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Healthcare Quicklinks: Value based care, new ACC accreditation, patient collection mistakes, and more

Posted on: 11.08.18

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments:

Physician practices seek help in transition to value-based care

Physicians not affiliated with hospitals are increasingly turning to consulting firms to help them move into value-based care and accountable care organizations (ACOs), according to a new Black Book Research report. A survey of nearly 900 physician organizations showed that 68% of group practices of 10 or more doctors said they will seek “external advisement on financially and clinically transforming their operations” within the next year. Continue reading…

ACC launches new quality accreditation program for excellence in cardiovascular care

The American College of Cardiology (ACC)’s new accreditation program, HeartCARE Center: National Distinction of Excellence, will be designated “forward thinking” hospitals and healthcare systems that demonstrate excellence in cardiovascular care and also “advance the cause of sustainable quality improvement.” The HeartCARE Center designation is now the highest a hospital or healthcare system can receive from the ACC. Continue reading

Here is how all 50 states, DC rank in patient access

The Mercatus Center within Fairfax, Va.-based George Mason University released its June 2018 update report on patient access to healthcare. The Healthcare Openness and Access Project reviewed state health data to draw comparisons on states’ healthcare flexibility. The ranking leverages the overall HOAP index, which averages 10 equally weighted subindexes that “measure the discretion patients and providers have over broad areas of healthcare, such as public health and telemedicine,” the report states. Here’s how all 50 states and Washington, D.C., stacked up. Continue reading…

CMS seeks input on Stark Law changes amid value-based care shift

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently asked stakeholders for input on how to change the Stark Law to allow for better care coordination and new alternative payment models or other novel financial arrangements. The agency specifically is requesting input on what new exemptions to the Stark Law are needed to protect accountable care organization models, bundled payment models and other payment models, including how to allow coordination care outside of an alternative payment model. It also asks for help examining definitions for terminology such as risk-sharing, enrollee, gain-sharing and other terms. Continue reading…

5 common patient collections mistakes

It wasn’t long ago when patient collections were viewed as a minor concern in ASCs. Reimbursement was strong, and what patients owed for their care was relatively low. Then reimbursement started tightening while patient financial responsibility rapidly increased. Since 2015, patients experienced a nearly 30 percent increase in deductible and out-of-pocket maximum costs. It won’t be surprising to see that figure rise even further when Black Book releases its 2018 revenue cycle management surveys. Continue reading…

Deep learning, SPECT-MPI forecast obstructive CAD

SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) and deep learning have proven to be a powerful pair in predicting obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) and improving the interpretation of upright and supine images, according to research published Sept. 27 in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. The study analyzed stress MPI images from 1,160 patients (64 percent males) from the National Institutes of Health-sponsored Registry of Fast Myocardial Perfusion Imaging with Next generation SPECT (REFINE-SPECT) who underwent upright and supine SPECT MPI in four U.S. nuclear cardiology centers between 2008 and 2015. Continue reading…

SNMMI comments on 2019 proposed hospital outpatient rule

SNMMI and the American College of Nuclear Medicine recently responded to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ 2019 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) Proposed Rule. In brief, SNMMI and ACNM objected to CMS’ proposal to remove three radiopharmaceuticals from the pass-through list for 2019. They also noted that removing two Alzheimer’s drugs from pass-through, while putting another back on pass-through, will make it difficult to obtain coverage for any of the three. Lastly, SNMMI and ACNM asked CMS to clarify that it will continue to provide additional payments for low-enriched uranium. Read thefull letter here.

Brain MR-PET reveals widespread inflammation in fibromyalgia patients

Using MR/PET imaging, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have revealed that elevated glial activation—widespread neuroinflammation—correlates with fatigue levels in patients with fibromyalgia, and may enhance the development of treatment. The research was published online Sept. 14 in Brain, Behavior and Immunity. Continue reading…

DMS completes ISO-9001 Certification, certified mobile PET/CT provider

Posted on: 10.18.18

DMS Health Technologies, a leading provider of Mobile MRI, PET, and CT imaging, recently announced that it has obtained ISO-9001 certification. ISO 9001 is the international standard for quality management systems (QMS).

What is ISO-9001 certification and why does it matter?

Organizations in various industries leverage the ISO-9001 standard as a way to demonstrate their ability to consistently offer products and services that meet these specific requirements.

In the healthcare sector, standards help minimize errors, reduce redundancy, lower costs, and increase customer satisfaction. It’s critical for a provider like DMS to offer quality equipment to hospitals and bring the same level of care to their patients, especially when they’re operating as an extension of the hospital.

