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Morning Headlines 9/21/16

September 20, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Doctor will see you now – on his webcam: Patient safety fears as GPs pay private firms to give consultations via computer

In England, private doctors are combating long wait times by offering telehealth visits paid for by the NHS.

McAfee Labs Threats Report

McAfee says that ransomware hackers target hospitals because they oversee a perfect intersection of “legacy systems and medical devices with weak security, plus the life and death need for immediate access to information.”

FDA launches competition to spur innovative technologies to help reduce opioid overdose deaths

The FDA launches a developer challenge to encourage the development of an app that would help fight the growing opioid epidemic by connecting “ those experiencing an overdose with the potentially life-saving antidote.”

WebMD CEO Departs By ‘Mutual Agreement’ With Company

WebMD announces that it will replace its CEO David Schlanger with its president since 2013, Steven Zatz.

Morning Headlines 9/20/16

September 19, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Centralized Repository for Public Health Agencies and Clinical Data Registry Reporting

CMS announces that it will develop a public health centralized data repository to help EP, EH and critical health hospitals find entities that accept electronic public health data.

LabMD warns FTC decision creates overbroad data-security power

Defunct clinical laboratory LabMD continues its fight against the FTC, saying that the agency is exercising unauthorized regulatory powers by leveling civil penalties against businesses it feels have inadequate data security policies.

Biden outlines a lifelong role in cancer research, but not in a Clinton White House

In a STAT interview, Vice President Joe Biden says that he will dedicate his career to cancer research once he leaves office.

High-level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance

The UN will convene a one-day meeting on antimicrobial resistant super bugs to discuss potential government roles in addressing the issue and  to develop “strong national, regional, and international political commitment” to combat the growing threat.

Morning Headlines 9/19/16

September 18, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Operations Returning to Normal at ARH Facilities as Computer Systems Go Back Online

Appalachian Regional Healthcare (KY and WV) reports that its networks are back up after a cyberattack left the health system running on downtime procedures for the last three weeks.

Community Health Said to Explore Options Including Sale

Community Health System’s shares climbed 16 percent on rumors that the 158-hospital health system is looking for a buyer.

Cambridge trust sets outsourced commodity IT services market-test

In England, Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust looks to outsource its IT infrastructure, service desk, and security services in a seven-year, $182 million request for proposal.

HHS takes steps to provide more information about clinical trials to the public

Drug and medical device companies will be required to publish all NIH-funded clinical trial results to ClinicalTrials.gov beginning in January 2017.

Morning Headlines 9/16/16

September 15, 2016 Headlines No Comments

HHS awards over $87 million for health centers’ IT enhancements

HHS announces $87 million authorized within ACA to help  health centers in the US implement EHRs and transition to value-based reimbursement programs.

Library of Evidence to Aid Radiology Imaging Decisions, Curb Wasteful Tests

Harvard Medical School launches a free clinical decision support system designed to help doctors chose appropriate imaging tests for each patient. The system will integrate with EHR systems so that the evidence is presented to clinicians within existing workflows.

Eight Senators Introduce Emergency, One-Year Legislation Allowing States to Offer Americans More Health Insurance Options Next Year

HELP Committee Senators, including HELP chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduce a one-year emergency bill that would expand purchasing options for consumers that rely on public insurance exchanges for health insurance and waive the mandate penalty for those that did not buy insurance.

25 CIO pay packages revealed

NetworkWorld profiles the 25 highest paid CIOs, with Walgreens CIO Tim Theriault topping the list at $13.6 million and former Kaiser Permanente CIO Philip Fasano listed third in his new role at AIG, where he earns $8.4 million.

Morning Headlines 9/15/16

September 14, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey Stepping Down as President and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey announces that after 14 years running the $10 billion private research foundation, she will retire.

US healthcare chain unveils UK plan for private hospital overlooking Buckingham Palace

Cleveland Clinic files plans to build a 205-bed private hospital in London’s upscale West End.

49 states plus DC reduce avoidable hospital readmissions

CMS releases new data on the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program showing that readmission rates fell by eight percent nationally. Other than Vermont, all states and Washington DC reported readmission decreases.

Slavitt says high premium increases are result of one-time effects

Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt defends the increased premiums on ACA insurance exchanges by saying they are likely a one-time adjustment resulting from the end of risk adjustment payments.

Morning Headlines 9/14/16

September 13, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Atos to acquire Anthelio Healthcare Solutions

French consulting firm Atos acquires Anthelio Healthcare Solutions for $275 million.

HIMSS launches international buddy programme to support NHS Digital Exemplars

HIMSS offers to match the 12 NHS hospitals recently selected to establish themselves as digital health “exemplar” with US hospitals capable of offering guidance and relevant expertise.

Electronic Capabilities for Patient Engagement among U.S. Non-Federal Acute Care Hospitals: 2012-2015

ONC reports that 95 percent of US hospitals allow patients to electronically view their health information, while only 69 percent offer patients the ability to electronically view, download, or transmit their health information.

The Mobile Doc

Apple releases iOS 10, which includes HealthKit support for C-CDA, which will let patients download their medical records into HealthKit and share parts of that information with other apps. Duke Health (NC) reports that it has already updated its patient portal to support the new functionality.

Morning Headlines 9/13/16

September 12, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Feds support Teladoc challenge to Texas telemedicine rules

The DoJ and FTC are backing Teladoc in the telehealth vendor’s legal battles with the Texas Medical Board, saying that the board’s restrictive telemedicine rules are anticompetitive and were not appropriately reviewed.

Patient Engagement Survey: Far to Go to Meaningful Participation

Survey responses from the NEJM Catalyst Insights Council Survey on the Patient Engagement finds that 70 percent of health systems are making some effort to improve patient engagement, with most reporting that patient portals are the most effective tool at their disposal.

CMS just announced new flexibility for providers under MACRA. Here’s how to think about it.

The Advisory Board’s Eric Cragun, Senior Director of Health Policy shares his thoughts on the recently announced multi-track timeline options that will be available under MACRA.

Digital Health Startup EverlyWell Announces Public Launch at TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield, World’s Premier Startup Launch Competition

As Theranos falls from grace, TechCrunch profiles EverlyWell, another consumer-foucsed startup intent on disrupting the lab testing business.

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).

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Reader Comments

  • Paul Kennedy: Great article, Dr Butler. You have always looked differently at the challenges of what we do in implementation of EHRs....
  • Mr. HIStalk: Ain't no U-Haul attached to the hearse. I'm the cheapest person I know and I'd still pay whatever I could muster (loan i...
  • Keith McItkin, PhD.: "...head for Mayo, Cleveland Clinic, etc. even if I had to pay out of pocket." Jees, your crops must be comin in pret...
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