The Alliance for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, the Bipartisan Policy Center, the ECRI Institute and The Pew Charitable Trusts will launch the National Health IT Safety Collaborative, a national health IT organization that aims to improve health IT use and safety. The organizations sent a letter to the ONC and the HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality asking for support and requesting the participation of agency representatives.
Officials from Primary Health Care in Iowa reported that a hacker accessed the email accounts of four employees on Feb. 28, 2017, and the center blocked access to the accounts after discovering the breach the next day. The compromised email accounts contained patient names, medical information, Medicaid identification numbers, provider information and some personal information.
Medical providers looking to implement EHRs in their organizations should be aware of potential problems caused by autopopulate features in the drop-down menus and prescription-filling functions of many systems, says Dr. Peter Papadakos, a professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Papadakos also urges providers to double-check the conversion of written health records and to use caution when copying and pasting patient notes.
Dr. Rasu Shrestha, chief innovation officer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, has been appointed to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs' open application programming interface pledge, which aims to further EHR interoperability through the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standards framework. The group will begin work with a roundtable discussion next month.
Telemedicine allows providers to reach more diabetes patients at a reduced cost and could help in diabetes management and wound monitoring as well as offer education, support and lifestyle changes to patients, Dr. Ruth Weinstock of the State University of New York Upstate Medical University said at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting. She also reviewed what researchers should consider when conducting telemedicine studies.
Stem cell biologist Jens Magnusson follows a vegetarian diet out of concern for the environment and says that though he doesn't always like the fact that his research involves animals, "it is not always possible to replace research animals with other systems such as cell cultures or computer models." Animal research expands scientific knowledge and leads to new medicines, Magnusson says, and he accounts for animal welfare when designing research protocols.
Johns Hopkins University and other biomedical research institutions have policies encouraging the adoption of laboratory animals after research is complete whenever feasible, and the National Association for Biomedical Research says at least six states have laws mandating that lab animals be released for adoption when possible. Researchers and technical staff have long been adopting lab animals, and some are concerned that animal rights activists' efforts to mandate adoption is a veiled effort to end animal research.
Banner Health, a not-for-profit health system in Phoenix, is under investigation and may be fined by the HHS Office for Civil Rights over a 2016 cyberattack that may have affected 3.7 million patients. Banner, which is also facing a class-action lawsuit over the incident, wrote in its 2017 financial report that the OCR determined the health system had an "inadequate" initial response to the OCR's security assessment.
ObesityTx, a platform for nonsurgical medical obesity treatment offered by the Center for Medical Weight Loss, is now available via athenahealth's "More Disruption Please" program. The platform has practice and clinical development training for treating obesity, predictive patient weight loss, documentation for insurance reimbursement for obesity services, and a behavioral counseling system.
Chief information officers are focusing on solutions that improve business value when optimizing their IT spending, rather than on performance benchmarks, reducing operational and cybersecurity risks, and large or fast cost reductions, according to a Gartner poll. "The survey findings highlight how cost optimization has become a business-focused, continuous discipline that drives spending and cost reduction, while maximizing business value," said Stewart Buchanan of Gartner.
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