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pMD Blog...

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:


• A recent study has shown that adults who are regular tea drinkers tend to have better organized brain regions than non-tea drinkers. Regular tea drinking has been found to have positive effects against age-related cognitive decline.  Read More

• As hackers become more innovative and begin to finely tune their techniques, health care organizations are more and more at risk of having their data stolen and sold on the black market. Most medical records contain all the pertinent information needed for identity theft, such as full name, address, date of birth, phone number, emergency contact, Social Security number, and more.  Read More

• The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is finalizing a policy that will enable it to remove many non-tobacco flavored vaping products from the market. This is in response to the rising use of e-cigarettes by young people and reports of recent deaths and illnesses tied to vaping.  Read More

• Last year, the Apple Watch received FDA clearance for its electrocardiogram feature. The watch now falls under the classification of a medical device and is capable of alerting the user to abnormal heart rhythms. Apple will be using its new Research app on the watch to crowdsource health data from its users for research studies.  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, and care navigation software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have had over 200 reported cases across 25 states of severe lung disease with possible links to vaping. There have been 2 deaths so far from severe lung illness after vaping and federal authorities from the CDC and the FDA are working with state investigators to identify what toxin or substance might be causing the problem.  Read More

• The American Medical Association is launching its new Practice Transformation Initiative in an effort to fight physician burnout. The goal of the initiative is to support research and solutions surrounding the causes and impact of fatigue and burnout among practicing clinicians.  Read More

• While staying cool during the summer months is a matter of comfort for many of us, for those with mental illness, heat can be a dangerous hurdle in managing their conditions. Prescribed medications can play a major factor because some medications can interfere with the body's ability to regulate temperature and cause dehydration and even hallucinations.  Read More

• A recent study has found that individuals using homeless shelters visited the emergency department the most before entering and after exiting the shelter. There is potential for effective collaboration between hospitals and government programs to address housing insecurities as a way to improve health outcomes.  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, and care navigation software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Fitbit, a wearables company, is expanding its reach into health care with a new premium subscription service. The service offers personalized health and wellness insights based on health data collected from its 27.3 million users. The company also plans to roll out a one-on-one coaching service in 2020 in order to help consumers manage chronic conditions.  Read More

• Even as the overall number of people with individual insurance has dropped, insurers plan to expand their Affordable Care Act plan offerings for next year. Rates were relatively flat this year, so premium increases for 2020 are likely to be moderate in many markets.  Read More

• While artificial intelligence (AI) may have the potential to discover new methods of treatment, a new report examines the obstacles health care faces in implementing AI. Organizations looking towards AI solutions would have to consider the following hurdles: machine learning needs free and open access to large quantities of good health care data, hospitals need to be able to find and respond to threats by building robust security into data operations, data needs to be easily shareable.  Read More

• Deli meat labels using words like "no nitrates added" or "uncured" may be misleading, according to a new report. While these labels could make people think these meats are healthier, using natural curing agents, such as celery powder, pose the same health risks as traditionally cured meats because the nitrate and nitrite levels are essentially the same.  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, and care navigation software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  What if the government paid for everyone to have a cell phone, but you could only call people who had the same carrier? This is the analogy Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, used to describe what he calls a communication disaster in the U.S. health system. Despite the federal government spending more than $36 billion to increase the adoption of EHRs, that data is trapped in silos, which is hindering the transition to value-based care.  Read More

•  According to a new study by the security firm FireEye, for as low as $300, anyone on the dark web can purchase a database of compromised personal health information (PHI) from a hospital or health system. Motivations of these malicious actors can be anything from espionage to ransom. The firm notes that cancer research and medical device development are the two most hit targets, and that valuable clinical research data have been sought after by nation-states like China.  Read More

•  Thanks to the rise in telehealth, house calls are coming back into style. According to the American Medical Association and Wellness Council of America, nearly 75% of doctor, urgent care, and ER visits can be handled over the phone or through video. The rise in telehealth is forcing facilities managers to place an emphasis on the virtual facility as well as the physical one.  Read More

•  Fitbit will be giving away hundreds of thousands of fitness trackers to Singapore residents as part of a joint program with the Singapore government. Dubbed “Live Healthy SG,” the program’s goal is to improve the nation's overall health as a result of the rise in chronic conditions such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and 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:


•  Medical groups are weighing in on CMS’ rules and regulations for value-based care. The organizations are urging CMS to reevaluate its documentation and reporting requirements, which they argue currently add more administrative burden and cost for physicians rather than improving patient care. Specifically, the Medical Group Management Association wrote a letter to CMS asking that changes be made to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). MGMA’s suggestions included decreasing the number of MIPS measures, providing clear and actionable feedback based on MIPS performance, and releasing critical program information and updates prior to the start of the performance period.  Read More

•  The state of Florida is partnering with the Military Health System, using data from the MHS prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) to combat the potential risk of prescription drug misuse and addiction among the state’s military population. A new law, effective July 1, authorizes the Florida Department of Health to share PDMP data with MHS. It’s critically important for military and non-military health care providers to access and share patient data concerning prescription drugs in order for them to prevent and treat substance use disorders among serviceman and women.  Read More

•  It’s been scientifically proven that dirty air can cause a number of health issues, and there’s no simple solution since everyone needs air to breathe. Although it seems like an impossible problem to solve, there are some preventative things individuals can do to protect themselves. Choosing a less busy route to work can cut exposure to pollution in half. Traveling at less polluted times of the day, purchasing an air purifier, and avoiding wood fires are a few other ways to mitigation pollution exposure.  Read More

•  Scientists are developing the world’s first blood test to diagnose celiac disease. A recent study found that injecting gluten peptides into people with celiac disease led to identifiable symptoms linked to an increase in inflammatory molecules in the bloodstream. The current method for diagnosing celiac disease can take weeks or months, but using a blood test to diagnose the disease could shrink that time down to hours.  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.

