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Morning Headlines 8/26/16

August 25, 2016 Headlines No Comments

This Princeton health economist thinks Obamacare’s marketplaces are doomed

Uwe Reinhardt, a professor and health economist from Princeton University, calls ACA public health insurance exchanges doomed because premiums continue to climb while the penalty for failing to have insurance is less than the premiums.

From health care capital to innovation hub: Positioning Nashville as a leader in health IT

A Brookings Report finds that despite its abundance of hospital management corporate headquarters, Nashville continues to falter in its effort to become a health IT hub.

JPP’s fireworks debacle could now cost ESPN millions

A Florida judge allows NFL defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul’s invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against ESPN to move forward. The case was filed after ESPN published an article about a fireworks-related hand injury that included images from Pierre-Paul’s private medical records.

Morning Headlines 8/25/16

August 24, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Draft 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory

ONC publishes a draft version of its 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory, which improves upon the 2016 version by establishing it as a web-based resource, rather than a text document, and embedding links to ongoing ONC Interoperability Proving Ground projects.

Tompkins v. 23andMe, Inc

A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judge throws out a class action suit brought against 23andMe challenging its arbitration clause.

States Start to Approve Steep Increases in Health Premiums

The White House is working to reassure consumers as states begin approving significant insurance rate increases for exchange plans, including an average 62 percent increase in prices for Tennessee plans, 43 percent average increases in Mississippi, and 23 percent increases in Kentucky.

Morning Headlines 8/24/16

August 23, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Loblaw makes $170-million cash bid for B.C. medical records company QHR Corp

In Canada, food and pharmacy retailer Loblaw Companies offers $132 million to acquire QHR Technologies, an EHR vendor with a 20 percent market share in Canada.

CommonWell Members Enable Patient Access to Their Health Data

CommonWell will now allow patients to self-enroll in its HIE, where they will be able to review and share their records with providers on the CommonWell network.

How Expanded Roles For Home Health Aides Can Improve The Health Of Older Americans

A pilot project in which home health aides performed medication reviews and documented visit notes in software that alerts clinical managers of concerning changes in health leads to 24 percent reduction in ED admissions.

US Residency Competitiveness, Future Salary, and Burnout in Primary Care vs Specialty Fields

A JAMA study finds an obvious correlation: lower paying medical specialties like primary care do not attract as many US medical school graduates as high paying specialties like neurosurgery.

Morning Headlines 8/23/16

August 22, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Apple Acquires Personal Health Data Startup Gliimpse

Apple acquires Gliimpse, a three-year-old startup marketing PHR software to help patients collect, personalize, and share their health records with providers.

Children’s Health Dallas testing ‘digitized drugs’ with sensors inside

Digital medicine vendor Proteus Digital Health pilots its sensor-embedded pharmaceuticals within a pediatric patient population at Children’s Health Dallas, allowing clinicians to monitor medication adherence among its patients after discharge.

Digital medicine: empowering both patients and clinicians

Eric Topol, MD publishes a defense of digital health in The Lancet.

Aetna, Humana blast DOJ’s merger challenge for ignoring reality

In response to a DOJ complaint, Aetna and Humana argue that its proposed merger should be allowed to move forward, noting that other private insurers would likely preserve competition by expanding into new geographies.

Morning Headlines 8/22/16

August 21, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

OCR Announces Initiative to More Widely Investigate Breaches Affecting Fewer than 500 Individuals

OCR Regional Offices launches an initiative aimed at increasing the number of investigations into data breaches affecting fewer than 500 individuals.

Harris’ US Healthcare group acquires digiChart, Inc.

Harris acquires OB/GYN EHR and PM vendor digiChart for an undisclosed sum.

Inside the Oddly Empty Hospital With the State’s Highest Cost Markups

A local paper profiles four-year old Texas General Hospital (TX), a 41-bed hospital that sits largely empty and bills Medicare, Medicaid, and private payers at out-of-network rates.

