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    Ransomware attacks have been steadily increasing in the healthcare industry since the beginning of the year, and with the most recent attacks on Kansas Heart Hospital, it doesn't look like the target placed on these providers will be shrinking anytime soon. Hospitals are recognizing the threat and are making cybersecurity a top priority. But as cybercriminals gain intelligence - and confidence - it may not be enough to make up for human error, outside vendors and other vulnerabilities. 

    Read the Analysis: Hollywood Presbyterian hack signals more ransomware attacks to come.

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    Slideshow Title: 
    Kansas Heart Hospital
    Slideshow Description: 

    Kansas Heart Hospital became the victim of a ransomware attack in May, and after it paid the first one, attackers boldly demanded a second ransom to decrypt data. Kansas Heart Hospital president Greg Duick, MD told local media that patient information was not endangered and routine operations weren't affected. He declined to say how much money Kansas Heart Hospital paid the cybercriminals, only that it was “a small amount.” Duick explained that Kansas Heart Hospital did not pay the second ransom request and said that along with consultants it didn't think that would be a wise move, even though attackers still appear to have some of their data locked.

    Full Story.

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    Alvarado Medical Center
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    San Diego-based Alvarado Hospital Medical Center became the third hospital owned by Prime Healthcare Services to be hit with ransomware in March. The system was hit by a "malware disruption" on March 31, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. A spokesperson for the 306-bed hospital confirmed the cyberattack, but wouldn't say which systems had been affected. For its part, Alvarado said it had taken "extraordinary steps to protect and expeditiously find a resolution to this disruption," according to a statement provided to the Union-Tribune, but offered little other detail except to say patient and employee records hadn't been compromised.

    Full Story.

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    King's Daughters' Health
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    King's Daughters' Health in southeast Indiana had to power down all of its computer systems in March, as it discovered a single employee's file had been infected with Locky ransomware virus. King's Daughters' Health officials told Indiana's WSCH radio that patient data was secure and hadn't been compromised and that it would restart its computer systems once it was safe to do so. KDH used manual processes to continue operations, while the systems were down. Linda Darnell, the hospital's senior director of IT, told the station that ongoing staff education about these evolving cyber threats helped employees act quickly to contain the Locky virus once it was found. 

    Special report: Ransomware to get worse, hackers targeting whales, IoT triggers new vulnerabilities

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    MedStar Health
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    March proved to be a big month for ransomware, as MedStar Health in Washington, DC was hit with ransomware that locked down the system for a few days. The cybercriminals demanded a ransom of 45 Bitcoin, or about $19,000 to unlock the system's data. They also offered a separate option of paying 3 Bitcoins to unlock a single computer. The virus affected Washington’s Georgetown University Hospital and other medical offices in the region. MedStar employees encountered a pop-up message demanding the payment in exchange for a digital key that would unlock the data, according to several reports. Medstar said in a statement that the virus prevented some employees from logging into system, but all of its clinics remained open and functioning. The malware blocked MedStar employees from accessing patient data and, in some cases, patients were turned away.

    Full Story.

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    Chino Valley Medical Center and Desert Valley Hospital
    Slideshow Description: 

    Two Prime Healthcare hospitals in California - Chino Valley Medical Center in Chino and Desert Valley Hospital in Victorville - were attacked by hackers demanding a ransom in March. Prime spokesperson Fred Ortega acknowledged the attack, according to reports and said that neither hospital paid the ransom and no patient data was compromised.

    Full Story.

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    Methodist Hospital
    Slideshow Description: 

    Methodist Hospital in Henderson, Kentucky was held under a ransomware attack for five days in March, which it effectively fended off without paying the cybercriminals. During the attack, the hospital declared an internal state of emergency and posted this to the hospital's website: “Methodist Hospital is currently working in an Internal State of Emergency due to a Computer Virus that has limited our use of electronic web based services. We are currently working to resolve this issue, until then we will have limited access to web based services and electronic communications.”

    Full Story.

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    Ottawa Hospital
    Slideshow Description: 

    Attackers broke into Ottawa Hospital’s network with ransomware that initially encrypted four computers. Hospital officials publicly stated that its IT staff has since wiped the machines clean, restored necessary data through backup copies and added that none of the other 9,800 computers were affected and no patient data was compromised. The ransomware attack against Ottawa Hospital is the latest in a string of cybercriminal attempts to gain access to hospital computers then lock down that data and demand payment, typically in Bitcoin, to decrypt it.

    Full Story.

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    Slideshow Title: 
    Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center
    Slideshow Description: 

    Hackers launched a ransomware attack against Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center and held the hospital’s data hostage until the organization paid the ransom of $17,000 or 40 Bitcoins. Without access to their systems, Hollywood Presbyterian caregivers fell back on handwritten notes and faxes, as the hackers knocked the provider offline for almost a week in February. Everything from e-mails to CT scans were affected, and patients had to pick up prescriptions and test results in person, as they could not be sent electronically because of the emergency.

    Full Story.

    Teaser: 

    Ransomware attacks have been steadily increasing in the healthcare industry since the beginning of the year, and with the most recent attacks on Kansas Heart Hospital, it doesn't look like the target placed on these providers will be shrinking anytime soon. Hospitals are recognizing the threat and are making cybersecurity a top priority. But as cybercriminals gain intelligence - and confidence - it may not be enough to make up for human error, outside vendors and other vulnerabilities.

    Read the Analysis: Hollywood Presbyterian hack signals more ransomware attacks to come.

    Custom OAS pagetag: 
    Primary topic: 

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    The league incident, which involved an unencrypted computer, is the second in two years to require reporting to HHS.

    The protected health information of thousands of football players may have been compromised after a backpack that held a laptop containing the digital medical records of NFL team members was stolen from the car of a Washington Redskins trainer.

    The website Deadspin obtained an email from the NFL Players Association, sent to every team's player representative on May 27, informing them of the theft. The email indicates the laptop was password-protected, but unencrypted.

    The laptop contained exam results for NFL combine attendees since 2004 and some Washington Redskins player records. The NFL combine is the league's annual scouting event.

    The backpack was stolen April 15 in Indianapolis. Besides the laptop, it also reportedly contained a zip drive and paper records of medical exam results for NFL combine attendees and current Redskins players.

    The incident is the second alleged breach the NFL has had to deal with in as many years. Back in July 2015, two employees of Jackson Memorial Hospital leaked the medical records of New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul after a fireworks accident sent the football star to the hospital.

