NextGen Healthcare, Inc. is acquiring Medfusion, Inc., a patient experience platform leader. The proposed acquisition is expected to close in early December 2019, subject to the satisfaction of closing conditions, including the transfer of Medfusion’s data services business out of Medfusion. The total purchase price of $43 million, subject to customary adjustments, will be paid in cash at acquisition completion.
Three powerful ambulatory care market trends make the acquisition of Medfusion a timely next step in NextGen Healthcare’s evolution:
As patients assume increased financial responsibility for their healthcare, they are more actively involved in making choices based on both cost and quality
High quality healthcare depends on improved access to care and information
Patient experience drives patient engagement which is key to improving health outcomes
Medfusion Patient Experience Platform enables key aspects of patient-provider interactions. It includes a modern portal with an attractive, easy-to-use interface designed to run on any device. The platform includes powerful capabilities for patient intake, patient scheduling and patient payment capabilities and is used by more than 16 million patients today.
“We must further engage patients in their healthcare journey as engagement is essential for great outcomes and lowering the cost of care,” said Rusty Frantz, president and chief executive officer of NextGen Healthcare. “Providing the overall experience, tools and meaningful information isn’t just essential, it is increasingly expected by today’s healthcare consumer. The acquisition of Medfusion will add a best-in-class patient access and engagement capability to NextGen Healthcare’s award-winning, fully-integrated ambulatory platform.”
“From our founding, Medfusion has been focused on patient-provider communications and making health IT work for both patients and practices,” said Kim Labow, chief executive officer of Medfusion. “By joining forces with NextGen Healthcare, we will expand our market reach and accelerate NextGen’s mission of empowering the transformation of ambulatory care.”
The acquisition agreement provides for the acquisition of all of the outstanding equity in Medfusion, but will be subject to Medfusion transferring, prior to the closing, its data services business, which is in its infancy and will be transferred out of Medfusion as Greenlight Health.
XRHealth, formerly known as VRHealth, a provider of extended reality and therapeutic applications, and Sheba Medical Center, ranked by Newsweek at the 10th best hospital in the world, are partnering to create the first fully VR-based hospital, utilizing XRHealth’s technology throughout each department.
The integration of virtual reality technology is part of the medical center’s innovation efforts and commitment to digital health.
Sheba Medical Center is strategically transforming the hospital into a center of innovation that embodies a startup culture and that encourages the hospital’s complete transformation to digital health. The hospital is guided by a strategy named Innovation ARC that stands for accelerate, redesign, and collaborate with a focus on investing in digital health, collaborating with key partners and inspiring innovation. As part of this vision, Sheba is partnering with XRHealth to use their VR platform for cognitive therapy, physical therapy, pain relief, and many other applications throughout the entire hospital.
“With XRHealth, Sheba Medical Center believes we will be able to provide improved training for our facility, along with better and more personalized care for our patients,” said Professor Amitai Ziv, director of Sheba’s Rehabilitation Hospital.
Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, Sheba’s chief medical and chief innovation Officer added, “We’ve identified medical virtualization as one of the technologies that will transform healthcare. Within this realm, we aim to be a leader in developing new health services based on VR.”
Millions of registered nurses face growing pressures on their professional and personal lives in the new decade because of increased demand for services, nursing shortages, and structural changes in the healthcare industry, according to a newly released survey of nearly 20,000 RNs by AMN Healthcare.
The survey, AMN Healthcare 2019 Survey of Registered Nurses: A Challenging Decade Ahead, found warning signs of larger problems ahead, including that significant percentages of nurses are working second jobs – and many with two full-time jobs. Nurses say they are unable to spend the time they need with patients, and most have been affected by some form of workplace violence, a recognized hazard of the healthcare industry. Nurses are concerned that their jobs affect their health, and many say they are planning to leave their current jobs, either to another nursing job, retirement, or getting out of bedside nursing altogether. Their biggest influence to remain at a job – even greater than pay — is flexibility and work-life balance.
Nursing Pressures Grow in the 2020s
Pressures on nurses may intensify in the next decade as the aging of America enters a rapid phase, which will increase demand for healthcare services (people 65+ have three times more hospital days than the middle aged) and accelerate the retirement wave of Baby Boomer nurses. At the same time, the healthcare industry will undergo dramatic structural changes because of consolidation and the movement to value-based medicine.
