Posted by: AtlasMD

February 9, 2015

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Healthcare Informatics: Healthcare Should Be More Like Amazon

David Chou was recently interviewed for a piece at Healthcare Informatics about how the healthcare industry should take a hint from the internet giant Amazon “in order to achieve patient engagement.”

Chou’s reasoning for using analytics to understand patient behavior and patterns is proactive, and indicative of what Direct Care believes should be the standard. He says “We need to project what issues each patient is going to have.”

But to gain the data, technology must be embraced more than it is today – by both patients and healthcare workers. According to the 2014 HIMSS Analytics Mobile Devices Study, it looks like we’re on the right track!

“Interest in telehealth is growing among providers, which could help keep patients out of the hospital. In addition, more than 50 percent of U.S. hospitals are using smartphones and/or tablets and 69 percent of clinicians are using both a desktop/laptop and a smartphone/tablet to access data.”

So how do we continue this trend? Chou says it’s all about changing behavior.

“I think it’s not what they need to know, it’s changing their behavior and how they practice medicine. They do get called for emergencies, but when that [engagement] floodgate opens you know the patient is going to [contact] the doctor anytime they have concerns. It won’t have to be urgent. So it’s a behavior change more than anything. Most of the physicians they know how to use technology. Everyone has text messaging. Everyone knows how to use two-way communications applications. It’s not that they don’t know what they’re doing, it’s just not on a professional manner.”

Click here to read the full interview, which also includes Chou’s thoughts on how patient-generated data can be useful for doctors.

Posted by: AtlasMD

January 21, 2015

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Skate Where the Puck’s Going, Not Where it’s Been.

If you know anything at all about hockey, you know that in order to survive in the game, you must think proactively. It’s the same with most sports, actually. To receive the pass, you go where the object you’re receiving is going – not where it’s already been.

It’s the most basic of principles, and it applies to medicine, too. The ACA is around to stay for a while – that’s just the way of it. So to prevent a giant ball from being dropped, Direct Care is taking it upon itself to show patients where the industry should go in order to catch the pass that is healthcare.

It’s this kind of proactive thinking that is leading docs around the country to open up Direct Care practices. These docs are standing in the end zone, frantically waving their arms calling for the pass; they’re wide open! Their rally cry? Patients really can save money while getting the kind of care they forgot even existed. Third party payments become a thing of the past, and people are reminded of how simple the whole thing can be.

Wayne Gretzky is a hockey hall-of-famer; one can only assume that’s partially because of his ability to apply the principle he so eloquently expressed. Skate where the puck is going, not where it’s been.

Posted by: AtlasMD

December 19, 2014

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If Not Your Doc, Who CAN You Trust?

We hate to hear stories like the one Dr. Frances told recently over at Kevin.md. The picture he paints about his friend who has been the unfortunate victim of not only cancer, but “community” treatment mishaps leaves only one word in our minds.

Chaos.

And that is not the ideal word you want to use to describe healthcare. According to Dr. Frances, several of those mishaps could have easily been prevented if someone were just paying attention to the patient instead of his results. Among these mistakes? The patient was prescribed meds that clashed and is no longer able to participate in lung cancer studies because alternative treatments (also prescribed by his docs) compromised his kidneys.

Dr. Frances has had it up to here. Read more

REBEL.MD: The War on Physicians Escalates

The Sunshine Act attempts to shed light on a potential ulterior motive of physicians influenced by exterior perks, but in what seems to be the latest attack on physicians, Direct Primary Care advocates like Dr. Cavale are fighting back.

“After nearly 20 years of clinical practice, I have yet to encounter even one instance where I felt I prescribed a drug or referred a patient for a test under the influence of a payment or gift from a pharmaceutical company… Our loyalty is and should be to our patient only and patient benefit should be our criteria while prescribing a drug or device.”

Dr. Cavale is in the DPC business to create trust between he and his patients, not tear it down with seemingly unsubstantiated claims.

“The Sunshine Act adds one more suggestion that patients should distrust their doctors. I am not surprised that leaders of both political parties gang up against physicians, but I am astonished that the major media outlets have bought into this notion, without asking for evidence of conflict. Could it be possible that these actions are a concerted effort by those in power to force patients to accept government-prescribed cook-book medical care as the only option available to them, by forcing physicians to be mere pawns in this chess game? Someone tell me it ain’t so!”

But take solace in the fact that word of mouth is powerful. Very powerful. So, may the patients of Direct Primary Care clinics tell the world about the positive experiences they have with their physicians. May they spread the word about how DPC docs put their patients first.

May they declare with confidence that they trust their Direct Primary Care physicians, and in doing so put this whole thing to rest. Once and for all. 

FORBES: Healthcare is at a Tipping Point.