    [Also: Two hospital employees fired for leaking Jason Pierre-Paul's record after fireworks mishap]

    The email from the NFLPA noted the association has consulted with HHS about the incident.

    Here is the full statement from the NFL regarding the stolen laptop:

    Once we became aware of the theft, we promptly worked with the club and the NFLPA to identify the scope of the issue.

    The club is taking all appropriate steps to notify any person whose information is potentially at risk. As the NFLPA memo confirms, the theft of data involves information maintained by one club and no information maintained by any club on the NFL Electronic Medical Records system was compromised and the theft is entirely unrelated to that system.

    All clubs have been directed to re-confirm that they have reviewed their internal data protection and privacy policies and that medical information is stored and transmitted on password-protected and encrypted devices; and that every person with access to medical information has reviewed and received training on the policies regarding the privacy and security of that information.

    We are aware of no evidence that the thief obtained access to any information on the computer that was stolen nor aware that any information was made public.


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    Sponsor: 
    Bottomline Technologies
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    What impact is paper having on your ability to capture, access and share discrete data? With increasing competition and changing regulatory requirements, the demand for easily accessible data is higher than ever. Can you meet that challenge?


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    Sponsor: 
    Bottomline Technologies
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    Patients universally agree that filling out registration forms is an obnoxious task that is nothing short of torture. Hospital registration staff aren’t big fans of forms either. So why are you still using them?


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    The EHR maven has pledged to give away most of her fortune.

    Judy Faulkner, founder and CEO of EHR giant Epic Systems, headquartered in Verona, Wis., has placed No. 3 on Forbes’ list of America’s richest self-made women.

    Forbes pegs Faulkner’s fortune at $2.4 billion.

    On the list, she lands just below TV mogul Oprah Winfrey and ties with Gap founder Doris Fisher. The No. 1 spot went to another Wisconsinite: Diane Hendricks, co-founder of roofing company ABC Supply.

    In an interview with Healthcare IT News earlier this year, Faulkner, who founded Epic in 1979, said she continues to work long hours at the office. There’s always plenty to do for her high-profile healthcare customers, many of them giants in the healthcare industry such as Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic and Allina Health, to name just three of Epic’s 300 customers.

    [Also: Judy Faulkner: 'Good software is art']

    When she does take a little time to herself, you’ll find her in front of the fire, curled up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate.

    Faulkner has been generous with her money. Just last March she and her husband donated $900,000 to Moorestown Friends School, a private school in Moorestown, New Jersey, from which she graduated in 1961.

    Back in mid 2015, Faulkner joined Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and several other rich and famous billionaires in the Giving Pledge. She committed to giving 99 percent of her wealth to philanthropy.

    [Also: Epic CEO to donate 99 percent of fortune]

    Faulkner and her husband, a pediatrician, have three grown children.

    In the short letter that accompanied her pledge, Faulkner described her hope for the future:

    "I never had any personal desire to be a wealthy billionaire living lavishly. My estate plan has the money from my Epic shares going into a foundation. The foundation will give money to healthcare and do other things as well – reduce the disparity of care, improve education especially for those who don’t have equal opportunities, and if possible, help create a more peaceful world."


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    Examining electronic health record data over a 10-year period from Geisinger Health System shows socioeconomic factors have an impact on adverse effects of overdoses.

    Researchers at Geisinger Health System examined electronic health record data of more than 2,000 patients admitted to the hospital for overdoses between April 2005 and March 2015. The data – factoring in mental health, marital status, employment status – helps the health system predict which patients are at most risk of fatal overdoses and other complications.

    Patients who were married and had private health insurance were less likely to experience such adverse effects, the research shows. But a history of addiction, mental illness and other chronic diseases were all found to be associated with fatal overdoses.

    "Our study suggests opportunities for identifying patients at-risk for overdosing," said Geisinger addiction researcher and senior epidemiologist Joseph Boscarino, the study's lead investigator, in a statement. "We've found that patients who are taking a higher dose of prescription opioids combined with psychotropic medicines may need closer monitoring to avoid death and other serious complications.”

    Combined, prescription opioids and heroin killed more than 28,000 people in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – more than any year on record. Of the patients admitted to Geisinger in the 10-year span examined in this study, 9.4 percent died within a year after admission.

    Patients had an average age of 52, were more often female (54 percent), unmarried (64 percent) and unemployed (78 percent), according to Geisinger data.

    Concurrent chronic diseases included cardiovascular disease (22 percent), diabetes (14 percent), cancer (13 percent) and the presence of one or more mental health disorders (35 percent).

    Predictors of the worst patient outcomes – including death, repeated overdoses, frequent health care service use and higher related costs – were found to be higher prescription opioid use, having concurrent chronic diseases, having concurrent mental disorders and concurrent use of other psychotropic medications.

    "These patients have a history of addiction and other serious mental illness both before and after their overdose, as well as current chronic diseases," said Boscarino.

    The research was presented this week in Boston as part of the International Conference on Opioids.

    Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
    Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com


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    A new report calls for analysis of the schedule to see if it's achievable.

    The first stage of the Department of Defense's EHR modernization project will not be ready in time for its scheduled December rollout, according to a recent audit by the Office of the Inspector General.

    According to the OIG report, while the DoD office managing the project "has identified risks and mitigation strategies, it is still at risk for obtaining an EHR system by the December 2016 initial operational capability date because of the risks and potential delays involved in developing and testing the interfaces needed to interact with legacy systems."

    That is critical, the audit notes, to ensure the system is secure against cyber attacks, and to make sure it works correctly and users are properly trained.

    The OIG's conclusions are dated May 31 – the same day Stacy Cummings, the DoD program executive in charge of the Cerner Millennium rollout, participated in a panel discussion at the ONC Annual Meeting 2016, where she discussed the status of the project.

    She did not mention a possibility of delay.

    [Also: DoD poised to roll out Cerner EHR in December]

    Cummings said the $4.3 million Cerner Millennium EHR system would first deploy to sites in the Pacific Northwest.

    The contract went to the Leidos/Cerner/Accenture partnership last July after a DoD team concluded a two-year analysis on whether a commercial system would be the right choice.

    "We are doing testing prior to and during the deployment to ensure that our interfaces are working ... to ensure that the workflows are working, as well as to make sure it is well suited to our needs in the DoD," said Cummings said May 31 at the ONC event.

    OIG's recommendation: "Perform a schedule analysis to determine whether the December 2016 initial operational capability deadline is achievable and continue to monitor DHMSM program risks and report to Congress quarterly on the progress of the program."

