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Morning Headlines 12/1/15

November 30, 2015 Headlines No Comments

UnitedHealth Sees 2016 Revenue Slightly Below Estimates

Ahead of its Tuesday investor day, UnitedHealth projects 2016 revenue of $180 billion to $181 billion, short of analyst expectations. The insurance giant noted earlier this month that its public exchange business as underperforming and would cut into profits.

Highmark Medicare Advantage members to retain in-network access to UPMC

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issues a ruling preserving in-network access to UPMC doctors and facilities for Highmark Medicare Advantage health insurance customers.

Glens Falls Hospital picks single electronic health record, data provider to streamline systems

Glens Falls Hospital (NY) will expand its current inpatient Cerner install to replace Epic in its ambulatory space and GE Healthcare in patient registration and billing.

Lahey Clinic computer theft leads to $850,000 HIPAA settlement

Lahey Clinic (MA) will pay an $850,000 fine and enter into a corrective action plan to settle privacy and security violations filed by the OCR after a 2011 unencrypted laptop theft exposed the records of 599 patients.

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November 30, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 11/30/15

November 29, 2015 Headlines 2 Comments

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is postponing IPO of healthcare data company NantHealth

Healthcare billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, will delay the IPO of his digital health startup NantHealth until market conditions improve. Soon-Shiong explains, “We’re basically ready. The problem is, we don’t want to go out in the current market. There is no reason for us to go out there in a bear market.”

Partners enters a genetics market

The Boston Globe covers Partners Healthcare’s sale of GeneInsight, its home-grown gene analysis software, to Sunquest Information Systems.

Medical Company LabMD Sues FTC Lawyers Over Data-Privacy Case

LabMD sues three FTC lawyers after being driven out of business over the agency’s poorly-investigated data privacy accusations. The case against LabMD was eventually thrown out by a DC judge and the now-defunct business is suing the FTC’s lawyers for “bringing a case based on fictional evidence.”

Samaritan plans for huge bump in IT spending

47-bed Samaritan Healthcare (WA) will implement Epic at a cost of $12 million. CFO Paul Ishizuka notes that the total cost is “magnitudes higher” than the hospital had spent on previous systems, but explains that interoperability across inpatient, ambulatory, and other health systems was the ultimate objective.

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November 29, 2015 Headlines 2 Comments

Morning Headlines 11/25/15

November 24, 2015 Headlines No Comments

AcademyHealth Becomes Host Organization for 2016 Health Datapalooza

Washington DC-based non-profit AcademyHealth takes over hosting responsibilities for this year’s Health Datapalooza conference.

El Camino Hospital launches new online services

After a two-year implementation, 395-bed El Camino Hospital (CA) goes live with its $150 million Epic system.

Paging Dr. Pigeon; You’re Needed in Radiology

Researchers find that pigeons can be trained to find tumors in medical images as well as radiologists or pathologists.

Man Receives $1 Million Hospital Charge For 5-Day Stay With No Surgery

An uninsured 24-year-old man from Pittsburgh is receiving national media attention after a five-day hospital stay at UPMC results in $1.1 million in hospital charges.

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November 24, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 11/24/15

November 23, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Pfizer to buy Allergan in $160 billion deal

Pfizer will acquire Dublin-based Allergan in a $160 billion tax inversion deal that will move Pfizer’s headquarters to Ireland and create the world’s largest pharmaceutical company.

Moody’s warns of cybersecurity risks affecting credit ratings

Moody’s reports that while it does not look at cyberattacks as a principal driver of ratings, the attacks “will become more pervasive and begin to take a higher priority within our credit assessments and analysis.” The report lists healthcare providers, along with financial institutions and credit card companies, as the most vulnerable to attacks.

Ratings of U.S. Healthcare Quality No Better After ACA

Since 2001, Gallop opinion polls have shown little change in consumer satisfaction scores measuring healthcare quality and healthcare coverage in the US, while consumer satisfaction with healthcare costs has decreased during the same timeframe.

Ransomware could infiltrate medical devices, wearables

Forrester Research expects hackers to begin launching ransomware attacks targeting medical devices in 2016.

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November 23, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 11/23/15

November 23, 2015 Headlines No Comments

DoD Meets Interoperability Requirements for Electronic Health Records

The DoD unveils its Joint Legacy Viewer, a web-based portal that captures key health data items from DoD and VA clinical systems and presents them to end users in a consolidated format. This, the DoD says, satisfies its federally-mandated requirement to integrate records with the VA.

6 Tips for Reading Your Own Medical Records

Cleveland Clinic warns patients viewing their medical records that provider notes written about them are not necessarily written as letters to them, clarifying that these notes could contain inaccuracies, incomplete documentation, poor grammar, and comments about weight or tobacco and alcohol use that should not be interpreted as personal attacks.

