This week's highlights: HHS will allow physicians to practice across state lines during the COVID-19 pandemic, WebMD Health acquires The StayWell Company, and an Intel chip that recognizes the scents of 10 hazardous chemicals.
•The HHS will allow physicians to practice across state lines in an effort to prevent staffing shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• More than 2,000 labs across the country will start processing tests for COVID-19 early this week, the result of a partnership between the federal government and commercial labs, meaning upwards of 1.9 million tests will start flowing through the healthcare system this week.
• 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.
• A letter from the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association urged lawmakers to include funding in the next economic stimulus package to ensure that hospitals, health systems, physicians and nurses are "directly supported" for preparedness response.
• Amazon has said it will hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the U.S. to deal with a surge in sales during the coronavirus pandemic and will increase pay for its staff in the UK, U.S. and Europe.
• Responding to the coronavirus pandemic presents significant challenges for rural hospitals, many of which operate on razor-thin margins and are vulnerable to closure.
• WebMD Health acquires Merck subsidiary The StayWell Company, which offers employee well-being, patient education, and patient engagement platforms.
• Sentinel Healthcare, a digital-healthcare vendor specializing in remote patient-monitoring, has launched a real-time coronavirus and flu-tracking mobile application, Sentinel Fever Tracker, for ongoing quarantine management efforts.
• In an effort to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic, MEDITECH is offering all customers installed with the Expanse Ambulatory and Patient Portal solutions a complimentary deployment of its Scheduled Virtual Visits software capabilities, free of charge for a six-month period.
• DocClocker pitches its patient wait time app, saying it cuts down on potentially infectious patient waiting room time and allows them to make short-notice appointments for available slots. The company also offers a version for families waiting for OR updates, publishes current and average provider wait times, collects user reviews, and sends notifications of appointments and delays.
• The HHS suffered a cyber-attack on its computer system, part of what people familiar with the incident called a campaign of disruption and disinformation that was aimed at undermining the response to the coronavirus pandemic and may have been the work of a foreign actor.
• Hackers develop a fake website that replicates the COVID-19 outbreak tracking map developed by Johns Hopkins University in an effort to lure unsuspecting people to click links that release malware.
• Healthcare providers are increasingly moving towards a "never trust, always verify" approach, also known as the "zero trust" security model, in order to protect networks and devices against an expanding threat landscape.
• VMware has patched three serious vulnerabilities in its products, including a critical flaw in Workstation and Fusion that can be exploited to execute arbitrary code on the host from the guest operating system.
• Amazon Care considers the logistics of working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to deliver COVID-19 home testing kits in Seattle.
• The federal government releases the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset, a machine-readable collection of constantly updated scientific literature that health officials hope AI researchers will use to uncover new insights into COVID-19’s incubation, treatment, symptoms, and prevention.
• Consumer uptake of wearables and mobile health apps has stalled and one-third of U.S. consumers are not using any digital tools to manage their health. The use of wearable technology has decreased from 33% in 2018 to just 18% in 2020 according to a new survey from Accenture.
• Recently, researchers from Intel and Cornell University trained an Intel neuromorphic chip to learn and recognize the scents of 10 hazardous chemicals.