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Morning Headlines 12/16/16

December 15, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Happtique Reimagined – A Curated mHealth App Boutique

Happtique, a health app screening service that promised to bring clinical credibility to app stores but ultimately failed and shut down in 2013, relaunches at the HIMSS Connected Health Conference.

Pharmacies miss half of dangerous drug combinations

The Chicago Tribune tests 255 retail pharmacies by sending undercover reporters in and trying to fill two contraindicated prescriptions with potentially fatal drug interactions. The investigation found that 52 percent of the pharmacies filled the prescriptions without warning the patient of the dangerous drug combination.

Athenahealth shares soar on upbeat 2017 outlook

Athenahealth shares climbed 23 percent Wednesday after the company reported projected 2017 revenues of $1.29 to $1.33 billion and adjusted operating income between $170 million and $190 million.

Scanadu to shut down support for its Scout device per FDA regulation and customers are mad

Scanadu shuts down support of its once hyped Scout consumer medical device.

Morning Headlines 12/15/16

December 14, 2016 Headlines No Comments

National Scorecard on Rates of Hospital-Acquired Conditions 2010 to 2015: Interim Data From National Efforts To Make Health Care Safe

AHRQ releases a scorecard on hospital-acquired conditions which measures a 21 percent decline in HAC’s since 2010, representing an estimated 125,000 saved lives and $28 billion in saved healthcare costs.

PCORI Board Approves $42 Million for 19 New Patient-Centered Research Projects

PCORI approves $42 million in new research funding. The investments will fund thirteen projects, including studies focused on assessing the quality of communications between healthcare providers and patients, preserving patient privacy when data sets including medical information are linked, and measuring patients’ preferences.

Increased transparency and quality information via new Compare sites and data updates

CMS releases two new consumer compare websites, one comparing inpatient rehabilitation facilities and the other comparing long-term care facilities.

Telemedicine for PTSD no less effective than in-person therapy

In a study of 132 veterans with PTSD, researchers at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center (SC) find that PTSD treatment can be delivered remotely via telehealth services with no measureable differences in effectiveness.

Morning Headlines 12/14/16

December 13, 2016 Headlines 2 Comments

Carequality and CommonWell Health Alliance Agree on Connectivity and Collaboration to Advance Interoperability

CommonWell will integrate its health information exchange network with Carequality, allowing customer organizations  to exchange health information through direct queries across both networks. Epic is a Carequality member, while Cerner and many other notable vendors are CommonWell members.

California Prison Record System Cost Doubles to $386 Million

The cost of a Cerner implementation aimed at modernizing the paper-based medical records system used by California’s prison system has doubled from the original budget of $182 million to nearly $400 million.

Chief data officer leaving Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Niall Brennan, the chief data officer at CMS, will leave ahead of the change of administrations, and will be replaced by his deputy, Chris Cox.

Retired carer left to die after hospital replaced ‘old-fashioned’ whiteboard with computer system

In England, a woman dies when clinical staff inadvertently stop rounding on her after replacing their traditional unit whiteboard with an electronic patient census system.

Morning Headlines 12/13/16

December 12, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Building A System That Works: The Future Of Health Care

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell publishes a blog in Health Affairs outlining the achievements made since the passage of ACA, and her vision for the road ahead.

Improving the Quality of Care for Medicare Beneficiaries by Increasing Patient Engagement

CMS will test two patient engagement strategies from the CMS innovation Center, the Shared Decision Making Model and the Direct Decision Support Model, both of which offer a variety of patient-focused decision support tools to help create more educated and engaged beneficiaries.

Medicare Value Based Payment Models: Participation Challenges and Available Assistance for Small and Rural Practices

A GAO report finds that small and rural practices considering participation in value-based payment programs face financial challenges associated with EHR interoperability, and staff expertise challenges associated with optimizing EHRs and analyzing population data.

In five years, machine learning will be a part of every doctor’s job, Vic Gundotra says

Former Microsoft and Google executive and current AliveCor CEO Vic Gundotra argues that artificial intelligence will become a critical tool for physicians within the next five years.

