MedClimate Health News Daily http://medclimate.com/feed en-us Copyright MedClimate, Inc2019 Opinion: Untapped potential - how can organisations realise the value of health and care data? http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/europe/opinion-untapped-potential-how-can-organisations-realise-value-health-and-care-data http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/europe/opinion-untapped-potential-how-can-organisations-realise-value-health-and-care-data Mon, 18 Nov 2019 04:38:15 CST at Most Popular News from healthcareitnews.com Ellen Coughlan, programme manager at the Health Foundation provides insght on how they helped to create a free and openly available tool for organisations to take the first step toward realising the value of the data they collect. Side effects mild, brief with single antidepressant dose of intravenous ketamine http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/side-effects-mild-brief-single-antidepressant-dose-intravenous-ketamine http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/side-effects-mild-brief-single-antidepressant-dose-intravenous-ketamine Fri, 15 Nov 2019 22:00:00 CST NIH News Release Safety data analyzed from five NIH inpatient clinical trials ]]> Technology optimization: refining clinical decision support http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/technology-optimization-refining-clinical-decision-support http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/technology-optimization-refining-clinical-decision-support Fri, 15 Nov 2019 11:49:35 CST at Most Popular News from healthcareitnews.com Five CDS technology pros describe some comprehensive best practices for making the technology work optimally for provider organizations. Post-acute providers often lack budget to implement critical health IT http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/post-acute-providers-often-lack-budget-implement-critical-health-it http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/post-acute-providers-often-lack-budget-implement-critical-health-it Fri, 15 Nov 2019 09:36:24 CST at Most Popular News from healthcareitnews.com Just under half (49 percent) of all post-acute providers surveyed said the state of their staff's health information technology proficiency is either "extremely poor" or "non-existent," a new Black Book report shows. Mayo Clinic study links EHR usability with clinician burnout http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/mayo-clinic-study-links-ehr-usability-clinician-burnout http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/mayo-clinic-study-links-ehr-usability-clinician-burnout Fri, 15 Nov 2019 08:20:00 CST at Most Popular News from healthcareitnews.com Researchers sought to assess and benchmark how physicians view electronic health record usability, as defined by a standardized metric, and use that to evaluate how poor UX correlates with feelings of job frustration and burnout. Bacteriophage therapy may ease severity of alcoholic hepatitis http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/bacteriophage-therapy-may-ease-severity-alcoholic-hepatitis http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/bacteriophage-therapy-may-ease-severity-alcoholic-hepatitis Thu, 14 Nov 2019 20:15:00 CST NIH News Release NIH-funded study in mice merits further investigation as a potential treatment. ]]> Older Mexican American adults experiencing pain are at risk of developing frailty http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/older-mexican-american-adults-experiencing-pain-are-risk-developing-frailty http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/older-mexican-american-adults-experiencing-pain-are-risk-developing-frailty Thu, 14 Nov 2019 18:45:00 CST NIH News Release NIH-funded study calls for policy to manage pain-related frailty unique to older Mexican Americans. ]]> NIH adds five Lasker Clinical Research Scholars http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-adds-five-lasker-clinical-research-scholars http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-adds-five-lasker-clinical-research-scholars Thu, 14 Nov 2019 18:15:00 CST NIH News Release Exceptional early stage scientists mark NIH’s commitment to build the next generation of biomedical researchers. ]]> NIH, NIST researchers use artificial intelligence for quality control of stem cell-derived tissues http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-nist-researchers-use-artificial-intelligence-quality-control-stem-cell-derived-tissues http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-nist-researchers-use-artificial-intelligence-quality-control-stem-cell-derived-tissues Thu, 14 Nov 2019 17:30:00 CST NIH News Release Technique key to scale up manufacturing of therapies from induced pluripotent stem cells. ]]> How provider organizations can prepare cybersecurity incident response and recovery http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/how-provider-organizations-can-prepare-cybersecurity-incident-response-and-recovery http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/how-provider-organizations-can-prepare-cybersecurity-incident-response-and-recovery Thu, 14 Nov 2019 11:34:21 CST at Most Popular News from healthcareitnews.com Two healthcare cybersecurity experts who will be speaking at the upcoming HIMSS Healthcare Security Forum offer comprehensive advice on everything from breach containment to security operations centers. Patients still facing big obstacles getting their own health data http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/patients-still-facing-big-obstacles-getting-their-own-health-data http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/patients-still-facing-big-obstacles-getting-their-own-health-data Thu, 14 Nov 2019 08:41:28 CST mmiliard at Healthcare IT News - Government & Policy "Patients need their records, and it shouldn't be hard to get them," says Deven McGraw, chief regulatory officer at Ciitizen, a startup founded in 2017 that develops tools to help patients access, manage and share their medical records. There's a reason Ciitizen has a market for its services. Because, unfortunately, "the majority of medical record providers are not compliant" with the HIPAA Privacy Rule's right of access provisions, according to the company. This past summer, Ciitizen launched its Patient Record Scorecard, which assesses providers nationwide and assigns them a score – one to five stars – on how well they complied with patients rights under that access rule. Before joining the startup, McGraw served as Deputy Director for Health Information Privacy at the HHS Office for Civil Rights. (She also did a stint as acting chief privacy officer at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.) During her time at OCR, the office issued a "comprehensive guidance on the right of individuals to access, and obtain a copy of their health information," McGraw explained in an August blog post. "I knew before I came to OCR that individuals had struggled to get their health information, and that noncompliance with the Right of Access was widespread. I was proud that we issued this guidance and thought it would make a difference for patients." After joining Ciitizen, she said, "I was confident we could help our users gather their health information with little (if any) friction. Boy, was I wrong." Among the many hurdles standing between patients and their lawful rights to timely access to their own data: records not sent within the required 30-day period, or not shared in the digital format requested; some records are sent directly to the patient, rather than their preferred third-party designee. Some providers will not send images, and others don't accept requests by email or fax, as required. Still others charge patients inflated rates for their own data, far and above HIPAA's allowance for a "reasonable, cost-based" fee. Those who still put up roadblocks to patient access should note the case of one Florida hospital, which was in September was required to pay OCR $85,000 to settle the first enforcement action related to HIPAA's right of access provision. Moving from noncompliant to 'patient focused' This week, Ciitizen released a new version of the scorecard, which includes updated scores for the first round of graded providers, plus an assessment of 150 new ones – bringing the total to 210 providers, scored between February and September of 2019. The star ratings are labeled accordingly:                    Non-HIPAA compliant HIPAA compliant: Substantial intervention HIPAA compliant: Minimal intervention                    HIPAA compliant: Seamless process HIPAA compliant: Patient focused The scores are "based on the response of healthcare providers to one or more actual records requests submitted by patients (the patients request that their information be sent directly to Ciitizen in order to be populated into their Ciitizen personal record accounts)," according to the company's methodology. In a blog post, the company unpacked some of the findings. While more than half (51%) of the providers it scored are still non-compliant with HIPAA Right of Access – or else needed "significant intervention to become compliant," the good news is that then number of health systems "providing access or exceeding HIPAA’s requirements appears to be increasing." Its data shows that the number of providers "delivering seamless access to patient records" increased from 30% to 40%. But big challenges still exist, notably that too many providers still fail to send records in the form and format requested by the patient, and the fact, says Ciitizen, that "when we decreased follow-up calls to medical records departments, it took them longer, often over the 30 day HIPAA limit, to send records." As CMS and ONC push for more seamless patient access with their soon-to-be-finalized interoperability rules, clearly many organizations have some catching up to do. Going forward, the company says it plans to revise the scorecard every three to six months to include new entries and updated scores from existing providers, and will continue to publish all results to allow for review and comment prior to submission to a peer reviewed journal. Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media. Focus on Patient Experience This month, our coverage will continue a special focus on the patient experience. We'll talk to the thought leaders and first-movers reimagining the how and where of patient-friendly tech, and report on ways to activate, if not delight, the people they treat.  