“From everything we know, this next decade will be extremely challenging for the nursing profession and healthcare in general, with serious workforce issues facing healthcare organizations at a time when many nurses are already experiencing tremendous pressure,” said Dr. Cole Edmonson, chief clinical officer at AMN Healthcare. “The 2019 RN Survey can help healthcare organizations understand and prepare for the workforce issues they face, particularly through addressing the need for greater flexibility and work-life balance, better professional development opportunities, embracing diversity, and reducing workplace violence.”
The survey found that more than one in five nurses holds more than one job, and many of them hold two full-time jobs. Two-thirds worry that their jobs are affecting their health, 44% say they often consider quitting their jobs, and 41% say they usually don’t have the time they need to spend with their patients.
Baystate Health, the premier integrated health system serving more than 800,000 patients in western New England, announced a partnership with Life Image, the largest medical evidence network providing access to points of care and curated clinical and imaging data, to develop novel artificial intelligence tools that would help advance technical innovations in radiology, neurology and oncology.
Specifically, TechSpring, the innovation arm for Baystate, will work with Life Image to evaluate a number of AI solutions including those that promise to improve speed and accuracy in diagnosing blood clots in stroke patients; improve clinical pathways for physicians treating or diagnosing a patient by finding and comparing clinical criteria against a group of de-identified patients with similar clinical characteristics; and identify potential patient matches to oncology clinical trials in order to advance cancer research, as well as give western New England residents better access to potentially life-saving treatments.
Baystate and Life Image began working together 10 years ago when the health system became one of the company’s first customers. Life Image created the image exchange category when it developed solutions more than a decade ago to help solve the many technical and structural barriers that prevented the seamless exchange of medical images.
With its beginnings in image exchange, Life Image is now a global medical evidence network that offers ‘living’ datasets of novel imaging data that’s linkable to other clinical information and provides network access to points-of-care to enable improved care delivery, novel research and innovation.
While pharma companies have grown to become effective direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketers, hospital systems and other large providers continue to struggle with effective DTC marketing essential for growth. In fact, it’s their Achilles heel. Why?
First, providers have never needed to compete historically. With light competition and reasonable levels of reimbursement for decades, everything was fine until the cost of health care began to spiral out of control. In response, payors began to push back by negotiating lower levels of reimbursement in-network. In addition, payers, including CMS, have denied claims creating losses and cash flow issues for many providers.
There is also a rapid rise of chronic conditions ranging from arthritis to diabetes to dementia. These chronic conditions are expensive to treat for health care providers. They are an even greater challenge to treat profitably in an environment of declining reimbursements.
At the same time, advances in medical treatment and care have extended life spans and placed additional burdens on our health care system, including the extraordinary cost of heroic and end-of-life care.
To help offset rising costs and declining reimbursements, large scale providers need more new patients to cover fixed costs. As a result, most of these providers have added DTC marketing to the mix. This usually takes the form of a website, some SEM and a little local advertising. Unfortunately, many any of these marketing tactics are often random acts of marketing without the marketing insights and strategy required to efficiently compete and effectively reach their target audience.
Regardless of whether the organization is a hospital, university, another huge organization or a private business, they are all under pressure to cut costs. Every year, prices increase and this, together with cuts in funding for government organizations and increases in taxes for businesses, means that other expenses need to be cut if they are to continue to provide a good and adequate service or maintain the quality of their products. Here are a few suggestions that might help if you are in this situation.
Technology and Automation
Although this might need some initial investment, in the long run, it could save a lot of money and make your business or organization more efficient. There are so many areas that technology and automation can help in. It can take over some of the mundane tasks leaving your workers free to handle more important jobs. It can reduce the number of errors and stop the duplication of work.
One of the largest costs any business or organization has to face, is energy. Just for a moment, think how many lights are on 24 hours a day in a hospital, for instance. How much equipment they have to run, some of which is vital and used to save lives. You can’t suddenly just turn them all off. With a business, they could lose sales if they shut down some of their equipment each day, and this is not an option for anyone. There are two things that can be done that will help.
Firstly, educate your workers to be careful with their energy use. Things such as turning computers and printers off at night when they are not in use will save about 45 per piece of equipment per week. Over a year, that can amount to a lot of money saved. Secondly, compare business electricity prices on a comparison site like Utility Bidder, and you may be surprised by the deals that are available.
Only a few industries require resilient cybersecurity measures like healthcare. Yet, healthcare has a colossal cybersecurity problem. Data breaches continue to plague patients’ private medical records, in spite of their life-threatening conditions, spending large amounts of money, and entrusting financial information.
Healthcare remains a big target for cybercriminals, sitting firmly in their cross-hairs. Just for 2015, IBM reported more than 100 million breaches of medical records. Some organizations commit to privacy no matter what, but healthcare organizations are not keeping pace in adopting and promoting cybersecurity. But why do most healthcare organizations not have the latest cybersecurity tooling? Some of these reasons, we review in this article.
Why Hospitals and Care Facilities Lack of Robust Cybersecurity
The key reason why cybersecurity is not a conspicuous feature in may healthcare set-ups include:
#1 Limited cybersecurity awareness
Most hospitals concentrate on upgrading their medical technology and employing the best medical personnel and peripheral staff. They ensure they save lives more quickly and offer better overall care. While this is a reasonable practice, they soon relegate cybersecurity to the back-burner. The truth is, cybersecurity is a vital complement to these core values and priorities. Most of the time, hospitals can justify their need for an entire IT team, or at worst, a cybersecurity lead. However, directors may not have the necessary information to decide so.
#2 Lucrative healthcare targets
Hospitals are not always to blame, though. There’s an avalanche of attacks on hospitals. It is worth all of an attacker’s time to target a healthcare organization. As highly lucrative targets, these organizations can reveal data on a cast number of people at once. That is why standards are high to keep these organizations from the reach of attackers. But, what do you do when the attacker never quits chasing?
#3 Size of the specific organization
Many healthcare organizations are massive operations. It makes them increasingly vulnerable. Because more people are involved in the system, there are inevitable, more possible points an attacker can exploit. Imagine just one healthcare staff among several thousand falling for a phishing scam. It can compromise the whole system.
#4 Inconsistency with process
It often appears almost impossible to create and enforce consistent security standards and procedures. The reason is that the size of health organizations and hospitals means they may need to operate out of several buildings. Employees may then adhere to varying best practices, and in some cases, use different systems. Thus, it is hard to have a decent cybersecurity posture.
#5 Shared networks in healthcare organizations
Infosec revealed that one primary reason hospitals continue to appeal to cybercriminals is that most hospitals depend on shared wireless networks. Multiple devices on one network mean that one single point of vulnerability is all a hacker needs to access the whole system. It is a ticking time bomb.
Possible Solutions to Healthcare’s Cybersecurity Issues
What then can healthcare institutions and hospitals do to be on par with the latest cybersecurity practices? It turns out there’s so much they have control over:
Most hospitals can begin by adopting more advanced current technologies to protect patient information and keep their systems secure. Advanced software, monitoring systems, and futuristic tech such as biometrics are examples.
A cybersecurity budget is small fry for most healthcare organizations. It is merely a question of how much premium is on it like the infographic at the end shows across several industries. Prioritizing technological security features will add a decent layer of security around hospital operations. While hospitals may commit their entire budgets to cybersecurity, a hire, who knows their onions can promote substantial improvement.
Vital, the AI-powered software increasing productivity and improving patient health in hospital emergency rooms, recently announced its inaugural development partnership with Emory Healthcare. As part of the strategic collaboration, Emory Healthcare becomes a lead research partner in developing and implementing Vital’s software to improve overall efficiency and satisfaction for patients and clinicians across multiple Emory emergency rooms. Vital was conceptualized and co-founded by Justin Schrager, assistant professor of emergency medicine and ER doctor; with award-winning technical CEO Aaron Patzer.
Vital’s software is the first partnership out of the Emory University Innovation Hub, designed to identify unmet patient needs and find innovative solutions to put the patient at the center of care delivery. Vital’s live track board and real-time predictions of patients are being developed in the Emergency Departments of Emory University Hospital, Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, and Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital. The goal of this pilot program is to measurably reduce wait times and overall length of stay for patients, while increasing patient satisfaction.
“We are overjoyed to have Emory Healthcare as our primary development partner and pilot sites,” said Patzer. “We are impressed with the commitment Emory leadership has made towards technological innovation and tackling truly challenging problems in emergency medicine. Working closely with top emergency physicians and nurses is essential to producing software that meets the needs of clinicians.”
