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Morning Headlines 2/1/17

January 31, 2017 Headlines 2 Comments

Governor McAuliffe Announces Grant to Help Doctors Identify Potential Opioid Abuse

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announces that the state has received a $3.1 million grant from OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma to help it integrate its prescription monitoring program with the EHRs of local providers.

King’s College Hospital London Selects Cerner’s Clinical and Financial Management System

In England, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust selects Cerner as the EHR vendor for the 100-bed hospital it is building in Dubai.

After meeting with pharma lobbyists, Trump drops promise to negotiate drug prices

Vox reports that pharmaceutical executives have persuaded President Trump to drop his call for Medicare to begin negotiating lower drug prices, opting instead for a plan that includes lowering drug company taxes and reducing regulations.

Beth Israel, Lahey health systems agree to pursue merger

In Massachusetts, Lahey Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center announce merger plans. The combined organization would include eight hospitals, 29,000 employees, and $4.5 billion in annual revenue.

Morning Headlines 1/31/17

January 30, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Copy Fees and Limitation of Patients’ Access to Their Own Medical Records

A JAMA article addresses the continued problems patients are experiencing when requesting a copy of their medical records, despite the widespread use of EHRs that should minimize the burden and cost of fulfilling these requests.

Fitbit Cutting 6% of Workforce as Results Miss Estimates

Fitbit reports that it  will miss Q4 revenue estimates by a wide margin, citing declining demand for fitness trackers. The company announces that it will eliminate 110 jobs to reduce costs. Share prices fell 16 percent on the news.

Kaiser Permanente faces $2.5M-plus in penalties for Medi-Cal data shortfall

Kaiser Permanente faces $2.5 million in penalties for failing to supply California regulators with properly formatted claims data from its Medicaid managed-care plans. The issue was originally raised in 2016, and a corrective action plan was agreed upon that gave Kaiser until January 1, 2017 to reformat and resubmit its data, but corrected claims were never resubmitted.

Can Big Data Help Cancer Patients Avoid ER Visits?

Penn Medicine using big data to try and forecast when lung cancer patients will end up in the emergency room. Current algorithms are reportedly able to predict one-third of these ER visits, at which point patients can be called and scheduled for a clinic visit.

Morning Headlines 1/30/17

January 29, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Obamacare Architect Says Silicon Valley Tech Won’t Steer Health Care

ACA architect Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD laughs at the idea that Silicon Valley data gurus will ever replace doctors, saying “I am much more skeptical that the computer is going to replace a doctor. That a computer is going to interface with the patient and take care of them. Not gonna happen.” He is also unimpressed with wearables, saying that continuous monitoring generates data that the healthcare industry is not prepared to take action on.

2017 Top Black Book Electronic Health Records (EHR) Systems Announced for Oncology and Hematology

Black Book names McKesson’s iKnowMedSM as the top performer in its oncology EHR customer satisfaction survey for the sixth year in a row.

Hospital scammed for employee information

A hospital employee sends the W-2s of 1,400 employees at Campbell County Health (WY) to a hacker that posed as a hospital executive and asked for the forms to be emailed to him.

Veritas Capital Agrees to Acquire Government IT Services Business from Harris Corporation

Private Equity firm Veritas Capital will acquire the government IT service business of Harris Corporation for $690 million in cash.

Morning Headlines 1/27/17

January 26, 2017 Headlines No Comments

CoverMyMeds Signs Definitive Agreement to be Acquired by McKesson

McKesson will acquire prescription electronic prior authorization vendor CoverMyMeds for $1.1 billion, plus an additional $300 million in financial performance incentives that would be paid out over the next two years.

Quality Systems, Inc. Reports Fiscal 2017 Third Quarter Results

Quality Systems, parent company to NextGen, reports Q3 results: revenue climbed 9 percent to $130 million, adjusted EPS $0.23 vs. $0.16.

Former HHS Secretary Burwell Is American University’s Next President

Sylvia Burwell will take over as the next president of American University in Washington DC, effective June 1, 2017.

If You Look at X-Rays or Moles for a Living, AI Is Coming for Your Job

Wired covers the expanding role AI will play in healthcare, noting a recent Nature study that tested the accuracy of deep learning algorithms designed to analyze images and identifying cancerous skin lesions and found that they performed as well as 21-board certified dermatologists.

