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…

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…

Study Finds High Satisfaction With Telehealth During Pandemic Among Older Adults

Despite the widespread desire for in-person treatment among adults over 65, many were content with telemedicine throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and want it to be available going forward, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). During the COVID-19 crisis, many patients and healthcare professionals turned to telehealth since limitations on in-person care were being implemented. Seniors in particular benefited from telehealth’s ability to keep care accessible throughout this period, but the research team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center wanted to determine how satisfied these elderly patients were with their virtual care. The…

Microsoft Announce Two-Day Vulnerabilities In Exchange Servers

Microsoft has recently notified its users that two-day vulnerabilities in its Exchange Server are being exploited by Chinese threat actors and have recommended a number of mitigations users can take to secure their data while the company develops patches to rectify the vulnerabilities. While the attacks made by the threat actors have been restricted, Microsoft does advise that the attackers may soon target the health sector. In several of the attacks, the attackers used the China Chopper web shell for permanent access, which indicates that a Chinese hacker outfit with governmental backing is making use of the security vulnerabilities. The…

FDA’s User Fee Authorization Bill Medical Device Cybersecurity Requirements Removed By Senate Republicans

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) user fee authorization bill that was approved by the House of Representatives in early June contained new provisions demanding medical device manufacturers to label all devices with a software bill of materials, to adequately monitor for and rectify postmarket cybersecurity flaws in their devices, and ensure all devices are able to receive updates to ensure cybersecurity for the entirety of the devices’ lifecycles. By a vote of 392-28, the law was approved. However, the cybersecurity provisions have since been removed. With time running out, the FDA bowed to pressure from Senate republicans…

GAO Report Finds That HHS Must Strengthen Telehealth Oversight

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recently called for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to strengthen their oversight and assist medicare telehealth providers to educate patients on Privacy and Security Risks. Due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicare temporarily waived restrictions on telehealth services to help patients access care without risk of exposure. As a result, the number of telehealth visits grew exponentially to over 53 million between April and December 2020. The unprecedented use of telehealth services has raised many concerns regarding the quality of care patients received and the lack of…

NSF Set To Fund $1.2M UC San Diego Lower Back Pain Study

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $1.2 million to a multidisciplinary team headed by UC San Diego researchers to develop a unique approach for researching and informing the management of chronic lower back pain. A variety of techniques, such as wearable sensors and machine learning, will be used in the project to improve physical therapy assessment and treatment. According to the UC San Diego’s press release, up to 80 percent of people suffer low back pain at some point in their lives, and the yearly cost of treatment and lost pay as a result of disability in the United…

FDA Warns Healthcare Sector Of Risks Associated With Medtronic’s Insulin Pumps

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the healthcare sector of cybersecurity risks associated with the Medtronic MiniMed 600 Series Insulin Pump System. A malicious actor could exploit an issue in the pump system’s communication protocol which may lead to unauthorized access to the device. With access to the device, the actor can manipulate the amount of insulin provided to deliver too much or too little. An attack of this nature can result in a seizure, come, hyperglycemia, and death.   The MiniMed 600 series pump system is made up of wirelessly communicating components including the pump, continuous…

HC3 Warns Healthcare Industry Of Monkeypox-Themed Phishing Campaign

The United States Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center (HC3) has warned the healthcare industry of a new monkeypox-themed malspam campaign targeting healthcare providers. According to the HC3, the campaign has a subject line of “Data from (Victim Organization Abbreviation): “Important read about -Monkey Pox– (Victim Organization) (Reference Number)” and utilizes an “Important read about Monkey Pox” theme. A PDF attachment to the email contains a malicious link that takes the user to a Lark Docs site. The website has a cloud-themed adobe doc and provides a secure Moneky Pox PDF download. The victim’s Outlook, O365, or Other Mail login credentials…

Medtronic Awarded FDA Approval For Bifurcation Lesion Medical Devices

Medtronic has become the first company to receive the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval for their Onyx Frontier and Resolute Onyx drug-eluting stents used for bifurcation percutaneous coronary intervention. With FDA approval, Medtronic will be able to offer a wide range of medical training and technical assistance to physicians using percutaneous coronary interventions to treat patients with bifurcation lesions. Bifurcation lesions occur when plaque accumulates at the meeting point of two coronary arteries. As a result of the structural changes in the arteries and the difficulty in obtaining access to the side branches, the lesions are often regarded…

House Reps. Introduce Bill To Allow Pharmacies To Refuse Provision Of Abortion Medication

