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Morning Headlines 2/16/17

February 15, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Market Stabilization

CMS publishes a proposed rule aimed at stabilizing the individual and small group markets that would cut the open enrollment period in half.

Broad Institute wins bitter battle over CRISPR patents

MIT and Harvard’s Broad Institute wins its patent battle over CRISPR genome editing technology, likely the most valuable biotechnology patent ever filed.

Cybersecurity Actions Needed to Strengthen US Capabilities

A GAO report on federal information system cybersecurity readiness singles out EHRs and state insurance marketplaces as needing improvement to protect personally identifiable information from being compromised.

Anthem Files Suit Against Cigna Seeking a Temporary Restraining Order

After Cigna terminates its planned merger with Anthem and instead sues Anthem for nearly $15 billion, Anthem responds by filing its own lawsuit seeking a restraining order to prevent Cigna from terminating the merger.

Why you should donate your data (as well as your organs) when you die

Professors from the Universities of Cologne and Basel call for the development of a global system that would help patients donate their personal health data to research after their death in a way similar to the organ donor program.

Morning Headlines 2/15/17

February 14, 2017 Headlines No Comments

VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

The VA will move forward with its rollout of its Vista Scheduling Enhancement, an “Outlook-style interface that gives schedulers a dashboard view of appointments.”

Government drops target for ‘paperless NHS’ by 2018

In England, NHS Secretary Jeremy Hunt drops his call for a paperless NHS by 2018, blaming “weak hospital IT systems.”

Great Ormond Street picks Epic in potential £50m deal

Great Ormond Street NHS Foundation trust has selected Epic as its next EHR vendor, making it the fourth Trust in the UK to select Epic.

Senate easily confirms Trump pick of Shulkin as VA secretary

The Senate confirms David Shulkin as the next secretary of Veterans Affairs in a 100-0 vote, making him the first non-veteran to run the organization.

Morning Headlines 2/14/17

February 13, 2017 Headlines No Comments

DirectTrust Issues Recommendations to Significantly Improve Usability of EHRs and Health IT Applications Providing Secure Direct Messaging

DirectTrust issues a white paper containing recommendations to EHR vendors aimed at improving interoperability.

A millionaire’s mission: Stop hospitals from killing their patients by medical error

STAT profiles Joe Kiani, founder and CEO of medical technology company Masimo, focusing on his ongoing efforts to convince other medical technology vendors to make their systems more interoperable in the interest of patient safety.

Surrounding states push for Missouri to create prescription drug monitoring program

Neighboring states are lobbying for Missouri to implement a statewide drug monitoring program because it has become a magnet for “doctor shoppers.”

Ex-drug company CEO Martin Shkreli to speak at Harvard

While out on bail awaiting his federal securities fraud trial, Martin Shkreli will appear at Harvard to speak about healthcare an investing at an event being held by the Harvard Financial Analysts Club.

Morning Headlines 2/13/17

February 12, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Cerner (CERN) Q4 2016 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

In its Q4 earnings call, Cerner President Zane Burke reports bookings were up seven percent, compared to 28 percent growth in 2015, calling the results “solid, particularly when you consider the headwinds created by declines in tech resale.”

Work, Health, And Insurance: A Shifting Landscape For Employers And Workers Alike

A Health Affairs study examines the relationship between work, health, and health insurance given the changing demographic and employment conditions in the US.

Bias in the ER

Michael Lewis, author of “Moneyball” and “The Big Short,” argues in his new book that doctors are just as likely to ignore statistics, often treating a statistically unlikely diagnosis that fits the observable symptoms. He quotes a Canadian trauma center doctor who explains, “You need to be so careful when there is one simple diagnosis that instantly pops into your mind that beautifully explains everything all at once.”

Marathon Pharmaceuticals to Charge $89,000 for Muscular Dystrophy Drug After 70-Fold Increase

Marathon Pharmaceuticals intends to bring a drug used to treat muscular dystrophy to the US for $89,000 per year, while it is available in Europe for just $1,600 per year.