Morning Headlines 1/26/17

January 25, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Blame Technology, Not Longer Life Spans, for Health Spending Increases

Health economist Austin Frakt pushes back against a CBO conclusion that health spending is increasing due in large part to population aging, suggesting instead that healthcare technology changes are responsible for between one-third and two-thirds of per capita health care spending growth.

Proportion and Cost of Unplanned 30-Day Readmissions After Sepsis Compared With Other Medical Conditions

A JAMA study concludes that readmission-related costs were higher for unplanned sepsis readmissions than any of the conditions included in the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program.

VA health IT platform champion is gone, but project could survive

Despite the January 20 departure of VA CIO LaVerne Council, the Digital Health Platform project may still have a champion in David Shulkin, MD, President Trump’s nominee for VA Secretary and an early supporter of the Digital Health Platform project.

Morning Headlines 1/25/17

January 24, 2017 Headlines No Comments

DirectTrust Reports Record Growth in Direct Transactions, Number of Direct Exchange Addresses and Users

DirectTrust reports that there were 98 million messages exchanged across its network in 2016, while the number of addresses capable of exchanging PHI increased 24 percent and the number of healthcare organizations connected to the network grew 36 percent.

£7m EPR costs blowout predicted after delay

In England, delays implementing Cerner Millennium at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust are expected to drive the project’s total cost from $6 million to $15 million.

GetWellNetwork Acquires Seamless Medical Systems, Extends Reach to More Than 150 Clinics

Patient engagement software vendor GetWellNetwork acquires Seamless Medical Systems, the developers of a patient check-in and waiting room app that claims to reduce door-to-door time by 40 percent.

Federal Debt Projected to Grow by Nearly $10 Trillion Over Next Decade

A Congressional Budget Office report says that while the economy is on solid ground and increasing job growth is expected, the deficit is projected to swell, adding $10 trillion in new federal debt over the next 10 years.

Morning Headlines 1/23/17

January 22, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Full text: Trump’s executive order on Obamacare

Following through on campaign trail promises, President Trump signs an executive order calling for HHS to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden” on providers, insurers, patients, or States.

Trump Executive Order On ACA: What It Won’t Do, What It Might Do, And When

Health Affairs’ Tim Jost weighs in on the impact President Trump’s executive order is expected to have.

HHS Acting Secretary Norris Cochran

HHS Acting Secretary and former National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo quietly leaves her position with the administration transition.

Morning Headlines 1/20/17

January 19, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Tim Draper keeps defending Theranos

Despite exhaustive examples of corporate irresponsibility and ineptitude, early Theranos investor Tim Draper continues to defend the company, calling the unrelenting bad press a conspiracy to take down Elizabeth Holmes.

The Final Days of Obama’s Tech Surge

As the Obama administration winds down, speculation over the future of the United States Digital Service mounts. The group, made up of high-profile Silicon Valley tech minds, was launched to rescue Healthcare.gov and help transform the government with technology.

CBO Scoring: The Issue Is Not How It’s Done, But How It’s Used

Health Affairs explains the role of the Congressional Budget Office in the overall legislative process, and outlines CBO cost estimates associated with repealing ACA. The article also notes that House rules were recently passed that contain a provision forbidding the CBO from generating long-term estimates on the impact of repealing ACA.

HIMSS Media Lab is Launched to Lift Audience Engagement and Revenue

HIMSS acknowledges that it will begin selling member data to support vendor sales efforts, explaining “We’re leveraging the HIMSS database of over one million health and technology experts…This enables us to identify the emotional and business triggers…and that’s really the key to understanding buying intent.”

Morning Headlines 1/19/17

January 19, 2017 Headlines No Comments

CMS announces extension of 2016 reporting deadline and intends to modify 2017 requirements

CMS notifies eligible hospitals participating in Meaningful Use that the deadline for submitting eCQM data for the 2016 reporting period has been moved from February 28 to March 13 and reports that additional changes are being considered to further ease reporting burdens.

Using the Electronic Health Record to Understand and Minimize Overuse

A JAMA article suggests that EHRs will deliver value by helping identify and minimize unnecessary, low-value care which the authors say accounts for “substantial health care expenditures and may cause harm.”

Theranos just made another major leadership change

Just prior to news broke that Theranos failed a second CMS inspection at one of its blood testing labs, the company announced a new advisory board that will focus on technology.