Covering everything from product fulfillment and maintenance to overall quality management, ISO offers a framework for identifying non-conformance and provides corrective processes. Each step is a chain of events, a series of inputs and outputs, and when they’re successfully connected to each other to work as an effective process, it provides the most efficient path to quality.

Imaging Equipment and Services

For DMS equipment, the certification was focused on how to fulfill an order and execute the deliverables within the contract. The DMS team expects their equipment to arrive on time, be clean, well maintained, and ready to go.

The ISO certification didn’t just help with the leasing side of their business. On the service side, delivery included DMS staff that provided diagnostic imaging on the hospital’s patients. With DMS’ ISO certification, hospitals can have peace of mind that both equipment and services comply with standards of excellence, which allows DMS to represent the hospital well.

When you leverage DMS Health Technologies, either for products or services, they serve as an extension of your organization. The ISO 9001-2015 certification is just one more way that DMS has demonstrated their commitment to the satisfaction of their customers and to the overall quality they provide.

MedAxiom Fall 2018 CV Transforum Conference Preview

Posted on: 10.10.18

MedAxiom’s annual Fall 2018 CV Transforum Conference will be held in Austin, Texas from October 11-13, 2018.

The Live Music Capital of the World will host over 6,800 physicians and more than 400 cardiovascular organizations as they come together to share information and experiences, network with their esteemed peers, and discuss key industry trends. Attendees will be introduced to transformational programs and hear from the nation’s top leaders.

This year’s keynote presentation will focus on the state of our industry in a market that is being led and developed to support self-insured employers. Other general session topics include telehealth and virtual medicine, physician alignment organizations and payer platforms, and the latest regulatory and legal developments in Washington.

With additional detailed breakout presentations and intimate POD group discussions, attendees will have multiple opportunities to gain in-depth insight and real-world solutions to the challenges we face as an industry.

If you want to maximize your trip, head to the pre-conference area where you can tackle a content-rich boot camp for new APP Provider leaders or take a dive deep into exploring quality metrics and compensation formulas.

Digirad is proud to be an exhibitor at the 2018 Transforum Conference again this year. We’d love to introduce you to our wide range of solid-state imaging solutions or answer any questions you may have about our products, services, or support. Be sure to stop by the Exhibit Hall and say hello.

See you in Austin!

Join Digirad at ASNC 2018 in San Francisco

Posted on: 08.30.18

Grab your suitcase and join Digirad at the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology’s 23rd Annual Scientific Session. From September 6 through 9, 2018, we’ll be at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in the sunny city by the bay, San Francisco, California.

This year’s theme, Bridging Quality Imaging and Patient Care, will bring together cardiologists, radiologists, practice administrators, and other healthcare professionals from around the world to discuss emerging research, new technology, and advances in nuclear cardiology.

What’s new?

Brand new for 2018 is show-stopping keynote speaker, Tait Shanafelt, MD, Director of the Stanford WellMD Center and international thought leader. He’ll share insight on how to find meaning, balance and professional fulfillment in the practice of medicine.

Other first-time features include an imaging-based case management track, hands-on PET and SPECT simulation, a walk and learn tour with past ASNC presidents, deep dives on machine learning, molecular imaging, and other fast-evolving innovations, and more. Plus, 2018 marks ASNC’s 25th anniversary. You won’t want to miss this milestone celebration!

Visit us at Booth #401

While you’re there, be sure to visit the Exhibit Hall to learn about the latest advances in nuclear cardiology technology and professional services. Digirad is thrilled to be among the exhibitors at this year’s meeting. Look for us in Booth #401 where we’ll be showcasing the Cardius® X-ACT+ SPECT/FAC camera. We’ll also have team members on hand to discuss cardiac PET solutions. Stop by and see us!

For more information about the event, click here to visit the ASNC website.

World Lung Cancer Day – August 1st

Posted on: 07.26.18

This upcoming Wednesday, August 1st, is World Lung Cancer Day.  As healthcare providers, we feel that it is important to help raise awareness of the disease and discuss what can be done to combat it.

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women – second only to prostate and breast and prostate cancer.  With over 234,000 new cases of lung cancer being diagnosed each year, the chances of developing the disease are 1 in 15 for men and 1 in 17 for women.  With statistics like these, it is important that we know what symptoms to look for and what we can do to prevent it.