Morning Headlines 12/12/16

December 11, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance (WLSA) Combines Operations With The Personal Connected Health Alliance

HIMSS-owned Personal Connected Health Alliance merges with the Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance. Both organizations focus on promoting the use of technology in improving health and wellness.

21st Century Cures and the Road Ahead

John Halamka, MD presents his thoughts on the 21st Century Cures Act in a recent blogpost.

Partners posts $108m operating loss, its largest

Boston-based Partners Healthcare posts a $108 million operating loss, its largest in 22 years, despite a seven percent rise in revenue. Partners attributes its losses almost entirely to it low-income families and individuals on the state’s Medicaid program.

NIH competition seeks wearable device to detect alcohol levels in real-time

NIH launches a design competition with a $200,000 first place prize that challenges hardware developers to create a wearable that can actively monitor blood alcohol levels.

Morning Headlines 12/9/16

December 8, 2016 Headlines 4 Comments

Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act Requires Exploration of Digital Health Opportunities

The House of Representatives passes the ECHO Act, a bill that will expand telehealth services to remote and underserved communities. The bill will now make its way to the President’s desk for signature.

Former Google Ventures CEO Bill Maris is raising a new $230 million fund to focus on health care

Google Ventures founder Bill Maris announces that he is raising a $230 million investment fund that will focus on health care investments.

Physician Productivity Startup Augmedix Secures $23 Million to Continue the Nationwide Expansion of its Smartglass-based Remote Scribe Services

Google Glass startup Augmedix, which offers remote scribe services to help doctors navigate EHRs and document encounter notes while in the exam room, raises a $23 million investment round.

Fitbit buys smartwatch maker Pebble’s software assets

Fitbit acquires smartwatch maker Pebble’s software and intellectual property. Financial terms were not disclosed, but analysts value Pebble at $40 million.

Morning Headlines 12/8/16

December 7, 2016 Headlines 2 Comments

Congress passes 21st Century Cures Act, boosting research and easing drug approvals

The Senate passes the 21st Century Cures Act in a 94 to 5 vote, sending it to the President’s desk for signature. The President praised the bill Wednesday and confirmed that he would sign it.

Twenty-One Indicted in the Forest Park Medical Center Health Care Fraud

The FBI has indicted 21 employees from Forest Park Medical Center (TX), claiming that they paid $40 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for referrals to its purely out-of-network health system.

CRISPR court hearing puts University of California on the defensive

The patent case over CRISPR-cas9 technology, likely the most valuable patent in biotechnology, begins as the University of California argues to have MIT and Harvard’s patent invalidated and transferred to UC.

Slavitt: ‘There should be no pride of authorship’ with healthcare reform

During an interview at Modern Healthcare’s 2016 Leadership Symposium, Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt called on lawmakers to focus ACA reform discussions on parts of the law that are not working, saying “If we can improve upon the things that were started in the ACA, we should do it. It doesn’t matter if that comes from a Democrat. It doesn’t matter if it comes from a Republican.”

Morning Headlines 12/7/16

December 6, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Meet Emily, Ireland’s first ‘digital baby’

In Ireland, Cork University Maternity Hospital goes live with Cerner as the first hospital in a plan to deliver a single, shared maternity EHR across the nation.

Political donor pleads guilty to investment fraud scheme

Sreedhar Potarazu, an ophthalmogist and political commentator on cable news outlets, pleads guilty to criminal investment fraud charges after lying to investors about his health technology startup’s finances to secure $30 million in investments.

IBM’s Watson Now Fights Cybercrime in the Real World

IBM’s Watson business unit has launched a pilot program aimed at developing cybersecurity monitoring tools for healthcare and several other industries.

Security Experts Warn Congress That the Internet of Things Could Kill People

Harvard University professor and cybersecurity scholar Bruce Schneier discusses the recent IoT-based denial-of-service attack on Dyn servers and the risk that such attacks pose to hospitals and public safety.

