Rumor Control: These are the Facts

Why is it that one of the largest challenges on any project is miscommunication and out of control rumors? While many projects need and would benefit from more communication, even with the best of communication plans, project teams can spend more time dispelling false information than proactively communicating.

I believe in strong communication plans for EHR and ERP projects that include a wide range of communication including town halls, newsletters, emails, signage, internet sites, and other methods of sharing correct information. But on every project, no matter how much we communicate, certain hospital staff will find other sources of information.

I can see the rumor coming when an email or conversation starts with “I heard that…” or “Is it true that…”. These are telltale signs that I am about to hear a rumor. Rumors can range from minor details to far-reaching implications such as a perceived change in project scope or even the live date. While most rumors are just annoyances, responding to them and controlling them can be a significant strain on the project team’s time.

I believe that hospitals have a unique challenge in that proactive communication is more challenging than in many traditional businesses because it is common for a large portion of the staff, including nurses and physicians, to rarely check email. As a result, they are often in a position where “hallway conversation” is how they first hear information and are more likely to give it credibility.

While I admit that I have personally never been able to fully eliminate the rumor challenge, I’d like to share several ideas about what I have seen as an effective way to keep the rumor mill under control:

1) Establish a clear Source of Truth – From the very beginning of the project, communicate to every possible audience how decision and communications will be distributed and who they should contact with questions and information. If it doesn’t come from one of the accepted Sources of Truth, its not true. When I lead a project, I prefer to be the Source of Truth – if it doesn’t come from me verbally or in writing, it isn’t true.

2) Encourage questions and respond to all of them timely – When I am running a project, my motto is “Ask me anything, anytime”. At times, I will get dozens or even hundreds of questions a day through meetings, phone calls, texts, and emails. I respond to every question, providing the truth if I have it, or getting them to the person who can provide the truth. Rumors often start because staff members are not getting answers or don’t feel their questions are welcomed. How do I respond to so many requests? I do it immediately so they can’t accumulate – which also helps inspire confidence and a feeling that they can ask rather than assume.

3) Town Halls – I strongly believe that a change management and communication strategy must include town halls. During town halls, project teams should provide an overview of what is occurring that is relevant to the staff, do occasional software demonstrations, and most importantly – field questions. Creating those proactive communication channels is a powerful way to avoid people creating their own truths.

4) Provide the complete truth – Sometimes the answer to a question is not known because it has not been determined, or has not been considered. Sometimes it is not what the person wants to hear. Regardless, provide the truth – and the complete truth. There is nothing wrong with saying that you don’t know – but can find out. Or that a decision has not been made, but now that they have raised the concern we will make it and get back to them. Responding immediately doesn’t always mean providing an answer immediately, as long as the follow-up is done once the answer is available.

5) Communicate Everywhere – A communication plan must be extensive and include many different points of contact. Intranet sites can look impressive and have lots of great information on them – but usually only a small percentage of the staff will check them. Consideration must be given as to how to communicate with contracted employees, physicians, and traveling nurses. This is particularly challenging during an EHR roll-out when all of these parties must be enrolled in training classes and kept up-to-date on the go-live. Find and use every possible communication challenge. There are always questions about how much communication is too much – but they apply to the volume of communication you push through a particular communication channel – not the number of different communication channels you use.

Finally, accept that no matter what you do, rumors will form and will need to be dispelled. Its part of project management and change management that always had existed, and always will. Properly controlled, the rumors can be a minor distraction at worst – entertainment at best.

Please share any ideas you have found to be successful in keeping rumors under control.

If you’d like to receive future posts by Brian in your inbox, you can subscribe to future Healthcare Optimization Scene posts here. Be sure to also read the archive of previous Healthcare Optimization Scene posts.

Posted in Healthcare CIO, Healthcare Leadership, Healthcare Optimization Scene, Hospital EHR, Hospital EHR Consulting, Hospital Electronic Health Record, Hospital Electronic Medical Record, Hospital EMR, Hospital Healthcare IT | Tagged , | Comments Off on Rumor Control: These are the Facts

Healthcare’s Not Good At Mining Health Data

I was really blown away by this quote from an interview with Rebecca Quammen.

