Hospitals and health insurers say housing is an important part of patient care that can reduce the cost of care, and they are getting involved in projects to address homelessness and increase access to affordable housing. UnitedHealthcare CEO Steve Nelson said social determinants of health are "the next frontier in serving the whole person here in the US."
Health organizations should implement data governance programs that include an extensive inventory of systems, a focus on educating employees and data layer controls to avoid data security risks, writes Immersive co-founder and principal Stephanie Crabb. "Investing resources in and around the data, technically and operationally, will improve security program performance and reduce enterprise risk," Crabb writes.
The use of the internet of things in connecting EMRs to devices that support direct patient care is the biggest trend in health IT, and there are misconceptions on how IT in health care lags compared with other industries, as well as physicians' and nurses' aversion to technology, says Steve Sarros, vice president and CIO of Pensacola, Fla.-based Baptist Health Care. "Acknowledging the complexity of health care delivery first can set up a better conversation around building and improving systems," Sarros says.
Maryland needs to address the "numerous significant" security vulnerabilities found in its Medicaid Management Information System, including the lack of adequate data and information systems security, according to a review by the HHS Office of Inspector General. "Although we did not identify evidence that anyone had exploited these vulnerabilities, exploitation could have resulted in unauthorized access to and disclosure of Medicaid data, as well as the disruption of critical Medicaid operations" and "could have compromised the integrity of Maryland's Medicaid program," the report says.
The study of a retrovirus that infects koalas revealed that the replicated viral DNA adopted new functions or became noncoding DNA, and the finding, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may help scientists understand the function of noncoding DNA in humans. "This means that the koala, a species not usually associated with biomedical breakthroughs, is providing key insights into a process that has shaped 8% of the human genome, and will likely show us what happened millions of years ago when retroviruses first invaded the human genome," said study co-author Alex Greenwood.
Immune system T-cells triggered by bacteria caused retinal damage associated with glaucoma in mice, and blocking autoimmune activity might be a way to treat the eye disease, according to a study published in Nature Communications. "What we learn from the eye can be applied to the brain diseases, and may eventually help develop new methods of treatment and diagnosis," senior co-author Dong Feng Chen said.
A report from cybersecurity firm McAfee showed that flaws in medical devices could allow hackers to change a patient's vital signs, including blood pressure, heartbeat and oxygen level, which "could lead to extended hospitalization, additional testing and side effects from medications prescribed to control heart rhythm and/or prevent clots," said Dr. Shaun Nordeck, who spoke with researchers for the report. Researchers were able to modify a patient's heartbeat data displayed on a central monitoring station by using an electrocardiogram simulator to intercept how the bedside monitor communicates with the central station.
Officials at MedSpring Urgent Care in Austin, Texas, notified 13,034 patients who used its centers in Illinois about a possible data breach after an employee got caught in an email phishing scam on May 8. The incident could have compromised patients' names, medical record numbers, dates of medical services and account numbers.
A Coverys report showed that radiologists accounted for 15% of diagnosis-related malpractice claims, second to general medicine practitioners, with 80% of those claims pertaining to alleged clinical test misinterpretations that led to permanent injury or death. Radiologists should utilize decision support tools, standard treatment protocols and report templates with specific criteria; develop criteria to determine the need for a second image reading; use patient EHR notes; and implement EHR applications and order tracking within the EHR to reduce the risk of malpractice claims, according to the report.
Human and non-human primates have a functional larynx and vocal tract, but the parts of the brain that control and coordinate vocalizations are more developed in humans, and different species of primate have brain signatures that relate directly to vocal repertoire, according to a study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience. The findings might help scientists understand the evolution of complex vocal communication, researcher Jacob Dunn writes.