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Morning Headlines 8/15/17

August 14, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Google Verily Unit Acquires Senosis Health

Verily, Alphabet’s life sciences business, acquires Senosis Health, a smartphone-based medical condition monitoring app. Financial terms were undisclosed.

MIT Medical Selects Cerner’s Integrated Health Care Technology for Care of Students, Faculty and Staff

MIT Medical, which serves MIT students, faculty and family members, selects Cerner as its next EHR.

Coverage For Mental Health Via Telemedicine Soars At U.S. Employers

56 percent of US employers plan to offer telehealth-based behavioral health services in 2018, more than doubling availability compared to 2017 rates.

Morning Headlines 8/14/17

August 14, 2017 Headlines No Comments

As losses mount, Soon-Shiong’s NantHealth to lay off dozens, reduce headcount by 300

NantHealth announces a fresh round of layoffs following its poor Q2 results. Some of the affected employees are being re-assigned to Allscripts as part of previously announced product acquisitions.

ONC’s Rucker hones agency mission around 21st Century Cures Act

Speaking at the Allscripts Client Experience conference, National Coordinator for Health IT Don Rucker, MD discusses the need to give consumers more control of healthcare spending, explaining “We know how to do pay-for-value as consumers when we’re spending our own money. If there’s anything Americans are good at, it’s knowing how to shop.”

Distributed Ledger Technology in Healthcare: Update from the Delaware Blockchain Initiative

The Medical Society of Delaware is working with blockchain technology company Symbiont to develop a blockchain-based solution to address the challenge prior authorization requirements pose.

Morning Headlines 8/11/17

August 10, 2017 Headlines No Comments

NantHealth Files An 8-K Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement

Allscripts trades its 15 million shares in NantHealth stock for the company’s provider and patient engagement solutions,

Remote Workers Vulnerable In Disputes With Company, Say Employees

Remote transcriptionists working for Nuance are claiming that managers offered them incentives and overtime pay in exchange help working through the transcription backlog that accrued during the company’s malware-related downtime, but Nuance later refused to pay, claiming that the incentives were only approved for a small handful of highly-impacted teams.

Trump: ‘The opioid crisis is an emergency’

President Trump declares the opioid crisis a national emergency, a designation that will offer states and federal agencies more resources to combat the epidemic.

NHS England CCIO Keith McNeil resigns

Keith McNeil, chief clinical information officer for NHS England, has resigned after 13 months in the role. He will return to Australia, working as the CMIO at Queensland Health

Morning Headlines 8/10/17

August 9, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Jonathan Linkous Departs ATA After 24 Years As CEO

American Telemedicine Association CEO Jonathan Linkous resigns after 24 years leading the organization. ATA COO Sabrina Smith, MD is filling in as interim CEO until a new CEO is hired.

A Big KO to Germs: Robot Enhances Hospital Safety by Killing Infection-Causing Microbes

Saint Peter’s University Hospital (NJ) is piloting an ultraviolet wave-emitting robot to reduce hospital acquired infections in its facility.

Walgreens, CVS sued over claims co-pays were clawed back

Both Walgreens and CVS are being sued in California for letting customers pay deductibles on prescriptions covered by their insurance that were significantly higher than the actual cash price of the medication. The customers argue that they should have been informed that buying the medications outright was less expensive than paying the co-pay negotiated by their insurer.

Campaign to taint courtroom foe costs Saxton post at OHA

Oregon Health Authority director Lynne Saxton is fired after an OHA plan designed to damage the reputation of a Portland health care organization was made public.

Morning Headlines 8/9/17

August 8, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Epic Move: UC San Diego Health Transitions to Cloud Technology

UC San Diego Health announces that it will transition away from traditional data centers and move its EHR to an Epic-hosted cloud environment.

Evolent Health (EVH) Posts Q2 Loss as Expected, Revenues Top

Evolent Health shares fall 17 percent Tuesday, after reporting a Q2 loss and announcing that it was considering a second IPO, in which it hoped to raise $175 million.

Offering A Price Transparency Tool Did Not Reduce Overall Spending Among California Public Employees And Retirees

A Health Affairs study measuring the impact of offering health services price transparency tools to employees, finds that, “only 12 percent of employees who were offered the tool used it in the first fifteen months after it was introduced, and use of the tool was not associated with lower prices for lab tests or office visits.”

