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Healthcare News

A Weekly Compilation of Clinical Laboratory and Related Information
From The Division Of Laboratory Systems

May 21, 2015

News Highlights

Leading News

  • Health Officials: New Strain of Rabies Found in New Mexico
  • Competency Guidelines for Public Health Laboratory Professionals: CDC and the Association of Public Health Laboratories
  • U.S. Introduces New DNA Standard for Ensuring Accuracy of Genetic Tests

Laboratory Testing / Diagnostics

  • CAP and ADASP Offer Guideline for Reviews of Surgical Pathology Cases
  • Second Look Alters 20% of Breast Biopsy Conclusions
  • Blood Test May Predict Response to HCV Treatment

Research and Development

  • Microchip Captures Clusters of Circulating Tumor Cells - NIH study
  • Researcher Discovers Molecules That Could Kill Cancer While Protecting Healthy Cells
  • Scientists Unravel the Mystery of the Tubulin Code

Public Health and Patient Safety

  • CDC Data Show Progress in Reducing Some Foodborne Infections in 2014
  • Abnormal Test Results in Hospital Signal Raised Kidney Injury Risk
  • Forty Percent of Hospitals Fail on Nursing Workforce Safe Practices

Health IT and Other

  • HIPAA Breach Survival Guide
  • Next-generation Health IT Requires Primary Care Input
  • Are Wearables Violating HIPAA?

View Previous Issues - Healthcare News Archive

Leading News

Health Officials: New Strain of Rabies Found in New Mexico

A new strain of rabies has been discovered in southern New Mexico, federal and state health officials confirmed Tuesday. While it doesn't present any more of a public health threat than the known strains of the potentially fatal disease, the discovery is generating curiosity in scientific circles because it's the first new strain to be found in the United States in several years. Genetic testing at a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab in Atlanta confirmed the strain was one that never before had been identified. State officials suspect the rabid fox came in contact with an infected bat that was carrying the strain.


Competency Guidelines for Public Health Laboratory Professionals: CDC and the Association of Public Health Laboratories

These competency guidelines outline the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for public health laboratory (PHL) professionals to deliver the core services of PHLs efficiently and effectively. As part of a 2-year workforce project sponsored in 2012 by CDC and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), competencies for 15 domain areas were developed by experts representing state and local PHLs, clinical laboratories, academic institutions, laboratory professional organizations, CDC, and APHL. The competencies were developed and reviewed by approximately 170 subject matter experts with diverse backgrounds and experiences in laboratory science and public health. The guidelines comprise general, cross-cutting, and specialized domain areas and are divided into four levels of proficiency: beginner, competent, proficient, and expert. The 15 domain areas are 1) Quality Management System, 2) Ethics, 3) Management and Leadership, 4) Communication, 5) Security, 6) Emergency Management and Response, 7) Workforce Training, 8) General Laboratory Practice, 9) Safety, 10) Surveillance, 11) Informatics, 12) Microbiology, 13) Chemistry, 14) Bioinformatics, and 15) Research.


U.S. Introduces New DNA Standard for Ensuring Accuracy of Genetic Tests

The federal government opened the door to a new era of genetic medicine by introducing a standard way to ensure the accuracy of DNA tests used to tailor treatments for individual patients. Scientists have identified hundreds of genetic mutations that appear to increase the risk of diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s and cystic fibrosis. But laboratories often report different results when they analyze genes obtained from samples of the same blood or tissue, because of variations in their testing equipment and methods. The National Institute of Standards and Technology said that it had developed “reference materials” that could be used by laboratories to determine whether their machines and software were properly analyzing a person’s genetic blueprint, or genome. The institute disseminates such reference materials for thousands of products including steel, concrete and peanut butter. These materials are used for myriad purposes — to calibrate instruments, to make sure buildings are safe, to ensure that nutritional labels are accurate. Laboratories can use the new DNA standard to make sure their genetic testing is accurate. If labs get the right answers for the reference material — by finding the same mutations in the same places, for example — they can be confident that their testing of patient samples is similarly accurate.

