This week's highlights: Medtronic has recalled a heart pump device, the FDA issued its first emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 molecular diagnostic test, and Gartner announced the top strategic technology trends that organizations need to explore in 2021.
• The Cuomo administration's reporting of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes drew another round of criticism late last week after it was revealed the total death count was stripped from a state report last July after the New York Governor pressured the health department to not include the full death count.
• New York Governor Andrew Cuomo dismissed calls for his resignation in the wake of new allegations of inappropriate workplace conduct but will sign a bill stripping his emergency powers to fight the COVID-19 pandemic as he faces growing political pressure from his own party.
• Medtronic has recalled a heart pump device after discovering it sometimes failed to start or restart, an issue that led to two patient deaths, the FDA said earlier this month. Medtronic has received 29 complaints about the issue, including 19 serious injuries, eight cases of patients who had a life-threatening event but recovered without long-term effects, and the two patient deaths.
• The American Hospital Association is calling on policymakers to curtail some pharmacy policies health insurers use to manage specialty prescription drug distribution to members.
• Telemedicine and related device vendor TytoCare doubles its Series D round of funding, first announced last April, to $100 million.
• Online musculoskeletal (MSK) treatment provider SpineZone announced a $12 million Series A funding round led by Polaris Partners and Providence Ventures with participation from Martin Ventures.
• Germany's vaccine commission has approved the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in people over 65 years of age. Recent studies had now provided enough data to approve it for all ages.
• Pure Storage and Equinix develop a Bare Metal as a Service storage offering that delivers a unified, connected platform for any stage of an organization’s cloud journey.
• The FDA has issued its first emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 molecular diagnostic test developed by Cue Health that does not require a prescription and can be used at home.
• Change Healthcare and Amazon Web Services announced this week they are launching a new data science as a service offering that provides de-identified claims data integrated with social determinants of health for more robust data analytics and research on vulnerable patient populations.
• Physicians can now have discrete patient genetic data integrated into their workflow as well as the tools to understand and apply it with Expanse Genomics. MEDITECH’s groundbreaking, integrated EHR-based solution enables users to receive, store, and present complex genomic information to clinicians in intuitive ways at the point of care, leveraging pharmacogenomic decision support from First Databank.
• Microsoft alerted customers March 3rd of previously unknown security flaws within its Microsoft Exchange email server, which a Chinese hacking group has been targeting to steal user data.
• Data extortion attempts signal a new era for ransomware tactics according to a report from Crowdstrike, which counted 97 healthcare organizations victimized by ransomware attacks using extortion in 2020.
• Apple has released a set of security updates for iPhones, iPads, Macs and Watches. These patches fix the same vulnerability, a memory corruption bug in WebKit.
• Fast Company released its 2021 list of "The Most Innovative Health Companies," with 10 healthcare tech companies featured in the ranking.
• The at-a-glance agenda for the 2021 ONC Annual Meeting on March 29th to 30th has just been released.
• CereCore publishes an overview of MEDITECH reporting and regulatory submission.
• A new KLAS report on EHR best practices for hospitals of under 200 beds finds that while their vendors provide technology and support, the hospitals need to get IT teams involved with frontline clinicians, set realistic expectations, invest in IT resources, deploy skilled trainers with required clinician engagement, and create a collaborative relationship with their vendor that has regular touch points.
• Black Book’s annual survey of ambulatory practices find that specialty-driven EHRs earn the top satisfaction, although most specialists regret their hurried EHR choice and implementation that failed to consider connectivity with other providers.
• Researchers found that 18 children developed acute kidney injury among 152 children hospitalized with COVID-19 across four Northwell Health hospitals in New York over a five-month period last year.
• A study that was performed using University of California EHR data finds that 27% of people who tested positive for COVID-19 experienced symptoms that lasted 60 or more days afterward, including shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, or abdominal pain.
• Gartner announced the top strategic technology trends that organizations need to explore in 2021 for operational resiliency, including the Internet of Behaviors, Total Experience, Privacy-Enhancing Computation, Distributed Cloud, Anywhere Operations, Cybersecurity Mesh, Intelligent Composable Business, AI Engineering and Hyperautomation.