About 1,500 clients have received notification letters from Catholic Charities of Baltimore informing them that an employee's email account was hacked in October. The incident compromised the patients' names, diagnostic and treatment information, insurance identification numbers, provider name and type, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers and unique Catholic Charities identifiers assigned to them.
CoPilot Provider Support Services in New York has notified 220,000 patients affected by a data breach, and it is offering identity theft protection services to affected individuals. The organization's database was illegally accessed in October 2015, compromising patients' names, health insurance information, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, genders and some Social Security numbers, but not medical treatment records or financial information.
Sixteen agencies and departments including HHS released a final rule that updates the Common Rule provisions for the protection of individuals participating in medical research "while facilitating valuable research and reducing burden, delay and ambiguity for investigations." However, Tom Walsh, president of tw-Security, expressed concern that clear mandates to ensure data security via encryption are absent from the rule.
A KPMG survey of 86 health care providers and payers found that 44% reported having efficiently and effectively used population health programs, while 24% intend to carry out such platforms within the next three years. Researchers also found that 30% of respondents cited information aggregation and standardization as the biggest roadblock to population health program implementation.
EHRs could be helpful in reducing the overuse of diagnostic procedures and may be used to collect patient data, Dr. David Bates of Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and his colleagues write in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Although the EHR may be "an ideal medium" to provide critical clinical decision support, the technology is limited by how it is currently configured, they write.
Twenty percent of US adults are willing to switch from their primary care physician to another doctor who offered telehealth visits, according to two surveys conducted in 2016 by Harris Poll on behalf of American Well. The findings also showed that 65% of respondents and 74% of parents with children younger than 18 were interested in seeing a primary care physician via video, while 60% of consumers are willing to have an online telehealth visit to manage chronic illness.
Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., stressed the importance of EHRs to patient care and interoperability within the health care industry during a Senate hearing Wednesday for his nomination as HHS secretary. However, meaningful use requirements have led to productivity losses and hindered positive health outcomes, Price said, and he recommended implementing fewer reporting requirements that emphasize outcomes instead of provider actions.
A former employee of Covenant HealthCare in Michigan inappropriately accessed the records of 6,197 patients, compromising personal information including full names, medical record numbers, diagnostic and treatment information, health insurance information, home addresses, birth dates, driver's license numbers and Social Security numbers. Although no reports of identity fraud, specific misuse of patient information or theft have been received, the provider will offer identity theft protection and credit monitoring to affected patients, and it has already terminated the employee, officials said.
The HHS Office for Civil Rights will collect $2.2 million from MAPFRE Life Insurance in Puerto Rico as settlement for HIPAA violations following an August 2011 incident involving a stolen USB drive that contained protected health information, as well as the insurer's "failure to conduct its risk analysis and implement risk management plans ... and a failure to deploy encryption or an equivalent alternative measure on its laptops and removable storage media until Sept. 1, 2014," OCR said. The theft affected 2,209 individuals, and compromised information included names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth.
MedAware's algorithmic software was used in a study by Harvard Medical School researchers to screen EHR data for outliers that would suggest medication errors, and the alerts generated by the software were valid in identifying possible errors 75% of the time, with 75% of those errors being potentially life-threatening. The researchers said existing clinical decision support systems are not adaptable or patient-specific enough to detect more than a small number of errors.
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