Pristine Raises $5.4 Million in Series A Funding

Led by S3 Ventures, funding will fuel growth of HIPAA-Compliant enterprise communication solutions for Google Glass

AUSTIN, TX

Pristine, developers of the only HIPAA-compliant video streaming and checklist solutions for Google Glass, announced today that it has raised $5.4 million in Series A financing. Austin-based S3 Ventures led the oversubscribed round, which also included Capital Factory, HealthFundr, and a syndicate of strategic clients. This new financing enables the company to expand its R&D, sales, marketing, and operations teams, supporting the company’s rapid growth.

“The team at S3 has pioneered cutting-edge developments in medical devices, enterprise health IT solutions, and more,” said Kyle Samani, cofounder and CEO of Pristine. “With our rapid growth, we are thrilled to have partners with a strong track record of guiding early stage companies to success.

Pristine was born from a common refrain in healthcare: “Hey, can you come over here and look at this?” In response, the company developed EyeSight, the first commercially available, HIPAA-compliant telepresence platform for Google Glass. EyeSight is also finding success outside of healthcare, working with pharmaceutical, medical device, and manufacturing companies on remote support and training applications.

“Wearable technologies like Google Glass are revolutionizing how healthcare is delivered, and the Pristine platform is the market leader,” said Brian R. Smith, Managing Director at S3 Ventures. “Current customers are raving about the product, and we are excited to partner with Pristine to continue innovating in healthcare, as well as remote support applications in other industries.”

“We have deployed EyeSight in ERs, ORs, ICUs, ambulances, and even patients’ homes,” added Samani. “We understand that security is paramount. There is a lot of misinformation about Glass and privacy out in the wild; we have gone the extra mile to guarantee security and control for our clients. Our utmost focus on security will fuel our growth as we scale our wearable communication technology throughout healthcare and across other industries.”

About Pristine

Pristine is pioneering the next generation of telepresence in healthcare and other industries. EyeSight, Pristine’s flagship app, enables HIPAA-compliant audio/video streaming across every platform–Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Android, Google Glass, and other smart glass devices. EyeSight is currently in use for patient care across ERs, ORs, ICUs, ambulances, as well as in

medical education and medical device service. More information can be found at www.pristine.io, pristine.io/blog, and by following @PristineIO on Twitter

About S3 Ventures

S3 Ventures is an earlier stage venture firm with $185 million under management. The firm is focused on information technology solutions that solve large business problems and in medical devices that improve the human condition. S3 invests primarily in the formative stages of a company and partners with the team to help focus methodically on what it takes to build a successful company. For more information about S3, visit http://www.s3vc.com.

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Fall 2014 Health IT Conference Schedule

Going to my third conference in a week must mean that we’re in the heart of Fall health IT conference season. This week I’m at AHIMA. I love attending AHIMA. I think that the AHIMA conference is a bit like HIM staff in general. There this hidden gem that many people don’t recognize even though they have tremendous value. I feel the same at this conference. The HIM staff at AHIMA have some really great perspectives on what’s happening with healthcare IT in their organization. I don’t think it’s a must attend event for everyone, but it’s great for a blogger like me to get a variety of perspectives on the healthcare IT industry.

This is really just the start of the conference season for me. I always get asked by people which conferences they should attend. In fact, my breakfast meeting this morning with a new to healthcare vendor this morning had a lot of discussion about which health IT conferences they should attend. For those interested in this same question, I’ve created a page which lists the Health IT Conferences I’m attending and also a look at some of the major health IT conferences that happen every year.

As I’ve talked to people, I’ve realized there are a few other events that I need to add to the list. I like to joke with people that if I wanted to I could attend a different health IT event every day of the week. Although, that’s not really much of a joke since it’s basically true.

What events do you attend? Which ones do you find most valuable?

From a hospital IT perspective, the CHIME Fall Forum is the tops for me. The Digital Health Conference is good and hospital CFO’s should hit the Craneware Summit. Then, of course, HIMSS is a great place for hospital IT people, but that’s not until April 2015.

I’m looking forward to all these conferences. They provide me a lot of perspective which I use in all of my blog posts. If you’re going to be at any of the events, let me know. I always love to meet readers in person.

