How Technology will Shape the Future of Dementia Care in America

By PokitDok Team,

grandma took care and wheelchairs

Emerging technologies — including those powering the rise of telehealth — have a big role to play in how our country takes care of its aging citizens. The Baby Boomer generation will account for the largest group of senior citizens America has ever seen.

The fast and effective treatment of conditions such as Alzheimer's and dementia is becoming increasingly important, with healthcare professionals and investors pouring time, energy, and money into the field.

Although individual technologies and apps have a big part to play in managing these chronic conditions, it's important to understand the background and need for this technology.

Understanding how dementia affects people, and the differences technology can make, is vital to creating the tools that can improve the quality of life for both dementia patients and their caregivers. Continue reading…

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Health Innovation

Telepharmacy Creates Closer Collaborations Between Pharmacists and Doctors

By PokitDok Team,

tablets

Telehealth technology is making better, faster access to healthcare a reality, especially for children and people seeking treatment for mental health issues.

This extends beyond healthcare provision. In the pharmacy world, telehealth can help pharmacists build stronger relationships with both patients and doctors, and extend the care a pharmacist can provide.

All of this adds up to patients getting the medicine and advice they need when they need it.

So, how exactly does telepharmacy and telehealth result in better outcomes for patients, doctors, and pharmacists?

Continue reading…

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Pharmacy

These 11 Consumer Health Companies are Using Technology to Improve Lives

By PokitDok Team,

Digital

As technology progresses, we're seeing more and more digital health companies concentrating on the needs and conditions of individual patients. This trend toward personalized medicine, easy access to information, and giving patients greater choice will help all of us be more responsible for our own health.

Here are 11 digital companies focused on helping us get the best support and treatment we can.

Memotext

Memotext has designed a smart communication platform that helps patients adhere to their medications and their therapy. The platform learns each patient's behavior through real, measurable inputs such as claims filed, EMRs, and wearables data; this allows it to tailor its reminders and educational content to each individual.

Clinical trials have shown a 17% increase in patients' confidence in self-managing their care and a nearly 90% increase in user retention rates. This means better patient experiences and outcomes.

MedWand

MedWand is another step toward the Star Trek Tricorder. The device is an all-in-one sensor, including a thermometer, camera, stethoscope, heart rate sensor, blood oxygen measurement, and a disposable speculum. It takes a comprehensive range of medical measurements and converts them into an electronic health record.

This makes it quicker and easier to gather and record vital health information in a consistent, reliable way. These devices can be used by patients to help them measure and monitor their own health.

Breakthrough

Breakthrough provides easy access to online counselling for mental health. It's a nationwide service connecting over 1,000 therapists with around 30,000 patients. The service lets people get therapy wherever they are, through their smartphone.

Breakthrough provides counsellors in many fields including anxiety, depression, PTSD, relationships, bipolar, anger management, ADHD, bereavement.

Proteus Digital Health

Proteus Digital Health is pushing the boundaries of biomedical sensors. A patient can wear Proteus' specialized patch to monitor and measure vital signs, physiological responses, and other important factors. Patients can measure their own health data via a paired smartphone app. They can track heart rate, blood pressure, activity, weight and more, and get reminders on when to take their medications. Continue reading…

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Consumer

Digital Health Companies Revolutionizing Treatments

By PokitDok Team,

doctor

Investors love the digital health world right now. Money has been coming in at an ever-increasing rate, and there are already a handful of digital health startups valued at more than $1 billion.

This is good news for scientists, doctors, and patients. Many of these digital businesses are helping to revolutionize medical information, diagnosis, treatments, and more.

We have already dubbed 2016 "The Year of the Business of Health," so it's worth taking a look at some of the businesses that are poised to do big things this year. Here are 13 digital health companies making an impact for physicians and their patients.

Perfint Healthcare

Perfint Healthcare creates robots that take live images inside a patient's body. These images allow doctors and radiologists to directly target and treat problematic areas.

