MedCrypt researchers evaluated alerts submitted by medical device vendors to the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team since 2013 and found 47 cybersecurity disclosures, with 70% of 122 vulnerabilities occurring after the FDA's December 2016 release of its Postmarket Management of Cybersecurity in Medical Devices guidance. Forty-two percent of the 85 cybersecurity vulnerabilities disclosed after December 2016 were caused by user authentication, followed by code defect, encryption, operating system, third-party library and system configuration.
A phishing attack against Augusta University Health in Georgia in September 2017 enabled hackers to steal the email account login credentials of 24 employees, potentially compromising the protected health information of 417,000 patients, while another phishing attack on July 11 may have exposed the personal information of more people. Last year's incident may have exposed patients' medical, surgical and treatment information; laboratory results; medical record numbers; diagnoses; dates of service; medications; personal and/or insurance information; and Social Security numbers and/or driver's license numbers.
Practice managers can train physicians to know more about coding procedures and make sure claims are sent out regularly to ensure timely payments and avoid claim denials. Technology and automation can also help practices get claims right, one expert said.
Setting up software to install patches automatically, using two-factor authentication, thinking every day about what could go wrong, approaching requests for personal information with suspicion, diligently backing up data and using a password manager are among the top defenses cited by cybersecurity experts at two recent conferences in Las Vegas.
Integrating Choosing Wisely clinical decision support alerts into the Epic EHR system at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center resulted in lower spending, shorter lengths of stay, a lower 30-day readmission rate and fewer complications when clinicians followed the recommendations, researchers reported in the American Journal of Managed Care. Health care providers received immediate notification if they deviated from recommendations and were given an option to justify, change or cancel the order.
Northwell Health invested $500,000 in Playback Health, a developer of software for mobile and video-based patient engagement tools co-founded by Lenox Hill Hospital neurosurgeon Dr. David Langer. Playback uses screen-capture video, audio and digital documents to assist clinicians with instructing patients about their conditions and care.
Nevada's Board of Examiners approved a five-year, $24.4 million contract with GetInsured to design, develop and implement a health insurance exchange platform and call center. Moving the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange off the HealthCare.gov platform is expected to save the state $18.9 million through 2023, said exchange Executive Director Heather Korbulic.
Two EHR-integrated, web-based tools that use Substitutable Medical Applications and Reusable Technologies on the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standard are being launched by Geisinger Health System and Merck. The Family Caregiver app is designed to support communication between health care providers and caregivers, while the MedTrue app is meant to improve medication adherence and reconciliation by integrating medication data with clinical workflows.
Clemson University in South Carolina will use $5.24 million from the Rural Health Care Program, backed by the Federal Communications Commission's Universal Service Fund, to provide health care facilities across the state with high-speed broadband. "A patient who just shows up -- even if they qualify -- frequently can't be seen because of delays in service. A stable connection changes all of that," said Paula Watt, director of Clemson's Joseph F. Sullivan Center, a campus health clinic.
Some of the strategies hospitals use to reduce patient readmissions include rapid follow-up after discharge, patient navigator teams, home monitoring and collaborations with nursing homes, a report said. Hospitals also provide empathy training for clinicians, focus on treating the whole patient, get nurses more involved and help patients understand their post-discharge care plans.
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