"Patients need their records, and it shouldn't be hard to get them," says Deven McGraw, chief regulatory officer at Ciitizen, a startup founded in 2017 that develops tools to help patients access, manage and share their medical records.

There's a reason Ciitizen has a market for its services. Because, unfortunately, "the majority of medical record providers are not compliant" with the HIPAA Privacy Rule's right of access provisions, according to the company.

This past summer, Ciitizen launched its Patient Record Scorecard, which assesses providers nationwide and assigns them a score – one to five stars – on how well they complied with patients rights under that access rule.

Before joining the startup, McGraw served as Deputy Director for Health Information Privacy at the HHS Office for Civil Rights. (She also did a stint as acting chief privacy officer at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.)

During her time at OCR, the office issued a "comprehensive guidance on the right of individuals to access, and obtain a copy of their health information," McGraw explained in an August blog post. "I knew before I came to OCR that individuals had struggled to get their health information, and that noncompliance with the Right of Access was widespread. I was proud that we issued this guidance and thought it would make a difference for patients."

After joining Ciitizen, she said, "I was confident we could help our users gather their health information with little (if any) friction. Boy, was I wrong."

Among the many hurdles standing between patients and their lawful rights to timely access to their own data: records not sent within the required 30-day period, or not shared in the digital format requested; some records are sent directly to the patient, rather than their preferred third-party designee.

Some providers will not send images, and others don't accept requests by email or fax, as required. Still others charge patients inflated rates for their own data, far and above HIPAA's allowance for a "reasonable, cost-based" fee.

Those who still put up roadblocks to patient access should note the case of one Florida hospital, which was in September was required to pay OCR $85,000 to settle the first enforcement action related to HIPAA's right of access provision.

Moving from noncompliant to 'patient focused'

This week, Ciitizen released a new version of the scorecard, which includes updated scores for the first round of graded providers, plus an assessment of 150 new ones – bringing the total to 210 providers, scored between February and September of 2019.

The star ratings are labeled accordingly:                   

  1. Non-HIPAA compliant
  2. HIPAA compliant: Substantial intervention
  3. HIPAA compliant: Minimal intervention                   
  4. HIPAA compliant: Seamless process
  5. HIPAA compliant: Patient focused

The scores are "based on the response of healthcare providers to one or more actual records requests submitted by patients (the patients request that their information be sent directly to Ciitizen in order to be populated into their Ciitizen personal record accounts)," according to the company's methodology.

In a blog post, the company unpacked some of the findings. While more than half (51%) of the providers it scored are still non-compliant with HIPAA Right of Access – or else needed "significant intervention to become compliant," the good news is that then number of health systems "providing access or exceeding HIPAA’s requirements appears to be increasing."

Its data shows that the number of providers "delivering seamless access to patient records" increased from 30% to 40%. But big challenges still exist, notably that too many providers still fail to send records in the form and format requested by the patient, and the fact, says Ciitizen, that "when we decreased follow-up calls to medical records departments, it took them longer, often over the 30 day HIPAA limit, to send records."

As CMS and ONC push for more seamless patient access with their soon-to-be-finalized interoperability rules, clearly many organizations have some catching up to do.

Going forward, the company says it plans to revise the scorecard every three to six months to include new entries and updated scores from existing providers, and will continue to publish all results to allow for review and comment prior to submission to a peer reviewed journal.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.

Focus on Patient Experience

This month, our coverage will continue a special focus on the patient experience. We'll talk to the thought leaders and first-movers reimagining the how and where of patient-friendly tech, and report on ways to activate, if not delight, the people they treat.

 

