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Morning Headlines 8/17/16

August 16, 2016 Headlines 2 Comments

Leidos Announces Closing Of  the Merger With Lockheed Martin’s IS&GS Business and Election Of Three New Directors

Leidos completes its merger with Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions, adding three new members to its board of directors in the process.

The Bahamian Ministry of Health and Public Hospitals Authority select Allscripts Sunrise

The Bahamian Ministry of Health and the Public Hospitals Authority will implement Allscripts across three hospitals and more than one hundred clinics as the health system moves to integrate care delivery under a single software platform.

Aetna to Narrow Individual Public Exchange Participation

Aetna will scale its participation in health insurance exchanges back to just four states in 2017, citing $430 million in pretax losses since January 2014.

Xerox Research Finds Patients and Healthcare Professionals Divided on Responsibility and Cost in Healthcare

A Xerox study measuring perceptions of responsibility of consumers’ health finds that 90 percent of payers and providers say patients need encouragement and help to make living a healthier lifestyle a priority, but only 55 percent of patients say they need such encouragement.

Morning Headlines 8/16/16

August 15, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Health information exchange associated with improved emergency department care through faster accessing of patient information from outside organization

A JAMIA study finds that patient data obtained from an HIE is available faster and is more frequently reviewed by clinicians than data obtained via fax or telephone. The study also suggests that access to HIE data reduced ER visit length by one hour, reduced the likelihood of admission by 2.4 percent, and reduced the average cost of care for the visit by $1200.

Hospitals Are Partnering With Uber to Get Patients to Checkups

The Atlantic reports that health systems and payers are now turning to Uber or Lyft to help ensure that patients get to their medical appointments.

The healing power of AI

In A TechCrunch article, intellectual property attorney Erik Birkeneder discusses the growing role artificial intelligence may one day play in healthcare.

Chance Collaboration Yields an Advance in Cancer Treatment

The Wall Street Journal tells the story of an immunologist helping his stepmother fight cancer and the oncologist who treated her. The two discovered a unique immune-system cell that “robustly” predicts whether patients will respond to immunotherapy cancer treatments.

Morning Headlines 8/15/16

August 14, 2016 Headlines No Comments

655,000 Bon Secours patients exposed to data breach

Bon Secours (VA) reports a 655,000 patient record breach after one of its business associates, R-C Healthcare Management, inadvertently left files containing patient information accessible on the internet.

Cerner’s Neal Patterson collects payday 21 years in the making

Cerner CEO Neal Patterson cashes in on a 25-year old stock option, netting him $26.9 million.

Athens Orthopedic won’t pay for extended credit monitoring in data breach

Athens Orthopedic Clinic (GA), which has refused to pay a ransom to hacker the Dark Overlord over 200,000 compromised records, is now also refusing to provide effected patients with credit monitoring services.

Strike preparations cost Brigham $24 million

Partners HealthCare reports a $33 million operating loss due to costs associated with an anticipated nursing strike, in addition to Epic-related implementation costs, and higher than usual real estate expenses.

Headlines 8/12/16

August 11, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Thrilled to make the hand off to @VindellW

National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH announces her resignation, effective Friday. She will be replaced by Principal Deputy National Coordinator Vindell Washington, MD, who joined ONC in January. DeSalvo will continue in her full-time role as HHS Assistant Secretary for Health.

Apple Invents a New Health Wearable Device that Measures Electrocardiographic Signals

Apple publishes a patent for an ECG monitoring device that can correct for sensor placement.

The World’s Five Richest Women In Tech In 2016

Forbes names Epic’s Judy Faulkner as #4 on the list, estimating her net worth at $2.7 billion.

Hospitalists and the Decline of Comprehensive Care

A NEJM op-ed piece says the use of hospitalists diminishes the physician-patient relationship, makes coordination challenging, and limits the effectiveness of those doctors who see only hospitalized patients.

Morning Headlines 8/11/16

August 10, 2016 Headlines 2 Comments

RFI – VHA supporting COTS EHR

In another sign that the VA will move to a commercial EHR, the agency publishes an RFI soliciting “industry feedback, guidance and recommendations on all aspects of the change management associated with a VHA COTS EHR acquisition and transition.”