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ACOs Stuck In Limbo In Trying To Build HIT Infrastructure

Though they try to present themselves differently, ACOs are paper tigers. While they may be bound together by the toughest contracts an army of lawyers can devise, they really aren’t integrated in a meaningful way.

After all, the hospitals and medical groups that make up the ACO still have their own leadership, they don’t generally hold assets in common other than funds to support the ACO’s operations, and they’re definitely not in a great position to integrate technically.

So it comes as no surprise that a recent study has found that ACOs are having a hard time with interoperability and rolling out advanced health IT functions.

The study, a joint effort by Premier and the eHealth Initative, surveyed 62 ACOs. It found that 86% had an EMR, 74% had a disease registry, 58% had a clinical decision support system, and 28% had the ability to build a master patient index.

Adding advanced IT functions is prohibitively difficult for many, researchers said. Of the group, 100% said accessing external data was difficult, 95% said it was too costly, 95% cite the lack of interoperability, 90% cite the lack of funding or return on investment and 88% said integration between various EMRs and other sources of data was a barrier to interoperability.

So what you’ve got here is groups of providers who are expected to deliver efficient, coordinated care or risk financial penalties, but don’t have the ability to track patients moving from provider to provider effectively. This is a recipe for disaster for ACOs, which are having trouble controlling risk even without the added problem of out of synch health IT systems.

By the way, if ACOs hope to make things easier by merging with some of the partners, that may not work either. The FTC — the government’s antitrust watchdog — has begun to take a hard look at many hospital and physician mergers. While hospitals say that they are acquiring their peers to meet care coordination goals, the FTC isn’t buying it, arguing that doctors and hospitals can generally achieve the benefits of coordinated care without a full merger.

This leaves ACOs in a very difficult position. If they risk the FTC’s ire by merging with other providers, but can’t achieve interoperability as separate entities, how are they going to meet the goals they are required to meet by health insurers? (I think there’s little doubt, at this point, that truly successful ACOs will have to find a way to integrate health IT systems smoothly.)  It’s an ugly situation that’s only likely to get uglier.

Posted in ACO, clinical decision support, Hospital EHR, Hospital Electronic Health Record, Hospital Electronic Medical Record, Hospital EMR, Hospital Healthcare IT, Hospital IT Systems | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Difference Between Google Fit and Apple Healthkit

There’s an article on iMedicalApps which looks at both Google Fit and Apple Healthkit’s offerings. The cliff notes version is that they both store the information in a very similar way (standard format based on type of data). The big difference is that Apple Healthkit also has an Apple Health app that provides a user display of the health data that’s being stored. Google has opted not to provide such an app, but to allow the app ecosystem to take care of it instead.

This shouldn’t really be a surprise. Apple has always been about providing the fully integrated experience. Google has always been about opening up their data and empowering a community of developers to innovate on top of that ecosystem. Look at Android vs iPhones to see what I mean.

These differences aside, I was intrigued by the idea that Apple Healthkit and/or Google Fit would basically create a standard for health data. You can imagine they’re starting with simpler data elements like heart rate, blood pressure, and other fitness measures like steps. I haven’t seen a full list of the various health data they’re standardizing, but it would be interesting to see.

I’m particularly interested to see how they handle a standard for more complex health data. Even something that many might consider simple, like blood pressure, has its own complexities. It’s more than just two numbers. How was the blood pressure taken? Was it sitting, laying down, or standing? Was it the wrist, arm, etc? Depending on what you’re doing this might not matter, but in other cases it does. Does their standard take these things into account?

The challenge for Google, Apple, and any other company that’s working in this space is making sure that the data they collect and share can be trusted. If there’s no trust in the data, then it doesn’t matter how much or what data you collect. A half baked standard leads a lot of healthcare professionals to not trust the data.

I’m hopeful that Google and Apple have put some serious, thoughtful effort into their health data standards. If someone knows where I can find those standards, I’d love to see them.

Posted in Android, Apple, Health Care, Health Sensors, Healthcare IT, mHealth, Mobile Health Care | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

ZirMed Acquires MethodCare to Broaden its SaaS Platform and Enterprise Reach

Predictive Analytics and Workflow Expand ZirMed’s Next Generation Revenue Cycle and Population Health Solutions

Louisville, KY – September 25, 2014 – ZirMed®, the premier cloud-based enterprise business and clinical performance solution for healthcare, today announced the acquisition of MethodCare, Inc. Chicago-based MethodCare is a leading provider of predictive analytics solutions that increase revenue, maximize operational efficiencies, and provide the advanced analytics to help healthcare organizations achieve financial and clinical excellence.