Signs & Symptoms

Unfortunately, the majority of people that develop lung cancer are asymptomatic, or do not have any signs or symptoms, before the cancer starts to spread.  Some individuals do experience early symptoms that help to detect the cancer before it spreads but it is not as often as the medical community would like.  Some of the most common symptoms of lung cancer are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent cough that lingers or gets worse over time
  • Cough that produces a bloody or concerning looking phlegm
  • Consistently feeling tired or weak
  • Loss of weight or appetite
  • Chronic respiratory infections – bronchitis, pneumonia, etc.…
  • Wheezing

Early Detection

There is hope thanks to advances in technology and medicine.  As detection methods are improving, so are the odds of overcoming early stage lung cancer.  One of the best screening tools out there is a low dose CT (LDCT) lung cancer screening.

What is a low dose CT lung cancer screening?

LDCT lung cancer screening is exactly as it sounds – a CT or CAT scan involving a minimal amount of radiation.  The exam itself takes only a few seconds while most of the time spent at the imaging facility is either registering at the front desk or walking back to the CT department.  Luckily, there is no need to have an IV or contrast injected as part of the routine screening exam.

Can anyone have a LDCT lung cancer screening?

Right now, to qualify for a LDCT screening exam, there are a few criteria that must be met.  Keep in mind, newer healthcare procedures tend to evolve over time and this is what the American Cancer Society currently recommends (all criteria must be met):

  • Be a current smoker or have quit within the past 15 years
  • Have a 30+ pack year smoking history: This equation for this is: (# of years smoked) x (# of cigarettes per day) = pack years
  • Example: (15 years of smoking) x (2 packs per day) = 30 pack years
  • Received counseling to quit smoking if they are current smokers
  • Have been informed by their physician regarding the potential benefits, limitations and harms associated with LDCT screenings
  • Have a facility where they can go to receive LDCT screenings and treatment


Digirad and DMS Health Technologies are available to help your facility or clinic establish a LDCT screening program. Don’t have a CT scanner?  No worries, we can help with that.

There are many resources out there on lung cancer, smoking cessation, patient and family support.  A few great places to start are:

Quicklinks: Hospital cost cutting, enhancing the patient experience, and more

Posted on: 06.14.18

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the operation and growth of your business. Here are some relevant conversations and important developments happening in our industry as of late:

Hospital costs should be cut 24 percent by 2022 to break even, outsourcing may help, survey says

Hospital leaders are exploring ways to outsource services to free up resources, and if the results of a new Black Book survey are any indication, this strategy will come none too soon. In order to break even, average hospital costs will have to be reduced by 24 percent by 2022 and, according to the survey, hospital leaders are determining whether to work with third-party vendors for cost efficiencies in both clinical and nonclinical functions. Continue reading…

CMS debuts strategy to improve rural healthcare

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently unveiled the Rural Health Strategy, a plan to take proactive steps to ensure rural communities receive quality and affordable access to healthcare. The new policy aims to advance programs that help to meet the healthcare needs of nearly 60 million people living in rural areas across the country. Continue reading…

PiB-PET study strengthens link between amyloid, dementia

According to a study published online in JAMA Neurology, the presence of amyloid on PET scans may be a sign that adults with no symptoms of dementia are still at risk of mild cognitive impairment or even Alzheimer’s disease as they age. Researchers conducted PET scans with carbon-11-labeled Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB-PET) and found that adults ages 50 to 59 who had amyloid were twice as likely to develop dementia by the time they reached their 80s compared with age-matched counterparts with no signs of amyloid accumulation. Continue reading…

4 elements that enhance patient experience

During AONE 2018’s keynote presentation, Chip Heath, an expert in organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, spoke on the importance of creating positive moments and how they have the potential to influence a patient’s healthcare experience. During his talk, The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact, he discusses how moments have the power to jolt, elevate, or change a person. Nurse leadership can build these peak moments that will stick with patients for a lifetime and improve a patient’s healthcare experience through the use of four elements. Continue reading…

Addressing productivity, labor to bend the healthcare cost curve

From alternative payment models and value-based purchasing to artificial intelligence and data analytics tools, the healthcare industry is transforming how care is delivered and paid for to reduce constantly rising medical costs. While payment reform and health IT bring promises of reduced costs and increased productivity, there’s doubt as to whether can these efforts truly bend the healthcare cost curve. Continue reading…

Glucose and beyond? Experts debate optimal targets for managing CV risk in diabetics

