New Pharmaceuticals For 2020 and Beyond

From rheumatoid arthritis to HIV, the pharmaceutical industry is well on its way to making this a banner year for new drug implementation. Here are just a few exciting breakthroughs for big pharma in 2020.

Hulio Injection for Arthritis and Other Diseases

Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. has proven they are a company that can get significant results. On July 6, the FDA approved Mylan’s Hulio Injection, a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker that reduces the symptoms of inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and plaque psoriasis.

Rukobia Extended-Release Tablets for HIV

For some patients who have HIV, there are few treatment options, that is, until now. Those who are resistant to other drugs, Rukobia (fostemsavir) is a first-in-class attachment inhibitor for the treatment of HIV-1 infection. Approved on July 2, 2020, Rukobia is used in combination with other antiretrovirals (ARV) for patients who are resistant to a wide range of therapies, or where safety is a consideration.

Phesgo Injection for Breast Cancer

Unfortunately, even with the best surgical procedures and advanced interventions, some forms of breast cancer have a high likelihood of returning, which is where Phesgo comes in.

It was approved in June 2020 for use in conjunction with other drugs to fight the early stages of breast cancer. It is also used in combination with docetaxel for metastatic breast cancer patients who have not received chemotherapy.

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Is Your Community Ready To Be Connected?

By Keith C. Kosel, PhD, MHSA, MBA, Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation

Keith Kosel

This question initially brings to mind many possibilities such as connection to the latest 5G cellular service, a new super-fast internet provider, or maybe one of the many new energy suppliers jockeying for market share from traditional utility companies.

While all of these might represent legitimate opportunities to improve one’s community, here we are talking about a different concept; specifically, whether your community is ready to have a Connected Community of Care (CCC) to advance whole person health.

The image of a CCC may seem obvious. After all, we all live in communities where we have some connections between hospitals, physician practices, ambulatory care centers, and pharmacies to name just a few. But here we are talking about a broader sense of connected community that includes not just healthcare organizations, but social service organizations, such as schools and civic organizations and community-based organizations (CBOs) like neighborhood food pantries and temporary housing facilities.

A true CCC links together local healthcare providers along with a wide array of CBOs, faith-based organizations and civic entities to help address those social factors, such as education, income security, food access, and behavioral support networks, which can influence a population’s risk for illness or disease.

Addressing these factors in connection with traditional medical care can reduce disease risk and advance whole person care. Such is the case in Dallas, Texas, where the Dallas CCC information exchange platform has been operating since 2012. Designed to electronically bring together local healthcare systems, clinicians, and ancillary providers with over a hundred CBOs, the Dallas CCC provides a real-time referral and communication platform with a sophisticated care management system designed and built by the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI) and Pieces Technologies, Inc.

Long before this information exchange platform was implemented, the framers of the Dallas CCC came together to consider whether Dallas needed such a network and whether the potential partners in the community were truly ready to make the commitments needed to bring this idea to fruition.

As more and more communities and healthcare provider entities realize the tremendous potential of addressing the social determinants of health by bringing together healthcare entities and CBOs and other social-service organizations, the question of community readiness for a CCC is being asked much more often. But how do you know what the right answer is?

Before looking at the details of how we might answer this, let’s remember that a CCC doesn’t don’t just happen in a vacuum. It requires belief, vision, commitment? and above all? alignment among the key stakeholders. Every CCC that has formed, including the Dallas CCC, begins with a vision for a healthier community and its citizens.

This vision is typically shared by two or more large and influential key community stakeholders, such as a   large healthcare system, school district, civic entity, or social- service organization like the United Way or Salvation Army. Leaders from these organizations often initially connect at informal social gatherings and advance the idea of what if?

These informal exchanges soon lead to a more formal meeting where the topic is more fully discussed and each of the participants articulates their vision for a healthier community and what that might look like going forward. This stage in the evolution of a CCC is perhaps the key step in the transformation process, as while all stakeholders will have a vision, achieving alignment among those visions is no small feat.

Many hopeful CCCs never pass this stage, as the stakeholders cannot come to agreement on a common vision that each can support. For the fortunate few, intrinsic organizational differences can be successfully set aside to allow the CCC to move forward.

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Real-World Applications of Artificial Intelligence To Improve Medication Management Across the Care Continuum

By Ken Perez, vice president of healthcare policy, Omnicell, Inc.

Ken Perez

Discussions about the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare often span multiple areas, most commonly about making more accurate diagnoses, identifying at-risk populations, and better understanding how individual patients will respond to medicines and treatment protocols.

To date, there has been relatively little discussion about practical applications of AI to improve medication management across the care continuum, an area this article will address.

The Significance of Medications

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions prescription drugs in the United States? In poll after poll, the high and rising costs of medications are American voters’ top healthcare-related issue.

This concern is well founded. The U.S. spends almost $400 billion a year on medications–$325 billion on a retail basis and about $75 billion for inpatient and outpatient use.

To put the $400 billion in perspective, it is equal to about 11% of total U.S. healthcare expenditures, and it’s one of the top reasons why the U.S. spends much more on healthcare than other industrialized countries.