United States House Republicans have introduced a bill to ensure pharmacists can refuse patients’ requests for abortion medicines if they oppose. The Pharmacist Conscience Protection Act, which was proposed on Wednesday, forbids the federal government from punishing pharmacists who object on moral or religious grounds to prescribing medications that might result in an abortion. The bill comes following the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) guidance which states that pharmacists who refuse to provide prescriptions for abortions could be in violation of several civil rights laws.  The HHS argued that in accordance with federal civil rights rules, pharmacists are…

Study Finds Small Percentage Of Physicians Are Responsible For Growth In RPM Usage During The Pandemic

A study released by the Health Affairs’ September Issue has found that the growth in remote patient monitoring during the Covid-19 pandemic was driven by a small percentage of primary care physicians who used random patient selection techniques. The study examined billing for RPM for patients who suffer from chronic illnesses diagnosis. The device has received praise for its potential to significantly enhance patient care for those with undermanaged chronic illnesses. According to the report, billing in this sector grew 400 percent, and a select group of primary care physicians were mostly responsible. Patients with more severe disease burdens or…

Report Finds Health Sector’s Use Of Outdated Systems Poses Significant Security Risks

A penetration risk report released by Global cybersecurity firm Coalfire has found that while the health sector is gradually reducing its dependence on legacy systems, unpatched and out-of-date software continues to pose security risks. The report was composed of results of more than 3,100 penetration tests from approximately 1,600 client engagements in the technology, retail financial services, and healthcare industries. Penetration testing is a tool used by healthcare organizations to identify potential vulnerabilities in their cybersecurity before hackers can. In addition coalfire employed cybersecurity firm NowSecure to examine mobile applications’ cybersecurity.  The report found a number of key findings. Firstly,…

DOJ Charges Iranian Hackers For Cyberattacks Against Critical US Infrastructure Entities

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged three Iranian nationals for executing several ransomware attacks and other cyberattacks against United States critical infrastructure entities including multiple healthcare organizations. The information of the charges comes from an unsealed indictment filed in the US District Court for the District of New Jersey and a DOJ press release.  According to the press release, the hacking campaign exploited flaws in frequently used network devices and software applications to gain access and remove files from computer systems. The hackers then deny the victims access to their own systems unless a ransom payment is…

HHS Appoints New Office For Civil Rights Director Melanie Fontes Rainer

The United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Director Xavier Becerra has formally sworn in Melanie Fontes Rainer as Director of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). As of Wednesday, September 12, 2022, Fontes Rainer will lead the OCR in its duties to enforce federal civil rights, conscience protections, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s (HIPAA) Rules, which protect Americans’ fundamental civil rights and medical privacy.  Melanie Fontes Rainer has been officially sworn in as the Director of the Office for Civil Rights by Xavier Becerra, Director of the United States’ Department of Health and Human Services…

US Senators Ask HHS To Bolster Reproductive Health Privacy Following SCOTUS Roe V. Wade Ruling

Following the United States’ Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, 30 groups have written a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Secretary Xavier Becerra requesting an update to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to ensure the privacy of patients’ reproductive health data. As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, numerous states either outlawed abortion for their citizens or imposed limitations, and some have even started looking into and punishing women who obtain abortion services.  The senators, under the leadership of Patty Murray, chair of the…

Study Finds Physicians Are More Optimistic About Digital Health

A study recently published by the American Medical Association (AMA) research team has revealed rising rates of digital health use among physicians since 2016 and offers details on their expectations. Digital health provides a wide range of tools that can enhance medical treatment, facilitate lifestyle changes, and increase operational efficiency and includes technological advancements in mHealth, wearables, monitoring systems, applications, and telemedicine and telehealth.  According to AMA, the survey’s objective was to learn more about physicians’ reasons for adopting digital health technology and their needs for doing so. It included responses from people of various ages and specializations. The researchers…

FBI Warns Healthcare Sector Of Increase In Medical Device Vulnerabilities

The United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation’ Cyber Division has released a private industry notification alerting healthcare organizations of the growing number of medical device vulnerabilities. According to the notification, cybercriminals may exploit these weaknesses to negatively affect a healthcare organization’s operational functions, patient safety, data confidentiality, and data integrity.  Medical device hardware frequently operates for 10 to 30 years. However, manufacturers determine the life cycle of the underlying software which can range from a few months to the device’s maximum life expectancy. Medical devices are particularly vulnerable to attacks as they frequently contain outdated software as manufacturers do not…

Medtronic Recalls EMG Endotracheal Tube Following Two Fatalities

Medical device manufacturer Medtronic has reported two fatalities as a result of faults found in their EMG endotracheal tube. According to a recall notice posted by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA),  the company has received 15 complaints between the period of March 2020 to March 2022.  In April, Medtronic recalled its Medtronic’s NIM CONTACT Reinforced EMG Endotracheal Tube and NIM Standard Reinforced EMG Endotracheal Tube devices. The devices are used to provide an airway to patient ventilation and monitor EMG activity and the nerve integrity of the  thyroarytenoid muscle of the larynx. The recall was made by…

