UPMC Partners with Vivify Health for Mobile Population Health and Chronic Care Management

UPMC is partnering with Vivify Health as a customer of and investor in its mobile population health solutions to remotely care for patients.

Vivify Health's technology is used by the nation's largest health organizations, representing more than 500 hospitals and payers, to efficiently manage, monitor and engage patient populations of all sizes and risk levels. Founded in 2009, Vivify was the first company to offer a Cloud-based solution for mobile population health and chronic care management using any consumer mobile device.

"After an extensive evaluation of a number of companies, Vivify Health clearly stood out to us as the one best aligned to deliver patient-centered remote care across UPMC's integrated payer/provider system," said Tal Heppenstall, President of UPMC Enterprises, the commercialization arm of UPMC which led the Vivify investment.  "As we deliver care under an increasingly risk-based reimbursement model, we are excited to become a customer, development partner and investor in Vivify's scalable population health management technology. Backing this kind of innovation to solve critical healthcare problems is at the heart of our mission at UPMC Enterprises."

Uniquely positioned for true population health management

Vivify Health solutions enable insurance and provider organizations to conduct virtual care visits, communicate seamlessly with patients and members, and remotely monitor any patient population, such as those with chronic illnesses. The solutions are tailored to patients of all levels of technology expertise, from an "instant-on" health kit for consumers with limited or no technology experience, to a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) solution for those who prefer to use their own devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

"Vivify's remote monitoring and communication technology is essential to making patients true partners in their care and providing the right services when and where they need them, increasingly at home," said Andrew Watson, MD, UPMC's Medical Director of Telemedicine and Vice President of UPMC International. "As an integrated healthcare delivery and financing system, we are focused on keeping patients well and out of the hospital, and that can happen only with affordable, easy-to-use technology like Vivify's."

Such flexibility to conform to the consumer's unique needs and comfort level has contributed to outcomes that Vivify reports with other customers, such as reducing readmissions by 65 percent, improving return on investment by 144 percent and achieving patient compliance and satisfaction rates well over 95 percent.

UPMC joins growing roster of customer investors

Vivify Health's other investors include several of the nation's largest health systems and health plans, including over 700 hospitals represented by Heritage Group and Ascension Ventures, followed by LabCorp and Envision Health.

As day-to-day users, customer-investors like UPMC take an active role in the continued development of the Vivify Health platform and the company's strategic direction. To that end, Brenton Burns, Executive Vice President of UPMC Enterprises, will join the Vivify Health board of directors. Enterprises' experienced product development team in Pittsburgh will also work with Vivify to enhance its solutions and to deploy them effectively across UPMC's vast system which covers virtually every aspect of care, including not only hospitals and physician offices but rehabilitation and senior living facilities.

"We are honored to partner with UPMC, one of the nation's most prestigious health systems, to advance its mission to provide outstanding patient care and shape tomorrow's healthcare with innovative population health technology," said Eric Rock, Vivify Health CEO. "We look forward to helping UPMC achieve unprecedented outcomes for its patients as part of its commitment to patient-centered, affordable care."

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Nucleus Independent Living Enables Rapid Response to Care with CellTrak™

New solution platform enables apps that make data actionable.

Nucleus Independent Living a Non-Profit Health Service Provider of Community Support Services, serves the communities of Mississauga, Oakville, South Etobicoke, and 2 Supportive Housing sites in Toronto. Funded by Mississauga Local Health Integration Network and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Nucleus embraces and has adopted the fundamental concepts of the Independent Living philosophy.

Nucleus was seeking a trusted partner to provide technology that would link resources and real-time alerts while delivering care. The technology needed to allow staff to link back to experts in the office to give rapid response to care issues. The strategy was that the staff in the field would link back to the office to direct them or contact resources to deliver the right care seamlessly with a simple to use mobile application that would work in and out of cellular coverage areas.

Beverley John, CEO/Executive Director, Nucleus Independent Living sat down for a post implementation interview to share her thoughts. "While technologies provide many benefits they can be disruptive in their implementation. Working with the CellTrak team we were able to get up and running with an easy to use solution for the entire Seniors Division care staff. It was important to us to leverage the current investment we have made in technologies that we use and add on new capabilities that would provide actionable data and improved workflow for our care team".

