News Blog

Telehealth Billing Compliance: Medicare Says Goodbye to the GT Modifier
Tuesday, March 27, 2018



For over a decade, Medicare has required providers to append special modifiers to their CPT and HCPCS codes when billing for telehealth services. The two primary modifiers for telehealth services were GT (indicating the service was delivered via an interactive audio and video telecommunications system) and GQ (indicating the service was delivered via an asynchronous telecommunications system). Effective January 1, 2018 that has changed because CMS has decided to largely eliminate the requirement to use the GT modifier on telehealth claims.
Instead of using the GT modifier, providers must mark their telehealth services claims with “Place of Service (POS) 02.” A POS code is required on professional claims for all services – telehealth or otherwise – and using POS 02 signals to Medicare that the service was provided via telehealth. Previously, providers were instructed to use the POS code for where the patient was located at the time of the service. Effective January 1, 2018, POS 02 is to be used for all telehealth services under Medicare. The introduction of POS 02 rendered it unnecessary to also require the distant site practitioner report the GT modifier on the claim.

More:https://www.healthcarelawtoday.com/2018/03/12/5118/   ...

Former telemedicine leader cofounds AI, robotics, automation group to support healthcare industry adoption
Friday, March 23, 2018

The former CEO of the American Telemedicine Association, Jonathan Linkous, has joined forces with medical textbook and journal publisher Mary Ann Liebertto launch a group to help healthcare organizations address the challenges of implementing advanced technology from artificial intelligence and automation to robotics.
The new group comes into being at a time when machine learning, a form of AI, is becoming more widely used or at least piloted by the healthcare sector, as health tech companies adopt different ways to use it to speed up analysis of large amounts of data. But adoption has been limited by the need to better understand how the algorithms behind machine learning tools arrive at their analysis.
The Partnership for Artificial Intelligence and Automation in Healthcare (PATH) is designed to bring together health systems, payers and regulators to find how these technologies can improve the delivery of medicine, reduce costs and expand access to healthcare services to millions of people across the globe, according to a news release from the new group.
The group plans to highlight emerging innovations so as to improve understanding of these new technologies and how they can be harnessed to advance patient care. PATH also plans to establish priorities for navigating barriers such as regulatory hurdles, provider and consumer acceptance, and payer policies, according to its website.
“AI and related innovations have already enabled industries such as banking, aviation, and entertainment to grow, provide higher quality products, and allow consumers greater choice,” Linkous, PATH CEO, said in the news release. “With spiraling costs, increasing need, decreasing resources, and rapidly advancing technologies, healthcare desperately needs to catch up.”

More:https://medcitynews.com/2018/03/former-telemedicine-leader-cofounds-ai-robotics-automation-group-support-healthcare-industry-adoption/   ...

Study highlights how EHR data can pinpoint undiagnosed genetic diseases
Friday, March 23, 2018

A new study out of Vanderbilt University Medical Center found genetic data in electronic health records can be used to spot undiagnosed diseases.
The research, which was recently published in Science, was authored by 27 individuals.
They believed people diagnosed with conditions like infertility, kidney failure, stroke and heart failure could actually have a rare genetic disease.
Thus, the researchers assigned scores to 21,701 people depending on how well their symptoms fit with a description of 1,204 genetic diseases. Patients included were taken from BioVU, a collection that links DNA samples to de-identified EHRs. The researchers replicated the results at a Marshfield Clinic biobank.
Overall, the study found 18 associations between genetic variants and high phenotype risk scores.
The researchers also learned that 14 percent of individuals with genetic variants impacting the kidney had kidney transplants. Ten percent with another variant had liver transplants. These transplants could have been avoided had the underlying genetic cause been disclosed. Instead, patients could have undergone another treatment to prevent the symptoms from worsening.


