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Morning Headlines 4/17/17

April 16, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Electronic POLST Puts End-of-Life Wishes in the Patient’s Hands

In New Jersey, a program is being launched to move the documentation of end-of-life care decisions off of paper and onto a state-wide database that will integrate with EHR systems in use across the state’s hospitals.

RWJBarnabas CISO Rethinks Cybersecurity for Age of Connected Medical Devices

The Wall Street Journal profiles RWJBarnabas (NJ) CISO Hussein Syed and his approach to maintaining the network security across his organization’s 12 hospitals, 250  clinics, and 75,000 devices.

Where medical marijuana, health IT, and personalized medicine may intersect

The Advisory Board outlines the implication medical marijuana legalization is having on care delivery, and the potential role health IT will have in educating providers on the appropriate strains, dosages, and methods of ingestion.

A Boy’s Life Is Lost to Sepsis. Thousands Are Saved in His Wake

The New York Times reviews 5-year results from a program in New York State aimed at improving early detection of sepsis in hospitals. The program has resulted in a 21 percent decline in mortality among adults, but showed no decline in pediatric mortality.

Morning Headlines 4/14/17

April 13, 2017 Headlines No Comments

NextGen Healthcare Announces Agreement to Acquire Entrada, Inc.

NextGen will acquire mobile physician documentation and communication technology vendor Entrada in a deal worth $34 million.

White House finalizes ACA rule to strengthen individual market

The White House finalizes its rules aimed at stabilizing the individual marketplaces, introducing insurer-friendly provisions that limit when consumers can gain coverage outside of open enrollment periods, while shifting authority to states to determine whether health plans have adequate provider networks, and allowing insurers to refuse to cover persons who haven’t paid their premiums.

FDA warns Abbott on heart device battery woes, cybersecurity risks

The FDA issues a warning letter to St. Jude Medical of failing to respond to cybersecurity vulnerabilities that could allow a hacker to control implanted devices remotely and for failing to address battery issues that have been linked with two deaths.

UC Berkeley challenges decision that CRISPR patents belong to Broad Institute

After winning its patent case in the EU patent courts, UC Berkeley appeals its recent CRISPR patent loss to Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard here in the US.

Morning Headlines 4/13/17

April 12, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Trump Threatens to Withhold Payments to Insurers to Press Democrats on Health Bill

In an effort to draw Democrats to the healthcare policy negotiation table, President Trump threatens to withhold payments to insurers meant to cover discounts for low-income consumers, explaining “I don’t want people to get hurt. What I think should happen—and will happen—is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.”

The Leapfrog Group Releases Groundbreaking Tool to Estimate Lives and Dollars Lost to Medical Errors

The Leapfrog Group launches a calculator designed to illuminate the impact medical errors have on an employer’s covered population. The calculator estimates the number of avoidable deaths among covered lives, how much employers spend annually due to medical errors within general acute care hospitals, and how much of their total health care spend goes to these medical mistakes.

2017 Venrock Healthcare Prognosis

Venrock publishes results from a survey of “a few hundred of the smartest people we know across healthcare” on the future of healthcare under the new administration and the impact legislative changes will have on various healthcare IT subsectors.

ECMC officials remain mute on cause of computer shutdown

Erie County Medical Center (NY) returns to paper after a virus brings down its network. A hospital spokesman refused to comment on speculation that the virus was actually a ransomware attack, and differed questions about whether it had been contacted by hackers or asked for payments to restore access.

Morning Headlines 4/12/17

April 11, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

How Washington’s favorite cancer fighter helps himself

A Politico investigative report on Patrick Soon-Shiong finds that the majority of funds distributed by the healthcare billionaire’s non-profit, NantHealth Foundation, ultimately flow back into his own businesses. Shares fell 14.4 percent after the report was published Monday, and dropped another 4.7 percent Tuesday. This follows a STAT investigative piece published in March that uncovered similar practices and drove shares down 35 percent following publication.

Association Between Hospitals’ Engagement in Value-Based Reforms and Readmission Reduction in the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program

A longitudinal study published in JAMA finds that participation in one or more of Medicare’s value-based reimbursement programs is associated with reductions in 30-day risk-standardized readmission rates.

SA Health CIO defends EPAS following coroner’s criticism

South Australia Health CIO Bill Le Blanc defends the health system’s EPAS after the state coroner publically complained that the readability and formatting of printed reports are preventing clinicians from effectively doing their jobs.