Medication Management Shortcomings

Unfortunately, there are a lot of issues with the medication management system, broadly defined.

It’s estimated that 20-30% of prescriptions are not even filled, not even picked up at the retail pharmacy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year, adverse drug events result in 1.3 million visits to the emergency department, and of those ED visits, over a fourth, 350,000, result in hospitalizations, which result in significant costs.

Over the past 50 years, much legislation has been passed to regulate and reform the U.S. healthcare system, and this has significantly increased the administrative burden on healthcare provider organizations. As a result, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Center for Health Statistics, and the United States Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, the number of administrators has grown by 3,200% since 1970, while over the same period, the number of physicians has been relatively flat, in line with population growth. Correspondingly, per research funded by the Physicians Foundation, it is estimated that the average physician and/or his or her staff spends 785 hours per year on quality reporting.

The administrative burden also falls heavily on pharmacists. According to a national survey by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), pharmacists spend over three-fourths of their time on non-clinical activities—mostly manual, administrative processes.

In spite of the massive amount of spending on medications, the medication management system is fraught with errors at multiple steps in the medication-use process, prescriptions are often not filled, and over one-fourth of all hospital readmissions are potentially preventable and medication related.

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Medical IT Data Has Involved People More In Their Healthcare

Everyone involved with healthcare knows how vital IT data is to the medical profession. It is an industry that generates millions of pieces of data via monitors, wearable tech, medical devices, tests, and doctors’ visits each day.

This newfound access to information about our bodies has involved us all like never before in our healthcare. The result of this has been a shift towards more preventative care and more decisions being made based on medical IT data collected on you as an individual. 

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How COVID-19 Is Changing the Medical Profession

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in numerous unexpected changes in the health sector. The government and the public are looking to the medical field to generate a cure for the virus. At the same time, the health sector is straining to handle a large number of COVID-19 patients and acquire a vaccine. The virus unexpectedly attacked the health sector, resulting in numerous changes. The following are some of the changes that have taken place–and will take place–in the medical field due to the coronavirus.

Wearing PPEs and Masks in Hospitals

Initially, doctors and nurses would only put on white lab coats and a pair of gloves when handling patients. After the coronavirus outbreak, the new norm in hospitals is dressing in PPEs and N95 masks as a precaution measure. More so, the health personnel on the front line have to protect themselves, their families, and the unaffected patients.

A Low Number of Routine Visits

Patients are always visiting the hospital for checkups and screening. The health sector had to reschedule routine visits to reduce the number of people in hospitals. Moreover, the existing number of medical personnel is not enough to conduct numerous hospital services, since most of them have been shifted to help in managing coronavirus patients. The reschedule of routine visits may result in a post-COVID-19 era characterized by an increased number of various illnesses.

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The Benefits of Remote Patient Monitoring In The Time of COVID-19

By Adrian Johansen, freelance writer; @AdrianJohanse18.

COVID-19 has changed the medical world. As the amount of cases continues to rise with more hospitalizations and deaths than ever before, the medical community is scrambling to keep up. How can we protect the health and welfare of our chronically ill patients without putting them at risk for the disease? What about the real possibility of putting ourselves at risk? And then we have to consider mental health patients, who depend on their counselors and group meetings to cope.

Luckily, technology has come to the rescue for many. With the use of telehealth, high tech wearables, and the many applications that patients can now download on their smartphones, we are not completely vulnerable. We just need to think outside-the-box, so to speak. We can provide patients the care that they need and deserve without putting ourselves at undue risk. It’s just going to look way different than the traditional ways we are used to.

This article takes a look at these “high tech” ways of keeping in touch with patients and monitoring their conditions without exposing them or ourselves to COVID-19 or any other highly infectious diseases for that matter.

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The EHR and the Future of Telehealth

By Khalid Al-Maskari, CEO and founder, Health Information Management Systems (HiMS)

Khalid Al-Maskari

Telehealth has been a hot topic during COVID-19, but the technology powering virtual care consultations has been around for more than half a decade. A survey from 2014 found that 90% of healthcare organizations had already begun to implement telemedicine programs six years before the novel coronavirus pandemic.

But telehealth struggled to become a primary method of care delivery due to the negative perception of it within the health care industry. Telehealth was viewed as a claims deflection model that only treated low acuity patients, and this perception created a negative stigma for medical professionals regarding billing for telehealth solutions.

The same study found that 41% of health care provider respondents were not reimbursed for telemedicine services, and 21% reported receiving lower rates from management companies for virtual care. Health care professionals felt they were doing the same amount of work for little to no compensation, and because telehealth was typically reserved for low acuity patients, they had an exceedingly high no-show rate.

COVID-19 and the Explosion of Telehealth  

The need for socially-distanced health care launched telehealth to the forefront in 2020. The pandemic forced the industry to quickly adapt telehealth for a broader spectrum of patient care, and claims models have since enabled clinics to bill virtual appointments like in-person visits.

