Recent HIT headlines you may have missed

Recent HIT headlines you may have missed

From Chanel Benoit, Account Director at Greenough Brand Storytellers

Facebook takes aim at preventative care 

Facebook is making a targeted push into healthcare with the launch of a new tool that encourages users to use the platform to stay on top of routine health tasks such as getting flu shots and cancer screenings.

Following public controversy around its privacy practices, Facebook’s success will depend on its ability to regain the trust of consumers, no easy task with information as personal as one’s health history. 

Get the full story at STAT

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Alphabet buys FitBit

Earlier this month, Alphabet, Google’s parent, announced its intention to buy FitBit, valuing the smartwatch maker at more than $2 billion. CNBC reported that the acquisition pits Alphabet against fellow tech giant Apple in the wearable fitness tracking arena.

Fitbit’s stock surged more than 30% following the announcement – good news considering the company has been losing ground to Apple’s smartwatch for some time.

Learn more about the deal in CNBC

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Provider orgs most likely target for data breaches

Experts predict that data breaches in healthcare will cost the industry as much as $4 billion by the end of 2019, with no signs of slowing down in 2020.

According to Black Book’s annual report on data security, provider organizations such as hospitals and physician practices are the most likely targets. In fact, so far in 2019, providers have the been victims of nearly four out of five breaches.

The takeaway: Providers need to invest much more aggressively in protecting their information assets. While hospital systems are making modest increases in investments (about six percent in 2019), a whopping 92% of physician organizations still lack full-time security staff.

Get all the info in Health Data Management

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WSJ reports on “Project Nightingale,” sparking privacy concerns

More health news out of Google this month! The Wall Street Journal reported that the company is engaged with one of the nation’s largest health care systems, Ascension, with a mission to collect the personal health information of millions of people across more than 20 states.

Reportedly, the project launched in secret in 2018. The data involved includes lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records, amounting to a near-complete health history, including patient names and dates of birth.

Patients and doctors alike are understandably uneasy, but the companies insist the project follows federal health law and includes robust protections for patient data.

Read the full story at WSJ

Recent healthcare provider news you may have missed

Recent healthcare provider news you may have missed

From Christine Williamson, Vice President at Greenough Brand Storytellers

Sweeping Changes to Massachusetts Healthcare Laws

Governor Baker’s healthcare proposal is ambitious and all-encompassing. The Boston Globe writes: “It takes the unusual step of requiring hospitals and insurers to increase their spending on primary care and behavioral health care by 30 percent over three years. In order to do this and meet existing requirements to control health spending, they will need to scale back in other areas — such as expensive hospital services.”

For more information, check out The Boston Globe

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States Prepare Health Insurance Contingency Plans

A federal appeals court decision that could strike down the Affordable Care Act could come as soon as this month! See how lawmakers in states including Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico and California are pursuing legislation to preserve some healthcare coverage if the ACA is overturned.

Read story in The Wall Street Journal to learn more about what’s at stake

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Is a Harsh Flu Season a Boom or a Bust for Providers?

A severe flu season can impact providers’ bottom lines in many ways. According to Healthcare Dive, large, publicly traded health systems can see a slight boost to margins despite the additional staffing needed to combat flu, but smaller and nonprofit organizations are more strained and have less ability to capitalize on increased visits. Read on to see the impact to community hospitals, telehealth companies, urgent care and skilled nursing facilities.

Get the full story at Healthcare Dive

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Health Insurers Tackle Social Determinants of Health

Jeffrey Brenner, a physician turned health insurance executive, aims to reduce healthcare expenses not by denying care, but by spending more on social interventions, starting with housing. But how to do it is still largely uncharted.

Dive deeper with Bloomberg

Recent medtech stories you may have missed

Recent medtech stories you may have missed

From Rachel RobbinsSenior Vice President at Greenough Brand Storytellers

Artificial intelligence and robotics top trends that will transform healthcare in 2020

From the use of machine learning to process enormous amounts of medical data to robotics that span surgical use, transporting medical supplies and helping patients with rehab, technology will continue to transform healthcare in 2020. According to this Forbes article, wearable tech, 3D printing and extended reality (virtual, augmented and mixed) also show incredible promise for patients and medical professionals. In fact, a team of scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York has developed a way to 3D print living skin, complete with blood vessels.

