MMI Receives De Novo Authorization for Microsurgery Robot

Medical Microinstruments (MMI) has taken a positive step forward due to the recent de novo authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Symani Surgical System. This robotic platform facilitates intricate microsurgery by allowing surgeons to reconnect tiny blood vessels, an important aspect of procedures aimed at restoring blood flow and redirecting fluid during reconstruction or repair. This authorization marks the commercial availability of the Symani system in the United States, presenting a promising advancement in the area of surgical robotics. Microsurgery and supermicrosurgery, involving operations on vessels as small as 0.3mm to 0.8mm, have long been important…

Exact Sciences’ Cancer Blood Test Achieves 51% Sensitivity in Trial Phase

Exact Sciences Corporation has unveiled groundbreaking data regarding its multi-cancer early detection (MCED) blood test. Presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting in San Diego, the test has achieved a sensitivity of 50.9% at an impressive specificity of 98.5% across 21 different cancer types. This represents an advancement in cancer detection technology, particularly in identifying cancers with the shortest five-year survival rates, such as lung, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers, where sensitivity increased to an impressive 63.7%. Exact Sciences’ MCED test is set apart by its utilization of methylation and protein biomarkers to capture shared, cancer-associated signals, eliminating…

Medtronic’s Evolut TAVR System Outperforms Edwards Lifesciences’ Sapien Platform in Small Aortic Annuli Patients

Medtronic’s recent release of data from the SMART trial marks an advancement in cardiovascular medicine. The study, which compared Medtronic’s Evolut transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) system with Edwards Lifesciences’ Sapien platform, was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session and published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The SMART trial focused specifically on patients with small aortic annuli (SAAs), an anatomical characteristic predominantly observed in women. The aortic annulus, positioned between the left ventricle and the aortic root, helps to maintain optimal cardiac function. This shows the importance of understanding how different TAVR systems perform…

Beanstalk Benefits Launches with $7.5M, Aiming to Improve Employee Benefits with Choice and Flexibility

Beanstalk Benefits has recently burst onto the scene armed with an injection of $7.5 million in seed funding facilitated by Redesign Health. Founded by Matthew Sydney, the platform introduces a groundbreaking approach to employee benefits, aimed at giving individuals the autonomy to construct their own benefit packages tailored to their unique needs and preferences. Sydney emphasizes the platform’s ability to seamlessly cater to the dynamic needs of today’s diverse workforce. Beanstalk Benefits prides itself on offering an in-depth range of benefits covering a wide array of areas, including mind, body, lifestyle, family, and financial well-being. This involves an extensive range…

Aegis Ventures and Leading Health Systems Form Digital Consortium to Drive Healthcare Innovation

Aegis Ventures has announced its latest initiative, the Digital Consortium. This collaborative effort, backed by nine health systems, marks a step towards addressing healthcare’s most pressing challenges. With a focus on quality, equity, and cost, the consortium aims to pioneer digital solutions that enhance patient care. The founding members, including renowned institutions like Stanford Health Care, Northwell Health, and Ochsner Health, were carefully selected based on their proven track records of leadership and innovation in care delivery. The selection process was rigorous, evaluating each health system’s history of driving positive change in healthcare. These institutions collectively represent over $65 billion…

Baxter Announces FDA Clearance for Novum IQ Large Volume Infusion Pump

Baxter has received the FDA’s 510(k) clearance for its large volume infusion pump (LVP) Novum IQ. This clearance marks an important moment for Baxter after a prolonged three-year dialogue with the Food and Drug Administration, during which the company had to navigate challenges that had a severe impact on its sales forecast. The delay in authorization led to Baxter revising its sales forecast by $100 million in 2022, indicating the impact the clearance has on the company’s future trajectory. The journey towards FDA clearance for Novum IQ came with many challenges. The FDA had initially identified an issue with Baxter’s…

Exact Sciences and Mayo Clinic Present Early Data on Test for Esophageal Cancer Detection

Esophageal cancer poses a serious health challenge in the United States, with it becoming increasingly common over the past few decades. Despite its increasing prevalence, esophageal cancer often remains undiagnosed until advanced stages, as it typically manifests without early symptoms. In addressing this pressing issue, Exact Sciences, in collaboration with Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, has started an effort to develop a non-endoscopic screening test for esophageal cancer and its precursors. The innovative screening tool, known as Oncoguard Esophagus, represents a promising advancement in early detection methods. Unlike traditional endoscopy, which can be invasive and costly, Oncoguard Esophagus offers a…

Labcorp Strengthens Clinical Diagnostics Portfolio with $237.5M Acquisition of Opko’s Reproductive and Women’s Health Assets

Labcorp’s recent agreement to acquire specific assets of BioReference Health from Opko Health for $237.5 million marks a notable move within the clinical diagnostics sector. The acquisition outlines Labcorp’s commitment to expanding its presence in key areas, particularly in reproductive and women’s health testing, which Labcorp has identified as one of its high-growth segments. By acquiring patient service centers and various customer contracts and operating assets related to BioReference’s reproductive and women’s health business, excluding operations in New York and New Jersey, Labcorp aims to solidify its position as a leading provider of laboratory services across the United States. This…

FDA Warning Letter Reveals Compliance Lapses in Renovo’s Reprocessing of Medical Devices

Renovo, a company specializing in the cleaning and reprocessing of medical devices, was issued a warning letter by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October. This letter highlighted serious concerns regarding Renovo’s practice of supplying reprocessed medical devices without obtaining 510(k) clearance, a necessary regulatory requirement. The FDA accused Renovo of providing reprocessed models that were beyond the range of its 510(k) clearances, failing to evaluate how cleaning and re-sterilization of these additional models could impact their performance and reliability. The FDA’s scrutiny focused on Renovo’s reprocessing of various medical devices used in procedures such as soft tissue ablation….

FDA Proposes Ban on Electric Shock Devices for the Second Time

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking decisive action for the second time in an attempt to prohibit the use of electrical stimulation devices (ESDs) designed to curb self-injury or aggressive behavior. This move comes as the FDA has identified these devices as presenting an “unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury.” Disability rights advocates and international bodies, such as the United Nations Human Rights Council, have long been advocating for the banishment of these devices from the healthcare landscape. The FDA’s initial attempt to ban electric shock devices in 2020 faced a legal setback when a federal…

Johnson Matthey Agrees to Sell Medical Device Components Business to Montagu for $700M

Johnson Matthey Plc (JM) has announced the sale of its Medical Device Components business (MDC) to Montagu Private Equity for a sum of $700 million. This transaction signifies a big step in JM’s broader divestment program and reflects its commitment to evolving its operational focus and maximizing shareholder value. As the global landscape continues to progress, Johnson Matthey remains committed in its goal of addressing pressing challenges through cutting-edge metals chemistry, positioning itself as a leader for positive change in a rapidly changing industry. The Medical Device Components business specializes in the production of important components for medical device manufacturers…