Cisco lays off 5,500 employees amid tech upheaval

Cisco lays off 5,500 employees, representing seven percent of its total workforce.

Morning Headlines 8/19/16

August 18, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Kansas Signs $215M Contract For New Medicaid Computer System

HP Enterprises signs a $215 million deal with the state of Kansas to upgrade its Medicaid computer system and integrate the new system with Cerner’s HealtheEDW software, which will allow the state to manage care with near-real time patient data.

Exchanges do work for some health plans. Ask Kaiser.

Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson says that the health system will continue to offer insurance plans on public exchanges, despite an increase in other payers exiting the markets.

Sebastopol medtech firm spawns legal wrangles, sends robot on Sonoma West hospital rounds

The former CFO of Sonoma West Medical Center files a wrongful termination suit against his former employer, alleging that he was fired for raising concerns over the safety of the hospital’s EHR, software not in use at any other US hospitals, but one made by a startup vendor with investors on Sonoma West Medical Center’s board of directors. The hospitals former CNO filed a similar suit earlier this year.

Evolutionary Pressures on the Electronic Health Record

A JAMA article argues that EHRs have not “kept pace with technology widely used to track, synthesize, and visualize information in many other domains of modern life.”

Morning Headlines 8/18/16

August 17, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

FTC Approves Final Order in Practice Fusion Privacy Case

The FTC finalizes its privacy case settlement with Practice Fusion. The company’s trouble with the FTC stems from a 2013 incident in which it solicited doctor reviews from patients without disclosing that the reviews would be publicly posted on the Internet. The settlement, which was published in a draft version in June, prevents the company from using the illegally collected reviews, and authorizes the FTC to conduct privacy audits on the company for the next 20 years.

Points for pills: Walgreens hopes gamelike program will make taking meds easier

Walgreens expands its mobile health app to include gamification strategies and Walgreens rewards points to improve medication adherence.

Aetna Warned it Would Withdraw From Exchanges if Humana Deal Was Blocked

In July, Aetna warned the Justice Department that if its antitrust officials sued to block its Humana acquisition, it would reduce its presence on ACA public health insurance exchanges.

Morning Headlines 8/17/16

August 16, 2016 Headlines 2 Comments

Leidos Announces Closing Of  the Merger With Lockheed Martin’s IS&GS Business and Election Of Three New Directors

Leidos completes its merger with Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions, adding three new members to its board of directors in the process.

The Bahamian Ministry of Health and Public Hospitals Authority select Allscripts Sunrise

The Bahamian Ministry of Health and the Public Hospitals Authority will implement Allscripts across three hospitals and more than one hundred clinics as the health system moves to integrate care delivery under a single software platform.

Aetna to Narrow Individual Public Exchange Participation

Aetna will scale its participation in health insurance exchanges back to just four states in 2017, citing $430 million in pretax losses since January 2014.

Xerox Research Finds Patients and Healthcare Professionals Divided on Responsibility and Cost in Healthcare

A Xerox study measuring perceptions of responsibility of consumers’ health finds that 90 percent of payers and providers say patients need encouragement and help to make living a healthier lifestyle a priority, but only 55 percent of patients say they need such encouragement.

Morning Headlines 8/16/16

August 15, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Health information exchange associated with improved emergency department care through faster accessing of patient information from outside organization

A JAMIA study finds that patient data obtained from an HIE is available faster and is more frequently reviewed by clinicians than data obtained via fax or telephone. The study also suggests that access to HIE data reduced ER visit length by one hour, reduced the likelihood of admission by 2.4 percent, and reduced the average cost of care for the visit by $1200.

Hospitals Are Partnering With Uber to Get Patients to Checkups

The Atlantic reports that health systems and payers are now turning to Uber or Lyft to help ensure that patients get to their medical appointments.

The healing power of AI

In A TechCrunch article, intellectual property attorney Erik Birkeneder discusses the growing role artificial intelligence may one day play in healthcare.

