The pMD Blog

Welcome to the
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.

POSTS BY TAG | news


Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• PowerWare is the latest example of recent ransomware attacks on hospitals across the U.S., wreaking havoc on health care. Similar to the Locky virus, the fileless malware is delivered via email through a Microsoft Word document that resembles an invoice and locks down the system until the ransom is paid. In addition, PowerWare takes it a step further and mimics legitimate activities and files on the computer. Many times, ransomware is successful because organizations have a same file sharing system and depository for all documents across the organization and it only takes one employee to be fooled.  Source

• The FDA approved an experimental blood screening test on Wednesday for the Zika virus in blood donations. The approval for the experimental test is a response to a blood donation shortage in Puerto Rico, where fear of spreading the virus halted local donations. Puerto Rico will be able to start collecting blood again within a week or two thanks to the green light from the FDA. The test is still under investigational use. Source

• The Obama administration announced a proposal this week that would allow physicians to issue more prescriptions for buprenorphine, which is a mild narcotic used to wean users off heroin and prescription opioids. The proposal aims to increase access to medication-assisted treatment for tens of thousands of people with opioid use disorders, provide behavioral health support, as well as double the current cap of the number of patients to whom a doctor can prescribe buprenorphine from 100 to 200.  Source


On The Front Lines:


This week Apple took a sweet 0.05% piece of the mobile device pie from Android, adding to their already dominating presence in mobile health care. The iPhone SE was launched this Thursday, bringing in crowds of loyal apple consumers in some major cities ranging from Sydney, Australia to Miami, Florida while other cities experienced no queues. The launch of this low-cost smartphone sparked mixed reactions but is expected to be particularly popular in emerging markets.

 

FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.72%
Android: 9.28%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.

Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• The NIH and ONC for Health IT have launched a new pilot program that will allow individuals to donate their health data to researchers. Sync for Science, or S4S, is a coordinated project between NIH, ONC, Harvard Medical School Department of Biomedical Informatics and EHR vendors Allscripts, athenahealth, Cerner, drchrono, Epic and McKesson. Once developed and implemented, patients will be able to connect a research app to their electronic health data, facilitating data donation on an individual basis. The two goals for S4S's pilot are to make it easier for patients to share clinical data with the PMI Cohort in a structured, electronic format and also to build up a national ecosystem for patient-mediated data access through APIs. Source

• A bill was introduced this week to delay the implementation of a Medicare bundled payment program, which was set to take into effect next week. The bill would push the implementation date to January 2018. The Medicare bundled payment program requires hospitals in nearly 70 regions to accept bundled payments for hip and knee replacements, meaning there would be one price per patient that includes procedure and follow-up care and projects savings of about $343 million in the next five years.  Delaying the start of the program would allow the providers and stakeholders involved to be given ample time to prepare for the change and to better protect the quality of patient care. Source

•  FDA now requires a "black box" warning for all prescription opioid painkillers, the strongest of FDA's warnings, which is meant to educate doctors as they're prescribing medications to patients. These warnings include information about the risk of abuse, addiction, overdose and death. When a patient receives their prescription, the bottle should have a notification indicating that there is a black-box warning for the drug. The consumer will then need to go to the manufacturer's website for details. Pharmacists are highly encouraged to provide patients with a medication guide in consumer-friendly language explaining the risks of the drug. Source


On The Front Lines:


Apple gained 0.01 percent this week in the mobile device wars against Android among pMD's charge capture physician users. Reports of issues with Apple's latest software update, iOS 9.3, have surfaced, including an activation bug affecting users of older iPhones and iPads. Apple confirmed existence of the bug and has released an updated version of iOS 9.3.

 

FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.67%
Android: 9.33%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.

Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• Starting March 27, physicians operating in New York will be required to transmit all prescriptions digitally and will be penalized for continuing to use paper script pads. Penalizations can range from hefty fines to even possible imprisonment. Under the I-STOP, or Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act Legislation, electronic prescription of drugs is being mandated in order to combat controlled substance abuse. Another added benefit of e-Rx is the hope of improving patient safety by removing sloppy handwriting and missed or inaccurate information. All practitioners, excluding veterinarians, must issue electronic prescriptions for controlled and non-controlled substances. Source

• Hospitals dominate Fortune's annual list of best places to work in health care. Eleven hospitals made the list this year of the 100 best medical workplaces, with Baptist Health South Florida taking the number one spot. Companies are graded on a combination of company culture, benefits, and career paths. Of the eleven hospitals, the top five include Baptist Health South Florida, Southern Ohio Medical Center, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, Scripps Health, and Texas Health Resources. Source

•  TV003, a new type of dengue vaccine, has been found to protect people against at least one type of the virus, representing a big advancement in controlling the most common mosquito-transmitted virus worldwide. Researchers are now testing whether the TV003 vaccine can protect people from the three other types of dengue virus. Another vaccine, Dengvaxia, recently became available in Latin America and Asia, but may be inappropriate to use in countries such as the U.S. as many of the cases in Latin America and Asia involve a population that may have already been exposed to the dengue virus before. Source


On The Front Lines:


Apple took back to back hits these past two weeks, most recently losing 0.08 percent of the market share in the mobile device wars against Android. There's been much speculation around Apple's media event on March 21, where Apple will be unveiling a new 9.7 inch iPad and a 4 inch iPhone. Given Apple's recent downturn among pMD's charge capture niche, users may be holding out for Apple's September event, when Apple typically announces more highly sought-after products, including the redesigned iPhone 7.

FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.66%
Android: 9.34%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.

Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• Researchers at the University of Michigan and two New Jersey Hospitals are doubling up on efforts to fight "superbug" Clostridium difficile (C.diff). C diff is a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon and often presents in patients as a hospital-acquired infection. It is one of the deadliest and expensive challenges currently facing the health care profession. Newly announced initiatives are aimed at limiting the spread of C. diff throughout health care facilities such as hospitals and local nursing homes. The University of Michigan announced a $9.2 million initiative to fight C. diff, while hospitals across the nation plan to share best practices and protocols in an effort to reduce the spreading of C. diff from institution to institution. Source

• The Million Hearts EHR Optimization Guides, released by The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) this week, aim to help health systems put their Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to work identifying at-risk patients in order to protect them from future cardiovascular events. The initiative aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. The guides will direct clinicians on how to use their EHR systems to find and improve data on cardiovascular health management, such as aspirin therapy, blood pressure control, cholesterol management and smoking cessation.  Source

•  The Obama administration is testing new ways to pay for prescription drugs in order to slow the growth of Medicare spending on medicines. Doctors are also encouraged to choose the most effective treatments for their patients. Several proposals are in place to create higher incentives for doctors to choose the lowest-cost therapy to effectively treat patients. The current Medicare payment methods reward doctors and hospitals based on the average sale price of a drug and 6 percent, which incentivizes doctors to prescribe higher-priced drugs, which can then generate more revenue. The administration will be accepting public comments on the proposals until May 9. Source


On The Front Lines:


Apple took a deep hit this week in the mobile device wars against Android, losing 0.15 percent of the market share among pMD's charge capture physician users. Apple sent invites to its upcoming media event, Let Us Loop You In, on March 21. Apple will be revealing several new products at the event, including the new 9.7 inch iPad, the 4 inch iPhone SE, and new Apple Watch bands.

FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.74%
Android: 9.26%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.


Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• The HHS announced that an estimated 30 percent of Medicare payments are now tied to alternative payment models that reward value-based care over fee-for-service. As of January 2016, CMS estimates that roughly $117 billion out of a projected $380 billion Medicare fee-for-service payments are tied to alternative payment models. Alternative payment models reimburse providers based on the health outcomes of the patient rather than the number of services provided. Examples include accountable care organizations (ACOs), advanced primary care medical homes, and new models that bundle payments for episodes of care. Source

• The White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will hold a one-day Zika virus summit with state and local officials next month to develop a plan to combat the virus in the United States. Health officials expect the Zika virus to spread locally in the U.S. in June or July. Doctors at the summit will share the latest science on Zika, including implications for pregnant women and strategies for mosquito control. Source

• The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) proposed a new rule, which would impose greater oversight for electronic health records certified to Meaningful Use standards. It would allow them to review certified health IT products for information blocking, as well as potential risks to patient safety and public health. It would also give ONC increased power to regulate authorized certification-testing bodies. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple gained even more traction in the mobile device market among pMD's charge capture physician users, adding 0.03 percent this week. The feud between Apple and the government seems to be having a positive effect on Apple marketshare, with 32 of the largest internet, social media, and technology companies uniting behind Apple.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.89%
Android: 9.11%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.


Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an extension for hospitals, physicians, and other eligible professionals to file their "hardship exemption" applications for meaningful use requirements. The new deadline is now July 1, 2016 for all providers. The extension gives providers additional time to submit their applications to avoid payment penalties to their Medicare reimbursements in 2017. Source

• A judge upheld a measure in New York City requiring chain restaurants to warn consumers about high levels of sodium in their food offerings. The measure only applies to restaurants with fifteen or more locations nationwide and requires restaurants to place small images of saltshakers next to menu items high in salt - containing at least 2,300 milligrams of sodium. High levels of sodium are linked to hypertension and heart disease. Source

• Google's DeepMind artificial intelligence (AI) group has formed a new program called DeepMind Health to build medical software. In collaboration with Royal Free Hospital London, Google DeepMind built a mobile app called Streams that doctors and nurses can use to diagnose acute kidney injury. DeepMind Health is part of a larger initiative by Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, to grow its presence in health care technology and research. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple saw a 0.08 percent boost this week in the mobile device wars against Android. The iPhone-cracking saga continues as Apple filed to dismiss a court order to assist the government in hacking an iPhone. Apple CEO Tim Cook has doubled down on the company's privacy stance and called the government's request the "software equivalent of cancer."


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.86%
Android: 9.14%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.


Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• CMS announced the first set of core quality measures that will be used as the basis for quality-based payments. CMS, major commercial payers, and physician groups agreed on seven sets of clinical quality measures that will standardize and simplify quality reporting across multiple payers. Physicians and other clinicians must currently report multiple quality measures to different entities. Measure requirements are often not aligned among payers, which has resulted in confusion and complexity for reporting providers. Source

• Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid a ransom this week to a hacker who seized control of the hospital's computer systems earlier this month. The hacker demanded 40 bitcoin, the equivalent of about $17,000. The attack prevented staff from logging into the hospital's system and forced the hospital to return to pen and paper for record-keeping. The hospital said that patient care was not compromised, and the FBI is investigating the incident. Source

• CMS released a proposal for an increase of an average of 1.35 percent in payments to health insurers who offer Medicare Advantage and Part D programs, which provides health benefits to more than 17 million elderly or disabled people. The change would take place in 2017 and is a major shift from last year, when initial rates were cut by an average of 0.95 percent. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple won back 0.05 percent of the mobile market share from Android this week among pMD's charge capture users. Apple has been in the spotlight lately after it refused orders from the government to decrypt an iPhone that was owned by an attacker in the San Bernardino shootings. The public has largely sided with Apple in this battle, agreeing that it would set a dangerous precedent and could undermine the security of Apple's devices.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.78%
Android: 9.22%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.


Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has finalized a controversial rule that will require providers to return identified Medicare overpayments. Providers will be liable for returning Medicare overpayments going back as far as 6 years. According to the rule, an overpayment is “identified” if the provider or supplier has actual knowledge of the existence of the overpayment or acts in reckless disregard or deliberate ignorance of the overpayment. Source

• CommonWell Health Alliance announced seven new member organizations to its health data exchange: eClinicalWorks, HIMSS, ImageTrend, lifeIMAGE, Mana Health, MediPortal, and Modernizing Medicine. The goal of the memberships is to enhance nationwide health information exchange regardless of health IT vendor, geography, or setting of patient care. Source

• A new study published in the The New England Journal of Medicine suggests that the risk of developing dementia is decreasing for people with at least a high school education. The study provides the strongest evidence to date that a more educated population and better cardiovascular health are contributing to a decline in new dementia cases over time. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple lost 0.03 percent of the charge capture mobile device pie to Android this week. Reports are circulating that Apple is planning to introduce a new 4-inch iPhone called the “iPhone 5se” and a new iPad Air at an event on Tuesday, March 15th.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.73%
Android: 9.27%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.


Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• A new report found that poor communication among physician practices and hospitals was a factor in nearly 2,000 patient deaths and incurred approximately $1.7 billion in hospital costs. The report listed the most common breakdowns in communication, including miscommunication about a patient's condition, inadequate informed consent, poor documentation and an unsympathetic response to a patient's complaint. Source

• The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a new rule this week that will give health care providers and their employers access to de-identified claims information in order to improve patient care quality. Under the new rule, qualified organizations can share or sell Medicare and private sector claims data to providers, employers, and other groups who can use the data to support improved care. Source

• The Obama administration announced that approximately 12.7 million people signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act or had their coverage automatically renewed in the third annual open enrollment season. The health care signups exceeded expectations, with four million new members to the federal insurance marketplace. The three-month open enrollment period began November 1 and ended on Sunday. Source

On The Front Lines:


This week Apple took 0.09 percent of the mobile device pie from Android among pMD's mobile charge capture physician users. Apple also publicly acknowledged an unusual "Error 53" message that iPhone 6 users were reporting, triggered by updating to iOS 9 or later after having the phone's Touch ID sensor fixed by an unofficial technician. The Error 53 issue essentially renders the iPhone unusable.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.76%
Android: 9.24%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.


Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• A study by Stanford researchers found that doctors who are sued in malpractice claims are more likely to get sued again. According to the study, just one percent of all doctors account for nearly one-third of all paid malpractice claims. More than half the claims were by doctors in four areas: internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery and general practice/family medicine. Source

• Nearly 75 percent of office-based physicians had adopted a certified EHR system in 2014, according to the annual Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Electronic Health Records Survey. The percentage of physicians who had a certified EHR system ranged from 58.8 percent in Alaska to 88.6 percent in Minnesota. Just over 30 percent of the EHR systems were electronically sharing patient health information with external providers. Source

• The head of the World Health Organization announced that the Zika virus, which is linked to birth defects and brain damage in newborns, is spreading at a rapid rate in the Americas. Officials estimate that as many as four million people could be infected by the end of the year. The CDC has urged pregnant women against travel to two dozen countries in Latin American and the Caribbean, where the diseases is spreading the fastest. Source

On The Front Lines:


Apple claimed 0.04 percent of the mobile device pie this week among pMD's physicians charge capture users. Apple also reported on its fiscal first quarter earnings on Tuesday. Although Apple beat estimates on earnings per share and bottom line, it fell short of expectations of 75 million iPhones shipped (coming in at 74.78 million units, up from 74.5 million units in the same period last year). Cook said on the company's earnings call that he expects iPhone unit sales to decline in the fiscal-year second quarter, so we'll be closely monitoring pMD's device trends to see if that hypothesis holds true in the medical market.


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.67%
Android: 9.33%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.