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Patients still facing big obstacles getting their own health data http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/patients-still-facing-big-obstacles-getting-their-own-health-data http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/patients-still-facing-big-obstacles-getting-their-own-health-data Thu, 14 Nov 2019 08:41:28 CST at Most Popular News from healthcareitnews.com Despite HIPAA's right of access rule, and CMS and ONC prioritizing consumer access in their forthcoming 21st Century Cures regs, a new scorecard shows that providers have some work to do. The impact of digital transformation in hospital care http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/asia-pacific/impact-digital-transformation-hospital-care http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/asia-pacific/impact-digital-transformation-hospital-care Wed, 13 Nov 2019 20:03:58 CST Most Popular News from healthcareitnews.com Philips’ strong patient monitoring portfolio in critical care provides continuous monitoring for every care setting – from the point-of-care, to the unit central station, to a virtualised care provider or team. What NHS can learn from other sectors to spur innovation http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/video/europe/what-nhs-can-learn-other-sectors-spur-innovation http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/video/europe/what-nhs-can-learn-other-sectors-spur-innovation Wed, 13 Nov 2019 15:04:37 CST rickdagley at Healthcare IT News - Government & Policy Primary topic: Innovation PulseDisable Auto Tagging: Short Headline: What NHS can learn from other sectors to spur innovationFeatured Decision Content: Region Tag: Europe/UK
Primary topic: 
Disable Auto Tagging: 
Short Headline: 
What NHS can learn from other sectors to spur innovation
Featured Decision Content: 
Region Tag: 
Europe/UK
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Indiana HIEs consolidate into single statewide network http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/indiana-hies-consolidate-single-statewide-network http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/indiana-hies-consolidate-single-statewide-network Wed, 13 Nov 2019 14:06:18 CST at Most Popular News from healthcareitnews.com Indiana Health Information Exchange and Michiana Health Information Network will merge in 2020, at which point all MHIN employees will become IHIE employees, with offices in Indianapolis and South Bend.   Indiana HIEs consolidate into single statewide network http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/indiana-hies-consolidate-single-statewide-network http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/indiana-hies-consolidate-single-statewide-network Wed, 13 Nov 2019 14:06:18 CST mmiliard at Healthcare IT News - Government & Policy Two major health information exchanges are merging in Indiana in what their executives say will provide the state with broader and more connected healthcare support. WHY IT MATTERS Indiana Health Information Exchange and Michiana Health Information Network announced their new deal to join their networks Wednesday. The companies signed an agreement to merge their networks Jan. 1, 2020, at which point all MHIN employees will become IHIE employees. IHIE is now planning to have offices in both Indianapolis and South Bend, Indiana. The move also includes consolidating with a third exchange, healthLINC based in Bloomington, Indiana, which began transitioning its customers to IHIE earlier this year. Kelly Hahaj, CEO at MHIN, said the companies have been collaborating on projects over the past few years and work well together. She said it was apparent the two would be stronger together and have a bigger impact on supporting healthcare in Indiana. THE LARGER TREND Company leadership described the move as following a trend towards network consolidation seen around the country. Jeff Costello, Chief Financial Officer of Beacon Health System and Board President of Michiana Health Information Network, said having one information exchange for the entire state will facilitate broad access to clinical data in a safe, efficient, timely and cost effective manner. John Kansky, President and CEO of IHIE, said the evolution of national interoperability is driving the need for HIEs to adapt, as well as create new opportunities for value proportions. In an interview with Healthcare IT News earlier this year, Kansky emphasized that value that state and regional HIEs bring to the interoperability equation. "Many HIEs are still going strong and making great progress – even on the national level, which they are not known for, since HIEs are thought of as regional or state things," he said. "If you go looking for the people that have the last mile wired and/or have the data available – and in some cases have it in normalized, curated repositories, ready to be exchanged – it's the HIEs." ON THE RECORD "We are excited to continue the great work of the state's two health information exchanges under one umbrella," said Costello. "The transition of HealthLINC to IHIE is making a positive difference in the healthcare experience for our patients and our clinicians," said Brian Shockney, President, South Central Region, Indiana University Health. "Being able to easily transmit medical information among the care team, no matter where they are located, clearly contributes to better coordination of care and results." Max Sullivan is a freelance writer and reporter who, in addition to writing about healthcare, has covered business stories, municipal government, education and crime. Twitter: @maxsullivanlive Email: maxesullivan@gmail.com Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

Two major health information exchanges are merging in Indiana in what their executives say will provide the state with broader and more connected healthcare support.

WHY IT MATTERS
Indiana Health Information Exchange and Michiana Health Information Network announced their new deal to join their networks Wednesday.

The companies signed an agreement to merge their networks Jan. 1, 2020, at which point all MHIN employees will become IHIE employees. IHIE is now planning to have offices in both Indianapolis and South Bend, Indiana.

The move also includes consolidating with a third exchange, healthLINC based in Bloomington, Indiana, which began transitioning its customers to IHIE earlier this year.

Kelly Hahaj, CEO at MHIN, said the companies have been collaborating on projects over the past few years and work well together. She said it was apparent the two would be stronger together and have a bigger impact on supporting healthcare in Indiana.

THE LARGER TREND
Company leadership described the move as following a trend towards network consolidation seen around the country.

Jeff Costello, Chief Financial Officer of Beacon Health System and Board President of Michiana Health Information Network, said having one information exchange for the entire state will facilitate broad access to clinical data in a safe, efficient, timely and cost effective manner.

John Kansky, President and CEO of IHIE, said the evolution of national interoperability is driving the need for HIEs to adapt, as well as create new opportunities for value proportions.

In an interview with Healthcare IT News earlier this year, Kansky emphasized that value that state and regional HIEs bring to the interoperability equation.

"Many HIEs are still going strong and making great progress – even on the national level, which they are not known for, since HIEs are thought of as regional or state things," he said. "If you go looking for the people that have the last mile wired and/or have the data available – and in some cases have it in normalized, curated repositories, ready to be exchanged – it's the HIEs."

ON THE RECORD
"We are excited to continue the great work of the state's two health information exchanges under one umbrella," said Costello.

"The transition of HealthLINC to IHIE is making a positive difference in the healthcare experience for our patients and our clinicians," said Brian Shockney, President, South Central Region, Indiana University Health. "Being able to easily transmit medical information among the care team, no matter where they are located, clearly contributes to better coordination of care and results."

Max Sullivan is a freelance writer and reporter who, in addition to writing about healthcare, has covered business stories, municipal government, education and crime.