FDA Issues Warning Letters Over Chinese-Made Syringes Amid Safety Concerns

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has intensified its scrutiny of plastic syringes manufactured in China, issuing three warning letters to entities involved in their sale and distribution within the United States. These letters, dated March 18, 2024, were directed to Jiangsu Shenli Medical Production Co. Ltd., Medline Industries, LP, and Sol-Millennium Medical, Inc., outlining violations related to the unauthorized sale and distribution of plastic syringes not cleared or approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. The FDA also raised concerns about violations of quality system regulations pertaining to syringe products, particularly in the cases of Medline…

Siemens Healthineers Shifts Strategy with Fast Track Diagnostics Unit Closure

Siemens Healthineers has announced its decision to close down its Fast Track Diagnostics unit, a move that will impact approximately 90 employees based in Luxembourg. This decision comes as a response to a decline in demand for the unit’s polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing products. The Fast Track Diagnostics unit, which focuses on molecular infectious disease tests, experienced huge demand during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic but has witnessed a notable decrease since then, prompting Siemens Healthineers to reevaluate its priorities within the diagnostics business. The Fast Track Diagnostics unit represents only a minor player in the molecular diagnostics…

FDA Issues Warning to Exactech Over Implant Packaging Concerns

Exactech has received a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concerning packaging issues with its implants that could lead to faster degradation. This warning, issued on January 19, came shortly after healthcare providers were cautioned by the FDA against implanting Exactech’s Equinoxe Shoulder Systems due to defects in their packaging. The FDA’s concern stemmed from the potential for these defects to result in patients requiring revision surgery to address problems with the affected devices. The issuance of a warning letter is a serious regulatory action, signaling violations that could lead to further enforcement measures if left unaddressed….

Abbott Issues Recall of Heartmate LVAD Communication System After Safety Risks

Abbott’s recent recall of its Heartmate LVAD communication system has received attention from the healthcare industry due to the potential risks associated with the device. The recall was initiated by Abbott after discovering a flaw in the communication system that could unexpectedly cause the Heartmate 3 left ventricular assist device (LVAD) to stop or start, posing serious health consequences for patients. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified this as a Class I recall, indicating the highest level of concern due to the potential for serious injuries or death. The Heartmate LVAD, acquired by Abbott in 2017 through the…

Medtronic Recalls Over 45,000 Catheter Tubing Units After Injury Reports Highlight Disconnection Risks

Medtronic has initiated a recall involving over 45,000 units of its cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drainage and sampling tubes in the United States. This action follows reports of 26 injuries linked to the use of these tubes, as highlighted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Classified as a Class I recall by the FDA, this designation outlines the severity of the situation, indicating the highest level of risk associated with the product. The FDA has emphasized potential risks such as infections, abnormal CSF drainage, and the severe consequences of uncontrolled over-drainage leading to neurological injury or even death. The Medtronic…

Former Stimwave CEO Found Guilty of Selling Fake Pain Device

Laura Perryman, the former CEO of Stimwave Technologies, has been convicted by a jury of healthcare fraud and conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud. The trial lasted 11 days and ended in a unanimous verdict on Wednesday, sending shockwaves throughout the medical device industry. Perryman’s fraudulent activities  related to the creation and sale of a non-functional component for an implantable neurostimulation device aimed at alleviating chronic pain. Stimwave Technologies manufactured and distributed the StimQ PNS System. This $16,000 neurostimulator device targeted peripheral nerves outside the spinal cord. Complications arose when physicians encountered difficulties implanting the receiver component, known…

FDA Issues Warning to Fresenius Kabi Over Quality Control Concerns at Ex-Ivenix Site

Fresenius Kabi has found itself under scrutiny as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning letter concerning issues discovered at its ex-Ivenix site. This development comes in the wake of Fresenius’s acquisition of Ivenix, a move aimed at improving its medtech business, particularly in the United States, for a sum of $240 million. The warning letter stemmed from concerns raised by FDA inspectors regarding the handling of corrective and preventive actions for the Ivenix Infusion System, which Fresenius gained through the acquisition. During an inspection of the Massachusetts-based site, FDA inspectors noted several shortcomings in Fresenius’s procedures. One…

AT&T and Maven Clinic Expand Fertility Support in the Workplace

Telecommunications giant AT&T has recently expanded its partnership with Maven Clinic, a leading provider of virtual healthcare services specializing in women’s and family health, granting all 125,000 employees access to fertility and family-building support programs as of the start of 2024. This workforce represents a diverse range of talents and backgrounds, all contributing to AT&T’s success in delivering cutting-edge telecommunications services to millions of customers worldwide. As of the start of 2024, all AT&T employees now have access to Maven’s fertility and family-building support program, marking an expansion of the existing collaboration between the two entities. Initially focused on maternal…

Precision Neuroscience Sets Precedent With Successful First-In-Human Trial Using Brain Implant Technology

In a landmark clinical trial, Precision Neuroscience’s brain implant has successfully mapped electrical brain activity, marking the first time such electrode technology has been utilized in human trials. The device, with over 1,000 electrodes on a square centimeter flexible film as thin as human hair, was used by neurosurgeons during three distinct surgical procedures. This achievement signifies an innovative leap in brain-computer interface technology, the use of which could potentially restore “meaningful function” in patients with various neurological disorders. The brain implant, christened the Layer 7 Cortical Interface, is meant to sit on the six layers of cells that form…

FTC Takes Action To Modernize Health Data Security In A Digital Age

In a significant move to keep pace with the rapidly advancing digital health industry, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken bold strides toward updating the Health Breach Notification Rule (HBNR). As health applications and fitness trackers increasingly weave themselves into the fabric of our everyday lives, the FTC’s proposed amendments reflect an urgent need to adapt the HBNR to the challenges and realities of today’s dynamic digital health landscape. Currently, the HBNR mandates that suppliers of personal health records (PHR) and associated parties, not covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), are required to report breaches…

NY Law Firm Pays $200,000 To Resolve HIPAA Violations Stemming From LockBit Cyberattack

Heidell, Pittoni, Murphy & Bach LLP (HPMB), a New York-based law firm, has agreed to a $200,000 payment to the New York Attorney General in order to settle alleged violations of the state’s General Business Law and the Privacy and Security Rules governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The payment follows a LockBit ransomware attack on the law firm, which led to the encryption and theft of files containing confidential patient information. LockBit ransomware is a cyberattack variant that primarily focuses on large enterprises and government organizations instead of individual users. Originally referred to as “ABCD” ransomware,…

Study Uncovers Escalating Telehealth Gap Between Rural And Urban VA Patients Amid Pandemic

A recent study has shed light on the widening telehealth gap between rural and urban VA beneficiaries in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The research, entitled “Rates of Primary Care and Integrated Mental Health Telemedicine Visits Between Rural and Urban Veterans Affairs (VA) Beneficiaries Before and After the Onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” emphasizes the pressing need to confront this inequality in healthcare accessibility. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has long promoted telemedicine as a tool for expanding healthcare access, especially for nearly 5 million rural patients across 50 states. Despite the VHA’s efforts to bridge the digital divide…

Cerebral Faces Double Trouble: 3.1 Million Users Affected By Data Breach And Criticism Over Prescribing Practices

