Industry Watch – Jan/Feb 2018

Jan. 25, 2018
CYBERSECURITY

4 in 5 physicians had a cyberattack in their practices, says survey

More than four in five U.S. physicians (83%) have experienced some form of a cybersecurity attack, according to new research released by Accenture and the American Medical Association (AMA). This, along with additional findings, signals a call to action for the healthcare sector to increase cybersecurity support for medical practices in their communities.

The findings, which examined the experiences of roughly 1,300 U.S. physicians, underscore the recognition that it is not “if” but “when” a cyberattack will occur. More than half (55%) of the physicians were very or extremely concerned about future cyberattacks in their practice. In addition, physicians were most concerned that future attacks could interrupt their clinical practices (cited by 74%), compromise the security of patient records (74%), or impact patient safety (53%).

The findings show the most common type of cyberattack was phishing—cited by more than half (55%) of physicians who experienced an attack—followed by computer viruses (48%). Physicians from medium and large practices were twice as likely as those in small practices to experience these types of attacks.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of all the physicians who experienced a cyberattack experienced up to four hours of downtime before they resumed operations, and approximately one-third (29%) of physicians in medium-sized practices that experienced a cyberattack said they experienced nearly a full day of downtime.

In addition, the vast majority (85%) of physicians believe it is very or extremely important to share personal health data outside of their health system—they just want to do it safely. Two-thirds believe that greater access to patient data both inside (cited by 67%) and outside (65%) their health system would help them provide quality patient care more efficiently. In addition, a significant majority (83%) of physicians said that HIPAA compliance alone is insufficient and that a more holistic approach to assessing and prioritizing risks is needed. AMA

ANTIBIOTICS

FDA launches new tool for sharing information that allows doctors to better manage antibiotic use, improve patient care

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced a new approach to get critical updates regarding antibiotics and antifungal drugs to healthcare professionals as part of an overall effort to combat antimicrobial resistance. The agency created a website that will provide direct and timely access to information about when bacterial or fungal infections are likely to respond to a specific drug. This approach is intended to aid healthcare professionals in making more informed prescribing decisions that will both benefit their patients and prevent the spread of resistant bacteria.

Physicians can use antimicrobial susceptibility test (AST) results to help choose an appropriate antibacterial or antifungal drug to treat a patient’s infection. These tests rely on criteria—called susceptibility test interpretive criteria or “breakpoints”—that help determine whether a specific bacteria or fungi are susceptible to antibacterial or antifungal drugs. Bacteria and fungi change over time, which may result in decreased susceptibility to some drugs. When this occurs, breakpoints may need to be updated.

Under the old approach, each drug manufacturer updated its drug labeling with new breakpoint information, which had to be reviewed and approved by the FDA on a case-by-case basis. Only after the revised drug labeling was approved could a device manufacturer of a corresponding AST update its testing criteria and labeling for its AST. This process created unnecessary delay in reaching healthcare professionals with the information. Each individual drug and device labeling had to be updated whenever breakpoints changed.

The new approach, which was included by Congress as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, allows the FDA to simultaneously update the breakpoints for multiple drugs that have the same active ingredient and share that information transparently via a dedicated FDA web page that will list FDA-recognized breakpoints. The FDA will leverage the work done by standards-development organizations that develop breakpoints, and recognize them when the FDA agrees that they are appropriate. The FDA retains full authority to accept a standard in whole or in part, or to establish alternative breakpoints. In addition, companies can submit data to support alternative breakpoints, if they disagree with the recognized standard.

Drug manufacturers will have to update their labeling to reference the FDA web page containing the breakpoint information. They will no longer have to continuously update their labeling with new breakpoint information, making the process more efficient and, it is expected, more timely. As such, the FDA anticipates this effort will also ease the burden for both drug manufacturers and AST device developers. To support companies in this effort, today the FDA is also issuing guidance on how companies should update their labeling on breakpoints to point to the information online generated by the agency. FDA

INVESTMENTS

New survey sheds light on digital priorities of health system leaders

When it comes to healthcare technology investments for 2018, health systems are more likely to invest in proven solutions that will have an immediate impact. For instance, nine out of 10 health systems say they will boost spending on cybersecurity technology that will help identify threats in 2018, but they are proceeding more cautiously on widely hyped artificial intelligence technologies and consumer-focused devices such as wearables.