Morning Headlines 4/11/17

April 10, 2017 Headlines No Comments

New Compact Helps Physicians Obtain Multiple State Licenses

The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission begins accepting applications from providers seeking cross-state licensure from one of 18 participating states. The new licensing agreement is expected to ease legislative burdens on providers offering telemedicine services.

Medication errors in hospitals don’t disappear with new technology

The Pittsburg Post-Gazette reports on medication errors at Pennsylvania hospitals that were, at least in part, attributed to EHRs.

The US ACA Individual Market Showed Progress In 2016, But Still Needs Time To Mature

Standard and Poor issues a forward-looking report on insurer performance in individual markets, noting “we expect insurers, on average, to get close to break-even margins in this segment in 2017,” but cautions that 2018 and beyond are uncertain given potential legislative changes and pending legal battles.

Case giving entrepreneurs a hand, with help from MIT

Mark Chance, vice dean for research at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, launches a program to mentor hopeful healthcare-focused entrepreneurs through the process of starting a company. The program is based on an MIT program that has mentored more than 2,500 participants since its 2000 launch.

Morning Headlines 4/10/17

April 9, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Practo Technologies cuts 10% of workforce, explores new revenue engines

India-based provider appointment scheduling vendor Practo lays off 10 percent of its workforce, citing “natural redundancies that emerge as we integrate our 5 acquisitions.”

DHA launches unified electronic medical record system

In Dubai, the Dubai Health Authority’s Rashid Hospital, Al Barsha Medical Center, and several offsite clinics go live on Epic.

Before you send your spit to 23andMe, what you need to know

STAT provides more insight into the genetics-based personal health risk reports 23anMe recently won FDA approval to resume marketing to consumers.

Morning Headlines 4/7/17

April 6, 2017 Headlines No Comments

23andMe, Inc. Granted First FDA Authorization to Market Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Health Risk Reports

More than three years after being shut down by the FDA for selling genetic health risk reports to consumers without clearance, 23andMe finally receives the FDA’s approval to resume sales. The approval covers reports on personal risk for ten conditions, including late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and celiac disease.

Highly confidential psychotherapy records from Maine center listed on the dark web

A mental health center in Maine reports that 4,500 patient records have been stolen by hackers and offered for sale on the dark web. The records include highly-sensitive information, including names, addresses, social security numbers, medial histories, and full session notes.

SAFER Guides

ONC updates its SAFER Guides, a series of guides designed to help healthcare organizations address EHR safety issues.

Morning Headlines 4/6/17

April 5, 2017 Headlines No Comments

FDA Nominee Scott Gottlieb Commits to ‘Gold Standard’

Scott Gottlieb, President Trump’s nominee to run the FDA, had his confirmation hearing before the Senate HELP Committee today, during which he committed to upholding the “gold standard of safety and efficacy,” but noted that he believed there were ways of modernizing and expediting clinical trials without compromising safety.

Missouri senator says he’ll end years of opposition to prescription drug database

In Missouri, efforts to implement an opioid prescription drug monitoring database faces renewed opposition from the Missouri Medical Association, which opposes any legislation requiring doctors to check the database before writing opioid prescriptions.

Thousands of brokers exit HealthCare.gov as plan commissions go unpaid

Insurance resellers are exiting the exchange markets as payers stop paying commissions on a variety of plans. Utah-based insurance broker Craig Paulson explains, “they’re not paying commissions on platinum plans, and they are not paying them for special enrollment plans which cover some of the sickest patients.”

How Redesigning The Abrasive Alarms Of Hospital Soundscapes Can Save Lives

After a recent hospital stay filled with slamming doors and beeping medical equipment, ambient electronic musician Yoko K. Sen proposes using sound design to reduce alarm fatigue and make hospitals calmer places for patients.

Morning Headlines 4/5/17

April 4, 2017 Headlines No Comments

VA’s most important 2017 decision

Speaking at a conference Monday, VA CIO Rob Thomas confirms the agency is on track to make a decision by July 1 on whether to replace Vista with a commercial EHR vendor.

Q1 2017: Business as usual for digital health

Rock Health publishes its Q1 report on VC investments in the digital health startup space, noting that 2017 investment activity is keeping pace with 2015 and 2016 levels despite the uncertainty around ACA repeal.

