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Morning Headlines 9/8/17

September 7, 2017 Headlines No Comments

The HITECH Era and the Path Forward

Former National Coordinators for Health IT Vindell Washington, MD, Karen DeSalvo, MD, Farzad Mostashari, MD, and David Blumenthal, MD co-author an opinion piece in the New England Journal of Medicine on the path forward for Meaningful Use.

Digital Health Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program

The FDA is seeking applications for a Digital Health Entrepreneur-in-Residence. The selected candidate will work within the FDA’s Digital Health Unit developing software test models and quality metrics.

Assessment of Remote Heart Rhythm Sampling Using the AliveCor Heart Monitor to Screen for Atrial Fibrillation: The REHEARSE-AF Study

A study published in Circulation finds that using a smartphone-enabled ECG monitor to screen at-risk stroke patients for atrial fibrillation was “significantly more likely” to detect AF as compared to routine care.

Harvey Puts One Texas Hospital’s ‘Code Brown’ Plan to the Test

As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida, the Wall Street Journal profiles preparations undertaken by Houston’s St. Joseph Medical Center in the days ahead of Hurricane Harvey’s arrival.

Morning Headlines 9/7/17

September 6, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Interoperability 2016-2017 Final Report

The National Quality Foundation issues a report on measuring EHR interoperability, as well as interoperability’s impact on “patient safety, costs, productivity, care coordination, processes and outcomes, and patients’ and caregivers’ experience and engagement,” outlining dozens of ways that interoperability could be measured and improved upon within the US.

IBM pitched its Watson supercomputer as a revolution in cancer care. It’s nowhere close

STAT investigates IBM’s failure to develop Watson into a revolutionary technology for cancer care.

Most Marketplace Plans Included At Least 25 Percent Of Local-Area Physicians, But Enrollment Disparities Remained

A Health Affairs study finds that in 2016, 60 percent of the plans available on individual exchanges included provider networks where at leasts 25 percent of the local provider community was in network, contrary to growing concerns that network consolidation would lead to restricted access to care.

Tenet selling 8 more hospitals as investors debate company breakup

Outgoing CEO Trevor Fetter announces that Tenet will sell eight low-margin hospitals , plus another nine in the UK, to help it reduce debt and appease activist investors that are pressuring the board to break the company into three smaller units.

Morning Headlines 9/6/17

September 5, 2017 Headlines No Comments

FNFV Announces Acquisition of T-System Holdings for $200 Million

Fidelity National Financial will acquire emergency department clinical documentation and coding vendor T-Systems for $200 million in cash.

Cerner Announces Advisory Group to Improve Health Care Delivery for Veterans

Cerner creates an advisory board that will guide its VA implementation, chaired by Nebraska Governor and US Navy Veteran Bob Kerrey. Former VA CIO Roger Baker, former National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, MD, and Jonathan Perlin, MD and CMO of HCA, are among the experts that make up the board.

Veterans Administration Awards Diameter Health and Four Points Technology to Provide Clinical Data Quality Surveillance

The VA will implement Diameter Health’s CCD Analyzer to feed data into its clinical data quality surveillance platform.

Information Is Powerful Medicine

HHS launches a campaign encouraging consumers to access and review their medical records.

 

Morning Headlines 9/5/17

September 4, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Jeanne Lillig-Patterson, wife of Cerner CEO Neal Patterson, dies at 59

Jeanne Lillig-Patterson, founder of the First Hand Foundation and wife of Cerner co-founder Neal Patterson, dies at the age of 59 after losing her battle with cancer. Jeanne’s death follows her husband’s by less than two months.

Moment of truth arrives for Obamacare repeal

The Senate parliamentarian has ruled that Republicans face a September 30 deadline to pass an ACA repeal bill with only 50 votes, noting that the availability of the budget reconciliation process Republicans were using to fast-track the bill will pass when fiscal year 2017 ends on September 30.

Dual Canadian/Chinese Citizen Arrested for Attempting to Steal Trade Secrets and Computer Information

A Canadian/Chinese citizen is being charged with attempted theft of trade secrets after the CEO of Massachusetts-based Medrobotics Corporation saw him sitting in a conference room at 7:30pm with three laptops open. When questioned by the CEO, the man admitted that he was not an employee or contractor of the company, and claimed to be visiting a Medrobotics employee.