The Man Who Wrote Those Password Rules Has a New Tip: N3v$r M1^d!

Former NIST employee and author of a specification establishing best practices for password security admits that mixed-case passwords that contain special characters are not nearly as secure as longer, phrase-based passwords that are easy to remember but hard to programmatically hack.

Morning Headlines 8/8/17

August 7, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Internet-based EHRs gaining some customers but still a small segment

Modern Healthcare reports that cloud-based EHRs are increasing in popularity due to a perceived advantage in staffing and cybersecurity.

Anthem takes harder line on ER visits

In an effort to reduce unnecessary ER visits, Anthem warns its customers that it may start denying non-emergency ER services, leaving patients with the bill.

A shift in the fitness wearables market spells trouble for Fitbit

Fitbit’s share of the wearables market dropped from 27 to 16 percent in the last year, as Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer Xiaomi continues to expand its marketshare.

Tenet Reports Results for the Second Quarter Ended June 30, 2017

Tenet Healthcare Corporation reports Q2 results: revenue dropped 1.4 percent to $4.8 billion, resulting in an overall net loss of $56 million. Adjusted EPS –$0.17 vs. $0.40. Tenet also lowered its forecasted annual revenue, citing low patient volumes, which sent stock prices down 10 percent in afterhours trading Monday.

Morning Headlines 8/7/17

August 6, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Allscripts announces second quarter 2017 results

Allscripts reports Q2 results: revenue increased 10 percent to $426 million, adjusted EPS -$0.85 vs. $0.05. The company announced it would write off $145 million of its $200 million investment in NantHealth, due to NantHealth’s poor stock performance.

Siemens, DHS warn of “low skill” exploits against CT and PET Scanners

Siemens warns customers of four software vulnerabilities in its molecular imaging systems that would allow hackers to gain remote control of the systems.

WannaCry hero Marcus Hutchins could face 40 years in US prison

The cybersecurity expert that stopped the WannaCry global cyberattack has been arrested in the US, where authorities say he helped create and sell malicious software that targeted bank accounts. He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.

‘Pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli found guilty of 3 of 8 charges, including securities fraud

Martin Shkreli has been found guilty of defrauding investors of his two hedge funds and paying them back with stock and cash that he stole from his biotech company, Retrophin.

Morning Headlines 8/4/17

August 4, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Allscripts to acquire McKesson’s Enterprise Information Solutions business

Allscripts will acquire McKesson’s Enterprise Information Solutions health IT business for $185 million cash, planning to offer Paragon to small hospitals while continuing to market Allscripts Sunrise to larger health systems.

Remarks by President Trump at Department of Veterans Affairs Telehealth Event

The VA will expand its telemedicine program, already the country’s largest, with VA Video Connect.

Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program Requirements for Eligible Hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals, and Eligible Professionals;

CMS will allow hospitals to submit only one quarter of data for 2018 incentive payments and will allow using 2014, 2015, or a combination of CEHRT to satisfy requirements for CY 2018.

Morning Headlines 8/3/17

August 2, 2017 Headlines 14 Comments

Cancer moonshot head recounts exchange with Epic’s Faulkner

Politico reports that Epic CEO Judy Faulkner told Vice-President Joe Biden at a private January 2017 Cancer Moonshot meeting, “Why do you want your medical records? They’re a thousand pages, of which you understand 10,” to which Biden responded, “None of your business. If I need to, I’ll find someone to explain them to me and, by the way, I will understand a lot more than you think I do.”

Merck Announces Second-Quarter 2017 Financial Results

The pharmaceutical giant says its June 27 malware attack continues to disrupt its manufacturing operations, possibly leading to shipment delays for some drug products, and says the company is not yet able to quantify the financial impact of the NotPetya-caused event. 

What Could Happen If The Administration Stops Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments To Insurers?

Tim Jost’s Health Affairs blog lays out the scenarios that could result if President Trump follows through on his threat to order the federal government to stop making cost-sharing reduction payments as a challenged law requires, dismissing the President’s contention that the payments represent a bailout to insurers.