Twitter: @maxsullivanlive
Email: maxesullivan@gmail.com

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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Project Nightingale seems to square with HIPAA, but next steps matter http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/project-nightingale-seems-square-hipaa-next-steps-matter http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/project-nightingale-seems-square-hipaa-next-steps-matter Wed, 13 Nov 2019 13:24:13 CST at Most Popular News from healthcareitnews.com While Google apparently signed a business associate agreement with Ascension, and the scope of the data sharing appears to be in line with HIPAA allowances, there are still many questions about how the patient information is being put to use. Project Nightingale seems to square with HIPAA, but next steps matter http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/project-nightingale-seems-square-hipaa-next-steps-matter http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/project-nightingale-seems-square-hipaa-next-steps-matter Wed, 13 Nov 2019 13:24:13 CST mmiliard at Healthcare IT News - Government & Policy The health data sharing collaboration between Google and Ascension has raised some big concerns nationwide – starting with some employees at Ascension – about what the initiative could mean for patient privacy. The so-called "Project Nightingale," overall does appear to meet HIPAA compliance standards, based on Google's and Ascension's own statements and what has been reported so far by The Wall Street Journal and others. But the news that Google – which makes its money off data-based advertising and has long been the subject of privacy concerns – would have access to protected health information has understandably raised some alarms across an industry where privacy and security are meant to be paramount. (The partnership has now led to a new federal inquiry.) CNBC reported that, while Ascension and Google did sign a business associate agreement, as required by HIPAA, "some Ascension employees were concerned that some tools that Google is using to import and export data were not compliant with HIPAA privacy standards." As Ray Ray D'Onofrio, principal data analyst at technology consultants SPR explains, "development tools such as Google Data Studio can be problematic with HIPAA compliance, features such as logging of data changes, access controls for data viewing and screen locks are often not native." However, "tactical HIPAA compliance is a bit of a red herring," he said. "It is the spirit of HIPAA that should be question – is data acquired and use of the data specifically providing value to the patient?" In a blog post, Tariq Shaukat, president, industry products and solutions at Google Cloud, said the company has a BAA with Ascension, governing the use of PHI "for the purpose of helping providers support patient care." Ascension and Google both quickly released statements on Monday, clarifying the purpose and scope of the arrangement, following WSJ's initial report. D'Onofrio opined that "the awkward announcements hint that neither Google or Ascension Health intended the sharing of data would be made public," or at least not as soon as it was. In his blog post, Shaukat clarifies that, under conditions of the BAA, "Ascension’s data cannot be used for any other purpose than for providing these services we’re offering under the agreement, and patient data cannot and will not be combined with any Google consumer data." Indeed, HIPAA stipulates that a business associate may gain access to protected health information "only to help the covered entity carry out its health care functions – not for the business associate’s independent use or purposes." But security expert Dr. Saif Abed, CEO of Boston-based Clinical Cyber Defense Systems, points out that the sheer potential value of the insights that can be derived from vast collections of patient data means there is always the potential that an analytics organization could push the boundaries of what is considered fair and ethical use. So he said he understands why many are concerned that, over time, the patient data being analyzed might find its way into any number of different projects that were not the initiative's primary goal, and perhaps only loosely related to healthcare. "Given that de-identification and anonymization frankly seldom truly exists, this could lead to a raft of, in essence, large scale privacy breaches and ethical misuse cases," he said. A question of scale and scope Deven McGraw, former Deputy Director for Health Information Privacy at HHS Office for Civil Rights and now chief regulatory officer at health data startup Ciitizen, said that, in some regards, the Ascension-Google collaboration "is not unlike arrangements that happen every day in America between hospitals and other covered entities and contractors performing services on their behalf. "Many hospitals have hundreds of business associates, all with extensive access to PHI," she said. The difference here is that the vendor is Google, "which has access to so much other data about individuals," leading to "some uncertainty about other ways that Google might try to use and monetize the Ascension data." The stated aim of the project is one of software development, with the data helping inform AI algorithms and improve the use of the product. But with Google, "I think there are concerns that it may not be possible for data to be truly de-identified in their hands, given all of the data to which they have access," said McGraw. A similar point was raised by healthcare attorney Matthew Fisher, partner at Westborough, Massachusetts-based Mirick, O'Connell, DeMallie & Lougee, who echoed McGraw's assessment that Project Nightingale is "not fundamentally that different from the sorts of interactions that occur between healthcare organizations, such as Ascension, and vendors, such as Google, on a daily basis." As long as Google "fulfills its privacy and security obligations under HIPAA with regard to the protected health information provided by Ascension, there is no HIPAA issue on the face of things," said Fisher. "A big unknown about the relationship, though, is whether Google will be permitted to de-identify the Ascension patient information. "If protected health information is de-identified in accordance with HIPAA, then the data are no longer covered by HIPAA," he said. "However, given the enormous amount of data held by Google, a maybe not so academic question exists of whether data can be de-identified when in Google’s possession. That's essentially the gist of an ongoing lawsuit involving Google's work with the University of Chicago. The plaintiff alleges that, despite being deidentified, Google's expertise in data mining and AI makes it "uniquely able to determine the identity" of the medical records shared with it by the university." Ultimately, said Fisher, if either Ascension or Google don't "comply with obligations under HIPAA and a breach or violation occurs, then OCR or an Attorney General can take action. Time to rethink privacy protections? Big picture, it's probably time for policymakers to reexamine the mechanisms and regulatory frameworks in place to protect patient data. Abed, of Clinical Cyber Defense Systems, points out that privacy and security regulations need to be strong enough on the side of the patient to be able to hold organizations managing their data to account. "We have to remember that the average person is not a security expert and can easily be overwhelmed by technical jargon from suppliers professing how secure and trustworthy they are," he said. "The use of patient data is a struggle of extremes," added D'Onofrio of SPR. "At one end is the important role population data plays in managing the cost of healthcare" and driving improvements in population health and precision medicine, he said. "At the other extreme is the desire to keep our personal health information private." It's exactly that delicate balance that McGraw has been exploring recently in a series of discussions about the "Goldilocks dilemma" of health data sharing. It may also be worth assessing the strength these days of HIPAA, which is nearly 25 years old and dates from well before the technological innovations driving these new conversations. Indeed, one open question, said McGraw, is "whether Google will combine its data (such as data from search) with the Ascension data in order to augment its services to Ascension (for example, predictive analytics based on both clinical and social data). This would also be permissible under HIPAA, as Ascension faces few limitations under HIPAA in how it collects data." She also offered the view that, "if Google wants to be a trusted player in healthcare, they could also take steps to firewall off (both technically and through contractual and privacy policy commitments) the data they are collecting as part of their health care work from other aspects of their business." Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin. Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com Twitter: @dropdeaded209 Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.  

The health data sharing collaboration between Google and Ascension has raised some big concerns nationwide – starting with some employees at Ascension – about what the initiative could mean for patient privacy.

The so-called "Project Nightingale," overall does appear to meet HIPAA compliance standards, based on Google's and Ascension's own statements and what has been reported so far by The Wall Street Journal and others.

But the news that Google – which makes its money off data-based advertising and has long been the subject of privacy concerns – would have access to protected health information has understandably raised some alarms across an industry where privacy and security are meant to be paramount. (The partnership has now led to a new federal inquiry.)

CNBC reported that, while Ascension and Google did sign a business associate agreement, as required by HIPAA, "some Ascension employees were concerned that some tools that Google is using to import and export data were not compliant with HIPAA privacy standards."

As Ray Ray D'Onofrio, principal data analyst at technology consultants SPR explains, "development tools such as Google Data Studio can be problematic with HIPAA compliance, features such as logging of data changes, access controls for data viewing and screen locks are often not native."

However, "tactical HIPAA compliance is a bit of a red herring," he said. "It is the spirit of HIPAA that should be question – is data acquired and use of the data specifically providing value to the patient?"

In a blog post, Tariq Shaukat, president, industry products and solutions at Google Cloud, said the company has a BAA with Ascension, governing the use of PHI "for the purpose of helping providers support patient care."

Ascension and Google both quickly released statements on Monday, clarifying the purpose and scope of the arrangement, following WSJ's initial report. D'Onofrio opined that "the awkward announcements hint that neither Google or Ascension Health intended the sharing of data would be made public," or at least not as soon as it was.

In his blog post, Shaukat clarifies that, under conditions of the BAA, "Ascension’s data cannot be used for any other purpose than for providing these services we’re offering under the agreement, and patient data cannot and will not be combined with any Google consumer data."

Indeed, HIPAA stipulates that a business associate may gain access to protected health information "only to help the covered entity carry out its health care functions – not for the business associate’s independent use or purposes."

But security expert Dr. Saif Abed, CEO of Boston-based Clinical Cyber Defense Systems, points out that the sheer potential value of the insights that can be derived from vast collections of patient data means there is always the potential that an analytics organization could push the boundaries of what is considered fair and ethical use.

So he said he understands why many are concerned that, over time, the patient data being analyzed might find its way into any number of different projects that were not the initiative's primary goal, and perhaps only loosely related to healthcare.

