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Morning Headlines 1/12/18

January 11, 2018 Headlines No Comments

HIPAA Fee Policy ‘Threatens To Upend’ Records Industry: Suit

Release of information/HIM vendor Ciox Health sues HHS, saying HIPAA’s limitation on how much patients can be charged for copies of their medical records has saddled providers with hundreds of millions of dollars in new costs.

Philips to move company headquarters from Andover to Cambridge

Philips plans to relocate its North American headquarters by 2020, taking 2,000 employees to a new facility in Cambridge.

Army Virtual Medical Center launches at BAMC

Brooke Army Medical Center (TX) launches Army Medicine’s first virtual medical center.

Report ranks software developer as the best job in the US this year

A US News & World Report survey finds that software developer is the best job of 2018, outranking healthcare jobs for the first time.

Morning Headlines 1/11/18

January 10, 2018 Headlines 1 Comment

Cerner Corporation names Brent Shafer CEO, Chairman

Former Philips North America CEO Brent Shafer will take on his new roles February 1.

Meet Eva, the voice-activated ‘assistant’ for doctors

EHR-embedded virtual assistant technology from EClinicalWorks, Epic, and Athenahealth heralds more productive workflows for physicians.

1Vision Awarded Home Telehealth Contract from the US Department of Veterans Affairs

The VA awards Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business 1Vision a $260 million contract to provide veterans with home telehealth services.

ONC Appoints New Chief Privacy Officer

HHS promotes Kathryn Marchesini to ONC’s chief privacy officer.

Morning Headlines 1/10/18

January 9, 2018 Headlines No Comments

Change Healthcare Announces General Availability of First Enterprise-Scale Blockchain Solution for Healthcare

Change Healthcare announces GA of healthcare’s first enterprise-scale blockchain product, incorporating the technology into its Intelligent Healthcare Network for claims management.

President Donald J. Trump Takes Care of Veterans from the Battlefront to the Home Front

President Trump signs an Executive Order directing the DoD, VA, and Homeland Security to develop technology-heavy plans to provide mental health and suicide prevention resources to military personnel transitioning back to civilian life.

Siemens to list Healthineers unit in March: sources

Siemens will take its Healthineers business public in an April IPO that will value the company at $48 billion.

CMS announces new payment model to improve quality, coordination, and cost-effectiveness for both inpatient and outpatient care

CMS launches a new voluntary bundled payment model that allows providers to earn additional money if care expenses meet  a spending threshold that factors in quality.

McKesson CEO Calls Criticism of Company’s Opioid Role ‘Nonsense’

In an interview with Bloomberg, McKesson CEO John Hammergren downplays the company’s role in the opioid epidemic and hints at a possible 2018 IPO for Change Healthcare, in which it holds a 70-percent stake.

Morning Headlines 1/9/18

January 8, 2018 Headlines 2 Comments

Practice Fusion, once headed for $1.5 billion valuation, ends in ‘disappointing’ fire sale

Allscripts will acquire Practice Fusion for $100 million in cash.

Allianz to invest $59 million in digital US healthcare provider

German insurance company Allianz will invest $59 million in American Well.

State approves UVM Health Network’s $151M records project

Vermont’s Green Mountain Care Board approves a request to implement Epic at four hospitals within the University of Vermont Health Network.

Morning Headlines 1/8/18

January 7, 2018 Headlines No Comments

2017 US Healthcare Breaches Involving Ransomware Increased 89% Year-Over-Year

A new report from Cryptonite finds that ransomware attacks on healthcare institutions increased by 89 percent from 2016 to 2017.

Denver-based health care ratings site Healthgrades confirms employee layoffs

Provider ratings and reviews business Healthgrades confirms an unspecified number of layoffs across the company.

Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement

ONC publishes a draft of its Trusted Exchange Framework as directed by Congress in the 21st Century Cures Act.

Morning Headlines 1/5/18

January 4, 2018 Headlines 1 Comment

Power restored for Henry Ford Health’s computers

Henry Ford Health System (MI) recovers from a power outage at its data center early Thursday morning that shut down phones, email, and IT systems, including Epic.

VETS Act of 2017

Following in the House’s November footsteps, the Senate unanimously passes the Veterans E-Health & Telemedicine Support Act of 2017, giving VA providers the ability to care for patients via telemedicine at any location in any state.

Patient portal use and hospital outcomes

A Mayo Clinic Jacksonville study finds that only around 20 percent of inpatients who had previously registered for its patient portal actually used it during their stay, concluding that inpatient portal use probably doesn’t improve outcomes.

VillageMD Announces $80 Million Growth Financing from Athyrium Capital Management

Primary care management and technology company VillageMD raises $80 million in a financing round led by Athyrium Capital Management, bringing its total funding to $116 million.

Morning Headlines 1/4/18

January 3, 2018 Headlines 1 Comment

Carrollton Family Clinic vs. EClinicalWorks

Carrollton Family Clinic (MS) files a class-action lawsuit against EClinicalWorks in an effort to recoup lost Meaningful Use incentive money and related IT expenses.

