This week's highlights: U.S. consumer confidence rebounded in June as businesses reopened, CVS Health announces a program for COVID-19 called GA of Return Ready, and Bloomberg publishes a profile of Walmart's healthcare ambitions.
• The FDA has launched a pilot project to make patient-reported outcome (PRO) data from cancer trials publicly available. The goal of Project Patient Voice, an initiative of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE), is to create a consistent source of publicly available information describing patient-reported symptoms from cancer trials for marketed treatments.
• Pfizer is suing the Trump administration over two long-standing Medicare anti-kickback rules that Pfizer says are blocking it from helping seniors pay for an expensive heart condition drug.
• HHS spokesperson Michael Caputo tweeted that the HHS intends to extend the COVID-19 public health emergency that is set to expire on July 25th by 90 days.
• CMS Administrator Seema Verma says that analysis of Medicare claims confirms that socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity of COVID-19 patients affect their likelihood of complications.
• U.S. hospitals saw signs of recovery in May with median operating margins reaching 4% thanks to COVID-19 relief aid from Congress and volume increases, according to Kaufman Hall's flash report for the month.
• After selling certain assets and transitioning the majority of its employees to population health management company Arcadia, the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative will sell off its remaining assets and shut down.
• U.S. consumer confidence rebounded in June as businesses reopened, strengthening views that the economic downturn was likely over. The survey from the Conference Board followed a sharp surge in hiring and consumer spending in May.
• We (Forward Advantage) announced the introduction of the CloudFax Connector, an optional cloud-based fax transmission capability for our Communication Director platform.
•The FDA launches Project Patient Voice, a website that offers cancer patient-reported data about symptoms experienced during clinical trials.
• CVS Health announces GA of Return Ready, a COVID-19 screening, testing, and analytics program that also offers digital tools for symptom monitoring and contact tracing.
• Healthcare voice AI vendor Suki launches a new voice service that it says will deliver faster, more accurate company responses from normal physician speech. Its digital clinical assistant has also been enhanced with ICD-10 coding, Epic integration, and delivery of an app for Android smartphone users.
• Walmart is looking beyond traditional retail clinics as it seeks to create “supercenters” offering comprehensive healthcare services with onsite physicians and nurses.
• VMware informed customers that it addressed a total of 10 vulnerabilities affecting its ESXi, Workstation and Fusion products, including critical and high-severity flaws that can be exploited for code execution on the hypervisor.
• At least 31 organizations in the United States have been targeted with the recently detailed WastedLocker ransomware, Symantec reported.
• Scammers have found yet another way to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, by selling fake antibody tests. The FBI says fake tests potentially provide false results but the people selling the fraudulent kits are really after your personal data and health insurance information.
• A Gartner survey of 172 HR leaders on June 9th found that 52% reported their organization’s business operations are continuing at a reduced level due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the same survey, 40% of 146 respondents reported optimizing costs as the business priority that has changed the most since January 2020. Learn more by viewing the webinar The Changing HR Agenda for 2020-21.
• Bloomberg publishes a profile of Walmart’s healthcare ambitions, focusing on the impact its full-fledged health clinics have had on its employees, customers, and bottom line. Scheduling and billing software and services are handled by Zotec and Athenahealth supplies their EHR.
• The National Rural Health Association recognizes the Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals from a list of the Top 100 CAHs as determined by The Chartis Center for Rural Health, with 16 located in the Midwest.
• IBM Watson Health announced its 2020 Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals list and 15 Top Health Systems award winners, naming the top-performing hospitals and health systems in the country.
• Telehealth visit counts have steadily declined since their mid-April peak, dropping from 14% of all visits to less than 8% as the availability of in-person visits returned.
• The latest MEDITECH Thought Leader podcast features Andy Burchett, CMIO of Avera Health, talking about his organization’s rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic.