EHR and Health IT Consulting
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EHR and Health IT Consulting
Technical Doctor's insights and information collated from various sources on EHR selection, EHR implementation, EMR relevance for providers and decision makers
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Health IT Funding Doubled In 2014

Health IT Funding Doubled In 2014 | EHR and Health IT Consulting |
From $2 billion in 2013 to $4.7 billion last year, digital health funding is skyrocketing.

Mercom Capital Group has found funding for digital health more than doubled from 2013 to 2014. According to the report, in 2013, $2 billion was spent on health IT. In 2014, $4.7 billion was spent on the same. The technologies that were most invested in include, according to iHealth Beat:

● clinical decision support, with $517 million

● data analytics, with $367 million

● population health management, with $247 million

“The healthcare IT sector had another phenomenal fundraising year,” Raj Prabhu, CEO and co-founder of Mercom Capital Group, said in a statement. “In the five years since we started tracking funding data, the sector has raised $8.8 billion in VC funding and another $3.6 billion in public market and debt financings bringing the total to $12.4 billion – largely driven by the HITECH and Affordable Care Act. However, the enthusiasm in the sector shown by the VC community was not quite matched by the public markets when you look at market performance of companies that went the IPO route in 2014.”

Healthcare Informatics reports mHealth venture capital funding reached $1.2 billion, most of which went to wearables with $526 million and mHealth apps with $507 million. Telehealth companies received $369 million.

There were 219 health IT mergers and acquisitions in 2014. In 2013, that number was only 165. Revenue cycle management companies experienced 28 merger and acquisition transactions, while practice management companies experienced 28; and mobile health companies experienced 21 merger and acquisition transactions.

Another report says that $4.7 billion might be an underestimate. EHR Intelligence reports that a report from StartUp Health placed that number at $6.5 billion. The article notes, however, that despite the difference in numbers, both reports agree that “big data analytics, population health management, and consumer-focused engagement technologies are being heavily sought after by venture capitalists, which are willing to invest large sums in the success of novel ideas.”
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Nebraska Docs Feel Pressure of Meaningful Use Requirements |

Nebraska Docs Feel Pressure of Meaningful Use Requirements | | EHR and Health IT Consulting |

Not long after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) unveiled its plans to send notices to eligible professionals to be subject to Medicare payment adjustments in 2015, stories about the challenge of meeting meaningful use requirements have once again emerged — two of which taking place in Nebraska.

Rick Ruggles (via Star-Herald) reports that some doctors in Nebraska are considering the worth of moving to certified EHR technology based on the costs associated with EHR acquisition and implementation.

“It’s a simple question of how much work for how much money, and will it help my patients,” Bob Rauner, MD, MPH, Medical Director, SERPA and Director of Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln,  told the news outlet. “The answer is now, no.”

Over the next few weeks, more than 250,000 providers eligible for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program will receive notice that they will be subject to Medicare payment adjustments beginning in 2015.

“We are getting ready to start mailing the letters to the eligible professionals who will be getting this payment adjustment and it is a number that is over 257,000,” CMS officials continued, “and these people will be paid one percent less of the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule amount that would otherwise apply for all their Medicare-covered professional services that they provide.”

The chief source of pain stems from the differences between Stage 1 and Stage 2 Meaningful Use such as health information exchange (HIE) and patient engagement via view, download, or transmit (VDT). Moreover, the requirement to exceed all measure thresholds in order to achieve meaningful use had some nervous about their performance.

“I was right on the brink of some of them,” Robert Wergin, MD, FAAFP, a physician and American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) President revealed about his own meaningful use experience. “It was kind of painful, really.”

Others such as 80-year-old physician, MD, are simply coming to terms with the reality that meaningful use penalties are coming their way.

“We’re doing the best that we can,” he explained. “If I get fined 1 percent, which is what they’ve threatened, that’s OK. I can afford it.”

Problems with patient engagement

Regional West Health Services (RWHS) is mindful of the cost of failing to meet the patient engagement requirement of Stage 2 Meaningful Use and it is a significant. According to another Star-Herald report, the Nebraskan health system puts the figure at $280,500 in lost federal incentives for “eight specific doctors” working at Regional West Physicians Clinic.

The health system is calling on patients to help these physicians reach the goal of five-percent patient use of the patient portal.

“You are the main person who sees the information, as well as staff who need access,” RWHS CMIO Usman Akhtar, MD, told the Star-Herald. “We need the support of the community.”

The health system has not specified how many patients the five percent equates to or the number of patient who have already access their health information through the patient portal.

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