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Industry Insight

Netsmart Technologies Names Michael Valentine as CEO

Netsmart Technologies, Inc, a provider of software and services for health and human services organizations, recently announced that Michael Valentine has been named as the company's CEO. Valentine joined Netsmart from Cerner Corporation, where he served as executive vice president and chief operating officer.

"Mike's background in health information technology will be valuable as Netsmart helps its clients address key emerging trends such as integration with primary care, certification, interoperability, and increasing consumer involvement in the care process," says Mark Hanson, chairman of Netsmart and managing director of Genstar Capital, Netsmart's investment partner.

In his most recent role at Cerner, Valentine was responsible for all global operations, including sales, consulting, technology, solution direction, and support for Cerner's worldwide operations.

— Source: Netsmart Technologies


American TeleCare Wins New Contract to Provide Telehealth Technology

American TeleCare (ATI), Inc, which develops and deploys video-enhanced telehealth solutions, was selected by the VA to support the organization's telehealth program. ATI, which received one of six national contracts the VA awarded, was also chosen to provide telehealth technology with real-time video capability.

ATI has expertise in developing condition-specific modules that include monitoring protocols, direct-care plans, self-care guidance, and patient education templates. Care teams can modify instructions and education for individual patients.

ATI supports the VA with its most advanced telehealth solution: miLife. Built on a single modular, extensible platform, miLife offers real-time video telehealth capability together with remote monitoring. The system combines narrated instructions with answer verification, multimedia instructions on the use of peripheral diagnostic devices, and on-screen volume and navigation controls to provide ease of use. Between video visit sessions, veterans take and transmit vital sign readings and other physiological measurements with integrated devices, answer self-assessment questions, and receive educational information about their disease. ATI's question set content encompasses the medical, nursing, physiological, and pharmacological domains and includes collection of contextual information to interpret patient information.

— Source: American TeleCare


Report Shows Care Coordination Model Positively Impacts People Living With Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease

The eHealth Initiative recently announced a new report that found using care coordination enabled by an EHR resulted in numerous process improvements for patients with type 2 diabetes and heart disease in a medical home.

The 12-month project tracked 119 patients with type 2 diabetes and heart disease over a six-month period at two pilot sites: Community Health Center, Inc in Connecticut and a small primary care practice that is part of Taconic Independent Practice Association in New York. The project focused on narrowing the gaps between the theory and the practice of care coordination. Overall, the project demonstrated improvements in care planning, provider-patient communications, intra-office coordination, more advanced use of EHRs, enhanced patient coaching, improved referral process to specialists, expanded nursing role, and more user-friendly information for patients.

"Our observations at the two test sites drove home the fact that care coordination requires ongoing and explicit three-way communication between patient, primary care physician, and specialist in order to be successful and sustainable," says Jennifer Covich Bordenick, CEO of the eHealth Initiative.

The most significant improvements came from building the foundations of care coordination and initiating a plan with specific care goals and processes to achieve them.

"With use of a care plan enabled by the EHR, we were able to streamline the care process for these patients and more efficiently track their progress. For example, at one site, six separate cardiology referral forms were used before the project began. Following the intervention, a single form was developed and formatted within the EHR," says Victor Villagra, MD, president of Health & Technology Vector who worked directly with the clinics on the project.

The goal of the project was to develop a successful care coordination model for patients with type 2 diabetes and heart disease "from the ground up" in a medical home, primary care-based setting using EHRs. The project adopted the National Quality Forum definition of care coordination and metrics as a benchmark. Interventions aimed to narrow the gaps between theory and practice by redesigning processes and using resources already in place.

The most significant improvements in the medical home model came with building staffing, operations, and technical support for care coordination, including a dedicated care coordinator and care goal setting. Notably, the EHR systems used at both sites had functions to support care coordination that were not utilized. The report indicates that with proper direction to practitioners, immediate improvements can be achieved with current technology without requiring substantial new investments. It also points out that additional EHR functionalities could enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of care coordinators.

The report highlighted health information exchange issues that need to be addressed. In particular, the project found that practice communities did not have the tools for electronic data exchange between offices and found that individual providers within each site did not always have compatible EHR systems.

Findings from the project indicated that while process improvements were noted in many areas, the act of initiating practice change was a major task in itself, and some of the underlying processes necessary for proper care coordination were not available.

— Source: eHealth Initiative


Virginia RHIO Launches Drug History Exchange

Inova Alexandria Hospital emergency department (ED) clinicians can quickly access a patient's prescriptions information, no matter where they were written, enhancing care quality and safety.

The medication history service launched in April at this Washington, D.C., suburb ED marks the first project milestone for the Northern Virginia Regional Health Information Organization (NoVaRHIO). This new service helps providers working with patients in the ED retrieve and access patient prescription medication information from data sources across the United States. Until now, achieving multisystem interoperability using data from disparate sources and seamless workflow integration into an EHR was not possible.

"The NoVaRHIO medication history project has added a new dimension to the care of our patients in the emergency department. The system enables comprehensive medication lists to flow directly into our electronic health record, resulting in faster and more focused emergency treatment by helping physicians avoid drug interactions and duplication. This system has helped to greatly enhance the safety of medication use for our patients in the emergency department," says Martin Brown, MD, FACEP, chairman of the department of emergency medicine at Inova Alexandria Hospital.

For example, a young girl recently came to the ED with her parents. During the medication reconciliation, her parents mentioned some of the medications she was currently taking. However, this new service revealed that the child had been taking strong daily antibiotics for the past six months. Due to the identification of this previously unmentioned information, the treating providers were able to better pinpoint the root cause of the girl's symptoms and make an appropriate treatment recommendation.

During the initial weeks of service operation, close to 90% of patients seen in the ED at Inova Alexandria Hospital consented to having their medication history accessed electronically by the medical staff. By year end, NoVaRHIO estimates that more than 20,000 patients will have benefited from this technology. Ensuring that treating providers have a current and accurate medication list for each patient is not only part of the standard of care, but it also helps reduce adverse drug interactions and duplicate prescriptions. For patients who are elderly, incapacitated at the time of admission, or taking multiple medications, the availability of this information can potentially improve their treatment.

— Source: GE Healthcare