Home and community care is at the forefront of improving the access to healthcare across the care continuum and continues to be a major focus area for growth in staff and focus across healthcare. Homecare services include both medical and skilled nursing services and personal care services; including bathing, condition management, wellness, nutrition, and transportation services. Home health care can also include other services such as medical equipment and supplies, physical therapy and psychological services. The new CellTrak solution provided many benefits for Nucleus including but not limited to the following;

Fully mobilized workforce; Safety for staff; Improved quality; Late visits better managed; No shows are identified and managed immediately; Real two-way communication; Status change- new info can be shared and received in real time; Instant reporting; Increase privacy and security; Timely documentation; Locations and health conditions are kept private and secure; Data mining via portal/pulse: trends can be monitored and addressed promptly.

Nucleus was keen to use the new Alert Driven Management capabilities of CellTrak. This new feature includes the ability to set operational, clinical and systems alerts that improve quality and risk management for clients and staff. Alert driven workflow improves the agency efficiency in care delivery and preventing errors. Agency offices are sent targeted, actionable alerts via email and text to get real time insight into the performance of any visit. If an agency is dealing with underperformance issues or workforce scheduling challenges, alerts are sent to operations as to why this is happening, finance gets alerts on travel time and mileage optimization while systems receives alerts on device usage, data and security.

"Nucleus Independent Living was our initial project with Goldcare as the EMR system. With the integrated solution the new capabilities enable further enhancements in care delivery and quality that the team at Nucleus implemented very efficiently," shared Michael K. Wons, President and CEO of CellTrak Technologies, Inc.

CellTrak offers a family of mobile solutions built on the needs and input from the healthcare continuum. With solutions that start with an easy to use mobile device to empower your workforce to dynamically manage care delivery, care planning/coordination, and care team collaboration. CellTrak includes portal applications that provide real-time visibility and action for your entire care team.

Importantly, CellTrak enables any size agency a custom fit solution to allow more time spent on care and less on paperwork and redundant work. Together, CellTrak and leading Homecare providers across the globe partner to provide safety and better care for those in need.

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Tips to Health IT Professionals for Gaining Competitive Edge in the Job Market

In honor of National Health IT Week Sept. 15-19, American Sentinel University offers tips to health IT professionals for gaining a competitive edge in the healthcare marketplace.

A recent study by HIMSS shows demand for qualified health IT professionals are at an all-time high and a candidate’s skill set is the differentiating factor when filling a position. The skill most desired is that of an IT professional that has clinical workflow and terminology experience. American Sentinel offers specialization in healthcare, giving students a competitive advantage in the clinical IT environment.

“Technology and healthcare are two ever-changing industries. When the two collide it creates dynamic and exciting challenges for health IT professionals,” says Blair Smith, Ph.D., dean of Informatics-Management- Technology programs at American Sentinel University. “Electronic Medical Record (EMR) implementation has become the focal point and while it offers tremendous capabilities, it also creates a multitude of challenges for today’s IT professionals. Those with in-demand skills will find themselves far more marketable.”

At the top of the list of challenges includes data management, application management, BYOD, patient privacy, HIPAA compliance, business intelligence and analytics and risk management. The HIMSS study found that a higher percentage of respondents said that their organizations were interested in either training current employees or hiring recent graduates to fill needed positions, but 85 percent of respondents said their organizations faced barriers meeting their health IT needs. The majority cited a lack of qualified talent and 40 percent of those surveyed said they have open positions for which they cannot find qualified talent.

“Employers want to hire candidates with a health technology degree or certification that are prepared from day one on the job,” says Smith. He says that it’s important for students to choose a degree program that is relevant to today’s industry needs. Smith details some of the must-have skills health IT professionals need to make themselves more marketable in the current healthcare market. “Look for programs that use immersive learning technology to foster program comprehension so that you can immediately apply what you learn to your work to positively impact your career,” he adds. “This will help differentiate you from other candidates and position yourself for a successful career in this fast-growing industry.”

