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where we cover interesting and relevant news, insights, events, and more related to the health care industry and pMD. Most importantly, this blog is a fun, engaging way to learn about developments in an ever-changing field that is heavily influenced by technology.

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Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The emergence of 5G technology has potential to revolutionize health care delivery, especially through telehealth. 5G will help support remote medical consultations by providing real-time, high-quality video and imaging, allowing patients in rural areas to get better and faster treatment. Cisco, the multinational technology conglomerate, is conducting a trial in the U.K. called “5G RuralFirst” that hopes to demonstrate the full potential of 5G to improve connectivity in rural communities where access had previously been a challenge.  Read More

•  A new study found significant age and race disparities in the use of hospital patient portals. Researchers examined patient portal usage over a one-year period and found that patients age 60 to 69 used the inpatient portal 45 percent less than the 18 to 29 age group, and African American patients used it 40 percent less than white patients. The study’s results suggest disparities in usage may stem from limited system knowledge and access issues, among other more nuanced differences that require further research. Health and technology companies continue to evolve their patient portals to be universally beneficial across all demographic groups.  Read More

•  According to a recent study, applying the maximum recommended amount of sunscreen can cause the absorption of chemicals into the bloodstream. These findings have caused people to question if sunscreen should be the go-to form of sun protection. Experts say that while sunscreen is still very effective, alternative types of sun protection, such as seeking shade, avoiding hours of the day when sun exposure is most intense, and using hats and clothes to block the sun, are also effective in reducing the risk of sun effects. Another viable option to avoid chemical absorption are “physical sunscreens,” such as titanium dioxide and zinc, which the body does not absorb into the bloodstream.  Read More

•  The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo an international health emergency. The outbreak has killed over 1,650 people so far. This week was the fourth time the WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee has met since the DRC outbreak was declared back in August 2018. The committee is seeking international funding to stop the spread of virus and its rapid expansion to neighboring cities.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, MIPS registry, and care navigation software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Cloud-based technologies can give pharmaceutical companies access to greater resources and more data, which could have a large positive impact on the industry. According to Dr. Larry Ponemon, the founder and chairman of the Ponemon Institute, the shift to a cloud environment could have positive impacts on data security, supply chain processes, and artificial intelligence innovations. Even so, there’s still a divide when it comes to seeing the value in public clouds, as many harbor security concerns.  Read More

•  The Federal Communications Commission is developing a new program to support telehealth and remote patient-monitoring services to improve access to care in underserved populations such as low-income patients and veterans. The three-year, $100 million Connected Care Pilot program plans to cover up to 85% of the broadband internet cost needed for telehealth services, giving patients better access to their doctors. The pilot program aims to provide treatment for patients in rural and disadvantaged areas whose difficulty in accessing a broadband internet connection previously made telehealth an unattainable option.  Read More

•  A new study has found that moderate levels of air pollution can potentially cause just as much damage to lung function as smoking does. Researchers found that each increase in five micrograms per cubic meter in PM2.5, tiny pollutant particles that can be damaging to one’s health, resulted in a 52 percent increase in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The effects of moderate air pollution were also found to be four times more harmful than secondhand smoke.  
Read More

•  A new study found that outcomes for patients suffering from opioid use disorders have improved since the launch of CMS’ April 2018 initiative to reduce preauthorization requirements for buprenorphine, the most common drug used for treating opioid addiction. Research found that the percentage of Part D and Medicare Advantage insurance plans that required prior authorizations dropped tremendously from 87.5% in 2017 to 3.5% in 2019. By eliminating these authorization requirements for buprenorphine, 30% more people will receive treatment for their addiction, and over 50% of deaths from the disorder could be prevented.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, MIPS registry, and care navigation software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  A recent study found that the number of messages physicians receive on a daily basis contributes to their increasing burnout. System-automated messages from the EHR, meant as task reminders, account for half of the messages physicians receive. The study found that these extra in-basket messages influence physician burnout by 40% and created a 38% probability for reduction in clinical work time. Health systems should look for ways to present relevant EHR messages to the appropriate recipients while also improving the quality of patient care.  Read More