Cisco CEO John Chambers fears the US economy is being threatened by bankruptcy. That is, unless we evolve our healthcare system. He equates the current state of healthcare to the prehistoric state of computers – disconnected and inefficient.

Chambers hopes for better, not only for himself, but for his family and employees. He has an idea of how it could all come together, too, in an “Internet of Everything.”

“The first thing that will happen is all devices on our bodies, in hospitals and in our homes will be connected,” he said. “The second technological advance is video, which is the way people will prefer to communicate in the future. Video can connect any health care professional to any patient and to any specialist, all at tremendous speeds. You’ll be able to receive medical expertise 24/7. Health care applications will combine the technologies of cloud and big data, whether in the hospital or in your home. Video allows a different level of collaboration, and it offers security and privacy from your home. This is the Internet of Everything.”

READ THE FORBES ARTICLE >

We can’t help but think Chambers would look upon the Direct Care healthcare model with a smile, knowing that those in its care are receiving individualized, personalized treatment. Treatment that stems from being able to reach your doc anytime, through seemingly unconventional methods like Skype, Twitter, email and text. Factor in 24/7 physician availability, house calls and office visits that last at least 30 minutes, we don’t think we’re far off from Chambers’ vision.

Maybe this is a good time to mention how the Atlas.md EMR specifically accounts for better connectivity between doctors and patients by integrating all those communication methods directly into the patient’s chart. No, more than accounts for, encourages it. Enables it. Demands it.

Because Direct Care is gearing up to be the thing that tips the point toward better healthcare.

Patients Won’t Take Their Meds? Make Them Play For It!

Getting patients to take their medications is a challenge in itself, and there’s only so much physicians can do without handing patients the bottle of water to wash pills down with each meal.

Not practical.

This issue literally costs insurance providers billions of dollars. Yes, billions. So someone thought outside the box, and is putting gaming techniques to use to help solve this problem. “ngmoco,” a mobile game company has taken on the challenge and is attempting to get users engaged in taking their medications a different way: a smartphone app.

“Oberfest built the app to engage users in their health, but he maintained some of the most viral aspects of mobile games, such as gifts, and a feature to see how friends are faring in their treatment. The app also includes a drug database and sends refill alerts to patients.”

By integrating the need to take medications with the ever addictive nature of the smartphone, game makers are hoping this new approach will help hold patients accountable in a way many people are accustomed to – via their phone.

Read the full article on Reuters, here. > 

Is DPC an Alternative to Conventional Health Insurance?

Graduate Fellow of Health Policy at The Heritage Foundation recently published a paper we thought provoked some really interesting thought. He proposes Direct Primary Care is an innovative alternative for conventional health insurance.

“Direct primary care could resolve many of the underlying problems facing doctors and patients in government and private-sector third-party payment arrangements. It has the potential to provide better health care for patients, create a positive work environment for physicians, and reduce the growing economic burdens on doctors and patients that are caused by the prevailing trends in health policy.”

The Daily Signal agrees, adding, “Physicians benefit from eliminating costly and time-consuming overhead required to get paid on a fee-for-service basis. It also enables them to reduce their practice costs and spend more time actually treating their patients–-which is why they became doctors in the first place.”

We couldn’t agree more!

DIRECT PRIMARY CARE: AN INNOVATIVE ALTERNATIVE TO CONVENTIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE. > 

When Health Insurance and Breakfast Collide.

Sorry, your decaf was denied.

Pamela Wible, MD recently mentioned a couple analogies we happen to have articulated a few times ourselves. She breaks down what it would be like using health insurance to cover breakfast, and the result is less than ideal…

“If you hired a third party to pay your restaurant bill, you’d pay twice as much, wait 2 weeks for a table, and have 7 minutes to eat.”

We’re glad she’s using real world analogies to get the point across; you can’t deny that using health insurance as a catastrophic net makes more sense than a convenience plan for daily maintenance.

READ DR. WIBLE’S ARTICLE >

Los Angeles Times Reports, Obamacare Subsidies On Track To Cost Billions This Year

(via Los Angeles Times)

So, about all those subsidies for health insurance that fueled approximately 8 million sign-ups for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. They are on track to cost us billions of dollars this year, a new federal report indicates.

Nearly nine in 10 Americans who bought healthcare coverage on the federal government’s healthcare marketplaces received government assistance to offset their premiums.

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When Will Technology Actually Transform Healthcare?

“Health care is overwhelmed by “fast, cheap, and out of control” technologies,” writes Joe Flower.

Every new device will revolutionize healthcare, right? We hear this all the time. And, to be fair, we’re tech nerds here in the Atlas MD office.

However, we have a major caveat to our passion for healthcare tech.

In our case, we are excited about iterating on our EMR that eliminates the waste in your direct care practice.

And by eliminating the waste in your practice, we’re helping you to re-imagine how you get paid in your practice.

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