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Morning Headlines 7/31/15

July 30, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Ellmers Legislation Delivers Relief to Healthcare Providers

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC) introduces the Flex-IT 2 Act, which proposes delaying MU Stage 3 rulemaking until at least 2017, citing as a reason the fact that only 19 percent of providers have met Stage 2 attestation requirements thus far.

Health IT & Health Information Services 2015 Midyear Market Review

Healthcare Growth Partners publishes its 2015 midyear review, focusing on health IT investments and IPOs. The report finds that private investments have increased 509 percent since 2007, while the number of IPOs has climbed 367 percent.

BJC HealthCare hobbled by system wide computer outage that lasted 20 hours

13-hospital BJC HealthCare (MO) experiences 20 hours of network downtime that impacted both its EHR system and its corporate email across all of its facilities.

McKesson Reports Fiscal 2016 First-Quarter Results

McKesson reports Q1 results: revenue grew nine percent to $47.5 billion, adjusted EPS $3.14 vs $2.47. Revenue from the company’s technology solutions business unit fell four percent.

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July 30, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/31/15

July 30, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Leidos Wins Massive Pentagon Health Care Records Contract

DoD announces it will implement Cerner as its next EHR in a $4.3 billion initial contract through Leidos that is anticipated to be worth up to $9 billion over the next 18 years. Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics noted that at the conclusion of the procurement process, there was “a clear best-value solution for us.”

Clarifying Questions and Answers Related to the July 6, 2015 CMS/AMA Joint Announcement and Guidance Regarding ICD-10 Flexibilities

CMS publishes clarifications to the ICD-10 Flexibility announcement that it made earlier this month.

Minnesota data analytics IDs potential savings

The Minnesota Department of Health analyzes emergency department visits, as well as hospital admissions and readmissions from 2012 claims data, finding that 1.3 million visits, generating $2 billion in spending, were potentially preventable. Pneumonia, heart failure, and COPD were the leading conditions driving up preventable ER visits.

Answers to Questions for the Record Following a Hearing on The 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook Conducted by the Senate Committee on the Budget

In a follow up report from its 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook report, the CBO discusses telehealth services and the potential financial costs or savings increased access would have on overall Medicare spending.

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July 30, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/29/15

July 29, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Harvard tech guru funds collaborative medical software

A Harvard Business professor invests $8.4 million in digital health startup ACT.md, a company focused on building collaboration tools to improve handoff communications and care coordination among providers.

NantKwest a huge IPO, but watch the small float

In the largest biotech IPO in a decade, Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD’s NantKwest started trading on the NASDAQ today, opening at $37 per share for an initial market capitalization of $2.6 billion. Soon-Shoing acquired the company less than a year ago for just $48 million.

Community Hospital EHR  – 2015

Peer60 publishes survey results from 277 community hospital providers, finding that 20 percent of community hospitals are actively looking to replace their current EHR, with Epic, Cerner, and Meditech most frequently named as likely replacement vendors.

UMass Memorial Health Care plans big patient record upgrade

UMass Memorial Health Care CEO Eric Dickson, MD reports that the health system will invest $700 million over $10 years in its transition from Sorian to Epic, representing the largest capital investment in its history.

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July 29, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/28/15

July 27, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Senate panel will push HHS to delay Stage 3 MU rules

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will submit a series of recommendations to the Obama administration focused on expanding EHR use through directives and rule changes, rather than legislative actions that can take years to pass. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who chairs the committee, reports that the submission will include a recommendation that MU3 be delayed.

Health care will have its own Internet soon, Athenahealth chief says

CNBC interviews Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush, who predicts that “the lion’s share of routine health care” will be managed online in the future. Bush cites Amazon’s transformation of the retail market as an example of how to build consumer trust.  “Amazon took a piece of the Internet and made it safe enough, reliable enough, and connected enough that Main Street Americans use it for retail. We’re going to do the exact same thing. We know how to do this now. We’ve done it in other sectors."

Number of 5-star hospitals doubles in updated CMS ratings

CMS updates its five-star rating system for hospitals, which is based entirely on patient-satisfaction surveys, to reflect newly collected survey results. The scores will be updated quarterly moving forward.

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July 27, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/27/15

July 26, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Electronic Health Records on Mobile Devices

Cybersecurity experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology publish a draft guide on securing mobile devices for use in the health care industry.