“MethodCare has achieved exceptional growth among the nation’s top hospitals and health systems by developing robust workflow, automation and real-time analytics that are critical to delivering greater value care,” said Tom Butts, chief executive officer, ZirMed. “By merging MethodCare’s proven predictive analytics offering with ZirMed’s population health and revenue cycle solutions, health care providers can now take advantage of the first true centralized end-to-end performance management platform to streamline operations and support greater strategic, data-driven business decisions.”

MethodCare’s flagship SaaS solutions utilize predictive analytics in the areas of patient access, charge integrity, and reimbursement all centered on a patient’s total episode of care. The solutions pinpoint revenue leakage to identify recoverable missed charges, predict denials and appeal success rates, score patients propensity to pay, flag underpayments, and better manage risk-based contracts—resulting in significant financial performance improvements.

“MethodCare is excited to become a part of ZirMed,” said Jeff Kaplan, co-founder and chief executive officer, MethodCare. “Together, we can accelerate the delivery and breadth of revenue cycle and population health solutions that allow healthcare organizations to achieve improved financial performance and deliver the highest quality patient care. ZirMed is a natural fit for us as we share the same commitment to technology innovation and superior client service.”

ZirMed will expand its presence in Chicago with a new Healthcare Analytics Center of Excellence led by MethodCare’s team of data scientists and business intelligence engineers. MethodCare’s implementation and support teams will continue to operate in Chicago with plans for imminent growth.

The addition of MethodCare and recent acquisition of Intelligent Healthcare, LLC., broaden ZirMed’s suite of solutions and enable healthcare organizations of all sizes and complexity to manage both fee-for-service and value-based care simultaneously, while maximizing revenue, streamlining workflows, and optimizing outcomes.

For over 15 years, ZirMed has been optimizing fee-for-service healthcare business performance for more than 200,000 providers, helping them enhance their revenue cycle and drive bottom-line results. ZirMed offers clients a complete solution that solves key problems ranging from coding issues and claims rejections, to payer and patient reimbursement challenges, revenue leakage, data analysis challenges, and more.

About MethodCare
MethodCare is the leading provider of Big Data analytics to help healthcare organizations achieve financial and clinical excellence. Our cloud solutions provide the platform for data integration of all patient accounting and clinical systems, and the advanced analytics to extract actionable insights that improve the revenue cycle and support population health management. MethodCare’s robust workflow and real-time predictive modeling improves patient access, charge integrity, reimbursement, and accurately estimates the health and financial risk of patient populations. Our data-driven method delivers greater revenue, reduces costs and arms healthcare providers with the intelligence to make strategic, proactive decisions that lead to greater value care. For more information, please visit www.methodcare.com.

About ZirMed®
Founded in 1999, ZirMed is the nation’s only company delivering proven cloud-based business and clinical performance management solutions to meet the challenges of managing population health and optimizing fee-for-service and fee-for-value reimbursements. ZirMed combines innovative software development with the industry’s most advanced transactional network and analytics platform to improve the business and process of healthcare, give organizations a clearer view of their financial and operational performance, and streamline critical connections between providers, patients, and payers. ZirMed’s industry-leading technology and client support have been recognized with awards from KLAS®, Healthcare Informatics, Best of SaaS Showplace (BoSS), and Black Book Rankings. Our nationwide network facilitates, manages, and analyzes billions of healthcare transactions, driving bottom-line performance with population health management, clinical communications, comprehensive analytics, eligibility, claims management, coding compliance, reimbursement management, and patient payment services—including credit card processing, online payments, statements, estimation, and payment plan management. To learn more, visit www.ZirMed.com.

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EMR Change Cuts Cardiac Telemetry Use Substantially

Changing styles of medical practice can be really tough, even if major trade organization sticks its oar in to encourage new behavior from docs.

Such is the situation with cardiac telemetry, which is listed by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation as either unnecessary or overused in most cases. But a recent piece of research demonstrated that configuring an EMR to help doctors comply with the guideline can help hospitals lower needless cardiac monitoring substantially.