The technology is already being used by oncologists to help with diagnostics, cancer treatment and surgery. For example, the robots can allow oncologists to precisely insert a needle into a tumor to take biopsies or make injections.

Cognilab

Cognilab's platform allows social scientists to conduct cognitive experiments and clinical trials quickly and effectively. This opens up experiment recruiting pools to anyone with an internet connection. Results come in much faster, and clinical trials can be completed quickly.

Flatiron Health

Cloud-based oncology data platform Flatiron is rapidly developing a collection of data and analytics tools. These tools will connect cancer centers across the world to share data, find new insights, improve diagnosis, and enhance treatment.

Figure 1

Figure 1 is becoming the "Instagram of the medical world." It lets doctors and nurses share medical images to improve diagnoses and share knowledge across the medical field. The company has already brought on 500K users.

heartbeat

Novum Concepts

Novum Concepts has created an innovative smartphone app that will save lives by letting hospitals properly prepare themselves for critical patients. The app lets first responders take data (such as EKGs), images, and video from the field, then send it directly to a hospital and ER doctors. This allows a rapid and accurate response to life-threatening conditions and ensures all the correct treatment options are available when the patient arrives at the hospital.

Magnus Health

Magnus Health celebrates its 10th year in business in 2016. It has spent that decade setting up more than 1,000 student medical record programs nationwide to reduce paperwork, save schools money, and make academic institutions more prepared to handle emergencies.

Aptible

The fast-growing Aptible wants to be a key part of digital health infrastructure by helping other companies automate their HIPAA compliance. The company has two core products:

  • A deployment platform that lets developers build architecture that can securely store sensitive patient data.
  • A compliance platform that helps manage HIPAA requirements and other security issues.

SolveBio

The SolveBio platform gives hospitals and large companies access to genomic data, allowing them to build "clinical grade molecular diagnostics applications" as quickly as possible. These apps let patients and consumers understand the effects of DNA variants on their health.

Health Catalyst

Last fall, Modern Healthcare named Health Catalyst one of the best healthcare employers in the country. The analytics and data warehouse provider currently serves about 100 hospitals across the US.

Zipnosis

Zipnosis is helping physicians provide virtual care to patients. The company's software is designed to complement a clinic's on-site operations by letting care providers speak with patients via telehealth tools. This helps to grow the clinic's patient base.

medical

Assurex Health

Pharmacogenomics company Assurex Health in southwestern Ohio has developed a genetic test, called GeneSight, that helps care providers make better decisions when prescribing medication to patients whose hereditary traits might conflict with the therapy.

CliniOps

CliniOps makes it easier to create, manage, and analyze clinical trials. "20% of Phase 3 clinical trials are done outside of the US to ensure a heterogeneous mix of subject populations," Founder and CEO Avik Pal says. "An efficient design of a software with a focus to work in those conditions is absolutely needed."

The software has built-in checks for ethical standards and compliance. Its current offerings include:

  • CliniTrial, which allows research groups to quickly and easily set up and manage clinical trials;
  • CliniSite, which lets researchers track performance and monitor study patients from one place;
  • CliniPatient, which keeps patients interested and engaged with the clinical study.

Doximity

Doximity is a "LinkedIn for Physicians." More than 400,000 medical professionals use the HIPAA-compliant network for:

  • Discussing topics with other medical professionals,
  • Sharing advice to create better treatment plans,
  • Connecting with classmates and peers,
  • Networking with possible employers and medical organizations, and
  • Earning credits by reading medical journals.

 

Ultimately, the work these companies are doing will open up opportunities for healthcare providers to work more efficiently, focus more of their energies and resources on patients, and create better health outcomes for everyone.


images by: David Mark, Darko Stojanovic, PublicDomainPictures

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Healthcare consumerism, Providers

Real Life: Paying for Healthcare

By PokitDok Team,

paying for healthcare – medical

The ways we are paying for healthcare is changing, and the tectonic shift is causing some pretty significant issues. High-deductible health plans (HDHPs), which put a greater burden of financial responsibility on patients, and the sheer difficulty of paying a medical bill each play a part in this change.