For diabetic patients with or at risk for cardiovascular disease, experts at the 2018 European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS) meeting agree that glucose management should not be the only treatment target, but how much priority it should take compared with other risk factors remains an open question. In the past, interventional studies did not show any type of improvement in the cardiovascular outcomes. Now there is data that can reduce cardiovascular outcomes in patients with diabetes if the correct treatment is used. Continue reading…

Cardiology societies release consensus on ionizing radiation in cardiovascular imaging

A new expert consensus document that guides the optimal use of ionizing radiation in cardiovascular imaging was published in the May 2, 2018 online edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The document offers best practices for safety and effectiveness when using computed tomography (CT), nuclear imaging, and angiographic/fluoroscopic imaging. Its purpose is to assist cardiovascular practitioners in providing optimal cardiovascular care when employing ionizing radiation in diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Continue reading…

Visit Digirad at the SNMMI 2018 Annual Meeting

Posted on: 06.08.18

The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) 2018 Annual Meeting will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in historic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from June 23 through June 26.

Join the over 5,000 leading nuclear medicine and molecular imaging professionals, including physicians, radiologists, cardiologists, pharmacists, scientists, and lab professionals, who will visit the City of Brotherly Love to experience the world’s premiere scientific, educational, research, and networking event.

This year’s conference was condensed to four days, but it certainly doesn’t skimp on content. Choose among more than 195 accredited CE and scientific sessions, 800+ scientific posters, and countless networking events. You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with over 170 trendsetting companies–the ones responsible for driving change in our industry–in the world-class Exhibit Hall. Take time to engage with industry experts, explore the latest emerging technology, and learn about the innovative new products and services that will help you stay ahead of the curve.

While you’re there, be sure to visit Digirad at Booth #657. We’ll be proudly exhibiting our QuantumCam, X-ACT+, and Ergo™ Imaging Systems. Stop by and see us!

QuickLinks: 4 ways to cut down on no-show patients at your practice, and more

Posted on: 05.10.18

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments:

4 ways to cut down on no-show patients at your practice

The Elmont Teaching Health Center, a federally qualified health center, cut its patient no-shows by 34%. That’s significant given that missed appointments cost up to 14% of anticipated daily revenue at clinics and can also result in longer wait times and can hurt care quality, health outcomes and patient satisfaction. The steps that Elmont took to reduce the number of no-show patients can help other practices or even other businesses that are hurt when customers don’t show up for appointments. Continue reading…

Drug that treats psoriasis also reduces aortic vascular inflammation

An antibody used to treat the skin disease psoriasis is also effective at reducing aortic inflammation, a key marker of future risk of major cardiovascular events. Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, led a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study and found patients who took the drug ustekinumab had a 19 percent improvement in aortic inflammation, as measured and confirmed by imaging, when compared to the placebo group. Continue reading…

Montreal Parkinson Risk of Dementia Scale deemed accurate

The office-based, eight-item Montreal Parkinson Risk of Dementia Scale is a valid predictor of development of dementia, according to a study published online in JAMA Neurology. Colleagues from McGill University in Montreal conducted a multicenter study using four diverse Parkinson’s disease cohorts with a prospective 4.4-year follow-up to examine the predictive validity of the Montreal Parkinson Risk of Dementia Scale. A total of 717 patients with Parkinson’s disease were recruited; 607 were dementia-free at baseline and followed for one year or more. Continue reading…

Imaging tracer specific to bacterial infections shows early promise

It may be possible to distinguish infection from inflammation with maltodextrin imaging agents, according to one rat study looking at these tracers to catch infections early on for implanted cardiac devices. One such tracer, maltohexaose conjugated with fluorescent dye, accumulated at one hour after injection in a model of subclinical device pocket infection in rats and persisted over 24 hours. Continue reading…

Pulmonary hypertension at baseline doesn’t raise mortality after TAVR

More than three-quarters of patients undergoing TAVR present with some degree of pulmonary hypertension, but this has no bearing on subsequent mortality, researchers have found. Rather, what matters most is whether the condition persists after TAVR. Pulmonary hypertension is one of the many risk factors that enter into decision-making for TAVR operators and heart teams. In fact, pulmonary artery pressure is one element of the EuroSCORE. Continue reading…

MedAxiom 2018 CV TransForum Conference – Event Preview

Posted on: 04.05.18

MedAxiom, the nation’s leading community-based cardiovascular performance organization, will hold its 2018 CV TransForum Conference on April 12-14 at the iconic Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra, Florida. Industry leaders from across the nation will come together to discuss industry trends, advancements in technology, examine practical business applications, and share best practices.