Vital uses artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to triage patients,, making it easier and faster for providers to coordinate care and prioritize patients with a fast, reliable, and incredibly user-friendly system.
“The combination of a top-tier academic healthcare system and a top-notch software team is something that happens too rarely in healthcare. With the launch of our Innovation Hub last year, we hope this is one of many opportunities to not only be the first to take advantage of a new technology, but to aid in its development,” said Scott Boden, MD, vice president of business innovation for Emory Healthcare. “This is exactly the kind of collaboration that should exist between promising startups and cutting-edge health systems.”
Validic, a market leader in solutions for personal health data, and Trapollo, a Cox Business company and a leading provider of managed services for telehealth and remote health monitoring, announced today a strategic collaboration to offer comprehensive hardware and software services supporting remote patient monitoring (RPM). The organizations are working together to meet the market need for a configurable, end-to-end RPM solution – one that supports scaled deployments with access to a broad range of home health devices. The collaboration combines Validic’s strengths in data connectivity and analytics with Trapollo’s strengths in hardware provisioning and logistics.
As leading providers and payers strategize to deploy extensive, scalable RPM programs, more organizations are demonstrating the need for strong device procurement and support alongside broad data connectivity and analytics capabilities. In recognizing this market need, the partnership between Validic and Trapollo offers a uniquely modular and customizable approach to RPM – enabling organizations to implement pieces of an end-to-end solution which best meet their immediate needs.
While some traditional, end-to-end RPM solutions restrict organizations to managing single-condition patients with a specific set of devices, the Validic and Trapollo collaboration offers the flexibility to use a variety of devices to manage several conditions. Together, Validic and Trapollo aim to support more patients, from rising-risk to high risk populations, and especially those individuals who require more hands-on support in the setup and use of their health devices.
“We are proud to work with Validic to offer healthcare companies an award-winning software solution for remote monitoring. This collaboration enables support of patients as soon as they receive and set-up their device, and during monitoring with real-time interventions bolstered by personal health data,” said Trapollo Vice President and General Manager Mike Braham.
Through Trapollo, clients and their patients have access to enterprise support for device provisioning, logistics and technical assistance. This alleviates some traditional device limitations and constraints in RPM – enabling healthcare organizations and providers to best choose the devices suited for their populations’ unique needs. These devices or device kits are provisioned, shipped and managed by Trapollo, who also provides patients with technical support for the setup and use of devices.
The Keystone Health Information Exchange (KeyHIE), a network of more than 350 healthcare facilities, announced that it recently launched an innovative new tool that allows physicians to share medical images and associated reports to enable better care coordination, provide important clinical context for diagnostic interpretations, and improve outcomes.
The leading-edge tool was developed by Life Image using SMART on FHIR — fast interoperability healthcare resources, an innovative common standard that addresses the complexity of healthcare data for the seamless on-demand exchange of information. The Life Image Instant Access apps contain a suite of functionality based on popular workflow improvements that are most often requested by doctors, patients and administrators to solve persistent problems. With the Viewer app functionality, clinicians can now instantaneously view diagnostic content in the KeyHIE web-based portal. The power of FHIR is its ability to integrate into web browsers and its simplicity in searching for specific data, which eliminates the need for cumbersome searches and numerous manual steps inside of an EHR.
Founded in 2005, KeyHIE is one of the oldest and largest health information exchanges in the United States. It serves more than 5.8 million patients over a large geographical area including Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
“Current medical data is critical in delivering care. However, data access and exchange are extremely challenging given the data silos that prevent the frictionless flow of necessary information. This tool allows the integration of actionable data and clinically important information for diagnosis or treatment at the point of care,” said Joe Fisne, associate chief information officer of Geisinger.
From the KeyHIE provider portal, powered by Orion Health, doctors can call up a patient’s medical imaging directly through the Life Image Viewer app and examine it while reading the diagnostic report within their portal. There is no separate login or application to obtain in order to use this rich functionality. It is seamless within the physician workflow and interface.
“As a longtime partner of Geisinger, Life Image is thrilled to be able to continue innovating with the Geisinger-led KeyHIE to develop cutting-edge tools that use industry-leading interoperability standards,” said Matthew A. Michela, president and CEO of Life Image. “The integration of our Viewer app into the HIE brings a whole new level of seamless collaboration that harnesses the power of Life Image workflows and makes them available instantaneously in the portals and tools that our customers already use.”