ONC lists new goals for aligning clinical and research technology infrastructure
The nine National Health IT Priorities for Research are meant set an agenda that will enable medical research to happen more quickly and effectively, officials say.
NRC Health Recovering from Ransomware Attack
NRC Health, a provider of patient survey services and software to more than 9,000 healthcare organizations, including 75% of the largest hospital systems in the United States and Canada, experienced a ransomware attack on February 11, 2020 that affected some of its computer systems.
NRC Health immediately took steps to limit the harm caused and shut down its entire environment, including its client-facing portals. A leading computer forensic investigation firm was engaged to determine the nature and extent of the attack and the incident has been reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the NRC Health website, the data of more than 25 million healthcare consumers in the United States and Canada is collected by NRC Health every year. Patient surveys conducted by NRC Health on behalf of its clients allow them to prove that patients are satisfied with the services they have received. That information is important for helping to improve patient care and also for determining how much Medicare reimbursement healthcare providers receive under the Affordable Care Act. Healthcare clients also used patient satisfaction scores to determine how much executives and physicians get paid.
NRC Health said significant progress has been made restoring its systems and services to customers and a full recovery is expected in the next few days. Notifications have been sent to its healthcare clients informing them about the attack and updates are being provided to clients on a daily basis until the incident is fully resolved.
In the notifications NRC Health said the initial findings of the investigation suggest no patient data or sensitive client information has been compromised.
5 Ways Healthcare Tech Is Helping Tackle Coronavirus
Healthcare technologies are aiding in the fight to curb the transmission of coronavirus. As of Thursday, the illness — officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization — has infected more than 75,000, with a global death toll exceeding 2,100.
Tools that already enable clinicians to streamline and expedite care delivery in a range of settings are helping some doctors more quickly diagnose (or rule out) coronavirus cases, provide virtual care and prevent the virus’s spread among populations.
Many tools have been developed and deployed where the outbreak has hit hardest, says Dr. Jennifer Bouey, a RAND senior policy researcher.
“China has already been leading some of the healthcare technology innovations because of the fast-growing demand of the healthcare sectors,” says Bouey, who also holds the Tang Chair in China Policy Studies at RAND.
ONC unveils new plan for combating clinician burnout
With a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, drawn up as required by the 21st Century Cures Act, the agency puts forth its plan to help alleviate the burden of documentation and reporting requirements, and boost EHR usability.
How AI and machine learning are transforming clinical decision support
“Between 12 to 18 million Americans every year will experience some sort of diagnostic error,” said Paul Cerrato, a journalist and researcher.
“So the question is: Why such a huge number? And what can we do better in terms of reinventing the tools so they catch these conditions more effectively?”
Cerrato is co-author, alongside Dr. John Halamka, newly minted president of Mayo Clinic Platform, of the new HIMSS Book Series edition, Reinventing Clinical Decision Support: Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Diagnostic Reasoning.
At HIMSS20, the two of them will discuss the book, and the bigger picture around CDS tools that are fast being transformed by the advent of artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data analytics.
Big things are happening in the space, with leading-edge vendors such as Dynamed, UpToDate and VisualDx pushing the envelope of what can be accomplished for evidence-based decision support.
Still, we’re in the early days of this AI revolution, said Cerrato, and “here’s a lot more that can be done with machine learning and AI.”
Why patients and providers need a model patient data use agreement
The health and wellness data group lead at The MITRE Corporation offers a sneak preview of her HIMSS20 session on the topic. Opportunities are growing for individuals to access and aggregate their health data using health apps and patient portals. Most of these services require individuals to enter into agreements with terms that typically do not favor the individual or give the individual agency over their data.
A model patient data use agreement with terms that empower individuals can provide people with the opportunity to truly manage and control their aggregated health data. Personal agency over data may also increase patient engagement and activation, improve self-management and outcomes, and improve the breadth and depth of data available for shared decision-making, care management and research.
“The problem is that people lack access to and agency, or power, over their complete health data for managing their own health and engaging in their care,” said Katherine Mikk, health and wellness data group lead at The MITRE Corporation, who will be presenting on the subject at HIMSS20.
At HIMSS20, Innovaccer will unveil unified patient record for care team collaboration
The interface of this new proprietary model will enable the collection of data from the full range of a patient’s healthcare experiences and provide a complete view of that patient for a care team, the company says.
What to Expect from 5G in Healthcare
The arrival of 5G has the potential to transform healthcare delivery by boosting speed and capacity while reducing latency. Although still in its infancy, this powerful network has big potential for healthcare.
Among the possibilities: transmitting large medical images, facilitating telehealth initiatives and supporting remote patient monitoring tools — as well as enabling more complex uses of artificial intelligence and augmented and virtual reality.
5G also will facilitate faster downloads and communication on mobile devices and tablets used in healthcare settings, and it’s likely to be a fitting complement to Wi-Fi 6.