"Given that de-identification and anonymization frankly seldom truly exists, this could lead to a raft of, in essence, large scale privacy breaches and ethical misuse cases," he said.

A question of scale and scope

Deven McGraw, former Deputy Director for Health Information Privacy at HHS Office for Civil Rights and now chief regulatory officer at health data startup Ciitizen, said that, in some regards, the Ascension-Google collaboration "is not unlike arrangements that happen every day in America between hospitals and other covered entities and contractors performing services on their behalf.

"Many hospitals have hundreds of business associates, all with extensive access to PHI," she said.

The difference here is that the vendor is Google, "which has access to so much other data about individuals," leading to "some uncertainty about other ways that Google might try to use and monetize the Ascension data."

The stated aim of the project is one of software development, with the data helping inform AI algorithms and improve the use of the product.

But with Google, "I think there are concerns that it may not be possible for data to be truly de-identified in their hands, given all of the data to which they have access," said McGraw.

A similar point was raised by healthcare attorney Matthew Fisher, partner at Westborough, Massachusetts-based Mirick, O'Connell, DeMallie & Lougee, who echoed McGraw's assessment that Project Nightingale is "not fundamentally that different from the sorts of interactions that occur between healthcare organizations, such as Ascension, and vendors, such as Google, on a daily basis."

As long as Google "fulfills its privacy and security obligations under HIPAA with regard to the protected health information provided by Ascension, there is no HIPAA issue on the face of things," said Fisher. "A big unknown about the relationship, though, is whether Google will be permitted to de-identify the Ascension patient information.

"If protected health information is de-identified in accordance with HIPAA, then the data are no longer covered by HIPAA," he said. "However, given the enormous amount of data held by Google, a maybe not so academic question exists of whether data can be de-identified when in Google’s possession.

That's essentially the gist of an ongoing lawsuit involving Google's work with the University of Chicago. The plaintiff alleges that, despite being deidentified, Google's expertise in data mining and AI makes it "uniquely able to determine the identity" of the medical records shared with it by the university."

Ultimately, said Fisher, if either Ascension or Google don't "comply with obligations under HIPAA and a breach or violation occurs, then OCR or an Attorney General can take action.

Time to rethink privacy protections?

Big picture, it's probably time for policymakers to reexamine the mechanisms and regulatory frameworks in place to protect patient data.

Abed, of Clinical Cyber Defense Systems, points out that privacy and security regulations need to be strong enough on the side of the patient to be able to hold organizations managing their data to account.

"We have to remember that the average person is not a security expert and can easily be overwhelmed by technical jargon from suppliers professing how secure and trustworthy they are," he said.

"The use of patient data is a struggle of extremes," added D'Onofrio of SPR. "At one end is the important role population data plays in managing the cost of healthcare" and driving improvements in population health and precision medicine, he said. "At the other extreme is the desire to keep our personal health information private."

It's exactly that delicate balance that McGraw has been exploring recently in a series of discussions about the "Goldilocks dilemma" of health data sharing.

It may also be worth assessing the strength these days of HIPAA, which is nearly 25 years old and dates from well before the technological innovations driving these new conversations.

Indeed, one open question, said McGraw, is "whether Google will combine its data (such as data from search) with the Ascension data in order to augment its services to Ascension (for example, predictive analytics based on both clinical and social data). This would also be permissible under HIPAA, as Ascension faces few limitations under HIPAA in how it collects data."

She also offered the view that, "if Google wants to be a trusted player in healthcare, they could also take steps to firewall off (both technically and through contractual and privacy policy commitments) the data they are collecting as part of their health care work from other aspects of their business."

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com
Twitter: @dropdeaded209

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.

 

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Care collaboration tech reduces hospital’s ED-to-bed wait time by 97 minutes http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/care-collaboration-tech-reduces-hospital-s-ed-bed-wait-time-97-minutes http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/care-collaboration-tech-reduces-hospital-s-ed-bed-wait-time-97-minutes Wed, 13 Nov 2019 11:42:33 CST at Most Popular News from healthcareitnews.com Calls to the administrators on duty decreased from 274 before electronic notifications to 149 since implementation at Catawba Valley Medical Center. Germany introduces Digital Supply Act to digitalise healthcare http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/europe/germany-introduces-digital-supply-act-digitalise-healthcare http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/europe/germany-introduces-digital-supply-act-digitalise-healthcare Wed, 13 Nov 2019 06:21:11 CST dyogendra at Healthcare IT News - Government & Policy The Digital Supply Law (DVG), which was proposed by minister of health Jens Spahn earlier this year, was passed by the parliament on 8 November. Under the new legislation, doctors will be able to prescribe digital health apps to patients, which can be reimbursed by the country’s statutory health insurance. App providers will have to prove to the federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) that their apps can improve patient care.  Also, doctors will be able to receive money for providing online consultation to patients with statutory insurance. Doctors will be allowed to provide information about video and online consultations on their websites, whereas before they had only been able to discuss these in private conversations. The legislation also aims to phase out the use of paper by promoting e-prescriptions and providing doctors with higher reimbursement for sending electronic medical letters than for faxes. Germany also plans to bring in electronic health records (EHRs) for patients with statutory insurance by 2021. However patient advocates have complained that the act does not allow patients to opt out of having their data shared for research purposes.  The act allows billing data from health insurance funds to be used by authorities, research institutes or university hospitals without prior consent for research purposes. This includes patient information such as age, gender, place of residence, health status and treatments. Patient data will be transmitted in pseudonymised form and stored at a central data point. Spahn said the data will also be anonymised for research purposes to prevent the possibility of tracing and identification. WHY IT MATTERS Germany is the world’s second largest healthcare market after the United States, spending around €374bn annually. However up until recently it has one of the lowest digitisation levels among developed countries. The act is an attempt for Germany to expand the digitalisation of its health services after years of stagnation. THE LARGER TREND Around 73 million people are under Germany’s statutory insurance system, representing 90% of the population.   In April, Spahn officially launched the Health Innovation Hub (HIH), to drive the digital transformation of Germany’s healthcare system. International digitalisation was set as the top priority for the new initiative. ON THE RECORD Speaking on the German breakfast TV show, ZDF Morgenmagazin last week, Spahn called the prescription of health apps under the Digital Supply Act a “world first”. Responding to privacy concerns, Spahn said: "It is about making health research possible in order to get better insight into patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes.” Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.

The Digital Supply Law (DVG), which was proposed by minister of health Jens Spahn earlier this year, was passed by the parliament on 8 November.

Under the new legislation, doctors will be able to prescribe digital health apps to patients, which can be reimbursed by the country’s statutory health insurance. App providers will have to prove to the federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) that their apps can improve patient care. 