Epocrates removes flawed Bugs + Drugs app from the App Store

Athenahealth pulls its Bugs + Drugs app from the app store. The app launched in 2013, combining geo-located bacteria data from Athena’s EHR database with antibiotics data from its then recently acquired Epocrates drug reference app. The app was found to have outright medical errors shortly after launching and has not been updated since January 2014.

Epic Systems Corporation v. Tata Consultancy Services Limited et al

Epic wins an early victory in its legal battles with India-based Tata Consultancy Services, after a Wisconsin court finds that Tata’s consultants accessed Epic’s UserWeb and downloaded proprietary information without authorization, meeting the legal definition of “inside hacking.”

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November 23, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 11/20/15

November 20, 2015 Headlines No Comments

UnitedHealth Group cuts outlook, warns it may exit public health exchanges

UnitedHealth Group considers pulling its health plans from public exchanges in 2017 due to the financial losses that segment of its business experienced.

Twitter Streams Fuel Big Data Approaches to Health Forecasting

Public health researchers find that Twitter data and environmental sensor data can be used to accurately forecast asthma-related ED visit activity.

Epic responds to Mother Jones criticism

Peter DeVault, Epic’s vice president of interoperability, responds to a critical article from Mother Jones questioning Epic’s interoperability and corporate culture, calling the article “based almost entirely on misinformation.”

Fitch Affirms Baptist Healthcare System at ‘A+’; Outlook Revised to Negative

Fitch Ratings affirms its A+ bond rating of Baptist Healthcare System (KY), but downgrades its outlook from stable to negative due to recent declines in profitability caused by its Epic implementation, population health investments, and an unfavorable shift in payor mix.

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November 20, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 11/19/15

November 19, 2015 Headlines No Comments

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Joins OptumLabs

HHS partners with OptumLabs to bring its data analytics capabilities to the agency’s researchers. The first research project will be led by AHRQ, which will compare Optum’s healthcare utilization database to its own Medical Expenditure Panel Survey dataset.

CHIME Letter To CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt

CHIME sends a letter to CMS arguing that the MU program and quality reporting requirements will need to be streamlined if health systems are going to transition to value-based reimbursement models fast enough to meet transition goals outlined by HHS.

Software is now eating medicine

Andreessen Horowitz Partners announces a $200 million investment fund that it will direct toward digital health startups, specifically those working at the intersection of health data and machine learning.

CVS Health Introduces New Digital Pharmacy Tools to Help Make Medication Adherence Easier and More Convenient

CVS launches a new app that generates medication reminders and allows users to submit prescriptions and insurance cards by taking a picture of them

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November 19, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 11/18/15

November 18, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Policy: Certified Technology Comparison Task Force

ONC holds its first Certified Technology Task Force meeting. The group will research and make recommendations on the development of an EHR comparison tool. It will present its findings on January 20.

Cerner raises concerns about Loftin’s new role

Cerner sends a letter to the University of Missouri expressing concerns over its transition plan for Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin in the wake of his announced resignation. Loftin was offered a position as the director of university research at the Tiger Institute for Health Innovation, an organization co-managed by Cerner and UofM.

Does Cambridge University Hospital’s Epic project indicate NHS lacks capacity?

In England, insiders working at Cambridge University Hospital describe the internal culture during an Epic implementation that ultimately led to the resignation of the Trust’s CEO and CFO, saying “There was a plan, there was a vision and it was going to happen. There was no sense or reason to the process, it was bloody-mindedness.”

App Orchard – Trademark Details

Epic secures a trademark for “app orchard,” the name it will use for its upcoming app store.

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November 18, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 11/17/15

November 16, 2015 Headlines No Comments

FDA Says More Regulation Needed on Lab Tests

The FDA will testify in favor of regulating laboratory developed tests at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee meeting on Tuesday. The agency put out a collection of case studies supporting the position ahead of its testimony.

Telemedicine is already working in Texas

Texas Medical Board president Michael Arambula, MD publishes a letter in the Statesman responding to recent criticism of its telemedicine policies. The board requires an in-person visit establishing a patient-provider relationship before remote visits are authorized. Though there are situational exceptions to the rule, the policy has the effect of restricting telehealth vendors, like Dallas-based Teladoc, from effectively operating in the state.

As Hawaii Health Systems Corp. founders, CIO/CFO Money Atwal mulls next move

Healthcare Finance profiles Money Atwal, former CIO/CFO of Hawaii Health Systems. Atwal oversaw the health system’s Meditech 6.0 implementation, earning HIMSS Stage 7 status and a 2015 Davies Award. As a CFO, he used technology to drive accounts receivable days down from 200 to 54.

