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Morning Headlines 9/9/16

September 8, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Plans for the Quality Payment Program in 2017: Pick Your Pace

CMS announces four different timeline options for participating in the MACRA Quality Payment Program, each of which will allow providers to avoid penalties, and many of which would include positive payment adjustments.

Making IT work: harnessing the power of health information technology to improve care in England

In England, Bob Watcher, MD co-authors a Department of Health report on moving the NHS forward with health IT adoption.

DeepMind’s first NHS health app faces more regulatory bumps

Google’s AI company DeepMind will suspend the use of an acute kidney injury detection app that it co-developed with the NHS until the software is approved by the UK’s medical device oversight regulatory agencies.

Arizona’s Pinal County Gains Health-Law Exchange Insurer

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona has agreed to offer public exchange plans in Pinal County, which will prevent the county from being the first with no ACA plans available to its residents.

Morning Headlines 9/8/16

September 7, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Q&A: ‘Always put the consumer and consumer protection first’

In a Modern Healthcare interview, outgoing National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, MD reflects on her time leading ONC, saying “We shifted focus away from the electronic health record and on to the data….The work we did to unlock that data is going to create unlimited opportunities for entrepreneurs and for consumers to have access to information.

Electronic health records ‘inflict enormous pain’ on doctors. It’ll take more than stopwatches to learn why

In a Stat News editorial, Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush reacts to the recent Annals of Internal Medicine study finding that physicians spend about half their work hours on EHRs. He divides blame for the state of physician dissatisfaction with health IT software between the ONC and EHR vendors, suggesting that the first unintentionally limits private sector innovation while the second fails to embrace modern user-centric design processes.

Percentage of Uninsured Historically Low

The percentage of uninsured US adults continues to drop, hitting 8.6 percent in 2016, down from 9.1 percent in 2015.

Morning Headlines 9/7/16

September 6, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Allocation of Physician Time in Ambulatory Practice: A Time and Motion Study in 4 Specialties

The Annals of Internal Medicine publishes a study measuring how outpatient physician’s use their time, finding that only 27 percent of a physician’s day is spent engaging with patients, while 49 percent of their time is spent in EHRs.

How Elizabeth Holmes’s House Of Cards Came Tumbling Down

Vanity Fair covers the rise of Elizabeth Holmes who, in the absence of working technology, raised $700 million in VC investments on the idea of revolutionizing healthcare, until Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Carreyrou dismantled the company’s false claims, resulting in the downfall of the business.

How the CIO of a $39 billion pharmaceutical company is quietly changing the tech-startup world

Merck CIO Clark Golestani discusses the need to reinvent a successful organization as a digital enterprise, and how he encourages his team to work with promising startups to deliver new technology faster.

SEC Form 8-K: McKesson Corporation

McKesson discloses in an SEC filling that the Department of Justice is investigating anti-trust concerns with its planned health IT divestment.

Morning Headlines 9/6/16

September 5, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Medlio Wins Allscripts Open API Patient Engagement Challenge

Allscripts names digital health startup Medlio the winner of its patient engagement FHIR API contest. Medlio is building an app that “enables users to check insurance benefits, such as status and deductible accumulators, in real-time.”

Epic and Cerner link information exchanges

In England, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust will interface its Cerner system with Cambridge University Hospital’s Epic system to being exchanging patient data across different EHRs, a first in the UK.

Demonstrating the relationships of length of stay, cost and clinical outcomes in a simulated NICU

Researchers investigate the relationship between length of stay, cost, and clinical outcomes in a simulated NICU environment, concluding that “reducing LOS does not uniformly reduce hospital resource utilization.”

CMS starts search for HealthCare.gov eligibility vendor

CMS is searching for a small business that has the capabilities to help manage back-end eligibility and support for people who buy plans through Healthcare.gov.

Morning Headlines 9/5/16

September 4, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Apple will now start screening medical and health apps more closely

Apple updates its App Store Review Guidelines with new, more stringent language that confirms the company will begin scrutinizing apps that offer inaccurate medical advice or diagnostic tools.

EDPA names 2016 Alabama Innovation Awards winners at state conference

The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama names Birmingham-based digital health startup IllumiCare as its Innovator of the Year for developing an EHR hover bar that gives physicians real-time, patient-specific risk and cost data.

Computer hackers demanded ransom payment from Derriford Hospital

In England, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust’s Derriford Hospital is hit with ransomware.

Morning Headlines 9/2/16

September 1, 2016 Headlines 3 Comments

Technical problems delay rollout of DoD’s electronic health record

The DoD will delay the go-live of its first Cerner implementations, noting that the current schedule may not be realistic. A new go-live schedule will be published within the next 30 days.

Insurers Move to Limit Options in Health-Care Exchange Plans

A McKinsey analysis of the insurance plans that will be available in 2017 across 18 states finds that 75 percent will likely be HMOs or similar plans with narrow provider networks.

King’s College Hospital launches Allscripts Sunrise

In England, 950-bed King’s College Hospital goes live on Allscripts Sunrise.

UK: Data security incident trends

An analysis of data security breaches in the UK finds that the health sector generates the greatest number of breaches.