So, why are healthcare payments changing and how should hospitals adapt to this new normal? This post explores what has been, what is, what will be, and who stands to pay the price.

The Billed vs. Paid Discrepancy

According to Holly Fletcher, a reporter for The Tennessean, insurers have historically paid ~90% of patient bills. HDHPs have reduced the insurance company's share to ~70%, meaning patients are left to pay nearly one third of their bills themselves. The problem is, Fletcher notes, hospitals tend to collect only about 35% of all money billed to patients. This 65% difference becomes bad debt, or costs that hospitals must absorb.

“Billing practices are not designed to collect small, incremental payments from hundreds or thousands of patients,” Fletcher writes. “...they are designed to bill a handful of large entities.”

This makes collecting payment from the thousands of patients a provider sees each month incredibly difficult — much more difficult than seeking reimbursement from a few insurance companies.

paying for healthcare – money

The Economic Reality of the American Consumer

In 2015, Bankrate published a study on budgeting and how Americans plan for unexpected expenses. Stephen Brobeck, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of America, says in the Bankrate report that very few American households even have the resources to pay for an unexpected $1,000 hospital bill.

That $1,000 expense is an important number. The Kaiser Family Foundation points out the annual deductible on a typical employer-provided health insurance plan is normally (much) more than $1,000.

Further, approximately half of the American workforce earns less than $30,000 a year. The Social Security Administration says only 1 in 4 of these people could dip into savings to pay for unexpected health costs. The other 75% would have to rely on some combination of personal cost reductions, credit cards, loans, or gifts to pay off their medical bill, if they could even pay it at all.

The Cost of Care Exceeds Expectations

According to a survey conducted by FAIR Health, half of American consumers say out-of-pocket medical costs were “more than they expected,” and a third of consumers say those costs are “much higher than expected.”

FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd speaking at The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism (we’re a member) pointed out, this is largely a factor of consumer education. “With the advent of public exchanges, a large number of previously uninsured consumers are obtaining health insurance and are often making choices without understanding the implications of those choices.” Plans on public exchanges with the lowest premiums tend to be the most popular among consumers but they can come with higher out-of-pocket costs. A growing number of industry experts are calling for better consumer education on this issue.

paying for healthcare – credit-squeeze

Repercussions of Change on Hospital Revenue Collection

While we’d like to believe otherwise, patient/consumer education only takes us so far. Hospitals, who need to collect revenue, must address an issue on another front — existing systems are designed for an industry where insurers pay 90% of a medical bill.

Even when healthcare executives understand the need to evolve their systems, they can and do feel pretty stuck. Becker’s Hospital Review points out that almost all senior executives at hospitals and health systems recognize the need to treat patients as consumers, but only 15% feel confident their organizations currently have a clear strategy for making the necessary changes to make this a reality.

Existing technology also causes problems. Stuart Hanson, chair of the HIMSS Revenue Cycle Improvement Task Force, tells Mike Miliard at Healthcare IT News that many revenue cycle systems were built in the ‘80s and ‘90s. These systems simply don’t deal well with change - specifically, the revenue cycle shift organizations need to make in order to manage their receivables. They cite a HIMSS infographic on the impact of this inefficiency.

“About $315 billion a year, 15 cents of every dollar spent on healthcare, is lost on claims processing, payments, billing, revenue cycle management and bad debt.”

Improving revenue cycles, billing and collections is a gradual process that includes:

  • Educating consumers and encouraging them to budget for expenses.
  • Exploring how billing can be made more efficient by healthcare providers and insurers.
  • Giving consumers access to clear healthcare pricing.