    The audit notes that the program office is confident that it will achieve initial operational capability later this year, but has not yet provided documentation. OIG called for DoD to perform a schedule analysis to determine whether the initial operational capability deadline is achievable.

    Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
    Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com


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    The pediatric endocrinologist at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital is known for his HealthKit pilot study on Type 1 diabetes patients

    Apple has reportedly made another high-profile hire from the healthcare industry with the appointment of Rajiv Kumar, MD, who was most recently employed at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University as a pediatric endocrinologist.

    His former employer, Lucile Packard CEO Christopher Dawes, confirmed the appointment to Fast Company, which first reported the hire. Dawes said that Kumar will continue on at the hospital in a part-time capacity.

    "We can’t compete with companies like Apple, Google and Facebook when they really want one of our own," Dawes told Fast Company.

    Apple declined to comment and Kumar's exact position hasn't been confirmed.

    Kumar first gained attention in 2015 with the creation of the HealthKit-enabled pediatric diabetes monitoring system. He developed a pilot study with 10 Type 1 diabetes patients, offering a streamlined approach to patient-doctor communications, according to Diabetes News Journal.

    The platform sends continuous blood sugar monitoring glucose readings to an Apple Device, which is then securely transmitted through HealthKit to the patient's medical record, via Stanford Children's Epic MyChart app.

    "Our endocrinologists are now able to easily assess large volumes of blood-sugar data between clinic visits – and quickly identify trends that could benefit from insulin dosing regimen changes," Kumar said in a statement. "This allows us to spend more time with our patients and their parents."

    Kumar is just one of a few healthcare leaders lured to Apple in recent years. Recent hires include Jay Mung, a biomedical engineer and former leader of Medtronic's algorithm development; Anne Shelchuk, who most recently worked at Zonare, an ultrasound company; former biotech entrepreneur, Divya Nag; and anesthesiologist Mike O'Reilly, who runs the ResearchKit platform.

    Twitter: @JessieFDavis
    Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com


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    'I'm increasingly on the lookout for organizations which will address these challenges during the uncertain 24 months ahead.'

    The upcoming presidential election has everyone spooked: What if Donald Trump is actually elected? What will the transition of administrations, regardless of who is elected mean to healthcare and existing healthcare IT regulations?  Will our strategic plans and priorities need to change?

    I've spoken to many people in government, industry and academia over the past month about the rapid pace of change stakeholders are feeling right now. Here are a few of their observations:

    1. In the next year or two there will continue to be consolidation in the healthcare IT industry. Many smaller EHR companies will fold due to declining marketshare and some established incumbents with older technologies are likely to sell their healthcare IT businesses or reduce their scope.

    2. Mergers and acquisitions will continue to accelerate, reducing the number of stand alone community hospitals and practices. The end result is that the market for software supporting midsize hospitals and small group practices is likely to shrink since ACOs/networks/healthcare systems will probably mandate a single centralized EHR solution for the enterprise.

    3. Although the election may change the regulatory burden, many incumbent vendors will be spending the next year or two complying with certification demands, reducing their ability to innovate.  It's quite a conundrum. The market is demanding innovative solutions in the short term, but vendors cannot produce them because their development resources have been co-opted by regulatory demands. Thus, vendors may see a reduction in new sales, which will diminish their ability to hire new staff to meet the regulatory demands, putting them even further behind.  It reminds of a classic unstable system - beer pong. The more you miss, the more you drink, the more you miss. The more regulation, the fewer new sales, the less ability to deal with regulation.

    4. The capacity of hospitals to pay large sums for EHR implementation and operation will be reduced as margins shrink during the fee for service transition to value-based payment. Vendors will be pressured to offer cloud hosted subscription models with standard configurations that are less resource intensive. Customization will be less attractive than a good enough platform that is affordable and highly usable.

    5. As I wrote about last week, innovation is likely to come from one of two areas: smaller/agile companies that are not yet overwhelmed with regulatory burden or companies on the edges of the healthcare IT industry such as Apple, Google, and Amazon. It's hard to predict the winners. There was a flurry of small startups in 2014-2015, but in 2016 we're seeing them close/sell/merge. The pace of new startups has slowed.

    What kind of innovation do we need? I have a "top challenges" list that includes

    • A master patient identifier for the country
    • A provider directory for the country
    • A consent registry/record locator service for the country
    • A customer relationship management platform that supports care management
    • A groupware communication tool for healthcare
    • A set of security solutions that makes two factor authentication/endpoint encryption easier
    • A mobile platform for patient/family engagement that provides usability and high value transactions to the consumer
    • A telehealth/telemedicine platform that supports documentation/billing in the cloud
    • An interoperability platform that leverages cloud technologies to seamlessly provide clinicians with the information they need when their need it
    • An analytics platform that notifies/alerts clinicians when something needs to be done - providing wisdom, not just a flood of data

    I'm increasingly on the lookout for organizations which will address these challenges during the uncertain 24 months ahead. The advantage of being at Beth Israel Deaconess is that I can draw on all sectors - payers, providers, patients, established industry and startups to acquire potential solutions. Situational awareness and agility are a must for the months ahead. I'm keeping my running shoes on!


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    Universities are key incubators of 'early-stage, high-risk, high-yield research that transfers to the private sector.'

    Deputy National Coordinator for Health IT Jon White, MD, says universities are playing a key role in the development of interoperable healthcare systems.

    "University research serves at least three useful purposes," says White. "First is innovation: Many products, standards and people got their start in an academic setting. Second is evidence on the effect of IT on health and healthcare. Third is implementation, as academic medical centers play a significant role in the nation's healthcare."

    Philip Payne and Peter J. Embi agree. Leaders of the biomedical informatics department at Ohio State University, they spent 13 years and $20 million in university funding to incubate AVEC, a commercial federated data integration platform.

    "University research is a driver of early-stage, high-risk, high-yield research that transfers to the private sector. There are a number of examples of innovations in the healthcare IT space that happened at universities, including most of the early development of what are now major commercial electronic health records organizations," says Payne.

    Embi concurs: "What's not often recognized is that many of the greatest leaps forward actually originated at universities," he says.

    "The very nature of what we do as faculty and researchers is to push the envelope and figure out solutions to problems that haven't been solved – and a lot of times doing that is 'risky' from a private-sector perspective," he adds. "A lot of research results in practical solutions but we also sometimes find a particular approach doesn't work all that well."