Trump HHS pick Tom Price faces Senate questioning on Obamacare, stock buys

Representative Tom Price, MD, President-elect Trumps pick to lead HHS, faces questions before the Senate HELP committee.

Morning Headlines 1/18/17

January 17, 2017 Headlines No Comments

How Repealing Portions of the Affordable Care Act Would Affect Health Insurance Coverage and Premiums

The Congressional Budget Office publishes its predictions on the impact ACA’s repeal will have, concluding that premiums will spike and the number of people who are uninsured would increase by 18 million in the first coverage year following the repeal.

Second Theranos Lab Failed U.S. Inspection

Theranos fails an inspection of its Scottsdale, AZ blood testing lab but fails to disclose this information to its investors.

Introducing IMEDS, a Public-Private Resource for Evidence Generation

The FDA launches the Innovation in Medical Evidence Development and Surveillance System, or IMEDS, which will make the FDA’s Sentinel System data and analytics tools available to private researchers.

The Heroism of Incremental Care

In a New Yorker op-ed, Atul Gawande, MD compares the incremental approach primary care providers take in managing conditions with the one-and-done approaches surgeons prefer, conceding that primary care may be doing more good in the long run.

US insurers get inside cars, mouths, grocery carts in profit search

Reuters covers the use of data mining by health insurers to help price policies and target profitable customers more effectively.

Morning Headlines 1/17/17

January 16, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Trump Is Considering Another Thiel Associate to Lead FDA

President-elect Trump is reportedly considering Silicon Valley executive Balaji Srinivasan to lead the FDA. Srinivasan has no medical background, but earned consideration because he is a Peter Thiel associate.

Survey Snapshot: What Patient Engagement Technology Is Good For

A recent NEJM Catalyst survey on patient engagement tools finds that providers are excited about the potential benefits associated with new technologies, but do not know which ones to recommend.

You can now book workout classes directly from Google

Google partners with digital health startup MindBody to let users search for, book, and pay for exercises and wellness classes from within Google’s search results.

Why Regulating AI Is A Mistake

Following the recent death of a passenger who was driving in an auto-piloted Tesla, AI experts weigh in on the pros and cons of regulating the use of artificial intelligence.

Morning Headlines 1/16/17

January 15, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Justices Will Hear Challenges to Mandatory Employee Arbitration

The Supreme Court agrees to hear a case brought by Epic and two other corporations seeking clarification on the use of arbitration clauses in employment agreements that prohibit employees from banding together to take legal action over workplace issues.

Hospital closes systems after IT attack

In England, Barts Health NHS Trust shuts down several of its IT systems after suffering a “non-ransomware” cyberattack.

The Biggest Changes Obamacare Made, and Those That May Disappear

The New York Times offers point-by-point analysis of the real impact of repealing ACA and outlines possible replacement legislation.

Rudeness and Medical Team Performance

Researchers in Israel finds that when nurses are scolded by rude patients, their performance decreases across all measured clinical quality categories for not only that patient, but all of their patients. Preventative cognitive bias modification programs were shown to help neutralize the impact rudeness has on performance.

Morning Headlines 1/13/17

January 12, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Merger May Revitalize California’s Flagging Effort To Pool Medical Records

The nonprofit HIE California Integrated Data Exchange will merge with Inland Empire Health HIE, creating an exchange with the medical records of 16.7 million people.

Obamacare is one step closer to repeal after Senate advances budget resolution

The Senate approves a budget resolution that begins the process of repealing ACA.

Arizona Plans to Sue Blood-Testing Company Theranos

The Arizona Attorney General is seeking outside legal counsel as it prepares to sue Theranos, alleging that it defrauded consumers in the state.

HealthTap launches Dr. A.I.— Meet your new, personal AI-powered physician

HealthTap launches an artificial intelligence-powered online symptom checker that “helps route users to doctor-recommended insights and care.”

Morning Headlines 1/12/17

January 11, 2017 Headlines No Comments

A Senate Vote-a-Rama Primer, in Case You Plan to Sleep Tonight

Wednesday night, the Senate will vote on a budget resolution that will begin the process of repealing ACA.

IBM Watson, FDA to explore blockchain for secure patient data exchange

The FDA signs a two-year joint-development agreement with IBM Watson to investigate the use of blockchain technology for securely sharing patient data from EHRs, clinical trials, mobile devices, and other sources.