Morning Headlines 2/10/17

February 9, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Judge, Citing Harm to Customers, Blocks $48 Billion Anthem-Cigna Merger

A federal judge blocks the proposed $48 billion merger between Anthem and Cigna. The decision comes just two weeks after another federal judge blocked a similar merger between Aetna and Humana.

Black Book Survey Finds Top Rated Hospital EHR Vendors are also 2017’s FHIR and Interoperability Champions

A Black Book survey on interoperability finds that 70 percent of hospitals are not using any patient information generated outside of their EHR.

Nurse spared jail over fatal blood transfusion blunder

A nurse in England is spared jail time after transfusing a patient with blood of the wrong blood type, ultimately causing his death. The nurse opened the wrong chart in the hospital’s EHR to verify the patient’s blood type, explaining that both patients had the same last name and it was not clear to her that she was in the wrong chart.

Baidu shuts mobile health care unit to focus on artificial intelligence

Chinese search engine Baidu shuts down its mobile health business unit to focus on its AI-powered healthcare research unit.

Morning Headlines 2/9/17

February 8, 2017 Headlines No Comments

VA ‘confident we’re going to commercial’ for EHR, scheduling fixes

During a House Committee on Veterans Affairs hearing Tuesday, Acting VA CIO Robert Thomas reported that he was confident the agency would eventually migrate to an off-the-shelf EHR system.

DOD plugs in new electronic health record system

DoD goes live with its first Cerner site at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington.

Data breach at Verity Health could have affected 10,000 patients

Verity Health reports that the website of one of its hospitals was hacked between October 2015 and January 2017, potentially exposing the records of 10,000 patients.

Fitbit Faces Criminal Probe Into Jawbone Trade Secret Theft

Jawbone’s ongoing lawsuit against rival Fitbit intensifies as new court filings suggest that Fitbit is also under a criminal investigation for trade secret theft.

Morning Headlines 2/8/17

February 7, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Multifunctional, inexpensive, and reusable nanoparticle-printed biochip for cell manipulation and diagnosis

An NIH-funded research project yields a reusable lab-on-a-chip that can be printed with a standard inkjet printer and costs just $0.01 to produce. The chip “can perform complex, minimally invasive analyses of single cells without specialized equipment and personnel.”

FDB and Translational Software Announce Collaboration to Deliver Pharmacogenomic Drug Knowledge

First Databank will incorporate pharmacogenomic data from Translational Software, Inc. into its drug formulary so that genetics data can be integrated into clinical decision support systems powered by First Databank.

Is Your Doctor Listening?

Danielle Ofri, MD, provider at Bellevue Hospital (NY), author of several books, and regular op-ed contributor to the New York Times publishes a piece for Slate describing an incident in which she lost a note she had written about a patient because she accidently closed the chart without saving it.

Morning Headlines 2/7/17

February 6, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Examining the ‘Copy and Paste’ Function in the Use of Electronic Health Records

NIST publishes findings and safety recommendations from its review of “copy and paste” practices within EHR clinical documentation tools.

Trump, Congressional GOP Back Off From Immediate Obamacare Repeal

In an interview with Bill O’Reilly, President Trump dials back the timeline to develop an ACA replacement plan, saying “I would like to say by the end of the year, at least the rudiments.”

Uncertainty, Headwinds Hurt Final Marketplace Enrollment Total

Tim Jost provides commentary on Healthcare.gov’s final enrollment figures: 9.2 million individual enrollments, of which three million were new consumers.

A tale of two accountable care organizations

Modern Healthcare covers the experiences and associated financial results of two ACOs delivering value-based care to Medicare and private payer beneficiaries simultaneously.

Morning Headlines 2/6/17

February 5, 2017 Headlines 2 Comments

Advisory Board Said to Interview Banks About Possible Sale

The Advisory Board Company is considering strategic options, including a sale of the company, after disclosing that an activist investor has secured an 8.3 percent stake in the company.

Athenahealth (ATHN) Q4 2016 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

During its earnings call, Athenahealth CFO Karl Stubelis addressed the Q4 revenue miss that led to a 14 percent drop in share prices on Friday, and reported that the company closed 52 deals with hospitals and health systems in 2016.