    Payne says AVEC research stemmed from "a confluence of innovative research, unique funding opportunities and identification of a number of critical research and operational problems we felt we could solve. It was the perfect combination, which led us to compete for a number of grants and contracts and start looking at how to bring that technology to market at scale."

    "As is common with projects like this, funding came from OSU institutional resources as well as various federal grants," Embi adds. "The beginnings of the technology were actually spurred by initiatives happening at the National Institutes of Health, including the National Cancer Institute. Early initiatives sought to develop technologies that would enable sharing of knowledge across cancer centers for the purpose of accelerating research and discovery.

    "Our group at OSU was one of the key groups funded to develop the underlying technology to enable interoperability between systems," he says. Eventually, (AVEC) got so big we recognized the need for disseminating that technology into the private sector."

    In 2014, Payne and Embi started Columbus-based Signet Accel in partnership with OSU. The company licensed software technologies for healthcare data sharing and analytics through the Ohio State Innovation Foundation.

    Payne says "Startups can act upon new technologies with agility and speed. They are a really important bridge between university-based research and broader-scale corporate partners. That's why you see such an explosion of healthcare IT startups that often have very close ties to academia and university-based researchers."

    Julia Adler-Milstein, assistant professor in both the school of information and school of public health at University of Michigan, agrees.

    Citing last year's partnership between the University of California and Cisco to develop an interoperable healthcare IT platform, she says, "These types of partnerships help connect the technology side with the realities and complexities of frontline healthcare to ensure the interoperability solution can work in the real world.

    "The value of an academic medical system versus a large non-academic system is that more informatics and research expertise can be leveraged and is likely useful," she adds.

    "A broad array of actors need to work together to tackle the interrelated barriers to interoperability," says Adler-Milstein. "So, there is not going to be a single organization or partnership that will swoop in with the silver bullet," she warns.

    Embi, believes solutions to meeting federal regulations such as meaningful use, can arise from either the public or private sector, calls collaboration "the way of the future." Whether R&D is funded at a company or a university, either could come up with a solution.

    The reality is this tends to happen at universities because it's a key part of our mission – to make discoveries, innovate and push the envelope to come up with new approaches and new solutions and then disseminate and teach about them."

    Payne also sees no difference in the ability of private start-ups or university-led research to meet federal standards.

    "I fundamentally do not believe there are major divisions between the public and private sector when it comes to delivering these types of healthcare information technology innovations to end users," he says. "The most successful projects are the ones where all of these parties work together at the right time and the right place to bring the solution to people who need it."


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    Electronic health records increasingly include automated alert systems.

    Some people receive constant reminders on their personal smartphones: birthdays, anniversaries, doctor’s appointments, social engagements. At work, their computers prompt them to meet deadlines, attend meetings and have lunch with the boss. Prodding here and pinging there, these pop-up interruptions can turn into noise to be ignored instead of helpful nudges.

    Something similar is happening to doctors, nurses and pharmacists. And when they’re hit with too much information, the result can be a health hazard. The electronic patient records that the federal government has been pushing — in an effort to coordinate health care and reduce mistakes — come with a host of bells and whistles that may be doing the opposite in some cases.

    What’s the problem? It’s called alert fatigue.

    Electronic health records increasingly include automated alert systems pegged to patients’ health information. One alert might signal that a drug being prescribed could interact badly with other medications. Another might advise the pharmacist about a patient’s drug allergy. But they could also simply note each time that a patient is prescribed painkillers — useful to detect addiction but irrelevant if, say, someone had a major surgery and is expected to need such meds. Or they may highlight a potential health consequence relevant to an elderly woman, although the patient at hand is a 20-something man.

    The number of these pop-up messages has become unmanageable, doctors and IT experts say, reflecting what many experts call excessive caution, and now they are overwhelming practitioners.

    Clinicians ignore safety notifications between 49 percent and 96 percent of the time, said Shobha Phansalkar, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

    “When providers are bombarded with warnings, they will predictably miss important things,” said David Bates, senior vice president at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

    Now, doctors, health information technologists and software vendors are trying to fix the problem.

    Research on this human-computer interaction is starting to explore the degree of risk posed by excessive alerting versus the benefits the alerts produce. The companies selling electronic health records say advances are moving their systems toward more targeted, relevant warnings, instead of broad-brush signaling.

    “This is an issue that everyone’s going to have to wrestle with eventually,” said Bill Marella, executive director of patient safety operations and analytics at ECRI Institute, a nonprofit organization that studies health care safety and quality issues. In April, the institute ranked design and implementation of new health IT systems as its top safety concern for 2016.

    Some hospitals and health systems are already paving the way.

    Take Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In 2012, the inpatient facility switched over to a new electronic health record, said Eric Shelov, a physician and the hospital’s associate chief medical information officer. Immediately, he said, practitioners began seeing far more alerts, to the point that doctors were overriding almost all of them. The problem, Shelov said, is that “if you see enough nonsense, you’re going to start ignoring it.”

    That has consequences. In one instance at Children’s, doctors ignored relevant information about how a patient might respond to a drug, Shelov said, because it appeared alongside heaps of other superfluous notifications — warnings, for instance, about drugs that posed minimal risk of interfering with each other. Consequently, the patient received medication that induced a potentially lethal reaction.

    The hospital caught the mistake in time, but the incident spurred a series of changes. A team of pharmacists, doctors and other clinicians have sorted through what triggered alerts in their system, turning off the ones they decided weren’t actually relevant or necessary. That has helped. But it’s still an ongoing battle, Shelov said. “It’s a little bit of trying to turn off the firehose.”

    Systems such as Cleveland-based MetroHealth, the University of Vermont Medical Center and Group Health Collaborative of Southern Wisconsin have undertaken similar projects. Still others, like Brigham and Women’s, are working on it.

    But figuring out what merits a computer warning takes time, manpower, expertise and money. Not all hospitals have those resources, Bates said. It’s inherently subjective. Some stakeholder groups have put out recommendations, and hospitals like Children’s have presented on ways to combat alert fatigue. But individual hospital task forces often end up deciding for themselves what’s risky enough to warrant an alert.

    [See also: 12 patient safety gurus and why they matter.] and [Leapfrog out with troubling hospital safety numbers.]

    Patients, meanwhile, aren’t standing beside their doctors as they scroll through their medical records, noted Helen Haskell, a patient safety advocate. Patients can request access to their records, but that’s a static page they’ll see only after getting care. That means that, while this hyper-alerting poses a danger, there’s no way for consumers to know if, say, they got worse care because the doctor missed a warning.