Medical E-Records Co. Files $30M Suit Against Rival

Kipu Systems sues Sanomedics subsidiary ZenCharts for allegedly stealing the intellectual property behind its EHR for behavioral health providers.

Data Incident

Emory Healthcare (GA) experiences a data breach when a former employee dumps Emory patient data onto a Microsoft Office 365 OneDrive Account associated with his or her new job at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

CMS Launches Data Submission System for Clinicians in the Quality Payment Program

CMS develops a new online performance data submission tool for physicians participating in the Quality Payment Program. The 2017 submission period runs through March 31.

Morning Headlines 1/3/18

January 2, 2018 Headlines No Comments

At Veterans Hospital in Oregon, a Push for Better Ratings Puts Patients at Risk, Doctors Say

Doctors at the VA hospital in Roseburg, OR point to shady administrative efforts to boost quality ratings, including discharging sick ED patients and steering the chronically ill to nearby hospice care to avoid in-hospital deaths.

Computer downtime update 1-2-18

Jones Memorial Hospital (NY) notifies patients of the continued IT systems downtime after a December 27 cyberattack.

Promoting Telehealth in Rural America

The FCC seeks comments on a proposed rule that would increase and potentially reallocate funding for the Rural Health Care Program.

SSM Health Reports Privacy Breach of Medical Records

SSM Health (MO) notifies 29,000 patients of a November data breach involving inappropriate employee access. The call-center employee honed his activities in on a small group of patients with controlled substance prescriptions from a particular PCP in St. Louis.

Morning Headlines 1/2/18

January 1, 2018 Headlines 1 Comment

Meuhedet Signs Giant Telemedicine Agreement With US Startup

Israel-based HMO Meuhedet inks a deal with American Well valued at between $50 million and $60 million. The company, which is the country’s third-largest HMO, will be the first non-US business to work with American Well. Israeli-born brothers Ido and Roy Schoenberg – both physicians – founded the telemedicine company in 2006.

US medical device tax back in effect after two-year pause

A medical device sales tax of 2.3 percent goes back into effect after a two-year hiatus, a development the Advanced Medical Technology Association believes will stifle innovation and lead to the loss and/or creation of jobs.

FDA chief: I’m surprised it took big tech this long to get into health care

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD shares his thoughts on the ways in which Amazon, Apple, and Alphabet will transform the healthcare industry.

New year set to bring overhauled electronic health records system to Newman Regional Health

In Kansas, Newman Regional Health deploys Meditech 6.16 – its first medical records upgrade in 21 years.

Morning Headlines 12/29/17

December 28, 2017 Headlines No Comments

State’s $44.3M health data system ‘at a crossroads,’ study says

A review of Vermont’s statewide HIE finds financial and administrative issues and an erosion of end user confidence.

CMS Appears to Forbid All Forms of Text Messaging

A health law firm reports that CMS has been issuing warnings hospitals that any form of texting PHI is unacceptable, even through secure text messaging applications. UPDATE: only ordering via text message is prohibited, as confirmed with CMS.

Swallowing a Spy — The Potential Uses of Digital Adherence Monitoring

A NEJM perspective article questions the usefulness of digital medicines, specifically the ingestible sensor manufactured by Proteus Digital Health to track and improve medication adherence. In the article, author Lisa Rosenbaum, MD opines that for digital monitoring to improve adherence rates, “lapses would probably need to reflect pragmatic rather than psychological obstacles, particularly for diseases for which medication taking isn’t associated with relief of symptoms.”

Some Doctors Still Billing Medicare for the Most Complicated, Expensive Office Visits

A ProPublica investigation questions the billing patterns of providers that almost exclusively bill CMS for the most expensive and complex visit type.

Morning Headlines 12/28/17

December 27, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Federal Exchange Open Enrollment for 2018 coverage, most cost effective saving Americans millions of dollars while improving customer service and access to care

CMS reports that 8.8 million consumers used Healthcare.gov to buy health insurance during this year’s enrollment period, down from 9.2 million last year. CMS spent $10 million on marketing and outreach this year, compared to the $100 million spent last year.

CMS to relax reporting rules for ACOs impacted by hurricanes, fires

CMS publishes an interim final rule adjusting the reporting requirements of the Medicare Shared Savings Program to provide leniency to ACOs that were impacted by natural disasters this year.

Ransomware focus limits healthcare IT progress in 2017

Modern Healthcare looks back on 2017 and concludes that the onslaught of ransomware attacks overshadowed any gains made in health IT this year.

Morning Headlines 12/27/17

December 26, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

RFI — Indian Health Services HIT Modernization

Indian Health Services issues an RFI seeking help developing a health IT modernization strategy as it prepares to migrate away from VistA.

Regional Variation of Computed Tomographic Imaging in the United States and the Risk of Nephrectomy

A study concludes that the overuse of CT scanning correlates with an increase in discovery of unrelated kidney tumors and an uptick in clinically unnecessary kidney surgeries.