Morning Headlines 12/5/16

December 4, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Allscripts to extend EMR offerings in Australia

Allscripts acquires Australian EHR vendor Core Medical Solutions. adding both localized software and employees with deep knowledge of Australian healthcare workflows to Allscripts.

Harris Computer Corporation Acquires IMDSoft

Harris acquires iMDSoft, expanding its footprint in healthcare. The company will be run as an independent business within Harris and will be run by iMDSoft EVP Shahar Sery. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Epic Systems sued again for overtime wage issues

Epic quality assurance employees file a class-action lawsuit against the company arguing that they were misclassified by Epic as exempt from overtime rules.

Legal battle delays fourth Vancouvercenter building

Cerner sues iCapital founder Ahmed Saeed Mahmoud Al Badi after his company subcontracted Cerner to help develop a national EHR for the United Arab Emirates but stopped paying once work was complete. Cerner has filed complaints in Washington and Oregon, where it is seeking $60 million in real estate assets owned by Mahmoud Al Badi.

Morning Headlines 12/2/16

December 1, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Millions Of People Are Having An Easier Time Paying Medical Bills

A CDC report finds that the number of people struggling to pay their medical bills has fallen sharply in the last five years. Researchers cite reduced unemployment and the implementation of ACA as the primary reasons.

California Tests Electronic Database For End-Of-Life Wishes

California will create an electronic registry to store end of life orders of residents which will be accessible by local emergency and social service providers.

Omnicell to Acquire Leading Pharmacy Provider Ateb, Inc.

Omnicell will acquire Raleigh, NC-based Ateb, Inc. for $41 million in cash. Ateb develops pharmacy-based medication adherence and chronic disease management solutions and has a customer base of 15,000 pharmacies across the US and Canada.

Morning Headlines 11/30/16

November 29, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Donald Trump Picks Rep. Tom Price to Lead Department of Health and Human Services

President-elect Donald Trump selects Tom Price to replace Sylvia Burwell as the next HHS secretary.

Trump picks Seema Verma to head Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Seema Verma, a health policy consulting firm CEO with ties to VP-elect Mike Pence, has been chosen to replace Andy Slavitt as the next CMS administrator.

US Department of Veterans Affairs Will Collaborate With Flow Health to Bring Artificial Intelligence and Precision Medicine to Veterans

The VA will work with artificial intelligence software vendor Flow Health to comb through the medical records of 22 million veterans and use the clinical data to help create software capable of offering meaningful clinical decision support and generating personalized care plans.

Big Names Take Hit on Theranos

Rupert Murdock will likely lose $200 million in Theranos investments after his own newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, exposed the company for misleading investors.

Morning Headlines 11/29/16

November 28, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Republicans reach deal to pass Cures Act by end of year, but Democrats pushing for changes

The House will vote Wednesday on a final version of the 21st Century Cures Act, a $6.3 billion piece of legislation that will target opioid addiction, fund Obama administration research programs for the next 10 years, and speed federal approval of new drugs and devices.

CMS’ star ratings for hospitals linked to social, economic factors

A new JAMA study finds that a hospital’s CMS star rating is “heavily influenced by its location’s socio-economic conditions,” reinforcing longstanding concerns voiced by industry stakeholders.

Theranos Sued for Alleged Fraud by Robertson Stephens Co-Founder Colman

Lawsuits continue to pile up for Theranos, with investment firm Robertson Stephens & Co founder Robert Colman accusing the company of making false and misleading claims about operations and technology during its investment talks.

HIMSS17: Stealing Your Life

Former conman and world renown authority on forgery and fraud, Frank Abagnale, will speak at HIMSS17 at a session called Stealing Your Life that will address data breaches and identify theft within the healthcare industry.

Morning Headlines 11/28/16

November 27, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Cyber security and resilience for Smart Hospitals

The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security publishes cybersecurity recommendations for healthcare executives.

Incoming Regenstrief Institute president Embi named chair-elect of AMIA board of directors

Regenstrief Institute president and CEO Peter Embi, MD is selected as the chair-elect of the board of directors of AMIA.

