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7/9/2020

Telemedicine has gained prominence during the coronavirus pandemic as a vital care delivery vehicle, but the most vulnerable patients are being left behind, and health disparities will deepen unless health care systems deploy video technology that is widely accessible to underserved populations, writes Daniel Horn, who has led the implementation of telehealth at more than 24 primary care practices that serve 200,000-plus patients in Massachusetts. Video-based telemedicine is used primarily by those in the upper- and middle-income brackets, while those of lower economic means tend to be limited to audio-only visits, Horn writes.

7/9/2020

Thirty-five senators asked HHS and the CMS to share plans for rolling back or making permanent temporary changes to telehealth rules. In a July 2 letter, the senators urged the agencies to provide a written plan and timeline for creating permanent telehealth administrative changes to Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, and to confirm existing in-office Medicare reimbursement parity for telehealth services will be maintained, among other requests.

7/9/2020

In-person group meetings for people with substance abuse disorder have been canceled or curtailed, and patients have hesitated to seek treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, but telemedicine has bridged the gap and might expand options after the pandemic subsides. Telemedicine makes it easier for some patients to keep appointments and could reduce patient apprehension, but it's also easier to "dissociate on the phone in a way that you can't in person," says Fred Muench, president of the Partnership to End Addiction.

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HealthDay News
7/9/2020

Zipari, a health plan enrollment administrator, notified Providence Health Plan that a coding error enabled unauthorized access to some small-group plan enrollment documents last year. The vendor patched the error and implemented additional controls, and the health plan is arranging an independent audit of Zipari's cybersecurity structure and offering identity theft protection to affected subscribers.

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Becker’s Health IT
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Zipari
7/9/2020

An unauthorized entity gained access to Independence Blue Cross, AmeriHealth HMO and AmeriHealth Insurance Co. of New Jersey subscriber portals sometime between mid-March and the end of April, potentially compromising subscriber records and protected health information. The portals were opened using legitimate credentials that appear to have been obtained through breaches of third-party apps and websites.

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HIPAA Journal
7/9/2020

The new Collective and Augmented Intelligence Against COVID-19 coalition aims to develop a tool to help policymakers sort through information about digital contact tracing of novel coronavirus infections, misinformation regarding the pandemic, and secondary and tertiary COVID-19 effects. "With COVID-19 we realized there are tons of data available, but there was little global coordination on how to share it," said CAIAC steering committee member Cyrus Hodes.

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Axios
7/8/2020

A case report in Brain describes 43 COVID-19 patients who experienced stroke, temporary brain dysfunction, nerve damage or brain inflammation, and study co-leader Michael Zandi warned of the possibility of an epidemic of brain damage "similar to the encephalitis lethargica outbreak in the 1920s and 1930s after the 1918 influenza pandemic." Meanwhile, Canadian researchers are heading an international study in which COVID-19 patients can volunteer to take a series of cognitive tests to gauge brain function.

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Reuters
7/8/2020

Cellphone location data can help fight the spread of the coronavirus by alerting health officials when crowds form in particular areas, Colorado State University researchers say. "All we have to do is perform the measurements using anonymous data that is already being collected for other reasons. We are not tracking individuals," explains Edwin Chong, a CSU professor.

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Network World
7/8/2020

About 150 of the more than 1,200 standardized terms added to the Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes dataset relate to COVID-19. Regenstrief Institute developed and maintains the codes and has worked with the CDC and laboratories to develop the new codes.

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EHR Intelligence
7/8/2020

Having inconsistent or inaccurate data stored in EHRs, registration systems and ancillary systems can cause mail to be misdirected, resulting in HIPAA violations as well as billing and payment delays, writes Decant Data Solutions founder Sharon Taylor. Cleaning up dirty data starts with exporting a list of patients, addresses and demographic data from each registration system across the enterprise, then developing educational materials and checklists, and monitoring data entry to ensure procedures are being followed, Taylor writes.

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Healthcare IT News