Managing medications via iPhone
Medisafe’s medication management platform is now integrated with Apple Health Records, providing an easier way to keep tabs on prescriptions and boost medication adherence, says CEO Omri Shor.
Medisafe’s medication management platform is now integrated with Apple Health Records, providing an easier way to keep tabs on prescriptions and boost medication adherence, says CEO Omri Shor.
Because of the great amount of personal information involved, medical records command a high value on the dark web and can be listed for up to $1,000 each – 10 times more than the average credit card data breach record. Cybercriminals can then easily obtain this information and impersonate legitimate patients.
This is why digital identity verification is a key component of ensuring patient security. This is why all sectors of healthcare need to properly vet and verify their patients to ensure that they are who they claim to be.
Over the past decade, there have been more than 2,550 healthcare data breaches impacting more than 175 million medical records, according to the HIPAA Journal. That’s the equivalent of affecting more than 50% of the U.S. population.
People in the UK could benefit from faster diagnosis and better treatment for debilitating illnesses after the government revealed this week that it would invest over £130m in research for healthcare innovation.
This includes a £50m funding boost to support NHS diagnostic services and the work of the Centres of Excellence in digital pathology and imaging with AI, set up by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) last year.
The healthcare industry continues to be a favorite target of hackers. And the only way this will stop is for hospitals to take control of their technology. In this guest post, Keenan Skelly, VP of global partnerships and security evangelist at a market leader in next-generation cybersecurity readiness, offers a few ways facilities can strengthen cybersecurity and prevent future breaches and cyberattacks.
In the nearly 20 years since I started medical school, I’ve seen the practice of medicine undergo a wholesale technological transformation. Take medical records as a simple example. I am 100% certain that today’s medical students are much slower walkers than me. Why? Because the days of sprinting on rounds to get ahead of the white coat phalanx, pull down a cabinet and open a three-ring binder chart to the next blank page before the intern reaches the door ended a decade ago.
Today’s medical students are instead both blessed and cursed with EMRs and patient care technologies that track and trend every aspect of the inpatient and outpatient course, demanding hours of tedious, field-driven data entry while yielding treasure troves of mineable new information.
Men do it, women do it, young, old, Men do it, women do it, young, old, even doctors admit to doing it sometimes. In fact, if there’s anything surprising about the news that 50pc of us seek health advice online, it’s that the figure is so low.
According to new research carried out on behalf of the RCSI, half of all Irish people surveyed say they use the internet to investigate potential health woes.
The knee-jerk reaction to such a statistic is to fear that these keyboard patients are putting their health at risk by not heading directly for their GP’s busy waiting room.
But is the internet really such a bad place to venture when you’re worried about your well-being?
Several months ago, I was told I would need a biopsy on my breast. I was breastfeeding at the time and advised to stop to have the procedure. Reluctant to do so if not absolutely necessary, I sought other opinions online, contacting one of the world’s leading lactation experts, Dr Jack Newman, via the web, as well as experts in La Leche League.
Risa Stack, general manager at GE Ventures, discusses new trends in consumerism and patient engagement as well as advances in pharmacogenomic therapies.
The CEO of a telemedicine company has pleaded guilty for his role in one of the largest healthcare fraud schemes the feds have ever investigated.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed charges against 24 telemedicine executives, medical device company executives and physicians in April alleging the defendants were involved in a “complex, multi-layered scheme” to defraud Medicare, with losses totaling $1.2 billion.
DOJ said that the involved medical device companies paid kickbacks and bribes to physicians at telemedicine companies in exchange for referrals for back, shoulder, wrist and knee braces that were not medically necessary.
All told, more than $1.7 billion was billed to Medicare under the scheme, with $900 million paid out.
DOJ announced Friday that one of the indicted telemedicine executives had entered a guilty plea in the case. Lester Stockett, 52, of Medellin, Colombia, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Federal regulators have recently issued three advisories on cybersecurity vulnerabilities identified in medical devices. Some experts say the spotlighted flaws are issues commonly found in legacy medical devices as well as other IT products.
See Also: The Application Security Team’s Framework For Upgrading Legacy Applications
The advisories from the U.S Computer Emergency Response Team, or U.S. CERT, a unit of the recently launched Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of the Department of Homeland Security, address the following issues:
A “session fixation” vulnerability. This is in certain versions of the BD Pyxis medication management platform from Becton Dickinson.