This adjusted approach to telehealth also opened the door to potentially life-saving benefits, such as reserving in-person care for the highest acuity patients, increasing the scope of provider networks outside of a patient’s immediate location and allowing patients to receive quality care in the comfort of their homes.

According to research published by Advisory Board, doctors spend 37% of their day on administrative tasks, which shifts their attention away from patients and onto their technologies.

Because of this, it’s critical for telehealth solutions to be mindful of the pre-existing administrative burden on doctors and health care staff. Telehealth should simply be another vehicle for providing care—not an unnecessary hindrance.

With the use of telehealth, patient data management becomes particularly important. Clinicians can provide telehealth services to anyone in any state they’re licensed to practice in, but this can turn out to be a disservice if data isn’t integrated properly.

Providers who are seeing a patient for the first time through telehealth need to make sure they have access to the patient’s up-to-date medical history. By having an interoperable network of health care technology, telehealth providers can make more accurate diagnoses, collect data and bill accordingly while providing the highest level of virtual ongoing care.

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Learning About ISO 9001 For the Healthcare Industry

ISO 9001 is a universal quality management standard adopted by organizations across all industries to standardize and improve the services offered to their customers. It is the most recognized quality management standard at the global level, boasting more than 1.1 million certificates given to organizations in 178 countries.

In the healthcare sector, ISO 9001:2008 was adopted to provide a structure for service provision, compliance improvement, and monitoring for quality assurance. The standard was adopted across the healthcare sector, including care homes and third sector community health service providers, to help in risk management and compliance to statutory requirements whilst maintaining a working partnership with clinical services.

ISO 9001:2015, which an improvement of the former ISO 9001:2008 requires healthcare providers to adjust their quality management systems in response to the changing and more demanding regulatory and statutory framework.

The standard provides the specific requirements for a quality management system that enhances the ability to deliver risk-based and high-quality customer-based services that not only meet patient needs but also comply with legal and statutory requisites.

The major reason for the adoption of ISO 9001 standard in healthcare is to improve quality and enhance patient safety through a quality management system that provides patient-centered care as the core principle of all Health and Social care provision.

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The COVID-19 Crisis Sends Demand For Cloud Solutions Soaring

A recent Gartner report suggests that the COVID-19 crisis is causing demand for cloud solutions from major vendors to soar. Data indicate that spending on cloud solutions rose 34 percent in Q1 2020 to a total of $31 billion despite falling corporate revenues. 

The flurry of spending comes on the back of the need to operate capable remote workforces. Companies need to provide systems that will enable their employees to remain productive from any location. The current upsurge in demand for cloud solutions is a continuation of a trend already underway in the pre-crisis era. 

Companies That Invest In The Cloud Are At An Advantage Post-Crisis

According to Gartner, companies that continue to invest in digital transformation are more than 1.4 times more likely to have an advantage coming out of the present crisis. The research organization argues that firms with highly developed cloud-based IT networks can marshal their resources in response to disease threats and continue trading, even when physical premises are vacant. 

Woman Using Macbook Sitting on White Couch

McKinsey argues that the response to the pandemic will go through five distinct phases. Resolve and resilience – the first two – are already largely behind us. Companies committed to fighting the threat posed by COVID-19 in March and then developed systems to help them continue trading in the following weeks. Now they are entering the final three phases – return, reimagination, and reform – each of which has specific characteristics. 

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Healthcare’s Most Innovative Companies of 2020: Innovaccer

Innovaccer - WikipediaInnovaccer is a healthcare technology company pioneering the Data Activation Platform that’s helping the industry realize the promise of value-based care.

Innovaccer’s integration & analysis engine activates healthcare data, cleaning, aggregating and delivering insights at the moment of care. This revolutionary technology streams analytics with custom insights and dashboards, automates workflows, provides real-time decisions for care teams, and point-of-care alerts—actionable intelligence without leaving the EHR experience.

Innovaccer is based in San Francisco with offices across the United States and Asia.

What is the single-most innovative technology you are currently delivering to health systems or medical groups?

Innovaccer is a leading healthcare technology company that deploys its FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform to help the healthcare industry realize the promise of value-based care. The name “Innovaccer,” is, in fact, a play on the words “innovation” and accelerator.”

Innovaccer leverages AI and predictive analytics to generate insights that help healthcare organizations achieve better clinical outcomes. The FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform is built on a Hadoop-based Big Data repository with a scalable architecture that allows the integration of disparate sources of data without having to write code. Its agile and modular structure can ingest structured, semi-structured, unstructured data, pool it as a single source of truth, and work on a central HL7 FHIR-based data schema.

How is your product or service innovating the work being done in the organization to provide care or make systems run smoother?

Innovaccer’s smart FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform has intelligent workflows powered by unified patient records, advanced analytics and true interoperability, enabling collaborative healthcare. Innovaccer brings the data and all healthcare stakeholders together and empowers them with complete patient information to help them care as one.

Today, Innovaccer’s COVID-19 Management System uses AI to optimize the provider response to the disease, allowing medical facilities to reduce assessment time and prioritize patients with a high-risk profile for the next steps of care.

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