi-state launch demonstrates the company’s continued commitment to delivering affordable and accessible primary care that blends tradition with innovation and prioritizes trusting relationships between providers and patients. Members will have access to a range of services and care options that would typically be addressed in primary care including: mental health conditions, preventative and lifestyle needs, chronic disease management, urgent care, and other more specific health conditions. The Zócalo primary care model includes the use of community health workers (CHWs) – or as they’re known in the Latino community, promotores de salud. Research shows CHWs are crucial to helping health systems achieve their full potential, since they work to connect patients to local resources and care. At Zócalo, promotores work individually with members to coordinate their care across a team of physicians, nurses, and mental health therapists, as well as connect members to needed resources across the community. Clinicians and promotores are hired from the communities they serve and can provide culturally competent care in both English and Spanish. By building care teams that come from and look like the communities they serve, the team is better able to foster a primary care relationship with patients. Once care has been established with Zócalo Health, members have 24/7 access to chat with their promotor de salud to receive individual guidance on personal health goals and needs. “Today, I am immensely proud to open up Zócalo Health’s services to the community. As a kid, I remember the long waits in the community health clinic to see a doctor who often did not speak Spanish. I had to act as a translator for my mom about my own care and help her navigate next steps. I felt guilty that my mom had to take time off from work for my appointment and pay for any prescriptions or additional care needed. For my family, no work meant no pay, so a doctor’s visit was a heavy burden on everyone,” said Zócalo Health CEO Erik Cardenas. “As the landscape for healthcare delivery has changed with technology, our community continues to get left behind. The one-size-fits-all model for healthcare doesn’t work for everyone. I owe it to my parents and my family to do better. Zócalo Health is focused on giving our people a community built around their healthcare needs.” Despite the major cultural impact the Latino population has had on the U.S., and their increased spending power year after year, the U.S. healthcare system has been slow to adapt its services to the needs of this community’s unique health and cultural needs. Latinos still experience disproportionate barriers to healthcare access, particularly in primary care, where the average wait time to see a doctor is 24 days. This long delay, combined with fewer in-person appointments, high-deductible plans, and high out-of-pocket fees, results in many Latino patients avoiding treatment, using informal networks (family/friends), or waiting for hours in expensive emergency rooms to seek care. In addition to the existing disparities in healthcare access, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic impact have exacerbated health inequities for the Latino community, particularly when it comes to accessing high-quality primary care and preventative services. “I’ve always been community-oriented and my role as a promotora gives me the opportunity to help other Latinos manage their health and navigate a system that unfortunately has not adapted to our needs. “I’m so excited to be able to guide my community through what can often be a stressful experience in order to deliver personalized care management from someone who understands our culture and needs. Our Zócalo Health team is ready to advocate for our members and ultimately impact our community’s health, one person at a time.” Zócalo Health promotora Caroline Carbajal Zócalo Health’s membership and payment options are designed to make access to primary care easy and affordable for Latinos. Services are offered through monthly memberships, with pricing starting at $40 per month or at a discounted rate of $420 a year when paid upfront. Patients in California and Texas can now purchase a membership and schedule same-day virtual appointments by visiting zocalo.health. Zócalo Health plans to expand to other states in 2022 and beyond. About Zócalo Health Zócalo Health is a Latino-founded healthcare service designed for the Latino patient. Our primary care model blends tradition with innovation and prioritizes trusting relationships between care teams and patients. Each member of Zócalo Health is paired with a promotor de salud (community health worker) to establish a relationship to better understand members’ goals and connect them to a Zócalo Health physician. Our team of physicians, hired from the community, focus on prevention, primary care, behavioral health, and traditional practices that work together to support our members’ wellness. Operating in the states of California and Texas, Zócalo Health offers affordable and convenient care memberships that provide same-day access to culturally-aligned providers.

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HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

PointClickCare Launches Integrated Virtual Health Solution for Long-Term and Post-Acute Care Providers

