The Pulse is the bi-weekly e-newsletter from The Physician Alliance, one of Michigan's largest physician organizations serving more than 2,200 primary care and specialty physicians.
The Pulse of The Physician Alliance
Friday, April 14, 2017
Seminar shares best practices in care coordination

The Physician Alliance is hosting a free educational seminar focused on improving care coordination in practices.

Best practices in care coordination 
Tuesday, May 23, 2017; 6-8pm

Learn how to improve care coordination in your practice! Get an overview of physician-led "peer to peer" best practices, and examples of quality and coordination of care. We'll explore information and evidence in coordinating care, and demonstrate coordination of care activities through case studies.

Presenter: Susan Mitchell, MD, MS is a board-certified family physician, medical educator, and consultant in cross-cultural medical care and communication. She holds a faculty research appointment at Boston University School of Medicine and adjunct teaching appointments at Tufts University School of Medicine. Her research interests are in the effects of patient-doctor communication on health disparities in patient safety, transitions of care and health care access.

Target audiences: primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and care managers

Location: Eddie Merlot's, 37000 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills 48304
Dinner provided. Space is limited at this venue so register today!

This event is sponsored by Merck.  
Improving e-prescribing of controlled substances

Value Partnerships of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has partnered with the Blue Cross Pharmacy team to address the nation's growing opiate crisis. The objective of this initiative is to increase the number of controlled substance (schedule II-V) prescriptions submitted electronically by Physician Group Incentive Program (PGIP) physicians.


The goal of this initiative is to increase electronically prescribed controlled substances to 25% by December 31, 2018. Although the initial PGIP baseline was 5.5%, the current PGIP rate as of December 2016 is 15%. TPA is slightly behind at 12%. Improving the rate of controlled substances sent electronically also helps providers satisfy the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) electronic health record meaningful use requirements. Without the inclusion of controlled substances, providers may find it difficult to achieve CMS' 60% requirement that all prescriptions be transmitted electronically.

E-prescribing of controlled substances requires physicians to present a two-factor authentication to prove their identity as an approved provider. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) requires two of three authentication options: something the provider knows, something the provider has, and something the provider is. Options for two-factor authentication include:
  • Hard token: A cryptographic password/key is sent to a hardware device (smartphone, key fob, etc.) that the physician enters into the EMR
  • Fingerprint scanner (this is the most common identifier for "something you are")
  • EMR login credentials/password
Practices should contact their EMR vendor for specific education and requirements on e-prescribing.
TPA member receives Governor's Award of Excellence

Gobind Garg, MD (right) and Meena Sankar, office manager 
Congratulations to Gobind Garg, MD for receiving the Governor's Award of Excellence for his efforts to improve quality, safety and efficiency in healthcare.

Presented by the Office of the Governor and MPRO, the award is presented to those who demonstrate outstanding achievements in improving the quality of healthcare in their practice. Dr. Garg will receive awards in the following categories: Increasing Adult Immunizations: Physician Practices; Improving Heart Health: Physician Practices; Improving Diabetes Management: Physician Practices; and Effective Reporting and Measurement: Physician Practices.

Thank you to Dr. Garg and his practice staff for their dedication to improving the health of their patients! 
Ditch the pager for secure text messaging

Once the must-have communication status symbol, pagers have given way to the technology of the smart phone. Yet the pager has hung around in the healthcare industry as a preferred, reliable communication tool for many healthcare providers. With the advent of secure text messaging it is now time to ditch the pager. Reasons to use secure text messaging in physician practices include:
  • Secure text messaging is HIPAA compliant - A chief concern with text messaging that comes standard on smart phones is its failure to comply with HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Secure text messages keep patient information private, keeping the sender, the recipient, and the recipient's company in compliance with HIPAA regulations. This not only meets a legal requirement, but also exceeds ethical expectation to maintain the utmost privacy for patients' personal health information.
  • Healthcare professionals can use their smart phone of preference on their network of choice. The only requirement is that they use a secure text-messaging app to keep all healthcare communication secure. Users can synchronize up to three devices, so switching to the most convenient one does not present a problem and all secure messages appear across all three devices. 
  • With secure text message tracking, the sender can know when the message is sent, as well as if and when the recipient read it. 
  • Message expiration is also available so HIPAA compliance officers can set how long messages will remain on a device. Once the expiration date is reached, old messages will automatically delete.
  • Secure texting offers the ability to remotely erase all data on a smart phone if it is lost or stolen. A single command can initial a remote wipe to permanently remove all information so that even if the device is hacked, there will be nothing to see.
Source: Ambs Call Center is a partner in TPA's Physician Discount program. For more information on secure text messaging options, answering services and other discount services offered to TPA members, contact Ambs at (586) 393-3800.
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The Physician Alliance | 20952 Twelve Mile, Suite 130, St. Clair Shores MI 48081 | 586-498-3555
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