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Morning Headlines 6/5/17

June 4, 2017 Headlines No Comments

The Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force Releases Improvement Report

The Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force, per a Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 mandate, releases its report to Congress, detailing six high-level directives over the course of 88 pages.

Health Insurance Startup Bright Health Raises $160 Million

Led by former UnitedHealthcare CEO Bob Sheehy, Minneapolis-based Bright Health closes a $160 million round of financing it will use to expand into new markets via private health insurance exchanges and health system partnerships.

23andMe Asks Customers to Conduct Pain Research at Home

23andMe for the first time enlists customers to help it conduct at-home research on pain tolerance.

OIG Highlights Data Privacy and Security in Semi-Annual Report

The HHS OIG’s Congressional report highlights challenges related to protecting the privacy and security of the data it collects and maintains, as well as those related to “effectively using data to detect and prevent improper payments and to ensure safety and quality of care for program beneficiaries.”

Morning Headlines 6/2/17

June 1, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Outcome Health Raises Financing at $5 Billion Valuation to Accelerate Growth and Transform Healthcare

Tablet-based patient education and pharmaceutical advertising vendor Outcome Health raises a $500 million investment round on a $5 billion valuation.

The ADHA wants to link up all of Australia’s health systems

The Australian Digital Health Agency releases a request for tender seeking technology vendors that will help it achieve “a digitally interoperable environment for the Australian health and care system,” over the next five to 10 years.

Accenture to Acquire LabAnswer, Expanding Its Life Sciences and Cross-Industry Research and Laboratory Informatics Capabilities

Accenture acquires LabAnswer, a laboratory research and informatics technology consulting firm, and will combine the business with its existing R&D informatics capabilities to establish the Accenture Scientific Informatics Services division.

Privacy Breach at Beverly Hills Clinic Puts Thousands of Patients, Some Celebrities, at Risk

A former employee of a Beverly Hills clinic steals 15,000 medical records, some of which belong to celebrities, after being fired for stealing from the practice.

Morning Headlines 6/1/17

May 31, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Electronic Health Records Vendor to Pay $155 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations

eClinicalWorks will pay a $155 million to settle a Department of Justice investigation alleging that it misrepresented the capabilities of its software during the EHR certification process.

Soon-Shiong appointed to health IT committee

House Speaker Paul Ryan appoints Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD  to the 25-member Health Information Technology Advisory Committee, despite a recent STAT investigation alleging that Soon-Shiong orchestrated inappropriate financial transactions between his businesses and his non-profit research organization

Health information exchanges reduce redundant medical procedures

A Brookings Institute report, co-authored with researchers from SUNY Buffalo and the University of Connecticut, finds that the implementation of a health information exchanges in western New York was associated with a decrease in the number of repeated therapeutic procedures performed, but had no impact on the number of diagnostic procedures performed.

Swedish double-booked its surgeries, and the patients didn’t know

A Seattle Times investigation finds that Swedish Health neurosurgeons routinely double-booked themselves, running multiple operating rooms at the same time.

Morning Headlines 5/31/17

May 30, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Characterizing the Source of Text in Electronic Health Record Progress Notes

A study published in JAMA analyzing 23,000 Epic progress notes finds that 82 percent of the note is computer generated or copied forward from elsewhere in the chart, while only 18 percent is entered by the author.

Seton hospitals monitoring ‘suspicious activity’ on computer network

Ascension-owned Seton Healthcare (TX) goes back to paper after detecting “suspicious activity” on its network. Hospital officials are offering no details, but are reporting that “no devices have been reported as encrypted by ransomware.”

Court Documents Shed Light on Theranos Board’s Response to Crisis

Two former Theranos directors, former US Navy Admiral Gary Roughead and former US Secretary of State George Shultz, say they did not question Elizabeth Holmes or other Theranos leaders after allegations were made that the company was not using its own proprietary analyzers to process blood tests.

Insurance CEO: I’m raising Obamacare premiums because of Trump

The CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina reports that the ACA exchange in his state is stabilizing, but because the Trump administration is threatening to withhold cost-sharing subsidies, the organization is requesting 22.9 percent premium increases.

Morning Headlines 5/30/17

May 29, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Silicon Valley is trumpeting A.I. as the cure for the medical industry, but doctors are skeptical

CNBC interviews six physicians on their opinion of artificial intelligence and its potential use in healthcare.

Two years in, what has Apple ResearchKit accomplished?

STAT covers the short history of Apple’s ResearchKit as scientists incorporate the platform into increasingly more complex studies.

