Healthcare Information Technology

This follows the blog article posted November 28, “Connection and Innovation Take Center Stage at the Patient ENGAGE Conference” and is the second feature regarding the MedCity ENGAGE conference Nov. 6-7 in San Diego. Here, we focus on the aspects of the conference that explored the impact of technology on patient engagement, from wearables to DNA sequencing, to apps used by insureds to quit smoking while reducing insurance premiums in the process.
Continue Reading Patient Empowerment Through Technology is Focus of ENGAGE Conference

Requirements for MA Plans Offering Additional Telehealth Benefits

As part of the proposed rule issued November 1, 2018 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) regarding updates to the Medicare Advantage (“MA”) and Medicare prescription drug benefit programs, CMS addressed expanding the ability of MA plans to offer telehealth benefits to their enrollees. The proposed telehealth regulations come on the heels of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 and implement § 50323 related to “additional telehealth benefits.”
Continue Reading Blog Series Part 2: CMS Proposed Rule on Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage, Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, Medicaid Fee-For-Service, and Medicaid Managed Care Programs for Years 2020 and 2021

Blockchain technology is finding its way into every industry. Healthcare is no exception. According to a recent report by Deloitte, “blockchain technology has the potential to transform health care, placing the patient at the center of the health care ecosystem and increasing the security, privacy, and interoperability of health data.” Some of the proposed applications include truly patient-centric health records, provider licensure and credentialing,  supply chain management in conjunction with predictive analytics and more accurate tracking capabilities, among many others. A recent whitepaper addresses “Innovative Blockchain Uses in Health Care” and an overview of blockchain technology. Just recently, Humana, MultiPlan, Optum, Quest Diagnostics and UnitedHealthcare announced a pilot program that will apply blockchain technology to improve data quality and reduce administrative costs around provider data management. 
Continue Reading Blockchain for Healthcare

Will the repeal of the net neutrality rules negatively impact the provision of TELEHEALTH SERVICES, which require robust and reliable internet connectivity?

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must treat all internet data equally and not discriminate or charge differently based on content, user, website, platform, application, or method of communication. Following this principle, the Obama-era Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted net neutrality rules in 2015, classifying high-speed broadband service as a public utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act and prohibiting ISPs from intentionally speeding up, slowing down, or blocking any content, applications, or websites.[1] On December 14, 2017, however, the FCC voted 3-2 to repeal the net neutrality rules, creating considerable uncertainty about how this policy change will affect the healthcare industry, particularly with respect to telemedicine.[2]   
Continue Reading Life in the Slow Lane? What the Net Neutrality Repeal May Mean for Telehealth Services

San Francisco (Wednesday, January 10, 2018) – The third afternoon of the conference was a deep dive into data and analytics, with successive presentations by IBM Watson Health, Inovalon and AthenaHealth and an earlier morning presentation by Chinese genomics company BGI. Significant progress was reported and, interestingly, the more these companies (and others like them) can do, the more that the market expands with new requests and newly discovered needs (a la “what can you really use a tablet for anyway?”). Inovalon reported that the total addressable market has grown in their estimation from $84 billion (as calculated back in 2014) to $142 billion as of 2018. Breaking that down, they believe that there currently is about $40 billion of demand from the provider sector, $51 billion from pharma/life sciences, $17 billion from payors and $33 billion from consumers.
Continue Reading Day 3 Notes on the 2018 JP Morgan Healthcare Conference

This article previously appeared in Law360 on December 20, 2017.

As the U.S. shifts from a fee-for-service (FFS) system to a value-based system, healthcare IT will become an increasingly important component in fostering patient engagement, coordinating care, increasing access to services, and decreasing overall costs. Telemedicine, in particular, is viewed by many as the solution for achieving access to care and cost-efficiency. Concluding 2017, this article looks back on some of the legal and regulatory changes that occurred with respect to telemedicine as well as areas of interest to watch in 2018.


Continue Reading Telehealth In 2017: What Changed And What’s Ahead

The Texas Medical Board’s (the “Board”) adoption of new telehealth licensing regulations may finally put to bed long-running challenges to the state’s historically rigid position with respect to healthcare services delivered remotely via telemedicine.  As we previously reported, the Board had been embroiled in a legal dispute with Teladoc, a large, nationwide telehealth company, involving antitrust challenges and an injunction against the Board’s enforcement of its in-person examination requirement, discussed below.  The ongoing battle prompted action by the Texas legislature to enact statutory changes (Senate Bill 1107 passed last May) to eliminate the requirement that Texas physicians must conduct an in-person visit prior to issuing a prescription.  These new regulations were issued in response to the statutory change.
Continue Reading Texas Telemedicine Saga Finally Over? The Texas Medical Board Substantially Revises Telemedicine Regulations

In our July 10, 2017 post regarding telemedicine prescribing, we wrote about the seven exceptions to the Haight Act’s requirement that a provider and patient have an-person visit before a prescriber/practitioner can prescribe a controlled substance for his/her patient. As we concluded in the post, the current exceptions are so narrowly focused that they are of limited utility to telemedicine providers and practitioners.
Continue Reading More Telemedicine Food for Thought: Exception Five to the Haight Act’s In-Person Examination Requirement

In a move sure to cause murmurs in the large and growing mobile health application industry, the Office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (OAG) has used state trade laws to extract concessions and monetary penalties from mHealth app developers, including the developer of a supposed fetal heart monitoring smartphone app.
Continue Reading New York AG Takes Enforcement Action Against Heart Monitoring Apps: Murmurs of Concern are Heard in mHealth App World