Cerebral, a telehealth company, recently notified its 3.1 million users of a data breach that occurred on January 3, 2023. The company revealed protected health information (PHI) to unaffiliated third-party platforms and subcontractors without satisfying the stipulations mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).The company used “pixels” and other tracking technologies provided by Facebook, TikTok, and Google since 2019. During a review of its data sharing practices involving subcontractors, Cerebral discovered the breach. The company took prompt action by disabling, reconfiguring, and/or removing the tracking technologies on its platforms. Cerebral also stopped exchanging data with any subcontractors…

Europol-Led Operation Arrests Suspected DoppelPaymer Ransomware Members Linked To Hospital Patient’s Death

Police from Germany and Ukraine have apprehended individuals suspected of working with the DoppelPaymer ransomware group, and took out a warrant to arrest the three suspected head criminals behind the global extortion operation. By using a double-extortion technique, the crew would steal sensitive data from the computers of their victims and threaten to make it public on their data leak website unless the ransom was paid. According to local sources, the Doppelpaymer ransomware gang was responsible for the cyber-attack on a German hospital that resulted in the death of a patient. The attack was carried out through a vulnerable Citrix…

HHS OCR Announces New Divisions To Tackle Rising Caseloads And Cybersecurity Threats

The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has announced new restructuring efforts to better address the growing need for enforcement of federal civil rights, privacy, and conscience laws. OCR has reported that its caseload has multiplied in recent years, increasing to over 51,000 complaints in 2022, which is a 69 percent increase between 2017 and 2022. The increase in caseloads is due in part to the expanding use of technology in healthcare, which has led to increased data breaches and cybersecurity threats. Protecting health information privacy and cybersecurity has become a paramount concern, as data breaches can have significant consequences…

Study Finds Mobile Medical Devices To Be Reliable Alternative To In-Person Examinations

A new study has revealed that the utilization of mobile medical devices for remote physical assessments can offer improved access to healthcare for people who cannot attend to in-person visits. The researchers evaluated the effectiveness of employing a mobile medical device for remote physical examinations compared to traditional in-person examinations.  This study included 690 people with stable health issues, both with and without chronic conditions. Participants were assessed with a standard in-person exam and a mobile medical device. This device included an otoscope, digital stethoscope, integrated camera, integrated thermometer, and tongue depressor. Data taken using the device was compared to…

Study Finds Majority Of Americans Uncomfortable With AI In Healthcare

A new report has found that the majority of Americans feel uncomfortable with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in their healthcare. According to the Pew Research Center, six in ten U.S. adults say they would feel uneasy if their healthcare provider relied on AI to diagnose and recommend treatments, while only 39% say they would feel comfortable with it. The report explored American’s attitudes toward four specific applications of AI in healthcare that are either in use today or being developed for widespread use. These applications are AI-based tools for skin cancer screening, AI-driven robots that can perform parts…

Clop Ransomware Group Targets Healthcare Industry In New Data Breach

Clop, the notorious ransomware group, is reportedly targeting the healthcare industry in a new data breach, according to an HC3 Sector alert. The group claims to have stolen personal and protected health information data over a 10-day period and has the ability to encrypt affected healthcare systems using ransomware payloads. While the claims are unverified, Clop has a history of employing trend-setting techniques across multiple operations and has become one of the most successful ransomware groups in recent years. HC3’s previous Clop Analyst Note revealed that the ransomware group primarily targets Windows systems, but a new Linux variant was observed…

AI-Powered Virtual Human Companion Receives $1 Million Grant For Veteran Suicide Prevention

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has awarded the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (USC ICT) a $1 million grant for their Battle Buddy application. This unique AI-powered virtual human companion is designed to provide veterans with tailored health, wellness, and suicide prevention support. The app is able to be used with mobile phones or smartwatch wearables, making use of passive sensing to better serve veterans. This technology has the potential to help reduce veteran suicide rates in the United States. A report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that almost 14% of…

Study Finds Telehealth Noninferior To In-Person Visits For Bariatric Surgery Preoperative Care

A recent study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has shown that total preoperative telemedicine in bariatric surgery is associated with noninferior clinical outcomes and hospital utilization compared with traditional, in-person patient care. The study highlights the advantages of telemedicine in terms of cost and time savings, which may facilitate access to bariatric surgery for the underserved. Bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for medically refractory weight loss in people with severe obesity. However, low-income patients and patients from minoritized racial and ethnic groups have difficulty accessing health care, which makes them less likely to consider bariatric…

Deidentifying Wearable Data Not Enough To Protect Privacy: Study Warns Of Risks Of Reidentification

A new study has found that deidentifying wearable data may not be sufficient to protect individuals’ privacy. With advances in machine learning, seemingly innocuous data can be used to infer sensitive information about individuals, including medical diagnoses, mental health, personality traits, and emotions. This information can then be used to reidentify individuals, revealing not only the originally collected data but also inferences made about them.  Despite the risk, regulation changes often lag behind real-world reidentification events and their consequences. To address this, a new study published in the Lancet Digital Health journal aimed to provide an overview of the risks…

New Report Finds Americans Die Younger And Are Less Healthy Than Other High-Income Nations Despite High Healthcare Spending

An analysis by the Commonwealth Fund has revealed that people in the United States experience shorter life expectancies and poorer overall health compared to those in other high-income countries, even though the U.S. spends approximately 18 percent of its gross domestic product on health care. The US Health Care from a Global Perspective report is published every year by the Commonwealth Fund. This report assesses the American health spending, outcomes, status, and service use by conducting a cross-national comparison of the health system performance. Data sources for this comparison include the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which has…

AI Model ChatGPT Achieves Near-Passing Scores on US Medical Licensing Exam

A groundbreaking study published on February 9, 2023 in PLOS Digital Health by Tiffany Kung, Victor Tseng, and colleagues at AnsibleHealth has revealed that ChatGPT, the large language model created by OpenAI, is capable of scoring at or near the passing threshold for the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE). The research found that ChatGPT’s responses demonstrate a high level of coherence, internal consistency, and frequent insightful content, with scores hovering around 60 percent. This is a significant development in the field of artificial intelligence and healthcare, and has far-reaching implications for the future of medical education and practice. OpenAI’s…

Revolutionary Vortex Ultrasound Breakthrough In Brain Blood Clot Clearance

Researchers have made a groundbreaking discovery in the field of brain blood clot clearance with the development of a new tool and technique utilizing vortex ultrasound. The revolutionary approach uses ultrasonic waves in the form of a “tornado” to effectively break down clots in the brain. In early stage tests, the method proved to be faster in eliminating clots in a simulated model of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) compared to existing techniques. Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) is a pathological condition in which blood clots form in the cerebral venous sinuses, leading to strokes in young individuals. According to…

North Korean-Sponsored Ransomware Attacks Targeting Healthcare Organizations

A warning has been issued by a group of leading cybersecurity organizations in the United States and the Republic of Korea about a growing threat of ransomware attacks targeting healthcare organizations. The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Republic of Korea’s Defense Security Agency and National Intelligence Service have come together to alert the public of these dangerous state-sponsored attacks carried out by North Korean (DPRK) actors. These attacks are aimed at obtaining ransom payments to support the…

