The House Ways and Means Committee approved a bill that would postpone a tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans until 2022 and suspend employer-mandate penalties incurred from 2015 through 2019. The panel also advanced legislation that would permit anyone to buy a catastrophic plan and allow consumers to use the Affordable Care Act's tax credits for plans bought outside of ACA exchanges.
Health care continues to be a target for hacking and data breaches, and many organizations are making critical mistakes in their haste to address security vulnerabilities, writes Bret Settle, CEO of IT security firm Threat X. Among the mistakes: taking a piecemeal approach to security, not paying enough attention to lower-tier vulnerabilities, failing to implement comprehensive technology innovations, attempting to mandate overly complex security protocols, focusing on compliance instead of risk, and failing to deploy active blocking technology across all applications.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has set up a new group, the Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization, to manage the preparation, implementation and maintenance of the department's new EHR system, which is set to start in October and continue through March 2020. The VA will spend about $1 billion per year to continue using the VistA EHR platform during the rollout of the new Cerner system.
Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., will serve as chair and Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., will be the ranking member of the newly created Subcommittee on Technology Modernization to oversee the development of a new EHR system for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Reps. Jack Bergman, R-Mich., Mike Coffman, R-Colo., and Scott Peters, D-Calif., are the other members of the subcommittee.
Twelve states have restrictive laws and Medicaid policies that hinder widespread adoption of telehealth, 20 states have progressive laws and policies that support expanded use, and 26 states reimburse for telehealth delivered to patients' homes, according to a Manatt Health analysis. Although nearly all state Medicaid programs cover live video conferencing, fewer reimburse for remote patient monitoring, store-and-forward telemedicine, and email and phone care.
As long as medical professionals have the final say on patient diagnoses, clinicians are excited about using artificial intelligence in the process, said Cloud DX CEO Robert Kaul. However, the reliability bar for AI is high, Kaul said, and if there are any indications of errors or bias, it could lead to a big setback for both public perception and in the industry itself.
Officials at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System notified 4,700 patients about an inappropriate EHR access incident involving one of its employees. Patients' full names, birth dates, addresses, medical record numbers, health insurance information, health providers, visit dates and other medical data, as well as some Social Security numbers, may have been compromised.
A study conducted by HIMSS on behalf of SailPoint of health care professionals showed that 43% of cybersecurity solutions providers consider insider threats a greater concern than external ones when it comes to health data security in their organizations. Among the survey's 101 respondents, the mean score for the level of concern over insider threats was 8.2, indicating an acute level of concern, and 3 out of 4 respondents said training and awareness are important to preventing insider security breaches.
Researchers found that speech recognition-assisted EHR clinical documentation had a 7.4% error rate, which dropped to 0.4% and 0.3% after transcriptionist review and in the clinician-signed final document, respectively. The findings in JAMA Network Open "demonstrate the necessity of further studies investigating clinicians' use of and satisfaction with [voice recognition] technology, its ability to integrate with clinicians' existing workflows, and its effect on documentation quality and efficiency compared with other documentation methods," researchers wrote.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is challenging software developers to utilize the data in the Certified Health IT Product List in original ways. Developers' apps "should provide solutions to challenges for health care providers, health care consumers and the health IT community," the ONC says.
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