Workplace Wellness Programs Are a Sham

A Slate article arguing against employee-sponsored wellness programs reports that they “promote medical tests of dubious value, encourage unnecessary doctor visits, and collect sensitive health information despite often extremely lax privacy policies, with little to no evidence that they improve health outcomes.”

Morning Headlines 9/1/16

August 31, 2016 Headlines 3 Comments

UPMC reports strong year-end financials

UPMC closes its 2016 fiscal year with a positive outlook on its ACA exchange policy, growing its regional market share from 18 to 67 percent. CFO Robert DeMichiei explains, “We did not jump in with low price points. That is what I think happened to the national insurers and to many of the Blues across the country — the idea was to grab market share immediately. We did not do that, and that allowed us to get some clarity about the population and the right pricing.”

The World’s Most Innovative Companies

Forbes names Cerner to its list of world’s most innovative companies, ranking it 37 of 100.

Theranos Halts New Zika Test After FDA Inspection

Theranos withdraws its FDA application for a Zika diagnostic test after regulators found that the company did not include proper patient safeguards during its testing.

Researchers question report alleging vulnerabilities in St. Jude devices

Medical-device manufacturer St. Jude Medical responds to allegations made by investment firm Muddy Waters that its medical devices are vulnerable to life threatening hacks. In a statement released by the company, President and CEO Michael Rousseau says “The allegations made by Muddy Waters and MedSec are irresponsible, misleading and unnecessarily frightening patients.”

Morning Headlines 8/31/16

August 30, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Winners Announced!

ONC announces the winners of its Blockchain Challenge, a contest soliciting proposals for how Blockchain could be used in healthcare IT.

ARH officials remain tight-lipped in response to computer breach

Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital and Summers County Appalachian Regional Hospital (WV) both return to paper charting after computers systems are compromised by hackers.

Wayfair Names Doran Robinson Vice President of Operations Product Innovation Team

Doran Robinson, Athenahealth GM of AthenaCoordinator, leaves the company, and healthcare IT in general, to work as the VP of Operations on a product innovation team at an online furniture retailer.

Canadian company puts touchless tool in doctors’ hands

A Canadian startup has created a program that allows doctors to interact with projected PACS images touchlessly, in a sterile surgical environment, leading to a reduction in surgical times.

Morning Headlines 8/30/16

August 29, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Health Insurers’ Pullback Threatens to Create Monopolies

Analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that health insurer pullback from ACA marketplaces will leave 19 percent of 2017 enrollees with only a single plan available in their area, while another 19 percent will have to chose between just two plans.

CMS proposals would alter ACA marketplaces, risk adjustment in 2018

Following months of complaints from insurers about the methodology used to calculate risk adjustment payments in ACA exchange plans, CMS publishes a proposed rule stating that it will begin including patients’ current medications as part of the risk adjustment criteria used to calculate payments.

athenahealth Acquires Patient IO to Accelerate Patient-Centered Care

Athenahealth acquires patient engagement app developer Patient IO for an undisclosed sum. Athena initially invested in Patient IO in October 2015, when it accepted the startup into its More Disruption Please accelerator program.

Teladoc Secures Second Consecutive Win in Patent Dispute

Teladoc wins its legal challenge against fellow telehealth vendor American Well after the US Patent and Trademark Office invalidates major elements of American Well’s telehealth patent.

Morning Headlines 8/29/16

August 28, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Epic EHR costs push ProMedica into the red

Ohio health system ProMedica reports a $1.9 million loss in its first-half 2016 financial statements, attributing the poor performance to “significant expenses due to the implementation of the Epic electronic health record launch,”

Schedule of Events For Board of Regents’ Meeting

M.D. Anderson Cancer Center reports a 77 percent drop in net income that it attributes to higher expenses and reduced patient revenue associated to its Epic implementation.

Medscape EHR Report 2016: Physicians Rate Top EHRs

Medscape publishes EHR ratings based on physician satisfaction, finding that the VA’s CPRS system was rated higher than any other system, including Epic, Cerner, and Meditech.

Citius, Altius, Fortius: Announcing 6 new pilot projects across 10 states

NIST announces its first six NISTIC pilot projects focused on exploring options for deploying national trusted identities for use on the Internet, including a $1 million grant to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (CA).

Morning Headlines 8/26/16

August 25, 2016 Headlines No Comments

This Princeton health economist thinks Obamacare’s marketplaces are doomed

Uwe Reinhardt, a professor and health economist from Princeton University, calls ACA public health insurance exchanges doomed because premiums continue to climb while the penalty for failing to have insurance is less than the premiums.

From health care capital to innovation hub: Positioning Nashville as a leader in health IT

A Brookings Report finds that despite its abundance of hospital management corporate headquarters, Nashville continues to falter in its effort to become a health IT hub.

JPP’s fireworks debacle could now cost ESPN millions

A Florida judge allows NFL defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul’s invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against ESPN to move forward. The case was filed after ESPN published an article about a fireworks-related hand injury that included images from Pierre-Paul’s private medical records.