The buzz around data analytics promotes the need for data scientists and data analysts as among the most sought-after roles, and that is problematic in and of itself. It’s creating a huge demand, but it’s also a demand that many healthcare organizations don’t know how to deal with right now. I see the buzz around data analytics increasing the pressure to “do something” with data, but many organizations across the nation, both large and small and in every setting of care, simply don’t have the foundational knowledge to manage the data to their benefit, and to know the database structure and how to get it the data out and what the data tells them when they get it. We are not an industry historically good at mining good, rich data out of products and doing something meaningful with it. We do traditional reporting and we may do a little bit of historical reporting, but we’re not good at looking at data to predict and promote and to work toward the future, or to see trends and do analysis across the organization.

Rebecca nailed this one on the head. I’ve seen a bunch of organizations go running towards healthcare informatics with no idea of what they wanted to accomplish or any sort of methodology for how they’re going to analyze the data to find useful insights. It kind of reminds me of the herd mentality that happens at conferences. If any sort of crowd starts to build at a conference, then the crowd quickly grows exponentially as people think that something interesting must be going on. The same seems to happen as healthcare organizations have run towards data analytics.

While I think there’s so much potential in health data analytics, I think that most organizations are afraid to fail. The culture in healthcare is “do no harm.” There are some very good reasons for this and some real fears when it comes to medical liability. There’s a lot more at stake when using data in healthcare than say Netflix trying to predict which shows you might be interested in watching. If Netflix gets it wrong, you just keep scrolling after some minor frustration which you quickly forget. In healthcare, if we get it wrong, people can die or be harmed in some major way.

I understand why this healthcare culture exists, but I also think that inactivity is killing as many or more people than would be damaged by our data mistakes. It’s a challenging balance. However, it’s a balance that we must figure out. We need to enable more innovation and thoughtful experimentation into how we can better use health data. Yes, I’m talking beyond the traditional reporting and historical reporting which doesn’t move the needle on care. I’m talking using data to really impact care. That’s a brave place to be, but I applaud all of those brave people who are exploring this new world.

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ONC announces winners of consumer and provider app challenges to improve health information access and use

Apps highlight the use of promising new tools and standards

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) announced the Phase 2 winners for the Consumer Health Data Aggregator Challenge and the Provider User Experience Challenge.  ONC designed these challenges to spur the development of market-ready applications (apps) that would enable consumers and providers to aggregate health data from different sources into one secure, user-friendly product.

Challenge submissions were required to use Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) and open application programming interfaces (APIs), which are both strongly supported by ONC. These types of modern technologies can make it easier and more efficient to retrieve and share information.

“We are thrilled to recognize new tools that make it easier for individuals and clinicians to access health information and put it to use,” said Dr. Vindell Washington, national coordinator for health information technology (IT). “These apps reflect the incredible progress that is possible as a result of the digital health infrastructure that the public and private sector have built together over the last eight years.”

Consumer Health Data Aggregator Challenge Winners

The Consumer Health Data Aggregator Challenge asked submitters to address a need that many consumers have today – the ability to easily and electronically access and securely integrate their health data from different health care providers using a variety of different health IT systems.

PatientLink Enterprises won first place and the $50,000 prize. Its solution, MyLinks, is a cloud-based application that makes it easy to gather, manage, and share patient data using several methods including FHIR® and Direct messaging, a method for sending authenticated, encrypted health information directly to known, trusted recipients over the internet. Using the app, patients can also participate in research, monitor data from remote devices, and use interactive tools.

The second place and “connector” prizes, each with an award amount of $25,000, were won byGreen Circle Health.  This application uses FHIR® to import patient data into a platform integrating a comprehensive family health dashboard that includes personal and medical device data, remote monitoring, and reminders.

In addition, the 1upHealth, which helps patients organize and share data from disparate sources, is being recognized as an Honorable Mention.