More:https://medcitynews.com/2018/03/study-highlights-ehr-data-can-pinpoint-undiagnosed-genetic-diseases/?utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=61596738&_hsenc=p2ANqtz--Odub1wEXBexek1UxLS0kSWC7yWbYUl73VaSsFTtcupQEtFFeQkqnV6vxgt25yEi9fLNE0Z4P4bAfgmDkUmer_zAubzQ&_hsmi=61596738   ...

How the current healthcare mindset is preventing wider digital health adoption
Friday, March 23, 2018

Although digital health and telemedicine are gaining speed, the industry as a whole has been slow to implement technologies.
A survey from Sage Growth Partners found 44 percent of healthcare executives have not yet adopted telemedicine at their organization, and a report sponsored by Avizia said 82 percent of consumers don’t use telehealth.
A March 21 webinar hosted by VSee took a closer look at the barriers to wider adoption.
“In medicine, things go at a very different pace than in technology and science,” Dr. Homero Rivas, an assistant professor of surgery and the director of innovative surgery at Stanford University, said during the webinar. “The business model that we have had [in healthcare] hasn’t really changed. Medicine itself is not scalable.”
Why does healthcare take so long to innovate? Rivas said part of it has to do with the mindset of the industry and of physicians.
Most entrepreneurs are willing to take plenty of risks. Doctors, on the other hand, are risk-averse. They’re taught not to fail, as it may bring harm to a patient.
“If you always follow dogmas saying ‘You have to do it this way,’ then the innovation will go at a very slow pace,” Rivas said.
Medical school curriculum contributes to the lack of fast adoption, too. “Very, very few medical schools or nursing schools will actually include things such as mobile health or digital health or telemedicine,” he noted.

More:https://medcitynews.com/2018/03/current-healthcare-mindset-preventing-wider-digital-health-adoption/?utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=61596738&_hsenc=p2ANqtz--Odub1wEXBexek1UxLS0kSWC7yWbYUl73VaSsFTtcupQEtFFeQkqnV6vxgt25yEi9fLNE0Z4P4bAfgmDkUmer_zAubzQ&_hsmi=61596738

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Controversial Duty-Hours Trial (Mostly) Backs Flexible Hours
Friday, March 23, 2018

Educational outcomes in hospitals' intern-residency programs that set no limit on the duration of trainees' work shifts did not differ from those in standard programs limiting shifts to 16-28 hours, the cluster-randomized iCOMPARE trial found.
There was no significant differences between groups in how interns spent their time, nor was there a difference in how interns perceived the balance between their clinical demands and their education, reported Sanjay V. Desai, MD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues.

But a separate survey of trainees in flexible and standard programs showed more dissatisfaction with other aspects of the programs allowing longer hours, including educational quality and overall well-being. At the same time, directors of flexible programs said the educational quality was improved.
The results were presented at Academic Internal Medicine Week in San Antonio, and published online early in the New England Journal of Medicine.

More: https://www.medpagetoday.com/hospitalbasedmedicine/graduatemedicaleducation/71880?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=PopMed_032218&utm_term=Pop Medicine

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Ask a Millennial Doc: How Can I Use Social Media Better?
Friday, March 23, 2018

The way information is exchanged among physicians is constantly changing in the social media age. In this exclusiveMedPage Today video, Manasi Agrawal, MD , a gastroenterology fellow at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y., breaks down everything the millennial physician should know about using social media to get up-to-date information, share ideas, and network .
Following is a transcript of her remarks:
Being a millennial physician is very different, I think, from the experiences that people may have had 10 or 20 years ago because the resources available to us and the challenges that we experience are very different, specifically living in a world of social media, the way we exchange information, study ideas and research and the way we network is, in big part, through social media, and that has a huge impact on everyone, including physicians.
I use social media to share my research ideas, to share impactful studies, abstracts, and the important work that I come across in researching things, and to network . I follow physicians who are in the same field that I am interested in -- who, themselves, share impactful studies -- and I routinely check my Twitter feed. This is a great source of learning for me on a daily basis because I come across new studies, new work, and impactful ideas, and then that stirs up more conversations as other people read them. It encourages a lot of communication back and forth. In addition to reading textbooks and journals, this is a great source of learning and staying up to date with what's happening around the world.

