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Morning Headlines 7/22/16

July 21, 2016 Headlines No Comments

The Secret Documents That Detail How Patients’ Privacy is Breached

ProPublica publishes 300 previously undisclosed warning letters that OCR sent to healthcare organizations found to be in violation if HIPAA in an effort to help the public “review details of these cases and track repeat offenders.”

Star Spangled Geeks

Backchannel profiles some early successes coming out of the US Digital Service, a group of Silicon Valley heavyweights recruited to help the government improve its technical infrastructure.

$42 Billion Saved in Medicare and Medicaid Primarily Through Prevention

A CMS blog describes how each dollar invested in Medicare fraud prevention programs returned $12.40 for taxpayers, resulting in a $42 billion savings over the past two years.

Chinese scientists to pioneer first human CRISPR trial

Next month, a team of researchers from China’s Sichuan University will begin administering a new treatment comprised of human cells modified using CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing techniques to lung cancer patients that have not responded to conventional treatment.

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July 21, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/21/16

July 20, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Tackling Workers’ Mental Health, One Text at a Time

The Wall Street Journal notes the rise in companies offering their employees smartphone apps that allow them to find and receive mental health treatment, but also quotes those concerned about the potential privacy implications.

Failed merger doesn’t stop South Shore Hospital’s planned expansion

South Shore Hospital (MA), whose planned merger with Partners HealthCare failed last year after anti-trust objections, seeks $220 million in donations to cover $60 million in new construction costs and $160 million to implement Epic.

Philips to Expand Its Population Health Management Business with the Acquisition of Wellcentive

Royal Philips acquires population health management software vendor Wellcentive for undisclosed terms.

A Socio-technical Approach to Preventing, Mitigating, and Recovering from Ransomware Attacks

A new paper emphasizes user-focused strategies such as simulation and training.

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July 20, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/19/16

July 18, 2016 Headlines No Comments

AMIA Sees Value, Complexity in Using EHRs for Clinical Investigations

The American Medical Informatics Association applauds the FDA’s interest in mining EHR data to advance clinical investigations, but warns “we strongly caution the FDA from assuming EHRs are readily configurable for clinical investigations, even among more advanced institutions.”

How ‘digitizing you and me’ could revolutionize medicine. At least in theory

In an interview with STAT, Eric Topol, MD discusses the administration’s Precision Medicine Initiative and the role he will play leading a $120 million project at Scripps Research Institute focused on recruiting, collecting, and analyzing health data from 350,000 volunteers.

An Insurer’s Care Transition Program Emphasizes Medication Reconciliation, Reduces Readmissions And Costs

A Health Affairs study finds that a CVS Health-run care transition team offering medication reconciliation support to discharged patients reduced relative risk of readmission within 30 days of discharge by 50 percent, saving two dollars for every one dollar spent on the program.

Providence notifies 5,400 Oregon patients of records breach

Providence Health & Services (OR) notifies 5,400 patients that a former employee inappropriately accessed their medical records between 2012 and 2016. The employee has been fired, and the health system is reiterating that the employee used or shared the information.

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July 18, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/18/16

July 17, 2016 Headlines No Comments

HL7 firm hack compromised clients’ EHR records: The Dark Overlord

Hacker The Dark Overlord claims to have breached the servers of healthcare IT vendor PilotFish Technology and is selling access to the company’s database for $500,000.

Children’s hospital using ‘Pokemon Go’ to get patients out of bed

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital (MI) is using Pokemon Go as a tool to get sick patients out of their rooms and interacting with staff members and other patients.

Jeremy Hunt remains as Health Secretary after earlier reports he’d been sacked

NHS Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is reappointed to his position by incoming Prime Minister Theresa May.

Fancy amenities woo patients while insurers cry foul

Aetna sues 175-bed North Cypress Medical Center (TX) claiming the physician-owned hospital accepts no forms of insurance and instead charges all payers out-of-network rates while discounting the patient responsibility portion of the bill to in-network prices. A judge ultimately denied Aetna’s demand for $225 million in refunds.

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July 17, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/15/16

July 14, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Hearing to Review the VA Electronic Health Record Network

Testifying before the Senate’s Committee on Appropriations, VA executives field pointed questions about the lack of interoperability between the VA and DoD, and confirm speculation that the agency will likely move to a commercial EHR system.

Health IT & Health Information Services: 2016 Mid-Year Market Review

Healthcare Growth Partners publishes its 2016 Mid-Year Market Review, a dense and informative report on M&A activity in the health IT marketplace.

Obamacare, the secret jobs program

Politico reports that the ACA was intentionally written to save healthcare jobs during the recession rather than reduce healthcare costs. While healthcare advisors lobbied for language aimed at improving care delivery efficiencies to reduce costs, more influential advisors from the job creation team successfully argued that during the recession the country needed “more middle-class jobs and the best place to create them was in health care.”

Thune Leads Senate REBOOT Members in Introducing Legislation to Improve Meaningful Use Program

Six republican senators introduce a bill that would limit the Meaningful Use reporting periods to 90-days, expand availability of hardship exemptions, and eliminate the “all-or-nothing” structure of the attestation process by allowing hospitals to satisfy MU requirements as long as they attest to 70 percent of the required metrics.

2016 Survey of US Physicians: Physician awareness, perspectives, and readiness for MACRA

A Deloitte survey measuring MACRA awareness among US physicians finds that 50 percent of non-pediatric physicians have never heard of MACRA, and 79 percent do not support tying compensation to quality.

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July 14, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 7/14/16

July 13, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Imprivata Agrees to Be Acquired by Thoma Bravo

Private equity firm Thoma Bravo acquires Imprivata for $544 million, a 33 percent premium over the company’s closing stock price Tuesday.

Evolent Health to Acquire Valence Health, Extending Breadth and Depth of Value-Based Care Offering

Evolent Health will acquire Valence Health for $145 million in cash and stock.

CMS Opens Door to Possible Delay of MACRA Implementation

During testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt says that he is open to postponing the implementation of MACRA to ensure that providers have enough time to prepare.

Healthcare spending growth rate rises again in 2015

Healthcare spending climbed 5.5 percent in 2015 to $3.2 trillion, an increase over last year’s 5.3 percent growth and on par with economist projections.

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July 13, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/13/16

July 12, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Fact Sheet: Ransomware and HIPAA

HHS issues ransomware guidance, clarifying that successful attacks do constitute a reportable HIPAA breach.

United States Health Care Reform Progress to Date and Next Steps

President Obama publishes a data-based JAMA article outlining the impact ACA has had thus far and calling for continued reform efforts to curb costs and improve outcomes.

Dutch hospital’s appeal: No more Pokemon hunting!

The Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam issued a plea to Pokemon Go players to please stop hunting for the characters within the hospital, a spokesman for the hospital explains “Since yesterday we’ve noticed young people walking around the building with mobile phones into places they’re not supposed to be.”

Quebecers Ahead of Rest of Canada in Use of Digital Health Technology; Still Craving More Solutions

In Quebec, a survey finds that 85 percent of the local population believes that digital health technology will lead to better care, but just 21 percent actually use any digital health solutions.

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July 12, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 7/12/16

July 11, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Impact of computerized provider order entry (CPOE) on length of stay and mortality

A JAMIA study finds a statistically significant correlation between the use of CPOE and a reduction in length of stay and mortality rates.

Under Fire, Theranos CEO Stifled Bad News

The Wall Street Journal reports that Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes had planned to present clinical data validating the company’s technology during her upcoming presentation at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry’s annual meeting, but because the necessary studies were not completed in time, she will present a slide deck recapping the company’s 13 year history.

Congress Shouldn’t Pass The 21st Century Cures Act In A Summer Rush

A Health Affairs article calls for the Senate to delay a vote on the 21st Century Cures Act until after its extended election-year summer recess.

The American Heart Association Announces Strategic Collaboration with Amazon Web Services to Advance Precision Cardiovascular Medicine with AWS Cloud

The American Heart Association’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine partners with Amazon Web Services to provide cardiovascular researchers with a cloud-based infrastructure to store and share data.