Low-Cost Sensing Glove Aims To Prevent Stillbirths And Maternal Deaths In Low-Resource Regions

A new study published in Frontiers in Global Women’s Health has unveiled a remarkable development in enhancing the safety of pregnancy. The low-cost sensing glove, priced at only $1, was created to support healthcare staff in identifying fetal position and the force applied to the fetal head during labor. These factors, which can contribute to obstructed labor and poor birth outcomes, can now be monitored in real-time thanks to the technology provided by the glove during vaginal examinations.  The development of the low-cost sensing glove was based on a simple surgical glove as the foundation. The researchers printed flexible pressure…

Ransomware Attacks on Healthcare Organizations on the Rise: Study Finds Disruptions and Patient Data Exposure a Growing Concern

A new report has revealed that nearly half of all ransomware attacks have compromised healthcare delivery in the United States. Published in JAMA, the research conducted by the University of Minnesota Public Health researchers investigated the patterns of ransomware attacks in U.S. hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare delivery organizations. As healthcare organizations have become more reliant on health information technology, they have also become more vulnerable to cyber threats such as ransomware. This malicious software prevents access to electronic systems until a ransom is paid, causing major disruptions to healthcare operations. Ransomware attacks are becoming a major cause of healthcare…

Study Finds A Lack Of Representation Of Racial And Ethnic Minorities In Biorepositories For Precision Cancer Research

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), a founding member of Mass General Brigham, have identified a potential issue with biorepositories created to support precision cancer research and their vast stores of genomic data: lack of sufficient representation of cancer distribution among racial and ethnic minorities. MGH is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. With an annual research budget of over $1 billion, its Mass General Research Institute is the most extensive hospital-based research program in the United States. It includes more than 9,500 researchers working in more than 30 institutes, centers and departments. In the paper…

Telehealth Implementation At NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center Leads To Considerable Decrease In Carbon Emissions

A new report from JAMA Network Open has revealed that the implementation of telehealth at an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center has led to a considerable decrease in carbon emissions. This suggests that virtual care could be a great way to reduce the environmental impact of healthcare. In 2020, global CO2 emissions decreased significantly due to the restrictions prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The US led this reduction with a nearly 13% decrease, mostly due to decreases in transportation. In the US, health care sector GHG emissions rose by 6% from 2008 to 2018. In response to the climate emergency, over…

HC3 Warns HPH Sector Of Pro-Russian Ransomware Gang

The Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center (HC3) has released an analyst note informing the HPH sector of Killnet, a pro-Russian hacking group. Since January 2022, KillNet has been an active pro-Russian hacktivist group and has carried out DDoS campaigns against countries backing Ukraine, especially those in NATO. These assaults began shortly after the United States and other nations decided to provide tanks to Ukraine in order to assist them in their struggle against Russian forces.  A DDoS attack is an act of flooding a target server or website with thousands of connection requests and packets per minute, leading to a…

DOJ Delivers Powerful Blow to HIVE Ransomware Gang with Successful Disruption of Operations

Today, the United States Department of Justice has delivered a powerful blow to the malicious ransomware group known as Hive with the successful disruption of its operations. Since June 2021, Hive has launched cyberattacks against over 1,500 victims worldwide, many in the healthcare sector. This prompted alerts from agencies such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.  Hive used a subscription-based business model called ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) in which administrators or developers would produce a ransomware strain and offer it to affiliates. Affiliates would then use the…

Alert Issued By CISA, NSA, And MS-ISAC On The Malicious Use Of Legitimate RMM Software

A joint Cybersecurity Advisory has been issued by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), National Security Agency (NSA), and Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) to alert network defenders of the potential malicious use of legitimate remote monitoring and management (RMM) software. In October 2022, CISA used its trusted third-party reporting to conduct retrospective analysis of a federal civilian executive branch-wide intrusion detection system (EINSTEIN) and identified a widespread, financially motivated phishing campaign related to malicious typosquatting activity. The investigation uncovered that since June 2022, cybercriminals have been sending phishing emails to email addresses of FCEB federal staff,…

Leading Healthcare Organizations Unite To Address Growing Third-Party Risk Management Concerns

Twenty security and risk executives from top healthcare provider organizations have joined forces to help less equipped healthcare organizations with their information risk management. This includes combating one of the most pressing healthcare cybersecurity concerns: third-party risk management. Cyberattacks against vendors have risen alarmingly, and many healthcare organizations have been affected as a result. In 2023, the majority of the top ten data breaches were at vendors. Cybercriminals are able to infiltrate numerous healthcare organizations’ networks and data through a single breach of a vendor, which is often due to inadequate security measures. The HSCC recently conducted a survey that…

HC3 Shares Intelligence On Advanced And Hostile Ransomware Operations Posing Risk To Healthcare Sector

The Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center (HC3) has identified two advanced and hostile ransomware operations, Blackcat and Royal, that pose a major risk to the healthcare and public health (HPH) sector. They have shared this threat intelligence to help protect the sector. In 2021 and early 2022, Conti, a large and highly organized ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) operation, was a major player in the ransomware threat landscape. However, the group disbanded in 2022. Although the Conti RaaS is no longer active, its members still are, just in smaller, semi-autonomous and autonomous ransomware operations. These operations are more difficult to trace and draw…

Study Finds New Strategies Are Effective In Combating Ransomware

Delinea has recently released the 2022 State of Ransomware Report. Delinea is an innovative provider of privilege access management (PAM) solutions that helps organizations secure critical data and infrastructure, comply with regulations, and reduce risk. They offer their services to a vast global customer base ranging from small businesses to large organizations. Results of the report showed that strategies put in place to combat ransomware have achieved success, as cyber-attacks using this compromise approach were observed to have significantly declined over the past year as compared to earlier statistics. Additionally, fewer companies were seen to be paying the required ransom….

Consulate Health Care Falls Victim To Hive RaaS Attack, Patient Data Compromised

Consulate Health Care, a Florida-based chain of 140 U.S. nursing homes, has been targeted in an attack by the Hive ransomware-as-a-service (RaasS) operation. On January 6, 2023, the group posted on their leak site about the breach, claiming to have stolen 550 GB of data and encrypted files on December 3, 2022. Furthermore, some of the data allegedly taken in the attack has already been leaked, including contracts, company information, employee details, and patient information such as medical records, Social Security numbers, contact information, and insurance information. Consulate Health Care released a replacement breach announcement on their website when details…

Study Finds Rise In Cyberattacks on Healthcare Organizations in 2022

According to data released by Check Point, a cybersecurity solutions provider, there was a 38% increase in global cyberattacks in 2022, making it an especially difficult year for cybersecurity. Moreover, healthcare organizations experienced the greatest surge in attacks, with 74% more weekly occurrences than in 2021. This pushed the healthcare industry to third place in terms of the most targeted sectors, with 1,463 attacks per week. In the USA, healthcare was the second most attacked sector, registering 1,410 weekly attacks – an 86% increase compared to the previous year. Across all industry sectors, the US registered a 57% year-over-year increase…

UH Awarded Grant To Improve Health Outcomes For Black Americans Living With HIV

Lorra Garey, a researcher from the University of Houston RESTORE Lab, has been granted $1.3 million from the National Institute of Drug Abuse to lead a research project assessing the effects of a mobile health (mHealth) application in reducing smoking among Black people living with HIV.  The global population has been greatly affected by HIV, a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that 40 million people have died from the virus, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs noted that 20 percent of US citizens with HIV don’t realize they have it….