Report Finds Health Sector Has Suffered Over 5,000 Breaches Since 2009

A report recently issued by Comparitech has found that almost 5,000 healthcare breaches have been reported to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) data breach portal since 2009. The breaches involved more than 342 million medical records.  The researchers at Comparitech evaluated data from the period between 2009 to June 2022 to determine which states in the United States experience the most medical data breaches and how many medical records are exposed annually. Additionally, the researchers examined from January 2021 to June 2022 in-depth to determine their main causes and the healthcare organizations they…

CISA Warn Health Sector Of Baxter Sigma Infusion Pump Vulnerabilities

The United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency had issued a medical advisory to the healthcare sector reagrdign four vulnerabilities within the Sigma and Baxter Spectrum Infusion Pumps, a device typically used to provide medications and nutrition to patients. The vulnerabillties within the fusion pumps were identified by IoT researchers at Rapid 7, a well-known security solution provider. The issues were then reported to Baxter who are currently working with the security solution provider to resolve the vulnerabilities.  The versions of the device with vulnerabtilies include the Sigma Spectrum v6.x model 35700BAX, Sigma Spectrum v8.x model 35700BAX2, Baxter Spectrum IQ (v9.x)…

HC3 Issues Report Highlighting Benefits And Risks Of New Health Technologies

The Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center (HC3) has released a report emphasizing some of the concerns associated with some of the most promising new technologies that have the potential to transform clinical research, the monitoring and delivery of treatment, connectivity, data analysis, and data security. New technologies have the capability to completely transform the healthcare sector. Although these technologies have a lot of potential advantages, they also carry a danger of compromising patient privacy and safety. If vulnerabilities are not adequately fixed, malicious actors may use them to access internal systems or sensitive health information, endangering patient safety. According to…

DHS Releases Final Rule Updating Basis For Public Charge Inadmissability

The U.S.’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released a final rule, which will be released in the Federal Register, that clarifies and uniformly applies DHS’s management of the public charge basis of inadmissibility for non-citizens. The rule amends actions that the Trump Administration made to identify supplemental public health benefits like Medicaid and nutritional assistance as part of the public charge inadmissibility determination and corrects the historical understanding of a “public charge” that had been recognized for previous decades. According to the DHS’s press release, the rule is a reflection of the Biden Administration’s commitment to restore faith in…

Study Finds AI-Powered Chronic Condition Platform Reduces Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

A study conducted by researchers at the University of London has revealed that artificial-intelligence-powered chronic condition platform, Juli, uses technology to provide patients with information to effectively manage their long-term mental health disorders. According to a recent study, distressing psychological symptoms can be reduced by combining digital self-monitoring, AI, and targeted behavioral modifications. The technology was initially founded to support conditions that need specialized mental health treatment such as bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a chronic, recurrent episodic condition with high rates of hospitalization, suicide, and co-morbidity. The condition’s characteristics include periods of extremely low moods and high moods. In…

Report Finds Decline In Patient Outcomes And Increase In Mortality Rate Following Cyberattacks

A report conducted by the Ponemon Institute has found that over 20 percent of healthcare organizations have encountered an increase in mortality rate after a substantial cyberattack and over half of healthcare organizations surveyed stated that they encountered poorer patient outcomes as a result. With delays to procedures and tests being the most frequent consequences of the attacks that resulted in poorer patient outcomes.  On behalf of cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, Ponemon Institute surveyed 641 IT and IT security professionals in healthcare organizations who are responsible for participating in cybersecurity procedures such as setting IT cybersecurity priorities, selecting vendors and contractors…

HHS’ Office Of Inspector General Advises HRSA To Improve Their Oversight Of OPTN Cybersecurity

The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has requested the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to improve their oversight of the cybersecurity of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). The OIG was established to ensure the protection of HHS programs through a nationwide network of audits, investigations, and inspections.The latest audit conducted by the OIG was to determine whether the HRSA had complied with federal requirements to implement appropriate and suitable cybersecurity controls over the OPTN to protect transplant information. The OPTN is a component of the HRSA’s nationwide system for allocation…

House Democrats Request Meta Data Privacy Briefing Following Nebraska Abortion Case