“We need an underlying network that can power the speed of connection with the breadth of data,” Robin Braun, Global Storage CIO for Healthcare at Dell EMC, recently told HealthTech. “5G promises to provide that infrastructure and push smart devices and decisions from the core to the edge, creating secure, smarter data streams and enabling greater personalization.”
Providers struggling to give patients useful digital tools
These were among the findings of a survey of more than 100 health system professionals by UPMC’s Center for Connected Medicine, which also found only a third of respondents believe their organization is providing a top-quality consumer experience with the digital health tools they provide.
The report findings also suggest traditional organizations may be left behind by others who have created a stronger digital experience, with fewer than one in three respondents believing their organization is providing a best-in-class digital experience for patients.
Just four in 10 respondents reported digital tools being successfully integrated into the overall patient experience, and those that are offer mostly basic functions.
“Tools need to be used by patients, integrated with the health system’s existing technology infrastructure such as electronic health records, and provide a robust and user-friendly experience,” the report noted.
The survey results indicated the cost to build, buy and maintain digital tools, along with integration difficulties and operational challenges, were among the most common obstacles facing healthcare providers.
Leveraging the value of data
Dr Priit Tohver is on a mission to make health data more usable.
The man overseeing the digital transformation and innovation of health and welfare systems in Estonia, became inspired as a medical student when he tried to use electronic health records (EHRs) for a study on ocular melanoma.
“That showed me how unsuitable the current health data is for any kind of analytics,” he explains. “To this day it drives me to make the health data we gather more structured and useful, not only to researchers and innovators but to physicians themselves, so that it can feed back into the healthcare system and we can learn as we go.”
At the HIMSS20 conference, Tohver will talk about a subject close to his heart – social determinants of health.
Since 2018, the Ministry of Social Affairs has been undertaking a project to identify disadvantaged youths aged 16-26 that are at danger of falling through the cracks of society.
Coronavirus outbreak used by hackers to spread malware
Malicious actors are using the outbreak of the Wuhan novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, as an opportunity to launch emailed-based cyber attacks, according to security specialist Proofpoint.
WHY IT MATTERS The company uncovered a continuing expansion of cyber attacks themed around the Coronavirus, including a new campaign promoting conspiracy theory-based fears around “unreleased cures,” and dupes multiple users into accepting malware by abusing perceived legitimate sources of health information.
While the attacks initially targeted people in the United States and Japan, Proofpoint noted recent examples are targeted at Australia and Italy, where Italian-language lures are being used.
A company blog post by Sherrod DeGrippo, Proofpoint’s senior director of threat research and detection, noted attackers have expanded the malware used in their Coronavirus attacks to include not just Emotet and the AZORult information stealer, but also the AgentTesla Keylogger and the NanoCore RAT, all of which can steal personal information, including financial information.
In one campaign example, recipients of an email designed to stoke fears of an available cure that is being withheld – a conspiracy theory – urges the recipient to receive further information on the “cure” by clicking on the link provided in the email.
The emerging digital landscape of the 2020s
Health and care are going through a very accelerated phase of change. There are various drivers causing these changes and these are starting to demonstrably exert their influence as well as start to act synergistically. Among these changes:
Aging and accompanying multimorbidity, both of which drive increases in activity in existing health and care systems as they strive to manage noncommunicable diseases. This increase in activity puts further financial pressures on these systems which are already “over- trading” and further encourages the adoption of value-based solutions where prevention of disease becomes at least as important as treatment of existing conditions. The explosion of availability of data and the deployment of processes that allow for interoperability. This drives the potential to develop more customized treatment plans for people. This availability of data is likely to be further enhanced once 5G networks are employed and the internet of things enabled. The availability of genomic information around individuals which is becoming more commonplace and enables people to better assess their likelihood of developing disease and thus better target their efforts towards risk mitigation in situations where we understand the pathophysiology of disease and the behaviors we need to adopt to lessen the likelihood of developing these. The potential for us to be able to measure the epigenetic biomarkers that act as “switches” amplifying or turning off the effect of our genes and the increasing affordability of access to these biomarkers. At present these are mainly concentrated around the cardiovascular space, but no doubt the range will widen as science advances. Also the fact that the cardiovascular contribution to cardio-metabolic disorders is now understood to have an even more ubiquitous role is an added factor to take into consideration
Keeping up with everything HIMSS20
HIMSS20 will be overflowing with high-profile keynotes and expert interviews — here’s how to catch all the conference highlights from HIMSS TV and the HIMSS Media news brands.
How training investments can boost EHR satisfaction
As part of the merger of five independent orthopedic practices to form Virginia’s largest provider of orthopedic and therapy care, OrthoVirginia, a large investment was made implementing a new electronic health record system. A survey gauging physician satisfaction with the system, however, showed an overall poor experience, which led the CIO and CMIO to work together to implement and show measurable improvements across a range of areas, including more efficient usage of the technology.
Watchdog Agency: Improper Use of Medicare Data Rampant
The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General on Friday released findings of an audit it conducted at the request of the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services that looked into how a mail order pharmacy and other healthcare providers were misusing a type of electronic transaction meant to verify Medicare beneficiaries’ eligibility for certain coverage benefits.
