Healthcare hacking on the rise

https://mailchi.mp/ef14a7cfd8ed/the-weekly-gist-august-6-2021?e=d1e747d2d8

From the largest global meat producer to a major gas pipeline company, cyberattacks have been on the rise everywhere—and with copious amounts of valuable patient data, healthcare organizations have become a prime target.

The graphic above outlines the recent wave of data attacks plaguing the sector. Healthcare data breaches reached an all-time high in 2020, and hacking is now the most common type of breach, tripling from 2018 to 2020. This year is already on pace to break last year’s record, with nearly a third more data breaches during the first half of the year, compared to the same period last year.

Recovering from ransomware attacks is expensive for any business, but healthcare organizations have the highest average recovery costs, driven by the “life and death” nature of healthcare data, and need to quickly restore patient records. A single healthcare record can command up to $250 on the black market, 50 times as much as a credit card, the next highest-value record. Healthcare organizations are also slower to identify and contain data breaches, further driving up recovery costs.

A new report from Fitch Ratings finds cyberattacks may soon threaten hospitals’ bottom lines, especially if they affect a hospital’s ability to bill patients when systems become locked or financial records are compromised. The rise in healthcare hacking is shining a light on many health systems’ lax cybersecurity systems, and use of outdated technology.

And as virtual delivery solutions expand, health systems must double down on performing continuous risk assessments to keep valuable data assets safe and avoid disruptions to care delivery.

Top 20 smart hospitals in the world, ranked by Newsweek

World's Best Smart Hospitals 2021

Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic was named the best smart hospital in the world in 2021 by Newsweek.

For the list, the magazine partnered with consumer research company Statista to find the 250 hospitals that best equip themselves for success with technology. Newsweek said the hospitals on the list are the ones to watch as they “lead in their use of [artificial intelligence], robotic surgery, digital imaging, telemedicine, smart buildings, information technology infrastructure and EHRs.”

The ranking, published June 9, is based on a survey that included recommendations from national and international sources in five categories: digital surgery, digital imaging, AI, telehealth and EHRs. 

The top 20 smart hospitals in the world:

1. Mayo Clinic

2. The Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore) 

3. Cleveland Clinic

4. The Mount Sinai Hospital (New York City) 

5. Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston)

6. Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston)

7. Cedars Sinai (Los Angeles)

8. Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset (Solna, Sweden)

9. MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston)

10. Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin

11. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York City)

12. Houston Methodist Hospital

13. Sheba Medical Center (Ramat Gan, Israel)

14. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (New York City)

15. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston)

16. Boston Medical Center 

17. Abbott Northwestern Hospital (Minneapolis)

18. Stanford (Calif.) Health Care

19.  Aarhus Universitetshospital (Aarhus, Denmark)

20. AP-HP-Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou (Paris)

Baylor Scott & White to cut, outsource 1,700 jobs

Baylor Scott & White Health To Outsource, Eliminate 1,700 Positions – CBS  Dallas / Fort Worth

Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health will outsource, lay off or retrain 1,700 employees who work in information technology, billing, revenue cycle management and other support services, according to The Dallas Morning News

The health system said outsourcing the finance and IT jobs and other support services will help it improve efficiencies and focus on reducing costs in noncore business areas.

About two-thirds of the 1,700 employees will be joining third-party RCM, IT, billing or support staff vendors.
About 600 to 650 positions will be eliminated. 

Baylor Scott & White said that employees whose positions are being eliminated will be invited to participate in retraining programs. 

The retraining program would allow the employees to remain employed at the health system and receive the same pay or higher, depending on their role, according to the report. Some of the retraining programs that will be available are learning to become a certified medical assistant or learning a job in patient support services.

“In no case — in no case — is anyone going to miss a paycheck,” Baylor Scott & White CEO Jim Hinton, told The Dallas Morning News. “We can afford to make these commitments, and we want to do the right thing for the great employees of Baylor, Scott & White. They’ve really done everything we’ve asked and more during this last year.”