Also, doctors will be able to receive money for providing online consultation to patients with statutory insurance. Doctors will be allowed to provide information about video and online consultations on their websites, whereas before they had only been able to discuss these in private conversations.

The legislation also aims to phase out the use of paper by promoting e-prescriptions and providing doctors with higher reimbursement for sending electronic medical letters than for faxes. Germany also plans to bring in electronic health records (EHRs) for patients with statutory insurance by 2021.

However patient advocates have complained that the act does not allow patients to opt out of having their data shared for research purposes. 

The act allows billing data from health insurance funds to be used by authorities, research institutes or university hospitals without prior consent for research purposes. This includes patient information such as age, gender, place of residence, health status and treatments.

Patient data will be transmitted in pseudonymised form and stored at a central data point. Spahn said the data will also be anonymised for research purposes to prevent the possibility of tracing and identification.

WHY IT MATTERS

Germany is the world’s second largest healthcare market after the United States, spending around €374bn annually. However up until recently it has one of the lowest digitisation levels among developed countries.

The act is an attempt for Germany to expand the digitalisation of its health services after years of stagnation.

THE LARGER TREND

Around 73 million people are under Germany’s statutory insurance system, representing 90% of the population.  

In April, Spahn officially launched the Health Innovation Hub (HIH), to drive the digital transformation of Germany’s healthcare system. International digitalisation was set as the top priority for the new initiative.

ON THE RECORD

Speaking on the German breakfast TV show, ZDF Morgenmagazin last week, Spahn called the prescription of health apps under the Digital Supply Act a “world first”.

Responding to privacy concerns, Spahn said: "It is about making health research possible in order to get better insight into patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes.”

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.

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Departing NHSX digital leader hits diversity top ten http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/europe/departing-nhsx-digital-leader-hits-diversity-top-ten http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/europe/departing-nhsx-digital-leader-hits-diversity-top-ten Wed, 13 Nov 2019 05:38:59 CST dyogendra at Healthcare IT News - Government & Policy Dr Sam Shah, who left NHSX at the end of October after six months in the role, was previously director of digital transformation at NHS England, where he had also been clinical lead supporting the Urgent & Emergency Care Programme. A passionate advocate for the benefits of diversity and inclusivity in technology and healthcare, Shah said he was delighted to feature in the #IB100 top ten, and wanted to reinforce the message that greater awareness of those benefits can only lead to better outcomes for providers and patients. “One of the difficulties is the lack of opportunity for people from BAME backgrounds to develop careers in technology,” he said. “Just getting into it can be daunting. Historically, the opportunities have not been there – established groups already running so many organisations, including those in healthcare, make those circles harder to break into.” Shah said that his board experience has convinced him that maintaining a culture of openness and understanding the value of working with a wide range of people internally and externally are essential in the quest for greater diversity. “We need to focus on the problem and finding solutions to it, irrespective of the difficulties,” he said. “We must engage constantly in healthy debate and challenge old ideas about ways of working, about technology itself, and embrace a broad range of views. “As a technology leader in healthcare, if you surround yourself with a very mixed team, that diversity will always generate the best ideas.” Now in its second year, the #IB100 is part of Inclusive Boards’ Inclusive Tech Alliance campaign, which is calling on tech companies and organisations to implement working practices that fix the progression challenges for BAME individuals as they move to senior leadership positions. In 2018, the company’s research revealed that 74.5% of boards in the tech sector had no BAME members, and that BAME people made up only 8.5% of senior leaders in the sector. “Technology is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the UK and beyond,” said Elizabeth Oni-lyiola, development director at Inclusive Boards. “It’s crucial that as these sectors expand so too does the level of representation within them. “Sam Shah and those featured today are ground breakers, change makers and role models within the industry, and we are proud to include them in this year’s #IB100.” Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.

Dr Sam Shah, who left NHSX at the end of October after six months in the role, was previously director of digital transformation at NHS England, where he had also been clinical lead supporting the Urgent & Emergency Care Programme.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of diversity and inclusivity in technology and healthcare, Shah said he was delighted to feature in the #IB100 top ten, and wanted to reinforce the message that greater awareness of those benefits can only lead to better outcomes for providers and patients.

“One of the difficulties is the lack of opportunity for people from BAME backgrounds to develop careers in technology,” he said. “Just getting into it can be daunting. Historically, the opportunities have not been there – established groups already running so many organisations, including those in healthcare, make those circles harder to break into.”

Shah said that his board experience has convinced him that maintaining a culture of openness and understanding the value of working with a wide range of people internally and externally are essential in the quest for greater diversity.

“We need to focus on the problem and finding solutions to it, irrespective of the difficulties,” he said. “We must engage constantly in healthy debate and challenge old ideas about ways of working, about technology itself, and embrace a broad range of views.

“As a technology leader in healthcare, if you surround yourself with a very mixed team, that diversity will always generate the best ideas.”

Now in its second year, the #IB100 is part of Inclusive Boards’ Inclusive Tech Alliance campaign, which is calling on tech companies and organisations to implement working practices that fix the progression challenges for BAME individuals as they move to senior leadership positions.

In 2018, the company’s research revealed that 74.5% of boards in the tech sector had no BAME members, and that BAME people made up only 8.5% of senior leaders in the sector.

“Technology is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the UK and beyond,” said Elizabeth Oni-lyiola, development director at Inclusive Boards. “It’s crucial that as these sectors expand so too does the level of representation within them.

“Sam Shah and those featured today are ground breakers, change makers and role models within the industry, and we are proud to include them in this year’s #IB100.”

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.

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Singapore’s national AI strategy to focus on chronic disease management and prevention http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/asia-pacific/singapore-s-national-ai-strategy-focus-chronic-disease-management-and-prevention http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/asia-pacific/singapore-s-national-ai-strategy-focus-chronic-disease-management-and-prevention Wed, 13 Nov 2019 00:51:40 CST deankoh at Healthcare IT News - Government & Policy Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Heng Swee Keat, today announced at the SFF X SWITCH (SingaporeFinTech Festival and Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology) Conference, a national Artificial Intelligence (AI) strategy to transform Singapore’s economy and improve the lives of citizens. The key approach of the strategy is to adopt a human-centric approach, and focus on delivering tangible benefits to citizens and businesses through AI. Five national AI projects have been identified for a start: Transport and Logistics: Intelligent Freight Planning Smart Cities and Estates: Seamless and Efficient Municipal Services Healthcare: Chronic Disease Prediction and Management Education: Personalized Education Through Adaptive Learning and Assessment Safety and Security: Border Clearance Operations Drilling specifically into healthcare, the emphasis of the national AI strategy will be on chronic disease management and prevention. Below are some key timelines and targets: By 2022, the Singapore Eye Lesion Analyzer, Selena+, a system which analyzes retinal photographs across the nation for diabetes screening will be deployed.  By 2025, a retina-based risk score for high glucose, high blood pressure and high cholesterol (3H) related cardiovascular diseases will be developed. By 2030, there will be collaboration with industry players to develop AI models for 3H patients. Other than the development of a personalized risk score for chronic diseases, other objectives under the national AI strategy for healthcare include clinical decision support for primary care doctors and empowering patients to better manage their own diseases.  Prior to the announcement of the national AI strategy, there have been AI-related developments at SingHealth, one of Singapore’s largest public healthcare groups and the National University Health System (NUHS). Since April this year, SingHealth has been working with Ping An Smart Healthcare (PASH), a subsidiary of the Ping An Group (Ping An) in China, to trial the use of its clinical decision support systems (CDSS) named AskBob, to provide doctors with personalized treatment recommendations for Type 2 diabetes patients at the point of care. NUHS is also working with PASH to trial AskBob with clinicians for smart literature search and medical research trend analysis.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Heng Swee Keat, today announced at the SFF X SWITCH (SingaporeFinTech Festival and Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology) Conference, a national Artificial Intelligence (AI) strategy to transform Singapore’s economy and improve the lives of citizens.