On August 31, 2022, the Democrats part of the Committee on Energy and Commerce sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Meta CEO, outlining their concerns about the company’s data-sharing policy and asking for clarity on the dissemination of private messages to law authorities.  The letter comes as a mother and her daughter discussions relating to an illegal abortion on Meta platforms had been obtained by law enforcement. In Nebraska, law enforcement had conducted an investigation into Jessica Burgess and her 18-year old daughter, Celeste, over an alleged illegal abortion. Following the United States’ decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Nebraska…

CISA Warns Health Sector Of Contec Health’s Vital Signs Patient Monitor Vulnerabilities

The United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has released a security advisory outlining five vulnerabilities found in Contec Health’s CMS8000 CONTEC ICU CCU Vital Signs Patient Monitor. The Agency details how exploitation of the vulnerability could allow a malicious actor to conduct distributed denial of service attacks to alter firmware, make configuration changes, access a root shell, and cause a monitor to display wrong information.  CISA has stated that they have contacted Contec Health about the faults in the Vital Signs Monitors, however, they have not received any response regarding vulnerability mitigations. CISA have found five vulnerabilities within…

California Legislature Strengthen Female Reproductive Health Privacy

A bill has been approved by the California legislature that forbids businesses operating in the state of California from providing access to information on those pursuing or performing abortions to other states who require the information through warrants. The bill is an attempt made by the California legislature to protect women’s privacy following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade. Following the Supreme Court’s decision, women’s federal right to an abortion has been left been left to individual states to choose whether abortion is legal. Several republican states had trigger laws in place to immediately prohibited abortions in…

CISA Warns Health Sector Of North Korean Maui Ransomware

A joint Cybersecurity Advisory has been issued by the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) in collaboration the the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of the Treasury to advise the health sector about the threat of Maui ransomware, a cyberattack variant which has been utilized by the North Korea state-sponsored cyber attackers.  Since 2021, the FBI have identified and handled several incidents in the health sector involving Maui ransomware. The ransomware is used to encrypt servers that healthcare services operate such as EHR services, diagnostics services, imaging services, and intranet services. Maui ransomware has the ability…

Health-ISAC Publish Zero Trust Implementation Guidance For CISOs

A white paper has recently been published by Health-ISAC intended to assist CISOs to understand and implement a zero trust security architecture. Traditionally, a CISOs approach includes perimeter defenses, which prohibit unauthorized third parties from gaining access to data. However, the traditional cybersecurity approach is no longer viable in the cloud due to the lack of perimeters. Furthermore, the methods malicious actors employ to successfully gain access to data are rapid changing. In the event that access to the data is gained through perimeter defenses, the malicious actor can travel laterally within networks and have the ability to conduct several…

Baton Rouge General Health System Reports Healthcare Data Breach

The General Health System (GHS), located in Baton Rouge, has recently disclosed on its website that it experienced a data breach in June. The GHS is responsible for operating over 20 healthcare institutions in the Baton Rouge area.  The breach was initially announced in June by WAFB, the local news network, who reported that GHS had temporarily transferred its patient records to paper until it was safe to bring its EMR and other patient networks back online. However, GHS has confirmed the incident in a post they have published on their website. The post confirms that the GHS had detected…

Study Finds 66% Of Healthcare Organizations Experienced Ransomware Attacks In 2021

A recent study published by Sophos has revealed that 66 percent of healthcare organizations experienced ransomware attacks in 2021, a 94 percent increase compared to 2020. Sophos employed research agency Vanson Bourne to conduct an independent survey for Sophos’ annual study of ransomware attacks in the healthcare sector. The study consisted of 5,600 IT professionals, including 381 healthcare respondents in organizations residing in 31 different countries during the period of January and February 2022.  The survey discovered that two-thirds of healthcare organizations experienced ransomware attacks last year, revealing that cybercriminals’ capabilities to deliver significant attacks is only improving. The healthcare…

Analysis Finds Half Of Popular Period-Tracking Apps Share User Data For Ads

A recent analysis published by cybersecurity company Surfshark has revealed that almost half of period-tracking applications in the study shared or used user data for third-party advertising. The analysis consisted of the twenty most popular applications on the Apple Application Store and graded each application according to the quantity and sensitivity of the data it collects. Each data point was then added on the company’s point system. One point was awarded to data that is not linked to a user’s identity, two points for data that could be linked to a user’s identity such as name and address,  and finally,…

Report Evaluates Cybersecurity Firm Satisfaction Among Healthcare Clients

The number of cybersecurity attacks on healthcare organizations continue to increase on a yearly basis. The healthcare sector is often targeted by cyber criminals as healthcare providers are more likely to pay ransoms as there is risk to human health. Healthcare organizations are frequently penalized by the HHS’ Office for Civil Rights for cybersecurity vulnerabilities which can result in damaged reputations and the increased risk of patient safety and misuse of patient data. Organizations regularly employ outside consulting firms that specialize in increasing security and data privacy safeguards in order to decrease these risks in healthcare. A report conducted by…

