To increase patient satisfaction, providers need to start talking about costs: survey

FierceHealthcare | February 26, 2019

Even as health systems confront rising healthcare costs and declining margins, they are under pressure to improve the patient experience, retain customer loyalty and collect patient payments. But while two-thirds of patients said cost strongly influences their overall satisfaction with their hospital or physician, nearly 60% of health systems do not discuss costs with patients, according to a survey from VisitPay, a patient financial engagement platform. The majority of patients (67%) did not obtain cost estimates before receiving medical treatment. The survey is based on responses from 1,734 adults about their financial experiences at a hospital, health system or urgent care center in the past year to assess healthcare consumption habits, financial behaviors within and outside of the healthcare industry, and factors that influence satisfaction with a health system.

Spotlight

The following infographic was produced by MHA@GW, the online Master of Health Administration program offered through the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. It grabbed our attention when it was shared this week by Julie Potyraj, the community manager for MPH@GW, on the Disruptive Women in Health Care blog. Potyraj notes in her post that though "the United States spends 54 percent more on healthcare per person than most other developed nations spend....in many areas of health service availability and accessibility, the United States falls behind countries like Germany, Australia, and France.


Other News
INSURANCE

Exela Expands PCH Global Solution with Leading Healthcare Insurer

Exela Technologies | January 12, 2022

Exela Technologies, Inc. (“Exela”)today announced that it continues to expand its relationship with a leading health insurance organization that spans almost two decades. This customer continues to accelerate deployment of Exela’s PCH Global platform to speed up their digital transformation and improve both the member and provider experience. The latest expansion is valued at $6.2 million of additional contract value revenue. Exela continues to invest in expanding PCH Global’s capabilities to provide a cloud hosted solution with one of the best edit resolutions for healthcare claims. This extension of deployment marks another milestone in the value proposition of the PCH Global platform to digitally connect members, providers and insurance companies to enable clean claims, payment transparency and digital appeals. PCH Global’s cloud network also offers increased scalability, the highest uptime and best business continuity protections. PCH Global has robust data analytics which are continually improving as Exela processes more and more data. Additionally, PCH Global’s improved data analytics can be accessed via a self-service model. “We are proud of our long standing partnership and privileged to be part of customer’s digital transformation journey. Adoption of our PCH Global platform continues to address healthcare industry’s goal to deliver most efficient, cost effective and best healthcare to the members.” Suresh Yannamani, President of Exela About Exela Technologies Exela Technologies is a business process automation (BPA) leader, leveraging a global footprint and proprietary technology to provide digital transformation solutions enhancing quality, productivity, and end-user experience. With decades of experience operating mission-critical processes, Exela serves a growing roster of more than 4,000 customers throughout 50 countries, including over 60% of the Fortune® 100. Utilizing foundational technologies spanning information management, workflow automation, and integrated communications, Exela’s software and services include multi-industry, departmental solution suites addressing finance and accounting, human capital management, and legal management, as well as industry-specific solutions for banking, healthcare, insurance, and the public sector. Through cloud-enabled platforms, built on a configurable stack of automation modules, and over 17,500 employees operating in 23 countries, Exela rapidly deploys integrated technology and operations as an end-to-end digital journey partner.

Read More

HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

Stryker, One of the World’s Leading Medical Technology Companies, announces definitive agreement to acquire Vocera Communications

Stryker | January 07, 2022

Strykerannounced today a definitive merger agreement to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of common stock of Vocera Communications, Inc.for $79.25 per share, or a total equity value of approximately $2.97 billion and a total enterprise value of approximately $3.09 billion (including convertible notes). Vocera, which was founded in 2000, has emerged as a leading platform in the digital care coordination and communication category. The importance of this growing segment has continued to expand throughout the pandemic as it aims to reduce cognitive overload for caregivers and enables them to deliver the best patient care possible. Vocera brings a highly complementary and innovative portfolio to Stryker’s Medical division that will address the increasing need for hospitals to connect caregivers and disparate data-generating medical devices, which will help drive efficiencies and improve safety and outcomes. Vocera’s highly developed software competency, unique and innovative hardware solutions, and the ability to securely enable remote communication between patients and their families, complements Stryker's Advanced Digital Healthcare offerings. The combined business will further advance Stryker’s focus on preventing adverse events throughout the continuum of care. “This acquisition underscores our commitment and focus on our customer. Vocera will help Stryker significantly accelerate our digital aspirations to improve the lives of caregivers and patients.” Kevin Lobo, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Stryker “Today’s milestone represents an exciting opportunity for Vocera given the clear alignment of mission, goals and culture between our two organizations and our ability to drive even greater economic and clinical value for our customers,” said Brent Lang, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Vocera. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Stryker will commence a tender offer for all outstanding shares of common stock of Vocera for $79.25 per share in cash. The boards of directors of both Stryker and Vocera have unanimously approved the transaction. The closing of the transaction is subject to expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, completion of the tender offer and other customary closing conditions. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022 and is expected to have a neutral impact to net earnings per diluted share in 2022. About Stryker Stryker is one of the world’s leading medical technology companies and, together with its customers, is driven to make healthcare better. The company offers innovative products and services in Orthopaedics, Medical and Surgical, and Neurotechnology and Spine that help improve patient and hospital outcomes. About Vocera The mission of Vocera Communications, Inc. is to improve the lives of healthcare professionals, patients, and families. Founded in 2000, Vocera provides clinical communication and workflow solutions that help protect and connect team members, increase operational efficiency, enhance quality of care and safety, and humanize the healthcare experience. More than 2,300 facilities worldwide, including nearly 1,900 hospitals and healthcare facilities, have selected Vocera solutions to enable their workforce to communicate and collaborate with co-workers and engage with patients and families. Mobile workers can choose the right device for their role or task, including smartphones or one of the company’s wearable communication devices, and use voice commands to easily reach people by name, role, or group. The hands-free Vocera Smartbadge was named to TIME’s list of the 100 Best Inventions of 2020. Vocera solutions can integrate with more than 150 clinical and operational systems, including electronic health records, nurse call systems, ventilators, physiological monitors, and more. In addition to healthcare, Vocera solutions are found in aged care facilities, veterinary hospitals, schools, luxury hotels, retail stores, power facilities, and more.