Adaptability to Change. The ability to adapt to changing parameters is very important in healthcare because healthcare reform and government mandates are every-changing. “It’s important that health IT professionals be alert to the latest trends and be prepared for how it will impact your healthcare facility’s plan and goals,” says Smith.

Innovativeness. Healthcare is ever-evolving and health IT leaders will be challenged to think in new ways, adjust to change and lead change while creating new models of care. “The phrase ‘innovate or die’ has never been more true than now as we enter the transformation that is pivotal to the future of healthcare worldwide,” says Smith.

Communications Savvy. The race for information is on and the ability for health IT professionals to be adept at finding new and better ways to communicate greater amounts of data and information will become increasingly important. “The greatest leaders have always been able to rely on strong communication skills. Moving to a data driven culture presents new demands where the accelerated availability of data has rendered the decision of what is useful and what to communicate as important as how to communicate it,” adds Smith.

Applications Know-How. As health organizations begin looking for solutions to measure quality and standards, Smith says that IT professionals will play a critical role to guide them through the technology maze of applications and data management. -Security and Compliance. It is crucial that healthcare facilities be HIPAA-compliant and protect patient health records. This becomes more challenging for IT professionals when information is collected in one place and is required to move from one environment to another, says Smith. This has created a greater need for skills in the information management security side of healthcare.

Risk Management. Most healthcare organizations place a strong emphasis on data management and data security. This critical need to manage and protect this information has created a demand for IT professionals with this particular expertise. “Healthcare needs IT professionals that can create the appropriate structure to govern security and know how to protect information and address breaches from a compliance perspective,” says Smith. He says that it is crucial that healthcare organizations have a plan in place to address the potential losses and breach of information and know how to be protected in the future.

Business Intelligence and Analytics. Business intelligence (BI) and analytics are a way for healthcare organizations to aggregate better quality information. “The industry is currently putting greater emphasis on finding newer and more aggressive BI and analytics tools, which has created a higher demand for those IT professionals with these skills,” says Smith.

“As the healthcare industry continues to be a bright spot for the economy, IT professionals with the right education and skills will have ample opportunities to enjoy a long and promising career in this exciting field,” adds Smith. 

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Procura Attains Mobile Milestone Topping 3 Million Mobile Healthcare Visits

The Procura Group of Companies announced today that a new record has been achieved with their industry leading mobile healthcare solution securing their position as the most successful provider of mobile community and home care services worldwide.

Today, the Procura Mobile platform has successfully supported the delivery of 3.4 million visits. Additionally, the growth in mobile device use on the Procura platform is growing faster than any other mobile solutions with 1 million visits served every three months. This is forecasted to increase to 1 million visits per month by 2015. The Procura Mobile platform has been in use globally since 2011 providing a mobile solution for home and community care providers across the globe. As the innovators in mobile, Procura continues to bring great technology that allows providers perform their care in the home through the convenience of a mobile device. The Procura Mobile platform supports healthcare visits across a wide range of devices, form factors and operating systems.

"Procura has always seen the use of mobile devices as a critical component in the delivery of the vision of Population Healthcare Management," stated Scott Overhill, CEO The Procura Group of Companies. "Our dedication to blending technology across the continuum of care reflects our vision of healthcare to focus the right tool for the right purpose. As an example, our smart phone solution is ideal for personal support services and routine nursing visits."

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Tech-Savvy Seniors Seek Digital Tools to Manage Health

With an estimated 3.5 million U.S. citizens a year expected to reach 65 years-old through 20231, there is more focus on the growing number of tech-savvy seniors (57 percent) who are seeking digital options for managing their health services remotely, according to a new Accenture (NYSE:ACN) survey.

Although many seniors want access to healthcare technology, such as virtual physician consultations (42 percent) and self-serve tools (62 percent) like online appointment scheduling, research shows only a third of healthcare providers currently offer such capabilities.

