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Morning Headlines 1/5/17

January 4, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

Learning From CBO’s History Of Incorrect ObamaCare Projections

Forbes revisits the Congressional Budget Offices’ faulty cost and enrollment estimates as Congress moves forward with the process of repealing the law, which will likely require new estimates from the CBO.

2016 Year End Funding Report: A reality check for digital health

Digital health VC firm Rock Health publishes its year-end report on health IT investment activities, noting that the year ended down on total dollars invested, but number of deals continued to climb.

Greek prosecutor raids Novartis Athens offices in bribery probe

Novartis offices in Athens are raided after government authorities were tipped of by media reports that the company has been paying bribes to local providers to increase their prescription rates.

Cleveland Clinic inks five-year agreement with IBM

IBM signs a five-year contract to provide IT design, support, and security expertise for Cleveland Clinic.

Morning Headlines 1/4/17

January 3, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Healthcare’s Digital Divide Widens, Black Book Consumer Survey

Black Book releases results from a national poll of 12,000 consumers designed to measure patient adoption of consumer-facing healthcare technology.

Senate Initiates Steps to Repeal Health-Care Law

On its first day back in session, the Republican-controlled Senate introduces legislation that will begin the ACA repeal process, using a budget reconciliation tactic that requires only a simple majority vote to pass.

The Health Data Conundrum

In a New York Times op-ed piece,  Eric Topol, MD and Kathryn Haun, JD argue that medical records should not be stored in large centralized databases that make easy and attractive targets for cybercriminals, suggesting instead that patients and caregivers should own and store their own records in a decentralized storage model.

Japanese white-collar workers are already being replaced by artificial intelligence

In Japan, 34 health insurance claims workers are being replaced with “IBM Watson Explorer” which will scan hospital records to calculate insurance payouts.

Morning Headlines 1/3/2017

January 2, 2017 Headlines 3 Comments

Digital health investment reaches $7.9B across 585 companies in 2016

Digital health startups raised $7.9 billion in investments in 2016, with startups focused on improving the patient experience raising the most, at $2.8 billion.

Doctors are starting to let patients read their notes

Modern Healthcare covers the growing popularity of the OpenNotes project as UCHealth (CO) prepares to expand note sharing to include all of its mental health services.

2016 in Review

John Halamka, MD publishes a top 10 list of notable healthcare IT breakthroughs from 2016.

ACA Pregnancy Termination, Gender Identity Protections Blocked; Wellness Program Incentives Survive

Health Affairs reviews which ACA rules go into effect on January 1, which were challenged in court, and which were ultimately blocked.

Morning Headlines 12/30/16

December 29, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Trump Said to Discuss Veterans’ Care Overhaul With Hospital CEOs

President-elect Trump is meeting CEOs from Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Partners Healthcare, and Cleveland Clinic to discuss the possibility of allowing veterans to go to any hospital for care, instead of just VA facilities.

Safety huddles to proactively identify and address electronic health record safety

A JAMIA study evaluates the benefit of including EHR safety concerns on daily safety hurdles briefings, concluding that doing so “could potentially serve as an important methodology for institutions to identify, understand, and address the complexity of EHR-related patient safety concerns.”

Use of Secure Text Messaging for Patient Care Orders Is Not Acceptable

Joint Commission revises its position on text-based orders, clarifying that sending patient orders over secure text message platforms is not acceptable.

US Spending on Personal Health Care and Public Health, 1996-2013

A JAMA study stratifies health care spending growth by condition, age, sex, and type of care.

Morning Headlines 12/28/16

December 27, 2016 Headlines No Comments

St. Charles dropped med check system before patient’s death

A patient at St. Charles Medical Center (OR) dies after a nurse administers an IV with the wrong medication mixed in. The hospital had stopped using its stand-alone bedside IV administration software when it moved to McKesson’s Paragon EHR, resulting in a safety gap in its medication administration practices.

Postmarket Management of Cybersecurity in Medical Devices

The FDA releases its final guidance on cybersecurity requirements for medical devices.

A disconnect between physicians and laboratory professionals

A CDC study finds that physicians rarely contact laboratory professionals when faced with questions on which tests to order or how to interpret a result.

A Letter to Donald Trump About Health Care

A New York Times opinion piece calls for Donald Trump to stand by his once outspoken support of universal health insurance coverage amid concerns that the GOP will repeal ACA without passing a replacement law designed to expand insurance coverage.

Morning Headlines 12/27/16

December 26, 2016 Headlines No Comments

The Truth About Blockchain

In an interesting but non-healthcare specific piece, Harvard Business Review recounts the 30-year path TCP/IP took to transform business and draws parallels to the pace and transformative nature that blockchain technology could have on business practices in the future.

Fearing Medicaid cuts, states wield health data as a political weapon

CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt is pointing to diagnostic and cost of care data from states that expanded Medicare under ACA to make a case against a full repeal of the law.

Got a chronic disease? There will soon be a prescription app for that

Wired UK covers the NHS program aimed at developing and prescribing apps to help manage chronic diseases.

Morning Headlines 12/22/16

December 21, 2016 Headlines 2 Comments

2017 Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program Payment Adjustment Fact Sheet for Hospitals

CMS releases EHR Incentive Program performance statistics stating that 98 percent of eligible hospitals and CAHs successfully demonstrated meaningful use, but noting that there are about 171,000 Medicare eligible providers subject to a downward payment adjustment in 2017.

McKesson, Change Healthcare get antitrust clearance for IT deal

The proposed merger between McKesson’s technology business and Nashville-based Change Healthcare receives approval from the US Justice Department.

Interoperability Standards Advisory

ONC publishes its 2017 Interoperability Standards Advisory.

9 Healthcare Tech Trends in "The New Year of Uncertainty", Black Book Survey Results

Black Book releases results from a health IT-related survey of hospital executives, finding broad consensus that IT budgets will stagnate in the coming year.

Morning Headlines 12/21/16

December 20, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

HIMSS CEO to Retire at End of 2017; Search Underway

HIMSS president and CEO Stephen Lieber will retire at the end of 2017, after assuming the role in April 2000.

MedicineBall is the new MoneyBall

Jordan Shlain, MD argues that medicine has reached the point where data science, statistics, and predictive modeling are becoming too important to ignore.

UHealth and Walgreens Team Up on Retail Clinics and Pharmacies

UHealth acquires 17 Walgreens clinics across South Florida and integrate the retail pharmacies into its own care delivery network.

Under law effective Jan. 1, Massachusetts patients entitled to access medical docs electronically

A new Massachusetts law that will go into effect January 1 grants residents electronic access to their medical records. The law requires that providers implement an EHR, and that mechanisms be put in place to grant patients direct electronic access to their records.

Morning Headlines 12/19/16

December 18, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Final HHS Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2018

HHS updates the rules for health insurance marketplaces for the 2018 enrollment period.

The Great A.I. Awakening

The New York Times reports on the increasing sophistication of artificial intelligence, highlighting how Google used AI to transform its Google Translate feature into a tool capable of giving much more accurate results.

Dispatch from Israel

John Halamka, MD reports on a trip he took to Israel as part of a Massachusetts initiative to establish the state as an incubator for Israeli companies.

West Acquires 911 ETC

West Corporation, a communications and network infrastructure services company, acquires 911 ETC for $10 million. 911 ETC sells technology that shows 911 dispatch centers the location of callers dialing in from a cell phone.

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.

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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...
  • Jeannie: I hope your just kidding....
  • Jeannie: Marx excellent read, congrats on your accomplishments....
  • 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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