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Morning Headlines 9/22/17

September 21, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Certification Program Updates to Support Efficiency & Reduce Burden

ONC eases EHR Certification requirements for vendors in an effort to reduce regulatory burden on health IT developers. First, ONC has revised certification test procedures so that vendors can “self declare” that their products meet 30 of 55 certification criteria. Second, ONC plans to exercise “enforcement discretion” when it comes to conducting randomized surveillance of health IT products.

Letter to HHS Secretary Thomas Price, MD

Representatives Greg Walden (R-OR) and Tim Murphy (R-PA) send a letter to HHS Secretary Thomas Price asking for an update on HHS plan to address cyberthreats to the healthcare sector after learning that the “NotPetya” malware attack is causing lingering delays in availability of certain Merck products.

VA CIO Rob Thomas retiring from government

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ acting CIO, Rob Thomas, will retire from government service in October. VA Interim Deputy Secretary Scott Blackburn will replace him.

VA Removes Former D.C. Medical Center Director

The VA has fired the medical director of the D.C. Medical Center for sending sensitive VA information from his work email to unsecured private email accounts.

Morning Headlines 9/21/17

September 20, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Medicare and Medicaid Need Innovation

CMS Administrator Seema Verma says in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that the agency will pivot its Innovation Center to offer providers new ways of delivering care, noting that value-based programs have resulted in market consolidation and reduced competition.

Cleveland Clinic CIO talks innovation, patient engagement and BYOD

In an interview with MedCity News, Cleveland Clinic CIO Ed Marx discusses his views on BYOD, and the various apps used by patients and clinicians at the Clinic.

To Foster Information Exchange, Revise HIPAA And HITECH

Niam Yaraghi, a fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation, argues in a Health Affairs article that HITECH and HIPAA are as much at fault for the nation’s EHR interoperability problems as the vendors and providers that are being blamed.

Senate girds for final Obamacare repeal vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) will introduce the Graham-Cassidy bill for a vote by next week. The vote will likely be the GOP’s final opportunity to repeal ACA.

Morning Headlines 9/20/17

September 20, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Kaiser IT union members march for higher pay at company headquarters in Oakland

Kaiser Health union members are picketing in front of the company’s downtown Oakland headquarters, demanding better pay for a group of IT desktop support staff. The employees are making an average of $72,000 per year, which Kaiser executives say is typical for the local market, but union members disagree and are seeking considerably higher rates.

Some tax-exempt hospitals are lax at providing charity care and accountability

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) publishes an opinion piece in STAT highlighting recent reports of not-for-profit hospitals refusing charity care under all but the most extreme cases.

Health care giant HCA may be in the mix for Tenet, analysts say

The Dallas News cites unnamed analysts in an article claiming that HCA is a frontrunner to acquire some of Tenet Healthcare’s hospitals.

Health Benefits In 2017: Stable Coverage, Workers Faced Considerable Variation In Costs

A Kaiser Family Foundation study finds that employer-sponsored insurance plans rose four percent for single coverage, to $6,690, and three percent for family coverage, to $18,764.

Morning Headlines 9/19/17

September 18, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Solon man charged with defrauding the Cleveland Clinic out of $2.7 million

Gary Fingerhut, former executive director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations, is charged with conspiracy to defraud the Cleveland Clinic out of $2.7 million. Fingerhut and an unnamed accomplice opened a shell company that Cleveland Clinic Innovations hired to develop medical charting software. The shell company was paid $2.7 million in total, but delivered no goods or services in return. Investigators found that $469,000 was funneled directly back to Fingerhut.

Transition to electronic records

The local paper on Joint Base Lewis-McChord (WA) covers the upcoming Cerner go-live at Madigan Army Medical Center, the first large, multi-branch hospital to go live under MHS Genesis.

Health Information Technology is Helping Treat and Manage HIV for Patients and Providers

On National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, ONC CMO Thomas Mason, MD discusses various health IT projects that are improving care delivery for HIV patients.

The race is on as Senate factions vie to either fix or replace the ACA

Modern Healthcare covers several last minute efforts to repeal and replace ACA prior to September 30, when reconciliation rules, which allow passage of the bill with a simple majority vote, will expire.

Morning Headlines 9/18/17

September 17, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Second review launched into IHealth

In Canada, British Colombia’s Health Minister Adrian Dix, launches an independent review of Island Health’s $178 million Cerner Millennium implementation. Island Health has faced fierce resistance from its providers over complaints that Cerner is difficult to use and a risk to patient safety.

I’m the perfect person to price shop for an operation. But the process went terribly

A Massachusetts physician and price transparency researcher recounts the difficulties she had when trying to compare prices for a procedure her daughter was having.

Indiana, Reeling From Opioid Crisis, Arms Officials With Data

Indiana partners with SAP to create a database and dashboards displaying the state’s information on “drug arrests, drug seizures, death records, pharmacy robberies, overdose-related ambulance calls, and the use of naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug.”

Ask Mayo Clinic online offers symptom assessment through Epic’s MyChart

Epic will integrate Mayo Clinic’s online symptom checker into its MyChart app.

Morning Headlines 9/15/17

September 14, 2017 Headlines 3 Comments

Navicure and ZirMed Announce Plans to Merge

In a deal rumored to be worth $750 million, Navicure and ZirMed agree to merge their RCM capabilities, operating under both brand names in the near term.

Investors Put 23andMe Valuation at $1.75 Billion 

Consumer genetic testing and research company 23andMe raises $250 million in a round led by new investor Sequoia Capital, bringing its total funding to near $500 million.

Epic Announces “Worldwide Interoperability”

Epic will give MyChart users the ability to share data with any provider with Internet access, even those without EHRs.

Black Book Announces Top RCM Software & Technology Companies

Black Book releases findings from its latest hospital executive survey on RCM software, technology, and outsourcing.

Morning Headlines 9/14/17

September 13, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Tenet Healthcare Is Exploring Options Including a Possible Sale of the Company

Tenet Healthcare shares climbed 13 percent following a Wall Street Journal report suggesting it is considering a sale of the company. Tenet shares are down 72 percent in the last three years and face ongoing activist investor pressures.

Connecting Public Health Information Systems and Health Information Exchange Organizations

ONC publishes a report on how public health agencies could better use existing health information exchanges to collect information from providers.

Martin Shkreli’s bail revoked, he heads to jail after Facebook post on Clinton

Former pharmacy CEO Martin Shkreli is heading to jail after having his bail revoked over inflammatory online posts about Hillary Clinton. Shkreli was awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of securities fraud.

Impact of Scribes on Physician Satisfaction, Patient Satisfaction, and Charting Efficiency: A Randomized Controlled Trial

A study published in the Annals of Family Medicine finds that  the use of scribes improved all aspects of physician satisfaction, including overall satisfaction, having enough face time with patients, time spent charting, chart quality and accuracy. Scribes had no effect on patient satisfaction and increased the proportion of charts that were closed within 48 hours.

Morning Headlines 9/13/17

September 12, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Alleged Equifax hackers demand $2.6 million Bitcoin ransom

Equifax, which suffered a cyberattack that exposed 143 million social security numbers, is reportedly being asked to pay a $2.6 million ransom to prevent the stolen data from being deleted.

Tom Frieden’s New Venture Combines 2 Disparate Health Threats

Former CDC Director Tom Frieden announces that he has accepted a new job leading Resolve, a global health initiative backed with a $225 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The organization will work to prevent heart disease and stroke, and to increase worldwide preparedness for fighting epidemics.

Scripps and proton center part ways

Scripps Health announces that it will part ways from the now bankrupt California Proton Therapy Center. The treatment center began offering proton-based cancer treatment options in February 2014 in partnership with Scripps, but filed for bankruptcy in March 2017, noting in its filing that Scripps management was to blame for its lack of earnings.

Tim Cook on How Apple Champions the Environment, Education, and Health Care

In an interview with Fortune ahead of the iPhone 8 release, Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses the company’s future in healthcare, explaining “the focus has been on making products that can get reimbursed through the insurance companies, through Medicare, or through Medicaid. And so in some ways we bring a totally fresh view into this and say, ‘Forget all of that. What will help people?’”

Morning Headlines 9/12/17

September 11, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Online physician ratings fail to predict actual performance on measures of quality, value, and peer review

An analysis of online consumer ratings of physician finds no association between a physician’s average consumer score and their specialty-specific quality scores.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt maps out the NHS’s digital future

In England, Health secretary Jeremy Hunt outlines his vision for how digital health will improve care delivery within the NHS.

Fitbit and Dexcom to Develop Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Experience for People Living with Diabetes

Fitbit announces a partnership with continuous glucose monitor vendor DexCom that will bring real-time glucose reading results to Fitbit’s next generation activity tracker.

Data hack at Children’s Hospital may have affected more than 3,000 families

Children’s Hospital Colorado reports that a hacker has gained access to an employee email, resulting in the unauthorized exposure of 3,400 patient’s personal health information.