Health care must ditch its attachment to outdated software

Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush publishes an op-ed in STAT encouraging health systems to ditch legacy health IT software, while acknowledging that there will be no government subsidies to help providers buy more software under the Trump presidency.

Trump ‘Just Killed’ Paul Ryan’s Obamacare Repeal-And-Delay Strategy

Despite progress on ACA repeal efforts, President-elect Trump reported during a press conference Wednesday that the repeal and replacement of ACA would happen simultaneously.

Morning Headlines 1/11/17

January 10, 2017 Headlines 7 Comments

Biden, Obama attack lack of meaningful use

Politico quotes Vice-President Biden as saying “you guys in the health care industry are the least sharing people in the world,” going on to say that he’d like to have the Secret Service lock the CEO’s of the major EHR vendors in a room and keep them there until he got answers.

Cleveland Clinic doctor’s anti-vaccine column: Q&A explainer

The VP of Content for Cleveland.com, the website that inadvertently ran an anti-vaccine piece by a Cleveland Clinic medical director, says that the Clinic’s communications team was setup as a trusted publisher and uploaded the controversial op-ed on its own without oversight or warning. and  Cleveland Clinic’s ability to publish articles to the site has now been revoked.

Iatric Systems Announces New FlexButtonTM Application to Bring Third-Party Patient Data into the EHR Workflow

Iatric launches FlexButton, an EHR bolt-on solution that pulls relevant patient data from other EHR systems into clinical workflows with the push of a button.

Siri, Am I About to Have a Heart Attack?

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, hedge fund manager Andy Kessler blames EHR vendors, Epic in particular, for the lack of EHR interoperability in healthcare.

Morning Headlines 1/10/17

January 9, 2017 Headlines No Comments

St. Jude releases cyber updates for heart devices after US probe

St. Jude Medical, which was recently acquired by Abbott Laboratories for $25 billion, releases a software patch intended to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities discovered in its heart implants. The vulnerabilities were made public several months ago by short-selling firm Muddy Waters and security firm MedSec, and nearly derailed the acquisition.

ICD-10 Section

CMS reports that the 2017 ICD-10 code update will prevent it from processing data reported for certain quality measures during Q4 2016, and as a result says that it will not apply PQRS payment adjustments to those affected.

President Obama talks to Vox about Obamacare’s future

In an interview with Vox, President Obama discusses his disappointment with the pace of digitalizing and sharing medical records, saying “it’s a lot slower than I would have expected; some of it has to do with the fact that it’s decentralized and everyone has different systems. In some cases, you have economic incentives against making the system better; you have service providers — people make money on keeping people’s medical records — so making it easier for everyone to access medical records means that there’s some folks who could lose business. And that’s turned out to be more complicated than I expected.”

Sylvia Burwell Remarks at the National Press Club

In her farewell speech, departing HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell warns against repealing ACA without having a comprehensive replacement in place.

Morning Headlines 1/6/17

January 5, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

The Advisory Board Company Aligns Health Care Capabilities to Enhance Efficiency and Drive Future Growth

The Advisory Board Company announces “workforce restructuring and office closures” within its healthcare business that will culminate with layoffs for 220 employees and four offices being closed.

Castlight Health Announces Strategic Acquisition of Jiff

Castlight Health announces it will acquire competing health benefits platform vendor Jiff. Castlight Health stock dropped 13 percent after the announcement.

Athenahealth plans big tech jobs expansion at Ponce City Market

Athenahealth announces that it will grow its Atlanta-based campus to about 1,000 workers by 2018.

Form 8-K: Computer Task Group Inc.

In a letter to shareholders, CTG’s Board of Directors explains that it is working to reduce overhead costs while shifting its focus from EHR implementation services to optimization and performance improvement services, application management services, and service desk staffing.

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Reader Comments

  • Ann Farrell: Consumers won't tolerate poor data quality of EHRs. Per recent survey, CEOs distrust med data (impact finally reached t...
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  • Mr. HIStalk: Newly reported ransomware attack: Princeton Community Hospital (WV): http://www.wvva.com/story/35759197/2017/06/27/pr...
  • Blue Skies: Nuance Outage: Our facility is impacted by both their transcription and cloud-based dictation outages. No ETA. Nuance...

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