Existing access privileges are not restricted in coordination with the expiration of access based on Active Directory user account changes when the device is joined to an Active Directory domain. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow the AD credentials of a previously authenticated user to be used to gain access to the device, patient data and medications.
For exploitation to occur, products must be actively using AD for login and be connected to the hospital domain. Users who do not use AD are not impacted by this vulnerability.
A “use of obsolete function” vulnerability. This vulnerability occurs in the Philips HDI 4000 Ultrasound system if it runs an outdated and unsupported operating system, such as Windows 2000. The vulnerability could allow an unauthorized user to access ultrasound images or compromise image integrity.
“An “incorrect default permissions” vulnerability. This is found in some cardiology products from Change Healthcare, which was created in 2016 when McKesson Corp.’s information technology unit merged with Change Healthcare Holdings.
The vulnerability affects Horizon Cardiology 11.x and earlier, Horizon Cardiology 12.x, McKesson Cardiology 13.x, McKesson Cardiology 14.x and Change Healthcare Cardiology 14.1.x. Insecure file permissions in the default installation could enable an attacker with local system access to execute unauthorized arbitrary code.
At Health 2.0 this month, seven disparate companies will show how their apps and platforms are being put to work leveraging clinical and social data to drive innovations in care delivery. As healthcare data proliferates by the nanosecond, the challenges of aggregating and analyzing it all have never been greater – but neither have the opportunities when innovative applications are put to work mining and harvesting it for more rigorous evidence-based care.
Leaders from seven data-driven healthcare companies, some of them startups, some of them stalwarts, will take the stage in a session at Health 2.0 on Sept. 17 to show and tell how their technologies are helping stakeholders across the industry – consumers, providers, payers, biopharma and life sciences companies, other IT vendors – make more valuable use of clinical, behavioral, social and other health data.
Consumer healthcare businesses can describe their work a lot of ways: as wellness, as disease prevention or as healthcare outside the traditional health system. Or there’s biohacking, a term that has emerged to describe all kinds of ways individuals can optimize their own health in the same way that tech-saavy folks optimize their computers.
At the annual Health 2.0 Fall Conference this month in Santa Clara, California, representatives from Oura Ring, Arc Fusion, FitnessGenes, Everlywell and Headspace will demo their products and discuss how they fit into the increasingly mainstream world of biohacking.
In a sense, biohacking takes self-monitoring and self-tracking to the next level, because it has a goal of not only making people more aware of their health, but of helping them to take action on that awareness and information.
“If you’re going to help people make meaningful long-term behavior changes you need to help them develop that sense of self-efficacy and the ability to do this themselves, which really is about having self-compassion, acceptance that change is a slow process, and it’s a balance of how do you give people a sense of immediate impact and relief while guiding them toward more long-term, robust changes,” Megan Jones Bell, chief science officer at Headspace and one of the speakers on the panel, told MobiHealthNews.
The pace of electronic health record (EHR)-related medical malpractice claims has tripled from 2010 to 2018, according to a recent analysis from The Doctors Company, a physician-owned medical malpractice insurance company.
The company uncovered that the frequency of these claims tripled, growing from just seven cases in 2010 to an average of 22.5 cases per year in 2017 and 2018. While EHRs are not often the primary cause of claims—they typically are described as “contributing” factors—and the frequency of claims with an EHR factor continues to be low (1.1 percent of all claims closed since 2010), as EHRs approach near-universal adoption, they may become a more prevalent source of risk, researchers noted.
As such, the study aims to shed light on potential risks they may pose in care delivery, as well as the top factors that contributed to the claims. The study showed that EHR-related claims were caused by either system technology and design issues or by user-related issues, such as EHR failures; lack of or failure of an EHR alert or alarm; fragmented record; insufficient scope/area for documentation in the EHR; failure/lack of electronic routing of data; lack of integration/incompatible systems; and failure to ensure information security.
Healthcare providers who need to connect with patients have more competition than ever in grabbing their attention. Consumers are bombarded with calls and emails—particularly in this era of rampant robocalls—not to mention all the distractions from ads and social media. Yet communication that is critical to patients’ well-being needs to get through, because it’s rarely top of mind.
Research shows the average person has trouble remembering when they had their last physical. Or when they are due for their next mammogram. Or whether their provider offers important preventive options, to name a few examples.
