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Morning Headlines 7/20/18

July 19, 2018 Headlines 1 Comment

What can health systems do to encourage physicians to embrace virtual care?

A Deloitte physician survey finds that while both consumers and doctors recognize the benefits of virtual care, most consumers haven’t had a virtual visit and only 14 percent of doctors offer them.

CEO Gawande’s first task: a road trip to hear firsthand about workers’ health challenges

Atul Gawande, MD — head of the still-unnamed healthcare joint venture among Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase — will embark on a cross-country listening tour to gauge the healthcare concerns of employees at the three companies.

Survey: Progress on Patient Safety Slowed by Ineffective Technology, Healthcare Professionals Say

A Health Catalyst survey on patient safety efforts across care settings finds that ineffective IT combined with a lack of real-time alerts is the biggest impediment to reducing medical errors.

Morning Headlines 7/19/18

July 18, 2018 Headlines No Comments

UnitedHealth Is Among Suitors Circling Tenet’s Conifer Business

Tenet Healthcare considers selling its Confer Health Solutions business to UnitedHealth Group in a deal that could be worth $2 billion.

HHS Secretary Azar Announces Senior Advisor for Fourth Departmental Priority

Adam Boehler, director of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation, takes on the additional HHS role of senior advisor for value-based transformation and innovation.

Israel grants $33 million to GE, Medtronic, Change Healthcare to boost R&D

Israel’s Innovation Authority will award $33 million over six years to Change Healthcare, GE Healthcare, and Medtronic as part of a program to attract digital health companies to the country.

Morning Headlines 7/18/18

July 17, 2018 Headlines 1 Comment

Nashville health-tech company buys data-analytics firm, changes name

PlayMaker CRM acquires post-acute market intelligence and analytics vendor ViaDirect Solutions and renames itself PlayMaker Health.

Promoting Telehealth for Low-Income Consumers

FCC will propose to fund a $100 million “Connected Care Pilot Program” that would promote using telehealth among low-income families and veterans by providing affordable broadband service.

Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Details About You — And It Could Raise Your Rates

Insurers are buying the lifestyle information of hundreds of millions of Americans from data brokers and then running it through algorithms that predict how much that person’s healthcare will cost.

UnitedHealth posts big profit jump but sees room to improve

UnitedHealth Group reports Q2 results: revenue up 12 percent, EPS $2.98 vs. $2.32. Its Optum segment booked $1.8 billion in profit on $25 billion in revenue for the quarter.

Morning Headlines 7/17/18

July 16, 2018 Headlines No Comments

Walmart Names Humana Veteran to Run Its Health and Wellness Unit

Sean Slovenski (Healthways) joins Walmart as SVP of health and wellness.

Cerner to grow Dublin research hub

Cerner will add 50 new R&D jobs at its Dublin hub, home to its IP development team.

Joe Harpaz Joins Modernizing Medicine as President and Chief Operating Officer

Modernizing Medicine brings on Joe Harpaz (Thomson Reuters) as president and COO.

Lab Corp. (LH) Detected Suspicious Activity on its Information Technology Network

LabCorp works to restore full system functionality after detecting suspicious activity on its IT network over the weekend.

Morning Headlines 7/16/18

July 15, 2018 Headlines 2 Comments

CMS Proposes Historic Changes to Modernize Medicare and Restore the Doctor-Patient Relationship

CMS issues a massive draft set of rule changes that it says will reduce provider administrative burdens, encourage price transparency, revamp the longstanding E/M codes to a single code in which physician payment is driven by time spent or medical decision-making required, and paying for virtual visits.

VA Establishes Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization to Support Transition From Legacy Patient Data System

The VA creates an Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization to oversee its Cerner implementation, to be headed by ONC Principal Deputy National Coordinator Genevieve Morris.

Billings Clinic employee’s email hacked during overseas travel; breach affects 8,400 people

The email account of an employee of Billings Clinic (MT) is hacked while he or she is traveling overseas, exposing the information of 8,400 people who were mentioned in the employee’s emails and attachments.

Blount Memorial Hospital to get medical records backup system following computer problems

Blount Memorial Hospital (TN) sets aside $30,000 to purchase a medical records backup system for its physicians group after unexpected computer downtime in May resulted in the cancellation of numerous appointments.

Morning Headlines 7/13/18

July 12, 2018 Headlines No Comments

Facebook recently closed a loophole that allowed third parties to discover the names of people in private, ‘closed’ Facebook groups

After prompting from healthcare technologist Fred Trotter, Facebook eliminates a privacy setting that allowed third parties to glean the names of users who participate in private, closed Facebook groups.

Cue Announces $30 Million Funding Contract from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority

HHS awards Cue Health a $14 million contract to develop app-based flu-testing kits for the home and office that will include virtual consult and prescribing capabilities.