Provider User Experience Challenge Winners

The Provider User Experience Challenge focused on demonstrating how data made accessible to apps through APIs can enhance health care providers’ use of their electronic health record (EHR) systems by making clinical workflows more efficient and intuitive.

The first place prize, with an award amount of $50,000, was won by Herald Health. Its solution helps clinicians manage the overwhelming flow of alerts and information by allowing them to create highly customizable push notifications. These can be tailored to both individual patients and groups and exported to fellow users.

The second place and “connector” prizes, each with an award amount of $25,000, were won by the collaboration of University of Utah Health Care, Intermountain Healthcare, and Duke Health.Their solution is a clinical decision support tool that can provide recommendations for the treatment of babies with jaundice detected at birth based on the level of liver waste products found in their blood.

In addition, PHRASE Health, which uses clinical decision support to help clinicians align with priorities such as public health alerts, is being recognized as an Honorable Mention.

These efforts are part of a larger community-driven movement toward helping individuals and clinicians benefit from our nation’s rapidly evolving health IT infrastructure, including the adoption of ONC-certified electronic health records by nearly all U.S. hospitals and most physicians.  The efforts also align with several policy objectives outlined in the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan, the Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap – PDF, the Interoperability Commitments, and ONC’s Health IT Certification Program. The availability and secure interoperable exchange of health data, and the technologies developed through these initiatives, also have the potential to support other key initiatives, such as delivery system reform, the Precision Medicine Initiative, the National Cancer Moonshot, and efforts to combat the opioid crisis.

For more information, visit the ONC’s Connecting and Accelerating a FHIR App Ecosystem page.

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“Learning Health System” Pilot Cuts Care Costs While Improving Quality

As some of you will know, the ONC’s Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap’s goal is to create a “nationwide learning health system.”  In this system, individuals, providers and organizations will freely share health information, but more importantly, will share that information in “closed loops” which allow for continuous learning and care improvement.

When I read about this model – which is backed by the Institute of Medicine — I thought it sounded interesting, but didn’t think it terribly practical. Recently, though, I stumbled upon an experiment which attempts to bring this approach to life. And it’s more than just unusual — it seems to be successful.

What I’m talking about is a pilot study, done by a team from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University, which involved implementing a “local” learning health system. During the pilot, team members used EHR data to create personalized treatments for patients based on data from others with similar conditions and risk factors.

To date, building a learning health system has been very difficult indeed, largely because integrating EHRs between multiple hospital systems is very difficult. For that reason, researchers with the two organizations decided to implement a “local” learning health system, according to a press statement from Nationwide Children’s.

To build the local learning health system, the team from Nationwide Children’s and Ohio State optimized the EHR to support their efforts. They also relied on a “robust” care coordination system which sat at the core of the EHR. The pilot subjects were a group of 131 children treated through the hospital’s cerebral palsy program.

Children treated in the 12-month program, named “Learn From Every Patient,” experienced a 43% reduction in total inpatient days, a 27% reduction in inpatient admissions, a 30% reduction in emergency department visits and a 29% reduction in urgent care visits.

The two institutions spent $225,000 to implement the pilot during the first year. However, the return on this investment was dramatic.  Researchers concluded that the program cut healthcare costs by $1.36 million. This represented a savings of about $6 for each dollar invested.

An added benefit from the program was that the clinicians working in the CP clinic found that this approach to care simplified documentation, which saved time and made it possible for them to see more patients during each session, the team found.

Not surprisingly, the research team thinks this approach has a lot of potential. “This method has the potential to be an effective complementary or alternative strategy to the top-down approach of learning health systems,” the release said. In other words, maybe bottom-up, incremental efforts are worth a try.

Given these results, it’d be nice to think that we’ll have full interoperability someday, and that we’ll be able to scale up the learning health system approach to the whole US. In the mean time, it’s good to see at least a single health system make some headway with it.

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Disappointing Digital Health Experience at CES

This was the 11th or 12th year I’ve attended CES. Living in Las Vegas, it’s easy for me to attend and enjoy the tech playground that is CES. It’s a fun experience for nerds like me to see all the amazing technology. Plus, it’s been fascinating watching the evolution of the event over the year.

