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'End of an Era' for Chemo in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 04 June 2018 16:48
Liam Davenport reports for Medscape on June 03, 2018 that most patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) can now avoid having chemotherapy as a first-line treatment, after a large, randomized trial showed that immunotherapy with the programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) blocker pembrolizumab (Keytruda, Merck) is effective even in patients with minimal PD-L1 expression.
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Last Updated on Monday, 02 July 2018 16:31 Connecting Providers with Patients Print E-mail
Written by FHI News   
Tuesday, 29 May 2018 16:57
An increase in high-deductible health plans, along with the growth in the number of self-pay patients, has many healthcare providers looking for new and innovative ways to serve patients without the hassle of dealing with insurance companies or worrying if they will be paid at all.

Enter, a new healthcare marketplace that connects self-pay patients looking for affordable healthcare with a network of providers who recognize the value of price competition and transparency.

Since its controlled launch earlier this year, more than 300 providers in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties have joined MediXall’s network. Another 5,500 have registered and are in the pipeline completing their agreements. Providers who want to become part of this innovative and robust new platform must undergo a thorough credentialing process by a panel of experienced and respected physicians from a variety of specialties.

Once credentialed, they are assigned a client success manager who works with them to determine what kinds of services patients are looking for and to help package them in a consumer-friendly way so that patients know exactly what the cost is for the services they will receive when making an appointment.

“We are helping to bring healthcare providers cash paying patients, patients who pay before or at the time of the service, which helps providers with their problems with reimbursement,” says MediXall Group Inc. President Michael Swartz, who is responsible for bringing the platform to launch.

Before joining MediXall, Swartz was co-founder of Viridian Capital Advisors where he led all modeling and valuation work for the firm’s M&A and fundraising assignments.

There is no cost to join the network. Healthcare providers are only charged a technology fee when a patient books an appointment. Patients only pay for healthcare services they receive.

“We didn’t want a doctor to have to pay to be on the platform, so we have developed a model that de-risks the process. We charge a technology fee, so when a patient books an appointment, information is sent to the patient and provider – that facilitation of communication is how it is billed,” says Swartz. “The amount it costs a provider is directly related to the value they receive.”

With the click of a button, consumers can search for doctors and book appointments based on cost, distance, ratings, and availability. The network not only includes physicians, but also chiropractors, dentists, orthodontists, holistic medical practitioners, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists and a variety of diagnostic imaging services.

Swartz believes that with the proliferation of high-deductible health insurance, the time is ripe for MediXall.

“Five years ago, a customer of healthcare was insurance companies, payers and employers. But in the last couple of years we have been seeing more and more the trend of the patient being the customer of health care, that’s why we built this platform,” he says.

MediXall is poised for growth with plans to move into Central and North Florida shortly and eventually nationwide.

For more information visit or call (954) 908-3481.
Last Updated on Monday, 18 June 2018 16:57
Telehealth delivers a win-win when the physician is onboard Print E-mail
Written by Accountable Care Options   
Thursday, 17 May 2018 08:23

The biggest challenge when implementing a telehealth program isn’t patient compliance, it’s participation by the primary care physician. Doctors’ daily schedules are so filled with  patient office visits that unless they set aside time for appointments with patients who have telehealth equipment in their homes, they don’t experience the full benefits that remote health care can provide.

Some physicians are doing a phenomenal job using telehealth to supplant office visits and monitor their patients. We call them our pioneers, and they speak to other doctors about utilizing telehealth, its advantages, and how to integrate it into the workflow. For example, a pioneer might have one day of the week where the office closes at noon. The physician allocates part or all of that afternoon for telehealth assessments.

Physicians quickly learn to give themselves a bit more flexibility because these appointments can take from 15 minutes to an hour. The appointment length depends on the questions they ask and the patient’s circumstances: Was the individual just discharged? Is he or she a surgical patient with multiple chronic conditions? In those instances, a physician should allow more time.

Second, training is essential. Doctors should dedicate time to becoming more familiar with the equipment. It's not difficult to use, but as with all technology, the more one uses it, the more efficient one becomes. We encourage physicians to schedule sessions with us to set up the equipment the way they like it and to learn the best practices for conducting an interview.

Once they embrace the technology, they enjoy having live information, because even when a patient routinely comes into the office, he or she will not have vital sign and glucose readings for every day at home.

Using telehealth data, a doctor can see that a patient has had high blood pressure over the last three days or that today’s reading may be the first sign of a problem. With daily monitoring, the physician can ask more intricate questions and thus get to know the patient much better versus seeing the individual once a month in the office.

Doctors who actively use telehealth say the service benefits the patients, too, because they have the flexibility in their schedules and no longer need a medical assistant to take their blood pressure, pulse and other vitals. This is a win-win situation, because the patient gains independence and the primary care physician realizes better use of time and receives better information on the patient.
How to make the most of a post-discharge home visit waiver for chronic care patients Print E-mail
Written by Accountable Care Options   
Thursday, 10 May 2018 09:38

For a select group of doctors associated with Next Generation Accountable Care Organizations, Medicare has increased the number of post-discharge home visits to nine in 90 days from two in the first 30. That greatly benefits primary care physicians with patients suffering from chronic conditions. Best practices make the most of these opportunities to promote patient independence and reduce the likelihood of re-admittance.

In our experience with this program, as a Next Generation Accountable Care Organization, we are conducting three visits for patients in relatively good health. For those with chronic health problems, an additional six visits allows the primary care physician to order follow-ups when the patient’s health declines and to address longer-term needs.

Once a member of our Transitional Care Team conducts the first home visit, the information is reported to the primary care physician for follow-up orders. We try to schedule an appointment with the primary care physician during that visit. If the patient demurs, after we submit that paperwork to the doctor’s office, it's up to the primary care office to schedule the office visit. 

When the patient’s health is unstable, the transitional care team schedules another home visit under the guidance of the primary care physician. These evaluation and management visits tend to be more akin to social service encounters because the registered nurse or ARNP, in concert with a behavioral health professional, is trying to determine whether it is safe for the patient to live independently at home or whether to bring in additional caregivers to assist with activities of daily living. The evaluation and data are reported to the doctor for further follow-up.

One critical question is: Can the patient stay in the home, or has the individual progressed to the point where an assisted living facility might be a better choice? That cannot be answered until the patient is settled in the home. Sometimes, problems don’t present themselves within the 30-day window that Medicare provides for two visits for physicians who are not part of a Next Generation ACO. [non-sequitur. I believe the waiver allows for nine visits within ninety days and they might all be provided in that 30 day period]

In every patient contact, whether medical or social service focused, the primary care physician receives a full report with recommendations and a plan of care as to which services are needed. The plan must be patient-tailored. If the individual needs to be moved to an assisted living facility, the doctor schedules an office visit with the patient and his or her family.
Following five healthy lifestyle habits may increase life expectancy by decade or more Print E-mail
Written by   
Friday, 04 May 2018 17:07

Maintaining five healthy habits-eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, keeping a healthy body weight, not drinking too much alcohol, and not smoking-during adulthood may add more than a decade to life expectancy, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Researchers also found that U.S. women and men who maintained the healthiest lifestyles were 82% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 65% less likely to die from cancer when compared with those with the least healthy lifestyles over the course of the roughly 30-year study period. The study is the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of adopting low-risk lifestyle factors on life expectancy in the U.S. It was published online April 30, 2018 in Circulation.

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Last Updated on Monday, 11 June 2018 13:46
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