The health questions for which Americans sought answers on Google most frequently this year were about reducing blood pressure, followed by ketogenic diets and stopping hiccups. Last year's most-Googled health queries included questions about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, endometriosis and how long marijuana can be detected in urine.
Two seats are open on the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee, and they should be filled by independent physicians who use EHRs and other health technology every day, writes Association of Independent Doctors Executive Director Marni Jameson Carey, who has been nominated to fill one of the openings. Carey has already expressed her concerns to HITAC about current EHR systems' deleterious effects on patient care and health care provider independence.
UnitedHealthcare's Techstars-powered accelerator held a demo day recently where entrepreneurs displayed digital tools for physicians, apps for patients and consumers, and a sensor that alerts caregivers when a patient's walker tips over. The accelerator provides funding and mentorship, and two more cohorts are scheduled through 2021.
Apple's AC Wellness primary health care clinics are offering Color Genomics' genetic tests to employees for free in an attempt to prevent disease. The initiative might also facilitate testing of new products.
The HHS' Office for Civil Rights fined Florida-based primary care provider Korunda Medical for failing to share a patient's medical records with a third party within the required time period and in electronic format despite multiple requests from the patient and technical assistance from the OCR. Korunda also charged more than allowed under HIPAA, according to the OCR, though the records eventually were provided for free.
Starting in January, Cigna's Express Scripts pharmacy benefit manager will be reviewing digital therapies for certain conditions, such as diabetes and asthma, and placing them on a formulary for health care providers as well as health plan coverage considerations. Express Scripts Chief Experience Officer Mark Bini says the curated digital health formulary can give insurers more confidence in choosing which apps to cover.
A hack into Complete Technology Solutions' network on or around Nov. 25 allowed Sodinokibi or rEvil ransomware to be installed on computers at more than 100 dentistry practices. CTS refused to comment on the matter, but independent security experts say it appears the company, which specializes in IT services for the dental industry, refused to pay a ransom, and some practices have paid a ransom to unlock their own files.
Enrollment in health insurance through Delaware's Affordable Care Act marketplace was 1.7% lower on Dec. 7 than at the same time last year, despite an average premium decrease of 19%. State HSS Secretary Kara Odom Walker says officials have been trying to notify residents of the premium decreases and hope to boost enrollment before the enrollment period ends Sunday.
Silver State Health Insurance Exchange Executive Director Heather Korbulic says 83% of Nevada residents eligible to enroll in a health insurance plan through the exchange qualify for financial assistance. This is the first year Nevada has not used HealthCare.gov for enrollment, and Korbulic says the state-run platform is working well and is expected to save from $18 million to $20 million over the next five years.
Epic is offering PatientTrak's secure text messaging app in its App Orchard online marketplace. The app enables health care providers and patients to communicate by text messaging through Epic EHRs.
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