HHS Proposes Allowing Cybersecurity Donations to Doctors

Don’t Let Phishing Leave Your Healthcare Organization in the Dark

The Father of FHIR 🔥 & Healthcare's Big Chance at Interoperability

A few weeks ago, WTF Health took the show on the road to Australia’s digital health conference, HIC 2019. We captured more than 30 interviews (!) from the conference, which is run by the Health Informatics Society of Australia (hence the HISA Studio branding) and I had the opportunity to chat with most of the Australian Digital Health Agency’s leadership, many administrators from the country’s largest health systems, and a number of health informaticians, clinicians, and patients. I’ll be spotlighting a few of my favorites here in a four-part series to give you a flavor of what’s happening in health innovation ‘Down Under.’ For much more, check out all the videos on the playlist here.

I’d like to kick off the series with my interview on all things interoperability with arguably the most famous Australian in health tech, Grahame Grieve.

Grahame Grieve, “the Father of FHIR” architected healthcare’s best shot at EMR data interoperability when he founded HL7’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), but have you heard what prompted Grahame to pursue creating a common standard for electronic health data exchange in the first place? Grahame shares the surprisingly personal and emotional story and weighs in how he thinks FHIR adoption is going so far. If your business has anything to do with health IT, EMR, or healthcare’s play in big data, be sure to tune in to find out what’s next for FHIR, whether or not Big Tech’s new role in healthcare can help speed up adoption, and if Grahame thinks we’ll ever finally solve healthcare’s interoperability problem.

Effective engagement technologies address patient psychology

Patient engagement has long been a tough nut for healthcare to crack, and it’s not for a lack of trying. New technologies that meet the patient in their home offer a clear opportunity to meet patients throughout the course of their daily lives, but the tools themselves are only half of the solution — making a real connection is just as much about addressing and responding to each individual’s mentality.

“We use a unique interface for approaching patients — we put a cute little robot in homes as opposed to a call center of nurses or sending someone out to patients’ homes,” Dr. Cory Kidd, CEO and founder of care engagement startup Catalia Health, told MobiHealthNews. “The reason behind that is not so much about the technology, but the psychology. … That psychology of human face-to-face interaction works really well there, and acts as an effective way to keep patients engaged over time.”

Catalia has come a long way since its first seed funding round back in 2015 and its most recent raise in late 2017. Just last month, its unique approach to in-home engagement yielded the startup a new partnership with Pfizer headlined by a 12-month pilot of its platform among patients receiving specialty drugs.

“One of the things we see in that specialty drugs market in general is there are typically care management programs that are associated with those and paid for by the drug manufacturer. The majority of those look like a call center,” Kidd said. “So at a high level we provide the same kind of program … but instead of a call center of nurses we put our robot, Mabu, into homes and use that to talk to patients every day, and then relay relevant information back to the clinician so they can provider better care. At a higher level it’s a care management program like would be delivered today, but it’s just something much more effective in being able to interact with each and every patient.”

Walmart announces revolutionary corporate benefit changes

The nation’s largest employer announced a list of five new priorities on Oct. 3 intended to make healthcare easier to navigate for its employees in 2020.

To start, in three areas of the country – Orlando-Tampa, Dallas-Ft. Worth and northwestern Arkansas – the company will curate a list of “high quality physicians” in eight specialties: primary care, cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, orthopedics and pulmonology.

At the same time, healthcare data analytics company Embold Health will monitor quality data from employee visits to doctors on the curated list to provide quarterly updates to Walmart corporate HQ.

“Walmart said the goal is to both give workers the information needed to make healthcare decisions based on quality and to offer feedback to regional physicians who may want to work their way on to the featured lists,” according to an article in FierceHealthcare.

In addition to the list of featured healthcare providers, the four other additions for 2020 benefits are:

expanded telehealth a personal healthcare assistant a national quality provider resource, and nationwide access to fitness clubs. In the telehealth area, employees already had telemedicine in nearly every plan, but Walmart is adding a “personal online doctor” for employees in plans in Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

This pilot program allows workers to manage chronic conditions, and get referrals and nutritional counseling. The company expects these additions to cut down on employees’ current wait times to within one hour for a virtual care visit and within one week for a behavioral health visit.

Could other corporations follow Walmart’s lead in improving healthcare options?

“I think some employers are somewhat hesitant to take the lead on a change in healthcare,” Steve Wojcik, vice president for public policy at the National Business Group on Health, told FierceHealth. “If they see other employers – especially big-name employers – doing it, they might be willing to step forward and do something similar.

Changing the cybersecurity culture

Ransomware and malware attacks continue to plague hospitals and institutions, scoring frequent and disruptive hits. Internal data breaches are commonplace. Risk-laden network links with external agencies and partners abound. Security weak spots are discovered in legacy systems and new applications alike. Clinicians working around medical device security protocols expose chinks of vulnerability in the IoMT.

Anyone building a picture of the state of cybersecurity in healthcare globally would struggle to find encouragement for the beleaguered hospital CIO, with many organisations apparently unable to break out of a reactive cycle and shift to more proactive defence strategies.

Bold statistics do little to improve the anecdotal picture. In April, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported 44 healthcare data breaches for the month, a record. The fact that the number of individuals affected fell by 29% from 963,794 to 686,953 compared with March was not exactly grounds for optimism, given the potential scale of the impact.

Cyber risk and privacy management specialist IT Governance publishes a monthly blog of data breaches reported worldwide. The healthcare sector is well-represented and while these lists are a litany of phishing, ransomware and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, they are also peppered with more banal cybersecurity failures that hint at the cultural challenge of managing risk in many institutions. These range from unauthorised employees accessing patient records to coding errors that unwittingly expose records.

How Hospitals Are Using AI to Detect and Treat Sepsis

The Gazillion Of Health Data You Can Measure

Digital health funding slows in Q3 2019, according to Rock Health report

After a very active and lucrative Q1 and Q2, funding for digital health companies has cooled a bit in Q3, according to the latest Rock Health report. The raises came in at a total of $1.3 billion this last quarter, down from the roughly $2 billion seen in Q1 and Q2.

Additionally, the report points to three major trends this quarter: more mega deals over $100 million, companies exiting via IPOs and the rise of behavioral health and femtech products.

After a few frigid years without any digital health IPOs, 2019 has turned a corner. So far five digital health companies have gone public, according to the report.

However, results have been lukewarm now that these digital health companies are in the public arena, the Rock Health researchers wrote.

“Early public market performance for these IPOs has been mixed,” Sean Day, a researcher at Rock Health and author of the report, wrote in the document. “As of October 1, Health Catalyst is trading about 20% below its closing price on the first day of trading after increasing more than 20% in the weeks following its public offering. Livongo’s share price fell following its first earnings report as losses were greater than analysts expected, despite 156% revenue growth that beat Wall Street estimates. Phreesia and Change Healthcare have largely traded within +/- 10% of their offering price. And Peloton’s stock price dipped after the company went public on September 26, which some took as a sign that 2019’s hot IPO market is cooling off for the moment.”

Rock Health also reported that digital behavior health companies accounted for 8% the total funding this quarter. Behavioral health companies have also seen an increase in the size of their deals to $26 million, up a staggering 73% from 2018.

Women’s health companies have also seen significant rises in funding as well. Rock Health reports that funding for women’s health companies increased by 812% from 2014 to 2018.