Wire #74

  • Northwell + Teladoc: New York’s largest healthcare provider Northwell Health is partnering with Teladoc Health to deliver connected virtual care to patients both inside and outside the four walls of the health system. Implementation will begin at 20 of Northwell’s hospitals, with plans to expand to additional affiliates in the near future. The decision to collaborate was reportedly influenced by Teladoc’s growing relationship with Microsoft, which included the integration of its Solo platform with Microsoft Teams to allow clinicians to conduct telehealth visits without leaving the Teams environment to help streamline administrative workflows.
  • NYU’s Video Reporting Experiment: A new AJR study showed that patient-friendly video reports might help improve understanding of radiology reports. During the four-month study period, 105 NYU radiologists created 3,763 total videos, which were included within NYU’s standard radiology reports and made available via its patient portal. While the video reports added an average of 4 minutes to radiologists’ workflows, 91% of patients preferred video + written reports (vs. 2% w/ written-only), with patients rating both the overall video experience and their improvement in diagnostic understanding as 4.7 out of 5.
  • Amwell Program Expansion: Amwell recently announced the expansion of its virtual specialty care portfolio with the addition of new musculoskeletal and dermatology programs. The MSK program includes a personalized physical therapy plan, telehealth visits, and motion sensors for guided workouts, while the dermatology service allows patients to quickly schedule virtual visits with board-certified dermatologists. Both programs are designed to enable health plans to provide holistic member experiences across a wide range of specialties via a single partner, with the option to brand the solutions as part of their own digital offerings.
  • Diagnosing Physician Error: An interesting study published in The Quarterly Journal of Economics used a machine learning model to predict patients’ probability of a heart attack, then identified cases where physicians’ testing decisions deviated from predicted risk. The approach revealed two major inefficiencies: 1) physicians overtest (predictably low-risk patients are tested but do not benefit), 2) physicians undertest (predictably high-risk patients are left untested then go on to suffer adverse health events). The researchers make the case that the simultaneous over- and undertesting is likely due to systematic errors in judgment, such as overweighting factors like chest pain, and suggest that care models should place a larger emphasis on physician error to mitigate these risks.
  • Show Me Suki: Suki recently debuted new “show me” commands for its voice AI platform, allowing clinicians to quickly retrieve a wide set of patient information such as vital signs, allergies, and medical histories. The feature relieves the cognitive burden of searching and clicking through the patient’s chart, helping doctors be more informed and present when they’re with their patients. Suki’s been busy since closing its $55M Series C round in December, growing its health system and clinic client roster by 38% while increasing its overall user base by 70%.
  • Younger Nurses Driving Staff Shortages: A recent study published in Health Affairs shows that the 1.8% decline in overall RN employment from 2019 to 2021 (the sharpest decline in over 40 years) was driven by nurses below the age of 35 and was contained to the hospital setting. The RN workforce below the age of 35 shrank by 4% as the pandemic resulted in truncated onboarding, training, and residencies, suggesting that hospitals might want to consider refocusing retention strategies on these younger nurses as opposed to older RNs closer to retirement.
  • Surprise Billing Portal: The Federal Surprise Billing dispute resolution process reached a key milestone last week, after CMS officially launched the Independent Dispute Resolution portal that payers and providers would use to resolve out-of-network charge disputes. The portal was due to launch in February, but was delayed after a US District Court in Texas ruled that the arbitration process violated the Administrative Procedure Act. As a result, the portal launches two months later and with new arbiter guidelines.
  • Telestroke’s Efficiency Advantage: In addition to improving patient outcomes, telestroke programs might improve interhospital efficiency by avoiding unnecessary patient transfers. That’s from a new study in Neurology that analyzed data from 21 VA hospitals and 3,488 acute ischemic stroke encounters (2,432 after telestroke implementation), and found that transfers declined by 14.4% after the program’s launch. When adjusting for patient and facility characteristics, the odds of patient transfer fell by nearly 60% after telestroke implementation (odds ratio: 0.39).
  • Access Challenges: Physicians would select a different treatment plan for one third of patients if medication access was not a factor, according to a survey of 102 specialist physicians from OptimizeRX. Respondents reported that their staff spends an average of four hours per day helping patients gain access to medication, and that there’s a growing appetite for solutions that streamline the therapy initiation process. Over 84% of the specialists said that a tool that helped easily file prior authorizations would be “very helpful” within the EHR, while 81% said the same about a solution that would automate the specialty or hub enrollment process.

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-- The Digital Health Wire team