Another Big Earnings Beat for Athenahealth, Inc.

Athena publishes Q2 results: revenue climbed 21 percent to $224.7 million, EPS $0.32 vs. $0.32, missing revenue projections but beating earnings estimates. Stock prices, which had jumped five percent earlier in the day on news that Athena signed NewYork-Presbyterian Physician Services Organization, lost two percent of those gains in after hours trading.

The Health IT Safety Center Roadmap: What’s Next?

In a Health Affairs blog, Dean Sittig and Hardeep Singh publish an assessment of ONC’s Health IT Safety Center Roadmap.

Modernizing Medicine to acquire Weston electronic medical records firm

Cloud-based dermatology EHR vendor Modernizing Medicine acquires gMed, a gastroenterology EHR vendor, for an undisclosed sum.

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July 26, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 7/24/15

July 23, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

UMass Memorial’s medical records upgrade won’t be cheap

UMass Memorial Health Care (MA) announces that it will replace its Sorian EHR with Epic, with CEO Eric Dickinson commenting that it was “one of the most important contracts I have signed since becoming CEO.”

Clinical, Technical, Organizational and Financial Barriers to Interoperability Task Force

ONC launches its new Clinical, Technical, Organizational and Financial Barriers to Interoperability Task Force, which will develop a report on interoperability challenges by October 2015.

Cerner Announces Industry-First, EHR-Agnostic Tool to Improve Accuracy of Fall Risk Detection

Cerner releases a vendor-agnostic EHR tool that identifies fall-risk patients with a 90 degree accuracy.

NewYork-Presbyterian Selects athenahealth as the Technology Platform for Its Physician Services Organization

NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Group will implement Athenahealth’s EHR, practice management, and patient portal solutions across all of its practices, servicing 800 physicians.

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July 23, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 7/23/15

July 22, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Anthem Nears Deal to Buy Cigna for $48 Billion

Anthem and Cigna are, once again, nearing an acquisition deal.The deal will be worth $48 billion, or $188 per share for Cigna. Cigna shares closed at $151 per share Wednesday, but climbed eight percent in after hours trading following the acquisition rumors. An announcement could be made as early as Thursday afternoon.

2015 Top Markets Report Health IT

The Department of Commerce releases a report on health IT, calling it a strong export opportunity for the US, and forecasting that the top five markets over over the next three years will be: Finland, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, and Switzerland.

Contractor for Maryland health exchange website to pay $45M

Noridian Healthcare Solutions agrees to pay $45 million to Maryland to avoid legal action after failing to deliver a functional state health insurance exchange.

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July 22, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/22/15

July 21, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Break the Red Tape: Electronic Health Records Town Hall (video)

AMA of Georgia holds a town hall-style meeting hosted by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and AMA President Steven Stack, MD  to discuss ongoing usability issues with EHRs and looming MU3 regulations.

UVA, MITRE partner to improve health data analysis

University of Virginia Health System and The MITRE Corporation have partnered to develop advanced warning systems to help identify early changes to hemorrhages or lung failure.

Thomas Verbeck: Sharing medical data saves lives

Thomas Verbeck, a retired US Air Force brigadier general and CIO, calls for a to halt the DoD EHR procurement until a congressional review can be conducted to evaluate the problems that a non-integrated system will cause for soldiers, veterans, and care providers across the DoD, VA, and civilian health systems.

Virtual Reality Now Being Used To Treat Bipolar Disorder

In England, Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headsets are being piloted by the NHS to help patients with mental health disorders learn to cope with environmental stressors. Using VR, researchers are immersing patients in everyday scenarios, such as riding the subway or the bus, in hopes of triggering controlled emotional responses that can then be analyzed.

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July 21, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 7/21/15

July 20, 2015 Headlines No Comments

How Not to Fix the F.D.A.

The New York Times Editorial Board publishes a piece critical of the 21st Century Cures Act, pointing out problematic provisions that weaken FDA oversight on medical devices and strip the drug review process of important safety measures, recommending that the Senate “either eliminate or rewrite the flawed provisions before passing its version of the legislation.”

Hacked? Big deal: I made my most personal data public

John Halamka, MD and CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, recounts his decision to publish both his complete medical record and sequenced genome, in an article he writes calling for a patients-centric platform that would allow anyone to voluntarily share their own health data.