Novartis names American Vasant Narasimhan as its new CEO

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis announces that its CEO, Joseph Jimenez, will step down effective February 1, noting that he is “ready to return to Silicon Valley and the US.”  Vasant Narasimhan, MD, the company’s current CMO, will take over.

Morning Headlines 9/4/17

September 3, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Harvey Evacuees Leave Their Belongings – and Health Records – Behind

Wired describes a frustrating situation in Texas and Louisiana, where the lack of EHR interoperability is in the national spotlight as Hurricane Harvey evacuees seek care from new doctors who have no access to their medical records.

Speech Recognition in Cardiology

A survey of 147 cardiology clinical and administrative staff finds that cardiology is lagging behind radiology in adopting voice recognition technology into clinical workflows.

Alphabet’s Verily and Google found a potential new test for heart disease using AI

Verily researchers have developed an AI-based algorithm that can analyze retinal images to calculate a patient’s risk of heart disease. The algorithm scans for key indicators in the retinal images that correlate to age, gender, smoking status, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels, and then uses this information to calculate the patient’s heart disease risk level.

How to Regulate Artificial Intelligence

A New York Times Op-Ed piece by an Artificial Intelligence researcher proposes a framework for regulating the emerging technology.

Morning Headlines 9/1/17

September 1, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Health IT Now Letter To ONC

An industry group comprised of AMIA, Athenahealth, and others asks ONC to provide guidance around information blocking.

Firmware Update to Address Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities Identified in Abbott’s (formerly St. Jude Medical’s) Implantable Cardiac Pacemakers: FDA Safety Communication

The FDA issues a voluntary recall of St. Jude Medical implantable pacemakers due to cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the devices firmware. The FDA suggests that patients coordinate with care providers to discuss the need to have their firmware updated.

Bipartisan Governors Blueprint

A bipartisan group of eight governors sends a letter to Congress with recommendations on how to stabilize the individual health insurance exchanges.

Limited Waiver of HIPAA Sanctions and Penalties During a Declared Emergency

HHS Secretary Tom Price issues a 72-hour waiver on HIPAA privacy rules for hospitals responding to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana.

Regulator Wants Stronger Oversight Of Private Health IT Firm That Gets Public Funds

Vermont’s Green Mountain Care Board, which oversees the state’s medical industry, says the state’s HIE is failing to meet the needs of providers in the state and warns that it will need to improve to justify continued public funding.

Morning Headlines 8/31/17

August 30, 2017 Headlines 2 Comments

AHA Letter To Representative Pat Tiberi

AHA writes a letter to Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means’ Subcommittee on Health, calling for the cancellation of Meaningful Use Stage 3.

FDA approval brings first gene therapy to the United States

The FDA has approved CAR-T, a gene therapy treatment for certain types of pediatric leukemia, making it the first gene therapy approved for use in the US. Novartis developed the treatment and has put a $475,000 price tag on the drug, far below analyst expectations. In a clinical trial, a single dose of CAR-T left 83 percent of participants cancer free after three months.

Medtronic invests $40 million in robotics company Mazor

Medtronic announces that it has invested $40 million in surgical robot vendor Mazor Robotics, bringing its total investment in the company to $72 million. Medtronic will now become the exclusive distributor of Mazor’s robotic surgery system.

Aetna scoops up rising star from Wal-Mart’s health group to lead Apple Watch partnership

Aetna hires Walmart’s health division director Ben Wanamaker to lead its joint venture with Apple.

Morning Headlines 8/30/17

August 29, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Advisory Board to sell healthcare, education units in $2.58 billion deal

The Advisory Board confirms rumors that it will sell its healthcare and education units to UnitedHealth Group. Its healthcare business was valued at $1.55 billion in the deal.

In Times of Crisis, We’re Better Together.

Direct-to-consumer telehealth vendor MDLive announces free medical consultations to residents of Texas and Louisiana who have been evacuated or otherwise affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Medical Journals Have a Fake News Problem

Bloomberg covers the FTC investigation of predatory pay-for-publication scientific journal Omics International, which claims to publish more than 50,000 articles annually in medicine, technology, and engineering, but which academics and federal investigators claim is undermining public trust in scientific inquiry by publishing questionable or sloppy research.