Source: way-to-ensure-accuracy-of-dna-tests-us-announces.html?_r=0

Cancer Screening: An Example of When Less Can Be More, Experts Say

Americans get too many tests to screen for common types of cancer, and the American College of Physicians wants them to stop. New clinical guidelines from the medical group include a litany of statistics that illustrate our obsession with cancer screening. Among them: About 6 in 10 adults submitted to a colonoscopy more often than they needed to. One-third of men who got a PSA test to screen for prostate cancer couldn’t remember being asked by their doctor to do so. And 69% of women who had their cervix removed during a hysterectomy still got tested for cervical cancer. "Cancer screening is more popular among the U.S. public and is done more frequently than in other countries," according to the authors of the guidelines. This is not to say that there's no place for cancer screening, the authors wrote. But in many cases, the way to increase the value of screening tests is to do less of them, not more. That's because "less-intensive screening leads to little loss in benefits and larger reductions in harms and costs," they wrote. The guidelines cover five common types of cancer – breast, prostate, colorectal, cervical and ovarian. The advice offered by the members of the American College of Physicians’ High Value Care Task Force applies to people who have no signs of illness and no reason to suspect their cancer risk is higher than average.


Joint Commission Leaders in JAMA: Physicians & Health Care Organizations Must Take New Approach to Quality and Safety Improvement

Authors Recommend Three High Reliability Strategies for Achieving Excellence

In today’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a Viewpoint co-authored by The Joint Commission’s president and CEO, Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH, and executive vice president for Healthcare Quality Evaluation, David W. Baker, MD, MPH, calls on physicians to acquire the skills necessary to become leaders for quality improvement and safety in an increasingly complex health care environment. They note that the traditional approach of comparing performance to standards is only able to find deficiencies, such as failure to meet accreditation requirements during an onsite survey or wrong answers on a certification test. That approach, by its design, is unable to recognize or foster excellence. Instead, they recommend an approach built on the principles of high reliability to achieve far-reaching, systemic changes in patient safety and quality of care:

  • State simply and clearly that the ultimate goal is zero harm for patients and health care workers. This means always delivering effective care, freedom from complications of care, and elimination of care that has no value (overuse).
  • Physicians and organizations should master the tools, methods and science that businesses outside of health care have used to facilitate the magnitude of such improvements. These tools of Lean, Six Sigma and change management, along with the science of high reliability, provide this capability.
  • Accrediting and certifying organizations must develop new programs to foster, identify, and publicly recognize consistent excellence. These should be seamlessly integrated with the traditional – and necessary – accreditation functions.


Laboratory Testing / Diagnostics

CAP and ADASP Offer Guideline for Reviews of Surgical Pathology Cases

The College of American Pathologists (CAP) and the Association of Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology (ADASP) have announced the joint release of a new evidence- based guideline to provide recommendations for secondary and timely reviews of surgical pathology and cytology cases to improve patient care. The guideline, “Interpretive Diagnostic Error Reduction in Surgical Pathology and Cytology,” has been posted as an Early Online Release publication on the Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine website.

Read the guideline in PDF form at the Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine website


Second Look Alters 20% of Breast Biopsy Conclusions

The oft-repeated counsel to patients to get a second opinion applies to breast pathology too, a new study suggests. The second opinion about a suspected breast cancer should be in the form of an "interinstitutional pathology consultation" (IPC) that includes a review by a specialized breast pathologist, the authors say. "Specialized pathology is very important these days because there are so many advances in the field of pathology, and if you are not specialized, you will miss many of the new technologies and morphologies, new entities, etc, etc," author Thaer Khoury, MD, from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, told Medscape Medical News. The review of pathology reports for breast cancer can have a significant impact on patient care, Dr Khoury said. In his study, a second look at the pathologic samples from needle biopsies that were sent to Roswell Park by outside institutions resulted in a change in 20% of the cases that were examined. "These results underscore the need for a second review of the original pathologic material by a pathologist who specializes in breast cancer prior to the implementation of breast cancer therapy," he said. The study was published online April 15 in the Breast Journal.


Multiparametric MRI Avoids Many Biopsies, Misses a Few Cancers Compared With TRUS

Use of multiparametric MRI (MP-MRI) as follow-up to a suggestive PSA test or digital rectal exam (DRE) reduced prostate biopsies by 73% but identified fewer prostate cancers compared with upfront transrectal ultrasound (TRUS)–guided biopsy, a decision-tree analysis showed. For every 100 men evaluated, MP-MRI led to 73 fewer biopsies and identified 16 prostate cancers. TRUS-guided biopsy, by definition, required biopsy of all 100 men and led to the diagnosis of 20.4 prostate cancers. Assuming a background cancer prevalence of 24%, reliance on MP-MRI would have missed twice as many cancers.