The key approach of the strategy is to adopt a human-centric approach, and focus on delivering tangible benefits to citizens and businesses through AI. Five national AI projects have been identified for a start:

  • Transport and Logistics: Intelligent Freight Planning
  • Smart Cities and Estates: Seamless and Efficient Municipal Services
  • Healthcare: Chronic Disease Prediction and Management
  • Education: Personalized Education Through Adaptive Learning and Assessment
  • Safety and Security: Border Clearance Operations

Drilling specifically into healthcare, the emphasis of the national AI strategy will be on chronic disease management and prevention. Below are some key timelines and targets:

By 2022, the Singapore Eye Lesion Analyzer, Selena+, a system which analyzes retinal photographs across the nation for diabetes screening will be deployed. 

By 2025, a retina-based risk score for high glucose, high blood pressure and high cholesterol (3H) related cardiovascular diseases will be developed.

By 2030, there will be collaboration with industry players to develop AI models for 3H patients.

Other than the development of a personalized risk score for chronic diseases, other objectives under the national AI strategy for healthcare include clinical decision support for primary care doctors and empowering patients to better manage their own diseases. 

Prior to the announcement of the national AI strategy, there have been AI-related developments at SingHealth, one of Singapore’s largest public healthcare groups and the National University Health System (NUHS). Since April this year, SingHealth has been working with Ping An Smart Healthcare (PASH), a subsidiary of the Ping An Group (Ping An) in China, to trial the use of its clinical decision support systems (CDSS) named AskBob, to provide doctors with personalized treatment recommendations for Type 2 diabetes patients at the point of care.

NUHS is also working with PASH to trial AskBob with clinicians for smart literature search and medical research trend analysis.

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Lessons NHS can learn from Middle East digital health experiences http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/video/europe/lessons-nhs-can-learn-middle-east-digital-health-experiences http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/video/europe/lessons-nhs-can-learn-middle-east-digital-health-experiences Tue, 12 Nov 2019 11:32:16 CST rickdagley at Healthcare IT News - Government & Policy Primary topic: Government & PolicyDisable Auto Tagging: Short Headline: Lessons NHS can learn from Middle East digital health experiencesFeatured Decision Content: Region Tag: Europe/UK
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How mutually beneficial partnerships can help patients http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/video/europe/how-mutually-beneficial-partnerships-can-help-patients http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/video/europe/how-mutually-beneficial-partnerships-can-help-patients Mon, 11 Nov 2019 05:46:46 CST rickdagley at Healthcare IT News - Government & Policy Primary topic: Innovation PulseDisable Auto Tagging: Short Headline: How mutually beneficial partnerships can help patientsFeatured Decision Content: Region Tag: Europe/UK
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Using both marijuana and alcohol during early pregnancy may increase the likelihood of disrupting fetal development http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/using-both-marijuana-alcohol-during-early-pregnancy-may-increase-likelihood-disrupting-fetal-development http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/using-both-marijuana-alcohol-during-early-pregnancy-may-increase-likelihood-disrupting-fetal-development Fri, 08 Nov 2019 19:00:00 CST NIH News Release New preclinical research reported in animal models shows that exposure to compounds found in marijuana called cannabinoids during early pregnancy can cause malformations in the developing embryo. ]]> Study finds leading risk factors and causes of death and disability underrepresented in NIH-supported prevention research http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/study-finds-leading-risk-factors-causes-death-disability-underrepresented-nih-supported-prevention-research http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/study-finds-leading-risk-factors-causes-death-disability-underrepresented-nih-supported-prevention-research Fri, 08 Nov 2019 16:45:00 CST NIH News Release Most prevention research projects included an observational design or secondary data analysis. ]]> Study vaccine protects monkeys against four types of hemorrhagic fever viruses http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/study-vaccine-protects-monkeys-against-four-types-hemorrhagic-fever-viruses http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/study-vaccine-protects-monkeys-against-four-types-hemorrhagic-fever-viruses Fri, 08 Nov 2019 15:45:00 CST NIH News Release The vaccine provided protection from Ebola virus, Sudan virus, Marburg virus and Lassa virus. ]]> Opinion: Brexit and its impact on healthcare - What is happening now? http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/blog/europe/opinion-brexit-and-its-impact-healthcare-what-happening-now http://medclimate.com/external/index.php?https://www.healthcareitnews.com/blog/europe/opinion-brexit-and-its-impact-healthcare-what-happening-now Fri, 08 Nov 2019 06:13:19 CST dyogendra at Healthcare IT News - Government & Policy Government & PolicyDr Layla McCay, director of international relations at the NHS Confederation, warns that Brexit “should not hinder” the collaboration between the UK and other European countries in the field of health research.After several decades of EU membership, UK and EU co-operation in many mutually beneficial areas is strong, underpinned by European legislation and infrastructure such as shared regulatory standards, databases and networks. We therefore need to keep a watchful eye on the unfolding Brexit process, which aims to move us further apart from alignment with the EU, in order to understand its impact and find ways to continue to achieve our shared priorities. A key question from a health perspective is how we can maintain the common benefits of continued collaboration in pan-European medical research. We have a strong partnership, particularly in health research There is a strong partnership between the UK and Europe in ensuring access to affordable and high-quality healthcare and protection against epidemics and diseases. The fact that our societies are becoming older and need more complex and expensive treatments, highlights further the need to collaborate to find new ways of delivering on our priorities by investing in technology and cooperating more effectively with international partners. This is particularly true in health research, which is increasingly international and intrinsically collaborative as scientific breakthroughs are rarely developed in isolation. Patients across the EU, including the UK, have benefited from pan-European collaboration on medical research that investigates, develops and tests new treatments on a scale only achieved on an EU-wide basis. An example is the pan-European work to understand the human genome, and the UK’s role at the centre. The UK’s ambition to sequence five million genomes, by 2023-2024, goes well beyond the European collective target, and makes the UK a key partner for this collective effort. While the first genome sequencing took 13 years to complete and cost just short of £1bn, sequencing can now be completed on the National Health Service in two days for under £1,000. Although the UK has an important role to play here, the next steps in leveraging this and other research will only be achieved through collective work, because many of the challenges around genomic medicine are shared challenges. This has been started through the Million European Genomes Alliance, formed of a number of EU member states, including the UK, who came together last year to build understanding of the human genome to more effectively diagnose, treat and prevent illness. Further opportunities to collaborate are emerging Taking the lead of the new European Commission president, new opportunities are emerging for the UK and EU to create even greater benefits through collaboration. In her letter to the newly appointed Commissioner-designate for Health, Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect, has proposed work on the creation of a ‘European Health Data Space to promote health-data exchange and support research on new preventive strategies, as well as on treatments, medicines, medical devices and outcomes.’ The European Health Data Space is centred on allowing data sharing to become easier and represents a boost to the work of the Million European Genomes Alliance, which relies on being able to share data safely across borders. Working across international borders will allow the group to accelerate progress and improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases by providing a sufficient scale for accessing genomic data to the benefit of citizens’ health. Given the UK’s prominence in the field of genomics, it is crucial that it remains a strong collaborator in this area. Brexit should not hinder collaboration With clear benefits from partnering on health research, as highlighted by the collective work on genomics, it would be regrettable if this collaboration and the many more like it, were to be set back as a result of Brexit. As it currently stands, after exit from the EU, the UK will see divergence from EU research infrastructure, losing access to EU funding and European Reference Groups. Therefore the Brexit Health Alliance is calling for the negotiations for the future relationship to focus on limiting that divergence and establishing a positive future cooperation model for research and innovation between the UK and the EU, which includes UK involvement in EU-funding programmes and which supports health research, innovation networks and clinical trials. Although we stand ready to argue in favour of close future cooperation, the actual path to Brexit is uncertain. The legislation required to pass it into UK law has been paused and we await the contest and outcome of a UK general election due on 12 December. In the case that the current UK government wins a majority and we proceed with the current terms of exit, there is likely to be a substantial amount of work to be done before the end of the transition period in December 2020 to get to the positive future relationship on health research described above. In the case that a different administration is elected, the potential outcomes are much more varied. This could include revoking Article 50 to cancel the exit process, a further extension to delay exit, or a renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement. All with very different implications for the future of health research between the UK and the EU. Dr Layla McKay is the director of international relations at the NHS Confederation. Region Tag: Europe/UKDisable Auto Tagging: Short Headline: Opinion: Brexit and its impact on healthcare - What is happening now?Featured Decision Content: 
Dr Layla McCay, director of international relations at the NHS Confederation, warns that Brexit “should not hinder” the collaboration between the UK and other European countries in the field of health research.