Abbott Awarded FDA Approval For Spinal Cord Stimulation Device

Abbott’s new spinal cord stimulation system has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In an press release on August 23, 2022, the medical technology manufacturer announced that their Proclaim Plus cord stimulation system will be available to provide physicians the opportunity to treat multi-site and evolving pain. Abbott is a global leader in healthcare that works to improve quality of life for people at all phases of life. The company works to provide life-changing technologies in various areas of healthcare including medical equipment, nutritionals, and generic medicines.  According to Abbot, over 50 million Americans suffer from chronic…

Getinge Ventilator Recall Labelled Class I Event By FDA

The U.S. Food and Administration has categorized Gentinge’s recall of over 11,000 ventilators as a class I event. After discovering the ventilators may produce a combination of technical alarms that may result in a loss of communication and cut of ventilation. This can result in dire consequences as the patient’s breathing pattern may be impeded and therefore will receive too little oxygen to enter the blood and cause brain damage and circulatory failure.   Getinge has recalled four devices, including the Servo-u mechanical ventilator and the Servo-n product intended for use with newborns. After discovering the faults in over 11,089 ventilators…

MIT Researchers Develop Chip-Free Skin Sensor

A wireless wearable skin sensor that can measure activity levels, blood pressure, heart rate, and glucose levels without a bluetooth chip has been developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers. The usage of wearable technology in healthcare is rapidly increasing. The technology is used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including cardiac issues. Researchers from MIT stated that Bluetooth chips used in products are sizable and can cause problems, despite the fact that they are frequently effective. In order to avoid the need for bulky chip implants, MIT engineers developed a wireless wearable skin sensor that can gather several…

Oklahoma State University Pays $875,000 To OCR After Major Data Breach

The Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences (OSUCHS) has recently settled a HIPAA violation case for $875,000. The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) brought the case to the University after an investigation into a major breach of sensitive data found several potential violations of the HIPAA Rules.  The breach of data was detected by the university on November 7, 2017. It was discovered that an unauthorized third party had gained access to sections of the University’s computer network and potentially recovered files relating to the information of Medicaid patients. The information included…

HC3 Warns Healthcare Organations Of Social Engineering and Vishing Attacks

A warning has been issued by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center to warn healthcare organizations about voice phishing and social engineering attacks.  Social engineering, in the context of cybersecurity, is the exploitation of individuals by malicious attackers for their own benefit. Social engineering is a general term that ecompasses a wide range of cyberattacks such as phishing, spear phishing, business email compromising whaling, scareware, baiting, callback phishing, SMS phishing, and pretexting.  Social engineering techniques are employed in phishing attacks to deceive employees into giving up private information, such as protected health information, login…

Study Finds 58% Of Healthcare Organizations Plan To Implement Zero Trust Initiative

A recent report issued by Okta has found that there has been an increase in the number of healthcare organizations that have implemented zero trust initiatives. The 2022 State of Zero Trust Security report revealed that approximately 58 percent of organizations who were surveyed have confirmed that they have or are beginning to implement zero trust initiatives. In addition, approximately 96 percent of healthcare organizations stated they had implemented a zero trust initiative or intend to do so over the next year to year and a half.  Traditionally, healthcare organizations secure devices and networks through a trusted network perimeter. However,…

HC3 Issues Sector Alert For Apple Zero-Day Device Vulnerability Update

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Cybersecurity Coordination Center (HC3) has issued a security alert notifying healthcare organizations of Apple’s security updates to safeguard against two zero-day vulnerabilities in the macOS Monterey, Safari, iOs, and iPadOS. The devices affected by the software vulnerabilities include all iPad Pro Models, iPad Air 2 and after, iPad 5th generation and after, all Macs operating with macOS Monterey, iPad mini 4 and later, the iPod Touch 7th generation, and finally iPhone 6s and later generations.  A zero-day vulnerability is a flaw in hardware, software, or firmware that the individuals responsible for resolving issues…

Atrium Health Announces Telehealth Program For U.S. Schools

Atrium Health has announced ambitions to introduce telehealth services targeted at students enrolled in American schools. A 10 million dollar donation from the Bank of America has enabled the launch of the “Meaningful Medicine” initiative. The introduction of the program will initially involve 20 elementary schools, 10 middle and high schools based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The elementary schools will receive school-based virtual care, while telemental services will be offered to middle and highschools by Atrium Health. Atrium Health, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, works with 70,000 individuals at approximately 1,500 facilities, including 40 hospitals. The non-profit healthcare organization, provides…

