Equifax faces ransom demands from a pair of hackers claiming responsibility for the data breach of 143 million customers. The group, which some believe to be fake, wants $2.6 million in bitcoin by September 15 in exchange for not making the data publicly available. They have even gone so far as to tug at heartstrings: “We are two people trying to solve our lives and those of our families. We did not expect to get as much information as we did, nor do we want to affect any citizen. But we need to monetize the information as soon as possible.”
Equifax has its hands full in terms of more legitimate fall-out from the breach. It reversed an earlier decision that forbid customers from joining a class action lawsuit in exchange for receiving a free year of credit monitoring after backlash from the National Consumers League and lawmakers in Washington, who are already calling for hearings. The company has also faced negative repercussions for the shoddy set up of a website for affected customers that some contend looks like a scam; not to mention three executives who sold $1.8 million in shares just a few days after breach was discovered.
From ACD_Fan: “Re: RAND cost-of-care study. A just released study by RAND Corp. shows the cost of hospital care in Indiana compared to Medicare payment rates. One hospital, Parkview Health, is singled out as having ‘exceptionally high prices.’ This hospital has the highest cost of any hospital in the state by a wide margin. This is the same organization that has paid $3 million to have its name plastered on the local minor league baseball stadium. I’m glad I’m out of the healthcare business. It’s hard to feel good about your mission when you have to explain away some of these excesses.”
September 13 (Wednesday) 1:30 ET. “How Data Democratization Drives Enterprise-wide Clinical Process Improvement.” Sponsored by: LogicStream Health. Presenter: Katy Jones, program director of clinical support, Providence Health & Services. Providence is demonstrating positive measurable results in quality, outcomes, and efficiency by implementing clinical process improvement solutions in arming operational and clinical stakeholders with unlocked EHR data. Providence’s army of process engineers use their self-service access to answer questions immediately and gain an understanding of how their clinical care delivery is impacting outcomes. The presenter will describe practical applications that include antibiotic stewardship, hospital-acquired infections, and comprehensive knowledge management.
September 28 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Leverage the Psychology of Waiting to Boost Patient Satisfaction.” Sponsored by: DocuTap. Presenter: Mike Burke, founder and CEO, Clockwise.MD. Did you know that the experience of waiting is determined less by the overall length of the wait and more by the patient’s perception of the wait? In the world of on-demand healthcare where waiting is generally expected, giving patients more ways to control their wait time can be an effective way to attract new customers—and keep them. In this webinar, attendees will learn how to increase patient satisfaction by giving patients control over their own waiting process. (Hint: it’s not as scary as it sounds!)
October 19 (Thursday) 12:00 ET. “Understanding Enterprise Health Clouds with Forrester: What can they do for you, and how do you choose the right one?” Sponsored by: Salesforce. Presenters: Joshua Newman, MD CMO, Salesforce; and Kate McCarthy, senior analyst, Forrester. McCarthy will demystify industry solutions while offering insights from her recent Forrester report on enterprise health clouds. Newman and customers from leading healthcare organizations will share insights on how they drive efficiencies, manage patient and member journeys, and connect the entire healthcare ecosystem on the Salesforce platform.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Former CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD raises $225 million to launch a global health initiative that will tackle cardiovascular disease and epidemics. Backed by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Resolve will aim to save 100 million lives over the next 30 years.
Apple unveils its latest and greatest devices, including the iPhone 8, Apple Watch with wireless connectivity, and the iPhone X, which commemorates the company’s 10th launch of the phone and, at $1,000, its highest price point. The product updates follow on the heels of rumors (now confirmed) that the company is working with American Well and Stanford University to test the ability of the watch’s heart rate sensor to detect heart conditions.
Englewood Hospital and Medical Center (NJ) appoints Ravi Koganti (New York-Presbyterian Hospital) CIO and VP of IT.
Orchestrate Healthcare hires Ed Ricks (Beaufort Memorial Hospital) as VP of the Southeast.
Dave Rodger (Spotify) joins PatientPing as head of product.
University of Illinois officials agree to spend $62 million to implement Epic at UI Hospital in Chicago.
Hospitalist group Adfinitas Health (MD) selects Continuum Health as its RCM partner ahead of a planned expansion beyond its Mid-Atlantic region of operation.
HealtheConnections opts for data cleansing, quality analysis, and reporting tools from Diameter Health for its HIE participants across Central New York.
Announcements and Implementations
Magnolia Regional Health Center (MS) integrates Nuance’s Dragon Medical One speech-recognition and CAPD technology with its Meditech EHR.
In an effort to better coordinate care between local EMS services and its ED, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center (WA) implements Pulsara’s PreHospital Alerting Package.