The conference itinerary is packed with unparalleled learning opportunities that ultimately focus on increasing the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of both your business and patient care. With relevant general sessions and a variety of breakout presentations, attendees will explore the challenges we currently face and strategies to stay ahead of the curve.

Big picture and deep dives

The focus on bundled payments will continue from last year, and the conference will take an in-depth look into the methods for not only choosing a bundle but also how to work efficiently within the bundle methodology. This year’s itinerary explores the processes and protocols that deliver the best outcomes with the lowest possible cost and ultimately seek to identify patient decompensation before it gets too costly and damaging for the patient.

Sessions will also address methods to protect and grow market share, a critical component of the conference, and discuss strategies that will help hospitals and physicians more effectively manage their care.

Notable speakers

Among others, keynote speaker and industry top thought leader will be Dr. David Wolinski, past president of the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology and the head of nuclear cardiology at the Florida-based Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Wolinski will discuss the future of imaging and how to develop a successful PET imaging program. He’ll be joined by Dr. Edward Fry, Chair of the Cardiology Division and CVSL of the St. Vincent Medical Group in Indianapolis, Indiana, who will share his thoughts on the CV healthcare landscape, the key trends, major issues, and the impact they have on our industry today.

Finally, discussions on new revenue streams and cost savings ideas will round out the conference. They’ll touch on the best ways to cut costs and drive revenue while continuing to protect income. It’s all about balance.

Join us!

If you’re a hospital or service line administrator, physician leader, CFO, COO or a technologist, you won’t want to miss this conference. Digirad is proud to be an exhibitor at the 2018 TransForum Conference again this year. To learn more about MedAxiom and upcoming events, visit their website.

Domestic Supply of Tc-99m Isotope, CMS focuses on Illegal Billing, and more

Posted on: 02.15.18

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments:

FDA Clears Path For First Domestic Supply of Tc-99m Isotope

On February 8, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) took steps to ensure a stable and secure supply of a critical radioactive imaging product used to detect potentially life-threatening diseases. The FDA approved the RadioGenix System, a unique system for producing Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), the most widely used radioisotope in medical imaging. The NRC is issuing guidance and will license the RadioGenix System to enable the Tc-99m it produces to be used for medical imaging. Continue reading…

CMS Reboots Effort To Curb Illegal Medicare Billing

The CMS is restarting an initiative meant to prevent providers from illegally billing some Medicare beneficiaries for cost-sharing. The agency will start sending new billing notices to providers this summer, alerting them when certain beneficiaries should not be billed for cost-sharing, according to a Feb. 2 notice to clinicians.

The CMS first launched the effort last year after receiving reports that providers hit some patients that were dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid with coinsurance costs even though they were enrolled in a savings program. Continue reading…

PET-CT Scans For Pancreatic Cancer Patients Eliminates Additional Surgery

A recent guideline from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the United Kingdom recommends PET-CT scans should be used to more quickly and accurately diagnosis and manage pancreatic cancer, resulting in a 20 percent reduction in surgery to remove the cancer.

According to a NICE press release, this recommendation will ultimately mean that pancreatic cancer patients whose cancer has spread and is “inoperable” will not need to undergo additional surgery. Additionally, this will also limit the damaging side effects of chemotherapy many pancreatic patients endure for treatment. Continue reading…

An Important Financial Metric Your Practice Should Track

DSO (Days Sales Outstanding) is the number of days it takes to see a patient and get the final payment posted into your billing system. It’s a critical number when it comes to evaluating the overall health of your practice because it determines cash flow, which helps you budget and plan. If you are like most private practices, every penny counts and knowing you will be able to function as a business is very important. If you are one of those providers or administrators that “sort of guesses,” you’re playing with fire.

Do you know your average DSO? Do you know how to calculate it? If you answered “no” to either of these questions, continue reading…

24% Of Ischemic CVD Patients Die or Are Rehospitalized Within 6 Months

Nearly a quarter of patients with chronic ischemic cardiovascular disease are either dead or rehospitalized within six months of their diagnosis, according to a recent report published in theEuropean Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Lead author Michel Komajda, MD and colleagues launched the Chronic Ischaemic Cardiovascular Disease Pilot Registry, a 2,420-patient strong database spanning 100 hospitals across 10 European countries. Enrolled patients had either stable coronary disease or peripheral artery disease—two of the most common cardiac conditions—and were followed for six months after seeing a health professional about their illnesses. Continue reading…

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