    “It’s very rare that patients are granted that perspective,” she said.

    Software vendors say they’re trying to make their systems smarter.

    Epic Systems, outside Madison, Wisconsin, for example, has been hearing feedback for years from doctors about redundant or irrelevant alerts, said Bret Shillingstad, a physician who works on Epic’s clinical informatics team. They’ve added in functionality for hospitals to turn those alerts off. They’re working now to develop software that might target alerts based on things like a patient’s health condition or recommend medications that better match someone’s overall profile. Then there are simpler adjustments, like changing a system so that if a patient needs a vaccine, reminders just go to the primary care doctor, not the orthopedist, too.

    In the long term, system designers are trying to better consider the nuances of a patient’s medical needs so that they can use fewer warnings and send them only when they matter, said Terry Fairbanks, an emergency physician and director of MedStar Health’s National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare in Washington, D.C. For instance, people with advanced cancer often need doses of morphine that might be unsuitable for other patients. A smarter system would warn doctors about that morphine order for patients who don’t have cancer but would treat it as normal for someone in the disease’s late stages.

    Such a change could limit distractions so that physicians act upon pressing reminders — like notifications highlighting if a patient is at risk for sepsis, which can be deadly if it’s not noticed early.

    But there’s still debate. Haskell said she would argue doctors should always be warned about certain medications and drug interactions.

    “All of these alerts have really reduced medication interactions. It’s a service,” she said. “It just needs to be refined.”

    But there’s clearly a cultural shift underfoot, added Phansalkar, who also works as director of informatics and clinical innovation at Wolters Kluwer Health, which supplies drug information to electronic health record systems. Alert fatigue is no longer “just something providers complain about,” she said. In health care, people are trying to devise more effective, nuanced ways for electronic systems to improve care.

    “Because it’s so easy to put an alert to address a problem, that’s people’s natural, knee-jerk reaction,” said Douglas Gentile, medical director of clinical information systems at the University of Vermont Medical Center. But “as you add those, it creates additional problems. And you get collateral damage.”

    This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


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    Enables health boards in Scotland to share health information.

    ETON, UK – NHS Fife, which provides healthcare to the 370,000 residents of Fife, has become the latest health board in Scotland to adopt a new patient information system from Cambridge, Mass.-based InterSystems.

    InterSystems will deploy its TrakCare electronic medical record and clinical information system.

    TrakCare enables health boards in Scotland to share essential information securely across organizations and geographical boundaries.

    Serving a mixed urban and rural area, NHS Fife provides hospital-based and community care for the United Kingdom’s 370,000 residents, managing more than 420,000 outpatient visits and 98,000 emergency patients episodes every year.

    The implementation of TrakCare will allow clinical staff from across the organization to securely access, manage and update a patient’s essential health information using a single master patient index.

    [See also: Australian health system Bendigo Health taps InterSystems for electronic health record.]

    The consolidation of health information into a single record will also support staff in their clinical decision-making,. The goal is for providers to be better informed and be better prepared  to improve patient safety and outcomes.

    This opportunity to further improve the quality of care it provides is at the heart of the organisation’s decision to adopt TrakCare explains William Edwards, NHS Fife’s General Manager for eHealth:

    “TrakCare is being adopted by NHS Fife as part of our programme to converge with other NHS Boards, and we will be able to benefit from the experience of other boards as we progress towards the delivery of electronic patient records.,” William Edwards, NHS Fife’s General Manager for eHealth, said in a statement. “In time it will also allow us to adopt common processes and work to standards agreed across Scotland.”

    [See also:  Saudi Arabia hospital achieves HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 EMRAM .]

    NHS Fife will be the 12th Scottish Health Board to adopt InterSystems TrakCare with around 92 percent of the population of Scotland soon to be covered by the programme.

    “The basis of high-quality care is ensuring that essential patient information is accessible to all who need it, when they need it,” Mark Palmer, country manager, UK, InterSystems, said.“Our objective is to help NHS Fife achieve its goal of delivering the highest quality of patient care.

    “We have designed the system to put clinicians in control, and patients at the centre. As a result of NHS Fife’s decision, even more people in Scotland will benefit from the seamless and secure exchange of information provided by TrakCare,” he added.


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    Stage 7 is the pinnacle in the move to high-functioning EHRs.

    CHICAGO – HIMSS Analytics has awarded OhioHealth Doctors Hospital with an EMRAM Stage 7 Award.

    Columbus-based OhioHealth consists of 11 hospitals, more than 50 ambulatory sites, hospice, home-health, medical equipment and other health services spanning a 47-county area.

    HIMSS Analytics developed the EMR Adoption Model, EMRAM, in 2005 as a way to gauge the progress and impact of electronic medical record systems for hospitals in HIMSS Analytics LOGIC.

    There are eight stages, 0-7, which measure a hospital’s implementation and utilization of information technology. Stage 7 represents an advanced patient record environment.

    The process to confirm a hospital has reached Stage 7 includes a site visit by an executive from HIMSS Analytics and former or current chief information officers and chief medical information officers to ensure an unbiased evaluation.

    [See also: Orange Regional Medical Center climbs to Stage 7 on HIMSS Analytics EMRAM.] and [Saudi Arabia hospital achieves HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 EMRAM.]

    “Reaching the highest level of adoption for an electronic medical record speaks to the highly-skilled team of physicians, nurses, IT professionals and associates that we have at OhioHealth Doctors Hospital,” Marcy Conti, chief nursing officer and vice president, operations, OhioHealth Doctors Hospital, said in a statement. “Mastering a new system that provides immediate patient information to all providers allows us to provide that next level of superior patient care. To quickly achieve this recognition demonstrates Doctors Hospital’s commitment to providing excellent service and quality care to those we serve.”

    HIMSS executives agree.

    “It was clear during our visit to Doctors Hospital that OhioHealth has fostered a data-driven culture,” added John H. Daniels, global vice president, healthcare advisory services group, HIMSS Analytics. “They invested heavily in informatics resources including creating a new corporate nurse executive position, hiring 10 nurse informaticists, a clinical pharmacist informaticist and launching a physician envoy program with 19 physicians of multiple specialties all synchronously focused on optimizing their use of IT across the enterprise.”

    Only 4.3 percent of the more than 5,400 U.S. hospitals in the HIMSS Analytics LOGIC have received the Stage 7 Award.

    OhioHealth Doctors Hospital will be recognized at the 2017 HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition on Feb. 19-23, 2017, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.


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    'Our technology to produce data from genetic medicine is far more advanced than our ability to use it in a clinical environment.'

