A medical advisory has been released by the Department of Homeland Security about an encryption vulnerability that "may allow an attacker with physical access to impact confidentiality and integrity" of the Philips HealthSuite Health app for Android. Philips, which will release new software to address the issue in the first quarter of 2019, said it has received no reports of clinical use incidents related to the vulnerability or of it being exploited.
Officials from the Health IT Now coalition have criticized the ONC for missing the most recent publication deadline for the proposed information blocking rule, saying that "more than two years after 21st Century Cures was enacted, patients and providers are still without an information blocking rule -- undermining the intent of the law." HITN Executive Director Joel White said, "By continuing to slow walk these regulations, the administration is adding to uncertainty in the marketplace and is quickly reaching a point whereby it will be in obvious defiance of the spirit of the Cures law."
Researchers at the University of California at San Francisco will investigate weight loss patterns in healthy newborns by integrating the Newborn Weight Tool into the university's Epic EHR and using an automated data collection system. "We hope the study will improve decision-making about whether supplemental feeding or other interventions might be warranted," said lead author Dr. Valerie Flaherman.
A significant gap remains between health care organizations' digital care initiatives and their ability to accomplish those goals, writes Mark Gilbert of Gartner. CIOs can play a key role by taking the lead in defining digital business goals, communicating their organizations' capabilities and digital targets to other executives, implementing best practices for digital technology investment and training the workforce to improve digital dexterity.
The health care industry continues to be a target for hackers, with Protenus Breach Barometer reporting that 3.15 million patient records were affected by breaches in the second quarter of 2018, and CIOs need to stay alert to address vulnerabilities and protect their data from intrusions, writes Steve Cochran of GHX. Precautions should include ensuring that critical security software is in place, educating employees to prevent internal breaches and preparing for possible intrusions.
Health care organizations can leverage the capabilities of artificial intelligence tools to improve existing EHR systems, experts say. AI may make EHRs more user-friendly, enable providers to increase productivity, personalize recommendations for treatment, improve data extraction and discovery, and support clinical note composition and data collection.
Despite years of warnings about creating secure passwords to protect personal data, in 2018 the two worst passwords of all time -- "123456" and "password" -- are still being used, according to SplashData, a company that provides password management applications. "It's a real head-scratcher that with all the risks known, and with so many highly publicized hacks such as Marriott and the National Republican Congressional Committee, that people continue putting themselves at such risk year-after-year," says SplashData CEO Morgan Slain.
Between 40 and 50 doctors have reportedly been hired by Apple in the past few years as the technology company continues to place an emphasis on healthcare technology. This may help the company appeal to physicians as it launches health tech to integrate into its Apple Watch, iPad and iPhone.
The healthcare market is unhealthy and uncompetitive but that can be improved with transparency and regulation, says NEJM Catalyst New Marketplace Theme Leader Leemore Dafny. When the next recession comes, employers and taxpayers are "going to demand competition, transparency focused on the supply side where it might be useful, and regulation," she says.
Practices that are seeing their profits decline should avoid making a quick change and should instead take the time to fully investigate and determine the reasons why. Before cutting expenses, it's important to ensure the cuts don't hurt productivity or create unnecessary hardship for employees.
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