Research Finds Patterns In Ransomware Attacks On Health Sector

A recent analysis published in the JAMA Health Forum has revealed that healthcare ransomware attacks have grown exponentially in the past 5 years, causing a decline in data recovery from backups. Furthermore, it found that it is now commonplace for stolen data to be made public after a successful attack. To conduct their analysis, the researchers used data collected from the Tracking Healthcare Ransomware Events and Traits (THREAT) database. This database gathers information from a multitude of sources, including the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights breach portal, HackNotice, press releases from victims, media reports, and dark web monitoring. The analysis…

Study Finds Demographics And Health Factors Associated With Long-Term Use Of Digital Health Tools

A new study has demonstrated that several sociodemographic and health-related factors, such as age, gender, education, and depressive symptoms, are significantly linked to the long-term use of digital health technologies. The research, which was published in npj Digital Medicine, sought to determine the long-term use of digital health devices and apps in different studies. Smartphones, smartwatches, and Bluetooth-enabled devices are becoming more and more prevalent in health research as they enable the tracking of an extensive array of health behaviors and help patients to manage their diseases more effectively. However, researchers highlighted that one of the primary issues with digital…

Report Finds Variations In Telehealth Regulations Among U.S. States

A report from the Commonwealth Fund recently analyzed the varying telehealth regulations and policies present in different US states, taking into account the unique experiences that each state had during the early stages of the pandemic. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns across the country caused an increase in the restrictions of in-person care services. Consequently, providers turned to virtual care in order to continue patient care while protecting everyone from the novel coronavirus. However, now that the number and severity of COVID-19 cases have started to decrease, stakeholders have questioned the regulatory flexibilities that were put in…

Extension Of Telehealth Waivers And Hospital-At-Home Programs Secured In $1.7 Trillion Year-End Spending Bill

On Tuesday, the release of a $1.7 trillion year-end spending bill was announced, aiming to prevent a government shutdown. The bill includes several healthcare provisions, most notably the extension of telehealth and hospital-at-home waivers and the reduction of the 2023 Medicare payment cuts from 4.5 percent to 2 percent. Telehealth supporters have won a major victory with the passing of this new bill. This bill extends the telehealth-related regulatory flexibilities for Medicare beneficiaries, which were put into action during the COVID-19 pandemic, for two years. Before this bill, these flexibilities were only set to remain in place for five months…

Omnibus Bill Outlines Key Security Requirements for Medical Devices

An omnibus appropriations bill that would fund the government through September 30, 2023, has been released by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. The bill, which clocks in at over 4,000 pages, contains a number of provisions that will affect healthcare, such as medical device security requirements for manufacturers. Lawmakers and healthcare leaders have been advocating for more guidance and regulations in the area of medical device security. With healthcare organizations managing thousands of internet-connected medical devices, the potential for security risks is a genuine concern. The industry’s reliance on legacy systems, combined with an amplified focus on cybersecurity by…

HC3 Urges Healthcare Organizations To Review Systems For Citrix ADC And Gateway Vulnerabilities

Users of the Citrix Application Delivery Controller (ADC) and Citrix Gateway are strongly encouraged to verify that their systems are not exposed to a dangerous unauthenticated remote code execution vulnerability that is currently being targeted by a highly skilled Chinese advanced persistent threat (APT) actors, as well as potentially other state-sponsored hacking groups. Healthcare organizations that use Citrix ADC and Gateway are vulnerable to CVE-2022-27518, a critical authentication bypass vulnerability with a CVSS v3 severity rating of 9.8 out of 10. Exploitation of this flaw could allow an unauthenticated actor to remotely execute code and completely compromise the system, making…

HHS Suggests Regulation To Enforce HIPAA Guidelines For Healthcare Attachments And Digital Signatures

The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed a new rule outlining standards for healthcare attachments transactions and electronic signatures. This measure is in line with the Administrative Simplification Requirements of HIPAA and the Affordable Care Act, and is intended to provide health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and healthcare providers with a uniform method of sending attachments. The new rule, if implemented, would apply to all entities that currently lack an efficient system for doing so. The absence of HIPAA-adopted standards for healthcare attachments and electronic signatures has resulted in health plans relying on manual processes…

Executive Order Addresses Growing Cybersecurity Risks

In response to the growing threat of cyberattacks, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has signed an executive order that will help organizations protect their infrastructure. The new Massachusetts Cyber Incident Response Team (MA-CIRT), overseen by the Secretary of the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS), is designed to provide assistance in the prevention, mitigation, and recovery of cyberattacks. Governor Baker noted in a press release that, “State governments and other organizations across the country are increasingly being targeted by bad actors aiming to disrupt operations and compromise information systems.” He added, “As state governments expand their digital footprints, moving…

CMS Publish National Health Expenditures Report

Earlier this week, CMS actuaries released data as part of the National Health Expenditures (NHE) report. Published annually, the NHE measures total annual spending on healthcare goods and services (e.g., hospital, physician, and prescription drugs), the type of payer (e.g., commercial health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid), and the type of sponsor (e.g., businesses, households, and federal/state governments). According to the report, US national healthcare spending slowed in 2021, rising 10.3% compared to 2020. Although this was still an increase, it was lower than the 19.7% increase from 2019 to 2020. Healthcare costs continue to be high, with total health expenditures…

HHS Proposes Permanent Telehealth Flexibilities For Distributing Buprenorphine

On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed a rule to expand access to treatments for opioid use disorder. The proposed updates, which have not been updated in over two decades, would address long standing barriers in regulations and allow physicians to utilize telehealth to initiate buprenorphine treatment. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., leader of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), noted that the proposed changes could reduce overdose rates. When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, SAMHSA implemented measures to allow physicians to start substance abuse treatment with buprenorphine through telehealth and provided take-home…

US Representatives To Expand Access To Quality Healthcare With The Telehealth Extension Act

The Telehealth Extension Act has been introduced by the bipartisan members of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, led by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX). Cosponsors of the bill include Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), and David Schweikert (R-AZ). This bill seeks to guarantee permanent access to telehealth services. Several prominent telehealth supporters, such as the National Rural Health Association, the eHealth Initiative, the American Nurses Association, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, have endorsed the bill. This legislation seeks to abolish geographic and site limitations, enabling Medicare beneficiaries to use telehealth services no matter…

Development Of Smartwatch Device To Address Mental Health Crisis In Young People By Researchers

In response to the growing mental health crisis among teenagers, Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and Analog Devices, Inc (ADI) have partnered to develop a wearable smartwatch device to detect suicidality and depression. Among children and adolescents aged 10 to 17, suicide is the second-leading cause of death, with rates rising from 6.8 per 100,000 in 2007 to 10.7 per 100,000 in 2018. Furthermore, 18.8 percent of high school students in the US have reported thoughts related to suicide. The demand for mental healthcare often exceeds the number of mental health beds available, forcing patients to wait in the…

HC3 Issue Analyst Note To Warn HPH Sector Of Royal Ransomware

The HC3 has released a security advisory concerning Royal ransomware. The human-operated ransomware was first discovered in September 2022. Following infection, the ransomware organization is known to demand payment of up to $2 million USD from victims in order to prevent the publication of their sensitive data.There have been reports that Royal ransomware that looks to be made up of skilled actors from other organizations, as the techniques deployed appear to be the same. While the majority of known ransomware operators have engaged in ransomware-as-a-service, Royal ransomware seems to be a private group without any apparent affiliations while maintaining financial…

NY-Based Empress EMS Ambulance Service Faces Multiple Data Breach Lawsuits

Multiple class action lawsuits have been filed against Empress EMS, the New York ambulance service, following a ransomware attack discovered on July 14, 2022. The HIVE ransomware gang has claimed responsibility for the attack.  According to the breach notification issued by Empress EMS, hackers from HIVE gained access to the network, stole files containing sensitive patient information, and then encrypted the files to prevent access. The information collected by the threat actors included full names, birth dates, demographic information, diagnoses, treatment information, medical record numbers, dates of service, prescription information, insurance information, and even Social Security numbers for an unlucky…

Report Finds Telehealth Billing Risks Pose A Threat To Federal Healthcare Programs

Several program integrity risks associated with telehealth billing, such as duplicate billing and ordering needless durable medical equipment or laboratory testing, have been revealed in a study by a watchdog committee as telehealth use surged throughout healthcare programs offered by federal agencies.  During the initial year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee’s (PRAC) Health Care Subgroup published a study that investigates the usage of telehealth within selected healthcare programs across six federal agencies. The organizations investigated include Medicare, TRICARE, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the Office…

Community Health Network Website Tracking Code Causes 1.5M Patient Data Breach

Community Health Network, the indiana-based healthcare provider, has acknowledged that the use of Meta and Google’s tracking codes has resulted in an unauthorized disclosure of sensitive patient healthcare information. Community Health Network is another addition to the ever-growing list of healthcare organizations who experienced data breaches following the implementation of third-party tracking codes. Affected healthcare organizations include Advocate Aurora Health, WakeMed Health and Hospitals, Novant Health, Medstar Health System, UCSF Medical Center, Dignity Health Medical Foundation, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights received a breach report from Community Health Network, confirming…

HC3 Warns HPH Sector Of Lorenz Ransomware Gang

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordinator (HC3) has issued a warning to the public healthcare and public health sector (HPH) to raise awareness of the Lorenz threat group. The cybercriminal gang has conducted numerous threat campaigns in the United States across the last two years.  The human-operated Lorenz ransomware is used after threat actors have broken into networks and stolen data. The gang is known to modify its executable code and personalize it for each targeted organization after access to the network has been obtained. Before spreading ransomware to encrypt files, the Lorenz actors remain…

Zimmer’s Cementless Knee Replacement Devices Recieves FDA Approval

Global medical technology leader, Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc., has announced that their Persona OsseoTi Keel Tibia cementless knee replacement device has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance.  In recent years, cementless knees have revolutionized the orthopedic industry in the United States, forcing businesses without the necessary technology, like Smith & Nephew, to scramble to add the products to their portfolios. Zimmer has been expanding its cementless product line for many years. In 2018, the Persona Trabecular Metal Tibia received FDA certification, and now the company is adding a 3D-printed product to its line-up. The Persona OsseoTi Knee System…

US DOJ Charges 10 For Health Insurance BEC Scams

Ten people have been charged by the U.S. Department of Justice in connection with corporate email breach frauds that resulted in the theft of more than $11.1 million from Medicaid, Medicare, and private health insurance programs. Hospitals were to receive the funds in exchange for delivering certain medical services. Business email compromise (BEC) schemes, which are the main source of losses from cybercrime, entail obtaining access to genuine email accounts and utilizing them to deceive those in charge of wire transfers into sending fraudulent money to attacker-controlled accounts. Between June 2016 and December 2021, over $43 billion was lost as…

Study Finds Wearables To Accurately Track Cardiovascular Health Status

According to new research published in npj Digital Medicine, researchers from John Hopkins Medicine have found that data from wearable activity trackers can be used to evaluate cardiovascular health status. Researchers claim that although the usage of wearable sensors has increased dramatically in recent years, their primary function is still to count daily steps. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that wearable activity trackers can be used to collect clinically significant parameters other than daily step count. “The purpose of this study was to show that clinically relevant metrics beyond daily step count can be derived from these…

BluePrint For Digital Care Optimization Published By AMA

The American Medical Association (AMA) and Manatt Health has published a Blueprint for Optimizing Digitally Enabled Care, which outlines six pillars that can aid in the optimization of digital health practices, with the aim of addressing negative outcomes associated with virtual healthcare. The AMA claims that there is great potential for digitally enabled care. According to the organization, there are several factors that influence how digitally enabled care develops and how it may be utilized to increase access and care quality, including investments, technology adoption, and patient demands. “When equitably designed and thoughtfully integrated, digital health tools can effectively augment…

Study Finds Several Benefits To Cardiovascular Telehealth Treatment

According to a recent scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA), telehealth may efficiently deliver cardiovascular care while lowering costs, enhancing care quality, and expanding access to treatment, despite current barriers to technological availability. The AHA is a nonprofit group dedicated to enhancing treatment for heart disease and stroke. The association provided extensive information on the effects of telehealth use on the management of cardiovascular disease in a scientific statement that was published in the AHA’s flagship publication Circulation (CVD). Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has seen a huge increase in utilization. Up to 30 percent of all US…

Pennsylvania State Governor Amends Breach Of Personal Information Notification Act

On November 3rd 2022, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill (‘SB’) 696 to amend the Breach of Personal Information Notification Act of 2005 to broaden the definition of personal information.  Under the new amendments, businesses who experience a breach of the personal information they manage are required to notify those affected. However, the type of information that requires a notification can vary from state to state, as well as format, timing, and other conditions. Companies who have clients in many states must keep track of and adhere to a multitude of varying requirements. Additionally, notifications issued by breached businesses…

WHO Publishes Recommendations To Increase Telehealth Utilization

In order to increase the use of telehealth, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently published a guide that included a number of suggestions and strategies for continued telehealth adoption. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the value of telehealth in providing healthcare to everybody, particularly to those who reside in rural locations and underprivileged populations. Even in nations with the most advanced healthcare systems, it has been difficult to guarantee widespread adoption and long-term sustainable access to telehealth services. Despite the fact that these services have typically been effective and accessible, the WHO has emphasized that there is still potential for improvement…

Guidelines For DDoS Prevention And Mitigation Issued By Feds

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have recently released guidelines for federal and private agencies on the mitigation and prevention of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.  In a DDoS attack, a host connected to a network is temporarily or permanently denied access to its services in an effort to render a computer or network resource inaccessible to its intended users. The typical method for committing a DDoS attack is to overload the targeted machine or resource with excessive requests in an effort to…