Medicare Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organizations Have Shown Potential for Reducing Spending and Improving Quality

An HHS OIG investigation finds that the Medicare Shared Savings Program has saved nearly $1 billion in the last three years, while improving quality on most of the individual quality measures reported.

Morning Headlines 8/29/17

August 28, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Defray – New Ransomware Targeting Education and Healthcare Verticals

Cybersecurity vendor Proofpoint describes a new ransomware campaign called Defray that is targeting specific industries, including healthcare, education, and manufacturing.

Pfizer Rare Disease Launches Two First-of-Its-Kind Innovative Technologies for People Living with Hemophilia at National Hemophilia Foundation Annual Meeting

Pfizer releases a Minecraft-based gamification app designed to help children living with hemophilia.

2017 HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey

HIMSS releases results from a survey conducted with 126 health IT professionals on cybersecurity threats and the defensive best practices emerging within the industry.

Stabilizing the Individual Health Insurance Market

Oliver Wyman publishes analysis of several current legislative proposals aimed at stabilizing the individual insurance markets.

Morning Headlines 8/28/17

August 27, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Harvey Brings Catastrophic Floods to Houston; at Least Five Reported Dead

Power outages in Houston are forcing local hospitals to evacuate patients and implementing flood control systems, as Texas Medical Center CEO William McKeon explains “Those submarine doors were locked yesterday afternoon when we started to see the rain.”

‘Stay away from hospital’: Patients told to avoid Lanarkshire A&Es after cyber attack

In Scotland, a ransomware attack on the computer network at NHS Lanarkshire has forced clinicians back to paper workflows and prompted hospital officials to urge patients not to come to the hospital unless it is essential.

Doctors are burning out because electronic medical records are broken

Lloyd Minor, MD and Dean of Stanford University School of Medicine argues in an op-ed that EHRs are one of the leading causes of physician burnout, calling for a major revamp of EHR design, with doctors taking a leading role in the process.

Philips to build health technology center in Tennessee

Royal Philips announces plans to build a health technology center in Nashville that local officials expect will create more than 800 jobs over the next two years.

Morning Headlines 8/25/17

August 24, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

There is now a Google test for depression and mental ill health

Google has partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to begin offering depression screenings directly within its search results when users search “clinical depression” from a mobile device.

Filled With Blood And Drugs, These Delivery Drones Are Saving Lives In Africa

Fast Company profiles Zipline, a startup using drones to deliver life-saving medical supplies at a national scale in Rwanda. The copmany has made 1,400 commercial deliveries since its launch 10 months ago, 25 percent of which delivered life-saving supplies.

MD Anderson back in the black for the fiscal year

MD Anderson, which was running a $169 million defecit earlier in the year, is now operating in the black year-to-date thanks to cost cutting measures that included major staff reductions.

Insurer’s mailing to customers made HIV status visible through envelope window

Aetna is being sued after 12,000 people with HIV received letters that may have exposed their HIV status through an unnecessarily large window in the envelope.

Morning Headlines 8/24/17

August 23, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Funding For Local Public Health: A Renewed Path For Critical Infrastructure

Former National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, MD and George Washington University Health Policy Professor Jeffrey Levi, PhD co-author a Health Affairs article calling for increased spending on public health initiatives.

Presence Health Signs Letter of Intent with Ascension to Join AMITA Health

Ascension Health announces plans to acquire fellow Catholic health system Presence Health (IL).

Henry Ford Hospital CEO Announces Retirement

Henry Ford Hospital CEO John Popovich announces that he will retire at the end of the second quarter 2018, closing out a 40 year career at the hospital.

Medicare to divulge when a doc’s patient is in an ACO

CMS is updating the Medicare website to allow patients to identify their primary care provider so that doctors participating in ACOs will be assigned to their own patients.

Morning Headlines 8/23/17

August 22, 2017 Headlines No Comments

CliniComp Sues Gov’t Over Cerner’s VA Contract

CliniComp files a bid protest against the VA for awarding a no-bid contract to Cerner that will replace its own installations within the VA.