Aetna-Humana merger challenge to be decided in January

In December, the District of Columbia US District Court will hear the antitrust challenge brought by the federal government to stop Aetna and Humana’s proposed $37 billion merger, with a decision excepted by January.

Banner Health cyberattack draws class-action suit

An Arizona physician is leading a class-action lawsuit against Banner Health following a cyberattack on the health system’s retail outlets that compromised the personal information of  3.7 million customers.

Cerner Interoperability

Cerner launches an interesting data visualization map showing real-time interoperability transactions being processed through its exchange suite.

Morning Headlines 8/9/16

August 8, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Inviting patients and care partners to read doctors’ notes: OpenNotes and shared access to electronic medical records

A JAMIA study on the OpenNotes program at Geisinger Health System correlates offering patients access to provider notes with improved patient-provider communication and improved patient confidence in managing their care.

Health files make for a juicy target for thieves

The Boston Globe report notes that as cyberattacks on healthcare industry targets rise, attacks on retail businesses are plummeting.

Things Are Looking Bad For Jawbone

Investment firm BlackRock has dropped the price of its equity in Jawbone to less than 1 cent per share, and raised the likelihood of Jawbone being sold from 50 percent to 75 percent.

Unpacking the innards of Theranos’s new Zika-detection box

TechCrunch reports that Theranos will try to push its newly unveiled “miniLab” through the FDA approval process under the emergency use authorization fast-track because it is capable of detecting the Zika virus.

Morning Headlines 8/8/16

August 7, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Newkirk Products, Inc. Provides Notice Of Data Breach

Hackers penetrate the servers of Newkirk Products, a service provider that issues healthcare ID cards for insurance plans.

Vexing Question on Patient Surveys: Did We Ease Your Pain?

The New York Times questions the rationale behind surveying patients on pain management satisfaction amidst the nation’s growing opiate problems.

Code Is My Co-pilot

A Missouri lawyer claims Tesla’s autopilot feature saved his life after suffering from a pulmonary embolism while driving and asking the car to take him to the nearest emergency department.

Morning Headlines 8/5/16

August 4, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Advocate Health Care Settles Potential HIPAA Penalties for $5.55 Million

Advocate Health Care (IL) will pay a $5.5 million HIPAA settlement, the largest in history, stemming from three separate breaches in 2013 that collectively compromised four million patient records.

Cerner Q2 2016 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

In its earnings call, Cerner President Zane Burke reports that 34 percent of sales came from outside the Millennium client base.

SA govt settles unlicensed software lawsuit

In Australian, the government settles a lawsuit brought by patient administration software vendor Global Health, which filed the suit because the government has refused to stop using its legacy software in a dozen public hospitals due to unexpected delays in its Allscripts Sunrise implementation.

Strengthening Research through Data Sharing

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) publishes an article in NEJM calling for more data sharing in the medical research community, backing a proposal that would require data sharing as a condition of publication in major medical journals.

Morning Headlines 8/4/16

August 3, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Massive Cyber Attack at Banner Health Affects 3.7M Individuals

Banner Health (AZ) confirms that hackers gained access to a payment processing system used to process credit card transactions at food and beverage outlets across its facilities, compromising the information of 3.7 million individuals.

Trends in Seniors’ Use of Digital Health Technology in the United States, 2011-2014

A national survey of seniors over 65 years old finds little growth in digital health adoption, including minimal gains in the percent of seniors using technology to fill prescriptions, communicate with a clinician,  search for health condition information, or manage health insurance issues.

CHS now selling 12 hospitals, two more than originally planned

Community Health Systems (TN) is negotiating the sale of 12 hospitals, two more than originally planned, which will bring it an expected $850 million in proceeds.

Drones will begin delivering blood and medicine in the US

Zipline, a startup using drones to deliver medicine and blood in remote areas of Rwanda, is launching a similar program in the US that will bring drone delivery to rural areas in Maryland, Nevada, and Washington.

Morning Headlines 8/3/16

August 2, 2016 Headlines 4 Comments

How I Was Wrong About ObamaCare

Former White House advisor Bob Kocher, MD calls attention to growing hospital consolidation within healthcare as an unfavorable effect of ACA, citing research suggesting that “savings and quality improvement are generated much more often by independent primary-care doctors than by large hospital-centric health systems.”