After several decades of EU membership, UK and EU co-operation in many mutually beneficial areas is strong, underpinned by European legislation and infrastructure such as shared regulatory standards, databases and networks. We therefore need to keep a watchful eye on the unfolding Brexit process, which aims to move us further apart from alignment with the EU, in order to understand its impact and find ways to continue to achieve our shared priorities. A key question from a health perspective is how we can maintain the common benefits of continued collaboration in pan-European medical research.

We have a strong partnership, particularly in health research

There is a strong partnership between the UK and Europe in ensuring access to affordable and high-quality healthcare and protection against epidemics and diseases. The fact that our societies are becoming older and need more complex and expensive treatments, highlights further the need to collaborate to find new ways of delivering on our priorities by investing in technology and cooperating more effectively with international partners. This is particularly true in health research, which is increasingly international and intrinsically collaborative as scientific breakthroughs are rarely developed in isolation. Patients across the EU, including the UK, have benefited from pan-European collaboration on medical research that investigates, develops and tests new treatments on a scale only achieved on an EU-wide basis.

An example is the pan-European work to understand the human genome, and the UK’s role at the centre. The UK’s ambition to sequence five million genomes, by 2023-2024, goes well beyond the European collective target, and makes the UK a key partner for this collective effort. While the first genome sequencing took 13 years to complete and cost just short of £1bn, sequencing can now be completed on the National Health Service in two days for under £1,000.

Although the UK has an important role to play here, the next steps in leveraging this and other research will only be achieved through collective work, because many of the challenges around genomic medicine are shared challenges. This has been started through the Million European Genomes Alliance, formed of a number of EU member states, including the UK, who came together last year to build understanding of the human genome to more effectively diagnose, treat and prevent illness.

Further opportunities to collaborate are emerging

Taking the lead of the new European Commission president, new opportunities are emerging for the UK and EU to create even greater benefits through collaboration. In her letter to the newly appointed Commissioner-designate for Health, Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect, has proposed work on the creation of a ‘European Health Data Space to promote health-data exchange and support research on new preventive strategies, as well as on treatments, medicines, medical devices and outcomes.’

The European Health Data Space is centred on allowing data sharing to become easier and represents a boost to the work of the Million European Genomes Alliance, which relies on being able to share data safely across borders. Working across international borders will allow the group to accelerate progress and improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases by providing a sufficient scale for accessing genomic data to the benefit of citizens’ health. Given the UK’s prominence in the field of genomics, it is crucial that it remains a strong collaborator in this area.

Brexit should not hinder collaboration

With clear benefits from partnering on health research, as highlighted by the collective work on genomics, it would be regrettable if this collaboration and the many more like it, were to be set back as a result of Brexit. As it currently stands, after exit from the EU, the UK will see divergence from EU research infrastructure, losing access to EU funding and European Reference Groups.

Therefore the Brexit Health Alliance is calling for the negotiations for the future relationship to focus on limiting that divergence and establishing a positive future cooperation model for research and innovation between the UK and the EU, which includes UK involvement in EU-funding programmes and which supports health research, innovation networks and clinical trials.

Although we stand ready to argue in favour of close future cooperation, the actual path to Brexit is uncertain. The legislation required to pass it into UK law has been paused and we await the contest and outcome of a UK general election due on 12 December. In the case that the current UK government wins a majority and we proceed with the current terms of exit, there is likely to be a substantial amount of work to be done before the end of the transition period in December 2020 to get to the positive future relationship on health research described above.

In the case that a different administration is elected, the potential outcomes are much more varied. This could include revoking Article 50 to cancel the exit process, a further extension to delay exit, or a renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement. All with very different implications for the future of health research between the UK and the EU.

Dr Layla McKay is the director of international relations at the NHS Confederation.

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