Bill Would Stretch Medicare Telemedicine to Physical Therapy, Bigger Populations

Law and Health Blog
Written by Law and Health Blog
on August 15, 2014

Expanding the use of telemedicine under Medicare is the goal of a recently proposed piece of bi-partisan legislation. The bill, known as the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2014, is designed to create more parity between telemedicine and traditional in-person care. U.S. Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Gregg Harper (R-MS) introduced the bill. In reference to their motivation, Thompson said, “By expanding telehealth services, we can make sure the best care and the best treatments are available to all Americans, no matter where they live.” Read further >


Enabling Comparative Effectiveness Research with PCORnet

Howard Strasberg MD MS
Written by Howard Strasberg MD MS
on July 11, 2014

In the United States, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) was created by Congress as part of the Affordable Care Act (2010) to fund comparative effectiveness research. This type of research compares different treatments to determine which treatments work best for which patients. To conduct such research on a national scale, there needs to be a way to combine the data from hospitals, clinics and patients around the country. To facilitate this type of data aggregation, PCORI recently launched a clinical research network called PCORnet. This network is described in the current issue of JAMIA by the authors Fleurence, Curtis, Califf, Platt, Selby and Brown. Read further >


Closely-Held ‘Corporate Christians’ Win Crusade Against Contraceptive Coverage

Law and Health Blog
Written by Law and Health Blog
on July 07, 2014

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that HHS regulations requiring employer-sponsored health plans to include all FDA-approved contraceptives among the preventive services covered without cost sharing could not be applied to for-profit corporations with religious objections to some of the contraceptive methods. The Court ruled that the regulations violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which requires that federal government requirements that substantially burden religious freedom must serve a compelling interest and be the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. The Court rejected the government’s arguments that the corporate employers were separate from their owners and that for-profit organizations do not “exercise religion” (Burwell v Hobby Lobby, June 30, 2014, Alito, S). Read further >


Boehringer Ingelheim Pays $650M to Settle Lawsuits Set for Trial

Law and Health Blog
Written by Law and Health Blog
on June 06, 2014

Boehringer Ingelheim, the manufacturer of Pradaxa, has agreed to pay $650 million to settle thousands of lawsuits brought in state and federal courts by patients and their families who claimed that the drug manufacturer failed to properly warn of serious and potentially fatal bleeding from use of the drug. Considered a warfarin replacement, Pradaxa, approved in 2010 as the first in a new class of blood thinners to prevent blood clots, was touted as a convenient drug because it did not require any tests or dietary restrictions. From its initial approval in October 2010 through December 2013, there were approximately 6.2 million prescriptions dispensed and 934,000 patients who received a prescription for Pradaxa from U.S. outpatient retail pharmacies. Read further >


Highlight on North Dakota: State Incinerated 3.3 Tons of Prescription Drugs

Law and Health Blog
Written by Law and Health Blog
on May 12, 2014

North Dakota has destroyed 3.3 tons of unused medications since the state’s Prescription Drug Take Back Program (Take Back Program) was launched in 2009. Further, over the last five months alone, more than 1,000 pounds of OxyContin, Fentanyl, Prozac, and other controlled drugs were collected and incinerated by the state. According to North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, North Dakota was the first state that offered a year-round state-wide prescription drug disposal program. Read further >


Machine Learning: Shades of Grey

Howard Strasberg MD MS
Written by Howard Strasberg MD MS
on May 05, 2014

Machine learning is a hot topic in today’s Big Data world. Computers in many different industries are being asked to analyze the vast amounts of data being collected by our modern technological infrastructure. One of the common problems given to these computers is to see if they can learn how to make a binary prediction from a set of input data. For example, given the details of a person’s credit history, would a bank consider them to be a good credit risk? Another example: given the words in an email message, should the email be sent automatically to the spam folder? In healthcare, an example I mentioned on this blog last year had to do with predicting whether a medication safety alert is relevant given a set of patient contextual variables. Read further >


Software Vulnerability Endangers EHR, Devices; HHS Websites Unaffected

Law and Health Blog
Written by Law and Health Blog
on April 21, 2014

The “Heartbleed” bug, discovered last week by two information technology (IT) security teams, caused a vulnerability in a popular encryption software used by many medical professionals to protect patient data. Electronic health record (EHR) systems often use OpenSSL’s encryption software to secure protected health information (PHI). Heartbleed can reveal the contents of a server’s memory to hackers, including private data such as usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers. Attackers are also able to obtain copies of a server’s digital keys, and use those keys to impersonate servers or to decrypt communications. Security experts estimate that 66 percent of all devices connected to the internet, including internet-capable medical devices, could be attacked using Heartbleed. Read further >


Using NLP to Detect Drug-Drug Interactions

Howard Strasberg MD MS
Written by Howard Strasberg MD MS
on April 09, 2014

Drug-drug interactions can lead to adverse drug reactions, which have high costs and may cause significant morbidity and mortality. Detecting drug-drug interactions as early as possible during a patient’s course of treatment may help to prevent some adverse drug reactions from taking place. It’s also important to be able to identify new drug-drug interactions that may result from the use of new drugs on the market. Although electronic health records (EHRs) use structured data in certain places, a large amount of the data in EHRs remains in a free text format. Read further >


2015 FDA Budget Request Supports 5-Year Strategic Plan

Law and Health Blog
Written by Law and Health Blog
on March 24, 2014

In April 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a five-year strategic plan, entitled “Strategic Priorities 2011 – 2015.” In that plan, the FDA set forth five modernization priorities for the agency. The plan also committed to using these priorities to improve agency infrastructure, modernize the regulatory processes, strengthen its workforce, and, ultimately, do a better job promoting and protecting the health of Americans. The five modernization priorities are: Read further >


Why I Remain Passionate about Innovation Tournaments

John Barker
Written by John Barker
on March 14, 2014

Since posting about innovation tournaments last year, I’ve had the privilege of leading and participating in several tournaments. In fact, here at Wolters Kluwer we are holding monthly innovation tournaments in multiple locations around the world organized around a common monthly theme as part of our GPO (Wolters Kluwer’s Global Platform Organization) Presents webinar series. January’s theme was the topic of innovation itself. February’s theme was wearable computing devices and emerging technologies. March’s theme will be UX (User Experience). So far we are holding monthly tournaments in our offices in New York, Alphen aan den Rijn (Netherlands) and Chicago. After March, more tournaments will be held corresponding to monthly themes as diverse as search, analytics, and hybrid content-software tools. And here is why I remain passionate about innovation tournaments as a tool to stimulate innovation. Read further >


Exploring trends, content, technology, and new ideas in the global information industry. New posts every Monday, Friday, and whenever the innovation bug inspires us. Visit www.wolterskluwer.com to learn all about us.
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