Cerner Reports Second Quarter 2016 Results

Cerner reports Q2 results: revenue climbed eight percent to $1.13 billion, adjusted EPS $0.58 vs. $0.52, meeting revenue and surpassing earnings forecasts.

Aetna latest insurer to question Obamacare’s future

Aetna announces that it will cancel its ACA insurance exchange expansion plans and will reassess its involvement in the 15 states where it currently offers plans on exchanges. Humana made a similar announcement last month shortly after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit aimed at blocking a proposed Aetna-Humana merger.

GSK and Verily to establish Galvani Bioelectronics – a new company dedicated to the development of bioelectronic medicines

Verily, Google’s life sciences business, partners with drug maker GSK to form jointly-owned Galvani Bioelectronics which will create miniaturized, implantable medical devices that will “modify electrical signals that pass along nerves in the body” to treat arthritis, diabetes, and asthma. The companies will invest $700 million in the venture over the next seven years.

Morning Headlines 8/2/16

August 1, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes Introduces New Blood-Testing Device

During a speech at the annual meeting of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes announces that her lab test startup has invented a new analyzer that uses small amounts of blood and performs more tests than the company’s Edison analyzer.

Struggling To Stabilize: 3Rs Litigation And The Future Of The ACA Exchanges

Health Affairs recaps the numerous lawsuits being brought against the federal government by insurers and co-ops struggling to maintain profitability on the ACA marketplaces.

Identification of 15 genetic loci associated with risk of major depression in individuals of European descent

Researchers using 23andMe’s genome database to look for genetic variants associated with major depressive disorder find 15 previously unknown mutations that correlated with an increased risk of depression.

CMS selects markets for new primary-care payment initiative

CMS will launch the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus program in 14 regions, including  Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas City (MO) Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, North Hudson Valley (NY), Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee and parts of Ohio and Kentucky.

Morning Headlines 8/1/16

July 31, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Methods of Treatment and Diagnosis Using Enhanced Patient Physician Communication

Apple files a patent suggesting that it is interested in integrating telehealth technology into its mobile devices.

What Happens When Underperforming Big Ideas in Research Become Entrenched?

A JAMA editorial argues against funding “big idea” projects like the Precision Medicine Initiative without also developing mechanisms to sunset these projects if they underperform, and instead calling for funding to be used to launch more broad-based preventative public health efforts.

Commission Finds LabMD Liable for Unfair Data Security Practices

The FTC reverses an earlier decision to dismiss charges against LabMD for failing to maintain adequate data security practices.

Meditech Form 10-Q

Meditech reports Q2 results: total revenue climbed three percent to $120 million, EPS $0.44 vs. 0.46.

Morning Headlines 7/29/16

July 28, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Adverse inpatient outcomes during the transition to a new electronic health record system: observational study

A study published in BMJ following EHR implementations at 17 hospitals finds no increase in patient mortality, readmission rates, or adverse events.

McKesson Reports Fiscal 2017 First-Quarter Results

McKesson reports Q1 results: revenue grew five percent to $49.7 billion, adjusted EPS $3.50 vs. $3.14. While overall revenue was up, revenue generated within the Technology Solutions business fell two percent due to declining hospital software sales.

Hospital profits soar under ACA

The Oregon Health Authority releases a report concluding that the net income of the state’s hospitals climbed 58 percent in 2015, driven by expanded Medicare coverage that reduced charity care and bad debt by $342 million across the state.

An informatics research agenda to support precision medicine: seven key areas

Inspired by the Precision Medicine Initiative, JAMIA publishes a list of seven key areas health informaticists should focus their research.

Morning Headlines 7/28/16

July 27, 2016 Headlines No Comments

First Release of the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating on Hospital Compare

Despite industry pushback on its methodology, CMS publishes its “Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating” on the Hospital Compare website.

Solutionary SERT Q2 Report: 88 Percent of All Ransomware Is Detected in Healthcare Industry

A cybersecurity report finds that 88 percent of reported Q2 ransomware attacks targeted the healthcare industry because the industry tends to pay ransoms to retrieve patient data quickly, and because hospitals rely on an abundance of systems, each of which represents a potential access point.

