This week's highlights: DrFirst announces a $50 million equity investment from Sixth Street Partners, the Vaccine Credentialing Institute will issue FHIR-enabled COVID-19 vaccine certificates in new ways within the U.S., and Gartner identified the top 10 data and analytic technology trends for 2021.
• The FDA issued a warning last week that certain cell phones and smart watches with high-field strength magnets may cause implanted medical devices to shut off when in close proximity.
• Thirty-two hospitals that operate in states that didn't expand Medicaid sued the HHS in an attempt to adjust their Medicare disproportionate share hospital payments, according to court documents.
• A bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced a new bill to reform prior authorization processes for Medicare Advantage plans. The proposed Improving Seniors' Timely Access to Care Act aims to standardize prior authorization processes and increase oversight and transparency.
• DrFirst announces a $50 million equity investment from Sixth Street Partners, bringing its total raised over the last 12 months to $135 million.
• Teen entrepreneurs Sage Khanuja and Nikolas Ioannou sell their digital patient screening startup to Galileo Health, a membership-based telemedicine company.
• Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente announced their joint strategic investment in Medically Home Group, a Boston-based tech services company that powers hospital-at-home programs.
• In the U.S., the Vaccine Credentialing Institute will issue FHIR-enabled COVID-19 vaccine certificates on iOS and Android phones and digital wallets and paper-based copies with QR codes.
• Imprivata has developed an identity governance maturity model that assesses current processes and gets organizations from where they are, to where they want to be.
• Johnson & Johnson has landed FDA clearance for a new reshaping contact lens technology developed to combat childhood myopia called Abiliti Overnight Therapeutic Lenses.
• Oxford University partnered with Oracle to create a Global Pathogen Analysis System (GPAS) that enables scientists and decision-makers to quickly identify COVID-19 variants.
• Following the ransomware attack that impacted the pipeline operated by Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline, security firms are providing detailed information on the cybercriminal gang behind the attack.
• A database containing medical records of almost 200,000 U.S. military veterans was recently discovered to have been exposed online by a vendor contracted by the Veterans Administration.
• Security researchers have discovered a way to leverage Apple’s Find My Offline Finding network to upload data from devices, even those that do not have a Wi-Fi or mobile network connection.
• A researcher has released a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit for a recently patched Windows vulnerability that could allow remote code execution and which has been described by Microsoft as wormable.
• HIMSS attendees, exhibitors, speakers and staff will need to verify that they're fully vaccinated to gain entry to the HIMSS21 campus in Las Vegas. HIMSS will offer more guidance soon on proof and validation, including potential digital apps.
• The American Medical Association announces Return on Health, which will develop a framework for assessing the value of digitally enabled care.
• RSNA confirms that it will return to an in-person conference this year, starting on its usual Thanksgiving weekend at McCormick Place in Chicago.
• Gartner has identified the top 10 data and analytics (D&A) technology trends for 2021 that can help organizations respond to change, uncertainty and opportunities. They include Smarter Scalable AI, Composable Data and Analytics, Data Fabric as the Foundation, From Big to Small and Wide Data, XOps, Engineering Decision Intelligences, Data and Analytics as a Core Business Function, Graph Relates Everything, The Rise of the Augmented Consumer, and Data and Analytics at the Edge.
• Just before the start date of the Office of the Coordinator for Health IT’s (ONC’s) Cures Act final rule around information blocking, KLAS Research reached out to provider organizations to understand what they have done to prepare, what the biggest challenges were, and how they think the changes will impact interoperability. Feedback from 42 respondents reveals that a majority of respondents feel their organization has taken the steps necessary to become compliant with the new regulations.
• A survey by mental health vendor Woebot Health finds that users of its therapy encounter app develop a bond, similar to that between human therapists and patients, within 3-5 days of use without diminishing over time. The “relational agent” app simulates a supportive conversation using AI and NLP that monitors and manages symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety.