Stem cell biologist Jens Magnusson follows a vegetarian diet out of concern for the environment and says that though he doesn't always like the fact that his research involves animals, "it is not always possible to replace research animals with other systems such as cell cultures or computer models." Animal research expands scientific knowledge and leads to new medicines, Magnusson says, and he accounts for animal welfare when designing research protocols.
Johns Hopkins University and other biomedical research institutions have policies encouraging the adoption of laboratory animals after research is complete whenever feasible, and the National Association for Biomedical Research says at least six states have laws mandating that lab animals be released for adoption when possible. Researchers and technical staff have long been adopting lab animals, and some are concerned that animal rights activists' efforts to mandate adoption is a veiled effort to end animal research.
Banner Health, a not-for-profit health system in Phoenix, is under investigation and may be fined by the HHS Office for Civil Rights over a 2016 cyberattack that may have affected 3.7 million patients. Banner, which is also facing a class-action lawsuit over the incident, wrote in its 2017 financial report that the OCR determined the health system had an "inadequate" initial response to the OCR's security assessment.
ObesityTx, a platform for nonsurgical medical obesity treatment offered by the Center for Medical Weight Loss, is now available via athenahealth's "More Disruption Please" program. The platform has practice and clinical development training for treating obesity, predictive patient weight loss, documentation for insurance reimbursement for obesity services, and a behavioral counseling system.
Chief information officers are focusing on solutions that improve business value when optimizing their IT spending, rather than on performance benchmarks, reducing operational and cybersecurity risks, and large or fast cost reductions, according to a Gartner poll. "The survey findings highlight how cost optimization has become a business-focused, continuous discipline that drives spending and cost reduction, while maximizing business value," said Stewart Buchanan of Gartner.
A partnership between the National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center and Anomali aims to improve secure data sharing within the health care sector by offering threat intelligence and cybersecurity tools. NH-ISAC President Denise Anderson notes that "effective information sharing [among] robust trusted networks of members works in combating cyberthreats."
Dr. Til Jolly and Hai Tran of SOC Telemed discussed the benefits of telepsychiatry in behavioral health emergency departments during a webinar. Benefits include the ability to provide accurate, cost-effective and timely mental health services, increase behavioral health patient discharge rates, improve revenue and manage the shortage of psychiatrists by using one provider across multiple facilities.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers created an EHR data mining technique to detect undiagnosed genetic diseases, according to a study published in the journal Science. Researchers applied phenotype risk scores to almost 22,000 genotyped patients and found a correlation between rare genetic variants and severe outcomes including organ transplants in 16 patients, and 18 ties between rare genetic variants and phenotypes consistent with Mendelian diseases.
A study presented at the American College of Cardiology annual conference showed that applying deep neural networks and natural language learning to a mortality risk model that quantifies frailty by using EHR data resulted in higher accuracy levels in predicting mortality after major cardiac procedures, compared with modern support vector machine models. Researchers used a cohort of 21,355 US veterans whose first major cardiac surgery was in 2014.
Third-party developers may now use Lighthouse Lab, an application programming interface management platform introduced by the Department of Veterans Affairs, to access tools for developing care management applications. VA officials expect the tools to aid in the creation of mobile and web apps for veterans to manage care and benefits information.
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