Chairman Roe, Ranking Member Walz Name Lawmakers to New Subcommittee on Technology Modernization

The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs names members of the subcommittee that will oversee the VA’s Cerner implementation.

Morning Headlines 7/12/18

July 11, 2018 Headlines No Comments

Alphabet and ResMed are spinning out a start-up to solve sleep apnea, a hidden health crisis

Alphabet’s Verily and ResMed will use “billions of night’s of data” to jumpstart a joint venture focused on diagnosing sleep apnea more effectively and helping patients better manage the condition.

Nurx raises $36 million and adds Chelsea Clinton to its board of directors

Birth control-focused telemedicine startup Nurx raises $36 million in a funding round led by Kleiner Perkins.

Medtronic says thousands of heart devices need software upgrades

The FDA publicizes Medtronic notices alerting providers that 39,000 implantable heart devices need software updates to avoid potentially adverse events.

Morning Headlines 7/11/18

July 10, 2018 Headlines No Comments

Ingenious Med Announces Nimesh Shah as New CEO

Nimesh Shah (McKesson) replaces Joe Marabito as CEO of Ingenious Med.

Children’s Mercy faces class action lawsuit over data breach affecting thousands

Children’s Mercy Hospital (MO) faces another data breach-related lawsuit, this time pertaining to an email phishing scam that potentially exposed the data of 63,000 individuals.

Layoffs likely ahead at Henry Schein in latest move

Analysts predict health IT company Henry Schein, which recently spun off its animal health business, will downsize after a regulatory filing hints at plans to increase efficiencies.

Morning Headlines 7/10/18

July 9, 2018 Headlines No Comments

AdvancedMD Completes Acquisition of NueMD

EHR and practice management vendor AdvancedMD acquires competitor NueMD for an undisclosed amount.

Verity Health System Announces Exploration of Strategic Options

A little over a year after Patrick Soon-Shiong’s NantWorks buys a controlling interest in Verity Health System, the California-based nonprofit decides to look at selling some or all of its six hospitals.

Cerner and Lumeris Will Launch Offering to Reduce Complexities for Health Systems Delivering Value-Based Care

Cerner and Lumeris develop combined technologies and services aimed at helping health systems succeed with Medicare Advantage programs.

Cass Regional Medical Center hit by ransomware attack

Cass Regional Medical Center (MO) shuts down its Meditech system after discovering a communications and IT data breach Monday morning.

Morning Headlines 7/9/18

July 8, 2018 Headlines 5 Comments

UW Medicine Clinical Transformation: Approve Project, Budget, and Internal Lending Program (ILP) Funding

University of Washington Medicine prepares to move to a single EHR in a 30-month, $180 million project.

The one big winner of the Obamacare wars

Politico surmises that never-ending government healthcare changes and resulting uncertainty, especially those driven by the Affordable Care Act, have been a boon for consultants.

Health Insurers Warn of Market Turmoil as Trump Suspends Billions in Payments

The White House suspends the Affordable Care Act’s risk adjustment payments, which without further action will drive more insurers from the market and increase premiums.

Morning Headlines 7/6/18

July 5, 2018 Headlines No Comments

New NHS app will make it quicker and easier to access health services

England’s NHS announces December 2018 availability of a new app that will allow all citizens to book doctor appointments, order prescription refills, manage chronic conditions, and make calls to its 111 non-emergency medical helpline.

Cleveland Clinic Patients Have New Way to Access Personal Health Records

Cleveland Clinic becomes the latest of several dozen health systems to participate in the Apple Health Records beta.

FDA Regulation of Mobile Medical Apps

A JAMA opinion piece by FDA officials describes the agency’s efforts to foster digital health innovation by pre-certifying vendors instead of individual products.

Morning Headlines 7/5/18

July 4, 2018 Headlines No Comments

A new journal for sharing informatics innovations: introducing JAMIA Open

AMIA publishes the inaugural issue of its Gold Open Access journal that will showcase the best informatics research and applications.

Diagnosing Fractures With AI

A JAMA Network article describes FDA’s approval of Imagen OsteoDetect for diagnosing adult wrist fractures.

Predictive modeling of U.S. health care spending in late life

Medicare claims data analysis finds flaws with the idea that spending 25 percent of in the last 12 months of life is wasteful, instead concluding that deaths are not predictable and patient conditions are rarely defined as hopeless to support reduced spending.

Twitter can’t even celebrate Independence Day without misspelling the hashtag

The US Air Force, the First Lady, and the city of Boston are among the patriotic tweeters who misspell the hashtag as #IndependanceDay, possibly because of Twitter’s autofill feature propagating an earlier error.