$417 Million Awarded in Suit Tying Johnson’s Baby Powder to Cancer

Johnson & Johnson is ordered to pay $417 million in damages to a woman who successfully argued that baby powder caused her ovarian cancer.

Rush orders up $18M+ fraud lawsuit vs vendor that installed allegedly defective patient monitoring system

Rush University Medical System (IL) sues Draeger after installing its $18 million patient monitoring system to find that it did not perform at the level promised.

Q&A with CEO Ken Comée on what’s next for CareCloud and healthcare IT

Ambulatory EHR vendor CareCloud’s CEO Ken Comée says in an interview with a local paper that going public is part of his plans for the company, explaining “My competitors are 20- and 30-year-old technologies, and I have the best damn platform in the space.”

Morning Headlines 8/22/17

August 21, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Q&A with Rucker: Giving patients modern access to their health data

In an interview with Modern Healthcare, National Coordinator for Health IT discusses information blocking, the future of API-based interoperability, and the role patients will play in getting data where it needs to be.

Community Health Systems investor calls for replacing CEO Wayne Smith

ASL Strategic Value Fund, an investor in CHS, calls for the ouster of CEO Wayne Smith, arguing that the $7.6 billion acquisition of HMA was poorly executed and directly led to a downward spiral in CHS stock prices.

Pharmacy and medical practice accused of using San Diego Marines in $67 million healthcare fraud

A doctors office in Tennessee and a pharmacy in Utah have been implicated in a scheme to defraud Tricare, the insurance provider for the military, of $67 million by generating fraudulent prescriptions for expensive compound medications.

Innovation is the future of health care

Hackensack Meridian Health (NJ) is launching a $25 million incubator program to spinoff healthcare technology companies.

Morning Headlines 8/21/17

August 20, 2017 Headlines 2 Comments

The Appointment Ends. Now the Patient Is Listening.

The New York Times covers the growing trend of patients recording their own medical appointments so that they can revisit the conversation in the future.

Trends in Laboratory Information Systems

A small survey of laboratory managers and directors find that 60 percent are currently looking to replace their existing LIS.

Bedside portal at WellStar reduces patient anxiety, lowers costs

A local paper covers the WellStar (GA) implementation of Epic MyChart across its hospitals.

MCMC may sell visiting health services

Mid-Columbia Medical Center (OR) is considering options for its unprofitable home health agency, which it says is difficult to improve because it runs a different EHR than the hospital, making care coordination cumbersome. The hospital is on Epic, and migrating the agency to Epic would reportedly cost $750,000.

Morning Headlines 8/17/17

August 16, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Docs, Hospitals Respond to CMS Retreat on Bundled Payments

CMS announces plans to eliminate several Obama-era bundled payment programs designed to test the impact of bundling some cardiac and orthopedic health services payments.

Healthcare data breaches caused by hacks are on the rise

Cyberattack-related data breaches at healthcare organizations have increased 162 percent so far in 2017, according to data from OCR.

Questions About The FDA’s New Framework For Digital Health

Health Affairs analyzes the FDA’s new Digital Health Innovation Plan.

Express Scripts to limit opioids, concerning doctors

Pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts intends to limit the number and strength of opioid drugs prescribed to first-time users as part of a broad effort to curb the opioid epidemic.

Morning Headlines 8/16/17

August 15, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

The Effects of Terminating Payments for Cost-Sharing Reductions

The Congressional Budget Office issues a report forecasting the financial impact that halting federal payment of cost-sharing subsidies to insurers selling plans on public exchanges will have, concluding that premiums would climb 20 percent in the first year, and continue to raise slightly more in years later.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to Lead New Pediatric Data Resource Center for Research in Childhood Cancer and Structural Birth Defects

The NIH is funding a big data project led by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Center for Data Driven Discovery to discover causes of pediatric cancer and structural birth defects.

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust selects Allscripts to enhance care and clinical engagement

In England, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust has selected Allscripts Sunrise EHR.

Physicians Healthsource, Inc. v. Allscripts-Misy’s Healthcare Solutions, Inc.

A physician practice, described by an obviously annoyed presiding judge as “a professional class-action plaintiff”, has filed a class action lawsuit against Allscripts for sending junk faxes without opt out instructions.

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