•  According to Rock Health’s midyear report, investment funding in the digital health sector is well on its way to surpass 2018’s annual total, with $4.2 billion invested so far in 2019. Some digital health companies highlighted in the report include Telehealth company American Well, direct-to-consumer genetics company 23andMe, and the AI company HeartFlow. Tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Apple are also moving into the health space by acquiring digital health companies predicted to have big returns. As digital health becomes more common and proves to have a positive impact on the health sector, investors are likely to continue to show interest.  Read More

•  Netflix announced that moving forward they will reduce depictions of smoking in their shows aimed towards younger audiences. This came after a study was released that found that the amount of tobacco imagery in popular young adult television programs has more than tripled in the past year. These smoking and e-cigarette depictions were found most prevalent in Netflix shows. Increased exposure to tobacco use is likely to have an impact on younger generations and is a public health concern. Netflix pledged to limit the depiction of smoking and e-cigarette use and also to include information about smoking as part of its rating system.  Read More

•  First introduced 13 years ago in 2006, the HPV vaccine has proven to be successful in preventing cervical cancer in women. A study done by the HPV Vaccination Impact Study Group found that the prevalence of cervical cancer-causing strains of HPV decreased by 83 percent in girls ages 13 to 19 and by 66 percent in women 20 to 24.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, MIPS registry, and care navigation software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  A number of public health organizations have labeled climate change as “the greatest public health challenge of the 21st century.” The medical groups argue that climate change poses health risks due to extreme weather events, air pollution, and mosquito and tick-borne illnesses. The organizations advocating the climate change agenda, which include the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians, urge U.S. leaders to take actions to reduce the global epidemic. These actions include increasing the use of renewable energy and public transportation.  Read More

•  The state of Louisiana officials recently made a deal with Asegua Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company specializing in the treatment of Hepatitis C, to treat its affected Medicaid and prison populations. There are at least 39,000 Louisiana residents suffering from hepatitis C who are either on Medicaid or in prison. The cost of providing treatment for these patients is extremely high, outside of the state’s constrained budget. Asegua Therapeutics has stepped in to offer a solution: providing the state of Louisiana with an unlimited supply of the generic version of the lifesaving hepatitis C drug Epclusa. In return, the state will make fixed monthly payments and give Asegua exclusive access to Louisiana’s Medicaid and corrections markets.  Read More

•  A new survey found that patients would be open to using health-monitoring wearable devices if it means fewer trips to the doctor. Patients had an overwhelming interest in wearables such as Fitbit and the Apple Watch, with over half of the participants leaning towards the idea of using a monitoring device at home. Health care professionals are starting to recognize the convenience and cost savings in telemedicine, but there are still providers that remain unconvinced.  Read More

•  Apple is now selling a glucose monitoring device in its physical retail locations. The health device, called One Drop, integrates with the iPhone and Apple Watch and is yet another way the tech giant is breaking into health care. Free coaching on topics related to managing diabetes is included with the purchase of a One Drop device.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, MIPS registry, and care navigation software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  According to the American Cancer Society, less than five percent of cancer patients in the US participate in clinical studies, even though doing so could improve care and prolong their lives. There are several common barriers to pursuing clinical trial treatment, including restrictive enrollment parameters, fear of receiving placebos, and insufficient information. Clinical trial navigators who work to locate and help patients understand trial options can help increase the number of cancer patients involved in clinical trial programs and increase their odds of fighting the disease.  Read More

•  CMS is proposing updates to electronic prescribing standards that would ensure secure transmission and expedite prior authorizations by allowing clinicians to complete these transactions online. If and when these standards are finalized, all Medicare Part D plans would be required to support them. The new rule aims to reduce the amount of time it takes for physicians to complete transactions electronically and for patients to receive their medications.  Read More

•  The scientific community has long been working on treatment to counteract the effects of chronic pain. Although a solution may be a long way away, new research has revealed a protein expressed on the surface of nerve cells that could be targeted for drug treatment. Scientists have conducted successful experiments on laboratory mice that showed the potential for reducing neuropathic pain, pain triggered by chronic diseases such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis.  Read More

