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Top stories summarized by our editors
6/5/2020

Epidemiologists say a significant proportion of coronavirus infections occurred at so-called superspreader events, or large gatherings where one infected person transmitted the virus to many others in close proximity. But researchers also suspect only about 20% to 30% of infected individuals actually transmit the virus, possibly due to differences in immunity, behavior or respiratory system differences.

6/5/2020

Patient portals and mobile health apps are generally inaccessible to people with limited English proficiency, low incomes and other underserved populations, according to a JAMA Network commentary. Health IT professionals and health care professionals can improve health equity by promoting accessibility, digital health literacy and inclusive design, authors wrote.

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EHR Intelligence
6/5/2020

Inaccurate data in health care provider directories sets up patients for surprise bills and results in frustration and care delays, particularly for patients seeking mental health care, researchers reported in Health Affairs. Fifty-three percent of people surveyed who used their insurer's directory to find mental health care said information they found was incorrect, and patients who found inaccurate information were much more likely those who didn't to get out-of-network care and receive a surprise bill.

6/5/2020

More than 100 people joined a class-action lawsuit against Aveanna Healthcare for a data breach that lasted for a month last year and compromised the protected health information of more than 166,000 patients. Plaintiffs say Aveanna did not begin notifying potential victims within 60 days of discovering the breach, inadequately protected patient data and failed to ensure its vendors protected patient data.

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Health IT Security
6/5/2020

Automated dispensing cabinets should be included in risk analyses required under HIPAA's Security Rule, writes health care attorney and bioethicist Rachel Rose. ADCs are often connected to EHRs, and patient information entered into an ADC is transmitted to the patient's EHR, meaning confidentiality, integrity and availability of the protected health information must be evaluated, Rose writes.

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Physicians Practice
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Rachel Rose
6/5/2020

Health care employees working remotely are being targeted by a voicemail phishing campaign, or "vishing," according to voicemail security firm Ironscales. Scammers have capitalized on vulnerabilities in private branch exchange technology to send voice messages directly to employee inboxes, and more than 100,000 voicemail boxes worldwide have been hit, the company says.

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Health IT Security
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Ironscales
6/5/2020

Former National Coordinator for Health IT Vindell Washington, now Verily's chief clinical officer, was appointed interim CEO of Onduo, a virtual diabetes clinic backed by Verily. The clinic personalizes diabetes care for health plan members.

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Vindell Washington
6/5/2020

Three regional hospital systems and two large health systems in Mississippi are already members of the Mississippi Hospital Association' statewide health information exchange set to launch within the next month. The HIE uses Care Continuity's site navigation and patient advocacy platforms and will enable secure clinical document exchange, referral management and team-based care.

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EHR Intelligence
6/5/2020

America's Health Insurance Plans developed an infographic to explain how the coronavirus pandemic affects the individual health insurance market as insurers set rates for 2021 plans. Unemployment will affect the individual market risk pool, as will special enrollment periods on state-run exchanges, future costs of covering COVID-19 care, and state and federal regulatory changes, but it's difficult to predict to what extent.

6/5/2020

Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated plans captured 47% of the Affordable Care Act exchange market in 2018, compared with 42% in 2016, but large national insurers along with regional insurers remain important, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Recognizable brand names and broad provider networks appear to be important considerations along with premium costs, and "could have important implications for competition in these markets and for federal health spending on marketplace subsidies," the report said.