Microsoft's Nuance Communications has recently rolled out a new version of its clinical transcribing software, DAX Express, powered by OpenAI's GPT-4 technology. According to Microsoft, this will be the most advanced medical transcription software available in the market today. It will use natural language processing (NLP) to understand and accurately transcribe spoken words into textual information.
March 22, 2023
When considering patient satisfaction scores found on third-party review sites, it is important to keep in mind that the scores may not be accurate. Ratings may be erroneously influenced by a variety of factors. This misrepresentation could have serious repercussions as individuals increasingly use these ratings to select a physician. Studies demonstrate that people generally trust the ratings as their only source of information when picking an expert in this field.
March 8, 2023
Citing research that associates internet connectivity with better health outcomes, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is asking people who know elders with no or limited internet connectivity to share the news about a new benefit.
"If you or someone you know needs help paying for internet service, you may qualify for a monthly discount on a new or existing internet service plan through a government program called the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
"You may also qualify for a one-time device discount of up to $100, to buy a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers."
The program supports the whole household, so if you have a qualifying individual in your home, you should be able to obtain services on their behalf.
- Up to a $30/month discount on your internet service
- Up to a $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal lands
- A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50)
- A low cost service plan that may be fully covered through the ACP
People can apply by pulling up AffordableConnectivity.gov or calling 1-877-384-2575. On the site, you can download a PDF application form that lists the various criteria, though we recommend using the online application process once you've reviewed it.
Notably, even if you are already enrolled in the FCC's Lifeline program, you may still be able to qualify and receive the ACP supplements.
Rather than requiring a new, complex set of qualification criteria, your enrollment in one or more other federal programs (SNAP. WIC, SSI, Medicaid, and numerous others, including VA benefits) provides the necessary hoop-jumping by proxy. It's great to see the government offering new benefits without inventing a whole new system of red tape to support it.
DISCLAIMER: CarePrecise uses data provided by CMS develop and refine its products.
March 6, 2023
My eyes popped open this morning when I read this shocking but insightful piece that suggests that physician wellness programs are not only ineffective, but may actually help drive doctors over the edge.
"Health care could accomplish physician retention by reversing the structural issues that continue to burn doctors out: the moral injury, the unsafe working conditions, the throughput-driven and profit-motivated provision of health care, and more.
"But that's hard. Instead, it's easier to keep physicians captive — and that's what the system has chosen. Consciously or otherwise, it employs a tactic used to great effect by other high-control groups such as cults."
By Mark G. Shrime
March 4, 2023
March 1, 2023
Back in the day, a bunch of us expended a lot of effort, creativity, and collaboration to streamline and standardize the electronic claim transaction(s) for healthcare. The idea was to have such a rigorous data specification, it could meet the needs of every US payer for every US physician, lab, hospital, clinic, or facility. It got us past the days when health plans could use their own numbering systems for practitioners and organizations, or insist on using their own "local codes" for certain procedures or charges.
Pretty cool, huh? We saved billions of dollars and billions of trees by moving the lion's share of healthcare administrative transactions to electronic formats. In fact, for claims, remittances, eligibility, and enrollments, the HIPAA standards were the ONLY legal way to transmit. Health plans had to accept ANY valid claim, from any size healthcare provider.
Everything was hunky dory for about a minute.
Then came value-based care. Or, more to the point, value-based reimbursement. All of a sudden, providers were "invited" to take on some of the risk traditionally borne by private insurers and public health plans like Medicare and Medicaid. If they could prove they saved money (I mean "improved outcomes regardless of cost"), they got a piece of it. Every month seemed to bring a new pilot program, each with its own, relatively unregulated reporting requirements. Negotiating a worthwhile contract or administering a profitable approach required new sets of skills, from technical to clinical to actuarial.
In other words, small providers, hospitals, and clinics took a hard shot to the bottom line.
Into this black hole rode a new breed of white horse. The Physician Enablement Company. Our friends at Fierce Healthcare tell a story of one such company, Privia Health.
"The company's strategy is to partner with providers by setting up a single tax ID entity that facilitates payer negotiations and clinical alignment while maintaining a provider’s legacy ownership structure. It also organizes ACOs for risk-bearing value-based contracts and provides its tech and services platform."
The article also mentions other companies in the space, including Aledade, Vytalize Health, and Pearl Health.
"The movement of value-based care is long overdue and primary care providers and community providers are on the forefront of that movement," [Parth Mehrotra, Privia Health President and CFO] told Fierce Healthcare recently. "I am generally surprised that a lot of consolidation hasn't happened and people haven't caught up to UnitedHealth and what they've done with Optum. I think you're seeing a lot of that catch-up happening now from a strategy perspective," he said.
If your organization has a need to identify and contact US physicians, you might consider our Authoritative Physician Database™. We start with data we extract monthly from the CMS NPPES system, the "single source of truth" for practicing physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. We then aggregate or derive further data and metadata, resulting in 1 million+ U.S. Physicians with specialties, practice group & hospital affiliations, graduation year, payments, phone, fax and more.
We also recommend letting Lowell and the Feat play you out.
