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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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Image: Jean-Louis Wertz/University of Liege

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Wearable technology and data analytics are changing the face of employee health plans. As employee wellness becomes more and more a part of corporate culture, health insurers must now compete with wellness programs and more tech-heavy newcomers that offer the appeal of health gadgets and mobile apps. Looks like these established players need to "get with the program". Pun intended. Read More

• We all associate fevers with wasting away in our beds with aches, pains, and the yearning for chicken noodle soup. And yet, while fevers conjure negative sentiments, they're actually an ancient survival method in fighting infection. Studies involving sick carp recently brought to light a phenomenon called "behavioral fever", in which infected carp consciously move towards warmer water to fight infection, similar to how a fever fights infection in the human body. Read More

• On Wednesday, the Government Accountability Office released a report citing that doctors and hospitals failed to tell the Food and Drug Administration about cases in which a surgical tool, used to operate on the uterus, spread cancer around inside women's bodies. For 20 years, the power morcellator was used on patients to remove benign uterine tumors called fibroid. This tool can spray malignant cells around inside the abdomen and pelvis like seeds, worsening the disease. Read More

• Despite promises of replacing the Affordable Care Act within the first 100 days of his administration, Trump has yet to have an ACA replacement plan in place for this year. According to a Congressional Budget Office report released in January, repealing the ACA without a replacement could leave more than 30 million people uninsured by 2026. 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 software.

Image: Courtesy of Karen Kasmauski/USAID's flagship Maternal and Child Survival Program

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Scandal rocks the pharmaceutical industry once more as insulin drug-makers steal the spotlight from last year's Mylan's EpiPen fiasco. This time, three manufacturers are being named in a lawsuit accusing the three makers of insulin of conspiring to drive up the prices of their drugs, benefiting themselves and pharmacy benefit managers, and consequently resulting in dangerous situations for patients who are unable to afford the lifesaving drug. Read More

• Think you've got office drama? Well, this week, in the nation's office, Democrats decided to boycott Tuesday's Senate Finance Committee meeting to vote on the controversial nomination for head of the Department of Health and Human Services. When Democrats didn’t show up again on Wednesday, Republicans changed the rules so the committee could allow a vote to go ahead without them. That must have been one awkward Thursday morning in the office. Read More

• 'Stumped' takes on a new meaning with business students participating in Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management competition. The challenge is to figure out the best way to convince health workers and new parents in Nigeria to apply a potentially life-saving antiseptic to the baby's umbilical cord stump.  Proper treatment and education on applying the antiseptic can reduce neonatal deaths by nearly 40 percent. Read More

• Imagine being completely aware of your surroundings but unable to interact or communicate with any of it. This is the sad reality for many patients with advanced forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in which the brain loses the ability to control muscles, essentially becoming "locked-in". Scientists recently created a brain-computer interface used to read the thoughts of patients to basic yes-or-no questions by detecting the change in blood color due to changes in oxygen levels in response to certain questions being asked of the patient. 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 software.

Image: Cell

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Recently published in JAMA, new research finds that sepsis accounts for more 30-day readmissions and associated costs than any other commonly tracked medical condition such as heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and obstructive pulmonary disease. Sepsis contributes to as many as 50% of all U.S. hospital deaths, according to previous research. To help providers improve patient care and outcome for sepsis patients, JAMA also published updated sepsis treatment guidelines. Read More

• A Reagan-era policy, known as the Mexico City policy, has been revived by President Trump. The rule requires not only hospitals or clinics to refrain from providing education on the benefits and availability of abortion but also includes any international organizations supporting those clinics to stop promoting abortion or advocating abortion rights anywhere in the world — regardless of whether or not they use non-American money to do so. The policy spells out a few exceptions, including cases of rape and treating women who have had botched abortions. Read More

• Controversial scientific experiments have successfully resulted in part human, part pig embryos. Scientists grew embryos inside a sow, containing a 'low' amount of human tissue. The hope is to one day utilize this technique to allow for whole organs in the pig to be grown of human cells, tackling the increasing problem of organ transplant shortage. However, ethical concerns focused on the possibility that the human cells could create animals that had human brain cells or tissues, blurring the line between the species. Read More

• Finding creative and holistic ways to assess and treat a patient often times may prove to be challenging from a revenue standpoint when there is no code to reflect that treatment. It’s essential for codes to be correct, both for reimbursement and for population health. In turn, accurate population health data is essential for ensuring that the patient's home and clinical needs are being met. 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 software.

Image: Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report this week about a Nevada woman who died because the bacteria was resistant to every single antibiotic available in the United States. Dubbed as a "nightmare bacteria", Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, is highly resistant to antibiotics. Recent findings indicate that CRE is more widespread than previously thought and that people may spread the germs even though they may show no sign of illness. Read More

• The number of uninsured Americans will increase by 32 million within a decade by enacting even a partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act. While most of the coverage reductions would result from the disappearance of individual mandate penalties, a mass exit from insurers from the individual market are also expected to play a role. Read More

• A group of prominent donors announced this Wednesday that they had raised almost $500 million for a new partnership with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to tackle pandemics. New epidemics can be expected to occur regularly and spread quickly due to air travel, public health experts warn. Stopping them in their early stages will save lives and billions of dollars. Read More

• A.I. can be applied today to ever-expanding health data sets. Its many uses can be applied to settings such as clinical decision support, research data mining and analytics, as well as pattern classification for tasks such as tumor detection. One of many limitations to keep in mind, however, is that A.I. is only as good as the quality of data they are being fed. But hospitals holding off on A.I. might be missing out on the opportunity to help shape the technological advancements in health care. 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 software.

Image: Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• In a recent analysis released this week by the nonprofit Fair Health, studies have shown a sharp rise in obesity-linked diagnosis among kids and teens. These findings come amidst a rise in obesity-related insurance claims for youth under the age of 22. Whatever the underlying cause of the increase, one thing remains certain: the longer children remain obese, the more likely they are to get diabetes. The challenge is providing the resources that will be necessary to address this emerging situation. Read More

•  The ongoing Affordable Care Act (ACA) debate continues as Republicans push forward with a repeal. Lawmakers have cautioned about moving too quickly and some even Republicans have asked to delay repeal of the ACA until a replacement plan is in place. However, after seven hours of voting this Thursday and objections from Democrats, a budget that could possibly dismantle the ACA received the needed simple majority, 51-48, to pass the Senate. Read More

•  Recent observational studies have found that "weekend warriors", or individuals who pack in their workouts into one or two sessions over the weekend, are equally less likely to die prematurely as individuals who meet the recommended guidelines of five moderate 30-minute sessions each week. But don't get too comfy on the weekdays. There are still a lot more health benefits to spreading out your exercise throughout the week! Read More

• A new study recently published by Health Affairs has found that hospitals affiliated with accountable care organizations (ACOs) were able to reduce readmission rates of nursing home patients in contrast to other hospitals. What exactly are ACOs doing differently to improve readmission rates? Researchers are calling for additional studies to examine the discharge behaviors and care coordination of ACO-affiliated hospitals to determine their impact on these statistics. 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 software.

Image: Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• SBH Health System, based in New York’s Bronx borough, is taking a different approach to addressing its community’s health care needs.  The organization is working with a developer to build low-income housing on its campus, which includes urgent care and outpatient options, in an effort to reduce hospital admissions. Offering housing options can have a significant impact on low-income patients by allowing them to manage their health and access much needed care. Read More

• The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced this week that the recommended time frame in which parents should introduce peanut-containing foods into babies’ diets can start as early as 4 to 6 months, with proper evaluation by a specialist prior to doing so. Many studies in the past few years have found that babies with a high risk of developing a peanut allergy are less likely to develop the allergy if regularly exposed to peanut-containing foods in their first year. Read More

• Due to a recent change in New York state policy, providers are now able to access patient data for minors through state-qualified exchange entities, with the consent of the child’s parents or legal guardians. For minors who may see several specialists, this change gives parents and legal guardians the peace of mind that their child’s care team will have access to the most up-to-date health information. Read More

• Think you’ve ever had a bad reaction to five-too-many gin and tonics? Hangover central? Try being one of the rare individuals who are allergic to quinine, a malaria treatment used for hundreds of years and, more recently, the ingredient that gives tonic water its bitter tang. Individuals who are allergic to quinine can react violently, becoming ill with chills, fever, vomiting, headaches, or additional side effects, and may even experience lingering kidney and cognitive problems. But don’t worry, tonic lovers. The condition is rare and very few people have to worry about 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 software.

Image: Phil Marden

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• This week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized guidance on how to protect medical devices from cyber attacks. It outlines how manufacturers should maintain security for medical devices that are connected to the internet but these guidelines come with criticism as there is no final draft on how to enforce these rules. Read More

• The new year is fast approaching and as resolutions gear towards a healthier year, consider a gut makeover by investing in the long-term health of your microbiome (bacterial and microbial community living in your intestinal tract). This microbiome allows us to properly process nutrients from our food, along with many additional health-promoting tasks in our body. Altering our daily diet to more plant-based foods and restricting daily calories in comparison to a typical American diet are just some of the ways to a healthier gut in the new year! Read More

• As we say goodbye to 2016, we look back on some incredible headlines that mark this historical year. One such story, much to the dismay of health care IT, highlights the upward and increasing trend of security breaches in electronic health records. In October of this year, more than 25 million patient records were reportedly compromised and even more leading into the end of November, half of which were a result of inside employees. Will we see stricter enforcement on electronic actions in 2017? Read More

• In some counties across the U.S., Obamacare consumers will only have one, single insurer to choose from. While there is an expectation to see price hikes in areas without insurer competition, the reality is that prices for underserved areas are not significantly higher than they are for people living in areas served by multiple insurers, according to data from Avalere Health. The reason could be attributed to the fact that insurers had to file their initial 2017 rates prior to knowing exactly where competitors were dropping out. 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.

Image: Samuel Aranda for The New York Times

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• A new, experimental Ebola vaccine has been shown to provide 100 percent protection against the lethal disease. The 2014 Ebola outbreak, primarily in Africa, killed 11,000 people and reached many countries overseas. While this new vaccine has not yet been approved by any regulatory authority, it has been considered so effective that 300,000 doses have already been created. Read More

• Health IT organizations are asking the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for more time regarding the implementation of MACRA. Some major concerns focus on the preparation time of both vendors and providers, needing ample time for development, testing and deployment of software programs to satisfy CMS' requirements. Read More

• With the rampant spread of antibiotic-resistant germs, the government has decided to cut payments to hospitals with high rates of patient injuries due to this cause, including potentially avoidable complications such as various infection types, blood clots, bed sores and falls.Based on rates of these complications, hospitals can lose 1 percent of all Medicare payments for a year beginning this past October.  Read More

• This week, the Office of the National Coordinator for IT (ONC) released its Interoperability Standards Advisory for 2017. It includes essential standards and implementation specifications for tech developers and clinicians. These specifications are meant to further the spread of interoperability and enable ease of sharing with regards to clinical data. 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.

Image: FierceHealth.com

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• In the past five years, deaths due to hospital-acquired conditions have shown a significant decrease. This, in turn, has saved hospitals more than $28 billion in health care costs, according to a new government report. A big factor in the decline is being attributed to the Affordable Care Act and how its tools and resources to build a better health care system resulted in the best possible outcome for the patient.  Read More

• In the last few weeks, at least five cases of the Zika virus transmitted by mosquitoes have been reported in Brownsville, Texas. On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned pregnant women to avoid the area due to the threat of infection.  Read More

• Patients are frustrated with the lack of a centralized health record, coupled with the inaccessibility and difficulty to share their own personal health information with other providers, according to a new survey from health information network Surescripts. Patients are typically spending an average of 8 minutes telling their doctor their medical history. If health data were stored electronically in a single location, doctors could see an improvement in efficiency and a reduction in medication errors. Read More

• Cuisinart, a popular kitchen appliance brand, is voluntarily recalling about 8 million units after it was found that 30 cases of broken blade pieces found in food had caused mouth lacerations and tooth injuries. The units were sold from July 1996 through December 2015, according to the company, and customers can get a free replacement blade. 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.

Image: Keith Negley

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• While the chances of getting audited are slim, according to the HHS Office for Civil Rights, hospitals should know what to expect if they're selected for an onsite audit in 2017. "We’re looking for evidence that you are implementing the [HIPAA] policies and procedures," says OCR senior advisor Linda Sanches. HIPAA-covered entities will be audited on their current policies and procedures that address privacy rule controls, breach notification rule controls and security rule controls. Read More

• Children's headphones are made to limit the volume at which sound can be played, providing a safe listening experience for delicate ears. However, a new study has shown that approximately 15 sets of children's headphones that were tested did not restrict volume as promised by the manufacturer. Some even produced hazardous sound levels. Read More

• U.S. health care spending has risen to $3.2 trillion in 2015, which equates to approximately $10k per person, according to the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and published by Health Affairs. The rising cost of private health insurance, hospital care, physician and clinical services, and prescription drugs are highlights of the many factors contributing to the unprecedented skyrocketing costs of health care in the U.S. Read More

• For the first time in a decade, the overall death rate has increased in the U.S., leading to a drop in overall life expectancy since 1993. The decline was driven by increases in deaths from eight of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., which include heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, respiratory disease, kidney disease and diabetes. 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.