Project ECHO: Force Multiplier For Community Health Centers

GE Foundation will fund the Project ECHO initiative with a $14 million, three-year grant designed to help the project continue growing. Project ECHO is a web-based forum that helps community providers address complex conditions in their local populations by connecting them with experts who provide disease management education sessions and patient-specific treatment advice.

Federal Grant Awarded to Support State Medical Boards in Developing Infrastructure for Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

The Federation of State Medical Boards announces that it has received a $225,000 grant to help states adopt the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, an agreement it drafted last year that eases licensure restrictions on cross-state care delivery in an effort reduce barriers to telehealth expansion.

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July 20, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/20/15

July 19, 2015 Headlines 2 Comments

UCLA Health Victim of a Criminal Cyber Attack

UCLA Health announces that 4.5 million patient records have been compromised after discovering that during a September 2014 cyber attack,  hackers had accessed secure parts of the network where medical records were stored.

Allscripts Shares Soar After Preliminary Results Beat Estimates

Allscripts reports preliminary Q2 results: expected revenue is projected at $350-$354 million, EPS $0.12, beating analyst expectations on both. Share prices climbed nine percent on the news.

Health IT Safety Center Roadmap

ONC publishes its Health IT Safety Center Roadmap which calls for the creation of a Health IT Safety Center where industry stakeholders would analyze emerging safety issues and generate evidence-based solutions and resources. The center is expected to generate $20 million in costs over its first five years of operation.

Drone Drug Delivery Flights Add International Research Element to Health Outreach

The first FAA-approved drone delivery system goes live, delivering pharmaceuticals  to a free health clinic running in the rural community of Wise, VA.

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July 19, 2015 Headlines 2 Comments

Morning Headlines 7/17/15

July 16, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

NantHealth Acquires Harris Healthcare Solutions

Healthcare billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiung, MD’s digital health startup NantHealth acquires Harris Healthcare Solutions, which sells a suite of health information exchange products, for an undisclosed sum.

The Sullivan Institute, WEDI, HIMSS, MGMA Unveil Pilot Design for Virtual Clipboard Initiative

The Sullivan Institute for Healthcare Innovation, along with HIMSS, WEDI, ONC, MGMA, and others, publish the results of the Virtual Clipboard Initiative, a collaborative effort aimed at developing a blueprint for a mobile app that would streamline the patient check-in process by automating the transfer of demographic, insurance, and clinical summary information.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Announces New Identity Protection Services For Customers Nationwide

Blue Cross Blue Shield announces a nationwide initiative to offer customers with credit monitoring, fraud detection, and fraud resolution services by the start of 2016.

New London, Westerly hospitals to join Yale New Haven system

Lawrence + Memorial Hospital (CT) and Westerly Hospital (RI) will merge with the Yale New Haven Health System, implementing Epic across both sites as part of the deal.

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July 16, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 7/16/15

July 15, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Watchdog finds potential for fraud in Obamacare subsidies

A GAO report finds that 11 of 12 fake accounts it created to test HealthCare.gov were approved for subsidies last year, and all 11 were re-approved this year, meaning that in its two years of operation, administrators have not managed to remove any of the fake accounts.

CMS cutting-edge technology identifies and prevents $820 million in improper Medicare payments in first three years

CMS reports that its analytics-powered Fraud Prevention System has saved the government $820 million during its first three years in operation, including $454 million during 2014 alone, a 10 to one return on investment.

Former CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner will take AHIP helm

Marilyn Tavenner, the former head of CMS, will take on the role of president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the country’s leading insurance lobbying firm.

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July 15, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/15/15

July 14, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Making the Cut: Why choosing the right surgeon matters even more than you know

ProPublica publishes its Surgeon Scorecard, a comprehensive data visualization tool that displays surgeon-specific complication rates for eight elective procedures.

McKesson Executive Compensation Under Fire, Again

McKesson executives are fighting off another Teamster-sponsored shareholder proposal that would eliminate automatic payouts for top executives in the event of a change in control, including $142 million that would be due to CEO John Hammergren alone.

McCullough-Hyde takes ‘giant leap forward’

McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital (OH) implements Epic across its 45-bed facility for $9.5 million after affiliating with TriHealth.