•  New research from the University of Pittsburgh has ophthalmologists and engineers working to develop a neuromorphic vision system to capture visual information in a new way. Instead of the conventional frame-by-frame image sensing model, this neuromorphic system is based on timings of changes in dynamics of the input signals.  This model, inspired by the human brain, should benefit new technology such as neural prosthetics and self-driving cars. The improved approach will work more efficiently and enhance computational abilities to create technology that seemed impossible years ago.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, MIPS registry, and care navigation software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The Cleveland Clinic partnered with Propellar health to find that the use of electronic inhaler monitoring reduced hospital visits for COPD patients by a significant average of 1.2 trips per year. A small sensor was combined with patients’ existing inhaled COPD medication, sending alerts on medication adherence and usage to the patient’s smartphone. The digital medicine data gathered from the study allowed clinicians to receive information on patients’ adherence to their medication regimen, information they were previously unable to objectively monitor.  Read More

•  In an effort to impact public health, Facebook is expanding a feature that helps coordinate blood donations by allowing blood banks and other health care facilities to alert users where there are shortages. The tool will launch in major cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, Washington D.C., and Baltimore. According to Facebook’s Product Director of Health, one donation of blood can potentially save three lives. Facebook’s goal is to help raise awareness around this problem and make it easier for people to donate blood.  Read More

•  Research shows that spending time outdoors can reduce stress levels, decrease blood pressure, boost mental health, and increase life expectancy. According to the journal Scientific Reports, the recommended amount of time one should spend outside per week is about 120 minutes. People who spent less than 2 hours outside per week exhibited a lesser sense of well-being and did not reap as many health benefits as people who did. This new development has led clinicians to start prescribing nature for their patients, acting as a treatment for stress.  Read More

•  According to a new report by the American Cancer Society, the number of cancer survivors in the U.S. is steadily increasing. Researchers claim that these improvements are most likely due to better screening and treatments. Although survivorship has increased, there are still barriers that cancer patients face after completing treatment. The report found that differences in race, health insurance coverage, and wealth impact challenges patients may have in surviving cancer.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, MIPS registry, and care navigation software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  An upcoming HIMSS session in Finland will examine the cross-sector collaboration between the pharmaceutical and technology industries and how such a partnership could add tremendous value to improved patient outcomes and experiences. The pharmaceutical industry offers deep knowledge about patient data in addition to scientific expertise, while tech provides ways to capture data and make predictive analytics. However, the differences between the two industries could present a significant barrier to seeing this collaboration work well on a large scale.  Read More

•  According to a new study, two-thirds of health systems in the U.S. are very slow at scaling innovation, and many still do not have a clear definition for the term. A health system’s approach to innovation usually corresponds to its system-level priorities, such as reducing cost or improving patient outcomes. It was also found that less than half of health systems had a formal process or department dedicated to innovation, and some turn to outside organizations such as tech companies to help develop strategies.  Read More

•  A new study from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute found that microplastics have made their way into the deep ocean. After taking samples from up to 3,000 feet deep in the Bay, researchers found that microplastics were widely distributed throughout the surface and deep-water levels, meaning that these microplastics are not just washing off the California Coast, but also coming from other parts of the ocean. The study also found that out of 2,000 fish examined, one in every three has plastic in its stomach. This means that plastic being introduced by humans is also being introduced into the marine food web, ultimately affecting animals that people consume.  Read More

•  Research conducted at the University of Bergen shows that gum disease plays a role in developing Alzheimer’s disease. Results from their study prove that bacteria causing gingivitis can move from the mouth to the brain, producing a protein that destroys nerves cells leading to memory loss. To lower the risk of Alzheimer’s, professionals encourage brushing and flossing your teeth to reduce the presence of these bacteria. Researchers have also developed a new medicine for blocking the harmful enzymes these bacteria excrete, slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, MIPS registry, and care navigation software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• KLAS, a leading health care research firm, published a new report that found that hospitals benefit from the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program data included in their EHR systems. Prescription intelligence software arms health systems across the nation with information to stop over-prescription and identify patients who should not be prescribed opioids. For the report, KLAS surveyed providers and found that the top-ranking prescription intelligence vendors have EHR integration, clinical decision support, and are cost-effective. Read More

• According to a new study, the expansion of Medicaid has increased the number of women insured, leading to a decrease in maternal deaths and infant mortality. States that expanded Medicaid have had a 50% greater reduction in infant mortality rates than states that have not. Medicaid expansion has helped women maintain continuous health coverage before, during, and after pregnancy, leading to healthier mothers and babies. Read More

• H.I.V. researchers and scientists face a major obstacle in the lack of female participants in clinical trials. There are 35 million people in the world with H.I.V., and women make up over half of this population. Men and women are impacted significantly differently by diseases, including H.I.V, which makes it important to have both sexes equally represented to find a universal cure. Read More