Morning Headlines 8/25/16

August 24, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Draft 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory

ONC publishes a draft version of its 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory, which improves upon the 2016 version by establishing it as a web-based resource, rather than a text document, and embedding links to ongoing ONC Interoperability Proving Ground projects.

Tompkins v. 23andMe, Inc

A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judge throws out a class action suit brought against 23andMe challenging its arbitration clause.

States Start to Approve Steep Increases in Health Premiums

The White House is working to reassure consumers as states begin approving significant insurance rate increases for exchange plans, including an average 62 percent increase in prices for Tennessee plans, 43 percent average increases in Mississippi, and 23 percent increases in Kentucky.

Morning Headlines 8/24/16

August 23, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Loblaw makes $170-million cash bid for B.C. medical records company QHR Corp

In Canada, food and pharmacy retailer Loblaw Companies offers $132 million to acquire QHR Technologies, an EHR vendor with a 20 percent market share in Canada.

CommonWell Members Enable Patient Access to Their Health Data

CommonWell will now allow patients to self-enroll in its HIE, where they will be able to review and share their records with providers on the CommonWell network.

How Expanded Roles For Home Health Aides Can Improve The Health Of Older Americans

A pilot project in which home health aides performed medication reviews and documented visit notes in software that alerts clinical managers of concerning changes in health leads to 24 percent reduction in ED admissions.

US Residency Competitiveness, Future Salary, and Burnout in Primary Care vs Specialty Fields

A JAMA study finds an obvious correlation: lower paying medical specialties like primary care do not attract as many US medical school graduates as high paying specialties like neurosurgery.

Morning Headlines 8/23/16

August 22, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Apple Acquires Personal Health Data Startup Gliimpse

Apple acquires Gliimpse, a three-year-old startup marketing PHR software to help patients collect, personalize, and share their health records with providers.

Children’s Health Dallas testing ‘digitized drugs’ with sensors inside

Digital medicine vendor Proteus Digital Health pilots its sensor-embedded pharmaceuticals within a pediatric patient population at Children’s Health Dallas, allowing clinicians to monitor medication adherence among its patients after discharge.

Digital medicine: empowering both patients and clinicians

Eric Topol, MD publishes a defense of digital health in The Lancet.

Aetna, Humana blast DOJ’s merger challenge for ignoring reality

In response to a DOJ complaint, Aetna and Humana argue that its proposed merger should be allowed to move forward, noting that other private insurers would likely preserve competition by expanding into new geographies.

Morning Headlines 8/22/16

August 21, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

OCR Announces Initiative to More Widely Investigate Breaches Affecting Fewer than 500 Individuals

OCR Regional Offices launches an initiative aimed at increasing the number of investigations into data breaches affecting fewer than 500 individuals.

Harris’ US Healthcare group acquires digiChart, Inc.

Harris acquires OB/GYN EHR and PM vendor digiChart for an undisclosed sum.

Inside the Oddly Empty Hospital With the State’s Highest Cost Markups

A local paper profiles four-year old Texas General Hospital (TX), a 41-bed hospital that sits largely empty and bills Medicare, Medicaid, and private payers at out-of-network rates.

Cisco lays off 5,500 employees amid tech upheaval

Cisco lays off 5,500 employees, representing seven percent of its total workforce.

Morning Headlines 8/19/16

August 18, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Kansas Signs $215M Contract For New Medicaid Computer System

HP Enterprises signs a $215 million deal with the state of Kansas to upgrade its Medicaid computer system and integrate the new system with Cerner’s HealtheEDW software, which will allow the state to manage care with near-real time patient data.

Exchanges do work for some health plans. Ask Kaiser.

Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson says that the health system will continue to offer insurance plans on public exchanges, despite an increase in other payers exiting the markets.

Sebastopol medtech firm spawns legal wrangles, sends robot on Sonoma West hospital rounds

The former CFO of Sonoma West Medical Center files a wrongful termination suit against his former employer, alleging that he was fired for raising concerns over the safety of the hospital’s EHR, software not in use at any other US hospitals, but one made by a startup vendor with investors on Sonoma West Medical Center’s board of directors. The hospitals former CNO filed a similar suit earlier this year.

Evolutionary Pressures on the Electronic Health Record

A JAMA article argues that EHRs have not “kept pace with technology widely used to track, synthesize, and visualize information in many other domains of modern life.”

Morning Headlines 8/18/16

August 17, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

FTC Approves Final Order in Practice Fusion Privacy Case

The FTC finalizes its privacy case settlement with Practice Fusion. The company’s trouble with the FTC stems from a 2013 incident in which it solicited doctor reviews from patients without disclosing that the reviews would be publicly posted on the Internet. The settlement, which was published in a draft version in June, prevents the company from using the illegally collected reviews, and authorizes the FTC to conduct privacy audits on the company for the next 20 years.

Points for pills: Walgreens hopes gamelike program will make taking meds easier

Walgreens expands its mobile health app to include gamification strategies and Walgreens rewards points to improve medication adherence.

Aetna Warned it Would Withdraw From Exchanges if Humana Deal Was Blocked

In July, Aetna warned the Justice Department that if its antitrust officials sued to block its Humana acquisition, it would reduce its presence on ACA public health insurance exchanges.

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