Morning Headlines 9/11/17

September 10, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Electronic Health Record Adoption and Interoperability among US Skilled Nursing Facilities in 2016

An ONC report on interoperability at Skilled Nursing Facilities finds that 64 percent use EHRs, and 62 percent have interoperable networks in place that ensures electronic information is available from outside sources.

Departing Novartis CEO Sets His Eyes On Silicon Valley

In a Forbes interview, departing Novartis Chief Executive Officer Joe Jimenez expands on his desire to return to Silicon Valley, saying “How are we going to pay for the innovation that’s coming? The only way is to get rid of the inefficiency in the system. That’s where I see digital technology starting to have a significant impact.”

MDLIVE Offers Free Virtual Care Services to Individuals Impacted by Hurricane Irma

MDLive will offer free telehealth visits to evacuees displaced by Hurricane Irma, as it did with Hurricane Harvey.

Red Cross launches first U.S. drone program for disasters

The American Red Cross will use a drone to assess damage and deliver aid in Houston following Hurricane Harvey.

Botox Maker Allergan’s CEO Defends Selling Drug Patents to Native American Tribe to Thwart Rivals

Allegran sells a key drug patent to the New York-based Mohawk tribe, leveraging its unique legal status to keep generic alternatives out of the marketplace.

Morning Headlines 9/8/17

September 7, 2017 Headlines No Comments

The HITECH Era and the Path Forward

Former National Coordinators for Health IT Vindell Washington, MD, Karen DeSalvo, MD, Farzad Mostashari, MD, and David Blumenthal, MD co-author an opinion piece in the New England Journal of Medicine on the path forward for Meaningful Use.

Digital Health Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program

The FDA is seeking applications for a Digital Health Entrepreneur-in-Residence. The selected candidate will work within the FDA’s Digital Health Unit developing software test models and quality metrics.

Assessment of Remote Heart Rhythm Sampling Using the AliveCor Heart Monitor to Screen for Atrial Fibrillation: The REHEARSE-AF Study

A study published in Circulation finds that using a smartphone-enabled ECG monitor to screen at-risk stroke patients for atrial fibrillation was “significantly more likely” to detect AF as compared to routine care.

Harvey Puts One Texas Hospital’s ‘Code Brown’ Plan to the Test

As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida, the Wall Street Journal profiles preparations undertaken by Houston’s St. Joseph Medical Center in the days ahead of Hurricane Harvey’s arrival.

Morning Headlines 9/7/17

September 6, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Interoperability 2016-2017 Final Report

The National Quality Foundation issues a report on measuring EHR interoperability, as well as interoperability’s impact on “patient safety, costs, productivity, care coordination, processes and outcomes, and patients’ and caregivers’ experience and engagement,” outlining dozens of ways that interoperability could be measured and improved upon within the US.

IBM pitched its Watson supercomputer as a revolution in cancer care. It’s nowhere close

STAT investigates IBM’s failure to develop Watson into a revolutionary technology for cancer care.

Most Marketplace Plans Included At Least 25 Percent Of Local-Area Physicians, But Enrollment Disparities Remained

A Health Affairs study finds that in 2016, 60 percent of the plans available on individual exchanges included provider networks where at leasts 25 percent of the local provider community was in network, contrary to growing concerns that network consolidation would lead to restricted access to care.

Tenet selling 8 more hospitals as investors debate company breakup

Outgoing CEO Trevor Fetter announces that Tenet will sell eight low-margin hospitals , plus another nine in the UK, to help it reduce debt and appease activist investors that are pressuring the board to break the company into three smaller units.

Morning Headlines 9/6/17

September 5, 2017 Headlines No Comments

FNFV Announces Acquisition of T-System Holdings for $200 Million

Fidelity National Financial will acquire emergency department clinical documentation and coding vendor T-Systems for $200 million in cash.

Cerner Announces Advisory Group to Improve Health Care Delivery for Veterans

Cerner creates an advisory board that will guide its VA implementation, chaired by Nebraska Governor and US Navy Veteran Bob Kerrey. Former VA CIO Roger Baker, former National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, MD, and Jonathan Perlin, MD and CMO of HCA, are among the experts that make up the board.

Veterans Administration Awards Diameter Health and Four Points Technology to Provide Clinical Data Quality Surveillance

The VA will implement Diameter Health’s CCD Analyzer to feed data into its clinical data quality surveillance platform.

Information Is Powerful Medicine

HHS launches a campaign encouraging consumers to access and review their medical records.