    The promise of genomics and personalized medicine is immense. But right now health information technology is seriously unprepared to capitalize on the medical advancements that could be just around the corner.

    "We're really not in near as good a position as we should be to take advantage of the data that's here right now," said Nephi Walton, biomedical informaticist and genetics fellow at Washington University School of Medicine, speaking Wednesday at the HIMSS Big Data and Healthcare Analytics Forum in San Francisco.

    There's been a lot of hype about personalized medicine these past few years, and much of it is justified. But the misunderstandings and barriers are still real.

    Part of that has to to with the science itself. "Clinical genetics is a relatively new and evolving science," said Walton. "The technology is based on probabilities and varies in accuracy. You can actually send a genetic test to two different labs and you will get different results in some case. It's not 100 percent."

    Consequently, certain perceptions about what it can accomplish are out of proportion to current realities: "There is a huge lack of understanding about genetic testing and there's inflated expectations, a lot of misunderstanding about genetic testing," he said.

    "This is not an exact science," Walton explained. "'Whole exome' sequencing doesn't cover the entire exome, 'whole genome' sequencing doesn't cover the entire genome. For some diseases you can't just test the blood, you have to test different regions of the body. There's still a lot we don't understand."

    But a lot of the hurdles are related to limitations of clinical technology that, with some retooling, could better enable genomic data to make an impact at the point of care.

    [Also: HIT unprepared for 'omics' onslaught]

    "Our technology to produce data from genetic medicine is far more advanced than our ability to use it in a clinical environment," said Walton. "Our IT infrastructure is grossly inadequate to meet the demands of precision medicine today,"
     
    Consider the simple fact of how the data is stored.

    "We currently store genetic data in a very robust, complicated, standard format that was developed nearby here, in Silicon Valley," he said. "The problem is, it was developed in 1993 and it's called a PDF."

    That format isn't particularly suited to support clinical decision support, or to inform prescribing practices.

    "We have Cerner and Allscripts and are moving to Epic," said Walton of Washington University School of Medicine. "None of those vendors can actually use genetic data for decision support, or even store it."

    Moreover, "they've been slow to respond to the demand for precision medicine," he said. "although I think that people are demanding it enough now that there has been some change."

    That's a good thing because "things are moving really fast," said Walton. "Whole genome sequencing is not used that much presently, but it won't be long. We've got to be able to use this data in our EHRs."

    [Also: Genomics pose 'daunting' test for EHRs]

    Typically, the exome generates about six to eight gigabytes of data, he said. Whole genome sequencing generates about 100-200 gigs. This data is then distilled down by the lab, which creates a list of specific genes of certain significance.

    What happens to all the rest of that sequencing data? "It's not totally thrown away, it's still at the lab," said Walton. "But we can not use it in a clinical environment the way it is. This is valuable information. It can show how you'll respond to medication, what you're susceptible to. But essentially we're throwing it away – in large part based on the fact that we don't have a place to put it or an easy way to use it."

    He offered the analogy of an MRI: What if they only gave you a report, but you couldn't see the image?

    Likewise, the genetic report is very limited. "It only shows me a number of genes. But I see the patient. The lab doesn't see the patient. The ability to see this data in relation to the person you're taking care of is very powerful. We, as clinicians, need to see the data. We need access to all the data so we can make clinical decisions."

    There are many other big issues that could hamper wider deployment of genomics in healthcare, said Walton – from legal and ethical concerns (informed consent/information disclosure; how and when to test, and what sort of test) to questions of insurance coverage.

    But the more immediate hurdle is related to technology.

    "I think precision medicine is great, it's going to change the world," he said. "But we need to change our healthcare system to accommodate it."

    Walton added: "When I can get more genetic information from my iPhone than my hospital, something needs to change."

    This article is part of our reporting on the Big Data and Healthcare Analytics Forum taking place this week in San Francisco. Other stories include: Atul Butte says 'precision medicine makes doctors nervous | Mayo Clinic physician engineer says healthcare analytics need a system-based approach | Best practices for healthcare data visualization | Penn Medicine chief data scientist: Analytics should begin at the executive level and Data scientists, execs share advice for assembling a big data analytics team.


    Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
    Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

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    Eight new members were appointed to the standards committee, and one to the policy committee.

    HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell has named new members to both the Health Information Technology Standards Committee and the Health Information Technology Policy Committee.

    Eight new members will join the standards committee: Rajesh Dash, MD, professor of Pathology, Duke University School of Medicine; Kay Eron, general manager, health IT and medical devices for Intel; Peter Johnson, retired chief information officer and technical expertise representative; Kyle Meadors, president of Drummond Group; Terrence O’Malley, MD, geriatrician, Massachusetts General Hospital; Andrey Ostrovsky, MD, CEO and cofounder of Care at Hand; Wanmei Ou, director of product strategy in precision medicine for Oracle; and Larry Wolf, principal of Strategic Health Network.

    Aaron Miri, CIO and vice president of Government Relations for Imprivata will join the policy committee.

    The HITSC recommends standards, implementation specifications and certification criteria for electronic exchange and use of health data. The HITPC recommends policies for health information technology development and adoption, including health information use and exchange.

    Policy committee members are appointed by the HHS Secretary, four are appointed by Congress, 13 by the Comptroller General of the United States and other members are appointed by the President. Standards committee members are appointed by the HHS Secretary, with input from the National Coordinator for Health IT.

    Twitter: @JessieFDavis
    Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com


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    Healthcare IT startups to watch in 2016: Running list of big news
    Slideshow Description: 

    From virtual care platforms to precision medicine, data analytics to interoperability, the healthcare IT landscape is constantly changing thanks to new approaches driven by entrepreneurs making waves in the sector.

     

    [This story was updated 6/15/16 to add Omicia]

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    Redox
    Slideshow Description: 

    Luke Bonney Niko Skievaski and James Lloyd founded Redox in 2014. The Epic alumni who run Redox are aggressive about interoperability, and they claim it's easier to achieve than it seems. They call it "turnkey interoperability." Most recentk Redox has integrated its health apps with Epic, Cerner and eClinicalWorks among othertd.

    Read fill story.

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    Aledade
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    Aledade, former ONC chief and physician Farzad Mostashari’s accountable care organization startup, is 'steady as she goes' as it enters its third year.

    Read full story.

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    Omicia CEO Matt Tindall
    Slideshow Description: 

    Omicia will expand HIPAA-compliant, cloud-enabled platform for research, population health, clinical trials. The startup landed $23 million in its Series B financing round, completed on June 8. UPMC led the funding.