Orlando Portale – My Year End Rant

Health IT strategist Orlando Portale calls on health IT evangelists working the speaker circuit to invest time learning how machine learning algorithms work before telling audiences that they will solve health IT’s woes.

 

Morning Headlines 12/26/17

December 25, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Theranos gets $100 million in debt financing to carry it through 2018, with some caveats

Fortress Investment Group, a New York-based private equity firm, issues a $100 million debt financing round to Theranos, subject to hitting product and operational milestones. CEO Elizabeth Holmes reports that the new funding provides the company “sufficient liquidity through 2018.”

Health insurer Oscar nears $1 billion in revenue

Next year, Oscar Health anticipates hitting 250,000 subscribers in New York and California and revenue of $1 billion.

Family doctors call for guaranteed access to EMR data for research and quality improvement

The College of Family Physicians of Canada, along with the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network and the University of Toronto Practice-Based Research Network, are lobbying against EHR vendors over information blocking tactics that are preventing clinicians from accessing data.

Morning Headlines 12/22/17

December 21, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Fortified Releases 2018 Horizon Report Detailing Healthcare Cybersecurity

Fortified Health Security releases its 2018 report on cybersecurity in healthcare in which it predicts double-digit increases in breaches and new variants of the WannaCry ransomware attack making rounds.

US life expectancy falls for second straight year — as drug overdoses soar

Life expectancy in the US fell for the second year in a row, the first time life expectancy has dropped two-years in a row since the 1960s. The opioid epidemic claimed 63,000 lives in 2016, a 21 percent year-over-year increase in overdose mortality.

Healthcare Management Consulting 2017

KLAS releases a report analyzing the performance of healthcare management consulting firms.

Morning Headlines 12/21/17

December 20, 2017 Headlines 3 Comments

Important Update: Domain Registrar Account Compromised

Medhost reports that the account used to register its Medhost.com domain was compromised during a cyberattack Tuesday, but assures customers that all internal systems have remained under the company’s control throughout the incident. The company is reiterating that patient information has not been compromised.

Aledade raises $23 million in new funding round

Aledade, the health IT startup founded by former National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, MD, closes a $23 million venture round led by Venrock and Biomatics Capital Partners, bringing its funding total to $97 million since its 2014 launch.

What This Computer Needs Is a Physician Humanism and Artificial Intelligence

A JAMA Viewpoint article is cautiously optimistic about the potential for AI to improve EHR usability, but urges developers to include front-line physicians in the design and deployment of these tools, noting that, “Even though the EMR may serve as an efficient administrative business and billing tool, and even as a powerful research warehouse for clinical data, most EMRs serve their front-line users quite poorly.”

We’re A Bunch of Expensive Financial Clerks

Brent James, MD, Vice President, and Chief Quality Officer for Intermountain Healthcare, imagines a next-generation EHR that lets clinicians pull core clinical and billing functions into their own customized, activity-based workflow designs. He goes on to say “Epic is dead, Cerner is dead, in their current form. It’s only a matter of time.”

Morning Headlines 12/20/17

December 19, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

MedHost

EDIS vendor MedHost is the victim of a ransomware attack that brought down its webpage twice on Tuesday. The company has yet to make a public statement about the attack, and its public-facing webpage has since been restored.

Humana, private-equity firms buy Kindred Healthcare for $4 billion

Humana has partnered with two private equity firms to acquire home-health care and long-term care operator Kindred Health for $4 billion.

Health IT Leader Fortifies Tech and Policy Innovation at Dell Medical School

Former National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, MD joins the faculty at the University of Texas Austin’s Dell Medical School where she will serve as a professor in the Division of Primary Care and Value-Based Health.

It’s Official: North Korea Is Behind WannaCry

Republican White House staffer Thomas Bossert pens a Wall Street Journal op-ed publicly attributing the WannaCry cyberattack to North Korea operatives.

Morning Headlines 12/19/17

December 18, 2017 Headlines No Comments

CDC director tells staff ‘there are no banned words,’ while not refuting report

CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald sent an internal email this week assuring staff that the agency would always be a science-based institution and noting that reports that the Trump administration released a list of banned phrases for the CDC, including “evidence-based” and “science-based” were not entirely accurate and would not impact the agency’s work. In a Sunday morning tweet she reiterated that “there are no banned words at CDC.”

Highmark, Penn State Health officially sign off on partnership deal

Highmark finalizes a $1 billion partnership with Penn State Health that will establish a Central Pennsylvania health network that will use Highmark’s insurance data and Penn State’s delivery network to build a cost effective care delivery model.

ONC launches tool to collect patient demographic data

Responding to reports that a vast majority of medical errors occur because of erroneous patient data, ONC and the CMMI Institute release the Patient Demographic Data Quality framework, a collection of best practice recommendations on collecting and improving patient data.

FDA takes more aggressive stance toward homeopathic drugs

The FDA is taking a tougher stance on homeopathic drugs, specifically those containing potentially harmful ingredients or being marketed for cancer, heart disease, or opioid and alcohol addictions.

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