HHS OIG confirmed to Information Security Media Group that the findings from that smaller scale audit prompted the launch of a more expansive nationwide investigation into whether Medicare beneficiary information is being inappropriately obtained through these electronic Eligibility Verification Transactions, also known as or E1 transactions, violating patients’ privacy.
“The report that came out today was more narrow in scope, [but] the nationwide audit to be announced next week will aim to determine how widespread the inappropriate use of these transactions is,” an HHS OIG spokeswoman tells ISMG.
After Malware Attack, Doctor Network Had Widespread Outage
Hundreds of pediatric healthcare providers in Massachusetts were still unable to access their electronic health records systems Thursday after a malware attack earlier this week targeted a large physician network affiliated with Boston Children’s Hospital.
The system outage affecting Brookline, Mass.-based Pediatric Physicians Organization at Children’s started on Tuesday; the malware attack was discovered on Monday afternoon.
As of Thursday, the records system outage continued at the physician network, which includes more than 100 pediatric practices who serve more than 350,000 throughout the state.
The pediatrics organization and its various practices affected by the attack referred all inquiries to Boston Children’s Hospital. A hospital spokeswoman tells Information Security Media Group that the malware attack did not involve ransomware and it did not affect the
HIMSS offers coronavirus updates ahead of Global Health Conference
The 2020 HIMSS Global Health Conference is set for March 9-13 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. As the conference approaches, HIMSS is offering weekly updates on how it is handling the ongoing coronavirus situation. “HIMSS20 is proceeding as scheduled,” said HIMSS officials in the most recent update. “The health, safety and well-being of our community remains our highest priority.”
How to protect against the most pressing threat to healthcare clouds today
The director of solutions architecture at a cloud vendor says the top threat is an insufficient protection of sensitive data both where physical and logical safeguards are implemented.
HIMSS20 Global Health Conference tips and tricks
Jonah Comstock, editor-in-chief of HIMSS Media, offers some advice for successfully navigating HIMSS20, including some resource guides and webinars.
Using EHRs to track patients in real time
Health systems can develop patient flow analytics, which can result in faster, more comprehensive care and a quicker release from the hospital. In this era of value-based care, it is imperative that hospitals excel at patient flow. This entails serving appropriate patients rapidly, effectively, and efficiently as they move through different facilities, departments, and stages of care.
At University of California, Irvine Medical Center, there has been a drive to improve the health system’s ability to provide the right patients with the right care in the right setting.
Nurses: Dealing With Suicide and Burnout
Suicide Risk Among Nurses Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Health, Department of Nursing, have conducted a national longitudinal study and found that the rate of suicide among nurses is higher than that of the general population (Davidson et al. 2020a).
An analysis of data from the 2005–2016 National Violent Death Reporting System dataset showed that female nurses have been at greater risk since 2005 and males since 2011. Lead author Judy Davidson notes that “the data does not reflect a rise in suicide, but rather that nurse suicide has been unaddressed for years.”
Over the analysed period, female nurse suicide rates were significantly higher than the general female population, 10 vs 7 per 100,000 respectively. For male nurses and the general male population the figures are 33 vs 27 per 100,000 respectively.
The preferred methods of suicide among females were opioids and benzodiazepines, while firearms was the most common choice for male nurses.
The authors point out the necessity to implement suicide prevention programmes. One such programme, successfully tested by UC San Diego, is Healer Education Assessment and Referral (HEAR) programme. It provides education about risk factors and proactive screening focussed on identifying, supporting and referring clinicians for untreated depression and/or suicide risk. The sustainability of HEAR is explored in another study by Davidson and colleagues (2020b) claiming that it proved to be feasible and well‐received and proactively identifies nurses with reported suicidality and facilitates referral for care.
AI drug reaches trials in world first.
For the first time, an AI-made drug has reached the clinical trials stage.
Called DSP-1181, the pharmaceutical drug created by AI technology to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, is in phase 1 trials in Japan.
When the health IT expert becomes the patient
When healthcare IT professional Laura Jantos became the patient, she gained a new perspective on what is lacking in consumer-facing technologies.
Laura Jantos, who is retired as a partner in a management consulting firm leading its HCIT practice, will share her experience during HIMSS20.
How Chief Medical Officers Plan, Implement and Champion New Technology
From ensuring quality care and educating providers to managing organizational culture, chief medical officers have no shortage of responsibilities.
But as electronic health records, value-based reimbursement, changing consumer preferences, data-driven wearables and artificial intelligence grow in scope and necessity, CMOs find many new challenges on their plate. That, in turn, is broadening the role, requiring leaders to be tech-savvy, financially focused and highly collaborative with vendors and business teams.
HealthTech recently spoke to Dr. Kent Bishop about the balance. Bishop, an obstetrician/gynecologist, is CMO at ProMedica Physicians and Acute Care in Toledo, Ohio, and president of women’s services and chief experience officer at ProMedica.