When I first started attending CES over a decade ago, there was basically no digital health at the conference. This year, the digital health and fitness section of CES took up probably 1/3 to half of the Sands Convention Center. That’s a huge difference. It’s really like the digital health industry grew from nothing right before my eyes. Turns out the same is true for a bunch of other industries like 3D Printing, Virtual Reality, and Drones to name a few.

While I always get value connecting with many of the people that attend CES, I have to admit that the digital health experience at CES this year was an extremely disappointing experience for me. I did meet a few companies that I’ll write about in the future, but for the most part innovation really seemed to be lacking. I’d describe most of the growth as me too products and big flashy look at us booths.

The former is to be expected. The me too nature of technology always happens. However, the later is what was so disappointing. As I walked by hundreds of booths, they didn’t communicate any sort of unique and interesting innovation. There was a lot of flash and show, but the substance of what was new, interesting, innovative, game changing, etc was totally missing from the experience. Is that because they weren’t doing anything that unique and interesting? I’m afraid that’s the case for many of them.

Given the fact that CES has something like 1 million square feet of exhibit space, I’m sure there was a lot of innovation happening. However, on the digital health side it all felt very incremental to me. Maybe there were some really amazing innovations that were hiding. Or maybe I couldn’t hear about those innovations because the club music in the Under Armour booth was too loud.

I still enjoyed CES because of some of the people who I met with during the event. It’s just too bad the booths have headed towards sizzle and forgot about the steak.

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Cal INDEX and Inland Empire HIE will merge to form California’s largest health information exchange; former White House technology advisor named CEO

Statewide nonprofit health information exchange will include more than 16 million health information records and participation from 150 provider partners

SAN FRANCISCO (January 10, 2017) — The California Integrated Data Exchange (Cal INDEX) and Inland Empire Health Information Exchange (IEHIE) today announced a planned merger that will create one of the nation’s most comprehensive nonprofit health information exchanges (HIEs).

Claudia Williams, former White House technology senior advisor, will lead the new organization as CEO, effective February 1, 2017. The merger, subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2017 and will operate as a tax-exempt public benefit corporation under a new name.

The new HIE will combine the 11.7 million claims records from Cal INDEX founding members Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross with the 5 million clinical patient records of IEHIE and its 150 participating partners. HIEs help improve the quality of the patient experience, support collaboration and coordination and improve efficiencies by making it easier for doctors, hospitals and other care providers to securely review, analyze and share medical information across the healthcare system.

“The creation of this new statewide health information exchange by IEHIE and Cal INDEX is an important milestone in transforming California’s healthcare system into a coordinated system that delivers higher quality and more efficient care to all Californians,” said Dr. Bradley Gilbert, Chairman of the IEHIE Board of Directors. Mark Savage, Chairman of the Cal INDEX Board of Directors and director of health information technology policy and programs for the National Partnership for Women & Families, added: “Claudia is the ideal candidate to lead this new entity. She is a strategic and transformational leader with national experience managing and scaling health information exchanges. With Claudia, California’s statewide HIE gets the rare combination of breadth and depth.”

Williams brings more than 25 years of healthcare technology experience to the role, most recently as senior advisor for Health Innovation and Technology in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Prior to the White House, Williams was the Director of HIE for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. She earned an M.S. in health policy and management from the Harvard School of Public Health and a B.A. in political science from Duke University.

“Claudia’s track record of developing strategic partnerships with technology, provider, consumer and health plan leaders will be invaluable as Cal INDEX and Inland Empire HIE add new partners and bring value to providers and patients throughout the state,” said Dr. Gilbert.

Click here to view infographic: State healthcare information exchanges based on number of medical records (in millions).

“I’m thrilled by the opportunity to lead the new organization and collaborate with our partners to improve patient care for all Californians,” Williams said. “Our goal is to deliver compelling products and services that support California’s hospitals, providers and patients in their efforts to improve care coordination, reduce inefficiencies, address gaps in care and enhance patient experience.”