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July 11, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/11/16

July 10, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos Is Barred From Running Lab for 2 Years

CMS issues an unprecedented suspension barring Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes from owning or operating a medical laboratory for two years.

Two-year longitudinal assessment of physicians’ perceptions after replacement of a longstanding homegrown electronic health record.

A two-year study monitoring physician satisfaction during and after an Epic implementation finds that satisfaction levels never returned to pre-implementation levels, refuting the notion that a J-curve exists in which satisfaction levels initially dip but then climb above pre-implementation levels as providers get used to the new system.

HHS raises interim IT leader to permanent CIO

HHS promotes Beth Anne Killoran from acting to permanent CIO.

Surprise Medical Bills Fuel Fight Between Providers, Insurers

The Wall Street Journal covers the increase in surprise medical costs incurred by patients inadvertently getting care from an out-of-network provider while at an in-network hospital.

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July 10, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 7/8/16

July 7, 2016 Headlines No Comments

NHS to scrap single database of patients’ medical details

The NHS closes down its care.data initiative, a government attempt to store patient medical information in a single database.

The Number Of Health Information Exchange Efforts Is Declining, Leaving The Viability Of Broad Clinical Data Exchange Uncertain

A Health Affairs study finds that the number of health information exchanges operating has dropped from 119 to 106 as federal funding runs out, despite demand for interoperability solutions.

An Alternative Proposal for Certification

John Halamka, MD argues for simplified health IT regulations that would focus entirely on expanding FHIR- based data exchange.

Announcement of Requirements and Registration for “Blockchain and Its Emerging Role in Healthcare and Health-related Research”

ONC announces a contest soliciting ideas for how blockchain data structures might be used in healthcare.

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July 7, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/7/16

July 6, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Legal (Fraud and Abuse) Barriers to Care Transformation and How to Address Them

An AHA report suggests that the Stark Law is becoming an impediment to care coordination and the expansion of value-based payment adoption, arguing that “The risk of overutilization, which drove the passage of the Stark Law, is largely or entirely eliminated in alternative payment models.”

Island Health presses ahead on electronic record system in Nanaimo

In Canada, Island Health’s $174 million Cerner implementation moves forward amid a unanimous no confidence vote from representatives of the health system’s medical association.

HealthyCT crumbles under ACA risk adjustment charges

HealthyCT, Connecticuts co-op insurer, will shut down because it is unable to pay a $13.4 million ACA-mandated risk adjustment payment.

Valeant’s New CEO Brings Familiar Prescription

The Wall Street Journal recaps the past business decisions of Joseph Papa, the new CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, as he works to turn around falling stock prices without resorting to drug price gouging.

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July 6, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 7/6/16

July 5, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Measuring Interoperability: Listening and Learning

ONC will address a MACRA requirement to establish metrics for measuring interoperability by incorporating two new interoperability-related questions into the AHA Information Technology Supplement Survey and the CDC’s annual National Electronic Health Record Survey.

Member Voice: ‘Medical Error’ Study Shows Major Flaws, Should Be Retracted

Neuroradiologist Shayam Sabat, MD calls for BMJ to retract a clickbait paper it published titled “Medical Error: The Third Leading Cause of Death in the US,” which he says a “shoddy piece of scientific and statistical work which cannot stand the close scrutiny of peer physician researchers and professional statisticians.”

Business Associate’s Failure to Safeguard Nursing Home Residents’ PHI Leads to $650,000 HIPAA Settlement

Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will pay a $650,000 settlement stemming from a 2014 data breach that left 412 patients information exposed when an unencrypted company-issued iPhone was stolen.

Cluster failure: Why fMRI inferences for spatial extent have inflated false-positive rates

A study investigating algorithms used to process functional MRI results finds that the algorithms used generate false-positive rates up to 70 percent, leading authors to question the validity of 40,000 studies.

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July 5, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/5/16

July 4, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Conflicker Used In New Wave of Hospital IoT Device Attacks

A report from IT security firm TrapX Labs concludes that internet-connected medical devices remain a digital soft spot for hackers attempting to infiltrate networks.

NHS seeks cure for its costly digital headache

The Guardian discusses the need to improve data security as England pushes forward with its plans of digitalizing NHS medical records.