Google Is Matching Your Offline Buying With Its Online Ads, but It Isn’t Sharing How

The Electronic Privacy Information Center complains to the Federal Trade Commission that Google is using secret methods to match a user’s in-store credit card purchases with their Google ad clicks, allowing it to sell ads based on how they perform in motivating offline sales.

Scientists successfully used CRISPR to fix a mutation that causes disease. This is huge.

OHSU researchers describe in a journal article how they corrected an inherited genetic disorder that causes heart problems using CRISPR, although they stopped short of implanting the embryos in a woman’s uterus. Some experts suggest moving forward with clinical trials, while others urge measuring societal perception to avoid charges of creating “designer babies.”

Morning Headlines 8/2/17

August 1, 2017 Headlines No Comments

athenahealth Announces Strategic Initiatives to Drive Increased Levels of Profitable Growth and Enhance Shareholder Value

Athenahealth, under pressure from an activist investor, will target $100 million in cost saving and remove Jonathan Bush’s president and board chair titles in recruiting replacements, leaving him as CEO.

Outside Of Washington, There Is A New Vital Center In Health Care Reform

A Health Affairs blog post describes the changing opinions of the Affordable Care Act of a regularly polled panel, finding that they are frustrated with Democrats for not delivering on their promise of affordability but are also alarmed with the repeal efforts of Republicans.

Fees for Certification and Finances of Medical Specialty Boards

A JAMA research letter questions the high certification and renewal fees physicians pay to members of the American Board of Medical Specialties that have seen their income and assets swell from that income.

Quality Systems’ (QSII) CEO Rusty Frantz on Q1 2018 Results

NextGen’s parent company reports results that beat Wall Street expectations, its receipt of a Civil Investigative Demands letter from the Department of Justice, and its planned acquisition of analytics vendor EagleDream Health.

Morning Headlines 8/1/17

July 31, 2017 Headlines No Comments

White House panel urges Trump to declare state of emergency over opioid crisis

A White House commission addressing the opioid epidemic recommends that President Trump declare a federal state of emergency.

Republicans ignore Trump’s Obamacare taunts

Senate Republicans say they won’t try to repeal the Affordable Care Act despite the President’s tweets declaring that they should address no other pressing issues until they pass a healthcare bill.

Baltimore-based Evergreen Health to be liquidated

Baltimore-based HMO Evergreen Health, launched by a former city health commissioner, will be liquidated after investors withdraw their bids to acquire the company.

Spare America a do-over on health care. Seize the bipartisan moment.

Former CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt says in a USA Today opinion piece that Americans should hold President Trump accountable for his threats to cut off Affordable Care Act insurance subsidy payments to low-income citizens and instead demand bipartisan healthcare support. 

Morning Headlines 7/31/17

July 30, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan Donate $10M to Advance Health Using Big Data

The donation will fund the launch of UCSF’s Institute for Computational Health Sciences, which will perform analytics-powered drug discovery using a combined EHR dataset from all five UC system medical centers.

Cerner (CERN) Q2 2017 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

Cerner says it will name a new CEO soon and acknowledges that it will serve as prime contractor in the VA project for which the contract is being negotiated.

Doctors use this software during patient visits. Now Big Pharma is tapping it to sell their drugs

Doctors in Canada question whether EHR vendor Telus Health should sell drug companies the chance to have their patient discount coupons pop up in their workflow.

Morning Headlines 7/28/17

July 27, 2017 Headlines 2 Comments

FDA Announces New Steps to Empower Consumers and Advance Digital Healthcare

The FDA announces a new digital health certification process for software developers that will focus on certifying the vendor, rather than the software product itself.

Senate Health Care Vote: Disarray Over Narrow Repeal Measure

Four GOP Senators refuse to vote for a “skinny” ACA repeal bill without ironclad assurances that it will be followed with a comprehensive replacement bill. Lindsay Graham (R- SC) explains, “The skinny bill as policy is a disaster. The skinny bill as a replacement for Obamacare is a fraud.” Final votes on the bill are scheduled for Friday.