Just Another Test

With a stutter-start, genomic tools are finding their ways into sporadic use in the clinic, but when, Business Insider asks, will they be routinely employed? One of the oft-mentioned stumbling blocks to the implementation of genomic medicine is that physicians need to be better educated about genetics, genomics, and how related tests can help their patients. But in a Science Translational Medicine piece this week, researchers led by Harvard Medical School's Robert Green say that while physicians report feeling unprepared for and have low confidence in their ability to fold genomic testing into patient care, they are as prepared for genomics as other technological advances.


Blood Test May Predict Response to HCV Treatment

Serum levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) may predict sustained virologic response (SVR) in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection who receive interferon (IFN)-based therapy. Although an association between LDL and SVR has been documented previously, the new data uncover a mechanism for the link: oxLDL limits the cell-to-cell spread of infection, thereby improving the likelihood of SVR. "From a clinical point of view, we have identified a novel predictor of SVR after interferon-based treatment of chronic hepatitis C.


Blood Test Helps IBS Patients Get Firm Diagnosis

A blood test for antibodies against bacterial toxins allows most patients with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (D-IBS) to avoid invasive endoscopies that would otherwise be needed to check for Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, a researcher said here. The test, which is receiving a commercial launch here at the Digestive Disease Week (DDW) annual meeting, showed positive predictive values "north of 98%" for IBS in a trial involving some 2,700 patients with IBS, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or celiac disease as well as healthy controls, said Mark Pimentel, MD, of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Results from the trial, in addition to being reported at the meeting, were published in PLOS ONE.


New Device Provides Chikungunya Test Results in an Hour

Scientists at a U.S. Army research center have modified an assay that tests whether or not a sample of mosquitoes harbors the virus responsible for the disease known as chikungunya (CHIKV), long a problem in the Old World tropics but recently established in the Americas. Their assay is described in an article in the Journal of Medical Entomology. Health workers now have a quick way to detect the presence of the CHIKV virus within an hour, rather than waiting for results of laboratory tests that take days, or even weeks. It's done with a chemical dipstick, the same kind of simple tool used in a pregnancy test. If the test is positive, measures to control and contain the disease can be mobilized and started immediately, which is important because no vaccine or specific treatment for chikungunya exists. "Chikungunya" is a term used by people of the Makonde Plateau, between Tanzania and Mozambique, where the disease was discovered in 1952.


New Blood Test Quickly Reveals Severity of Radiation Injury

A novel blood test could greatly improve triage of victims of radiation accidents by rapidly predicting who will survive, who will die, and who should receive immediate medical countermeasures, according to scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In pre-clinical trials, the test was able to reveal within 24 hours whether survivable doses of radiation or doses that caused severe injury to the bone marrow and other organs would eventually prove fatal. Use of such a test, the researchers said, could “facilitate timely medical intervention and improve overall survival of exposed individuals.” Reporting in Science Translational Medicine, the scientists said that, unlike current methods, their blood biomarker test quickly determines the functional impact of radiation rather than simply the dose to which the individual was exposed.

Source: http://www.dana-

WHO Approves Cepheid Ebola Assay for Use in Affected Countries

The World Health Organization has added Cepheid's Xpert Ebola assay to its list of Ebola diagnostics eligible for WHO procurement, Cepheid said. As such, Xpert Ebola is now eligible for procurement to Ebola-affected countries, Cepheid noted. Xpert Ebola joins three other tests on WHO's list of in vitro diagnostics eligible for procurement in Ebola-affected countries: Shanghai ZJ Bio-Tech's Liferiver Ebola kit and Altona Diagnostics' RealStar Filovirus Screen kit, both also RT-qPCR tests; and a rapid antigen test kit called ReEBOV.

Source: approves-cepheid-ebola-assay-use-affected-countries

Research and Development

Microchip Captures Clusters of Circulating Tumor Cells - NIH Study

Researchers have developed a microfluidic chip that can capture rare clusters of circulating tumor cells, which could yield important new insights into how cancer spreads. The work was funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), part of the National Institutes of Health. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are cells that break away from a tumor and move through a cancer patient’s bloodstream. Single CTCs are extremely rare, typically fewer than 1 in 1 billion cells. These cells can take up residence in distant organs, and researchers believe this is one mode by which cancer spreads.