About Cal INDEX

Cal INDEX is an independent, nonprofit organization that is developing a statewide HIE. This uniquely comprehensive collection of electronic patient records includes clinical data from healthcare providers and health insurers combined into a single longitudinal patient record. Cal INDEX’s technology platform provides hospitals and physicians with real-time access to a patient’s vital healthcare information. This innovation will improve the quality of patient care, improve the efficiency of delivering and coordinating care, and reduce the cost of healthcare services. Cal INDEX was founded through seed funding from Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross.  For more information, visit www.calindex.org.

About Inland Empire HIE

IEHIE’s mission and vision is to achieve continuity of care in the Inland Empire and other communities by aligning providers and patients to securely exchange health information in a trusted and timely manner. The Inland Empire Health Information Exchange (San Bernardino & Riverside) works with other California county hospitals, medical centers, medical groups, clinics, IPAs, physician practices, health plans, public health and other healthcare providers to bring needed technology to participants, allowing them to share electronic patient health records throughout the state. IEHIE gives healthcare providers immediate access to state-of-the-art electronic patient health data. It allows doctors, clinics, hospitals and other healthcare providers to electronically access medical records, which results in timely, secure and improved quality of healthcare for the patients in the community. For more information, visit: http://www.iehie.org.

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McKesson and Infor Go-To-Market Partnership – What Happens Now?

A couple weeks ago, McKesson and Infor announced a partnership that will have McKesson EIS (Enterprise Information Solutions) offering Infor Cloudsuite as their cloud-based ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution for human resources, supply chain, and financials. What does each party have to gain from this partnership and what does this mean for existing customers of McKesson ERP solutions?

Infor continues to be the dominant player in the ERP space for healthcare providers. Its healthcare applications, previously known as Lawson (and probably always known as Lawson to many of us), have the largest market share with the majority of larger hospitals and healthcare systems. Its closest competitor in the past, Peoplesoft, is now owned by Oracle which is focused on developing and promoting its Fusion product and has released the final version of the Peoplesoft product. Workday, the cloud-only solution that is publicly traded and making significant strives in many industries, has won deals in human resources and financials implementations but lacks a supply chain solution, critical to any integrated ERP deployment. SAP, the largest ERP provider in the world, has a strong presence in healthcare manufacturers but does not provide a supply chain solution well suited for the unique needs of healthcare providers, and therefore has a very small market share.

McKesson, once a strong player in this space, has faded over the years in ERP as they have with EHR solutions. The majority of the McKesson ERP customer base, using the products commonly referred to as Pathways, have been long-time legacy customers. Pathways has not been kept up with modern ERP needs, and it has been many years since I have seen a hospital consider Pathways as a potential solution, but rather it is typically the solution being replaced.

Infor has invested significantly in creating a cloud-based solution, referred to as CloudSuite. However, the existing healthcare customer base typically has an on-premise installation and therefore cloud adoption has been focused on new customers as well as those that are specifically looking to transition away from on-premise. McKesson has not had a cloud offering, therefore it would make sense for them to partner with someone to offer it as an alternative to Pathways.

Infor will gain access to the Mckesson customer base, many of whom are likely considering leaving Pathways for other solutions anyway. In addition, Infor will be able to provide Mckesson’s Strategic Sourcing solution for their customers.

However, it is unclear what that means for Pathways. While McKesson press releases state that CloudSuite is an alternative to Pathways, one has to wonder why Infor would want to expose their solution to someone who is actively selling a competitive solution, and why McKesson would continue to invest in Pathways when it has access to a much more mature and robust solution as a go-forward path for its Pathways customers.

Therefore while it is likely that McKesson will keep Pathways supported and up-to-date with regulatory improvements for the time being, it seems very unlikely that they would continue to enhance it – and inevitable that it will eventually be sunset in favor of transitioning those customers to Infor Cloudsuite. If history is indeed an appropriate predictor of the future, consider that McKesson announced its BetterHealth 2020 plan – in which they announced a focus on Paragon as their EHR but continued support of the older Horizon EHR product. Shortly after that they went back on that commitment and announced they would sunset Horizon in 2018.