Governor Baker Establishes Massachusetts Digital Healthcare Council

In Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker creates a digital health advisory council comprised of leaders healthcare technology, insurance, medical devices, healthcare delivery, life sciences, academia, and government.

Independent doctors say hospital thwarts competition

In Vermont, local providers are complaining that UVM Medical Center operates as a monopoly, filing lawsuits against new local practices to shut down competition.

Morning Headlines 11/23/16

November 22, 2016 Headlines No Comments

UMass settles potential HIPAA violations following malware infection

UMASS will pay $650,000 to settle a HIPAA violation stemming from a 2013 malware infection that led to the disclosure of 1,670 records. The breach exposed names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth, as well as insurance, diagnosis, and procedure data.

Repealing Obamacare With No Replacement Will Cause Chaos, Obama’s Health Chief Warns

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell warns that repealing ACA without enacting a replacement would wreak havoc on health insurance markets.

Ireland to go-live with national maternity electronic record

In Ireland, Cork University Maternity hospital will go live with Cerner on December 3 as the nation moves forward with plans of consolidating all of its 19 maternity hospitals on one system.

Novartis backs off from 2016 date for testing Google autofocus lens

Novartis cancels plans to test the autofocus contact lenses it is co-developing with Google, citing technical issues and declining to comment on when testing would begin.

Morning Headlines 11/22/16

November 21, 2016 Headlines 4 Comments

The Bigger Story, and Agenda, Behind GOP Changes to Obamacare, Medicare and Medicaid

Kaiser Family Foundation president and CEO Drew Altman outlines the GOP proposal to repeal and replace ACA and reform the Medicare and Medicaid programs, plans he describes as “the biggest changes in the direction of federal health programs since the passage of Medicaid and Medicare.”

Top Management and Performance Challenges Facing HHS

OIG lists the top ten challenges facing HHS in the coming year, with health IT coming in third on the list.

UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention Renews Relationship with Cerner to Provide Electronic Health Record

The UAE’s Ministry of Health continues its system-wide implementation Cerner with a contract extension that will add anesthesia management and medication barcode scanning to from Cerner.

US government releases official guidelines for smart guns

The Department of Justice releases voluntary guidance for firearms manufacturers outlining the kinds of “smart gun” safety technology it would like to see in pistols. While adopting the recommendations is optional, DOJ reports that the features will be part of the baseline specifications for law enforcement service pistols. 

Morning Headlines 11/18/16

November 17, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Neal Patterson’s Remarks from CHC

Cerner CEO Neal Patterson speaks at the Cerner Health Conference, discussing his ongoing cancer treatment and his new perspective of EHRs as a patient.

Theranos Whistleblower Shook the Company—and His Family

The Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyrou tells the story of Tyler Shultz, the inside source that broke the Theranos story to the media and government officials.

Obamacare startup faces losses

Tech-savvy insurance startup Oscar Insurance continues to lose money on public exchanges, its primary business. The startup is now exiting a number of exchange markets in efforts to diversity its revenue stream.

CMS launches new online tool to make Quality Payment Program easier for clinicians

CMS releases an API that will give developers access to Quality Payment Program data.

Morning Headlines 11/17/16

November 16, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Sign-Ups Under Affordable Care Act So Far Seem Not Hurt by Donald Trump’s Win

Healthcare.gov has processed over a million applications during the first 12 days of open enrollment, outpacing last year by 53,000.

Trump May Repeal Obamacare But He Won’t Touch Obama’s Other Major Health Law

According to Forbes, MACRA, which was passed with bipartisan support, will not be targeted for repeal or revisions under a Trump presidency.

Trump’s HHS secretary could be surgeon Rep. Tom Price

Trump is reportedly considering Representative Tom Price (R-GA) for HHS Secretary. Price was an early Trump supporter and has been a longstanding critic of the ACA.

Health Technology And Human Touch Need Not Be At Odds

In a Health Affairs blog, Eric Topol MD discusses the needed balance between technology and presence in the exam room.

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Reader Comments

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