VA looks at cut in tech funding

The VA’s IT budget is reduced as it grapples with the decision to either modernize VistA or implement a commercial EHR. VA Secretary David Shulkin is reportedly comfortable with the budget decrease, saying “What I think you’re seeing in this budget is a recognition that we do not want to continue to ask for more money and invest more money in fixing broken systems.”

Rebuilding the foundation of health care under MACRA

Deloitte and Network for Excellence in Health Innovation co-author a paper on the anticipated challenges health systems will have implementing MACRA.

Morning Headlines 5/29/17

May 28, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Better Healthcare for Albertans

In Canada, a report by the Albertan auditor general questions expected return on investment for the province’s proposed $1.2 billion clinical information system implementation because it does not incorporate primary care doctors and relies on view-only software that does not support real-time analytics. .

Speeding prescription process brings success to CoverMyMeds

A local paper profiles prescription prior authorization startup CoverMyMeds, which was acquired by McKesson for $1.1 billion. CEO Matt Scantland says the startup’s success was based on a simple formula, “Start with a big problem and solve it not by disrupting anything but by finding a way that everyone wins.”

Vanderbilt LifeFlight launches app for emergency responders

Vanderbilt LifeFlight launches an Uber-like app that allows first responders to request a helicopter and then sends the location of the emergency directly to dispatchers.

Ft. Myers-Based 21st Century Oncology Files For Bankruptcy

21st Century Oncology (FL) files chapter 11 bankruptcy, noting that the move will reduce more than $500 million of their long term debt. The company’s 2016 data breach exposed over 2 million records, leading to 13 federal class action law suits.

Morning Headlines 5/26/17

May 25, 2017 Headlines 6 Comments

Health-Tech Startups Pivot as Obamacare Uncertainty Mounts

The Wall Street Journal profiles health IT startups funded during the ACA boom, and how they are pivoting their business models to survive the ongoing legislative uncertainty around ACA’s repeal.

Townsville Hospital responds to major cyber incident

In Australia, five hospitals within Queensland Health suffer network downtime stemming from issues installing the WannaCry security patch.

Synopsys and Ponemon Study Highlights Critical Security Deficiencies in Medical Devices

A survey of medical device manufacturers finds that 67 percent believe that an attack on one of their devices is likely to occur in the next 12 months,  but despite the risk only 17 percent are taking significant steps to prevent cyberattacks.

Health Care Providers Must Stop Wasting Patients’ Time

Harvard Business Review profiles Kaiser Permanente’s efforts to coordinate care outside of the hospital setting effectively enough to discharge surgical patients earlier, in many cases on the same day of the patient’s surgery. .

Morning Headlines 5/25/17

May 24, 2017 Headlines 3 Comments

Congressional Budget Office: HR 1628 American Health Care Act of 2017

CBO reports that by 2026, AHCA will reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion but increase the number of uninsured Americans by 23 million.

Putting America’s Health First: FY2018 President’s Budget for HHS

President Trump’s budget proposal includes a $22 million reduction in ONC’s budget.

U of C receives $100 million donation for new wellness institute

The University of Chicago Medicine receives a $100 million donation, the largest in its organization’s history, from Chicago investor Craig Duchossois and his family. The donation will be used to establish a wellness research center.

Patient Safety and Information Technology

Former National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD speaks at the release of Bipartisan Policy Center’s report on health IT safety.

Morning Headlines 5/24/17

May 23, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Patient Safety and Information Technology: Improving Information Technology’s Role in Providing Safer Care

The Bipartisan Policy Committee publishes a report on health IT and patient safety, calling for “a coordinated effort—supported by public and private sector funding—to set health IT safety priorities, drawing upon existing reporting and analysis efforts,” in addition to disseminating best practices and continued development of safety standards.

Evaluation of Suicide Prevention Programs in Veterans Health Administration Facilities

An OIG investigation of suicide prevention programs in VHA facilities finds that while veterans account for 18 percent of all deaths from suicide within the US, many VHA facilities still fail to conduct mandatory community outreach activities designed to bolster suicide hotline call volumes.

What Hospital CIOs Think About Data Security and Clinical Mobility 

A survey of 100 hospital CIOs finds that 30 percent of respondents believe PHI is being shared via unsecure methods within their facility.

NantHealth Names Ronald A. Louks as Chief Operating Officer

NantHealth names former BlackBerry President  Ronald Louks as its new COO.