Healthcare organizations need to proactively mitigate the threats of malicious insiders, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights reminds covered entities and business associates in a recent alert.
“Malicious insiders can succeed in harming an organization by intentionally leaking or destroying sensitive information,” OCR, which enforces HIPAA, writes. “The harm can take various forms, including loss of data, damage to the organization’s reputation, civil liability exposure, and potential federal and state regulatory enforcement actions. In addition to organizational harm, individuals affected by a data breach could be at risk for identity theft, fraud, or even blackmail.”
As of Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights’ HIPAA Breach Reporting Tool website showed that the number of individuals affected by breaches added to the tally so far this year has tripled to nearly 33 million since Aug. 5, when Information Security Media Group offered a snapshot assessment.
Two new and seemingly unrelated approaches to delivering healthcare are starting to take shape in the industry: the use of artificial intelligence, and the integration of social determinants of health in crafting care plans. Both trends are developing independently, but they’re likely due to intersect; factoring in SDOH is possible due to data, and if AI shines in any one particular area, it’s making sense of complex data sets.
If the social determinants are comprised of the socioeconomic factors that can influence a person’s health – income, education, access to transportation, etc. – then AI has the potential to allow providers to make the best possible use of that information.
That becomes increasingly important as value-based care emerges. With reimbursement increasingly tied to health outcomes, providers have a real incentive to ensure they’re delivering the best care possible.
Terry Ward, senior vice president of solutions at healthcare technology outfit Apixio, sees SDOH broken down into three distinct stages: identification, integration and application.
Identification comes first, as care teams need to pinpoint the specific SDOH factors that are relevant to a given case. Ward estimates social determinants can account for 60 to 70 percent of total health outcomes, which makes it imperative to identify social support structures, community resources, and other variables that can have a profound effect on health outcomes.
The mission of the project is to fill the knowledge gaps regarding effective interventions to reduce burnout and dissatisfaction.
Three representative vendors discuss why social determinants of health are important to population health management, and describe how their technologies help put these important data points to work. Social determinants of health have proven and measurable impacts on the health outcomes of patient populations. This is why the healthcare industry is seeing heightened focus on SDOH from many sectors, including payer organizations, health systems and independent medical groups.
SDOH are factors influencing patient outcomes that are outside the scope of traditional medicine. These might include geographical factors such as where a patient lives, social factors like interpersonal relationships, cultural factors like religion and economic factors such as income.
Different from SDOH, and more foundational to patient health and well-being, are critical needs, such as water, food, shelter and clothing.
Digitalisation has made a huge impact on life today, this is not only seen in manufacturing but also communications and particularly in healthcare services. By digitalising healthcare, we can provide high-quality care whilst also improving patient experiences.
Healthcare’s digitalisation is evident, although this seems to be happening slowly due to the sector’s slow adoption of new technology. Today, healthcare faces issues such as the ageing population, increasing medical costs and chronic diseases – digitalisation could be the key to tackling these challenges. Also, staff shortages have been highlighted as an ongoing issue in healthcare, shifting a focus to make systems more efficient.
A survey of IT leaders, conducted by MeriTalk, found that $342 billion is lost in benefits each year due to poor data integration. This is mainly due to a lack of interoperability between government health and human services agencies.
It has also been found that a large majority of medical tests are not being followed up, with numbers as high as 62% for laboratory tests and 35% for radiology tests. Critical diagnoses are therefore being missed as a result of this.
To tackle the rising medical costs, healthcare needs efficiency gains. In a recent Harvard Review, it was discovered that healthcare costs in the U.S. account for a fifth of all economic activity. This number is expected to rise over the coming years as a result of high life expectancies and the increasing number of chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
Clear evidence of healthcare’s digitalisation can be seen in the medical equipment sector, for example, the cyberknife for brain surgery and prostatectomy robots. New technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) have also been making waves in this respect. The data generated by the healthcare industry is growing at a rate of 48% each year as a result of utilising this new technology. It is therefore unsurprising that providers now want to utilise this data to gain more information about the patients they are treating.