Huron Consulting moves to acquire IT consultant HSM

Chicago-based healthcare management consulting firm Huron Consulting will acquire health IT firm HSM Consulting for an undisclosed sum.

Declining Admission Rates And Thirty-Day Readmission Rates Positively Associated Even Though Patients Grew Sicker Over Time

A Health Affairs study finds that hospitals that are successful in reducing admissions may be penalized as their inpatient populations become sicker and therefore have higher readmission rates.

Morning Headlines 7/27/16

July 26, 2016 Headlines 12 Comments

HHS issues funding opportunities for Information Sharing and Analysis Organization for health and public health sector

ONC announces availability of a $250,000 grant for cyber threat information sharing services, authorized under the recently enacted Cyber Information Sharing Act. Karen DeSalvo, MD and national coordinator for health IT, explains that “Establishing robust threat information sharing infrastructure and capability within the Healthcare and Public Health Sector is crucial to the privacy and security of health information, which is foundational to the digital health system,”

Athenahealth Announces Industry’s First MIPS Guarantee

Athenahealth guarantees that its clients will meet MIPS national performance thresholds and avoid payment penalties, and promises to reimburse any MIPS penalties incurred.

Certified Health IT Vendors and Editions Reported by Hospitals Participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program

ONC publishes new MU hospital attestation numbers by vendor, showing that Cerner has the most attestations, followed by Meditech and Epic.

AMA, Omada Health, Intermountain Healthcare Partner to Reduce Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes

Omada Health partners with Intermountain Healthcare and AMA to begin

offering digital diabetes prevention programs designed to support the population health management efforts of large health systems across the country.

Covenant Health Selects Cerner’s Enterprise-Wide Clinical, Financial and Population Health IT System

Covenant Health (TN) will implement Cerner across its 9 acute-care hospitals and 100 ambulatory centers.

Morning Headlines 7/26/16

July 25, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Hospitals Largely Reported Addressing Requirements for EHR Contingency Plans

HHS OIG surveys 400 hospitals on EHR downtime procedures, finding that only two-thirds of respondents had a plan that included “having a data backup plan, having a disaster recovery plan, having an emergency-mode operations plan, and having testing and revision procedures.”

Humana dumps ACA plans as feds blast its Aetna deal

Humana announces plans to significantly reduce the number of health plans it offers on ACA exchanges starting in 2017, a decision that comes on the heels of a Justice Department effort to block the company’s proposed merger with Aetna.

HHS awards more than $36 million for health center adoption of health information technology

HHS will spend $36 million to fund 50 Health Center Controlled Networks in 41 states to continue supporting local health systems as they implement EHRs and improve interoperability capabilities.

CMS needs to halt the march to health care gigantism

Former National Coordinator Farzad Mostashari, MD publishes an op-ed in The Hill discussing the impact consolidation in the healthcare industry is having on the cost of care, noting that MACRA’s proposed rule will “further neglect the power of physician independence and create strong incentives for further consolidation in health care.”

Morning Headlines 7/25/16

July 25, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Multiple alleged HIPAA violations result in $2.75 million settlement with the University of Mississippi Medical Center

The University of Mississippi Medical Center (MS) will pay a $2.75 million settlement stemming from a 2013 data breach that compromised the medical records of 10,000 individuals. Investigators concluded that the organization was aware of its security vulnerabilities as early as 2005, but took no steps to address the problems. 

Three Individuals Charged in $1 Billion Medicare Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme

A Florida man has been charged in the largest Medicare fraud case in US history after billing for more than $1 billion in medically unnecessary care through the 30 skilled nursing and assisted living facilities he owned. 

Athenahealth, Inc. Q2 Profit Advances 9 percent

Athenahealth reports Q2 results: revenue climbed 16 percent to $261 million, EPS $0.34 vs. $0.32. 

Health minister orders review of IHealth records system

In Canada, British Columbia Health Minister Terry Lake orders a third-party review of Island Health’s $174 million Cerner implementation after doctors at pilot sites began voicing patient safety concerns.

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Reader Comments

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