ECMC spent nearly $10 million recovering from massive cyberattack

Erie County Medical Center refused to pay a $30,000 ransom demanded by hackers earlier this year, but ultimately spent $10 million restoring its network following the attack.

Eye on Oversight – Electronic Health Records

HHS OIG publishes a video addressing the eClinicalWorks fraud settlement.

Amazon has a secret health tech team called 1492 working on medical records, virtual doc visits

Amazon has a sunkworks lab called 1492 that is reportedly focusing on health IT projects.

Morning Headlines 7/27/17

July 26, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Veterans Affairs secretary: VA health care will not be privatized on our watch

VA Secretary David Shulkin publishes an op-ed explaining that, while the VA will begin expanding access to private care for veterans, there is no intention of fully privatizing the VA health system.

Proposed Interoperability Standards Measurement Framework Public Comments

AMIA responds to ONC’s Interoperability Measurement Framework, calling for a framework that supports automated measures reporting, and that targets high-value interoperability use cases.

At Mid-Year, U.S. Data Breaches Increase at Record Pace

A mid-year report on US data breaches finds a 29 percent cross-industry increase in breaches, with 63 percent of breaches involving hacking, nine percent involving  lost or stolen equipment, and seven percent involving accidental Internet exposure.

Yelp adds C-section rates and other stats for all baby delivery hospitals in California

Yelp is working with state and non-profit organizations in California to begin incorporating maternity care metrics, such as C-section rates, into its platform, noting that C-section rates for low-risk mothers varies from 10 to 70 percent, depending on the hospital.

Morning Headlines 7/26/17

July 25, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Hospital stocks pounded on repeal vote, HCA disappointment

CHS shares plunged 10 percent, Tenet shares dropped 7.5 percent, and HCA shares fell 4.5 percent following a Senate vote to begin debate on repealing, but not replacing, the Affordable Care Act.

CHIME to Administer Healthcare’s Most Wired Hospital Survey

CHIME has been tapped by AHA to begin conducting the annual “Healthcare’s Most Wired” hospitals survey.

Meritus to invest $100M in electronic health records

Meritus Health (MD) will implement Epic across its health system at an estimated total project cost of $100 million and an anticipated Summer 2018 go-live.

Helix’s Bold Plan to Be Your One Stop Personal Genomics Shop

Helix, a spinoff company of market-leading genetic sequencing vendor Illumina, launches a platform offering consumers genome sequencing and medical insights delivered through an app store that will securely store a user’s sequenced DNA information and transmit it to third-party app developers through an API.

Morning Headlines 7/25/17

July 24, 2017 Headlines No Comments

KKR to buy WebMD in $2.8 billion deal

Private equity firm KKR & Co will buy WebMD Health Corp for $66.50 per share, a premium of 20.5 percent to WebMD’s Friday closing, for a total of $2.6 billion.

Atul Gawande on Priorities, Big and Small

In a wide-ranging interview, Atul Gawande, MD discusses the limits of artificial intelligence, CRISPR, and what is missing from medical education, of which notes that the medical profession “has exceeded the capabilities of any individual to manage the volume of knowledge and skill required. So we are now delivering as groups of people. And knowing how to be an effective group, how to solve problems when your group is not being effective, and to enable that capability.”

Molina to lay off 10% of its workforce

Medicaid health plan Molina Healthcare plans to lay off 1,400 employees, representing 10 percent of its workforce, to offset losses incurred by its ACA exchange business.

Morning Headlines 7/24/17

July 23, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Nuance Provides Update on Malware Incident and Business Impact

Nuance lowers its forecasted Q3 revenue by $15 million, citing its ongoing cyberattack related network outages.

athenahealth’s (ATHN) CEO Jonathan Bush on Q2 2017 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

In its earnings call, Athenahealth CEO Jon Bush provides an update on its CFO search, saying, "we’ve initiated a search to identify a permanent CFO and are focused on individuals who can serve as a strong partner to the senior team and to me. And who will bring demonstrated record of operating discipline and value creating capital allocation."

Expanding his medical empire is good for Patrick Soon-Shiong. But is it good for patients?

STAT continues its ongoing investigative reporting of Patrick Soon-Shoing’s business dealings, this time questioning the ethics of his acquisition of six California hospitals.

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