Often, it takes a very long time to get doctors to embrace new guidelines like these, despite pressure from payers, employers and even peers. (Physicians may turn on a dime and try out a new drug when the right pharmaceutical rep shows up, but that’s another story.) Doctors say they stick to their habits because of patient, institutional or personal preferences, as well as fear of lawsuits.

But according to a recent study appearing in JAMA Internal Medicine, reprogramming its Centricity EMR did the trick for Wilmington, Del.-based Christiana Care Health System.

To curb the use of cardiac telemetry that was unnecessary, Christiana Care removed the standard option for doctors to order cardiac monitoring outside of AHA guidelines, and required them to take an extra step to order this type of test.

Meanwhile, when the cardiac monitoring order did fall within AHA guidelines, Christiana Care added an AHA-recommended time frame for the monitoring. After that time passed, the EMR notified nurses to stop the monitoring or ask physicians if they believed it would be unsafe to stop.

The results were striking. After implementing the changes in the EMR, the health systems average daily not intensive care unit patients with cardiac monitoring fell by 70%. What’s more, Christiana Care’s average daily cost of administering  non-ICU cardiac monitoring held by 70%, from $18,971 to $5,772.

Christiana Care’s health IT presence is already well ahead of many hospitals — it’s reached Stage 6 of the HIMSS EMRAM scale — so it’s not surprising to see it leading the way in shaping physician behavior.

The question now is how the system builds on what it’s learned. Having survived a politically-sensitive transition without creating a revolution in its ranks, I’d argue the time is now to jump in and work on compliance with other clinical guidelines. With pressure mounting to deliver efficient care, it’d be smart to keep the ball rolling.

Posted in clinical decision support, CPOE, EMR ROI, health information exchange, Hospital EHR, Hospital EHR Company, Hospital EHR Vendor, Hospital Electronic Health Record, Hospital Electronic Medical Record, Hospital EMR, Hospital EMR Company, Hospital EMR Vendor, Hospital Healthcare IT | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Is No Flex-IT the Best thing for EHR and Healthcare?

Strategically placed during National Health IT Week, 17 healthcare organizations sent a letter to HHS requesting that the meaningful use reporting period for 2015 be adjusted from 365 days to 90 days. Along with that, the Flex-IT act was introduced to congress in order to legislate this change. It’s always hard to predict what congress will do, but many believe that the Flex-IT act will get tagged on to something else and get passed. We’ll see if that indeed happens.

What everyone I talk to agrees is that the 365 day meaningful use stage 2 reporting period is going to be impossible for hospitals to meet. Sure, a few hospitals might make some herculean effort and meet it, but they’ll be so few and far between that they’ll be a rounding error.

What would it mean to healthcare and meaningful use if almost every hospital opts out of the meaningful use program? This isn’t too hard to imagine. A large portion of the meaningful use money has already been spent and the penalties don’t look that bad when you consider the costs and risks associated with the all or nothing meaningful use program.

If the MU reporting period doesn’t change, I think it spells the death of meaningful use. Sure, the program will subsist for those who have attested, but it will be a defunct program with so few participants that the program will have little impact. Plus, we’ll see a wave of efforts to make sure that those penalties for not being meaningful users of an EHR are removed much like has been done with the SGR fix year after year.

The Flex-IT act would at least keep meaningful use on life support. MU 2 is much harder, but with a change to a 90 day reporting period many will do it to avoid the penalties and get the last bit of EHR incentive money. If we want meaningful use to survive, then the Flex-IT act (or something that does something similar) is going to be essential to its future.

I’m just personally not sure that the Flex-IT act is such a great thing for EHR or the industry. Is it better to keep meaningful use on life support or bite the bullet now and have meaningful use die on the vine.

One might argue that meaningful use has accomplished it’s main goal: adoption of EHR software. It’s dramatically accelerated the adoption of EHR software. Would it be such a bad thing for meaningful use to disappear now? With MU gone, we could return to a more rationale EHR market. I guess this is where I’m torn on whether getting the Flex-IT act passed is a good or a bad idea.

What do you think? Is the Flex-IT act a good idea or should we just fall on the sword now as opposed to prolonging the regulation?

Posted in HITECH, Hospital EHR, Hospital Electronic Health Record, Hospital Electronic Medical Record, Hospital EMR, Hospital Healthcare IT, Meaningful Use | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Where Do We See the Latest Startup Methodology in Healthcare IT?