Medical Information Records USA adds automated vital sign documentation from Neximatic to its cloud-based anesthesia information management system.
Government and Politics
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt pledges to make app-based NHS medical record access, appointment scheduling, and prescription refills available to every patient in England by the end of 2018. The digital health initiative is part of the broader $5.6 billion 2020 program announced last year. Pilot programs of the new tools are already underway.
Thus far, the digital efforts of NHS don’t seem to include getting rid of the 130,000 pages it uses to the tune of nearly $8 million in costs each year. The Guardian reports that replacing the devices could save the system $3.5 million annually.
An ONC report on interoperability at skilled nursing facilities finds that 64 percent use EHRs, and 62 percent have interoperable networks in place that ensures electronic information is available from outside sources.
Job seekers have until September 18 to submit their applications for Digital Health Advisor with the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
HHS deploys its first team of federal responders to the Florida Keys, where it will establish a mobile medical unit and assist local providers with healthcare services. Local emergency officials estimate that at least 10,000 residents stayed on the islands during Category 4 Hurricane Irma.
CMS threatens to end Medicare and Medicaid funding for Mercy Hospital Springfield (MO) after reports surface of a male nurse punching and tackling a combative patient, and of a female patient being held in seclusion – an area the hospital dubbed an “acute-care area” – for 15 days. A CMS investigation into patient safety practices at the hospital earlier this year found that it failed to follow up on patient grievances and to report abuse. The hospital recently fired 12 employees after their behavior in “highly tense situations” became a cause for concern. It is also bringing in an interim leadership team from other Mercy facilities.
Privacy and Security
Children’s Hospital Colorado reports that a hacker has gained access to an employee email, resulting in the unauthorized exposure of the PHI of 3,400 patients. The unauthorized access did not affect patient health data. In a savvy marketing move, the hospital re-publicizes findings from a study earlier this year that show documentation in its Epic EHR has helped it achieve a 30-percent reduction in harm for HACs over the last five years.
Innovation and Research
A JAMIA analysis of online consumer ratings of 78 physicians finds no association between a physician’s average consumer score and their specialty-specific quality scores or value-based care.
- Agfa Healthcare releases a new white paper, “Diagnosis – Communication – Care: Hardcopy technology for the digital age.”
- Aprima will exhibit at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition September 16-18 in Chicago.
- The Tampa Bay Business Journal includes AssesURHealth’s Tori Couch in its Up & Comers class of 2017.
- Besler Consulting releases a new podcast, “Update on the Medicare appeals backlog.”
- Cumberland Consulting Group will exhibit at the Healthcare Executive Group Annual Forum September 18-20 in Nashville.
- Dimensional Insight will exhibit at the 2017 Women’s Leadership Council Conference September 14-15 in Washington, DC.
- ECG Management Consultants and Intelligent Medical Objects will present at the 2017 IHA Leadership Summit September 13 in Lombard, IL.
- Elsevier Senior Architect of Clinical Solutions Tyler Lynch showcases students building a tool to simplify prescription scheduling at MedHacks17.
- EClinicalWorks will exhibit at AAP 2017 September 16-18 in Chicago.
- FormFast publishes a new case study featuring Duncan Regional Hospital.
- HCS will exhibit at the NALTH 2017 Fall Leadership Conference September 14-15 in Washington, DC.
- Impact Advisors will present on MIPS and MACRA as part of the Scottsdale Institute Teleconference September 19.
- EClinicalWorks publishes new case studies featuring CityMD and EssenMED House Calls.
- PatientPing releases a new video on coordinating patient care.
- Modernize your patient experience with PatientPop (AdvancedMD)
- Lifting a Fork for Open Source (Datica)
- Benefits of Care Coordination: A Heart of CareSync Story (CareSync)
- Winners of the 2017 CoverMyQuest (CoverMyMeds)
- MACRA MIPS Basics and What You Need to Do Now (Culbert Healthcare Solutions)
- Data Sharing – Still Crazy After All These Years (ECG Management Consultants)
- 3 Benefits of a Data-Driven Approach to Billing Integrity (Hayes Management Consultants)
- The Path Forward for HIEs, and What I Learned at the SHIEC Annual Conference (Iatric Systems)
- The Essential Rules for Data Security (Influence Health)
- Disaster Recovery: 3 Higher Standards to Hold Your Vendors to for Data Protection (InstaMed)
- The Swiss Cheese Model of Patient Safety Errors: Closing the Holes with Message Accountability (Spok)
- Benefits to Optimizing Your Electronic Health Record (Leidos Health)
- Drug Labeling Inconsistencies Abound Regarding Sulfites as Preservatives (FDB)
- Three Concepts I Wish Everyone Understood About EHR Training (Impact Advisors)