Industry News Update 3/13/20

March 2020 | Mike Murphy, Director of Business and Industry Analytics

Industry News

This week's highlights: IRS confirms employers may waive out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus testing, the FDA notifies healthcare providers about cybersecurity gaps in certain medical devices, and a special virtual edition of  HIMSS20.

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Regulatory, Legislative,


Legal News


The IRS released guidance on Wednesday that confirms employers may waive out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus testing and treatment for workers enrolled in high deductible health plans.

The CMS' Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation announced that it would test a new model to reduce Medicare enrollees' out-of-pocket costs for insulin.

Health Care Service Corporation, a major operator of multiple Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, has sued the federal government over Affordable Care Act risk corridor payments, alleging it is owed more than $2 billion, according to the lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

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Investment News


Health IT and consulting company Emids announces an undisclosed amount of funding from BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners.

HealthStream acquires 20-employee nurse scheduling app vendor NurseGrid for $25 million in cash. Nurses use its mobile app to manage their schedules, trade shifts, and communicate with each other, while managers use it to publish work schedules.

Network security firm WatchGuard Technologies announced that it has agreed to acquire Spain-based endpoint security firm Panda Security.

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New Products





Seattle-based startup Saykara claims its voice-based physician assistant can now fully automate some patient interactions, meaning no scribe is required in the back end to confirm the system’s results. The system can also automatically fill out the correct fields in the EHR.

Honeywell said sometime in the next three months it will unveil a quantum computer that is at least twice as powerful as any current device, measured using a metric called quantum volume.

Uber Health is attempting to address provider gripes with its non-emergency medical transportation platform through a handful of new features. Providers can now select specific pickup and drop-off sites at large hospitals, and people can receive details of their ride like driver name, make and model of car and time of arrival over a landline phone, instead of just text messages.

Health IT vendors DrFirst and GoHipo are collaborating on a new approach to post-discharge care designed to help people beat the odds of substance abuse. The approach keeps patients connected with their treatment centers’ care teams using a mobile app for secure messaging and telehealth services.

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The FDA has taken steps to notify healthcare providers and vendors about a series of cybersecurity gaps related to Bluetooth Low Energy communication that could affect certain medical devices such as wearable glucose monitors and insulin pumps as well as pacemakers, neurostimulators and hospital ultrasound machines.

Wireless carrier T-Mobile is sending notifications to its customers to inform them of a data breach that resulted in some of their personal information being compromised.

There are more than 600 legitimate Microsoft subdomains that can be hijacked and abused for phishing, malware delivery and scams, researchers warned this week.

U.S. law enforcement agencies have signed a contract with Locate X, a company that allows them to track a person's movements by harvesting their phones' location data without a search warrant.

Virgin Media has been accused of downplaying the recently disclosed cybersecurity incident that involved the personal information of roughly 900,000 people.

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• As COVID-19 continues to spread, monitoring CDC, World Health Organization (WHO), and local public health sites has become critical.

A nurse union’s coronavirus survey of 6,500 members finds that 70% say their hospital employer doesn’t have enough personal protective equipment to support any surge in patients.

Harvard researchers studied the health of nearly 100,000 people over 24 years and found higher olive oil consumption was beneficial to heart health, especially when replacing mayonnaise, margarine or butter.

HIMSS will develop a special virtual edition of HIMSS20 and is asking members which sessions they would like to see.

Time and CNBC publish articles on the role telemedicine will play as COVID-19 continues to spread. 

Two new studies are adding to the growing consensus in the medical community that staying active is perhaps the best way for older adults to live longer and stay happy and healthy well into their golden years.

MIT researchers announced that they, and a powerful deep learning algorithm, had found a totally new antibiotic, one with an unconventional mechanism of action that allows it to fight infections that are resistant to multiple drugs.


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