    Read the full story.

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    Tom Dorsett, CEO of ePatientFinder
    Slideshow Description: 

    ePatientFinder announced on June 9, it had raised $8.2 million tto build out its Clinical Trial Exchange platform. The EHR agnostic cloud-based service enables doctors to locate new treatment options, preventative procedures and clinical trials for their patients.

    Read full story.

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    Elad Benjamin, CEO of Zebra
    Slideshow Description: 

    Intermountain led a $12 million funding round that Zebra said it will use to build out its analytics engine with machine learning algorithms for diagnosing imaging scans.

    Read full story

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    Practice Fusion veterans announce IBeat wearable-as-a-service
    Slideshow Description: 

    The forthcoming cloud service will monitor a user’s heart activity around the clock, according to CEO Ryan Howard.

    Read full story.

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    Apixio raises $19 million venture capital to advance cognitive computing
    Slideshow Description: 

    The data science company said it will use the investment money to develop applications for care and quality measurement. 

    Read full story.

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    Decisio Health introduces clinical platform, draws $4.5M in Series A round
    Slideshow Description: 

    Decisio Health, a startup that aims to help acute-care provider organizations continually improve their clinical processes, launched the Decisio Health Clinical Intelligence Platform on May 17 and also announced $4.5M in Series A funding. The new platform is based on technology developed at the University of Texas Health Center. Read full story.

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    Andrew Kress, co-founder and CEO of HealthVerity,

    Health Verity’s technology enables customers to rapidly discover, license and assemble patient data from a wide range of traditional and emerging healthcare data sources that can aid pharmaceutical, hospital and payer organizations seeking to enhance patient insights from existing and new data sources. The startup has landed $7.1 million in its first round of funding.

    Read the article.

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    Augmedix co-founders Ian Shakil, left, and Pelu Tran

    Augmedix, which bills itself as the world's first Google Glass startup, has secured $23 million in venture funding to date. Already, the Google Glass service is being used by five health systems nationwide, including the 40-hospital Dignity Health in San Francisco.

    Read the story

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    Ruben Amarasingham, MD

    Pieces Technologies landed $21.6 million in its first round of funding in March 2016. The investment will help the fledgling company advance its cloud-based population health management tools, said CEO and founder Ruben Amarasingham, MD. Pieces Tech’s software platform, incubated at the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, provides integrated monitoring, prediction, workflow optimization and organizational learning services specifically for hospitals and health systems.

    Read the article.

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    Slideshow Description: 

    Alejandro Foung, Lantern co-founder and CEO

    Lantern, a San Francisco-based startup, with 17 employees, is working with UPMC Enterprises, the commercialization arm of the Pittsburgh-based healthcare giant, to further develop the company’s online mental health wellness services and products.

    Slideshow Image: 
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    Slideshow Description: 

    Health Catalyst CEO Dan Burton

    Health Catalyst has raised $70 million in its fifth round of funding, bringing the total of venture capital it has attracted to $235 million.

    Norwest Venture Partners, the lead investor in three previous rounds of funding, and UPMC Enterprises, the commercialization arm of UPMC, co-led the round. UPMC is also a Health Catalyst customer and technology development partner.

    Read the story

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    Slideshow Description: 

    Zipnosis CEO Jon Pearce

    Zipnosis, a startup that provides virtual care platforms, has raised $17 million in its Series A financing round to speed product development. Zipnosis describes its offering as a platform that empowers health systems to launch proprietary branded virtual care service lines staffed with their own clinicians. The goal is to maximize the clinician's time and ensure clinically appropriate patient outcomes.

    Read the story

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    Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg, co-founders of Flatiron Health

    In recent months New York-based Flatiron Health opened an office in San Francisco, completed a second round of funding – $130 million – in May 2014, and doubled down on using data to work on eradicating cancer. The company also joined forces with another oncology company to work on the next generation of cloud-based, electronic health record, data analytics and decision support software for cancer care providers around the world.

    Read the story

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    Slideshow Description: 

    Patrick Soon-Shiong, founder and CEO of NantHealth

    Patrick Soon-Shiong, businessman, surgeon, scientist and founder of health IT company NantHealth announced back in July 2015 that he planned to take the company public by the end of the year. "We feel we have one or two transactions to accomplish, then we will initiate the public offering that we anticipate will happen probably within this year," Soon-Shiong, was quoted in the Los Angeles Times. The health IT company aims to solve the interoperability crisis and also promises to take genomics and clinical decision support to a new level. We’re still watching for an IPO in 2016.

    Read the story

    Teaser: 

    From virtual care platforms to precision medicine, data analytics to interoperability, the healthcare IT landscape is constantly changing thanks to new approaches driven by entrepreneurs making waves in the sector.

    The following gallery highlights some of those emerging companies and people who made news in 2016. Check back often as we will be updating the collection regularly.

    Click to the next slide to begin.

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    From virtual care platforms to precision medicine, data analytics to interoperability, the healthcare IT landscape is constantly changing thanks to new approaches driven by entrepreneurs making waves in the sector.

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    Ciena's optical technology will help reduce costs by eliminating inefficiencies of disparate networks, health system officials say.

    In an effort to streamline data-heavy applications such as advanced imaging, electronic health records and molecular medicine, Moffitt Cancer Center has launched a new private enterprise network

    The health system, one of the largest cancer treatment centers in the U.S., has tapped Ciena to build the network, whose optical technology will connect clinicians and researchers.

    "Building our own private network with Ciena helps support our mission of contributing to the prevention and cure of cancer," said John McFarland, director of technology services at Moffitt Cancer Center, in a press statement. "It also gives us a powerful communication infrastructure platform to improve patient care through closer collaboration and data sharing between researchers and physicians."

    [Also: Moffitt picks up pace to personalized care]

    Moffitt treated more than 350,000 outpatients in 2015. The new network – spanning some 50 miles – connects five remote locations with more than 5,000 employees.

    It's based on Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform, with WaveLogic 3 Nano coherent optics that offer high-capacity connection among those remote locations and two data centers through dark fiber provided by FiberLight, officials say.

    The aim is to ensure staff have assured access to patients' updated EHRs and to spur collaboration on research.

    Cost savings are a driver too: The network, with support for an array of high-capacity clinical applications, enables Moffitt to save on monthly recurring per-circuit charges.