Source: Duke

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  New mandates from CMS are in. By the end of the year, states and Medicaid managed-care programs must outline their plans to overhaul their approach to opioid use by their Medicaid populations. This includes setting limits on opioid prescriptions and refills while also tracking patients who are at risk of overusing painkillers, or who may be concurrently taking multiple prescribed opioids, benzodiazepines, and antipsychotics.  Read More

•  The Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) and Cerner are collaborating on a pilot project to analyze patient data in order to identify the most effective treatment options for chronic cardiovascular (CV) disease. By combining clinical research with data-driven insights, the project has the potential to dramatically improve patient outcomes.  Read More

•  CVSHealth is expanding their diabetes and hypertension programs. With the help of analytics, the company is identifying and enrolling at-risk members into their management programs. Patients are provided connected scales and blood-pressure cuffs as well as digital coaching, access to specialized experts, and more. CVS has set a lofty goal to reduce diabetes in a given population by 58 percent over three years.  Read More

•  MIT researchers have developed a machine learning (ML) model to predict Alzheimer’s up to two years in advance. This model can help better identify clinical trial participants who are in the disease’s early stages - before symptoms are evident and when treatment has the best chance of being effective. It has the potential to significantly reduce the costs of clinical trials to make them more affordable at scale, hopefully facilitating the development of an effective drug for treatment.  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.

Source: Rite Aid

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  CMS has rolled out a new pilot program to give clinicians access to claims data for their Medicare patients. The “Data at the Point of Care” pilot, along with Blue Button 2.0, are part of the agency's MyHealthEData initiative, an interoperability effort that aims to give patients more control over their health data. CMS launched Blue Button 2.0 last year to allow beneficiaries to connect their Medicare health information to third-party apps and computer programs via an application programming interface. The goal is to overcome silos in the healthcare system, allowing clinicians to view a more complete medical history for patients before making decisions about their care.  Read More

•  The drugstore chain Rite Aid is adding telehealth to its in-store health care services. In partnership with InTouch Health, Rite Aid will begin offering a virtual service that connects customers with clinicians via its RediClinic Express kiosks located in retail stores. The RediClinic Express kiosks deliver a virtual health assessment with integrated medical devices and point-of-care testing. Patients will be able to speak with RediClinic clinicians in real-time via a secure, high-definition video connection.  Read More

•  Many IT and security professionals have historically had reservations about keeping mission-critical data, especially protected health information (PHI), in the public cloud. In recent years, technological and operational developments have reduced or eliminated any of those major concerns. CIOs, CISOs and other leaders are now much more comfortable about the cloud, to the point where the cloud is now used as a major or even primary means of data hosting. New security tools in health care have evolved to the point that a shift in this perspective is achievable.  Read More

•  Doctors in the U.S. treated a patient with a genetic disorder using the powerful gene-editing technique CRISPR, the first treatment of its kind. The patient is being treated for sickle cell disease, which affects millions of people around the world, and this course of treatment is a major landmark. In the study, doctors are using cells taken from patients' own bone marrow that have been genetically modified with CRISPR to produce a protein usually only made by fetuses and babies for a short time following birth. Doctors hope the protein will compensate for the defect that causes sickle cell disease and will enable patients to live normally for the rest of their lives. While it may take months, if not years, of careful monitoring before the treatment is determined to be safe and effective, this is a huge step forward.  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:


•  New research has found private practice physicians are less likely to utilize electronic record systems (EHRs) compared to group practices and hospital employed physicians. Since the America Reinvestment and Recovery Act was introduced in 2009, which defined meaningful use of EHRs and offered financial incentives to physicians who adopted such systems, the number of independent providers participating in the program decreased by half as of 2015 and has continued to drop. Results of the study have been interpreted in multiple ways. First, since independent doctors have more authority over the technology they use, they simply have more freedom to choose not to continue in the program -- as opposed to doctors in integrated systems in which management could require participation. Second, the high-cost and time burden of maintaining EHRs is not longer offset by the financial incentives offered, leaving independent physicians unable to invest in maintaining them.  Read More

•  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced their Rural Residency Planning and Development program, which will provide 27 healthcare organizations across the country $20 million in federal grants to establish new residency programs. Medical schools, rural hospitals, community health centers, and Indian Health Service centers are among the organizations that will receive funding. The goal of this government program is to address the increasing shortage of doctors in rural, disadvantaged areas and improve patient access to high-quality healthcare providers.  Read More

•  A 14-month study, conducted by a research team from the University of Utah, has made significant leaps in prosthetic technology by adapting a commercially developed prosthetic named the "LUKE arm." The original LUKE arm had been designed to perform a variety of movements, but the Utah collaboration significantly improved it by identifying how to mimic the way the human brain sends a signal to the hand to touch an object, and how the hand sends a signal back in response to touching it.  Research suggests nerves that control the hand and sends information to the brain still exist, even after the hand has been amputated. Using electrodes implanted in the existing nerves of the subject’s forearm, the prosthetic was able to convert brain signals into movement for participants. This enables the sensations of touch and provides the ability to feel and manipulate objects, which they previously had not been able to do.  Read More

•  The American Heart Association suggests that adults older than 70 years of age who have not had a heart attack and people who have a higher risk of bleeding should not take aspirin, but new research shows that nearly 7 million people surveyed take aspirin daily regardless of medical advice from their physician. Although aspirin can benefit people affected by a heart attack or stroke, the drug is not always beneficial and can cause higher risk of severe bleeding. Because of the widespread use for aspirin, which can cause serious side effects, physicians should ask patients whether or not they take the pill and help them understand the potential risks and benefits associated with it.  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 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.