Morning Headlines 5/22/17

May 21, 2017 Headlines No Comments

How ECMC got hacked by cyber extortionists

A local paper covers the Erie County Medical Center’s (NY) recent ransomware attack, in which hackers likely executed a brute force attack to identify the password needed to access the hospital’s system, after which they manually encrypted system files and then demanded a $44,000 ransom.

Teladoc Expands Virtual Care Capabilities in Texas

After fighting a six-year legal battle regarding the use of telemedicine in Texas, Teladoc wins the right to expand statewide.

MUSC plans to change the way doctors are paid and the doctors are ‘livid’

Medical University Hospital (SC) will stop paying its providers based on the profitability of their department and start using an RVU-based system, a change that has is unpopular within the local physician community.

Morning Headlines 5/19/17

May 18, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Athenahealth shares soar after Elliott discloses 9.2 percent stake

Athenahealth shares jump 22 percent after hedge fund Elliott Management disclosed a 9.2 percent stake in the company.

ECMC exec on ransomware attack: ‘This is a form of terrorism’

Erie County Medical Center (NY) confirms rumors that the cyberattack that brought its entire network, including email, EHR, and billing systems, was indeed a ransomware attack. Hospital executives declined to pay the ransom and have instead been working to restore services from backups.

“Shoot the messenger:” NYC hospital and vendor threaten DataBreaches.net for reporting on their security failure

DataBreaches.net is served a threatening cease-and-desist letter from Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center lawyers after reporting that the hospital was exposing patient information due to an improperly configured server.

CHIME National Patient ID Challenge

CHIME announces finalists from its National Patient ID Challenge.

Morning Headlines 5/18/17

May 17, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Netsmart lands deal to deliver EHR to national behavioral health provider

Compass Health Network (MO), a national non-profit behavioral health network, signs a 10-year agreement to implement Netsmart’s behavioral health EHR and an interoperability platform that will allow it to exchange data with local practices and hospitals.

Upcoming Apple Watch to include game-changing health features

A widely-cited BGR article reports that the next Apple Watch will include non-invasive glucose monitoring technology, a rumor that it attributes to a single, anonymous source.

The Verdict Is In! BiAffect Takes Home The Grand Prize

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announces that BiAffect is the winner of its Mood Challenge, a contest soliciting ResearchKit-based studies of mood and its impact on health and wellbeing.

New York’s single-payer healthcare plan passes in state Assembly

New York’s state Assembly passes The New York Health Act, a single-payer health insurance healthcare bill that would provide universal coverage statewide. The bill has passed the Assembly three times in the past, but has yet to clear the Senate, where the current version will now be sent.

Morning Headlines 5/17/17

May 16, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Inside Corey Lewandowski’s Failed Romp in Trump’s Swamp

GQ profiles Corey Lewandowski, a one time Trump campaign adviser that launched his own lobby firm after the election, offering access to Trump and influence across government agencies. Health IT vendor Flow Health hired the lobby firm to reverse a decision by the VA to cancel its contract, which it illegally agreed to pay $250,000 for if the decision was reversed.

State Rep. Rehder will file PDMP bill again next year; “I’m a fighter, and I know that we will get this done”

Missouri’s effort to pass prescription drug monitoring program legislation died  Friday afternoon after the Senate added a provision mandating use by providers, a clause the Missouri State Medical Association opposed. The bill then lost support and failed to pass by 6pm Friday, when the 2017 legislative session ended.

Google DeepMind’s use of 1.6m Brits’ medical records to test app was ‘legally inappropriate’

The National Data Guardian at the UK’s Department of Health states in a leaked memo that Google DeepMind’s use of real NHS medical records to test an app designed to diagnose kidney disease was legally "inappropriate.”

Bipartisan bill will be reintroduced to force pharma to justify price hike

A bipartisan group of Senators introduce the Fair Drug Pricing Act, a bill that would require that pharmaceutical companies submit a report to HHS before increasing the price of a drug by 10 percent in one year, or by 25 percent over three years.

Morning Headlines 5/16/17

May 15, 2017 Headlines No Comments

US defends NSA over WannaCry cyber attack

White House officials refute claims that the NSA deserves any blame for the WannaCry cyberattack after Microsoft President and chief legal officer Brad Smith publish a blog post publically criticizing the agency for losing control of a stockpile of unknown security vulnerabilities, saying “An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the US military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen.”

Dr. Gottlieb’s First Remarks to FDA Staff

FDA administrator Scott Gottlieb, MD issues a memo to his staff addressing his view of the agency’s role under his leadership. He discusses the importance of continuing to drive down US smoking rates, the emergency of gene therapies, the need to reduce drug prices, and the implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act.

