Patient survey administrator hit by ransomware | Wash. hospital notifies 109K patients of breach | AI isn't ready to replace humans in predicting disease outbreaks
February 21, 2020
AHIP Health IT SmartBrief
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Top Story
NRC Health's "entire environment" was shut down this month by a ransomware attack, but the company says no patient data was compromised. NRC administers patient satisfaction surveys and collects data on more than 25 million patients every year in the US and Canada, on which Medicare reimbursements and physician bonuses are based.
Full Story: CNBC (2/20) 
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Cybersecurity
Overlake Medical Center & Clinics in Washington state is notifying 109,000 patients that their records might have been exposed to an unauthorized third party who gained access to email accounts through a phishing scam discovered in December. The community hospital says additional cybersecurity measures have been implemented and no evidence suggests that patient information has been misused.
Full Story: Becker's Health IT & CIO Report (2/20) 
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Technology Trends
An artificial intelligence program beat human beings by about 30 minutes in flagging the novel coronavirus outbreak, and the AI-generated report was less detailed than the human-generated version. Algorithms are only as accurate or complete as the data they scour, and they can be tripped up by inconsistency in how data is reported by different agencies, meaning real people must still be involved in reviewing conclusions, say Metabiota CEO Nita Madhav and epidemiologist Andrew Beam.
Full Story: The Associated Press (2/20) 
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Advancing Care with IT
Health insurers are leveraging data and technology as they focus on improving socioeconimic factors that affect members' health. Examples include Cigna's virtual mental health care platform connecting members with a network of mental health professionals providing private convenient care, and UPMC Health Plan's use of health care utilization and patient outcomes data to identify social and economic needs for their members and the larger community.
Full Story: AHIP blog (2/20) 
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An artificial intelligence platform, created to help health care providers care and triage stroke patients, has been launched by Viz.ai. The platform offers electronic health records system integration and the ability to alert hospital personnel of an incoming stroke patient.
Full Story: AuntMinnie (free registration) (2/20) 
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The ONC's proposed data interoperability rules would lead to open, standardized interfaces that will help patients and health care providers manage care more effectively, three UCSF Health executives told HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a recent letter. Critics of the proposed rules, including Epic CEO Judy Faulkner, say the rules do not do enough to protect patients and would lead to higher health care costs and loss of privacy.
Full Story: EHR Intelligence (2/20) 
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Government and Regulatory
National Health IT Coordinator Don Rucker said the interoperability rule is "coming out relatively soon." Developing the rule has been complicated because of the need to "draw the right balance on protecting privacy, yet address what is ultimately the biggest issue, which is simply the vast amount of health care costs that are out there and the lack of patients having agency," he said.
Full Story: HealthLeaders Media (2/19) 
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Health Insurance Exchanges
New York's health insurance exchange notched a record 4.9 million enrollees when open enrollment ended Feb. 7, marking an increase of more than 150,000 over last year's enrollment. About 3.4 million New Yorkers used the exchange to enroll in Medicaid coverage and about 273,000 enrolled in a qualified private plan.
Full Story: The Post-Standard (Syracuse, N.Y.) (2/20) 
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Covered California saw enrollment in exchange-sold health plans climb by 1.6% to 1.54 million for the 2020 plan year, fueled by a 41% increase in new customers. Exchange officials attributed the increase to the state's penalty for residents who fail to enroll in health insurance and a program that augments the Affordable Care Act's federal premium assistance.
Full Story: CNN (2/18) 
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Health Insurance Provider Company News
Solution Provider News
AHIP News
Engage with the experts who can help you get a better picture of what health care will look like moving forward and your organization's role. Register now for AHIP's National Health Policy Conference (March 18 and 19) and the National Conference on the Individual and Small Group Markets (March 19 and 20) in D.C. Register for both conferences and save.
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Featured resources: AO recent white papers
White papers and case studies submitted by our Affiliate Organizations (AOs) bring you the latest thinking on current topics in health care. This month’s features include whitepapers from CirrusMD on barriers to virtual health; Medecision on utilization management and maximizing disruptive technologies; and Alliance Family of Companies on video monitoring and electroencephalography for epilepsy.   
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