The growing population of seniors are active online users, as documented by the Pew Internet & American Life Project that shows Internet use between 2000 to 2012 tripled for those 65 and older and doubled among those 50-64 years-old. Accenture’s analysis shows at least three-fourths of Medicare recipients access the Internet, at least once a day, for email (91 percent) or to conduct online searches (73 percent) and a third access social media sites, such as Facebook, at least once a week.

“Just as seniors are turning to the Internet for banking, shopping, entertainment and communications, they also expect to handle certain aspects of their healthcare services online,” said Jill Dailey, managing director of payer strategy, Accenture Health. “What this means for providers and health plans is that they’ll need to expand their digital options if they want to attract older patients and help them track and manage their care outside their doctor’s office.”

Two-thirds of seniors (67 percent) surveyed say that access to their health information is important, but only 28 percent currently have full access to their electronic health records. Similarly, 70 percent of those surveyed believe it’s important to be able to request prescription refills electronically, but, fewer than half (46 percent) say they can do so today. And, the majority (58 percent) want to be able to email healthcare providers, but only 15 percent say they currently have that capability.

“As the digitally engaged senior patient population continues to grow, healthcare systems need to consider the role the Internet can play in making healthcare more convenient for patients of all ages at every touch point,” Dailey added.

1 U.S. Census Bureau: 2011 Estimate of Older Population in the United States, November 2012.

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Combined Fluoroscopy Solution Provides Excellent Image Quality At Eastbourne DGH

Eastbourne District General Hospital, part of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, is benefitting from high quality images for enhanced clinical diagnosis following the installation of an AXIOM Luminos dRF™ from Siemens Healthcare.

The two-in-one fully digital radiography and fluoroscopy system produces instant images via the fixed 43cm x 43cm detector in the table and the wireless detector. The system’s flexibility is allowing Eastbourne DGH to use it for a wide variety of fluoroscopy imaging procedures on a daily basis as well as digital x-ray imaging. The Luminos dRF was primarily chosen due to its CARE (Combined Applications to Reduce Exposure) features which support excellent image quality at the lowest achievable X-ray dose.

Throughput has also been enhanced due to the versatility and mobility of the wireless detector and the low table which allows geriatric and bariatric patients to use it with minimal handling and eliminating the use of a hoist. The Luminos dRF benefits from advanced post-processing features such as its enhanced DiamondViewPlus software. This helps the hospital to optimise the detail contrast and noise level of images to further improve quality and reduce the need for retakes. In turn this assists with maximising productivity, allowing clinicians to make accurate decisions in a short amount of time.

“We were facing challenges due to patients with limited mobility struggling to get on the previous table. The Luminos dRF solves this by providing a low table and enhanced weight capacity, meaning minimal handling is needed to position the patient,” states Kathryn Dixon, Clinical Modality Manager of General, Interventional, Mammography and Fluoroscopy at Eastbourne District General Hospital. “The Luminos dRF system has already proven to be as easy-to-use and intuitive as our other Siemens systems on site and the applications team was superb when it came to installation and training.”

“As the NHS faces challenges such as an ageing population and an increasing numbers of bariatric patients, everyday imaging systems need to be flexible and accommodating to meet these changes. The Luminos dRF tabletop can go as low as 48cm, making positioning easier for heavier or immobile patients,” states Paul Vaughan, Regional Sales Manager at Siemens Healthcare. “We are delighted Eastbourne DGH is benefiting from improved departmental workflow and an enhanced patient experience as a result of the installation.”

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Charlotte Area Hospice Uses Technology to Improve Patient Care

Catawba Regional Hospice's 200 employees are committed to providing top-notch care to the seriously ill in need of palliative care.

With a 34-year history serving patients in the communities of Newton and Hickory, N.C., the facility has turned to technology to improve operations. Catawba Regional Hospice recently began using Android-based CellTrak devices and mobile-Internet enabling air cards to automate workflow and reduce costs. Daily rounds for nurses are comprised of visiting patients at their homes, and CellTrak has simplified each nurse's routine. CellTrak automatically records mileage and provides a comprehensive report complete with driving directions sent to the nurse's smartphone. The device also relays patient status and records back to headquarters over Verizon's 4G LTE wireless network.

