This week's highlights: The HHS is reversing the previous administration's push to deregulate more than 80 medical devices, Doximity has added a bundle of new features to its telehealth offering, and a survey found that 29 percent of healthcare workers have considered leaving healthcare because of COVID-related burnout.
• Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 don't need to wear masks outside anymore unless they are in a big crowd of strangers, according to CDC guidance updated April 27th. A flowchart was also issued comparing the outdoors activities people should wear a mask for if they are vaccinated or unvaccinated.
• The HHS is reversing the previous administration’s push to deregulate more than 80 medical devices.
• The Department of Justice formed a task force to curb the rapid expansion of ransomware cyberattacks by targeting the entire criminal ecosystem surrounding them. The task force will consist of the Justice Department's criminal, national security and civil divisions, the FBI and the Executive Office for U.S.
• The CMS has issued the proposed rule for fiscal year (FY) 2022 Medicare Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and Long-Term Care Hospital (LTCH). The proposed rule would update Medicare payment policies and rates for operating and capital‑related costs of acute care hospitals and for certain hospitals and hospital units excluded from the IPPS for FY 2022.
• Payment card company Mastercard announced an $850 million deal to acquire the digital identity verification firm Ekata on Monday. On the same day, Entrust reported that it had closed a deal to buy the identification firm WorldReach Software for an undisclosed sum.
• Moody's analysts predict that hospital M&A deals will accelerate, particularly for smaller hospitals and physician groups that continue to feel COVID-19-related pressure on their operations.
• Home monitoring platform vendor Current Health raises $43 million in Series B financing.
• Doximity, a digital platform for medical professionals, has added a bundle of new features to its telehealth offering, called Doximity Dialer which allows providers to conduct voice or video telehealth visits from their personal smartphone without sharing their private information.
• As of this week, Amazon's Alexa is able to answer questions about COVID-19 immunization sites and eligibility, powered by VaccineFinder, a tool created by Boston Children's Hospital with CDC support.
• PatientKeeper integrates its mobile app with MEDITECH Expanse, offering users access to patient lists, vital signs, lab and other test results, clinical notes, med list, allergies, and order status.
• Penn State College of Medicine (PA) built an Amazon Alexa skill to deliver care interventions to breast cancer patients in their own homes. It interacts with patients to address four key symptoms: pain, fatigue, sleep and psychosocial distress such as anxiety and depression.
• A cybersecurity breach at software vendor Elekta has impacted operations at 40 health systems, including at Yale New Haven Health.
• China is behind a newly discovered series of hacks against key targets in the U.S. government, private companies and the country’s critical infrastructure, cybersecurity firm Mandiant said this week. The hack works by breaking into Pulse Secure, a program that businesses often use to let workers remotely connect to their offices.
• The law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service has been quietly running a program that tracks and collects Americans’ social media posts, including those about planned protests. The details of the surveillance effort, known as Internet Covert Operations Program, have just been made public.
• Securance Consulting recognizes Engage as a MEDITECH hosting “Best Practice” consulting firm, and awards it an overall five-star rating for the sixth consecutive year.
• Navin, Haffty & Associates has published its April newsletter, highlighting MEDITECH’s patient engagement tools, analytics and BCA use cases, and new client engagements.
• A study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association found that more favorable electronic health record usability scores are associated with lower odds of burnout and those usability scores have plummeted.
• A new report by Forrester Research on wearables in healthcare concludes such devices assist consumers rather than clinicians, and that their shortcomings are numerous.
• KLAS publishes a report covering health IT staffing firms, with Futura Mobility, Prominence, iMethods and Galen Healthcare Solutions achieving the top overall performance scores. KLAS also highlighted how collaborative partnership from Divurgent, Navin, Haffty & Associates, Oxford Global Resources and Nordic leads to less resource churn.
• A survey conducted by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 29 percent of physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers have considered leaving healthcare because of COVID-related burnout.
• The FDA’s announcement last week of the definition of eight classification regulations says it will no longer use the term “PACS,” and will now refer to imaging systems as “medical image management and processing system,” or the acronym “MIMPS.”
• Kenneth Kaufman of Kaufman Hall publishes a blog post: “Executive Strategies for the Post-COVID era.”