Chance Collaboration Yields an Advance in Cancer Treatment

The Wall Street Journal tells the story of an immunologist helping his stepmother fight cancer and the oncologist who treated her. The two discovered a unique immune-system cell that “robustly” predicts whether patients will respond to immunotherapy cancer treatments.

Morning Headlines 8/15/16

August 14, 2016 Headlines No Comments

655,000 Bon Secours patients exposed to data breach

Bon Secours (VA) reports a 655,000 patient record breach after one of its business associates, R-C Healthcare Management, inadvertently left files containing patient information accessible on the internet.

Cerner’s Neal Patterson collects payday 21 years in the making

Cerner CEO Neal Patterson cashes in on a 25-year old stock option, netting him $26.9 million.

Athens Orthopedic won’t pay for extended credit monitoring in data breach

Athens Orthopedic Clinic (GA), which has refused to pay a ransom to hacker the Dark Overlord over 200,000 compromised records, is now also refusing to provide effected patients with credit monitoring services.

Strike preparations cost Brigham $24 million

Partners HealthCare reports a $33 million operating loss due to costs associated with an anticipated nursing strike, in addition to Epic-related implementation costs, and higher than usual real estate expenses.

Headlines 8/12/16

August 11, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Thrilled to make the hand off to @VindellW

National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH announces her resignation, effective Friday. She will be replaced by Principal Deputy National Coordinator Vindell Washington, MD, who joined ONC in January. DeSalvo will continue in her full-time role as HHS Assistant Secretary for Health.

Apple Invents a New Health Wearable Device that Measures Electrocardiographic Signals

Apple publishes a patent for an ECG monitoring device that can correct for sensor placement.

The World’s Five Richest Women In Tech In 2016

Forbes names Epic’s Judy Faulkner as #4 on the list, estimating her net worth at $2.7 billion.

Hospitalists and the Decline of Comprehensive Care

A NEJM op-ed piece says the use of hospitalists diminishes the physician-patient relationship, makes coordination challenging, and limits the effectiveness of those doctors who see only hospitalized patients.

Morning Headlines 8/11/16

August 10, 2016 Headlines 2 Comments

RFI – VHA supporting COTS EHR

In another sign that the VA will move to a commercial EHR, the agency publishes an RFI soliciting “industry feedback, guidance and recommendations on all aspects of the change management associated with a VHA COTS EHR acquisition and transition.”

Aetna-Humana merger challenge to be decided in January

In December, the District of Columbia US District Court will hear the antitrust challenge brought by the federal government to stop Aetna and Humana’s proposed $37 billion merger, with a decision excepted by January.

Banner Health cyberattack draws class-action suit

An Arizona physician is leading a class-action lawsuit against Banner Health following a cyberattack on the health system’s retail outlets that compromised the personal information of  3.7 million customers.

Cerner Interoperability

Cerner launches an interesting data visualization map showing real-time interoperability transactions being processed through its exchange suite.

Morning Headlines 8/9/16

August 8, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Inviting patients and care partners to read doctors’ notes: OpenNotes and shared access to electronic medical records

A JAMIA study on the OpenNotes program at Geisinger Health System correlates offering patients access to provider notes with improved patient-provider communication and improved patient confidence in managing their care.

Health files make for a juicy target for thieves

The Boston Globe report notes that as cyberattacks on healthcare industry targets rise, attacks on retail businesses are plummeting.

Things Are Looking Bad For Jawbone

Investment firm BlackRock has dropped the price of its equity in Jawbone to less than 1 cent per share, and raised the likelihood of Jawbone being sold from 50 percent to 75 percent.

Unpacking the innards of Theranos’s new Zika-detection box

TechCrunch reports that Theranos will try to push its newly unveiled “miniLab” through the FDA approval process under the emergency use authorization fast-track because it is capable of detecting the Zika virus.