"With new technology, our clinical staff now spend more time with patients and their families instead of filling out paper reports," said Tammy Jensen, finance director for Catawba Regional Hospice. "The result has been improved operational efficiencies that translate into reduced costs. We've already seen a $70,000 per year savings since adopting CellTrak and other Verizon Wireless devices."

The hospice's nursing team is now able to visit 90 additional patients each week. Jensen says, "Since our high-tech makeover, our patients and their families report being more satisfied with the level of care they receive. Verizon helped craft a way for our company to become better at what we do, and we're grateful for that."

Catawba Regional Hospice recently was named a winner of the 2013 Wireless Technology Innovation Awards - a competition for small and mid-sized businesses - and awarded a $10,000 grand prize for using technology in an innovative way.

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New England Telehealth Consortium Brings 200th Healthcare Location onto Network

The New England Telehealth Consortium (NETC), which is working with FairPoint Communications to link healthcare facilities in northern New England to the NETC network, recently announced its 200th connection.

NETC is a federally funded consortium of healthcare providers whose mandate is to create a shared network among rural and urban healthcare facilities across the region. When connected to the NETC network, providers will be able to deliver remote trauma consultation and expansive telemedicine by linking more than 400 primarily rural health care facilities – including hospitals, behavioral health sites, and community health care centers – in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine – to urban hospitals and health clinics throughout New England.

"We are extremely pleased with the progress we have made connecting more than 200 facilities to the NETC network," said Jim Rogers, the founder of NETC and president of ProInfoNet, the company managing the implementation of the NETC network. "We offer health care providers a sustainable, quality broadband network that will greatly improve the capability and efficiency of healthcare in northern New England, while saving millions of dollars. The network created will help all these institutions to share information that will ultimately benefit the patients all across the region."

NETC – which is based in Bangor, Maine – received a $24.6 million Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Rural Health Care Pilot Program award to bring telemedicine to the region. The NETC award was the largest award issued by the FCC under the Rural Health Care Pilot Program. "FairPoint has invested more than $200 million in communication infrastructure and technology to upgrade our state-of-the-art fiber network in northern New England and we are leveraging this network to serve the technology needs of the consortium," said Mike Reed, Maine state president for FairPoint Communications. "This network is designed and built as a data network to move large files quickly and efficiently. It delivers a variety of reliable online services that provide faster ways to communicate by offering high bandwidth choices that are both economical and reliable."

NETC participants are receiving upgrades and improvements to their broadband capabilities and connections while paying only 15 percent of the costs. Healthcare facilities linked to NETC's network can instantly share potentially life-saving information and will save millions of dollars in annual technology costs. "The NETC network will enable patients, especially in rural areas to receive top quality care through enhanced telemedicine and information sharing," said Brian Thibeau, NETC president. "The network will offer health care providers significant cost savings, plus quick and convenient access to the latest research and medical advances."

A list of the facilities that have been connected to the NETC network can be found at: http://www.netelc.org/sites.html.

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Napier Healthcare Wins Promising Healthcare IT Company of the Year 2013 Award from Frost & Sullivan Singapore

Napier Healthcare, a leading healthcare technology and services provider, today announced that it has been awarded the 2013 Promising Healthcare IT Company of the Year by Frost and Sullivan.

Frost & Sullivan Singapore Excellence Awards recognise companies that have pushed the boundaries of excellence to rise above the competition and demonstrate outstanding performance in the Singapore market. The award positions Napier Healthcare as a rising star in the healthcare sector for consistently offering global standard solutions that improve the quality, safety and service delivery of patient care.

“Napier Healthcare is awarded for its excellent performance as a total solutions provider with solutions spanning tertiary, secondary and primary care to urban, rural and home care. Napier also emphasises on regulatory compliance to provide customers with global standard solutions,” said Natasha Gulati, Senior Industry Analyst, Asia Pacific Health Care Practice, Frost & Sullivan.