 

Competition heats up in robot-assisted surgery market

Robotic-assisted surgery using da Vinci robots – which enable surgeons to perform delicate and complex operations through a few small incisions – continue to skyrocket. This is evident through Intuitive Surgical’s latest sales numbers, bringing the total number of da Vinci systems in operation to more than 5,400 worldwide. Despite this domination, only about 2% of surgeries worldwide are performed using robotic surgery equipment. The competition is about to heat up, with medical device giant Medtronic planning to launch its Hugo system in 2020—a system they claim is more flexible and cost-effective than those presently on the market.

 

More Americans using wearable fitness trackers to monitor health than ever before

Millions of Americans are using technology to monitor their exercise, heart rate, calorie consumption, sleep quality and step count. According to ACSM’s survey of 2020 fitness trends, the use of wearable technology—now a $95 billion industry—topped the list for the third year in a row. Google is tapping into the success of the fitness tracker market, going head-to-head with Apple and Samsung, announcing last week it is buying Fitbit for $2.1 billion. The purchase will help Google tap into an enormous amount of health data, with more than 28 million users on the Fitbit platform.

 

New technology promises to change the future of cancer diagnosis and treatment

In conjunction with Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Auris Health unveiled a revolutionary robot that can detect lung cancer at an early stage. Data from the company’s first study on live human subjects show its Monarch robotic system can successfully target hard-to-reach lung nodules and obtain a tissue sample for biopsy. The robot is a promising advancement that has the potential to change the future of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Similarly, Thermo Fisher Scientific unveiled its Ion Torrent Genexus System this week—a next-generation sequencing (NGS) platform that can deliver results in a single day, which will enable patients to be matched to targeted therapies or clinical trials faster. The system simplifies genomic testing so it can be performed in any clinical setting – including community hospitals, where most cancer patients are treated today.

 

Recent life science news bites you may have missed

Recent life science news bites you may have missed

From Jen Heady, Vice President at Greenough Brand Storytellers

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Prime editing takes the spotlight

Just six years after Feng Zhang and George Church first harnessed the power of CRISPR-Cas9 for genome editing, WIRED magazine has already coined the term “classic CRISPR” to describe this now widely referenced genome editing approach. The term “classic” differentiates CRISPR-Cas9 from a hot new CRISPR technique: prime editing. While critics say prime editing may be less practical than existing methods, the number of new genome editing techniques and studies introduced over the last several years is a testament to the incredibly fast progression of science.

Read Megan Molteni’s coverage in WIRED

Check out the Broad Institute’s handy infographic explaining the prime editing process

For a history of CRISPR, visit the Broad Institute’s CRISPR timeline

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VC funding: It’s all about who you know

In her latest for STAT, Kate Sheridan covers how venture capital’s reliance on relationships is contributing to gender, racial and geographic disparities in the biotech space. What can be done to increase diversity? For entrepreneurs, the answer may be as simple as engaging with venture capitalists outside of your own network before launching a company. Bottom line: it’s still about who you know, but don’t limit your network to those in your current circle.

Read the full story

https://www.statnews.com/2019/10/31/social-connections-first-science-second/

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Inside scoop: A former Biogen employee on the company’s “shocking” Alzheimer’s news

Biogen made big headlines by announcing that it will submit aducanumab for FDA approval after halting a study on the Alzheimer’s drug earlier this year. Since the news dropped, journalists, Wall Street analysts and experts have speculated on how the company could have reinterpreted the data so drastically. As a former Biogen employee who “worked on and around aducanumab,” Ted Whitford writes that Biogen hasn’t been afraid to admit failures in the past, and that he hopes the company made a mistake in its earlier analysis. “But if it didn’t,” writes Whitford, “and this is another example of the American public watching big pharma trying to spin bad data, then I can’t help but wonder if Biogen, and perhaps the industry has lost its way.” One thing is certain: all eyes will be on Biogen next time it announces data on the buzzworthy drug. 