• According to a new study, skipping breakfast before exercising can affect our relationship with food and reduce the amount we eat for the rest of the day. In a small study, scientists from the University of Bath in England found that working out on an empty stomach depleted most of the body’s stored carbohydrates, and the subjects consumed more calories around lunchtime. However, unlike the scenarios where subjects did consume breakfast, their food consumption trailed off towards the end of the day and the participants burned more calories than consumed overall. Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, MIPS registry, and care navigation software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The World Health Organization has announced a new Health Product Profile Directory, a free database of health products that are currently in development to treat infectious diseases and other global health threats. According to a WHO report from February, billions of dollars are spent on the research and development to improve health products, but the funding does not always go to the areas affecting global public health the most. The Health Product Directory, which currently has 196 product profiles and growing, was created to assist in guiding the global health research agenda and improve overall public health.  Read More

•  A recent study found that eating ultra-processed foods such as canned food, frozen dishes, and packaged snacks can be associated with weight gain. The research team conducted an experiment to test the outcomes of an ultra-processed diet versus the consumption of whole or unprocessed foods. Subjects on an ultra-processed diet averaged 500 calories more per day compared to when they were eating whole foods, and as a result, gained weight. It was also observed that when eating processed food, people tend to eat more quickly and consume more, leading to decreased levels of an appetite suppressant hormone called PYY. Obesity, a condition affecting about 40% of American adults, is a contributing factor in the development of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer.  Read More

•  Policymakers in Washington are currently devising a solution for the unexpected and pricey medical bills patients receive after care from a doctor or health system outside of their insurance network. Patients often are forced to see providers outside of their insurance network when they don’t have access to in-network providers or services. The Senate’s proposed legislation would protect patients treated by out-of-network providers, meaning the patient would not be accountable for paying more than what their insurance covers. The House presented a similar “No Surprise Act,” which does not include the “median in-network rate” clause that pays providers a predetermined rate based on what other health plans are paying for similar services. Congress is currently still negotiating the proposed bills.  Read More

•  According to a new analysis of private health insurance claims, behavioral health cases have increased from 1.3% to 2.7% of all medical claims in the past decade. The majority of the increase came from patients 22 years old and younger, most commonly diagnosed with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Emergency department visits for this patient population have also increased. Health systems are doing their best to adapt to the growing need for behavioral health services; these efforts include increasing available services and educating both children and parents about the options available to them.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, MIPS registry, and care navigation software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The nonprofit Physicians Foundation has started a program to financially incentivize physicians to link their electronic health records to health information exchanges (HIEs). The Foundation is partnering with six state medical societies in an effort to facilitate the sharing of and access to interoperable patient data. The number of EHRs and other systems physicians are required to use is one of the leading causes of burnout. This initiative has the potential to improve data sharing while reducing the burdens currently faced by physicians and patients.  Read More

•  According to a new report from The Leapfrog Group, patients at hospitals that received “D” and “F” grades in safety were 88% more likely to die from medical error compared to those treated at higher scoring facilities. Although the death rate from medical error has improved over time, decreasing from 205,000 avoidable deaths in 2016 to 160,000 in 2018, these statistics are alarming to researchers. Some people criticize Leapfrog’s rating system as being too simple and potentially deceptive, although the CEO defends the program, citing that the results are based on actual death rates and real occurrences of medical error.  Read More

•  Research in brain-stimulation has seen many recent developments, including the creation of electric current skullcaps to enhance the memory of older people and electrode skull implants that boost memory storage. The current knowledge about brain stimulation recognizes that there are many different techniques, applications, and unknown risks that come with it. Electrical intervention therapy has been used for many years to provide relief for depression and manage intense medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. Brain stimulation studies have been groundbreaking and intriguing, although they have had their share of controversies and still reveal many mysteries to uncover about the human mind.  Read More

•  The United States saw a 2% drop in birth rates from 2017 to 2018, the lowest number in 32 years. Demographers had predicted the birthrate to stabilize or increase due to the growth in the U.S. economy and job market but instead were surprised by the declining birthrate, calling it a “national problem.” Some researchers cite factors such as the increase in Americans who are delaying getting married and having children and an overall negative outlook for the future from those of childbearing age.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, MIPS registry, and care navigation software.