PointClickCare | October 11, 2022

PointClickCare Technologies, a leading healthcare technology platform enabling meaningful collaboration and access to real‐time insights announced the launch of its Virtual Health offering – an integrated telemedicine solution to the Skilled Nursing Facilities market. With the help of partner Sound Physicians, this technology is currently being implemented in more than half of the states across the U.S. Over the next two days at the AHCA/NCAL Convention and Expo, PointClickCare will be showcasing the innovative ways providers can better achieve quality care and reach the full potential of virtual health in the post‐acute setting. According to the Forrester U.S. Tech Outlook, 2022 Report, investment in virtual health, remote monitoring, and hospital-at-home, are spending priorities in 2022. Forrester analysts have confirmed that these technologies have the power to reduce the cost of administrative complexity, which is currently $265 billion. Recent data from the US Department of Health & Human Services explains that the share of Medicare visits conducted through telehealth rose to 52.7 million in 2020, from approximately 840,000 in 2019. Knowing that telehealth has become an increasingly important, yet sometimes complicated component of healthcare, PointClickCare has developed an alternative to traditional telehealth by applying technological improvements to offer an integrated solution. “Telehealth is no longer a futuristic concept in long-term care, it’s table stakes. Our customers continue to navigate between care settings and our team has sought to innovate and push the envelope on providing virtual care. We’re proud to announce this technology that has been specifically designed to meet the mission‐critical needs of post‐acute providers to improve clinical care and reduce healthcare costs, consistently driving down hospital readmissions by 30%.” Travis Palmquist, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Senior Care at PointClickCare With PointClickCare’s Virtual Health offering, providers can now Improve patient care & staff satisfaction: By streamlining operations through a sophisticated level of integration into existing workflows, care teams have access to shared patient records, and can cut down on administrative tasks and can focus on what matters most – patient care. Reduce healthcare service costs: With the ability to “treat in place,” facilities experience stabilized occupancy rates and can reduce the need for after-hours readmissions or emergency room department transfers, ultimately lowering overall costs. “The ongoing staffing crisis has created a new level of pressure for our staff. With PointClickCare’s Virtual Health solution, our care teams can access an on-shift physician with just one click, streamlining operations and cutting down on a lot of the administrative burdens we are faced with, all while ensuring our patients are getting the best quality of care, any time,” said Kevin Baxter, Vice President of Operations at Health Services Management. About PointClickCare PointClickCare is a leading healthcare technology platform enabling meaningful collaboration and access to real‐time insights at any stage of a patient’s healthcare journey. PointClickCare’s single platform spans the care continuum, fostering proactive, holistic decision‐making and improved outcomes for all. Over 27,000 long‐term post‐acute care providers, and 2,700 hospitals use PointClickCare today, enabling care collaboration and value‐based care delivery for millions of lives across North America.

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MEDICAL DEVICES

Carestream Health Unveils New X-ray Detectors, Enhanced X-ray Rooms at World’s Largest Radiology Exhibition

Carestream Health | November 29, 2022

Carestream’s legacy of delivering quality medical imaging technology continues with the launch of new digital X-ray detectors that help improve clinical outcomes, while enhancements to its existing product portfolio reflect the company’s deep understanding of the radiology profession. At the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago, the company is displaying its expanding portfolio of medical imaging systems that provide quantifiable benefits to healthcare organizations and their patients, including New Carestream Focus HD 35 and Focus HD 43 detectors that offer higher resolution with a 100 micron pixel pitch that allows for image magnification for better visibility of small objects and microstructures. The detectors’ Cesium (CsI) scintillator is ideal for dose-sensitive pediatric patients; and the detectors have an IP56 rating for better protection against dust and fluid ingress. Next generation of long-length imaging, the Carestream DRX-LC Detector (INVESTIGATIONAL – NOT AVAILABLE FOR COMMERCIAL SALE) captures long-bone and spine images with a single exposure, making it ideal for pediatric imaging and long-bone and spine images of people with limited mobility. In contrast, the traditional multi-shot approach requires three to five exposures followed by manipulation and stitching of the images. The new detector is designed to capture the full image in a single exposure to minimize dose and mitigate motion artifact that can appear from patient movement with a multi-shot exam. The DRX-LC Detector is designed with X-Factor so the detector can be shared across different Carestream X-ray systems and is compatible with both rooms and mobile units. Enhancements to the Carestream DRX-Evolution Plus that provide improved patient comfort and a better ergonomic experience along with improved workflow for the radiographer. Its new tabletop design eliminates rails that can cause strain and discomfort for both radiographer and patient, enabling patients to be moved more smoothly and with less effort to the exam table. New features in the Carestream DRX-Excel Plus provide a better staff experience with faster workflow and better diagnostic image quality. Designed specifically for large and mid-size hospitals and medical centers, this innovative system combines fluoroscopy and general radiology capabilities in one compact unit. It delivers accelerated workflow, high-resolution images and a wide range of patient exam options. “Our commitment to quickly respond to the needs of the radiology community with ideas that clearly work is as strong as ever, and we are solidly positioned to continue developing solutions that have quantifiable benefits to our customers and their patients. Organizations can have complete confidence in our ability to provide high-value technology that helps lower costs, and improves imaging workflow for radiology departments, technologists and other healthcare professionals—all with the goal of improving patient care.” David C. Westgate, Chairman, President and CEO of Carestream About Carestream Health Carestream is a worldwide provider of medical imaging systems; X-ray imaging systems for non-destructive testing; and precision contract coating services for a wide range of industrial, medical, electronic and other applications—all backed by a global service and support network.

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Spotlight

It is impossible to live in today ’s world without being exposed to hundreds of chemicals. Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have documented this exposure for years, and the more chemicals the CDC tests for, the more they find in human bodies. And the more we study these chemicals, the more direct link we find to illness and disease. Health care professionals, particularly nurses, are at increased risk for chemical and pharmaceutical exposure and so are healthcare patients. Reducing exposures is an important step as the healthcare sector fulfills its oath to “first do no harm.”

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