Researchers studying the genes of 81 species of roundworms and flatworms are discovering how worms manipulate the human immune system and cause diseases such as river blindness, schistosomiasis and hookworm disease in a billion people worldwide. The researchers identified many new potential treatment targets and studied existing drugs to identify those that could be repurposed to kill parasitic worms.
The NIH recently issued a final policy for retiring chimpanzees that have played a vital role in biomedical research for decades to a sanctuary in Louisiana, with their care funded by the federal government and private donations. The policy leaves some core philosophical and practical issues unresolved, such as what setting and care practices are best for the well-being of the chimps, including those that are elderly, frail and longtime members of stable social groups, writes Allyson Bennett.
The imminent arrival of "fourth revolution technology," such as 5G, biosensors, genetic manipulation, robotics and neural networking, will prompt health CIOs to learn advancements at a quicker pace than before, CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell said. Health CIOs and other health IT leaders should communicate and collaborate to keep up with new advancements in health care, Branzell said.
SamSam ransomware attacked a total of 67 organizations across various sectors so far this year, 56 of which were in the US and one-quarter of which affected health care organizations, according to a blog post by security firm Symantec. The firm advises organizations to back up their data and warns against paying ransom because this "does not always work" and cyberattackers "may not send a decryption key, could poorly implement the decryption process and damage files, and may deliver a larger ransom demand after receiving the initial payment."
CHIME has begun raising funds for its Opioid Health IT Action Center, a web-based repository of opioid crisis-related knowledge and resources for health organizations, at the CHIME18 Fall CIO Forum. CHIME Opioid Task Force co-chair Bruce Cerullo said the effort has raised $130,000 in commitments so far.
This year's HealthCare's Most Wired survey of 618 health care organizations, conducted by CHIME, found that just 29% have implemented comprehensive cybersecurity programs, and 31% of those that lack programs meet with their executive committee less than once a year -- or not at all -- to provide security updates. Implementation of a comprehensive cybersecurity program also led to support for security measures, including database monitoring, adaptive risk-based authentication for network access, data-loss prevention, log management and provisioning systems.
Health care organizations may reduce the risk of compromising electronic protected health information and avoid paying Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act fines resulting from data breaches by implementing data encryption tools, per the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights' October cybersecurity newsletter. The agency also recommends providing cybersecurity training for employees, setting up network devices and software properly, implementing audit logs of system and network activity, and reviewing those logs regularly.
CHIME's 2018 HealthCare's Most Wired survey of 618 health care organizations found that EHR information from external hospital systems is consumed by 85% of providers, followed by EHR data from external physician practices and retail pharmacies, while the top three in-hospital devices that send data straight to providers' EHRs were blood glucose, bedside blood pressure and bedside pulse oximetry equipment. Ninety-nine percent of respondents were able to remotely access their EHR systems, and almost all can also access their organization's clinical guidelines, evidence references and medical images when at the clinic or hospital, while about half can access them through mobile apps.
Addressing food, housing and other needs early can help patients stay healthy and reduce healthcare costs, said Peter Marks, CIO at WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh, N.C. Patients and families should be the focus of healthcare decisions, Marks said.
Use of computers to manage patient records has led to doctors spending more time behind a screen, reducing the amount of time they spend with patients, writes Atul Gawande, a surgeon and public health researcher. Some doctors are hiring scribes to help them input data and give them more time interacting directly with patients.