    "With this new network Moffitt Cancer Center will have reliable and robust connectivity – that is both less costly and complex – to facilitate the important work being done at their center," said Jason Phipps, general manager and vice president of Ciena's North America Field Organization.

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    EHR integration creates a thorny challenge for digital health orgs wanting to improve healthcare with innovative technologies. Taking a collaborative approach to workflows proves to be the quickest and best solution.

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    The effort will help doctors boost access to precision medicine for 10,000 VA veterans with cancer.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs and IBM Watson Health today launched a public-private partnership to provide veterans with cancer a better shot at recovery.

    IBM announced the initiative at Vice President Joe Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot Summit today,

    IBM Watson Health will help doctors expand access to precision medicine over the next two years for 10,000 American veterans.

    The VA is not new to this work. The agency invested $52 million in 2015 to support nearly 250 cancer research projects. However, like the cancer institutions across the country, the agency, too, finds itself inundated with data.

    “All the new information about cancer flooding in via articles and clinical trials has been impossible to keep up with in a timely way, Steve Harvey. IBM vice president of Watson Health, told Healthcare IT News.

    “The volume and the speed of information that floods into the standard databases of clinicians has quickly eclipsed the human’s ability to go through and manually curate this in a timely manner,” he said. “So that’s the first challenge. Even if you could magically keep up with all the information that’s being generated and make sense of it, the second problem that a lot of these cancer Institutes face is the amount of time it takes to interpret the genetic data.”

    The problem is one of scale.

    “What Watson is able to do,” Harvey explained, “is aggregate the information and submit it in a report in a usable manner. It also does this for an individual patient case in a couple minutes.”

    IBM’s Watson for Genomics technology will come into play in the VA’s precision oncology program by providing information to help physicians target treatment options for nearly 30 times more patients than could be previously served.

    The collaboration is expected to greatly speed up the ability of VA doctors to help identify genomic treatment options for veterans.

    As IBM executives explain it, scientists and pathologists will sequence DNA for cancer patients, then feed de-identified genetic alteration files into Watson. Watson will generate a report for physicians that identifies the likely cancer-causing mutations and possible treatment options.

    It’s a data-intensive process that has been time-consuming and difficult to scale in the past without Watson Health’s cognitive computing capability.

    [See also: IBM Watson aligns with 16 health systems and imaging firms to apply cognitive computing to battle cancer, diabetes, heart disease.]

    “Genetic alterations are responsible for most cancers, but it remains challenging for most clinicians to deliver on the promise of precision medicine due to the sheer volume of data surrounding each decision that needs to be made,” Department of Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Health David J. Shulkin, MD, said in a statement. “By applying Watson to this problem, we see an opportunity to scale access to precision medicine for America’s veterans.”

    He noted that veterans of war experience disproportionately high rates of cancer diagnosis and mortality. As America’s largest integrated health system, VA serves 3.5 percent of the nation’s cancer patients – the largest group of cancer patients in the country.

    Watson is expected to facilitate rapid access for veterans to personalized care, particularly for patients with advanced cancer.

    IBM’s VA initiative follows more than two years of collaboration with more than 20 leading cancer institutes to train and validate Watson for Genomics.


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    With more than 350 oncology researchers, data and technology experts, alongside with more 6,000 people at linked events nationwide, it's billed as the the first time a group this big has gathered for such an intitiave.

    "Today, for the first time, physicians, scientists, nurses, patient advocates, families, and cancer survivors are coming together with foundations, companies, and institutions all at once, all around the country, all under the same national charge," said Vice President Joe Biden. "Making a decade’s worth of progress in five years in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer."
     
    At the Cancer Moonshot Summit in Washington June 29, Biden announced a long list of federal and health industry initiatives meant to harness technological and clinical advances to make significant headway in the fight against the disease.

    Biden is joined by more than 350 oncology researchers, data and technology experts, as well as patients and families. Together with more 6,000 people at linked events nationwide, it's billed as the the first time a group that expansive and diverse has met to tackle a government initiative such as this.
     
    Among the new partnerships, initiatives, investments and policies announced today to accelerate new cancer therapies, improve prevention and diagnosis and broaden patient access to care:

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced new incentives for coordinated cancer care. CMS has enrolled nearly 200 participating physician practices – including more than 3,200 oncologists – in its Oncology Care Model, a multi-payer framework focused on incentivizing high-quality, high-value and patient-focused care. The participants commit to offering enhanced services to Medicare beneficiaries such as care coordination and navigation, and agree to use national treatment guidelines for care. CMS, meanwhile, will supply practice feedback data for continuous care improvement.

    The National Institutes of Health is collaborating with 12 biopharma companies – as well as research foundations, philanthropies and the foundation for the NIH – to develop the Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies, or PACT.  It will fund pre-competitive cancer research and share data generated for further research – with the aim of bringing more new therapies to patients in less time.

    The Department of Energy and National Cancer Institute, along with GlaxoSmithKline, have launched a public-private partnership to harness high-performance computing and diverse biological data to accelerate the drug discovery process and bring new cancer therapies from target to first in human trials in less than a year.

    [Also: Intermountain, Stanford, others launch data sharing network for Biden’s Cancer Moonshot]

    The FDA is ramping up its provide accessible information for physicians and patients looking for investigational drug treatments in cases of serious or life-threatening conditions. The agency is also upping its efforts to establish a "navigator" program to serve as a connection point between patients, providers and drug developers to facilitate expanded access requests.

    PCORnet, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, has initiated a planning group – comprising patients, clinicians and investigators – that will work to develop approaches for using real-world electronic data to address research needs in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment, as well as tackling disparities in cancer care and outcomes. The group will collaborate with other sponsors of real-world clinical data collection and analysis to harmonize cancer-related data from various electronic health record systems for use in large research and quality improvement programs.

    [Also: IBM’s Watson to work with VA on Vice President Biden's Cancer Moonshot]

    The Harvard Medical and Business Schools will launch prize-based challenges in cancer research to scale Coding for Cancer. In collaboration with the Crowd Innovation Lab at Harvard's Institute for Quantitative Social Science, researchers will work with cancer-related foundations and the global oncology research community to identify computational bottlenecks in cancer research and design prize challenges to solve them.

    Creative Commons will provide open educational resources, and tools that will support researchers, funders, medical professionals, and professors as they build open and collaborative communities for cancer research. These materials will include guides for adopting and implementing open licensing policies, training materials regarding working openly and using licensed materials and data, and technical tools for applying open licenses to shared works.

    Many, many more initiatives were announced today at the Moonshot Summit. Read about them all here.

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