Read Ted Whitford’s “First Opinion” piece for STAT

 

Recent Healthcare IT news bites you may have missed

Recent Healthcare IT news bites you may have missed

Patients embrace digital health technology

A recent survey by health IT software company ResMed found that 8 in 10 Americans agree that technology has made seeking medical treatment easier.

The survey also found that remote digital technology has enhanced people’s connection with their physicians, rather than distanced them from one another. This is good news as consumer use of the technology is widespread: 56% of those surveyed currently monitor their health with at least one digital data collection tool.

Read more about the survey findings on the ResMed website.

 

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Karen DeSalvo appointed as Google’s first chief health officer

Google and parent company Alphabet are investing broadly in the health industry. The recent appointment of Karen DeSalvo, a former health official in the Obama administration, as its first chief health officer signals just how aggressive they are going after the market. The news comes just a few weeks after the company tapped former FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf to lead the company’s health and strategy policy.

Califf and DeSalvo will both start later this year.

Read the full CNBC story

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UT Austin announces healthcare cybersecurity leadership program

Aiming to address a cybersecurity workforce shortage issue in healthcare, UT Austin announced a Leadership in Health Care Privacy and Security Risk Management certificate program, which university officials say is a first-in-the-nation professional program.

The program is designed to develop leaders who can manage risk in American healthcare systems, protecting them from fast-evolving cybersecurity threats. Data shows that there are currently 350,000 unfilled cybersecurity job openings in the United States. Some estimates note that the cybersecurity workforce gap will hit 1.8 million globally by 2022.

Get all the info in Healthcare Innovation

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Patients value a quality digital experience

New data from New York-based patient billing company Cedar shows that about 41% of patients would consider switching healthcare providers for a better digital experience.

The company’s survey of healthcare consumers found that nearly half were frustrated over the lack of digital adoption by their providers. It also found that many patients are looking to complete routine administrative processes such as paying a bill online.

The takeaway: As healthcare becomes increasingly digital, providers that fall behind in offering their patients convenient online options – such as clarity on bills and flexible payment options, could suffer.

Get the full story at Healthcare Dive

Recent healthcare provider news you may have missed

Recent healthcare provider news you may have missed

From Christine Williamson, Vice President at Greenough Brand Storytellers

A New Way of Paying for Maternity Care

Doctors and insurers see bundled payments, or episodes of care, as a possible way to improve health outcomes and lower costs of maternity care, including driving down the number of unnecessary c-sections nationwide. But, as reporter Carmen Heredia Rodriguez points out, payment models like this are relatively new and their structure can differ by insurer. For models like this to succeed, supporters will need to show consistency, capture quality patient data and increase payer/provider collaboration.

For more information, check out NPR.org

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Hospitals Enter the Housing Business

Homelessness is one of the biggest social determinants of health, and now hospitals from Baltimore to St. Louis to Sacramento are taking action. According to Kaiser Health News, “With recent federal policy changes that encourage hospitals to allocate charity dollars for housing, many hospitals realize it’s cheaper to provide a month of housing than to keep patients for a single night.”

In addition to exploring innovative new programs like providing housing, more work must be done. This includes putting screening systems in place so that clinicians can ask important questions about food insecurity, housing instability, utility needs, transportation and interpersonal violence.

Dive deeper with Kaiser Health News

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Cartoons Help this Pediatrician Reach Young Patients

As seen in the Boston Globe: “Dr. John Maypole, a pediatrician at Boston Medical Center, creates whimsical drawings while caring for some of the most vulnerable children. He gets down on the floor and crawls under tables, if that’s what it takes — with pen and paper in hand — to distract and soothe scared youngsters.”

An amazing article from reporter Kay Lazar that shows the human side of healthcare and people who are making a difference! Exactly the type of story we like to tell at Greenough.

Get the full story at The Boston Globe

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Mass. Hospitals Face Strict Surgery Regulations

New regulations, which medical experts describe as among the most far-reaching in the country, require that doctors provide more information to patients who are considering surgery and document each time a lead surgeon enters and leaves the operating room. The regulations also take a hard line on doctors who come to work impaired by alcohol or drugs and who delegate duties to unlicensed practitioners.

Read story in The Boston Globe to learn more about what’s at stake: