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 >

Highlight on Vermont: Implementing the ACA on the Road to a Single Payer System

Law and Health Blog
Written by Law and Health Blog
on February 28, 2014

Implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) has been a priority in Vermont as it has been elsewhere. The launch of the state’s Health Insurance Exchange was fraught with problems. Perhaps one reason why Vermont’s health insurance exchange roll-out was ineffective is that the state used CGI Group to build its system, the same contractor who developed the sites for and the state health benefits exchanges in California, Hawaii and Massachusetts, all of which had problematic launches. As recently as the first week of February, individuals who had enrolled online could not enter changes to their information, such as family status, or income, online. All small business enrollments must go directly through the insurers for the remainder of the open enrollment period. In addition, the site still cannot accept premium payments. The state has suspended payments under the contract and withheld $5.1 million from CGI. Read further >

Infobuttons for 2014

Howard Strasberg MD MS
Written by Howard Strasberg MD MS
on January 31, 2014

Infobuttons are context-sensitive links from electronic health records (EHRs) to knowledge resources. They are designed to make it easier for clinicians to find answers to their questions in a timely fashion. I have written about Infobuttons at length on this blog, but having just returned from the January 2014 HL7 working group meeting, I thought it would be worthwhile to post an update on the most recent changes to this standard. Read further >

Hospital Groups Challenge Two-Midnight Rule; Legislators Seek to Delay It

Law and Health Blog
Written by Law and Health Blog
on January 29, 2014

The American Hospital Association, along with regional hospital associations and four hospital systems, have taken the first steps to challenge the two-midnight rule and other Medicare payment changes implemented on October 1, 2013 under the Inpatient Hospital Prospective Payment System (IPPS) update for fiscal year (FY) 2014. In addition, the House of Representatives is considering legislation that would delay implementation of the rule until October 1, 2014. Read further >

Clinical Informatics – A New Subspecialty

Howard Strasberg MD MS
Written by Howard Strasberg MD MS
on January 24, 2014

Since 1934, the American Board of Medical Specialties (formerly the Advisory Board for Medical Specialties) has been recognizing medical specialty boards in various disciplines, such as Internal Medicine, Surgery, and Radiology. The complete list of the 24 approved ABMS member boards can be found here. In addition, some member boards offer subspecialty certificates in various areas, such as Geriatric Medicine as a subspecialty of Internal Medicine, or Neuroradiology as a subspecialty of Radiology. The complete list of subspecialty certificates can be found here. Read further >

The Power of Privacy and The Value of Confidentiality

Raymond Blijd
Written by Raymond Blijd
on January 06, 2014

Google’s Vint Cerf, who is recognized as one of “the fathers of the Internet,” stated “Privacy May Be An Anomaly.” Historically, he is right in some context. We used to bathe in the open and wore less and more revealing clothes in the past. Some won’t mind going back to those days but ever since humans acquired the ability to communicate it always had the option to do it in private. Moreover, confidentiality is the corner-stone of several business sectors such as Health, Legal and Finance. So the question is: as a professional, who will you trust? Read further >

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