I’ve been spending the day at the Intelligent Insite Build conference in beautiful Fargo, ND. I’ll be on stage later to talk about what’s happening with Healthcare IT. However, the past day at the conference I’ve been really intrigued by the company culture that exists at Intelligent Insites.

While I do almost all of my work in Healthcare IT, I also have a foot in the vegas tech startup world as well. As part of that and my love of tech, I’m always interested in startup culture and the latest trends in startup company creation. What I didn’t expect was to find these startup culture concepts in full bloom in Fargo, ND. I guess I should have known that the Internet and social media were spreading these ideas everywhere. Even in Fargo and even in Healthcare.

Just to share a few examples. It was great to see the whole Intelligent InSites team training on lean startup methodology. The extreme customer service focus is another example. I also loved the way the company has integrated itself into the local startup company ecosystem. I’m sure this is just touching the surface, but is a clear sign of the startup culture they’ve created.

What’s a little surprising to me is that I don’t know of other hospital IT companies that exhibit a similar culture. I’d love to hear if you know of others.

My guess is that we don’t hear about them more in hospital IT because hospitals have a general fear of the “startup” idea. The hospital culture is a no risk culture and the startup culture is seen as one of risks.

What hospitals don’t understand is that a startup is about some business risk, but not patient risk. The former can be a challenge for some organizations, but that’s a risk with organizations of all sizes. A large organization could just as easily cut that department. Plus, a well capitalized startup company is just as stable or more stable than a large company. The patient risk shouldn’t be a concern with a well run startup company.

We need to embrace more of the creativity that startups can bring to an industry. Healthcare can use a bit more creativity.

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Podcast: Care Innovations CEO Sean Slovenski on his company’s Validation Institute

PALO ALTO, Calif. — I’m out here in the Bay Area, in part because Intel-GE Care Innovations invited me to be one of six judges of its first-ever “hackathon” this past weekend. (Full disclosure: Care Innovations paid my travel expenses, but placed no editorial demands on me.)

On Saturday, I sat down with CI CEO Sean Slovenski to discuss a number of issues in digital health and health reform, but I found myself most curious about CI’s new Validation Institute, launched in late June, which looks to bring some truth to some outrageous claims made by entrepreneurs in the untamed world of digital health, telehealth and population health management. I turned on the voice recorder, and this short podcast is the result.

(Sorry for the bit of background noise. We both live in the Midwest, and just had to do this outside on a gorgeous California morning.)

Podcast details: Interview with Sean Slovenski, CEO of Intel-GE Care Innovations, on the company’s new Validation Institute. MP3, stereo, 192 kbps,  9.2 MB. Running time 6:38

Posted in certification, disease management, health it, Healthcare IT, Innovation, mobile, podcast, remote monitoring, standards, Telehealth, vendors | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Are EHR Complex Because Now We Can Make Them Complex?

I recently had a chance to do some late night research for this blog at a QuickCare center near my house (4 sutures later and I should be fine).  While I was there I dropped the fact that I was an EHR blogger so I could get them to talk about their experiences with EHR. As expected, they had strong feelings about EHR and we’re happy to share. In fact, the next week they were switching EHR software in a big bang style switchover with 4 hours of training before the switch. God bless them on their conversion.

Although, one of the comments that struck me most was from the nurse who said, “I use to use MEDITECH and it was so simple to use.”  They then went on to talk about the old DOS-like user interface that MEDITECH employed and how easy it was to use.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this response and it made me wonder, Are we making EHR more complex because now we can?  Think about it for a second. In the DOS based world, you couldn’t make an application complex because the interface couldn’t support it.

I’m not suggesting we go back to a DOS based interface. However, maybe there’s some lessons to be learned from that simpler time.

For example, could a number of keyboard commands be integrated into the EHR to make it more effecient. You might remember that the DOS-based environment was all keyboard based which was part of its efficiency. It made for a bit more learning curve, but once you mastered it, it was incredibly fast.

One thing that is missing from EHR today is simplicity. Maybe looking back might help us remember a simpler day.

Posted in Hospital EHR, Hospital EHR Company, Hospital EHR Vendor, Hospital Electronic Health Record, Hospital Electronic Medical Record, Hospital EMR, Hospital EMR Company, Hospital Healthcare IT | Tagged , , , | Comments Off