Why Texas wants Teladoc’s antitrust suit thrown out

By: Jonah Comstock | Sep 28, 2015        

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TeladocVideoVisitThe Texas office of the Attorney General weighed in on a motion to dismiss Teladoc’s antitrust suit against the Texas State Medical Board on the grounds that there is, in fact, state supervision of the medical board which would make it a state agency under law and therefore immune to suit. Politico first spotted the news.

In April, Teladoc sued the Texas Medical Board, alleging that a recently passed rule requiring doctors to have an in-person or face-to-face visit with a patient in order to prescribe medication, is in violation of antitrust laws and serves to restrict competition from telemedicine companies. The suit leaned heavily on a recent Supreme Court ruling, North Carolina Board of Dental (NCBD) Examiners vs Federal Trade Commission, which ruled that medical boards comprised of private professionals (like practicing doctors and dentists) are not immune to federal anti-trust laws unless they’re directly overseen by full-time agents of the state. Keep reading>>


Survey: 46 percent of docs aren’t aware of Medicare billing code for remote care

By: Aditi Pai | Sep 28, 2015        

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Money TreeSome 46 percent of primary care physicians said they were not aware that they could be reimbursed for non-face-to-face time with Medicare patients who have more than one chronic condition, according to a SmartCCM survey of 500 primary care physicians, which was fielded by Medical Marketing.

The survey was fielded in July and August 2015 and asked primary care physicians how much they knew about the Medicare CPT code 99490.

This code allows physicians to get reimbursed for non-face-to-face care if the patient has two or more chronic conditions that are expected to last more than one year. Other requirements include: the chronic conditions place the patient at significant risk of death, and that providers create, revise, or monitor a comprehensive care plan.

Around 56 percent of primary care physicians said one of the biggest challenges they face when caring for these patients is the complexity of managing multiple conditions and 63 percent said they don’t have time to offer patients with chronic conditions with extra guidance to understand their treatment plans. Keep reading>>

Survey: 44 percent of patients prefer doctors that offer online appointment scheduling

By: Aditi Pai | Sep 28, 2015        

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SurescriptsSome 51 percent of patients who communicate with their doctor via email or text instead of just by phone said they don’t feel as rushed to ask questions, according to a recent Surescripts survey of 1,000 adults. The survey was conducted by Kelton Global.

While 46 percent said they feel more comfortable asking their doctor questions via email or text instead of just by phone, 43 percent said that if they could text and email, they would contact their doctors more often

“Dangerous voids in health information sharing can easily be solved through the use of digital communications and technology,” Tom Skelton, Surescripts CEO said in a statement. “As an industry, we need to come together to connect the nation’s healthcare system – to enhance the patient experience while improving quality and lowering the cost of care.”

According to the survey, 70 percent of respondents found that doctors who use computers or tablets instead of paper during a visit are organized. Seventy percent found these doctors efficient, 40 percent found them innovative, and 33 percent found them competent. Keep reading>>

Survey: 65 percent of millennials think fitness tracking is important

By: Aditi Pai | Sep 28, 2015        

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Some 65 percent of millennials think its important to track their fitness, according to a survey of 5,000 millennials, aged 14 to 34, commissioned by Technogym, a fitness equipment manufacturer. The survey was conducted by Loudhouse, a UK-based independent research agency.

The survey found that 72 percent of millennials said one benefit of tracking their fitness is that they could do it on the go, while 48 percent said it was helpful for keeping their fitness data organized in one place, and 43 percent said a benefit was more accurate data. Some 29 percent said the ease of sharing data with friends and families was a positive to using fitness trackers.

TechnogymThe survey also found that 44 percent of millennials think the traditional gym will evolve in the next five years and that gyms will be more interactive and customized to individual member’s needs. When asked about where millennials expect to get information on health trends in two years,  38 percent said from a health blog, 32 percent said from friends and family, 31 percent said from health-focused apps, and 31 percent said from health magazines.

Last month, another survey conducted about millennials, this one from Nuance, found that they are more likely than baby boomers to crowdsource their choice of physician, both online and in-person with friends.

The survey found that 70 percent of patients aged 18 to 24 choose a primary care physician based on recommendations from family and friends, compared to just 41 percent of patients over the age of 65. When patients are unsatisfied with their care, different age groups use that information in different ways: 51 percent of patients 65 and older tell their doctors directly, while 60 percent of patients aged 18 to 24 tell their friends instead.

Teva Pharmaceuticals buys smart inhaler company Gecko Health Innovations

By: Jonah Comstock | Sep 27, 2015        

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CareTRxGeckoHealthTeva Pharmaceuticals will acquire Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Gecko Health Innovations (previously known as GeckoCap), a smart inhaler company. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gecko’s main product is CareTRx a platform for chronic respiratory disease management that combines a sensor device that connects to most inhalers, a data analytics platform, an accessible user interface, and behavioral triggers to help asthma and COPD patients manage their condition.

Gecko Health Innovations founders Mark Maalouf and Dr. Yechiel Engelhard will work with Teva to explore ways to apply the CareTRx technology to Teva’s product pipeline and portfolio of respiratory products with the goal of improving clinical outcomes. Keep reading>>

Iodine’s new antidepressant tracking app sets sights on postpartum depression

By: Jonah Comstock | Sep 24, 2015        

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Iodine StartIodine, the crowdsourced drug review startup that launched last year, is continuing to focus on antidepressants. Three weeks ago, the company launched an iOS app called Start to help users document their experience with antidepressants, and today the company announced a partnership with Postpartum Progress, a nonprofit that supports women with postpartum depression.

“Start is our mobile health program designed to help people track their experience with an antidepressant and determine if it’s working for them as fast as possible,” the company wrote in a blog post. “It helps people know what to expect from a medication, and also helps them remember to take it. For those who feel their medication isn’t working – which could be as many as half, judging by medical research – we help them talk to their doctor about options.”

The app includes both symptom trackers and medication reminders, and also checks in with a questionnaire every two weeks to track the patient’s depression status. At six weeks, when an antidepressant should have kicked in, it delivers a data report so users can objectively evaluate whether it’s working for them. It also delivers crowdsourced insights and tips from other users of the same drug from Iodine’s website, and integrates with HealthKit to pull in data on sleep, weight gain, and activity. Keep reading>>