What’s a serial entrepreneur to do when the world is topsy-turvy?

Crain’s Chicago Business profiles Glen Tullman.

ESPN’s Jason Pierre-Paul Statement

ESPN settles a lawsuit brought by New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul after ESPN published images from his medical record confirming that he lost his finger after a fireworks accident.

Morning Headlines 2/3/17

February 2, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Lack of timely action risks security and costs money

HHS announces a $3.2 million penalty against Children’s Medical Center of Dallas (TX) following two separate PHI breaches, one stemming from a stolen laptop and another stemming from a lost blackberry, both were unencrypted.

Jupiter Medical Center Implements Revolutionary Watson for Oncology to Help Oncologists Make Data-Driven Cancer Treatment Decisions

Jupiter Medical Center (FL) becomes the first community hospital to implement IBM Watson’s oncology clinical decision support software.

Meditech: Form 10-K

Meditech reports Q4 and FY16 results: revenue dropped 2.8 percent to $462 million. Net income climbed four percent to $73 million, EPS $0.62 vs. $0.52.

Athenahealth, Inc. Profit Advances 40% In Q4

Athenahealth reports Q4 results: revenue up 12 percent to $288 million, adjusted EPS $0.62 vs. $0.45, a 40 percent year-over-year earnings growth.

Morning Headlines 2/2/17

February 1, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Republican senators say fixing individual market should be first step in ACA repeal

Senate HELP committee chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) suggests that stabilizing the individual marketplaces should come before efforts to reform Medicaid or roll back expansion.

Rep. Tom Price Got Privileged, Discounted Offer on Biomedical Stock, Company Says

The Wall Street Journal reports that Tom Price, President Trump’s nominee to run HHS, was offered a privileged opportunity to buy stock in a biomedical company at a special discount, despite confirmation hearing testimony to the contrary.

This polymer pill could soon drip feed drugs into your body for weeks

Biomedical engineer and MIT professor Robert Langer, recognized as the most-cited engineer in history, invents a long-acting pill that would release a steady dose of a drug for weeks.

Morning Headlines 2/1/17

January 31, 2017 Headlines 2 Comments

Governor McAuliffe Announces Grant to Help Doctors Identify Potential Opioid Abuse

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announces that the state has received a $3.1 million grant from OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma to help it integrate its prescription monitoring program with the EHRs of local providers.

King’s College Hospital London Selects Cerner’s Clinical and Financial Management System

In England, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust selects Cerner as the EHR vendor for the 100-bed hospital it is building in Dubai.

After meeting with pharma lobbyists, Trump drops promise to negotiate drug prices

Vox reports that pharmaceutical executives have persuaded President Trump to drop his call for Medicare to begin negotiating lower drug prices, opting instead for a plan that includes lowering drug company taxes and reducing regulations.

Beth Israel, Lahey health systems agree to pursue merger

In Massachusetts, Lahey Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center announce merger plans. The combined organization would include eight hospitals, 29,000 employees, and $4.5 billion in annual revenue.

Morning Headlines 1/31/17

January 30, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Copy Fees and Limitation of Patients’ Access to Their Own Medical Records

A JAMA article addresses the continued problems patients are experiencing when requesting a copy of their medical records, despite the widespread use of EHRs that should minimize the burden and cost of fulfilling these requests.

Fitbit Cutting 6% of Workforce as Results Miss Estimates

Fitbit reports that it  will miss Q4 revenue estimates by a wide margin, citing declining demand for fitness trackers. The company announces that it will eliminate 110 jobs to reduce costs. Share prices fell 16 percent on the news.

Kaiser Permanente faces $2.5M-plus in penalties for Medi-Cal data shortfall

Kaiser Permanente faces $2.5 million in penalties for failing to supply California regulators with properly formatted claims data from its Medicaid managed-care plans. The issue was originally raised in 2016, and a corrective action plan was agreed upon that gave Kaiser until January 1, 2017 to reformat and resubmit its data, but corrected claims were never resubmitted.

Can Big Data Help Cancer Patients Avoid ER Visits?

