December 6th Health Exec Briefing

Top Stories

Healthcare industry optimistic about Tom Price, Seema Verma agency picks
Tom Price, a Republican congressman from Georgia who is also a longtime orthopedic surgeon, is Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. Seema Verma, the founder and CEO of consulting firm SVC Incorporated, is his choice for the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Read about how these two are poised to usher transformative change.
(Fierce Healthcare, November 30)

Completed Cigna acquisition could mean $3B fine for Anthem
Anthem began its defense of the acquisition in federal court during phase one of a two-part trial. Steve Schlegel, Anthem’s VP for corporate development, testified Wednesday that the merged company would fall short of the BCBSA’s requirement that it get the bulk of its nationwide revenue from Blues-branded products. Read more about the recent acquisition and what it means for both companies.
(Fierce Healthcare, December 1)


What’s New in Healthcare

CMS Offers Stage 3 Meaningful Use Flexibilities in Final Rule
Earlier this month, CMS finalized flexibility to the EHR Incentive Program to ease administrative burden, allowing hospitals to focus on quality care and improving their EHR technology. Published in the Federal Register on November 14, 2016, the rule establishes a 90-day reporting period in 2017, as opposed to a full calendar-year reporting period.
(EHR Intelligence, November 30)

Healthcare adds 28k jobs in November; hospital job growth slows
The healthcare industry added more than 28,000 jobs last month, with hospitals contributing just 5,500 to that total, according to the most recent jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read about the stats that show the growth of healthcare jobs over the past 12 months.
(Becker’s Hospital Review, December 2)

OIG Tackled EHR Contingency Plans, Payments in 2016
The Semiannual Report to Congress, issued by the Office of Inspector General, which encompasses OIG’s activities between April and September of 2016, first describes the agency’s work to investigate EHR contingency plans at hospitals. OIG also did extensive work to detect incorrect payments in state Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.
(EHR Intelligence, December 5)

Healthcare spending hits $3.2 trillion in 2015
A CMS report stated that healthcare spending in 2015 increased at a rate of 5.8%, the fastest in eight years, as more people obtained health insurance and prescription drug costs continued to rise. The report’s authors predict continued growth in health spending over the next decade because of the aging population and continued medical price growth.
(Modern Healthcare, December 2)

Healthcare Innovations

IBM Watson, Pfizer join forces on cancer drug discovery
Immuno-oncology is an approach to cancer treatment that uses the body’s immune system to help fight cancer, IBM Watson and Pfizer both said after teaming up in a new arrangement that will bring supercomputing capabilities to cancer drug discovery. Read about the new partnership and the future of immuno-oncology.
(Healthcare IT News, December 2)

Using Business Intelligence, KPIs for Revenue Cycle Management
The healthcare industry’s transition to value-based care extends into healthcare providers’ revenue cycle management processes. Three patient onboarding KPIs can reveal how much an organization truly values initial contact with patients: preregistration rate, insurance verification rate, and service authorization rate.
(Health IT Analytics, December 5)

Virtual Physical Therapy Helps Revolutionize Home Health Care
One of the newest fields to be handled via innovative technology is physical therapy. From diagnosis to treatment and chronic condition management, telehealth has become a reality in the wake of an ever-changing healthcare landscape. Read about a new digital healthcare company dedicated to transforming traditional medicine.
(Health IT Outcomes, December 5)

Telehealth & mHealth News

Can Telehealth Make Physical Therapy More Effective?
Virtual Exercise Rehabilitation In-home Therapy (VERITAS) will evaluate patients undergoing total knee replacement (TKR) surgery who use the virtual exercise rehabilitation platform both before and after surgery. Janet Prvu Bettger, ScD, associate professor with the Duke Department of Orthopedic Surgery, stated that, “physical therapy is often a critical component of care for patients who have TKR surgery.”
(mHealth Intelligence, November 30)

AMA Adopts New Policies To Integrate mHealth Apps Into Clinical Practice
According to a report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, more than 165,000 mHealth apps are currently available to patients, yet there is no consistent standard or quality for mHealth apps. “More investment is needed in expanding the evidence base necessary to show the accuracy, effectiveness, safety, and security of mHealth apps,” the CMS report states.
(Health IT Outcomes, November 30)

Health systems lining up to offer telehealth options
The new partnership between New York Presbyterian and American Well to integrate online doctor visits with the health system’s NYP OnDemand digital health platform is a sign of the growing trend toward telehealth services at health systems across the country. Read more about the partnership and how it facilitates interdepartmental communication.
(Healthcare Dive, December 1)

Security & Analytics

Cyberattacks are going to get a lot worse, former NSA official says
“We’re facing industrial espionage on an industrial scale. There’s a convergence of bioterrorism and cybersecurity, increasing the likelihood of a mass casualty event,” said Joel Brenner during the HIMSS Privacy & Security Forum in Boston. While healthcare may not top the list in terms of incidents or breaches, it is number one by percentage of incidents and the number of incidents by stolen assets.
(Healthcare IT News, December 5)

Malware Most Common Smart Hospital Data Security Threat
According to a study from the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security, smart hospitals have become more prevalent as Internet of Things components support core functions of a hospital. The risks that result from potential threats and corresponding vulnerabilities are typically mitigated by a combination of organizational and technical security measures taken by smart hospitals which comprise good practice.
(Health IT Security, December 5)

Objectives and Challenges in Defending Healthcare Data
It is critical for healthcare organizations to have stringent IT objectives that will ensure the protection of electronic protected health information. There are several objectives that need to be met to achieve an adequate level of protection to prevent incorrect use of ePHI such as insurance fraud and identity theft.
(Healthcare IT NewsNovember 30)