Morning Headlines 8/8/16

August 7, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Newkirk Products, Inc. Provides Notice Of Data Breach

Hackers penetrate the servers of Newkirk Products, a service provider that issues healthcare ID cards for insurance plans.

Vexing Question on Patient Surveys: Did We Ease Your Pain?

The New York Times questions the rationale behind surveying patients on pain management satisfaction amidst the nation’s growing opiate problems.

Code Is My Co-pilot

A Missouri lawyer claims Tesla’s autopilot feature saved his life after suffering from a pulmonary embolism while driving and asking the car to take him to the nearest emergency department.

Morning Headlines 8/5/16

August 4, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Advocate Health Care Settles Potential HIPAA Penalties for $5.55 Million

Advocate Health Care (IL) will pay a $5.5 million HIPAA settlement, the largest in history, stemming from three separate breaches in 2013 that collectively compromised four million patient records.

Cerner Q2 2016 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

In its earnings call, Cerner President Zane Burke reports that 34 percent of sales came from outside the Millennium client base.

SA govt settles unlicensed software lawsuit

In Australian, the government settles a lawsuit brought by patient administration software vendor Global Health, which filed the suit because the government has refused to stop using its legacy software in a dozen public hospitals due to unexpected delays in its Allscripts Sunrise implementation.

Strengthening Research through Data Sharing

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) publishes an article in NEJM calling for more data sharing in the medical research community, backing a proposal that would require data sharing as a condition of publication in major medical journals.

Morning Headlines 8/4/16

August 3, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Massive Cyber Attack at Banner Health Affects 3.7M Individuals

Banner Health (AZ) confirms that hackers gained access to a payment processing system used to process credit card transactions at food and beverage outlets across its facilities, compromising the information of 3.7 million individuals.

Trends in Seniors’ Use of Digital Health Technology in the United States, 2011-2014

A national survey of seniors over 65 years old finds little growth in digital health adoption, including minimal gains in the percent of seniors using technology to fill prescriptions, communicate with a clinician,  search for health condition information, or manage health insurance issues.

CHS now selling 12 hospitals, two more than originally planned

Community Health Systems (TN) is negotiating the sale of 12 hospitals, two more than originally planned, which will bring it an expected $850 million in proceeds.

Drones will begin delivering blood and medicine in the US

Zipline, a startup using drones to deliver medicine and blood in remote areas of Rwanda, is launching a similar program in the US that will bring drone delivery to rural areas in Maryland, Nevada, and Washington.

Morning Headlines 8/3/16

August 2, 2016 Headlines 4 Comments

How I Was Wrong About ObamaCare

Former White House advisor Bob Kocher, MD calls attention to growing hospital consolidation within healthcare as an unfavorable effect of ACA, citing research suggesting that “savings and quality improvement are generated much more often by independent primary-care doctors than by large hospital-centric health systems.”

Cerner Reports Second Quarter 2016 Results

Cerner reports Q2 results: revenue climbed eight percent to $1.13 billion, adjusted EPS $0.58 vs. $0.52, meeting revenue and surpassing earnings forecasts.

Aetna latest insurer to question Obamacare’s future

Aetna announces that it will cancel its ACA insurance exchange expansion plans and will reassess its involvement in the 15 states where it currently offers plans on exchanges. Humana made a similar announcement last month shortly after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit aimed at blocking a proposed Aetna-Humana merger.

GSK and Verily to establish Galvani Bioelectronics – a new company dedicated to the development of bioelectronic medicines

Verily, Google’s life sciences business, partners with drug maker GSK to form jointly-owned Galvani Bioelectronics which will create miniaturized, implantable medical devices that will “modify electrical signals that pass along nerves in the body” to treat arthritis, diabetes, and asthma. The companies will invest $700 million in the venture over the next seven years.

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Reader Comments

  • Paul Kennedy: Great article, Dr Butler. You have always looked differently at the challenges of what we do in implementation of EHRs....
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