Researcher Discovers Molecules That Could Kill Cancer While Protecting Healthy Cells

Researchers have identified new molecules that kill cancer cells while protecting healthy cells and that could be used to treat a variety of different cancers. The research shines a light on what happens to cells at the moment they become cancerous. Professor Qing-Bin Lu, from the University of Waterloo's Faculty of Science, initiated a novel molecular-mechanism-based program to discover a new class of non-platinum-based-halogenated molecules that kill cancer cells, yet prevent healthy cells from being damaged. The most effective cancer drugs today may kill cancer cells, but they also kill healthy cells, causing severe side effects for patients in the process.


Scientists Unravel the Mystery of the Tubulin Code

Driving down the highway, you encounter ever-changing signs — speed limits, exits, food and gas options. Seeing these roadside markers may cause you to slow down, change lanes or start thinking about lunch. In a similar way, cellular structures called microtubules are tagged with a variety of chemical markers that can influence cell functions. The pattern of these markers makes up the “tubulin code” and according to a paper published in Cell, scientists at National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have uncovered the mechanism behind one of the main writers of this code, tubulin tyrosine ligase-7 (TTLL7). “Understanding the structural characteristics of this specific molecule opens the door to learning how elaborate patterns of chemical markers are laid down on microtubules. Deciphering the tubulin code could tell us how the markers affect normal cellular function as well as what happens when they are damaged, which can lead to neurodegenerative disorders,” said Antonina Roll-Mecak, Ph.D., NINDS scientist and senior author of the study.


Seasons May Tweak Genes That Trigger Some Chronic Diseases

The seasons appear to influence when certain genes are active, with those associated with inflammation being more active in the winter, according to new research. A study involving more than 16,000 people found that the activity of about 4,000 of those genes appears to be affected by the season, researchers reported in the journal Nature Communications. The findings could help explain why certain diseases are more likely than others to strike for the first time during certain seasons, the researchers say. "Certain chronic diseases are very seasonal — like seasonal affective disorder or cardiovascular disease or Type 1 diabetes or multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis," says John Todd, a geneticist at the University of Cambridge who led the research. "But people have been wondering for decades what the explanation for that is." Todd and his colleagues decided to try to find out. They analyzed the genes in cells from more than 16,000 people in five countries, including the United States and European countries in the Northern Hemisphere, and Australia in the Southern Hemisphere. And they spotted the same trend — in both hemispheres, and among men as well as women.


Master Orchestrator of the Genome Is Discovered, UB Stem Cell Scientists Report

PLOS ONE paper describes how a single nuclear protein functions like an orchestra conductor, programming the 'symphony of biology.' One of developmental biology's most perplexing questions concerns what signals transform masses of undifferentiated cells into tremendously complex organisms, a process called ontogeny. New research by University at Buffalo scientists, published in PLOS ONE, provides evidence that it all begins with a single "master" growth factor receptor that regulates the entire genome. "The finding provides a new level of understanding of the fundamental aspects of how organisms develop," says senior author Michal K. Stachowiak, PhD, professor in the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and senior author. He also directs the Stem Cell Engraftment and In Vivo Analysis Facility and the Stem Cell Culture and Training Facility at the Western New York Stem Cell Culture and Analysis Center at UB. "Our research shows how a single growth factor receptor protein moves directly to the nucleus in order to program the entire genome," he said.


Chinese Team Tracks Evolution of Epidemic Ebola Strains in Sierra Leone

A team from China and the UK analyzed genome sequences for Ebola virus isolates in Sierra Leone in the fall of 2014 to track the virus' diversity and evolution during the latter stages of the Ebola epidemic, which was first recognized last spring. As they reported online today in Nature, the researchers sequenced nearly 200 EBOV samples collected in five Sierra Leone regions last fall. Their results revealed a rise in EBOV diversity during this stage of the epidemic, manifesting itself in new sub-lineages that were used to trace the virus' movement between individuals in several affected communities. "The sharp increase in genetic diversity of the 2014 EBOV warrants extensive EBOV surveillance in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia to better understand the viral evolution and transmission dynamics of the ongoing outbreak," senior author Wu-Chun Cao, a pathogen and biosecurity researcher with China's State Key Laboratory, and co-authors wrote. The study's authors noted that these and other findings are expected to "facilitate the international efforts to develop [EBOV] vaccines and therapeutics."

Source: utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20News:%20Mayo,%20Baylor%20Collaborate%20on%20Pharmacogenomics%20Sequencing%20Study%20- %2005/13/2015%2003:30:00%20PM

Public Health and Patient Safety

CDC Data Show Progress in Reducing Some Foodborne Infections in 2014

In 2014, rates of infection from a serious form of E. coli and one of the more common Salmonella serotypes decreased compared with the baseline period of 2006- 2008. Meanwhile, some other less common types of Salmonella increased. Campylobacter and Vibrio rose again in 2014, continuing the increase observed during the past few years, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report summarizes the rates of infection per 100,000 population and tracks illness trends for key foodborne illnesses. Infection with Shiga-toxin producing E. coli O157, which can sometimes lead to kidney failure, decreased 32 percent when compared with 2006-2008 and 19 percent when compared with the most recent three years. These infections are often linked to consumption of undercooked ground beef and raw leafy vegetables. Salmonella Typhimurium, which has been linked to poultry, beef, and other foods, was 27 percent lower than it was in 2006-2008, continuing a downward trend begun in the mid-1980s. Two other less common types of Salmonella, Javiana and Infantis, more than doubled for reasons that are unclear. Salmonella Javiana is concentrated in the southeastern United States, but has been spreading within the Southeast and to other areas of the country. However, when all Salmonella serotypes are combined, there was no change in 2014. Campylobacter increased 13 percent and Vibrio increased 52 percent compared with 2006-2008. Yersinia has declined enough to meet the Healthy People 2020 goal.

Source: infections.html

Abnormal Test Results in Hospital Signal Raised Kidney Injury Risk

Common kidney function tests using blood or urine can help doctors identify hospitalized patients at risk for acute kidney injury, researchers say. Acute kidney injury is a sudden loss of kidney function that can develop within a few hours or over a few days. As many as 10 percent of hospitalized patients and up to 22 percent of intensive care unit (ICU) patients worldwide experience acute kidney injury, according to the study authors. For the study, the researchers reviewed information from more than 1.3 million hospital patients. Nearly 19,000 had acute kidney injury, the investigators found. The study showed that having diabetes or being older, male or black was tied to an increased risk of acute kidney injury. But the strongest risk factor was abnormal results on blood and urine tests of kidney function. And this was true even if the tests were only mildly abnormal, the study found. Preventing an acute kidney injury from developing is crucial, the experts said.

Source: hospital-signal-increased-for-acute-kidney-injury-699344.html?lexp=true&utm_expid=38353063-4.pIV1hUrQR8K_MJ1_OqjLag.1

Forty Percent of Hospitals Fail on Nursing Workforce Safe Practices

Just weeks after it issued a report that indicated hospitals have made little to no progress on patient safety outcomes, the Leapfrog Group released another report that found many hospitals also fail to adequately support their nurses. In its latest report, Leapfrog found that 40 percent of participants in its annual hospital survey failed to meet the group's national nursing workforce standard, which is composed of 21 nursing workforce safe practices that Leapfrog developed based on National Quality Forum standards. Some of the required practices include: policies that ensure adequate nurse staffing, inclusion of nurse leaders in the hospital's senior management structure, and adequate funding for nursing services, including support in maintaining professional skills, according to the report.

Source: utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal

Maple Syrup Helps Antibiotics Defeat Bacteria

Inappropriate and overuse of antibiotics has led to the emergence of drug-resistant strains and superbugs - a major public health problem that is in urgent need of solutions. Now, a team of researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, suggests one solution may lie in the sap of trees that are abundant in North America. Writing in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Nathalie Tufenkji, a chemical engineering professor, and colleagues describe how they found concentrated maple syrup extract makes disease-causing bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics. The researchers made their discoveries from working with lab-based colonies of bacteria. But they hope the maple syrup extract will have the same effect on bacterial infections in human patients.


U.S. FDA Considers Expanding Tests for Drug Residues in Milk

U.S. health regulators are reviewing current standards for assessing drug residues in milk sold to consumers, a move that could expand testing for veterinary drugs at a time of growing consumer concern over food safety, health officials say. The Food and Drug Administration is seeking by July 29 public feedback on a new tool to improve testing for drug residues in U.S.-produced milk and dairy products, a program that the agency has not updated since 1992 when it was first implemented. FDA currently requires tests for at least four of six beta-lactam drugs - the most common group of antibiotics used on dairy farms - including penicillin, ampicillin and amoxicillin. But the agency has over the last two decades approved other veterinary drugs for dairy producers that are not included in routine residue-testing.