Cyberspace Solarium Commision Requests Urgent Cyber Briefing With HHS

A letter has been sent by Angus S. King Jr. (I-ME) and Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Co-Chairs of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Secretary Xavier Beccerra expressing concerns regarding the public health sector’s cybersecurity. In the letter, the lawmakers emphasize the significant rise in cyberattacks aimed at the healthcare industry, call for more concerted effort to confront the growing danger, and request the government for an urgent update on the issue.  King and Gallagher detail how the COVID-19 pandemic exposed several systemic issues within the healthcare sector, particularly the shortage of resources. However,…

Medtronic Announces Class I Recall For Implantable Defibrillators

Medtronic has announced a recall of its Cobalt and Crome implantable cardioverter defibrillators and cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillators. A report issued by the Food and Drug Administration labeled the recall in the Class I after the report found that the devices may only deliver approximately 79 percent of the intended energy of the shock during high-voltage treatment. The recall includes more than 20,000 units.  The recall comes after healthcare professionals in Europe received an urgent field safety notification from Medtronic last month regarding the same issue with the same product codes. The notification stated that the effectiveness of the defibrillator…

FBI and CISA Warns Heathcare Organizations Of Zeppelin Ransomware

The Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have issued a joint warning regarding the Zeppelin strain of ransomware. The alert, issued on August 11, warns healthcare organizations of the threat the ransomware poses and the steps organizations can take in order to mitigate threats to electronic healthcare data.  The Zeppelin ransomware is a component of  Delphi-based Vega malware and operates as a Ransomware as a Service. Malicious actors have utilized the malware to gain access to the networks of various critical infrastructure organizations and businesses. These include educational institutions, manufacturers, technology companies, and particularly…

MIT Researchers Develop Implantable Insulin Distribution Device

A team of MIT engineers and collaborators has designed an implantable device that prevents the buildup of scar tissue around medical implants. Implantable devices can be used to treat diabetes without insulin injections or cannula insertions by releasing insulin into the system. However, implantable devices can often trigger a foreign body response, a formation of a thick layer of scar tissue that prevents insulin release within weeks or months. As a result, the majority of patients with type 1 diabetes prefer to receive insulin through daily injections. These can be provided through wearable insulin pumps or insulin patches.  The researchers…

Senate Passes $740B Bill To Reduce Healthcare Costs

A long-waited bill worth $740 billion to reduce the price of prescription medications and health insurance has officially been approved by the Senate. The legislation comes as a new form of the Build Back Better Act, which passed through the House of Representatives in November. However, the previous Act was far greater, amounting to $2.2 trillion. The Act may have been too optimistic as the Act did not pass through the Senate. The Act underwent a rebrand and reduction which warranted enough support from Senators to pass the law through the upper chamber of Congress. On August 7, the Biden…

HC3 Warns Healthcare Organizations Of IoT Security Risks

A security advisory alert has been issued by the Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center (HC3) warning organizations in the healthcare and public health industry about the dangers posed by Internet of Things (IoT) devices and has offered suggestions for improving the security of the devices.  The Internet of Things describes physical devices with software, sensors and other technologies that connect and exchange information with other devices and systems via the internet. There are currently approximately 7 billion devices that utilize IoT. The number of IoT devices is expected to increase dramatically over the coming years. IoT devices are utilized in…

Senator Hawley Requests FTC To Investigate Amazon’s One Medical Acquisition Amid Privacy Concerns

A letter has been sent to the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) by Senator Josh Hawley requesting an investigation into Amazon’s plans to purchase primary care company organization One Medical. The letter comes as a result of concerns regarding patient health information privacy and security concerns.  On July 21, it was announced that Amazon had settled a deal to purchase 1Life Healthcare, which provides primary treatment via One Medical. In the letter, Senator Hawley recognizes the FTC’s efforts to counteract America’s growing economic oligopoly and the influence of tech giants. However, he maintains that the One Medical acquisition requires particular attention….

New Guidance By HHS and DOJ To Prevent Telehealth Discrimination Issued

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a new guidance for healthcare providers to help prevent telehealth discrimination. The new guidance marks the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, where the US government seeks to address several federal nondiscrimination laws such as the ADA Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act along with several steps healthcare providers can take to prohibit discrimination and protect access to health…

Bodyport Awarded FDA Approval For Cardiac Scale

The FDA has granted 501(k) clearance to BodyPort for its cardiovascular monitor that tracks patients with fluid management related heart conditions such as kidney disease and heart failure. According to the CDC, over 6 million adults in the US suffer from heart failure, resulting in over 12 million clinical visits and approximately 1.2 million hospitalizations annually. 90% of these hospitalizations are said to be the result of hemodynamic changes causing fluid accumulation. Typically, weight gain is the standard for non-invasive detection of fluid changes. However, Bodyport has developed a scale to measure fluid changes alternatively. To use the device, individuals…