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November 16, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 11/16/15

November 16, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

OH Muhlenberg, LLC Identifies and Contains a Security Incident at Muhlenberg Hospital

Muhlenberg Community Hospital (KY) discovers keystroke loggers installed on several hospital computers after receiving a notice from the FBI warning of suspicious network activity. A forensics investigation conceded that the breach could have happened as early as January 2012.

Many Say High Deductibles Make Their Health Law Insurance All but Useless

The New York Times covers the rise of high-deductible insurance plans on ACA marketplaces, which in some states make up more than half of the available options. One customer explains their experience, “The deductible, $3,000 a year, makes it impossible to actually go to the doctor. We have insurance, but can’t afford to use it.”

HHS calls in all players for health IT strategic plan

In an interview with Federal Times, Karen DeSalvo, MD discusses the efforts that went into creating the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan and the influence that ongoing VA/DoD interoperability issues had on the final product.

HealthCare.gov sign-ups top 500K

Healthcare.gov enrolled 540,000 people into health plans during the first week of open enrollment, one-third of which were new customers. The results represent a modest increase over week one 2015 enrollment figures.

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November 16, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 11/13/15

November 13, 2015 Headlines No Comments

It’s Way Too Easy to Hack the Hospital

Bloomberg Business profiles white hat hacker Billy Rios, the analyst whose work exposing cybersecurity vulnerabilities in medical devices led to the recent FDA safety warning on Hospira infusion pumps. He says, “hospitals seemed at least a decade behind the standard security curve.”

Epic Systems forum addresses hot topic in medical records: interoperability

Cerner and Epic square off on interoperability at a Madison, WI health IT conference, with Cerner once again inviting Epic to join CommonWell, and Epic declining, saying it should not have to buy into an exchange network that wouldn’t be good for its customers or patient care.

NHS children monitored using McLaren Formula One technology

In England, patients at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital are being monitored with technology designed for racecar drivers from the McLaren Formula One team. The system monitors heart rate, respiration rate, and oxygen levels in real time and alerts the care team if the patient’s condition deteriorates.

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November 13, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 11/12/15

November 12, 2015 Headlines 4 Comments

The Path Forward for Meaningful Use

John Halamka, MD and CIO of BIDMC, publishes a blog outlining his assessment of the MU program. He explains, “Clinicians cannot get through a 12 minute visit, enter the necessary Stage 3 data elements, reconcile problems/allergies/medications from multiple institutions, meet the demands of the  Stage 3 clinical quality measures, make eye contact with patients, and deliver safe medical care. There needs to be a new approach.” 

For US Hospitals, A Mixed Report In Electronic Health Record Adoption

A study published in Health Affairs finds that by 2014, 75 percent of US hospitals had adopted a basic EHR, while 40 percent had implemented the functionality needed to meet MU2 criteria.

Boston Children’s looks to IBM’s Watson for rare-disease help

Boston Children’s Hospital will work with IBM’s Watson team to bolster the supercomputer’s nephrology database and enhance its logic to help spot rare kidney disorders..

Safeway, Theranos Split After $350 Million Deal Fizzles

The Wall Street Journal continues with its Theranos coverage, recounting a failed deal with Safeway that cost the grocery store merchant $350 million spent on in-store clinics designed to house Theranos analyzers that were never delivered.

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November 12, 2015 Headlines 4 Comments

Morning Headlines 11/11/15

November 10, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Walgreens Announces New Digital Health Initiatives

Walgreens updates its app to provide users from 25 states integrated telehealth services. The company is also launching a program that will pay users 20 Walgreens Balance Points per day to sync their blood pressure or glucose monitor with the Walgreens app and log daily readings.

Physicians Use Nuance Cloud-Based Voice Recognition Solutions to Tell More than 100 Million Patient Stories Annually

Nuance reports that its cloud-based clinical voice recognition service sales are up 30 percent month-over-month since the start of the year.  Stock prices are up 20 percent over the same timeframe.

Proposed National Patient Matching Framework Dramatically Increases Health Exchange Partner Match Rates

The Sequoia Project and Care Connectivity Consortium publish a proposed framework for a national patient matching solution. They are now soliciting public feedback.

2016 Top 10 Health Technology Hazards

ECRI publishes its annual top 10 list of healthcare technology hazards, with improperly sterilized endoscope tubes topping the list. Missed alarms, poorly configured HIT workflows, and misuse of USB ports on medical devices also made the list.

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November 10, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 11/10/15

November 10, 2015 Headlines No Comments

GE Healthcare Acquires Leading Healthcare Advisory Firm, The Camden Group, to Enable Healthcare Organizations to Navigate Industry Transformation

General Electric acquires the Camden Group for an undisclosed sum. GE will integrate the Camden Group into its healthcare consulting business unit, GE Healthcare Partners.