There are many other up and coming areas for digitalisation in healthcare, such as:
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) This gives patients the ability to consolidate data through the use of medical equipment with access to collect, analyse and send data, allowing direct healthcare connectivity. Healthcare 4.0 By utilising data for information allows healthcare management to make more informed decisions and increase the efficiency of the healthcare system. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Shortages in radiology mean that there is an increasing gap between the radiologist and patient data. AI is a tool which could help tackle this issue and increase productivity. Cybersecurity With patient records being monetised, concerns have been raised over current cybersecurity issues. It is only by improving security issues can health providers work to maintain the patient’s privacy.
Health IT giant Cerner is laying off 255 of its U.S. employees as part of its previously announced efforts to cut costs and boost operating margins to 20% by the end of the year. Health IT giant Cerner is laying off 255 of its U.S. employees as part of its previously announced efforts to boost operating margins to 20% by the end of the year.
About half of the layoffs, which were announced Wednesday, will occur at the company’s Kansas City-area offices, according to the Kansas City Business Journal.
“As mentioned in our earnings call earlier this year, we’re looking to identify organizational efficiencies as we implement our new operating model. Part of that strategy includes a realignment of resources focused on key growth areas across the company,” Misti Preston, a Cerner spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement.
Before allowing employees to use their own phones and other tech on the job, take the following precautions.
Interfaith Medical Center deployed a variety of network security technologies to ward off ransomware and other attacks, virtualizing its servers in the process, which resulted in cost savings of more than $2 million over a seven-year period. Christopher Frenz, assistant vice president of information security at Interfaith, is a strong believer in testing security and empirically determining how secure an organization actually is.
By 2015, it was becoming clear to him that eventually a hospital was going to be hit by a ransomware attack. This sparked his interest in determining just how well Interfaith would be able to withstand an attack.
“One of the ways I approached this was simulating a mass malware outbreak within the hospital, using a custom developed script and the EICAR test string,” he explained. “Running the script attempted to copy and execute the EICAR test string on each PC within the organization to simulate the lateral movement of a threat within the hospital.
“Exercises like these are great because they help an organization concretely identify what security controls are effective, which controls are ineffective or in need of improvement, how well or not the staff response to an incident will be, and if there are any deficiencies in the organization’s incident response plan,” he explained.
At Adventist Health White Memorial, reducing OR turnaround time by just three minutes may seem small – but at five turnarounds per day, multiplied by six operating rooms, it adds up to $974,160 per year. The primary challenge was case progression. If the first surgery of the day at the 353-bed, not-for-profit teaching hospital was delayed, it disrupted the entire schedule for the rest of the day.
This was primarily due to difficulty in communicating efficiently and in a timely manner with the various surgery teams and support staff to let them know about delays, schedule changes and other factors in the multiple phases of the patient’s care.
“It was also due to the fact that our patients could be on any one of our three floors, either having their blood drawn or having imaging or testing done, so we were not always certain of their location,” Saad explained.
“Inefficiencies and miscommunication resulted in delays and slower turnaround times in our eight operating rooms, which negatively affected the experience of patients and families, surgeons and staff, as well as increasing our costs,” he said.
Smartphone users now think of their device not just as a means of communication, but a method of staying healthy. According to ITProPortal, the wellness mobile application market grew by 61 percent in 2018 and, thanks to these apps, users can lose weight, read their blood pressure, and perform other health tasks in a fast and flexible manner.
It’s no surprise, then, that insurance and health services providers like Cigna, CVS Health, and United HealthCare, have rolled out their own mobile apps. Users may be able to make appointments, order prescriptions, and access medical records, saving them unnecessary trips to the pharmacy or faraway clinics.
The remote care tools are also helping tackle problems of loneliness with virtual group programs. Across the US and Europe, the population is rapidly aging. In Finland this “silver tsunami” is particularly true.
Roughly 22% of the country’s population is over the age of 65, a figure only expected to grow over the next decade, according to Statistics Finland. Moreover, in about 50 years over a third of the population will be classified as a senior citizen.
In the nation’s capital, the Digital Service Center Helsinki is creating new tech-enabled tools that help remotely monitor patients at home.
“At least here in Finland, home is really important, it’s kind of a sacred place,” Jere Finne, development manager at Palvelukeskus Helsinki, said at a media event in June. “Our customers want to stay as long as they can, and that is what we are trying to provide to them.”
Older Finnish patients are now starting to use everything from video chats with nurses, to smart medication dispensers and even GPS trackers. So far around 800 clients are using the remote care services.