Hello Health Blog

Stephen Armstrong

Stephen Armstrong is senior vice president for Hello Health, the revenue generating EHR platform for primary care practices supporting practice vitality through patient engagement.
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Recent Posts

The Primary Care Fiscal Cliff Has Already Eroded

Posted by Stephen Armstrong on Wed, Dec 19, 2012 @ 09:38 AM

News of the pending “fiscal cliff” is ubiquitous these days as we await the rebirth of bipartisanship. The stakes are high as the fiscal cliff brings expiring tax breaks and spending reductions. The sense of urgency is palpable given the scope and depth of the impact. In health care, the cliff means a potential $11 billion reduction in Medicare payments based on a 2 percent payment cut.  For physicians, this is on top of a scheduled 27 percent reduction in Medicare payments unless Congress intervenes. For primary care physicians, the impending cliff is not just a new precipice but a further erosion to a cliff that once was.

Consider the following: 

  • Primary care practice income rose just $500 from 2008-2011(1)
  • Operating expenses of a practice continues to rise each year
  • Primary care physicians can spend an average of 13 hours a week of uncompensated care worth over $30,000 in lost revenue a year (2)
  • The cost of a traditional electronic health record can easily exceed $20,000 in the first year with a 5-year projected cost approaching $50,000 per physician
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Study Gives Global Look at Primary Care EHR Adoption

Posted by Stephen Armstrong on Fri, Dec 07, 2012 @ 09:09 AM

The Commonwealth Fund in its study,  “A Survey of Primary Care Doctors in Ten Countries Shows Progress in Use of Health Information Technology, Less in Other Areas”, analyzed the international status of electronic health records (EHRs), providing a fascinating global look at EHR adoption within primary care.

EHR Multifunctional Capacity Lags

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Topics: primary care practice, Electronic health record, international EHR study

Inspiration Abounds – HIT Innovators Take Note

Posted by Stephen Armstrong on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 @ 10:07 AM

Dr. Joseph Murray passed away earlier this week. Until I heard a brief summary of his life and contributions on the radio, I was unaware of this Nobel prize-winning doctor who pioneered the first successful human kidney transplant in 1954. As I heard about his contributions to health care and the way he approached his work, it struck me how much we have to learn from him as an innovator.

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Topics: health information technology, health care, Dr. Joseph Murray

Thanks from Hello Health

Posted by Stephen Armstrong on Wed, Nov 21, 2012 @ 02:30 PM

Thanksgiving is one of the times of the year that we take a break from the day-to-day to pause and reflect. On this occasion, all of us at Hello Health, Inc. would like to thank our valued customers for their trust, collaboration and loyalty. 

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Topics: Hello Health, Electronic health record

Meaningful Use Stage 2 is Step 1: Stepping Through the Patient Portal

Posted by Stephen Armstrong on Mon, Sep 24, 2012 @ 10:27 AM

With the recent publishing of the final Stage 2 rule for meaningful use, we are likely to be talking about the state of patient portals more than ever. This is because, under Stage 2 requirements, physicians will not only have to offer patients online access to their records, but must also ensure that a percentage of their patients will use it. The bar is not particularly high at first blush – 5 percent of patients – a reduction from the original 10 percent threshold originally proposed. Nevertheless, for a practice with 2,000 patients, that means at least 100 patients will need to access, print, share or download their records.

Patient portals are not new. Practices with an existing EHR “sans portal” will need to add one or even possibly replace their EHR. And there have been well-publicized entrees and exits in this space. Remember Google Health?  And as recently profiled in the American Medical News article, Will Meaningful use Spur Growth of Patient Portals?, an October 2011 survey published by Manhattan Research found that 140 million patients reported that they have not accessed their records nor are they interested in doing so.

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Topics: patient engagement, Electronic health record, Meaningful use, Health IT solutions

The MRE – A Model for an EMR?

Posted by Stephen Armstrong on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 @ 06:04 PM

Sometimes we can draw inspiration from the most unlikely places by making connections between two seemingly completely unrelated things. Recently this happened to me.

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Topics: primary care practice, EMR, Health IT solutions

Painting by Pixels: A Closer Look at the EMR Picture

Posted by Stephen Armstrong on Wed, Aug 15, 2012 @ 08:05 AM

As part of our national discussion about electronic medical records and the scorecards that get quoted on Electronic Medical Record (EMR) adoption, Meaningful Use attestation rates and reimbursement payouts, there is a tendency to paint the picture in very broad brushstrokes. We look at the data among hospitals and eligible providers. Perhaps we look a little closer and examine the trends by size of practice or by specialty. But what can we learn if we examine the pixels of this digital picture? Where does selecting, affording, implementing and growing with an EMR fit into the priorities of male and female doctors? Doctors who are under 40 and those over 60?

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Topics: Hello Health, primary care practice, EMR, Health IT solutions

Patients Sans Frontières: Older patients use PHR technology too

Posted by Stephen Armstrong on Mon, Aug 13, 2012 @ 11:13 AM

When we discuss the opportunity for greater online access with doctors and the capabilities of secure web-based patient portals to create a new level of convenience and better access, too often the image of a young twenty-something web-savvy patient comes to mind as the early adopter and heavy user of such a relationship. But is this really the case? How do older patients react to the opportunities of web connectivity with their doctor?

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Topics: patient engagement, EMR, small physician practice, free EHR, free EMR, independent primary care practice, electronic medical records, online appointment scheduling

Taking the Pulse…of Primary Care Physicians

Posted by Stephen Armstrong on Mon, Jul 23, 2012 @ 10:34 AM

At Hello Health, we have both a unique opportunity and a distinct privilege to be able to sit down with primary care physicians across the country and talk about what keeps them up at night, how they perceive electronic medical records, what their goals are for their practice, their patients and much more.  Typically, we meet over dinner and have a discussion over the Hello Health EMR-based business model. Yes, we are selling, but foremost we are listening. We have to. We want to. It is only by understanding the pressures facing today’s primary care physician that we can provide meaningful solutions above and beyond meaningful use (download Hello Health's free Guide to Understanding Meaningful Use). And above and beyond the traditional EMR paradigm.

So what are primary care physicians saying? What can we learn from weekly opportunities to connect with family practitioners, internists, integrative medicine practitioners and pediatricians? The following data reflects over 80 responses we have received recently to two questions in our survey.

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Topics: EHR, EMR, Electronic health record, physician revenue, doctor revenue, free EHR, free EMR, electronic medical record

Primary Care Independence

Posted by Stephen Armstrong on Tue, Jul 03, 2012 @ 11:47 AM

As we pause on July 4th to reflect on the spirit and sacrifice that created and sustains the independence of our great nation, the independence of the primary care practice is deserving of reflection and celebration as well.

Our nation’s primary care doctors are on the frontlines of our health care system caring for our families, young and old. They are our health care “home base” providing a continuity of care that can be measured in decades and not just in years. They help us navigate through complex chronic health issues and sometimes an equally complex health care system.

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Topics: patient engagement, primary care practice, Electronic health record, physician revenue, small physician practice, Patient Management, independent primary care, electronic medical record, independent primary care practice, small independent primary care practice, independent physician practice, PHR

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