Penn Medicine using big data to try and forecast when lung cancer patients will end up in the emergency room. Current algorithms are reportedly able to predict one-third of these ER visits, at which point patients can be called and scheduled for a clinic visit.

Morning Headlines 1/30/17

January 29, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Obamacare Architect Says Silicon Valley Tech Won’t Steer Health Care

ACA architect Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD laughs at the idea that Silicon Valley data gurus will ever replace doctors, saying “I am much more skeptical that the computer is going to replace a doctor. That a computer is going to interface with the patient and take care of them. Not gonna happen.” He is also unimpressed with wearables, saying that continuous monitoring generates data that the healthcare industry is not prepared to take action on.

2017 Top Black Book Electronic Health Records (EHR) Systems Announced for Oncology and Hematology

Black Book names McKesson’s iKnowMedSM as the top performer in its oncology EHR customer satisfaction survey for the sixth year in a row.

Hospital scammed for employee information

A hospital employee sends the W-2s of 1,400 employees at Campbell County Health (WY) to a hacker that posed as a hospital executive and asked for the forms to be emailed to him.

Veritas Capital Agrees to Acquire Government IT Services Business from Harris Corporation

Private Equity firm Veritas Capital will acquire the government IT service business of Harris Corporation for $690 million in cash.

Morning Headlines 1/27/17

January 26, 2017 Headlines No Comments

CoverMyMeds Signs Definitive Agreement to be Acquired by McKesson

McKesson will acquire prescription electronic prior authorization vendor CoverMyMeds for $1.1 billion, plus an additional $300 million in financial performance incentives that would be paid out over the next two years.

Quality Systems, Inc. Reports Fiscal 2017 Third Quarter Results

Quality Systems, parent company to NextGen, reports Q3 results: revenue climbed 9 percent to $130 million, adjusted EPS $0.23 vs. $0.16.

Former HHS Secretary Burwell Is American University’s Next President

Sylvia Burwell will take over as the next president of American University in Washington DC, effective June 1, 2017.

If You Look at X-Rays or Moles for a Living, AI Is Coming for Your Job

Wired covers the expanding role AI will play in healthcare, noting a recent Nature study that tested the accuracy of deep learning algorithms designed to analyze images and identifying cancerous skin lesions and found that they performed as well as 21-board certified dermatologists.

Morning Headlines 1/26/17

January 25, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Blame Technology, Not Longer Life Spans, for Health Spending Increases

Health economist Austin Frakt pushes back against a CBO conclusion that health spending is increasing due in large part to population aging, suggesting instead that healthcare technology changes are responsible for between one-third and two-thirds of per capita health care spending growth.

Proportion and Cost of Unplanned 30-Day Readmissions After Sepsis Compared With Other Medical Conditions

A JAMA study concludes that readmission-related costs were higher for unplanned sepsis readmissions than any of the conditions included in the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program.

VA health IT platform champion is gone, but project could survive

Despite the January 20 departure of VA CIO LaVerne Council, the Digital Health Platform project may still have a champion in David Shulkin, MD, President Trump’s nominee for VA Secretary and an early supporter of the Digital Health Platform project.

Morning Headlines 1/25/17

January 24, 2017 Headlines No Comments

DirectTrust Reports Record Growth in Direct Transactions, Number of Direct Exchange Addresses and Users

DirectTrust reports that there were 98 million messages exchanged across its network in 2016, while the number of addresses capable of exchanging PHI increased 24 percent and the number of healthcare organizations connected to the network grew 36 percent.

£7m EPR costs blowout predicted after delay

In England, delays implementing Cerner Millennium at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust are expected to drive the project’s total cost from $6 million to $15 million.

GetWellNetwork Acquires Seamless Medical Systems, Extends Reach to More Than 150 Clinics

Patient engagement software vendor GetWellNetwork acquires Seamless Medical Systems, the developers of a patient check-in and waiting room app that claims to reduce door-to-door time by 40 percent.

Federal Debt Projected to Grow by Nearly $10 Trillion Over Next Decade

A Congressional Budget Office report says that while the economy is on solid ground and increasing job growth is expected, the deficit is projected to swell, adding $10 trillion in new federal debt over the next 10 years.

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