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July 14, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 7/14/15

July 13, 2015 Headlines No Comments

AHA Voices Concerns With 21st Century Cures Act’s Interoperability Provisions

The AHA is lobbying against interoperability provisions included in the  21st Century Cures Act that the House recently passed. In a letter sent to Congress , AHA takes issues with Section 3001, which authorizes HHS to levy penalties against hospitals and providers engaged in “information blocking.”

Linking The Clinical Experience To Community Resources To Address Hunger In Colorado

Health Affairs publishes an article on a Colorado-based clinic-to-community initiative aimed at curbing nutritional deficiencies in the local population by incorporating hunger screenings into standard EHR workflows. Qualifying patients were then referred to a local food assistance program.

OPM Announces Steps to Protect Federal Workers and Others From Cyber Threats

The Office of Personnel Management reports that the personal information of 21.5 million military and civilian government workers was compromised during a May 2015 cyberattack on its federal background investigation system. The exposed information, impacting nearly all personnel that underwent a background investigation since 2000, includes Social Security numbers; residency and educational history; employment history; information about immediate family and other personal and business acquaintances; mental and physical health; fingerprints; and criminal and financial history.

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July 13, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/13/15

July 12, 2015 Headlines No Comments

HIPAA Settlement Highlights Importance of Safeguards When Using Internet Applications

St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center (MA) will pay $218,000 to settle a HIPAA violation after  staff members are found storing the medical documents of 498 patients on an unnamed internet-based file sharing application.

Modern Doctors’ House Calls: Skype Chat and Fast Diagnosis

The New York Times analyzes the growing popularity of telehealth services and the reluctant but increasing willingness of insurance companies to reimburse for them.

Derek Streat’s software could change the way we train and evaluate doctors

A University of Washington spinoff raises $2.5 million to build a crowd-sourcing platform for surgeons that evaluates the skill and technique of peers based on uploaded videos of performed procedures. The developers say that the platform will deliver objective reviews at a fraction of the cost of traditional peer-reviews.

Harvard researchers tested 23 online ‘symptom checkers.’ Most got failing grades. Here’s how they stack up.

Harvard researchers evaluate the accuracy of online symptom checkers, finding that an accurate diagnosis is only returned as the primary diagnosis 34 percent of the time, and only identifies the correct diagnosis within the first three results 51 percent of the time.

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July 12, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/10/15

July 9, 2015 Headlines No Comments

ICD-10 Medicare FFS Acknowledgement Testing: June 1 through 5, 2015

CMS reports that 90 percent of submitted claims were accepted during its latest round of ICD-10 acknowledgement testing. Most rejected claims were the result of errors within the submission, and no claims system issues were identified.

Obama nominates Slavitt as CMS administrator

Andrew Slavitt is nominated as the next CMS administrator, a position he has held on an interim basis since Marilyn Tavenner stepped down in February.

Theranos and Capital BlueCross Team Up to Provide Innovative, Low Cost, Accessible Lab Testing Services in Central Pennsylvania

Lab services vendor Theranos announces a partnership with BlueCross to offer lab tests at a cost 50 percent below Medicare reimbursement rates.

Gary Fingerhut out as Cleveland Clinic Innovations executive director

Cleveland Clinic Innovations Director Gary Fingerhut quits after the FBI discovers that he made inappropriate financial transactions related to a Cleveland Clinic spin-off company. 

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July 9, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/9/15

July 8, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Cerner to Replace Department of Defense’s Anatomic Pathology Laboratory Information System

The DoD selects Cerner as its next laboratory information system vendor, replacing its existing LIS applications across all Military Health System facilities.

Thompson, Harper, Black, Welch Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Telehealth Services

US Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) along with three co-sponsors introduces a bipartisan bill that would remove geographic barriers to telehealth services and increase the use of remote patient monitoring technologies for Medicare patients. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.

New Patient-Focused Commitments to Advance the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative

The White House publishes proposed research guidelines for its Precision Medicine Initiative, aimed at protecting patient privacy. Public comments are open until August 7. The announcement also highlights several new initiatives aimed at increasing patient awareness about their right to get digital copies of their medical records.

Why medical journals must make researchers share data from clinical trials

BMJ becomes just the second major medical journal to require research data sharing as a condition of publication, joining PLOS. The NIH, World Health Organization, and Cochrane Collaboration have called for de-identified patient data collected during clinical trials to be shared with the the larger research community, but information sharing is still an uncommon practice.

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July 8, 2015 Headlines No Comments

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