More:https://www.medpagetoday.com/publichealthpolicy/generalprofessionalissues/71930?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=PopMed_032218&utm_term=Pop Medicine


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How Docs Could Respond to Disasters Remotely
Friday, March 23, 2018

Telemedicine can help, but we need to recognize its limitations

In post-Maria Puerto Rico, the smell of diesel exhaust hung in the air. A short visit taught me more about island life after the storm than I could have learned from endless hours of cable news or social media. Our patients' voices were a combination of anxiety, exhaustion, and hope.

Some disaster responders, though, can now help from a far greater distance. The universe of telemedicine is expanding, thanks to improved networks and better models of care. Leveraging telemedicine's potential during traditional disaster response suddenly seems like a no-brainer. We're poised to move forward boldly but intelligently in creating a tele -response model for both the acute response phase and longer recovery periods.
After a large-scale event, doctors offices close, kids need pediatricians, and downloading a mobile health app may offer nearly immediate care when none exists otherwise. Telemedicine links can be established by local teams to provide real-time care remotely. The model promises a valuable synergy when tele-health providers partner with historically strong organizations like the American Red Cross.

More:https://www.medpagetoday.com/blogs/disaster-medicine/71926?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=PopMed_032218&utm_term=Pop Medicine


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Medicine in the 'Middle of Nowhere'
Friday, March 23, 2018

by Kristy Thomas, MS, PA-C


I've dealt with many frontier emergencies throughout my career -- some of them life-saving, but nothing quite eclipses the experience of being the only medical provider to coordinate care for a man carrying his severed arm. In that moment I was reminded that as a rural health physician assistant (PA), I must be prepared to make quick life-or-death decisions for whomever walks in the door.
Now working as a primary care PA at a remote health clinic in rural New Mexico, I see injuries that can be just as jarring as the man holding his own limb. From hard-working community members with ranching and bull-riding trauma injuries to the elderly battling diabetes and children with infectious diseases, each patient interaction comes with unique and sometimes unexpected challenges.
My clinic -- the most remote within its network of clinics -- is situated in a town of about 1,600 people, predominantly Hispanic, about 3 miles north of the Mexican border (I use Spanish to converse with roughly 90% of my patients). It's an outpatient setting that relies on resources from hospitals to coordinate ambulance services or summon Life Flight helicopters for medical emergencies. This system operates similar to other rural clinics and hospitals -- allowing remote providers to address holistic patient needs and work largely autonomously.

More:https://www.medpagetoday.com/primarycare/generalprimarycare/71847?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=PopMed_032218&utm_term=Pop Medicine
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Microsoft, Alphabet, Apple bet big on health with 300+ patents since 2013
Wednesday, March 21, 2018

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1 in 4 patients used virtual health services last year: 6 things to know
Monday, March 12, 2018

Healthcare consumers are increasingly turning to virtual health services, with 25 percent of patients reporting they received virtual care services in the previous year, up from 21 percent one year prior, according to a survey released by Accenture.
As part of its 2018 Consumer Survey on Digital Health report, Accenture surveyed 2,301 U.S. consumers ages 18 and older to evaluate their attitudes toward healthcare technology, modernization and service innovation.
Here are six things to know about the survey.
1. Of the patients who accessed care virtually, 74 percent said they were satisfied with the experience.
2. Nearly half (47 percent) of all patients surveyed said they would prefer a more immediate, virtual appointment over a delayed, in-person appointment.
3. Almost 75 percent of healthcare consumers said they would use virtual care for an after-hours appointment.
4. Around two-thirds said they would use virtual care for a follow-up appointment after seeing a physician or other healthcare professional in person.
5. Over half (54 percent) of consumers said they believe virtual care reduces patients' medical costs.
6. Forty-three percent said they like the timely care virtual technology provides.
Gohere to download the complete report.https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/telehealth/1-in-4-patients-used-virtual-health-services-last-year-6-things-to-know.html
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