A Further 4 US Universities Join NFL’s Head Impact Research Program

The National Football League (NFL) has announced the expansion of its collaboration with leading research universities to gather information from on-field head impacts using novel mouthguard sensors. This information will be used to guide injury prevention efforts at the professional and collegiate levels, including rule changes and the development of improved gear such as position-specific helmets. The University of Florida, The University of Georgia, The University of Pittsburgh, and Vanderbilt University are joining the program this year. The University of Alabama, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Washington, and University of Wisconsin were the four institutions already…

HC3 Warns Health Sector Of Venus Ransomware

An analyst note has been released by the Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center (HC3) to raise health organizations’ awareness of the Venus ransomware. In the note, the HC3 shares information about the strategies, tactics, and procedures used in Venus ransomware attacks and a number of measures that organizations within the health sector can take to improve their cybersecurity.  According to the HC3, Venus ransomware was first detected in August 2022. However, since then, organizations worldwide have been subject to Venus ransomware attacks. When activated, the Venus ransomware attempts to erase 39 processes linked to Microsoft Office and database servers. For…

Study Finds Increase In American’s Willingness To Participate In Video-Based Visits

A recent study has found that Americans, notably Black Americans and adults with less than a high school education, became more eager to participate in video-based telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study, which was carried out by nonprofit research group RAND Corp., included responses from 1,600 US adults who took part in the RAND American Life Panel. The primary focus of the survey was the respondents utilization of and attitudes regarding telemedicine. Survey participants completed the survey in February 2019, May 2020, August 2020, and March 2021. According to a research published in Health Affairs, the proportion of Americans…

Study Finds Significant Device Vulnerabilities Among Healthcare Organizations

A recent Microsoft-backed study conducted by the Ponemon Institute has found that while the usage of connected devices in hospitals can promote productivity, security, and positive patient outcomes, they have also significantly increased the surface for attacks, and many of these devices are either missing necessary security features or are not configured properly. According to the study, IoT/OT devices are among the least secure components of networks, according to 65 percent of organizations, and 50 percent of those same organizations indicate an increase in cyberattacks on IoT/OT devices. 88 percent of participants stated to have internet-connected IoT devices, while 51…

Survey Finds Password Security Remains Low After Cybersecurity Training

A recent survey conducted by LastPass has found that while respondents reported a high level of confidence with their password practices for personal and work accounts, the level of security for the passwords remained low for several instances. The survey is conducted annually by LastPass in an effort to better understand the current cybersecurity landscape. This year, the survey included 3,750 professionals.  According to the survey, Generation Z (7-26) reported the highest level of confidence in their password management practices. However, the age group accounted for the worst password hygiene scores. While Gen Z respondents reused passwords 69 percent of…

Study Finds Comparable Satisfaction Rates Between Pandemic Telehealth And In-Person Visits

According to a new study reported in the Patient Experience Journal that examined patient experience surveys, individuals’ satisfaction with telehealth consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic was comparable to the satisfaction they experienced with in-person care. As a result of the telehealth waivers during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers learned valuable information on the advantages of telehealth for patients looking for main and specialized care. However, maintaining the usage of the care method is contingent on patient satisfaction. Therefore, in order to gauge patient satisfaction with video-based telehealth, researchers performed the study. In conducting the study, researchers evaluated patients’ experience with telehealth…

Study Finds Lower Satisfaction Among Virtual Physical Therapy Patients

Despite the advantages of using telehealth, a recent study reported in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine indicated that virtual physical therapy (PT) patients were less satisfied with their treatment than those who had it in person.  Due to COVID-19 pandemic limits on in-person care, PT had a strong adoption in telehealth utilization among patients compared to most other disciplines. When in-person treatment was once again accessible, researchers wanted to understand how it compared to it in regards to patient accessibility and satisfaction. The return to in-person care following the reduction in COVID-19 patients after the first increase in 2020…

MDIC Report Urges Medical Device Manufacturers To Improve Device Security

The security of medical devices is a major problem for the healthcare industry. Security of medical devices is still one of the biggest worries in the healthcare industry. There are several challenges facing the industry including potential risks to patient safety due to the existence of legacy devices, the industry’s growing interconnectivity, and the necessity for industry-wide standards in the medical device security space. In order to address these issues and gain a better understanding into the current situation of the medical device industry, the Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC) published its first ever medical device security maturity benchmarking tool…

Mayo Clinic Announces Postpartum Care Research Program With Memora Health

The first phase of a research collaboration with Mayo Clinic to expand care to postpartum patients was revealed by Memora Health, the leading intelligent, clinically proven care application for virtual care delivery and complex care management. The program will enable maternity service teams to provide postpartum patients more attention and support in between sessions, enabling them to have a more connected relationship with care while also alleviating the workload on clinical and administrative patient care providers.  In order to create a more dynamic care journey that is suited towards each client’s requirements, Memora’s Artificial intelligence-backed, digitized care programs are designed…

Study Finds Telehealth Follow-Ups Result In Increased Returns Following ED Visits

A recent study published in JAMA Network Open has discovered that patients who had telehealth follow-up visits after consulting the emergency department (ED) were more likely to visit the ED again and be admitted to the hospital than those who received follow-up visits in person. The UCLA study compared hospitalization rates and subsequent ED visits for patients who had in-person follow-ups following their first ED visits to those who had virtual follow-up visits. The data included 12,848 adult patients who had visited one of the two EDs at an integrated urban academic health between April 1, 2020, and September 30,…

CHIME Provides FTC With ANPR Feedback

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently received feedback from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) regarding its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on the Trade Regulation Rule on Commercial Surveillance and Data Security. In this feedback, CHIME encouraged the FTC to hold health apps and data brokers accountable for criminal disclosures of health data and deceptive or misleading data practices. On August 22, 2022, the ANPR was released in the Federal Register, asking stakeholders in the healthcare sector whether the FTC should introduce innovative trade regulation rules or other regulatory alternatives concerning the ways in which companies…

Report Finds 69 Percent Increase In Healthcare Cyberattacks

According to Check Point’s 2022 Mid-Year Report, of all industry sectors, the healthcare sector experienced the largest percentage increase in cyberattacks, rising by 69 percent in 1H 2022 compared to 2021. In terms of the amount of weekly attacks, healthcare is currently ranked fifth, behind communications, ISP/MSP, government/military, and education. In the report, Check Point explains that 2022 has shown that cyberattacks has been firmly established as a state-level weapon, with the first half of the year witnessing an unprecedented rise in state-sponsored attacks due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, as well as a significant increase in hacktivism –…

Study Finds Patients Gain From Starting Telehealth Visits Through Text Messaging

A study published by researchers from the University of California San Diego has found text messaging as a viable method for reducing virtual waiting times for patients. In the modern era of technology, customers expect instant access to goods and services. These expectations also apply to healthcare. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth use has increased rapidly in order to limit the spread of the virus. Telehealth has been found to eliminate geographical, temporal, or travel-related barriers to healthcare access by bridging the disconnect between the needs of the patient and provider availability. However, despite the extensive use…

