There have been a total of 1,002 data breach incidents across various industries through Sept. 12 of this year, which is 23.7% higher than the same time in 2016, and more than 163 million records have been exposed since the beginning of this year, according to a report from the Identity Theft Resource Center. Researchers found that 26.3% of all data breaches were reported by the medical/health care sector, compromising more than 4.2 million records.
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Officials at Augusta University Medical Center and Augusta University in Georgia announced that a phishing attack has potentially compromised the information of a limited number of patients. According to an investigation that ended July 18, hackers accessed two employees' email accounts between April 20 and 21 that contained patients' names, medical information, prescription details, medical record numbers, Social Security numbers and other personal data.
Smiths Medical said it has not received reports of hacking involving its Medfusion 4000 drug infusion pumps that, according to a Department of Homeland Security advisory, contain cybervulnerabilities, but the company has already recommended immediate actions for the secure use of the devices. The company is looking to release new software for versions 1.1, 1.5 and 1.6 of the pumps in January and is resolving the issue in collaboration with the DHS and the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team.
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Researchers from Health Catalyst found that 19% of more than 1,100 health care professionals surveyed rated the return on investment for EHRs as terrible, compared with 42% who rated it as poor and 1% who rated ROI as superb. Twenty-nine percent of respondents rated ROI for EHRs as mediocre, while 9% rated it as positive, the findings showed.
A study in the journal Hepatology showed that Michigan Medicine increased its hepatitis C virus screening rates among baby boomers from 7.6% to 72% a year after implementing a prompt in its EHR system. Researchers found that the prompt also referred 100% of newly diagnosed patients to specialty care, and 67% were prescribed treatment.
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Fitness apps are trending, with a 330% jump in usage in the past three years with users tapping into them frequently, according to research by Flurry. Of the respondents, 75% opened health or fitness apps twice per week and 25% opened them 10 times or more.
Telemedicine company TelaCare is adding consultations with dietitians to its list of specialty care available to users. TelaCare services are accessible through a phone and tablet app, kiosks and web apps for computers.
A gamification system that included caregiver and patient incentives and prizes helped a pediatrics practice increase the percentage of appointments scheduled before patients left the office, along with the number of up-to-date well-child visits, according to a study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting. A smartphone app was used so patients and parents could download and track points.