This week's highlights: The CMS has started issuing its first round of warning letters to hospitals not in compliance with the hospital price disclosure rule, GE Healthcare announced the acquisition of Zionexa, and a new report predicts artificial intelligence (AI) will take over telehealth as the top digital investment in the next 3 years.
• The HHS announced that nearly 940,000 Americans have signed up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov during the special enrollment period.
• The CMS has started issuing its first round of warning letters to hospitals not in compliance with the hospital price disclosure rule. Hospitals will have 90 days to address the findings in the noncompliance letter from CMS. The agency will then re-review upon expiration of that 90-day window.
• The Biden administration joined calls for waiving intellectual property rules and sharing the technology behind COVID-19 vaccines to help speed the end of the pandemic, a shift that puts the U.S. alongside many in the developing world seeking distributions of more doses to the needy.
• U.S. regulators expanded the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as 12 this week, offering a way to protect the nation’s adolescents before they head back to school in the fall.
• Vida Health, a virtual chronic condition care platform, announced that it has raised $110 million in its Series D funding round led by General Atlantic, Centene and AXA Venture Partners.
• Groups Recover Together, a network of opioid addiction treatment providers, will use a $60 million Series C funding round to expand its brick-and-mortar reach from 12 to 15 states by the end of the year.
• Managed detection and response (MDR) solutions provider Huntress announced raising $40 million in a Series B funding round, which brings the total raised by the company to $60 million.
• GE Healthcare announced the acquisition of Zionexa, a leading innovator of in-vivo oncology and neurology biomarkers that help enable more personalized treatment for metastatic breast cancer patients.
• Boost Mobile adds unlimited telemedicine visits through K Health to its Unlimited Plus plan.
• Google announced that it will automatically enroll some accounts in two-step verification (2SV) if their accounts already include recovery information, such as a phone number or email address.
• Relatient announces that Greenway Health users now have access to its Appointment Reminder solution.
• California-based startup care.coach is aiming to alleviate senior loneliness with a round-the-clock virtual companion providing social support and access to care when needed.
• VMware has patched another critical vulnerability reported by Positive Technologies, a Russian cybersecurity firm that was sanctioned recently by the United States.
• Researchers at Check Point Research found a vulnerability in Qualcomm’s Mobile Station Modem (MSM) chip, installed in around 30% of the world’s mobile devices, can be exploited from within Android.
• U.S. fuel pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline has shut down its entire network that transports 45% of East Coast fuel supplies after a cyberattack, the company said in a statement on Friday.
• Google announced another set of patches for Chrome, to address a total of 19 vulnerabilities.
• The Canadian province of Alberta reported its first death of a patient from a rare blood clot condition after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, its chief medical officer said.
• MEDITECH releases a new podcast, “How St. Luke’s doubled patient portal enrollment during the pandemic.”
• Cigna CEO David Cordani said preventive care procedures including mammograms, colonoscopies, childhood vaccinations and cervical cancer screenings among its members are back to levels not seen since before the COVID-19 shutdowns of early 2020.
• Service Employees International Union, which represents more than 1 million healthcare workers, is taking aim at HCA Healthcare for what it calls runaway executive compensation in an advertising blitz.
• A Gartner survey of Chief Data Officers found 72% of data and analytics leaders are leading or heavily involved in digital transformation initiatives. While data quality (51%), ROI from data and analytics investments (44%) and data sharing (43%) are D&A leaders’ top objectives, their role will not be seen as valuable unless they focus on stakeholders’ KPIs. In addition, 93% of CDOs reported that effective communication is critical to the success of their roles.
• In a new, forward-looking report from health technology company Philips, researchers predict that artificial intelligence (AI) will overtake telehealth as the top digital health investment in the next three years. After a year of crisis, healthcare leaders remain optimistic about the future.
• Researchers at West Virginia University determine that patients with chronic conditions benefit most from telemedicine visits for about a year, rather than ending at the six-month mark. A systematic review of real-time video calls, text messaging, and remote monitoring data found that patients experienced more positive results with virtual visits that lasted nearly a year.