Differences in the Prevalence of Obesity, Smoking and Alcohol in the United States Nationwide Inpatient Sample and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

Johns Hopkins researchers find that the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, the dataset used by CMS to calculate hospital reimbursement rates, has substantially lower rates of obesity, overweight, tobacco smoking, and alcohol abuse and is an inaccurate representation of the actual population.

Remote Telemonitoring in HF Patients Fails to Reduce Hospitalizations

Researchers from UCLA and Cedars Sinai Medical Center conclude that remote patient monitoring technology has no effect on 30-day readmission rates or six-month mortality rates for heart failure patients.

Google, American Heart Association Announce Joint Research Effort

Google’s Life Sciences unit announces a five-year, $50 million partnership with the American Heart Association that will focus on bringing new tools to heart disease research.

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November 10, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 11/9/15

November 9, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Quality Systems, Inc. Board of Directors Elects Jeffrey H. Margolis as Chairman of Board

Sheldon Razin, founder and board chairman at Quality Systems, Inc., retires after 41 years leading the company’s board of directors. He will be replaced by Jeffrey Margolis, a QSI board member, as well as the CEO of Welltok and founder of Trizetto.

Hartford Hospital, contractor to pay $90,000 in 2012 data theft

Hartford Hospital (CT) and its contractor, EMC, will pay the state a $90,000 settlement stemming from the 2012 theft of an EMC employees unencrypted laptop. The laptop, which was stolen from the EMC employees home,  containing PHI on 8,000 patients.

In 5 Minutes, He Lets the Blind See

The New York Times profiles Sanduk Ruit, MD, an ophthalmologist working in Nepal that has reduced the cost of a cataract replacement procedure to just $25 per patient. The American Journal of Ophthalmology published an RCT study confirming Ruit’s technique has exactly the same outcomes as modern Western techniques, both resulting in 98 percent success rates at a six-month follow-up.

Bellevue doctor sues patient who blasted him on Yelp

In Washington, a surgeon acting as his own lawyer sues a patient over a bad Yelp review, citing defamation of character and damage to his business and reputation.

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November 9, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 11/6/15

November 5, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Allscripts Announces Third Quarter 2015 Results

Allscripts reports Q3 results: revenue increased three percent to $355 million, adjusted EPS $0.13 vs. –$0.06.

Walgreens Healthcare Clinics to Implement Epic Electronic Health Record Platform

Walgreens will implement Epic across all of its health clinics, citing access to Epic’s Care Everywhere network as a key benefit. The rollout will begin in early 2016.

The November HIT Standards Committee

John Halamka, MD and CIO of BIDMC, recaps the November HIT Standards Committee meeting while advocating for an end to the Meaningful Use program and a consolidation of Stage 3 requirements within upcoming Merit-Based Incentive Programs.

Medivo Forms Agreement with Quest Diagnostics to Analyze Laboratory Data to Help Pharmaceutical Companies Match Caregivers with Therapies

Quest Diagnostics will begin selling de-identified lab results to Medivo, an analytics company that will use the information to help drug makers run targeted marketing campaigns aimed at individual providers.

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November 5, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 11/5/15

November 5, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Cerner Reports Third Quarter 2015 Results

Cerner stock closed down 6.75 percent today after missing revenue expectations in its Q3 financial results and projecting lower Q4 earnings than analysts had forecasted. Quarterly revenue rose 34 percent to $1.1 billion, adjusted EPS $0.54 vs. $0.42.

Prestigious medical journals rejected stunning study on deaths among middle-aged whites

Two Princeton economists, one a recent Nobel Laureate, have discovered that mortality rates for whites in the US between the ages of 45 and 54 rose dramatically from 1999 to 2013. The findings, which are unseen elsewhere in the developed world, were rejected for publication by both JAMA and NEJM, before being accepted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Better Together: High Tech and High Touch

A new study conducted by Nielsen Strategic Health Perspectives surveyed 5,000 patients and 630 providers on consumer attitudes toward a wide variety of technologies used in healthcare, including EHRs in the exam room, telehealth services, and text-based appointment reminders.

Many patients ok linking social media to medical records

In a study published in BMJ Quality and Safety, researchers ask adult ED patients if they would be willing to link their social media accounts to their EHR for medical research purposes, to which 71 percent of the patients agreed.

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November 5, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

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  • Al Lewis: The only problem with your criticism of wellness is that wellness is WAY worse than you think. There is no adult superv...
  • John Lynn: Related to the person coming in for the physical, I've been asking doctors "What would you do if a patient showed up in ...
  • @ Jim S.: With all due respect to Jim S., about what should someone in a position of influence care about here? Free market system...
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  • Jim S.: Am I getting this right on the Samaritan/Epic announcement? 1. Samaritan needs to appease a future M&A partner (...

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