Source: idUSKBN0O31SW20150518

Feds Say Quick Response Helped Prevent Deaths in Compounding Pharmacy Aftermath

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has come out praising state and local public health officials, saying that their notification surrounding tainted batches of steroids produced by New England Compounding Center helped save lives. In the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, the federal agency said the federal, state and local notification process of 13,500 patients was prompt, and said that work prevented additional exposures to the tainted drugs and deaths.


Health IT

HIPAA Breach Survival Guide

The financial, legal, regulatory and reputational implications of a HIPAA data breach pose one of the most significant threats to a medical practice or healthcare provider. Whether the breach was intentional theft of information, or accidental (such as an instance where a laptop or portable device with patient information is lost), an understanding of the legal steps a healthcare organization must take — as well as planning for what the entity should so when communicating with all affected parties — is the best preparation. There have been more than 1,000 reported HIPAA breaches since the federal notification rules were established six years ago — representing the personal data of some 22.5 million Americans. It is up to healthcare entities to protect their data and monitor for suspected breaches of Personal Health Information (PHI), which should include regular training and updating of patient privacy protocols. When a breach is confirmed, the Office for Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for investigating complaints, conducting audits and ensuring compliance with all breach reporting regulations.

  • Determine size and scope
  • Plan crisis communications
  • Gauge costs and consequences

Source: %2F0ER3fOvrPUfGjI4HSMtrI%2BSLDwEYGJlv6SgFQ7LHMbpszbgPUhM%3D

Next-generation Health IT Requires Primary Care Input

Practicing clinicians and patients have the clearest understanding of what they need from health IT and should be shaping the national HIT research agenda, according to an article published in the latest edition of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. Researchers and clinicians need to team up to fully describe the workflow, information needs and communication processes required for health IT to effectively support clinicians' needs, the authors write. This partnership should extend to the practice-level tasks of using data to optimize the care of whole panels of patients in order to redesign care to support population needs.

Source: utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal

Are Wearables Violating HIPAA?

With the development of wearable technologies such as the Nike Fuel Band, Fitbit, and Apple Watch, consumers suddenly have more options to monitor their fitness performance than ever before. These devices are also making inroads into medicine as physicians begin to experiment with using Google Glass to connect ER doctors to specialists in order to reduce patients’ wait times. Whether it’s for the weight room or the emergency room, manufacturers and software developers are collaborating to draw health further into the digital realm. And the way these devices capture data poses serious privacy and security issues to individually-identifiable health information that must be addressed.


U.S. Government Gets Low Cybersecurity Marks from Own Federal Employees, (ISC) 2 Survey Says

Despite making major cybersecurity investments through policies, guidance and tools, the U.S. government hasn't improved its security posture over the last two years, according to a May 14 survey of more than 1,800 federal information security professionals. According to the International Information System Security Certification Consortium's bi-annual survey, nearly half the respondents said the government is seeing little to no return on such security investments, while 17 percent said their organization's security posture is even worse – which is 5 percent higher than what respondents said in a 2013 survey.

Source: utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal

Other News

CMS Schedules July 16 Meeting on Medicare Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule Payments

CMS has just announced that it is holding a public meeting on July 16, 2015 to discuss Medicare clinical laboratory fee schedule (CLFS) payment for new or substantially revised HCPCS codes for calendar year 2016. At the meeting, the public also will have an opportunity to comment on certain reconsideration requests regarding test code payment determinations made last year. Presenters must register and submit presentations to CMS by July 2, 2015.

Source: medicar-21957/

CMS Accepting More Requests for ICD-10 End-to-End Testing

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has extended the deadline for applying to conduct end-to-end testing with Medicare in July. Application forms are now being accepted May 11 through May 22. During the week of July 20 through 24, 2015, a final sample group of providers will have the opportunity to participate in ICD-10 end-to-end testing with Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) and the Common Electronic Data Interchange (CEDI) contractor (for durable medical equipment suppliers). CMS is accepting additional July volunteers from May 11 through 22, 2015. Approximately 850 volunteer submitters will be selected to participate in the July end-to-end testing.


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