Those are among the findings of a new survey covering more than 20 major U.S. health systems and conducted by the Pittsburgh-based Center for Connected Medicine (CCM), in partnership with the Health Management Academy (The Academy).

Titled “Top of Mind for Top U.S. Health Systems 2018,” the report provides insights into how healthcare leaders are prioritizing emerging health IT trends this year. Based on quantitative and qualitative surveys of executives at leading hospitals and health systems across the country, the report focuses on the five areas in the health IT industry, namely cybersecurity, consumer-facing technology, predictive analytics, virtual care, and artificial intelligence.

Highlights from the Top of Mind 2018 report include the following:

  • Cybersecurity: Ninety-two percent of respondents plan to increase spending on technology to boost cybersecurity in 2018. Two-thirds of respondents said they are increasing non-C-suite cybersecurity staff.
  • Consumer-facing technology: Less than a quarter of respondents expect wearables (17%) or mobile health apps (21%) to be sources of valuable patient-generated data in 2018. However, executives said they are planning for patient-generated data to make up a larger portion of a patient’s health record in the future.
  • Predictive analytics: More than half of respondents are using or plan to begin using genomic testing as part of providing personalized medicine to patients. Those efforts are focused on oncology, anesthesia, and pharmacogenetics.
  • Virtual care: Less than half of respondents receive reimbursement for virtual care (39%), or remote monitoring (45%). But of the respondents not receiving reimbursement, 71% expect to be reimbursed for virtual care in 2018.
  • Artificial intelligence: Compared with other IT priorities for 2018, implementation of AI solutions are a low or very low priority at nearly two-thirds of responding health systems. Executives reported that AI is in its early stages where proving its value is difficult, but they expect the technology to have greater impact in the future.

The CCM partnered with The Academy for the Top of Mind 2018 survey of health system executives. The quantitative survey, conducted July 28-Sept. 10, 2017, targeted 35 of the largest health systems in the United States and generated a response rate of 69%. Respondents to the quantitative survey were chief informatics officers, chief medical informatics officers, or chief nursing informatics officers representing health systems with average net patient revenue of $4.9 billion a year. The Academy also conducted qualitative interviews with 18 chief executive officers, chief financial officers, or chief informatics officers of major U.S. health systems from September to November 2017. CCM

Courtesy of Verato

PATIENT MATCHING

NYeC engages Verato for patient matching services

Verato, a provider of cloud-based patient matching solutions, announced that the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC), a not-for-profit organization that is working with the New York State Department of Health to lead the advancement of the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY), will use Verato AUTO-STEWARD, a service on the next-generation Verato Universal MPI (master patient index) platform. Verato AUTO-STEWARD will automate the process for difficult potential matches that the SHIN-NY’s existing MPI has flagged for manual review and resolution by a data steward and will enhance patient matching accuracy and efficiency.

The SHIN-NY is a “network of networks” that links New York’s eight qualified entities (QEs) throughout the state. Each QE operates its own network that—with patient consent—facilitates the exchange of electronic health records between participating providers in its community. Through the SHIN-NY network, the QEs’ participants are able to exchange records with each other. Combined, the SHIN-NY’s eight QEs connect nearly all of the hospitals in New York State, thousands of medical providers, and represent millions of people who live in or receive care in New York.

As part of a multi-year subscription, the Verato platform will integrate with SHIN-NY’s existing enterprise MPI (eMPI) to automatically process and resolve records the eMPI has flagged as potential duplicates requiring manual review by a data steward. Using its “Referential Matching” approach, Verato is able to match records that conventional eMPI’s could never match. This is because Referential Matching leverages a self-learning database of demographic data spanning the entire U.S. as an “answer key” for patient matching questions. The Verato Universal MPI platform is cloud-based and HITRUST certified, making implementation secure. Verato

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