Morning Headlines 7/4/18

July 3, 2018 Headlines No Comments

UK-based Hg to buy Orion Health’s Rhapsody for $205 million

UK-based private equity firm Hg will buy Orion Health’s Rhapsody healthcare integration technology business for $138 million USD and will pay another $14 million to acquire a 25 percent share of its population health unit.

2018 Midyear Funding Review: Digital health déjà vu in yet another record breaking half

Rock Health says digital health investments are growing and are attracting more experienced investors, but IPO activity is down as companies remain privately held longer.

150,000 medical records shared against patients’ wishes in data system glitch

NHS Digital blames one of its technology vendors (TPP) for failing to send it patient opt-out requests

Cordova hospital averts loss of internet access

The Alaska critical access avoids its planned closure after a cut in federal broadband subsidies left it with a million-dollar annual bill.

Morning Headlines 7/3/18

July 2, 2018 Headlines No Comments

VA looks to scrap Epic scheduling contract

Politico reports that the VA will not move forward with its MASS patient scheduling project – powered by Epic — despite recent assurances that a system-wide rollout would be much cheaper and faster than originally estimated, choosing to go with the equivalent Cerner modules instead.

Layoffs at Watson Health Reveal IBM’s Problem With AI

Employees of acquired companies Phytel, Explorys, and Truven are hit hardest by staffing cuts as laid-off IBM engineers claim that former KLAS-topping population health management technology vendor Phytel has lost half its customer base and 80 percent of its employees under IBM’s ownership.

Toolkit: Using Data Analysis To Calculate Opioid Levels and Identify Patients At Risk of Misuse or Overdose

HHS OIG releases a SAS-powered tool that allows health plans to analyze their prescription drug claims data to identify at-risk patients.

Netsmart Finalizes Acquisition of Change Healthcare Home Care and Hospice Solutions

Netsmart completes its acquisition of the solutions formerly owned by McKesson.

Morning Headlines 7/2/18

July 1, 2018 Headlines No Comments

Why telemedicine has been such a bust so far

CNBC’s Chrissy Farr says lack of awareness, cost, and the desire for human interaction are responsible for the lack of widespread use of video visits.

T-System President and CEO Roger Davis resigns

The company confirmed the June 30 departure of Davis, but did not issue an announcement

As Part of National Healthcare Fraud Sweep, Los Angeles-Based Prosecutors Filed 16 Cases Alleging $660 Million in Fraudulent Bills

A former hospital owner is charged with paying $40 million in kickbacks over 15 years to generate $950 million in fraudulent hospital charges for surgeries, compounded drugs, home health services, and hospice care.

Medicare spent $2 billion for one drug as the manufacturer paid doctors millions

Claims analysis finds that 80 percent of the doctors who prescribe Acthar Gel are receiving checks from the company for speaking fees as the questionably useful drug’s cost has increased from $40 per vial in 2000 to $39,000 today.

Morning Headlines 6/29/18

June 28, 2018 Headlines 1 Comment

Amazon acquires online pharmacy PillPack in move into health care

Amazon reportedly outflanks Walmart in buying the mail order pharmacy for a rumored $1 billion in cash.

Cerner to pay $4.5 million to settle overtime claims

Cerner settles an employee overtime lawsuit brought on behalf of the company’s delivery consultants and system analysts.

National Health Care Fraud Takedown Results in Charges Against 601 Individuals Responsible for Over $2 Billion in Fraud Losses

The Department of Justice and HHS OIG announce the biggest healthcare fraud enforcement action in history that crosses 58 federal districts.

VA Electronic Health Record Modernization: The Beginning of the Beginning

The House Committee on Veterans Affairs presses VA executives and Cerner President Zane Burke on the VA’s $16 billion project, which will see three hospitals going live in 2020.

Morning Headlines 6/28/18

June 27, 2018 Headlines No Comments

Molina Healthcare Reaches Agreement with DXC Technology to Sell Medicaid Management Information Systems Business

Molina Healthcare will sell its Medicaid Solutions IS business to DXC Technology for $220 million.

‘Failure is not an option’: VA nominee Robert Wilkie told to fix the agency’s morale crisis

Members of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee tell VA Secretary nominee Robert Wilkie during his Senate confirmation hearing that the agency is in desperate need of leadership after the tabloid-like ouster of former Secretary David Shulkin, MD and nominee Ronny Jackson, MD.

Tampa Bay tech community pulls together to help displaced CareSync workers

Tampa, FL-based tech companies and associations are quick to publicize job openings and host job fairs in the wake of CareSync’s abrupt closure.

VA will have 3 Cerner-powered hospitals by 2020

Acting VA Secretary Peter O’Rourke tells lawmakers that the VA will begin deploying Cerner software at three hospitals this October, with full implementation expected by 2020.

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