February 15, 2023
There's a lot of speculation about what impact the current economy will have on PE and M&A activity in the healthcare industry. Will there be more consolidation? Less investment in new products and services? More focus on cost containment? What, pray tell, is the "current economy" anyway?
1. More Consolidation Among Healthcare Providers
2. Increased Focus on Cost Containment
3. Fewer New Healthcare Ventures Launching
4. More Investment in Services that Drive Revenue Growth
5 . A Shift Away from Traditional Private Equity Investors
6. Continued Focus on Healthcare Consumers
February 13, 2023
An article out today in Fierce Healthcare looks at how the downturn in the economy is affecting healthcare funding and investment. Noting that 2022 was a bang-up year for private equity healthcare deals, Fierce notes the drop in the S&P 500 of nearly 20%. So, what's happening in this rather healthy and "recession-proof" in 2023?
The article cites predictions from economists seeing recession ahead, and quotes Duane Fitch, national healthcare management consultant at Plante Moran as seeing "pretty much every dynamic going in the wrong direction" as a "perfect storm" for hospitals and systems.
I looked to some related reports to find that Bain Capital saw some optimism in January, particularly where "recession-resilient themes" are in investors' crosshairs. Followers of Jim Cramer will remember his December 2022 prediction of a banner year in 2023, and picking some winners: About Danaher (DHR), he says it's "one of the best-run companies in any industry." Cramer also held up Pfizer, United Health Group, Edwards Life Sciences, and he called the Humana the "best-of-breed" for managed healthcare stock.
Of course, no 30,000' overview of the market would be complete without taking a glance over at Motley Fool, where the merry jester noted that it all depends on the tune you're skipping to. Noting last July that, as is the conventional (and verifiable) wisdom, healthcare stocks are "one way for investors to hedge against recession risks." From there they danced through some of the familiar jigs, warning that "it wouldn't be too surprising if the economy actually did end up contracting in the near future," and recommending a fresh assessment of portfolio segments to see which are prepared for Fitch's storm, and which may not be.
The Fool sees continued, if muted, green in pharmaceuticals. Big pharma stocks won't sustain "major damage." Biotech, however, faces continued "headwinds."
CarePrecise is in contact with many technology-based business activities, including consumer-facing health-related applications and various healthcare marketing projects. Fourth-quarter 2022 was a busy time, particularly for marketing to clinics and medical practices. Development in provider management systems has been strong and growing, right up through January of 2023.
In a Chief Healthcare Executive article, Kristin Pothier, global lead, healthcare and life sciences deals advisory at KPMG, is quoted stating that providers have been stretched during the pandemic, and they "are also dealing with massive staff shortages, as staff have gotten sick, or sick of working." She says that hospitals should be using technology to reduce burden on their staffs, including telehealth and automation.
A year ago, KaufmannHall pointed to the difficult year for hospitals in 2021, seeing the smaller number of M&A transactions being offset by a larger percentage of higher transactions. The trend has continued on a more-or-less steady roll.
My take-away is that healthcare technology should remain a healthy segment through a recession, though we do see the potential for a growing impact on hospital mergers and acquisitions.
February 10, 2023
This time my source is Samantha Holvey's excellent healthcare IT newsletter, Whealth Care (available via LinkedIn). I know Samantha's work from her years with the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), an industry collaborative to support and implement data standards in healthcare. Her weekly post offers a concise, insightful index to the most significant stories in HIT, spanning government, research, and industry developments.
Google's $100 Billion Software Glitch
The first story that popped out was how, oops!, #Alphabet shares dropped $100 billion (not a typo) when a demo of its new #ChatGPT rival, #Bard, pulled a Hindenberg landing on an international stage.
ClosedLoop Gets KLASsy, Again
"ClosedLoop...earned an A+ or A in all customer experience areas: culture, loyalty, operations, product, relationship, and value.
(But We Have a Better Halftime Show)
Sounds like they are gunning for our own pledge of Fanatical Support. Hope they don't hire Beyoncé to screen their calls.
February 9, 2023
He also got it to provide an extremely clear explanation of the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH).
I might have to change my mind about that little robot.
The newsletter also posted a link to a presentation by Russell Robbins, Chief Medical Information Officer at PurpleLab, discussing SDOH's impact on prescription medications, going beyond the conventional fill, reversal, and denial rates to address the harder-to-measure root causes through the lens of social determinants that underlie the missed med problem.
I've got a strong recommend rating on one of the smartest newsletters around. PurpleLab also looks like a cool company.
February 8, 2023
I fully expect the next big med to be named after an actual rock and roll band.
What's the Rx Industry Expert Gab for 2023?a site that blabs about all the money expected to be spent on the lab-tested snake oil in this year's pipeline. Or, if you'd rather limit your reading to a Fierce little summary, you could read an article about the drugs that will try to nab our hearts.
It's a -Mab -Mab -Mab -Mab WorldMaybe the well-pharma wagon bringing just the medicine you need is coming down the street, right into your town, bearing a big shiny IV. You might even be one of the first to sign up for a jab!