Electronic Health Record Logs Indicate That Physicians Split Time Evenly Between Seeing Patients And Desktop Medicine

A Health Affairs study that analyzed the EHR activity logs of physicians found that they appear to split their day between computer work and patient care.

Why the Orion Health Group Ltd share price was slammed today

New Zealand-based Orion Health Group fall seven percent after announcing stalled growth and a full-year net loss between $22 million and $26 million.

Morning Headlines 4/4/17

April 3, 2017 Headlines No Comments

CMS readies insurance market stabilization rule as insurers wait nervously

CMS sends rules designed to stabilize the individual insurance markets to the Office of Management and Budget for final review as insurers wait decide whether to offer plans on the exchanges in 2018.

Soon-Shiong made ‘implicit threat’ to spur investment in NantHealth, media company says

A media company that Patrick Soon-Shiong recently rescued from a hostile takeover attempt with a $70 million investment is claiming that its CEO was forced to personally invest $10 million in NantHealth’s initial round in exchange for the help.

Clinic venture arm hopes to assist innovation work

Cleveland Clinic is launching an investment business, called Cleveland Clinic Ventures, that will work with its innovation department to turn new medical breakthroughs into funded spin off companies.

Wellness Apps Evade the FDA, Only to Land In Court

Wired Magazine covers the legal accountability of health apps that make misleading claims and the effect those court decisions might have on a market that has largely escaped FDA oversight.

Political battles are a ‘distraction’ for health-care business, CEO says

Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush discusses the ACA and AHCA, and comments on how healthcare-related political battles affect providers.

Morning Headlines 4/3/17

April 2, 2017 Headlines No Comments

NantHealth (NH) Tops Q4 EPS by 1c

NantHealth reports Q4 results: revenue climbed 18 percent to $24 million, falling short of analyst estimates, EPS –$0.19 vs. -$0.10.

Former Siemens exec to head ONC

Former CMO of Siemens Healthcare, Donald Rucker, MD, MBA, MS is named as the next National Coordinator for Health IT.

Kaiser campaign slashes opioid prescriptions

Kaiser Permanente’s home-grown opiod prescription drug monitoring program is the subject of a local public radio article.

GPB Capital acquires healthcare software assets from NTT DATA – New company to be named Cantata Health, LLC

PE firm GPB Capital acquires the hospital and long term care software assets of NTT Data, creating a new company called Cantada Health in the process.

Morning Headlines 3/31/17

March 30, 2017 Headlines No Comments

IBM X-Force Finds Historic Number Of Records Leaked And Vulnerabilities Disclosed In 2016

An IBM cybersecurity report finds that the healthcare industry fared better in 2016 than it did in 2015, with only 12 million records exposed to cyberattacks throughout the year, compared to more than 100 million in 2015, representing an 88 percent decrease.

WHO Launches Global Effort to Halve Medication-Related Errors in 5 Years

The World Health Organization announces the Global Patient Safety Challenge, an initiative to aimed at reducing avoidable medication errors in all countries by 50 percent over the next five years.

Ontario Hospitals Join Partnership to Deliver Seamless Patient Care with MEDITECH’s Web EHR

In Ontario, Markham Stouffville Hospital, Southlake Regional Health Centre, and Stevenson Memorial Hospital will partner to implement Meditech’s 6.1 Web EHR.

Alexander, Corker Introduce Bill To Rescue Americans With No Options For Insurance

Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Bob Corker (R-TN) introduce legislation that will allow consumers living in counties where no ACA insurance plans are offered to use the federal subsidies they qualify for to buy insurance from any company willing to sell it to them.

Morning Headlines 3/30/17

March 29, 2017 Headlines No Comments

AI versus MD  

Pulitzer prize-winning oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD describes recent advances in AI-based image recognition algorithms and their potential use as a diagnostic tool for future radiologists.

This Is How Bipartisan Health Care Reform Could Actually Happen

In a Time Magazine op-ed, Former National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, MD discusses various health reform options that could win bipartisan support.

Rupert Murdoch reportedly sold $125 million in Theranos stock for just $1

Rupert Murdoch walks away from his $125 million stake in Theranos, selling his shares for $1. Meanwhile, Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes has agreed to give existing investors more shares from her personal stock if they agree not to sue the company.