Study Finds Ochsner Digital Health Pilot Improves Hypertension and Diabetes Patient Outcomes

One of the biggest health systems in the Southeast, Ochsner Health, recently published the results of a new pilot program that shows how remote patient management and access to digital medicine can help Medicaid patients with chronic diseases like hypertension and type 2 diabetes achieve better results. Ochsner Health is an integrated healthcare system that provides care in various areas including cancer, cardiology, neurosciences, and developing technologies. The health system operates 47 hospitals and 370 health and urgent care facilities in the Southeastern United States, which includes over 36,000 employees and 4,600 physicians in more than 90 different medical specialities. …

Study Finds Poor Accuracy In Smartwatch-Based ECG Assessments

A recent study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology suggests that the results smartwatches offer may not always be reliable, despite the fact that using them to identify cardiac conditions like atrial fibrillation (AFib) opens up intriguing new options for heart care. Using the Apple Watch’s electrical heart sensor, the electrocardiogram (ECG) application monitor’s the user’s heartbeat. The program then examines the recorded data to identify abnormal heart rhythms. The study was conducted in order to evaluate the Apple Watch’s  ECG feature’s ability to reliably identify AFib in its users. The study consisted of 734 patients, approximately a fifth…

HHS Extends COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Telehealth Flexibilities

On October 13, 2022, Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, extended the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) for a record-breaking eleventh time. The COVID-19 PHE was first announced in January 2020 by Alex Azar II, the HHS Secretary at the time. Becerra granted the prior extension to July 15, 2022. The COVID-19 PHE’s most recent extension is for an additional 90 days; the new date is January 11, 2023. In response to the COVID-19 PHE, a number of flexibilities were introduced, including modifications to Medicare to increase coverage of telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Medicare beneficiaries from…

Study Finds Half Of Veterans With OUD Used Audio-only Telehealth To Receive Medication

According to a study published in JAMA Network Open, the majority of opioid use disorder (OUD) patients used telehealth to receive medication, and of those, about 50 percent engaged in telephone-only consultations rather than video. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Washington in order to provide viable data to policymakers as they determine the future of telehealth use in healthcare.  The study was based on data on over 17,000 veterans nationwide who had received OUD treatment between March 23, 2020 and March 22, 2021 provided by the Veterans Health Administration. The researchers examined OUD treatment access…

UAMS Partners With Amedisys & Contessa To Provide Care-At-Home Program

In an effort to improve patient comfort and convenience, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Amedisys, and Cotessa have formed a partnership to develop a comprehensive program composed of a variety of care-at-home services. The partnership comes as the desire for home-based care continues to increase. According to Amadesys’ press release, 90 percent of Amercans over 50 prefer to remain in their homes and age in place.  “UAMS is leading the ambitious goal of making Arkansas the healthiest state in the region, and this strategic initiative supercharges that vision,” said Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, UAMS chancellor and CEO…

Walmart Announces Walmart HealthCare Institute To Improve Health Inequality

Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart has recently announced the launch of the Walmart Healthcare Institute (WHRI) in an effort to improve community access to healthcare research which may contribute to the development of safer and more equitable healthcare.  According to the statement released on October 11, 2022, the will aim to develop interventions and medications that benefit underrepresented groups such as senior citizens, rural residents, women, and people of color. The first focus of WHRI will be to include members of these groups in research for chronic conditions and innovative treatments. For Walmart, clinical trials have historically recruited individuals who reside close…

Telehealth Stakeholders Urge US Senators To Continue PHE Telehealth Flexibilities

In a letter to the US Senate, which was co-led by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) and its advocacy group ATA Action and bearing the signatures of 375 stakeholders, it is requested that expanded telehealth access be supported for the following two years while working forward towards a permanent extension of the existing flexibilities and exceptions. Upon the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the United States government announced a Public Health Emergency (PHE) in order to limit the spread of the deadly virus. The PHE eliminated a number of regulations within the health sector including regulations that restricted the extent…

Study Finds Penn Medicine’s Fertility Program Highly Effective

A study has been released by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania which evaluated the Fast Track to Fertility Program at Penn Medicine. The program was implemented to increase access to fertility care for patients who are having difficulty getting pregnant. The researchers discovered that the program is highly successful, with results demonstrating shorter wait times, more patients served, lower no-show rates, and higher patient satisfaction.  According to the press release, the Fast Track to Fertility program reduced the time it took for patients to receive their first treatment from initial request by half….

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles And Limbix Collaborate To Research Virtual Depression Treatment Tool

Limbix has announced a collaboration with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) for a research project to assess SparkRx, an additional therapy for teenagers with depressive symptoms, in settings that provide specialized medical care. For teenagers, ages 13 to 22, SparkRx is a self-directed, digital treatment approach based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). According to Limbix’s press release, SparkRx delivers a compelling, research-based program straight to teenagers’ smartphones. With the use of this online therapy, Limbix claims, teenagers may better understand their depression and develop coping mechanisms to control its symptoms. Limbix is a virtual reality and digital treatment tool developer….

Study Finds ED Standard Care Quality Equal to Virtual Care

Researchers at Stanford Health Care have found evidence that indicates the quality of virtual care provided to low-acuity patients at Stanford Health Care’s emergency department is equal to that of standard care procedures. In order to resist the disruption to treatment provision caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Stanford Health Care chose to expedite the implementation of its strategy to incorporate virtual visits into clinical care in December of 2020.  The medical system changed its current ED Fast Track care unit to a Virtual Visit Track as part of the acceleration. According to data published in the NEJM Catalyst case study,…

California Governor Signs Package Of Bills To Improve Abortion Patient Privacy

The state of California has improved safeguards for those seeking birth control and abortion services. California Governor Gavin Newson, has signed a package of bills that forbid healthcare providers from disclosing patients’ medical information in response to subpoenas and requests form outside the state. The bill comes following the United States Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which removed women’s federal right to obtain an abortion, leaving the decsion up to the individual state. Several states had trigger laws in place whereby, in the event of the overruling of Dobbs v. Jackson, abortion would be…

Healthcare Groups Request HHS To Extend 21st Century Cures Act Compliance Deadline

As of October 6th, 2022, all HIPAA-regulated healthcare providers will be required to achieve full compliance with the information blocking requirements of the 21st Century Cures Act. Following October 6th, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be responsible for imposing financial penalties to healthcare providers who fail to facilitate patient’s access to their health information.  The new information blocking requirements have been introduced by legislatures to improve patient access to their medical records. Information blocking is defined as any practice by an entity that is likely to interfere with the access, exchange, or use of electronic health…

Study Finds Similar Diagnoses Between Clinical In-Person And Telehealth Visits

A JAMA Network Study that compared the diagnostic concordance of various treatment modalities discovered high levels of diagnostic concordance between telehealth and in-person visits overall. In order to address the concerns associated with viral exposure during the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous healthcare organizations switched in-person appointments to video telehealth visits. As a result, telehealth utilization grew exponentially. Experts believe that the shift in patient volume from physical clinical visits to video telehealth services will likely have a long-lasting effect on how healthcare is provided in the long term. However, the lack of telehealth research may make it difficult for clinicians to…