Study Finds Telehealth Benefits Veterans Opioid Addiction

A study issued in the American Journal of Psychiatry has discovered that audio and video-based telehealth has helped prevent VA patients from discontinuing their treatment for opioid use disorder. Researchers at the University of Michigan and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System initially conducted the study to examine various methods to provide access to opioid use disorder treatment among veterans. However, in conducting the study, the researchers identified several benefits to telehealth use, such as increased access to buprenorphine.  The COVID-19 pandemic caused an extensive adoption of telehealth services as an alternative to traditional care. Concerns were raised by patients and…

Northwestern University Develops Alternative To Drugs For Pain Relief

Northwestern University has recently published a study that details a new device which may present an alternative to opioids for pain relief. The study, reported June 30th, details a new device that is implanted near a patient’s nerves. The device cools down nerves and blocks pain signals from transmitting to the brain.  After an accident or medical procedure results in injury, patients are typically issued several forms of pain relief. These include local injections or various pain relief medications which dull the pain receptors. However, the large-scale provision of these pain relief medications has caused an opioid epidemic resulting in…

FDA Approves Google’s Atrial Fibrillation Detection Device

The Food and Drug Administration has awarded 501k clearance to Verily and iRhythm Technologies for the new cardiac arrhythmia feature on their Zio Watch. The approval comes as wearables continue to become an integral part of healthcare treatment. Wearables can be used to contact others, for navigation, and perhaps most importantly, monitor a user’s health. Google has recognized the potential wearables have to help individuals and encouraged their sister company Verily and iRhythm Technologies to design a wearable capable of competing in the wearables market.  The company created the Zio Watch. The new device works in collaboration with Zio ECG…

MedTronic Awarded FDA Approval For Spine Surgey Planning Platform

Medtronic has recently announced that their spine analyzing planning platform has received FDA 501k clearance. The healthcare technology global leader reported the news on July 14 2022. The UNiD Spine Analyzer v4.0 planning platform includes an artificial intelligence powered algorithm called the Degen Algorithm which helps surgeons to design and personalize procedures for individuals undergoing lower lumbar spine surgery and anticipates spinal compensatory processes 6 months following surgery. In addition, the planning platform will include advancements in predicting spinal alterations in both children and adults.  Degenerative spine disease is a common age-related condition that results in disabilities for individuals all…

Apple Watch Receives FDA Approval For AFib Tracking Feature

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given 501k clearance to Apple for a new smart watch feature. The clearance comes as wearables continue to be integrated into healthcare provision. Today, wearables can help measure data related to temperature, blood pressure, blood oxygen, breathing rate, physical movement, and the electrical activity of several organs. Apple has utilized this technology to design a feature which is capable of detecting signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib) in its user.  The Food and Drug Administration approved the Apple Watch as a viable tool for detecting irregular heart rhythms in 2018. Although the Watch’s electrocardiogram…

NIST Issues Revised Guidance For HIPAA Security Rule

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued its updated healthcare cybersecurity and HIPAA Security Rule guidance to help aid health organizations in safeguarding their Protected Health Information.  The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was introduced to establish national standards for the protection of electronic protected health information that is managed by HIPAA-covered entities. A significant component of the Act is the HIPAA Security Rule, which requires covered entities to implement the appropriate physical, technical, and administrative safeguards in order to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the protected health information they maintain. Compliance with the…

HHS Issues Warning Of Web Application Attacks

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordinator (HC3) has issued an alert on july 21 about an increase in the number of web application attacks on the healthcare sector. In the alert, the HC3 outlines guidelines to help healthcare organizations to protect their health data against web application attacks. Web applications have become a significant proponent of the healthcare sector in recent years. The software has been utilized for patient portals, maintaining electronic medical record systems, CAD for dentists, remote consultation, predictive analysis, and inventory management. Web applications are accessed through a web browser such as…

CBHA Suffers Major Data Breach From Ransomware Attack

A major behavioral health alliance has recently announced a significant breach of data. The Carolina Behavioral Health Alliance (CBHA) operates in the city of Winston-Salem and is the administer of behavioral health benefits for Wake Forest University and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. The attack was discovered by the alliance on March 20, 2022. Upon detection, the organization notified law enforcement and immediately conducted a comprehensive forensic investigation and deduced that cybercriminals had gained access to the organization’s computer systems between March 19 and March 20. The malicious actors potentially viewed and recovered the personal information of approximately 130,000 health…