Read More

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.

Read More

HEALTH TECHNOLOGY

NUTEX HEALTH ANNOUNCES TWO NEW FULLY FUNCTIONAL MICRO HOSPITALS

Nutex Health, Inc. | May 17, 2022

Nutex Health Inc. a physician-led, technology-enabled healthcare services company comprised of a hospital division with 21 facilities in 8 states and a primary care-centric, risk-bearing population health management division, announced two new fully operational micro hospitals. The first hospital, New Braunfels ER & Hospital, is in New Braunfels, Texas, located about 30 miles northeast of San Antonio. The state-of-the-art facility is open 24/7, 365 days a year, and includes an emergency room with 9 private exam rooms staffed with board-certified physicians and 4 private inpatient beds. The hospital provides both adult and pediatric care, and has the most advanced imaging and laboratory equipment, including CT, X-Ray and ultrasound with rapid radiological reports. The second hospital, East Valley ER & Hospital, is in Gilbert, Arizona, located about 21 miles southeast of Phoenix. The state-of-the-art hospital is open 24/7, 365 days a year, and includes an emergency room with 14 private exam rooms and 14 private inpatient beds. The hospital provides both adult and pediatric care, and has the most advanced imaging and laboratory equipment, including MRI, CT, X-Ray and ultrasound. Nutex currently anticipates opening 3 more facilities in 2022, with another 17 facilities either under construction or in advanced planning stages and anticipated to open in 2023 and 2024. There can be no assurance that these additional facilities will open in the anticipated timing or that they will open at all. Nutex micro hospitals focus on ensuring that patients receive a premium patient experience. Our hospitals feature short ER wait times averaging 15 minutes from entering the door to seeing a physician, high-quality care, lower nursing- and physician-to-patient staffing ratios and faster discharge times. Physicians, nurses and other employees are incentivized to provide quality, compassionate care to their patients. Nutex micro hospitals consistently have better outcomes and high patient satisfaction scores, with well over 1000 five-star Google reviews. "We are excited to continue to expand Nutex's network of micro hospitals across the country. Both New Braunfels and Gilbert are vibrant and rapidly growing suburbs of major metropolitan areas. Our goal is to provide high-quality acute medical care to the populations of these communities." Tom Vo, M.D., MBA, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nutex Health "Entering the medical field, my goal was always to try to revolutionize the way healthcare is delivered to our patients. Our unique model allows physicians and nurses to retake control of patient care," stated Trey Allen, M.D., Medical Director at New Braunfels ER & Hospital. "We are committed to working with the community to make sure they can receive the healthcare they deserve." "As physicians, we saw how healthcare was being delivered, and we felt we could do better. We felt the humanity and compassion were absent from many medical interactions. We value and respect our patients, and treat them as family," stated Daniel Stites, M.D., Medical Director at East Valley ER & Hospital. About Nutex Health Inc. Headquartered in Houston, Texas and founded in 2011, Nutex Health Inc. is a physician-led, technology-enabled healthcare services company with approximately 1500 employees nationwide and is partnered with over 800 physicians. The Company has two divisions a Hospital division and a Population Health Management division. The hospital division owns and operates 21 facilities in eight different states. The division implements and operates different innovative health care models, including micro hospitals, specialty hospitals and hospital outpatient departments. The Population Health Management division owns and operates provider networks such as Independent Physician Associations (IPAs). Through our Management Services Organizations, we provide management, administrative and other support services to our affiliated hospitals and physician groups. Our cloud-based proprietary technology platform aggregates clinical and claims data across multiple settings, information systems and sources to create a holistic view of patients and providers, allowing us to deliver greater quality care more efficiently. Safe Harbor Certain statements and information included in this press release constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Federal Private Securities Litigation Act of 1995. When used in this press release, the words or phrases "will", "will likely result," "expected to," "will continue," "anticipated," "estimate," "projected," "intend," "goal," or similar expressions are intended to identify "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are subject to certain risks, known and unknown, and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. Such uncertainties and risks include the ability to realize the anticipated benefits of the transaction, significant transaction costs and unknown liabilities and litigation and regulatory risks related to the transaction. In addition, forward-looking statements are subject to additional uncertainties and risks facing the Company, including but not limited to, economic conditions, dependence on management, dilution to stockholders, lack of capital, changes in laws or regulations, the effects of rapid growth upon the Company and the ability of management to effectively respond to the growth and demand for products and services of the Company, newly developing technologies, the Company's ability to compete, conflicts of interest in related party transactions, regulatory matters, protection of technology, lack of industry standards, the effects of competition and the ability of the Company to obtain future financing. Such factors could materially adversely affect the Company's financial performance and could cause the Company's actual results for future periods to differ materially from any opinions or statements expressed within this press release.

Read More

Spotlight

The following infographic was produced by MHA@GW, the online Master of Health Administration program offered through the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. It grabbed our attention when it was shared this week by Julie Potyraj, the community manager for MPH@GW, on the Disruptive Women in Health Care blog. Potyraj notes in her post that though "the United States spends 54 percent more on healthcare per person than most other developed nations spend....in many areas of health service availability and accessibility, the United States falls behind countries like Germany, Australia, and France.

Resources