Morning Read: Study highlights $15.4B cost of reporting clinical quality measures

Also, more than 66 percent of physicians aren’t filling out eprescribing forms correctly and Kaiser Permanente said it would acquire Seattle’s Group Health Cooperative.

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A study published by Health Affairs conducted by Weill Cornell researchers found physicians spend hundreds of hours reporting clinical quality measures to Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers at an estimated cost of $15.4 billion. The study found primary care physicians spend the most time doing this and orthopedic practices spend the least. The study has prompted calls to reform clinical quality reporting from the likes of the Medical Group Management Association.  — EHR Intelligence, HealthcareIT News

Toshiba is looking to sell its medical device unit to Canon in a deal estimated to be worth $6.2 billion. — The Wall Street Journal

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A Deep-dive Into Specialty Pharma

A specialty drug is a class of prescription medications used to treat complex, chronic or rare medical conditions. Although this classification was originally intended to define the treatment of rare, also termed “orphan” diseases, affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the US, more recently, specialty drugs have emerged as the cornerstone of treatment for chronic and complex diseases such as cancer, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.

LIFE SCIENCES

Capella Bioscience raised $15.5 million in a Series A round led by led by Advent Life Sciences, Medicxi Ventures and Osage University Partners. Its strategy is to develop novel medicines based on monoclonal antibodies to the next generation of important therapeutic targets in oncology and autoimmune disease, according to its website. — PE Hub

Omeros said it launched a Phase 3 program to treat a condition in which blood clots afflict the kidneys, thrombotic microangiopathies. Omeros received orphan drug designation from the FDA for its treatment and fast-track status for the treatment of the kidney blood clot condition. —Puget Sound Business Journal

ImmunoMet Therapeutics has raised $5.2 million in a series A round to develop therapeutics to treat glioblastoma. — PR Newswire

PAYERS AND PROVIDERS

Uh-oh. Physicians aren’t using electronic health records like word processors, suggests a JAMA study on e-prescribing. Among its findings: Of the 26,341 free-text notes,  more than 66 percent contained inappropriate content, more than one quarter included appropriate content, and 5.3 percent contained information considered to be unnecessary. — JAMA, HIStalk

Memorial Hermann Health System named Dr. Benjamin Chu to replace outgoing CEO Dan Wolterman, who announced his retirement in October. — Houston Business Journal

Kaiser Permanente said it would acquire Seattle’s Group Health Cooperative, a deal that would add 559,000 members. — Sacramento Business Journal

Massachusetts’ Insurance division is investigating human resources software company and benefits broker Zenefits, the latest in a string of bad news for the company. — Boston Globe

TECHNOLOGY

JAMA study of diabetes apps finds more than 80 percent lack a privacy policy and only 4 percent of them say they will ask users before sharing their data.—HIStalk

An interview with the founder of Zillion, an open application programming interface software platform developer to facilitate efficient delivery and design for healthcare solutions.— Becker Hospital Review

The Federal Communication Commission is calling for reforms to the 31 year-old Lifeline to extend broadband access to underserved communities, which would include establishing a National Eligibility Verifier as a check against waste, fraud, and abuse. In a blog post FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn wrote:

We can recite statistics all we want, but we must never lose sight of the fact that what we’re really talking about is people – unemployed workers who miss out on jobs that are only listed online, students who go to fast-food restaurants to use the Wi-Fi hotspots to do homework, veterans who are unable to apply for their hard-earned benefits, seniors who can’t look up health information when they get sick. — FCC

Keith Muth who previously co-founded Kinsights until its acquisition by Care.com earlier this year, has joined Rock Health where he will provide strategic support to its portfolio companies. — Rock Health

POLITICS

Office of National Coordinator launched a series of guides to help healthcare professionals optimize electronic health record systems to identify at-risk patients and protect them from heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events. The million hearts optimization guides help physicians find, use and improve data on aspirin therapy, blood pressure control, cholesterol management and smoking cessation. — Health IT Buzz

Steward Health Care is backing a ballot measure that would standardize the rates hospitals are paid for providing care. Massachusetts residents will vote on whether to cap insurers from reimbursing providers greater than 20 percent of the average cost for a service, and force them to pay no less than 10 percent below the average price to a provider. — CommonWealth Magazine, Boston Business Journal

Indiana state lawmakers have approved an expansion of the state’s telemedicine bill. — Indiana Public Media

A LITTLE BIT EXTRA

Performance enhancing drug Meldonium is in the spotlight this week because of tennis star Maria Sharapova’s use of the drug and the subsequent departure of her biggest sponsors. Here’s a short history of the drug. — Wired

Photo: Flickr user Alex Proimos