Meaningful Use has led to a focus of resources on Electronic Health Records implementations which have led many customers to hold onto their older ERP solutions past their useful life. I suspect that the next two years will see a re-focus to ERP solutions with customers with more modern solutions focusing on upgrades and new feature deployment while customers with older solutions making a change.

Those customers who stayed on Horizon for too long are currently in a rush to implement replacements before the March 2018 sunset date.Customers on Pathways products should likely start the conversation now about their long-term ERP plans and consider if they want to get ahead of any sunset announcement.

If you’d like to receive future posts by Brian in your inbox, you can subscribe to future Healthcare Optimization Scene posts here. Be sure to also read the archive of previous Healthcare Optimization Scene posts.

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Arcadia Healthcare Solutions Announces $30MM New Investment

Merck Global Health Innovation partners with GE Ventures and existing investors to scale leading healthcare data and advanced analytics company

BURLINGTON, Mass.– Arcadia Healthcare Solutions (“Arcadia” or the “Company”) announced today that the Merck Global Health Innovation Fund (“Merck GHI”), GE Ventures, and existing investors Peloton EquityZaffre Investments, and Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners have invested $30 million of growth capital in the Company.

With over 60 enterprise customers, Arcadia is a leading healthcare data aggregation and analytics technology company with a focus on serving ambulatory networks affiliated with large payer and provider organizations, including health plans, accountable care organizations, integrated delivery networks, and large independent physician groups, among others.

Arcadia’s technology and services enable its customers to successfully drive value-based performance management programs as American healthcare shifts to a new paradigm. Arcadia is led by chief executive officer Sean Carroll, a longtime executive with over 25 years of experience in the health IT industry.

“Having Merck GHI and GE Ventures join existing investors in this round of growth capital is the optimal outcome for us,” said Carroll. “The rigorous process expands our team of blue chip investors who actively support their companies’ growth plans.”

“Arcadia fits perfectly with our initiatives supporting the transition to value based care. Arcadia’s deep expertise in transforming isolated data into critical insights that enable providers to close gaps in care and enable better outcomes is central to our investment hypothesis around Population Health,” stated Joel Krikston, Managing Director at Merck’s Global Health Innovation Fund.

“GE Ventures is excited to back Arcadia in becoming an industry leader to help payers and providers apply advanced analytics to their business models. We’re especially proud to invest in this highly experienced Boston-based team, which is now home to GE’s headquarters,” said Noah Lewis, Managing Director of healthcare at GE Ventures.

The investment allows the company to accelerate its robust product development plans in the core Arcadia Analytics platform and expand population health management market activities across the country. While the company will continue to focus on organic growth, Arcadia has made two successful acquisitions since its founding—Concordant, an EHR support services company in 2011 and Sage Technologies, a managed care services company in 2015.

“Our transformation from a proven consulting firm to a recognized, technology-led population health analytics company is complete as noted by industry experts such as KLAS ResearchGartner, and Chilmark Research,” said Carroll. “We see a bright future for our customers, investors, and team members.”

The capital raise process was managed by Robert W. Baird and supported by counsel Goodwin Proctor.

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About Merck Global Health Innovation Fund

Merck Global Health Innovation (GHI) Fund (www.merck.com/ghi) invests in emerging companies that deliver breakthrough healthcare solutions which advance Merck’s mission to discover, develop, and provide innovative products and services that save and improve lives. Established in 2010, the GHI Fund deploys its evergreen $500 million fund to rapidly identify and develop transformative global health care opportunities. GHI is focused on identifying opportunities that are adjacent to Merck’s core business of pharmaceuticals and vaccines.

About GE Ventures

GE Ventures (www.geventures.com) is committed to identifying, scaling, and accelerating ideas that will make the world work better. Focused on the areas of software, advanced manufacturing, energy, and healthcare, GE Ventures helps entrepreneurs and start-ups succeed by providing access to GE’s technical expertise, capital, and opportunities for commercialization through GE’s global network of business, customers, and partners. GE Ventures offers an unparalleled level of resources through its Global Research Center, including: 35,000 engineers; 5,000 research scientists; 8,000 software professionals; as well as 40,000 sales, marketing, and development resources in over 100 countries.