The Patent Battle Over Revolutionary CRISPR Gene-Editing Tech Just Went Global

While the US Patent Office awarded CRISPR rights to researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, the European Patent Office just issued the same patent to UC Berkley, setting the stage for another round of patent disputes between the two organizations.

Trump taps Chris Christie to lead fight against nation’s opioid addiction crisis

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is selected by President Trump to lead a commission combating drug addition and the nation’s growing opioid addition.

Morning Headlines 3/29/17

March 28, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Cyber Criminals Targeting FTP Servers to Compromise Protected Health Information

The FBI’s cyber division issues an alert warning healthcare organizations that hackers are targeting FTP servers operating in anonymous mode to access PHI and launch ransomware attacks.

Virtual System Works in Managing Diabetes for Hospital Patients

UCSF researchers piloting a centralized dashboard designed to help diabetes specialists monitor the glucose levels of hospitalized diabetes patients find that the new system led to a 39 percent decrease in hyperglycemic patients and decreased the number of hypoglycemic events from 40 to 15 over a 12 month period.

Putting Patients First by Reducing Administrative Tasks in Health Care: A Position Paper of the American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians, written by ACP’s Medical Practice and Quality Committee discusses the need to reduce administrative burden being placed on physicians.

Leading Wisely: Better Executive Decision Support

Health Catalyst launches Leading Wisely, a near real-time executive decision support dashboard for healthcare leaders.

Morning Headlines 3/28/17

March 27, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Trump taps Kushner to lead a SWAT team to fix government with business ideas

Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior advisor to President Trump, will lead the newly created White House Office of American Innovation, which will borrow ideas from the business world to help solve national issues, including improving care for veterans and fighting the opioid crisis.

Ransomware attack on Urology Austin compromises patient info

Urology Austin (TX) is alerting 200,000 patients that their information was exposed to hackers after ransomware attack on January 22. Officials from the practice report that no ransom was paid to the hackers and that access to patient information was restored from a backup.

Soon-Shiong’s promotion of ‘breakthrough’ cancer therapy raises questions

A STAT article questions whether pharmaceutical billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong violated FDA regulations when he tweeted a promotional video about a cancer therapy his company is developing that does not yet have FDA approval. A spokesperson for Soon-Shiong responded, saying the video was not intended to be promotional, calling it an educational tool for patients.

Cota Healthcare Announces Major Multi-Year Collaboration With Global Pharmaceutical Leader To Advance Innovative Therapies For Breast Cancer Patients

Novartis signs a multi-year deal to use Cota Healthcare’s data analytics software to help it develop targeted therapies for breast cancer.

Morning Headlines 3/27/17

March 27, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Heritage Foundation Alum Critical of Transgender Rights to Lead HHS Civil Rights Office

Former Heritage Foundation director Roger Severino is appointed as as director of HHS’s Office for Civil Rights.

Ryancare Failed Because Paul Ryan Is Still Learning How To Govern

Commenting on the GOP’s failed attempt to pass the AHCA, House Speaker Paul Ryan explains “We were a 10-year opposition party, where being against things was easy to do. You just had to be against it. Now, in three months’ time, we tried to go to a governing party where we actually had to get 216 people to agree with each other on how we do things.”

HHS inspector general is investigating pullback on HealthCare.gov ads

The HHS OIG is investigating the administration’s decision to suspend HealthCare.gov ads before the end of the 2017 enrollment period.

Regional West chooses new electronic health record provider

Regional West Health Services (NE) announces that it will implement Cerner across its hospital and outpatient clinics.

Morning Headlines 3/24/17

March 23, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Mortality and morbidity in the 21st century

A study on mortality and morbidity among middle-aged, white non-Hispanic Americans finds that mortality rates are decreasing for those with a college degree, but are increasing for those without, leading authors to conclude that poor job prospects and low levels of education are driving up drug overdoses, suicide rates, and alcohol-related liver mortalities, or in the authors words “deaths of despair.”

Information Blocking: Is It Occurring and What Policy Strategies Can Address It?

Results from a survey on information blocking find that half of respondents report that EHR vendors routinely engage in information blocking, while 25 percent of respondents report that hospitals and health systems also do.

FHIR Release 3 Posted

HL7 releases FHIR 3.0 which adds support for key clinical workflows, clinical decision support, and CQMs.

GE to Invest $500 Million in Healthcare Unit

GE Healthcare plans to invest $500 million over the next three years, hiring 5,000 additional software developers.

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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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