The HIMSS' Interoperability Initiatives Environmental Scan is an educational resource intended to update hospital executives about interoperability initiatives and national developments in health information exchange. It includes information such as organizations' approaches to and costs for information exchange.
Researchers at Texas Biomedical Research Institute are developing an Ebola virus treatment that can reduce viral load enough to allow the patient's immune system to clear the rest of the infection. The treatment has been effective in nonhuman primates, whose immune responses are so similar to humans' that "we are confident in saying, if we are able to protect a monkey against the Ebola virus, it should work in humans," said scientist Ricardo Carrion.
Chimpanzees that were part of research projects at the NIH should be moved to retirement sanctuaries unless relocating them would be "extremely likely" to put their life, safety and welfare at extreme risk, an NIH working group said in a report. The opinion of an independent veterinary expert should be sought in questionable cases, and the sending and receiving facilities should collaborate and share veterinary records, according to the report, which also notes that the NIH "lacks the data necessary to proactively assess the health of individual chimpanzees in its colony, track chimpanzees over time, or conduct its own population or actuarial research."
A study in the journal Cell, based on 2 million EHRs from three New York-based academic medical centers, showed that emergency contact information in EHRs could help predict a patient's risk of developing 500 hereditary conditions, including celiac disease and type 2 diabetes. Researchers identified 7.4 million familial relationships from reviews of standard emergency contact information included in patients' EHRs.
Kickstand Communications polled 600 US employees from various industries and found that 87% of health care workers reported using nonsecure email to share sensitive data, including protected health information, with almost three-quarters of them considering email to be a secure form of data, document or information delivery. Findings also showed that health care workers were 36% more likely to use nonsecure methods such as email to send regulated data than those from the financial services sector, and a majority of them admit to externally sharing customer data and regulated data.
Hospital board leaders should foster innovation in their organizations by strengthening board practices, such as expanding diversity of experience and background when choosing board members and developing an innovation mindset, and establishing unlikely organizational collaborations, write Jim Finkelstein and Sheila Repeta of FutureSense. Leaders should also choose hospital executives who can leverage metered creativity and adaptability for innovation, they write.
The Department of Veterans Affairs finalized its $10 billion, 10-year contract with EHR vendor Cerner on Thursday, making it one of the federal government's largest IT deals. The agreement requires Cerner to provide an EHR system that enables seamless, secure patient data sharing among the VA, community providers and the Defense Department and allows the VA to add system capabilities to help meet veterans' and providers' needs.
The Department of Homeland Security is on track to add all 23 major federal agencies to the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center dashboard by early June. Fifteen of 23 agencies have been added to the dashboard, which is seen as critical to providing cyberthreat protection to federal networks.
Recent data breaches in the health care sector include a third party gaining unauthorized access in December to a medical transcription platform at Nuance, a speech recognition software provider in Burlington, Mass., which compromised the information of 45,000 patients. In addition, 15,552 individuals could have had their information exposed after a possible email account breach at Ohio-based USACS Management Group on March 9, and 3,453 patients at Arkansas Health Group may be affected after their information was exposed on a cloud-based file-sharing website.
1upHealth was named the Stage 2 winner of the ONC's "Secure API Server Showdown" challenge, which the agency said "sought to engage the health IT industry to identify Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) servers that reinforce the value of following technical security best practices on an industry-wide scale." The ONC said 1upHealth devised ways to make the open source FHIR server stronger, which helped support sensitive patient data and improve the server's overall security.