Study Finds Sepsis Detection Tool Reduces Deaths

Bayesian Health, a machine learning startup has found in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University that a sepsis early detection tool has reduced sepsis associated deaths by approximately 18%. Sepsis is identified as a life-threatening reaction to an infection. It occurs when the immune system overreacts to an infection and creates inflammation. Blood clots and leaking blood vessels occur, and can cause damage to the body’s tissue and organs. Sepsis is extremely common, affecting approximately 1.7 million adults annually. However, despite its prevalence, over 250,000 instances resulted in death. Sepsis is often simple to overlook because its symptoms such as fever…

Study Finds SmartPhone App Detects Skin Cancer In Older Adults

Researchers at Stanford Medicine have discovered that a smartphone app can help healthcare providers detect skin cancer among older people. The app is called SkinIO and enables regular individuals and medical professionals to take high-quality pictures of possibly cancerous tumors without entering a clinic. A dermatologist is then given access to the photos through a secure gateway for evaluation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous restrictions were put in place in order to prevent the spread of the virus and protect those vulnerable, particularly older individuals. However, the strict protocols implemented have resulted in a decline in clinic visits leading to…

Smiths Medical Recalls Infusion Pumps After Patient Death

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that Smiths Medical, a medical device manufacturer, has sent an Urgent Medical Device Correction letter to inform its customers about potential risks associated with their Syringe Infusion Pumps.The letter notified users that the Smiths Medical Medfusion 4000 and 3500 Syringe Infusion Pumps suffer from 8 potential software issues. The devices are used by healthcare providers to deliver blood or blood products, drugs, antibiotics, lipids, enteral feedings and other therapeutic fluids through infusion tubing into a patient’s vein or through other routes of administration. The devices are typically used in neonatal and pediatric…

510(k) Clearance Granted To ResApp Sleep Apnea Detection App

The US Food and Drug Administration has granted clearance to ResApp Health’s 510(k) app. The SleepCheckRx app screens users for moderate to severe sleep apnea by listening to recordings of their breathing and snoring. The regulatory clearance will only apply to the iPhone version. However, ResApp has stated that they are committed to developing an android version.  In the U.S. alone, approximately 20 million American adults live with sleep apnea. Despite the high number, the majority are unaware of their condition. The new app will help provide physicians with the opportunity to evaluate their patients effectively. To acquire access to…

FDA Grants Breakthrough Device Designation To Ventricular Restoration Device

The FDA has awarded Breakthrough Device Designation to Ancora Heart’s Accucinch ventricular restoration system. The device was constructed to help reduce ejection fraction from patients with symptomatic heart failure. It achieves this by restoring the makeup and activity of an enlarged left ventricle. In turn, heart failure symptoms are reduced and the quality of life of patients is improved greatly.  The FDA Breakthrough Devices Designation program was introduced to help patients receive timely access to treatment innovations without compromising their safety. The program helps expedite the development of novel medical devices that have the potential to give more effective treatment…

Concerns Raised Over FDA Cybersecurity Draft Guidance

In April 2022, the FDA published a draft guidance concerning cybersecurity medical devices. The Agency sought to help medical device manufacturers with integrating cybersecurity practices into their products in the premarket period and to help ensure security risks were addressed for the duration of the products lifetimes. The latest update to the guidance included recommendations related to device design and labeling. The FDA also encouraged manufacturers to include threat models, a requirement for a software bill of materials designed to improve data safety and security.   The FDA had created the new draft guidance after receiving concerns on its 2018 guidance….

DHS Issues Fifth Cybersecurity Alert In Five Years to BD’s Pyxis Medication Dispenser

The Cybersecurity Infrastructure Agency, a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has issued its fifth cybersecurity alert in five years to Becton Dickinson. The medical technology company has received the alerts as a result of vulnerabilities found in their Pyxis automated medication dispensing systems. The Cybersecurity alert is the second alert the medical device manufacturers have received this year. In March, the DHS had identified a vulnerability regarding the use of hard-coded credentials which may allow unauthorized malicious actors to gain access to the file system and use the data for exploitation. The DHS has issued the latest…

FDA Grants Breakthrough Device Tag To Abbott’s DBS System

On July 12, 2022, the FDA awarded Breakthrough Device Designation to Abbott’s deep brain stimulation (DBS) device developed to care for treatment resistant depression (TRD). The Breakthrough Devices Designation program was developed to help patients gain timely access to innovations without putting the patients at risk. The program has helped expedite several innovative technologies that help provide a better quality of life to patients with severe illnesses and diseases. Typically, Abbott’s DBS device is used to treat movement symptoms of patients’ neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. However, recent evidence indicates that the device may be used…

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