This will be a difficult transition, but it’s a challenge we must address if we want to build a new, solid, nimble foundation upon which our healthcare system can evolve and grow.

images by: Darko Stojanovic, Michal Jarmoluk, Steve Buissinne

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Healthcare consumerism

Hospitals Need to Change How They Collect Revenue — Here’s Why

By PokitDok Team,

Payment

 

“The entire U.S. healthcare industry is poised for a massive shift in how providers are paid for their services. By 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to transition 50 percent of all reimbursements to value-based models. In the private sector, the Health Care Transformation Task Force, made up of insurers and providers, has pledged to convert 75 percent of their business to value-based payments by 2020.”
Behavioral Healthcare

There’s a growing problem in the hospital and medical sector right now, and it has everything to do with how healthcare providers get paid.

How can hospitals bill more effectively, react to the shift toward value-based healthcare, and get control of their revenue cycles? We’ll explore the different factors affecting how hospitals bill for services, collect fees and manage transactions.

Why Reimbursement is a Growing Concern Among Providers

In late 2015, Cardinal Health released findings from a survey of 150 health professionals that found reimbursement was the No. 1 concern among health systems today — and it’s easy to understand why. As high-deductible plans put more responsibility on patients/consumers to pay for their healthcare, providers end up assuming more financial risk because the reliable institutional payer — insurance companies — are now taken out of the equation.

Individual consumers, it turns out, aren’t always as reliable as insurance companies at paying outstanding debts.

A Change in High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs)

High-deductible health plans are growing in popularity, and for some, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

According to a report by the Health Affairs Blog, high deductibles force many patients to skip medical care altogether. A Reuters survey of 12,000 households discovered that 20% of consumers reported delaying or postponing care because of cost concerns. Similarly, data from Families USA, cited in the Health Affairs post, suggests 25% of people avoided needed care — tests, treatments, follow-up care, and prescriptions — because they just couldn’t afford it. Health IT Outcomes notes that, before HDHPs, ~90% of a bill was covered by the payer. Now, payers cover close to 40% less, leaving the remaining financial obligation with the patient.

Stress

Issues with How Hospitals Collect Revenue

The issue with HDHPs and patient payments is compounded by existing flaws in the revenue collection process. According to RevCycle Intelligence, the most common issues facing hospitals include:

  • Errors in billings and collections, leading to bad debt and the inability of patients to pay.
  • Issues with technology, especially lack of information, and updating between different systems.
  • A lack of training, meaning staff are unable to run the revenue processes efficiently.
  • Failure to monitor the claims process or to have a strong financial policy.

Becker’s Hospital Review hones in on the first point, bad debt, or debt that cannot be recovered. Research that shows bad debt “is increasing at well over 30 percent each year in some hospitals,” meaning providers are having to write off more and more bills as unpayable each year. INSERT

Further, there are significant technology issues with collection. As we move to a value-based healthcare payment system, everything gets more complicated. According to Wellcentive CTO Kirk Elder in CIOReview, the issues with measuring value in healthcare mean technology, systems, and processes need to be updated to ensure providers can continue to bill correctly. And that is a very complex process.

It’s clear this is a very challenging situation for hospitals, healthcare providers, and health insurance companies. There’s a real need to tighten up revenue management processes as the drive towards value-based healthcare continues. If hospitals can make their revenue collection more efficient, and health insurers can move people to lower deductibles, that will diffuse risk, which will be better for everyone.


images by: ©pressmaster/123RF Stock Photo, ©forestpath/123RF Stock Photo

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Healthcare consumerism

PillPack Partners with PokitDok for Real Time Pharmacy Eligibility

By PokitDok Team,

HeroImage_PillPack_Announcement2

In our continued mission to power the business of health, we are excited to announce a strategic partnership with PillPack, a VIPPS® certified pharmacy by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy®. PillPack will be using our Pharmacy APIs to power improved patient experiences for more than 16 million Medicare Advantage Beneficiaries and 40.5 million Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit Plan recipients.