Ebola outbreak reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo

As a small Ebola outbreak takes hold in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Merck confirms that it has stockpiled 300,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine designed by scientists at Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory that has shown “high efficacy in clinical trials and could play a vital role in protecting the most vulnerable” 

Morning Headlines 5/15/17

May 14, 2017 Headlines 2 Comments

Finding the kill switch to stop the spread of ransomware

The WannaCry ransomware attack that quickly spread to computers across the globe, including 48 NHS hospitals, is halted after a cybersecurity researcher, noticing that the malicious code routinely pinged an unclaimed domain, registered the domain in his own name, inadvertently halting the spread of the attack.

CareCore Admits to Improperly Authorizing Over 200,000 Procedures Paid For With Medicare and Medicaid Funds

MedSolutions CareCore agrees to a $54 million settlement with OCR, putting an end to the fraud lawsuit brought against the company after it authorized thousands Medicare and Medicaid payments for procedures without validating their medically necessary.

Use IHealth software, not paper, defiant Nanaimo doctors told

In Canada, Island Health announces that it will no longer support alternative workflows for the nine internal medicine doctors that have refused to use the recently implemented, $174 million Cerner EHR, citing patient safety concerns over its CPOE system.

Clover Health Tops $1 Billion Value With Alphabet Backing

Silicon Valley-based health insurance startup Clover Health secures a $130 million Series D investment round led by Google Ventures, bringing the three-year-old startup’s valuation to $1.2 billion.

Death By A Thousand Clicks: Leading Boston Doctors Decry Electronic Medical Records

One year after going live on Epic, three physician leaders from Massachusetts General Hospital pen an opinion piece in a local paper arguing that the administrative burden caused by poorly designed EHRs software is compromising the diagnostic abilities of providers and driving good physicians into early retirement.

Morning Headlines 5/12/17

May 11, 2017 Headlines 2 Comments

Genevieve Morris

ONC names Genevieve Morris, MA Principal Deputy National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Morris has no clinical background, but worked on HIEs and Meaningful Use prior to taking on her new role.

NantHealth Reports 16% Increase in 2017 First Quarter Total Net Revenue; SaaS Revenue Rose 11% and GPS Adoption Continues to Climb

NantHealth reports Q1 results: revenue up 16 percent to 22.5 million, adjusted EPS –$0.24 vs. –$0.18, missing expectations for both.

Microsoft bets big on AI data with new developer, user features

Cerner is reportedly interested in working with Microsoft’s AI-powered Custom Vision Service, which allows applications to learn the names of items in images users upload. Joe Quint, an director over app development at Cerner, commented “That was very interesting. Being able to use this broadly across a hospital and being able to do image extraction of videos would be very cool.”

Outbreaks, Evolution, and Rock ‘n’ Roll: Topol Talks to Pardis Sabeti

Eric Topol, MD interviews Pardis Sabeti, MD, Dphil, a professor with the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, where she develops algorithms investigating evolution in the genomes of deadly diseases.

Morning Headlines 5/11/17

May 10, 2017 Headlines 2 Comments

Modernizing Medicine Announces $231 Million Equity Investment from Warburg Pincus

Specialty EHR vendor Modernizing Medicine takes on a $231 million investment from PE firm Warburg Pincus.

Senate Confirms Scott Gottlieb to Head FDA

The Senate voted 57 to 42 on Tuesday to confirm Scott Gottlieb, MD as commissioner of the FDA.

Aetna fully exits Obamacare exchanges with pull-out in two states

Aetna announces that it will exit the Nebraska and Delaware public exchange markets for the 2018 open enrollment period, the two remaining states where it had still offered plans.

Kaiser raises record $4.4 billion in white-hot hospital bond market

Kaiser Permanente (CA) secures $4.4 billion in funding through three bond offerings. CFO Kathy Lancaster reports that the proceeds will be used to fund expansion.

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Reader Comments

  • Brian Too: I agree. I spent years administering security and that taught me some things. 1). For every action, there is an e...
  • Did Cerner buy their market share?: How many hospitals were running Siemens when Cerner bought them out? I can't remember. But it seems like that would be a...
  • Mr. HIStalk: I've asked before, but there's the obvious dichotomy of who attendees say they want to see vs. who they will actually tu...
  • Mr. HIStalk: I agree and will ask Blain if HIMSS Analaytics has that data. I think Supine on the Sand was using the 500+ bed hospital...
  • Cerner/Epic: Re: Supine on the Sand While I think that 500+ bed hospitals are a good indicator, I don't think it is the most meani...

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