February 1, 2023
It might seem like this is a shameless, self-serving promo for CarePrecise provider data packages. Unsurprisingly, our name does come up a lot when companies stagger away in shock from the prices our competitors charge. But that's not what this post is about. We're going to talk about (mostly) free data.
Hopefully this post will help you find provider data that's available for free from the U.S. government. Using free data you can boost the information value in any provider contact list. If you're working with a helpful data vendor, chances are they'll help you find where you can download particular kinds of data you're looking for. For instance, we have a lot of customers who use our basic hospital database who need additional components that we don't package with the product, but we know where to find them and we're glad to share our knowledge.
Of course, we could pull all of that data into our hospital dataset, but there's SO much out there, and if we did that the product would be very expensive indeed. That database sells for $939 but would be a couple of orders of magnitude pricier with all of just the 70 U.S. hospital data files listed in just one spot on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) website.
So, instead of trying to pack everything in, we bring together the hard-to-find/basic-necessity data, and assist customers in finding additional information specific to their particular need. Here are some of our more common recommendations.
When on the hunt for data gold, it can be painfully difficult to locate that needle in the haystack. The screenshot shows the count of the results of a search on the federal data website, data.gov, for "healthcare provider data." 127,500 datasets would be a daunting place to start digging. It's like, "Go get the gold! It's somewhere in that there mountain." Fortunately, we have had some experience with healthcare data excavation, and can often point our customers to pay dirt.
If you have talented data people, a good starting place is the NPPES dataset (National Plan and Provider Enumeration System), which contains about 7.4 million NPI records for individuals and organizations. The download file is much to large to use in ordinary office software, so your team will have to cut it into pieces. Or you can get the full NPPES already processed into a form to be used with Microsoft Office programs from CarePrecise. The CarePrecise product also contains additional data, such as sanctions, and whether or not a practitioner is enrolled to bill Medicare.
Once you have basic data on the providers, you'll want to add linkages between the clinicians and their practice groups and hospital affiliations. You can download the free Physician Compare database and have your tech team work its magic here, too, to make it useable on ordinary office computers. This used to be easier back when CMS included hospital information in the database, but now just to get all the hospital names and basic info you have to ingest ten additional datasets. The list is too big to include here, but highlights include the Licensed and Certified Healthcare Facility Listing where you'll find hospitals' CCN numbers matched to their names and addresses, and Medicare Inpatient Hospitals where you'll find some payment information. You'll want to head on back to CMS to pick up outpatient hospital info. These are just a few of the dozens of datasets we ingest on an ongoing basis to produce our monthly updates. For the datasets we monitor but don't regularly ingest, we're more than happy to help customers dig it up.
Hospital data is a bit easier to find and work with than practitioner data. For instance, the list of U.S. physicians is about 1.1 million doctors long, and that's too big to open in Excel. You'll need to get the physician files into a relational database for them to be very useful. If you're starting from the provider data catalog, you'll see the datasets for hospitals, home health agencies and other kinds of healthcare providers, as well as those doctors and other clinicians. You can also find physicians' CAHPS (patient experience metrics), as well as many of the types of procedures physicians perform.
Perhaps the best advice we find ourselves giving our customers who want to go it alone is to have a crackerjack tech team, or at least one person with a lot of database savvy, and start with buying a basic provider data product that you can use as a data structure template. Most federal data on clinicians is linked to their NPI number, so that's where you'll start building your relational database. Your next step is to talk with whoever sold you your basic data, and ask for help finding any missing components. CarePrecise prides itself on offering most of these, all ready to use, but some customers just enjoy the hunt, and even our most comprehensive data package can't contain everything you might want.
We don't shy away from telling our customers where they can find what they're looking for, even if the only place happens to be one of our competitors. In fact, CarePrecise data is compatible with data structures used across the industry. We even provide the Placekey for almost every record in our products, which connects our data with visitor traffic data and other Point of Interest (POI) products offered by other companies.
Many CarePrecise customers get our extended provider data package. CarePrecise Platinum has those elusive practice group and hospital affiliations, and software that makes it possible to get at exactly what you need without knowing anything about databases. It makes a great starting place for building your own bespoke database.
When you're finding and ingesting data, it's important to plan for updates. Some data sources are updated weekly, others monthly or quarterly, and some only on an annual basis. Create a table listing the resources and their update frequency, and build in the necessary automation to re-ingest them regularly. This is especially important if your use case requires up-to-date information. This often overlooked step of building-in updates can be costly to do later on. Best if it's baked-in from the beginning. This includes your ingestion process for data you get from us, which you can automate to import the monthly or quarterly updates. We offer FTP delivery as an option, which can put the data directly onto your server, ready to be ingested by stored procedures that are triggered by the upload of the data, or by the modified date on the files.
If you want some help finding data sources, just speak with your CarePrecise representative. We may already have an affordable solution that will save you many hours of understanding an unfamiliar and often cryptic dataset. If we don't have it, your representative will help you find it.
One quick note... We offer these sourcing services to current CarePrecise subscribers. It would be great if we could open it up to everyone, but we have to keep our focus on our customers.