Plans vary in coverage and prices for the same drug are not always the same. Now, before fulfilling prescriptions, PillPack customers can understand what drugs are covered, how much it may cost them and get clarity on when insurance kicks in.

“When our Medicare customers are switching to PillPack, they can now easily find out what their copays are going to be - creating a more transparent and delightful experience,” said Elliot Cohen, co-founder and CTO, PillPack. “During PokitDok’s beta program, we found their modern APIs were easy to integrate and scaled well to handle significant transaction volumes. That’s what led us to this strategic partnership.”

PillPack is designed to serve people who manage multiple medications. Twice a month, customers receive a personalized roll of pre-sorted medications, along with a recyclable dispenser and any other medications not in pill form. Each shipment includes a label that explains what each pill is and when and how they should be taken. Further, PillPack coordinates refills and guarantees on-time shipment of all medications.

“PillPack is a prime example of how to integrate our APIs into an existing workflow, to unlock data and present it in a meaningful way to consumers,” said Lisa Maki, co-founder and CEO, PokitDok. “We have captured, digitized and made available information that has always been stuck in flat files. PillPack is using that to transform the patient experience – for consumers and those that care for them – and for  better orchestration with insurance companies to keep unnecessary costs down.”

To learn more:

Read the press release 

Visit the website

Schedule a demo

 

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Dev, Enterprise, Pharmacy

PokitDok recap: Five amazing interns

By PokitDok Team,

 

intern photo

 

This summer was an especially special one for PokitDok. Five interns joined our offices in Charleston and San Mateo - ready for a deep dive into health tech. We asked our fair squirrels a few questions about their time with us, specifically relating to their experience, what they learned and their next steps. Introducing….the PokitDok Interns. Continue reading…

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Uncategorized

How Telepharmacy Reduces Business Costs and Gives More Patients Access to Medicine

By PokitDok Team,

mortar

“The ability for telemedicine to extend care outside normal pharmacy hours allows patients and/or their caregivers to connect to an available remote pharmacist [any time they need].”
MeMD

Telehealth and telepharmacy are innovating rapidly, benefiting countless patients in urban and rural areas alike. How telehealth improves the lives of our healthcare providers, however, is an aspect of this space that is often overlooked. By making access and consultations easier, we make things easier for pharmacists and, by extension, their patients.

 

Pressures of the Modern Pharmacist

Due to America’s aging population and “greater prevalence of chronic diseases,” the number of prescriptions pharmacies are filling is growing rapidly. Statista projects growth from 4 billion prescriptions in 2013 to 4.8 billion in 2021, an increase of 20% in less than 10 years.

Pharmacy Times discusses the pressure of increased workload on pharmacists by saying this “has inevitably led pharmacists to focus more on volume than on delivering personal care. Pharmacists often have little time to provide education about a specific prescription nowadays.”

Everyone can relate to this scenario: a line of rushed patients with unfilled prescriptions, insurance coverage insecurities, tricky follow-up questions, and others who have been non-compliant with their treatment plans. Pharmacists are spread too thin to do their job thoroughly so the question remains, how can we maximize their efficiency and allow them to do their jobs in the best way possible?

The short answer? Telepharmacy might just be a solution. Continue reading…

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Enterprise

PokitDok Security Update: SSL Protocol Upgrade Notice

By PokitDok Team,

Protection of our customers' data is of the utmost importance at PokitDok. To ensure our high security standards are met, we constantly iterate, making regular improvements and retiring older encryption protocols.

To align with these best practices and exist in accordance with updated compliance requirements from the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), PokitDok will discontinue support for TLS versions 1.0 and 1.1 to our platform as of July 31, 2016. Any older browsers or API clients that do not support TLS 1.2 will no longer function.

If you believe this important security update applies to you, read the full post on our dev blog, Full Metal Health, and of course, let us know if you have any questions.

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Dev