This is the third time Baylor Scott & White has announced cost-cutting initiatives related to its workforce since the pandemic began. Last May, 930 Baylor Scott & White employees were laid off, and in December the health system said it would lay off employees and outsource 102 corporate finance jobs. 

Mr. Hinton said that Baylor Scott & White has 2,000 clinical positions open, and it is investing in a new regional medical school campus and a joint venture to improve care for the underinsured. 

“This is a transition to a new business model, a transition to a new way of working,” Mr. Hinton told The Dallas Morning News. 

Decision-making amid COVID-19: 6 takeaways from health system CEOs and CFOs

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/decision-making-amid-covid-19-6-takeaways-from-health-system-ceos-and-cfos.html?utm_medium=email

Alignment between CEOs and CFOs has become even more essential during the pandemic.

Many health systems halted elective surgeries earlier this year at the height of the pandemic to conserve resources while caring for COVID-19 patients. Now, in many areas, those procedures are returning and hospitals are slowly resuming more normal operations. But damage has been done to the hospital’s bottom line. Moving forward, the relationship between top executives will be crucial to make the right decisions for patients and the overall health of their organizations.

During the Becker’s Healthcare CEO+CFO Virtual Forum on Aug. 11, CEOs and CFOs for top hospitals and health systems gathered virtually to share insights and strategies as well as discuss the biggest challenges ahead for their institutions. Click here to view the panels on-demand.

Here are six takeaways from the event:

1. The three keys to a strong CEO and CFO partnership are trust, transparency and communication.

2. It’s common for a health system CEO and CFO to have different priorities and different opinions about where investments should be made. To help come to an agreement, they should look at every decision as if it’s a decision being made by the organization as a whole and not an individual executive. For example, there are no decisions by the CFO. There are only decisions by the health system. The CFOs said it’s important to remember that the patient comes first and that health systems don’t exist to make money.

3. Technology has of course been paramount during the pandemic in terms of telehealth. But so are nontraditional partnerships with other health systems that have allowed providers to share research and education.

4. When it comes to evaluating technology, there’s a difference between being on the cutting edge versus the bleeding edge. Investing in new technology requires firm exit strategies. If warning signs show an investment is not going to give the return a health system hoped for, they need to let go of ideals and stick to the exit strategy.

5. Communication and transparency with staff and the public is key while making challenging decisions. Many hard decisions, including furloughs or personnel reductions, were made this spring to protect the financial viability of healthcare organizations. These decisions, which were not made lightly, were critiqued highly by the public. One of the best ways to ensure the message was not getting lost in translation and to help navigate the criticism included creating a communication plan and sharing that with employees, physicians and the public.

6. The pandemic required hospitals to think on their feet and innovate quickly. Many of the usual ways to solve a problem could not be used during that time. For example, large systems had to rethink how to acquire personal protective gear. Typically, in a large health system amid a disaster, when a supply item is running low, organizations can call up another hospital in the network and ask them to send some supplies. However, everyone in the pandemic was running low on the same items, which required innovation and problem-solving that is outside of the norm.

 

 

 

Hackensack Meridian Health, Maimonides Medical Center pilot sensor-embedded clothes to remotely monitor COVID-19 patients

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/digital-transformation/hackensack-meridian-health-maimonides-medical-center-pilot-sensor-embedded-clothes-to-remotely-monitor-covid-19-patients.html?utm_medium=email

Transforming Congestive Heart Failure Management with cloth-based ...

Hackensack (N.J.) Meridian Health and New York City-based Maimonides Medical Center are partnering with remote monitoring platform Nanowear to pilot cloth-based wearable tech that monitors coronavirus patients.

Nanowear’s undergarment wearable comprises nanosensors, which detect physiological and biomarker changes that indicate when a patient’s condition is worsening and the hospitals need to further intervene. When a patient wears the garment, physicians can remotely capture and assess vitals including real-time ECH, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, temperature trends, respiration and lung volume.

