Premera Blue Cross has agreed to pay $6.9 million and implement a corrective action plan to settle HHS Office for Civil Rights allegations that the insurer failed to conduct enterprise-wide cyberrisk analyses and did not have adequate risk management and audit protocols in accordance with HIPAA rules. A successful phishing attempt resulted in a breach from May 2014 to January 2015 and exposed more than 10 million patient records that included names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, bank account numbers and health plan clinical information.
Psychiatry professor Peter Yellowlees has been using videoconferencing for patient consults since the 1990s and says that, like house calls, the technology enables health care providers to get a glimpse of patients' home environments. Telemedicine is more convenient and can be less intimidating than in-office care, and it may boost comfort in patients with agoraphobia, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, Yellowlees says.
A "significant information technology system downtime event" that began Sept. 20 has caused Nebraska Medicine to postpone elective procedures and routine appointments, and while staff have continued to see patients and the emergency department has remained open, health care providers are charting manually. A statement from the health system said no electronic medical records were permanently destroyed or deleted in the security incident, but a spokesperson did not answer a question regarding exposure of patients' medical or financial information.
An aging US population requires advance planning in areas such as health care, employment, and transportation so the US doesn't "wake up one day and realize that there are more older people and we don't have the infrastructure or the systems to help support them," said Marcia Ory, founding director of the Texas A&M Center for Population Health and Aging. "We should see population aging as an opportunity for positive change in all of our sectors rather than a harbinger of doom and gloom," Ory said.
Artist and designer Ziv Schneider created a virtual influencer, Sylvia, to study the intersection between influencers and aging. Sylvia joined Instagram as a 30-something graphic designer and will age 10 years per month until she is in her 80s.
A new Florida law requires the state attorney of each judicial circuit to convene an elder abuse fatality review team to provide recommendations on how to prevent future deaths. The panel will analyze closed cases to look for how procedures can be improved and where there are gaps in services.
The Ventura County Area Agency on Aging in California is asking people to write letters to older adults and people with disabilities to help reduce their isolation and loneliness related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meals on Wheels America is part of the "Letters of Support Campaign" and will deliver the notes and cards with food boxes.
CHSPSC, a health information management company that works with hospitals and health clinics, will pay $2.3 million and take corrective action to settle allegations that the company allowed a breach to continue after being informed by the FBI that its network had been hacked. Protected health and financial information of more than 6 million patients across 237 covered entities was compromised from April through August 2014, authorities say.
Scientists at Monash University say they have developed an algorithm that automatically detects spikes on electroencephalograms that indicate epilepsy. The scientists trained a machine learning model on more than 400 EEGs of patients with and without epilepsy, and researcher Doug Nhu says the algorithm could result in significant time savings, and the university said it could also be a valuable training tool for new neurologists.
Some hospitals and health systems suspended or delayed plans to scale up new EHR systems when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but others forged ahead, believing EHRs would enhance their response efforts. California-based Valley Children's Healthcare was among the latter and reworked their on-site command center into a virtual helpline, giving health care providers at newly acquired practices access to immediate assistance.