Established in the late 90s, Napier Healthcare employs more than 270 healthcare and technology professionals with deep domain expertise. The company’s IT solutions are collaboratively developed with extensive inputs from industry veterans, clinicians, medical authorities and patients to meet the needs of small, mid-sized, and large private and public sector hospitals. Together with leading IT companies including Microsoft, IBM and HP, Napier Healthcare provides technology, infrastructure implementation and service support along with extensive training. Headquartered in Singapore, Napier has presence in USA, India, Africa, and the Middle East.

“The award underscores our commitment to innovate and lead in healthcare management systems and solutions,” said Karthik Tirupathi, CEO of Napier Healthcare. “Napier Healthcare is well positioned to drive technology adoption across the healthcare delivery value chain to benefit hospitals and patients. For example, the use of cloud and mobile platforms by Napier delivers significant value to the stakeholders of the healthcare industry.”

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Proactive Audiology Marketing And A Spotlight On Process Boosts Patient Referrals Plus Delivers Time And Cost Savings At East Kent

A 125% increase in patient referrals and patient satisfaction scores of 98%* have been achieved by East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust over the past year via a proactive approach to marketing its audiology services.

Time and cost savings within the department have also been gained by utilising specialist audiology workflow equipment and streamlining processes and resources.

At the end of 2010 the department was on average fitting 200 hearing instruments a month. Today it averages 450 per month as patients vote with their feet and select the East Kent NHS services for their audiology care. A sustained year of promotion via marketing support from Siemens Hearing Instruments has involved the development of marketing materials and communication strategies. Leadership within the Audiology Department has also created a commercially savvy culture where the team of 15 audiologists and 7 assistant technical officers understand the pressures of bringing patients in and providing a good experience. This has resulted in the proactive and regular delivery of marketing leaflets across the wide geographic area to community events such as WI meetings and GP Practices. Furthermore, a strong network of audiology volunteers has been developed to resource drop in clinics for hearing instrument re-tubing and battery replacements in libraries, church halls and nursing homes.

Tightening up working practices and resource restructuring have also delivered time and cost savings internally at the 10 audiology sites located at hospital, community and GP Practices managed by Audiology Services at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust. This includes changing the structure of the team and introducing specialist areas to band 6 audiologists, keeping people focused on learning what they are interested in, making the most of CPD, and enabling the sharing of knowledge to band 5 audiologists through a mentor programme.

Close relationship working with the key audiology equipment manufacturer also keeps knowledge and training on clinical, technical and business topics high in the department with a representative regularly attending the department meetings. Additionally, the stock control process has been re-organised to achieve cost savings with one person now responsible for ordering across all the sites.

Regular audits are conducted and minimum and maximum stock level target have been set. The department is also gaining cost savings by making full use of Siemens’ reconditioning service when spare instruments are needed. The use of a specialist audiology application ‘AutoFit’ for measuring Real Ear Measurements (REMs) during the hearing instrument fitting process has helped shave off 30 minutes from each appointment, reducing to 45 minutes. This gives the audiologist more time to counsel the patient during the appointment or schedule in more sessions during the working day.

The cost equivalent of time saved each day by undertaking automated REMs has been calculated as approximately £10,000 per year, per audiologist.

“The marketing initiative and guidance we receive from Siemens gives us confidence to thrive in the current health environment, but we are not complacent. At present we are a big fish in the audiology pond in our area but this could change as other private providers come in to offer similar services,” states Tina Beckham, Audiology Service Manager at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust. “We keep our feet on the ground and work hard to ensure we deliver solid and quality services that meet the needs of our patients and create a positive reputation.”

Tina continues, “We focus on patient choice, access and quality to feel fit for the future. It has taken us two and a half years to ramp up our department and marketing efforts but we are now competitively placed in our region. We have increased patient referrals by 125% and achieved 98% satisfaction rates. My advice to other audiology departments that are not yet this far down their service promotion pathway is work steadily but quickly as the environment is changing.”

“East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust is a blueprint for other NHS Trusts to follow in terms of gaining tangible time and cost savings for its audiology department via process and resource enhancements,” states Mark Laben, Product & Marketing Manager at Siemens Hearing Instruments. “The reputation of audiology services and patient choice is of paramount importance in these current times. Technology innovations and commercial knowledge can set providers apart.”

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