The garment can collect 120 million data points per patient per day across cardiac, pulmonary and circulatory biomarker data, which is then transmitted to clinical staff.

“Nanowear’s SimpleSENSE is giving us an exponential amount of relevant data metrics about the heart and lungs from an all-in-one product that should ultimately enable us to triage lower risk patients and stratify high risk patients,” said Sameer Jamal, MD, principal investigator of the collaboration and cardiologist at Hackensack Meridian Health, according to the July 22 news release.

 

 

 

Amwell CEOs on the telehealth boom and why it will ‘democratize’ healthcare

https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/tech/amwell-ceos-telehealth-boom-will-democratize-healthcare?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWmpobE5XVmlaRGd6T0dFdyIsInQiOiJsQmxnbVNxNVlISVNkczJIZkJXb3ZFZG9tVlpMblZ1XC9oVVB6SlRINzNhOXE4MWQzNk1cL3JTaDlcL2l0MGdhSnk0NUtqY1RzdThCN1wvZ1ZoVUxqOHJwZFJcL1wvK3FtS0o5NFwvSHA0WHhTUnhVNnY3bk5RNmhRQTdxYzYwclhYN3JTRW8ifQ%3D%3D&mrkid=959610

Amwell CEOs on the telehealth boom and why it will 'democratize ...

The COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted the telehealth industry forward by decades in a matter of months, according to Amwell’s Roy Schoenberg.

That not only benefits the Amwell’s business, but it’s a win for patients, said Schoenberg, who serves as the company’s president and co-CEO.

“We are going to see an enormous amount of change, nothing short of a revolution, going forward,” he told Fierce Healthcare.

Roy and his brother Ido Schoenberg have been telehealth advocates for more than a decade since launching Amwell, formerly American Well, in 2006. The Boston-based telehealth company works with more than 240 health systems comprised of 2,000 hospitals and 55 health plan partners with over 36,000 employers, reaching over 150 million lives.

Like other virtual care companies, Amwell has seen skyrocketing demand for its services during the COVID-19 pandemic as stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines prevented many patients from visiting doctors in person. Shares in public digital health companies like Teladoc and Livongo have grown by double digits during the health crisis.

The momentum around telehealth also has attracted investors. The company recently raised $194 million in a series C funding round.

Amwell also is gearing up to go public later this year, according to CNBC’s Christina Farr and Ari Levy. The company confidentially filed for an IPO earlier this week and has hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to lead the deal, Farr and Levy reported last week, citing people who asked not to be named because the plans have not been announced.

The company declined to comment on the CNBC report.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, Amwell was providing an average of 5,000 telehealth visits a day. That has jumped to 45,000 to 50,000 virtual visits a day due to the coronavirus, said Ido Schoenberg, who serves as chairman and co-CEO. 

“We saw 30 times, 40 times higher volumes and we have clients that had 2% to 3% of their patient volume online that now have 75% of visits online,” he said. “It’s truly incredible. The number of active providers on our platform grew seven times over in two months.”

As visits surged, technology companies struggled to keep up with demand, and patients reported long wait times for virtual visits on some platforms.

Roy Schoenberg acknowledged Amwell also faced challenges rapidly scaling its technology and services almost overnight as it was “thrown into the center stage of trying to save the world.”

The company leverages automation for processes such as onboarding physicians, credentialing, licensing, and working with health plans and that capability proved critical to scaling its services, the executives said.

“We needed to allow 40,000 to 50,000 physicians to come on to our system and begin to use it. If this was a manual process, it would have been broken,” Roy Schoenberg said.

Regulatory barriers to telehealth also quickly fell away, at least temporarily. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and commercial health plans have expanded access to telehealth by offering payment parity for many telehealth services for the first time.