About Peloton Equity

Peloton Equity, LLC (http://www.pelotonequity.com) is a newly-formed private equity firm that focuses exclusively on growth capital investments in the lower middle market of the healthcare industry. Peloton’s portfolio includes HealthPlanOne, a leading technology-enabled digital marketing firm specializing in Medicare and individual and family health insurance sales and distribution. Peloton leverages its extensive healthcare network, value-building diligence and investment process, and portfolio management playbook to add value to its portfolio companies. Peloton seeks companies with between $20 and $200 million of revenue and the management team, market opportunity and business model to grow revenues meaningfully over the life of its investment.

About Zaffre Investments

Zaffre Investments, LLC (http://www.zaffreinvestments.com/) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts that is committed to adding value through investments in new products, services and technologies that aim to improve the way healthcare is delivered and received. Zaffre focuses on companies across the healthcare landscape, with a primary focus on ACOs, consumer solutions, health information technology, and behavioral health. The firm is stage agnostic, considering a company’s financial and market positions, capabilities, and core values, as well as their missions and visions for the future. Zaffre employs a true partnership model for its portfolio companies, providing strategic direction, business support, industry connections and more.

About Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners

Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners (http://www.morganstanleyaip.com), part of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, specializes in assisting institutional and high net worth investors achieve their goals through the design and management of alternative investment programs. Established in 2000, Morgan Stanley AIP currently has approximately $36.4 billion in assets under management and advisement.

About Arcadia Healthcare Solutions

Arcadia Healthcare Solutions (http://www.arcadiasolutions.com) is an EHR data aggregation and analytics technology company supporting ambulatory networks taking on risk and transitioning to value- based care. Arcadia specializes in integration of data from over 30 EHR vendors, enriching it with claims and operational data, and using that data to drive improvements in patient care quality, practice efficiency, and financial performance. Trusted by independent provider groups, health plans, and integrated delivery networks nationwide, with expertise in both fee-for-service optimization and value- based performance environments, Arcadia supports providers with the benchmark data, insights, and outsourced services to excel in the evolving landscape of American healthcare. Founded in 2002, Arcadia is headquartered outside Boston in Burlington, MA, with offices in Seattle, Pittsburgh, and outside Chicago in Rockford, IL.

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Indecision in Upgrading Infrastructure – Blamed on Meaningful Use

In a conversation I had with Steve Prather, CEO at Dizzion, he made a really interesting observation about meaningful use causing delays in upgrading infrastructure at many healthcare organizations. It’s not hard to see how spending millions, hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars on EHR and related services in order to meet the meaningful use requirements could cause budget cuts in other areas like upgrading infrastructure.

Of course, the opposite can be true as well. I know when we first implemented an EHR, a good portion of the EHR budget was to upgrade some of the infrastructure needed to support the new software. I’m sure that probably means that some infrastructure benefited from the EHR upgrade and meaningful use, but I’m sure some infrastructure spending also got cut or delayed.

In my conversation with Steve he went on to observe that much of the hardware in healthcare organizations had gotten so old, indecision and delays were no longer a choice. Having talked to many CIOs, they feel this in their organizations. While many CIOs want to move on to more strategic efforts, there’s still a big part of any CIOs job that requires them to maintain and upgrade their IT infrastructure. Although, it seems that many of them are looking to push this responsibility off to a kind of IT COO position.

I’ll be interested to watch and see how these organizations approach their infrastructure upgrades. Will most continue to do all the work in house or will they start to outsource this essentially commodity task to an outside company? There’s a really interesting case for why organizations should outsource this work as opposed to continuing to do it in house. All of this points back to the CIO becoming a vendor management organization.

Has your infrastructure upgrades been delayed by meaningful use? Is your organization looking to finally upgrade or is MACRA going to delay things further?