CMS updates rule allowing claims data to be sold

CMS publishes a final rule that will expand access to its claims data through the “Qualified Entity Program,” which grants approved organizations access to CMS data sets that include patient-identifiable claims information.

Here’s How a Hacker Extorts a Clinic

TheDarkOverlord , the anonymous hacker responsible for selling four healthcare databases on the dark web last week, says in an interview that he does not feel bad about what he is doing because he is “furthering the enhanced security and development of new protections.”

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July 4, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 7/1/16

June 30, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Data breach at Mass. General involves 4,300 dental patients

Massachusetts General Hospital informs 4,300 dental patients that their records were exposed after an unauthorized user gained access to records stored by dental practice management software vendor Patterson Dental Supply.

Teladoc to Acquire HealthiestYou in Cash, Stock Deal; Updates FY16 Outlook

Teladoc enters into a definitive agreement to acquire consumer engagement platform vendor HealthiestYou for $155 million in cash and stock.

Eligibility requirements for advanced health informatics certification

AMIA announces eligibility requirements to sit for the advanced health informatics certification examination.

Biden threatens funding cuts for researchers who don’t report clinical-trial data

During a conference at Howard University, Vice President Joe Biden was asked why research grants were being issued to organizations that were not reporting results to public databases in a timely fashion, to which Biden replied "Doc, I’m going to find out if it’s true, and if it’s true, I’m gong to cut funding. That’s a promise."

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June 30, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 6/30/16

June 29, 2016 Headlines No Comments

The Biggest Obstacle to the Health-Care Revolution

Former National Coordinator David Blumenthal, MD explores the idea of giving patients control of their own electronic records, which they can then use to overcome interoperability limitations, a system he calls a “consumer-mediated HIE.”

How IBM’s Watson Supercomputer Is Going to Help 10,000 Veterans

The VA is partnering with IBM’s Watson to bring precision medicine to cancer treatment within the health system. The VA delivers care for 3.5 percent of the US patient population, and the largest group of cancer patients within a single health care group.

But seriously, why did Theranos have just one spokesperson?

Brooke Buchanan, VP of communications and public spokesman for Theranos, has reportedly resigned from her position with the company on Friday.

Why there is no beta in health care

Re/Code examines the “move fast and break things” culture behind many software companies and outlines why it has failed to deliver solutions that address end user pain points in the health IT space.

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June 29, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 6/29/16

June 28, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

About the Proposed Combination

McKesson confirms rumors that it will spin off its health IT business, merging it with Change Healthcare and in the process creating a new company with a combined annual revenue of $3.4 billion.

Jeremy Hunt suggests second EU referendum

In England, “remain” supporter Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt backs calls for a second Brexit referendum or, as an alternative, proposes a general election to establish sensible terms on the UK’s exit deal.

Relationship Between Clerical Burden and Characteristics of the Electronic Environment With Physician Burnout and Professional Satisfaction

A study measuring correlations between physician burnout and EHR use found that providers that use EHRs or CPOE report being unsatisfied with the amount of time they spend on clerical work and a higher level of physician burnout.

Patient Payment Responsibility up 13% in One Year

A TransUnion Healthcare report finds that patients experienced a 13 percent increase in both deductible and out-of-pocket maximum expenses in 2015.

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June 28, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 6/28/16

June 27, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Medtronic to Buy HeartWare for $1.1 Billion

Medtronic will pay $1.1 billion for ventricular assistant device manufacturer HeartWare. The deal, which is worth $58 per share, represents a 93 percent premium on closing prices Friday.

Our Comments on the Proposed MACRA Regulations: MIPS and AAPMs

Aledade, the startup of former national coordinator Farzad Mostashari, MD submits comments on the proposed MIPS and AAPM rule.

In healthcare, we’re flying blind

Jonathan Bush discusses the impact disconnected systems and missing patient data has on physician workflow, noting that analysis of Athena data has revealed the average provider has to “chase down 35 missing lab results, 18 missing imaging results, and 12 missing specialty referrals” per month.

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June 27, 2016 Headlines No Comments

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