This week's highlights: the introduction of Senate Bill 2986, a partnership between Express Scripts and Prime Therapeutics, and a data leak which exposed health data on 2.4 million users. Click on the links below to read the full news articles.
• America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) praised the introduction of Senate Bill 2986, a bipartisan proposal aimed at addressing social barriers to health, such as housing, healthy food, and reliable transportation, for Medicaid enrollees.
• Amazon.com and its Ring home security camera unit have been sued by an Alabama homeowner who said the cameras’ defective design leaves purchasers vulnerable to cyberattacks.
• President Trump signed a bill this week that increases fines on criminal robocall violations and cracks down on companies making the calls, as part of a federal push against telephone scammers.
• VMware announced it has closed the $2.7 billion Pivotal acquisition it originally announced in August.
• Pharmacy service providers Express Scripts and Prime Therapeutics launched a three-year partnership to negotiate lower drug costs.
• Chicago-based Augmedics earns FDA’s 510(k) clearance for its augmented reality system that allows surgeons to visualize 3D spinal anatomy and track instruments and implants while looking directly at the patient.
• Oracle and Microsoft have expanded their Cloud partnership to now help customers in Canada run their mission-critical workloads across Oracle Cloud and Microsoft Azure.
• Facebook has secured a patent to track what users watch on TV and streaming services and correlate it with the rest of their user data, in some cases using a device's microphone, camera or GPS to capture audio, images, video or location data that reveals what the user is watching.
• China's competitor to GPS is nearly finished after years of work. Project lead Ren Chengqi revealed that the Beidou Navigation Satellite System's core was completed earlier in December, and that the last two satellites should reach orbit "before 2020."
• Google and Apple have removed an Emirati messaging app called ToTok amid claims that it is used for UAE government espionage.
• U.S. retailers including Walmart will add “Do Not Sell My Info” links to their websites and signage in stores starting January 1st, allowing California shoppers to understand for the first time what personal and other data the retailers collect, to comply with California’s new privacy law.
• Microsoft said Monday it obtained a court order allowing it to seize web domains used by North Korean hacking groups to launch cyberattacks.
• A data leak by smart home device company Wyze exposed personal details of 2.4 million users including email addresses and health data.
• An atrial fibrillation detection study of 420,000 Apple Watch users finds that just over 2,000 of them received irregular pulse warnings, but only 450 followed up with the offer of a free telemedicine visit and verification via an EKG sensor patch.
• An outcomes expert questions a study claiming that Livongo for Diabetes reduced medical spending by 22%, noting the article was written by Livongo employees and employees of drug manufacturer and Livongo partner Eli Lilly.
• Two in five consumers say they would switch providers to access affordable payment arrangements to cover their costs of care, including half of households with children, an AccessOne survey has found.
• Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers find that the FDA was lax in failing to require opioid manufacturers to collect data to prove that their physician prescribing training was effective in reducing addiction, overdoses, and deaths and instead allowed those companies, in the absence of such data, to regulate themselves.
• Experts say AI could have a big healthcare impact, but worry about excessive hype, the tech industry’s mantra to “fail fast and fix it later,” systems whose training allows them to base predictions on meaningless data points, and the absence of randomized clinical trials proving that such systems work.
• HIMSS touts its “new strategic direction and brand re-alignment” that includes a reorganization to remove silos, an emphasis on its value beyond the annual conference, and its intention to become “a catalyzer to transform the global health ecosystem through the power of information and technology.”