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Kaufman Hall Announces Acquisition of KREG Information Systems

Contract Modeling Capabilities Extend Leadership, Expertise, and Software Tools, Enabling Healthcare Providers to Optimize Financial Performance

SKOKIE, Ill. January 5, 2017Kaufman Hall, a leading provider of management consulting services and enterprise performance management software, today announced the acquisition of KREG Information Systems(KREG), a leading provider of contract management, budgeting, and decision support software for healthcare providers.

With the acquisition of KREG, Kaufman Hall extends its industry leading performance management and decision support capabilities with contract modeling and analytics that enable health systems to more effectively and intelligently transition from traditional fee-for-service to fee-for-value reimbursement models. These tools help organizations to better predict and manage reimbursement and leverage a data-driven approach for improved payer negotiations. With KREG software, organizations can estimate net revenue by patient and better manage contracts, claims, and payments across the organization.

“We are excited to welcome KREG into the Kaufman Hall family, adding extensive industry expertise and new software capabilities that will significantly benefit our clients,” said Tom Walsh, CEO of Kaufman Hall Software. “In today’s healthcare environment, analyzing the impact on net patient revenues of changing reimbursement rules and contract models is integral to both short- and long-term financial planning. KREG’s steadfast commitment to client satisfaction for more than three decades is well aligned with the Kaufman Hall culture of customer excellence.”

Sophisticated contract modeling and claims analytics enables organizations to simulate managed care contracts, estimate third-party contractual allowances, analyze denials, and provide dashboard reporting for improved decision making. Additionally, it empowers staff to negotiate better contracts and ensure payment compliance with payers.

“Leveraging the contract modeling and simulation capabilities provided by KREG, we are able to better predict our reimbursements with the highest degree of confidence and negotiate with payers accordingly,” said Tom Miller, executive director of payer relations at Yale New Haven Health. “The ROI on the technology has been tremendous.”

With the addition of KREG, Kaufman Hall expands its robust enterprise performance management and integrated decision support system, which now includes advanced cost accounting, clinical benchmarking, and revenue cycle management capabilities to drive informed, accurate decisions that impact profitability and patient outcomes across service lines, organizations and the care continuum.

“We are proud to be joining Kaufman Hall, a firm with a long track record of helping healthcare executives develop and execute strategies that optimize financial performance,” said Stephen Kreter, executive vice president and co-founder of KREG Information Systems. “Both Kaufman Hall and KREG have a shared commitment to helping clients improve performance and achieve their goals. Our team is excited about the opportunity to leverage our combined expertise and modern technology to provide best-in-class solutions and service for our customers.”

The addition of KREG is Kaufman Hall’s second strategic software acquisition in 2016. The company acquired Total Benchmark Solution in February, adding data and analytics capabilities that enable hospitals and health systems to reduce clinical variation and improve patient outcomes.

KREG founders Greg Ferguson and Stephen Kreter will continue in leadership roles within Kaufman Hall and the KREG team will continue to operate business as usual in supporting customers and ongoing operations.

About Kaufman Hall

Kaufman Hall provides management consulting and software to help organizations realize sustained success amid changing market conditions. Since 1985, Kaufman Hall has been a trusted advisor to boards and executive management teams, helping them incorporate proven methods into their strategic planning and financial management processes, and quantify the financial impact of their plans and strategic decisions to consistently achieve their goals.

Kaufman Hall services use a rigorous, disciplined, and structured approach that is based on the principles of corporate finance. The breadth and integration of our advisory services are unparalleled, encompassing strategy; financial and capital planning; debt and derivatives-related financial transactions; capital allocation and decision making; and mergers, acquisitions, partnerships, and joint ventures.

Kaufman Hall software includes the Axiom Healthcare Suite, providing sophisticated, flexible performance management solutions that empower finance professionals to analyze results, model the future, and optimize organizational decision making. Solutions for long-range planning, budgeting and forecasting, performance reporting, capital planning, and cost accounting deliver decision support, reporting, and analytics within an integrated software platform. Kaufman Hall’s PEAK Software empowers healthcare organizations with clinical benchmarks, data, and analytics to provide a higher quality of care for optimized performance and improved patient outcomes.

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