While questions remain about what regulatory flexibilities will remain in place to support the ongoing demand for telehealth, Amwell executives believe virtual care has proven its value to providers, payers and patients.

CMS will likely tighten up some of the relaxed requirements around telehealth which is a “fiscally responsible approach,” Roy Schoenberg said.

“At the end of the day, even though the government tends to be a little bit slow, it gravitates to where the value is. How long will it take for the payment structure to retract and then expand, that’s anyone’s guess. We have an election year coming in. Who knows what that is going to do? There may be some changes, but I think overall, the genie is out of the bottle, the toothpaste is out of the tube, or whatever phrase you want to use,” he said.

The executives never doubted that telehealth would, at some point, reach the mainstream. Now that it’s happened, health systems and patients have become advocates for the technology and that will also put pressure on CMS and commercial payers to continue to support it, they said.

The executives now see an opportunity for Amwell to use its platform to expand the reach of healthcare to more patients. There is a growing industry of telehealth providers, device makers, and technology-enabled disease management companies that will enable digital home healthcare services, they said.

“What we built is something way bigger than a video conference between doctor and patient, which you can easily do using Zoom or FaceTime,” Ido Schoenberg said.

Digital connectivity will enable providers to gather health data on patients from wearables and devices to better understand gaps in care, get an overall picture of patients’ health and then provide more effective interventions, all without patients leaving their living rooms. The combination of telehealth and remote devices will enable elderly, frail patients to receive care at home, where they want to be, rather than being moved to a skilled nursing facility, they said.

“It’s about the ability to democratize healthcare and make great care available to many more people that today don’t always have access to it,” Ido Schoenberg said.

Roy Schoenberg added, “These are the opportunities opening fast and furious in front of us and the promise is to make healthcare less painful as an individual experience. That’s the value proposition.”

 

 

 

 

Geisinger taps Siemens as strategic partner to provide diagnostic imaging, AI applications

https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/tech/geisinger-taps-siemens-as-strategic-partner-to-provide-diagnostic-imaging-ai-applications

Geisinger taps Siemens as strategic partner to provide diagnostic ...

Geisinger Health System has inked a 10-year technology agreement with Siemens Healthineers to access diagnostic imaging equipment and artificial intelligence applications.

The Danville, Pennsylvania-based health system said the partnership will advance and support elements of its strategic priorities related to continually improving care for their patients, communities and the region.

The medical technology company will provide Geisinger access to its latest digital health innovations, diagnostic imaging equipment and on-site staff to support improvements. Education and workflow resources will also be available, which will provide Geisinger staff with the ability to efficiently make decisions and continually optimize workflows, the companies said.

Siemens provides AI-based radiology software that analyzes chest CT scans, brain MRIs and other images as well as AI-based clinical decision support tools and services to help advance digitization.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“By expanding our relationship with Geisinger, this becomes one of the largest value partnership relationships in North America and will allow us to work together to improve the patient experience for residents of Pennsylvania and the region,” said David Pacitti, president and head of the Americas for Siemens Healthineers, in a statement.

“Making better health easier by bringing world-class care close to home is central to everything we do at Geisinger,” said Matthew Walsh, chief operating officer at Geisinger. “This partnership will allow us to continue to equip our facilities with the most advanced diagnostic imaging technology in the market to care for our patients.”

Michael Haynes, associate vice president of operations, Geisinger Radiology, said the collaboration with Siemens will enable the health system to identify and respond to health concerns more quickly.

Geisinger operates 13 hospitals across Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well as a 600,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. 

Partnerships between health systems and tech companies are becoming fairly common as the healthcare industry pushes forward to use data analytics, AI and machine learning to improve clinical diagnosis and better predict disease.

Mayo Clinic announced a high-profile, 10-year strategic partnership with Google in September to use advanced cloud computing, data analytics, machine learning and AI to advance the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Providence St. Joseph Health inked a multiyear strategic alliance with Microsoft to modernize its health IT infrastructure and leverage cloud and AI technologies.