 

Morning Headlines 9/5/17

September 4, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Jeanne Lillig-Patterson, wife of Cerner CEO Neal Patterson, dies at 59

Jeanne Lillig-Patterson, founder of the First Hand Foundation and wife of Cerner co-founder Neal Patterson, dies at the age of 59 after losing her battle with cancer. Jeanne’s death follows her husband’s by less than two months.

Moment of truth arrives for Obamacare repeal

The Senate parliamentarian has ruled that Republicans face a September 30 deadline to pass an ACA repeal bill with only 50 votes, noting that the availability of the budget reconciliation process Republicans were using to fast-track the bill will pass when fiscal year 2017 ends on September 30.

Dual Canadian/Chinese Citizen Arrested for Attempting to Steal Trade Secrets and Computer Information

A Canadian/Chinese citizen is being charged with attempted theft of trade secrets after the CEO of Massachusetts-based Medrobotics Corporation saw him sitting in a conference room at 7:30pm with three laptops open. When questioned by the CEO, the man admitted that he was not an employee or contractor of the company, and claimed to be visiting a Medrobotics employee.

Novartis names American Vasant Narasimhan as its new CEO

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis announces that its CEO, Joseph Jimenez, will step down effective February 1, noting that he is “ready to return to Silicon Valley and the US.”  Vasant Narasimhan, MD, the company’s current CMO, will take over.

Morning Headlines 9/4/17

September 3, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Harvey Evacuees Leave Their Belongings – and Health Records – Behind

Wired describes a frustrating situation in Texas and Louisiana, where the lack of EHR interoperability is in the national spotlight as Hurricane Harvey evacuees seek care from new doctors who have no access to their medical records.

Speech Recognition in Cardiology

A survey of 147 cardiology clinical and administrative staff finds that cardiology is lagging behind radiology in adopting voice recognition technology into clinical workflows.

Alphabet’s Verily and Google found a potential new test for heart disease using AI

Verily researchers have developed an AI-based algorithm that can analyze retinal images to calculate a patient’s risk of heart disease. The algorithm scans for key indicators in the retinal images that correlate to age, gender, smoking status, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels, and then uses this information to calculate the patient’s heart disease risk level.

How to Regulate Artificial Intelligence

A New York Times Op-Ed piece by an Artificial Intelligence researcher proposes a framework for regulating the emerging technology.

Morning Headlines 9/1/17

September 1, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Health IT Now Letter To ONC

An industry group comprised of AMIA, Athenahealth, and others asks ONC to provide guidance around information blocking.

Firmware Update to Address Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities Identified in Abbott’s (formerly St. Jude Medical’s) Implantable Cardiac Pacemakers: FDA Safety Communication

The FDA issues a voluntary recall of St. Jude Medical implantable pacemakers due to cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the devices firmware. The FDA suggests that patients coordinate with care providers to discuss the need to have their firmware updated.

Bipartisan Governors Blueprint

A bipartisan group of eight governors sends a letter to Congress with recommendations on how to stabilize the individual health insurance exchanges.

Limited Waiver of HIPAA Sanctions and Penalties During a Declared Emergency

HHS Secretary Tom Price issues a 72-hour waiver on HIPAA privacy rules for hospitals responding to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana.

Regulator Wants Stronger Oversight Of Private Health IT Firm That Gets Public Funds

Vermont’s Green Mountain Care Board, which oversees the state’s medical industry, says the state’s HIE is failing to meet the needs of providers in the state and warns that it will need to improve to justify continued public funding.

Morning Headlines 8/31/17

August 30, 2017 Headlines 2 Comments

AHA Letter To Representative Pat Tiberi

AHA writes a letter to Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means’ Subcommittee on Health, calling for the cancellation of Meaningful Use Stage 3.

FDA approval brings first gene therapy to the United States

The FDA has approved CAR-T, a gene therapy treatment for certain types of pediatric leukemia, making it the first gene therapy approved for use in the US. Novartis developed the treatment and has put a $475,000 price tag on the drug, far below analyst expectations. In a clinical trial, a single dose of CAR-T left 83 percent of participants cancer free after three months.

Medtronic invests $40 million in robotics company Mazor

Medtronic announces that it has invested $40 million in surgical robot vendor Mazor Robotics, bringing its total investment in the company to $72 million. Medtronic will now become the exclusive distributor of Mazor’s robotic surgery system.

Aetna scoops up rising star from Wal-Mart’s health group to lead Apple Watch partnership

Aetna hires Walmart’s health division director Ben Wanamaker to lead its joint venture with Apple.

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