Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that electromyometrial imaging, a new technique in computer tomography (CT) imaging, can help in further advancing knowledge on pre-term births. Yong Wang and colleagues successfully tested the new technique on sheep. Electromyometrial imaging was based on the technique called electrocardiographic imaging (ECGI). Biomedical engineering researcher Yoram Rudy developed the technique. It makes use of body-surface electrodes that collects the electrical signals of the heart. It then projects data to a 3D image created by CT scan of the heart. When used on the uterus, ECGI can be used to identify the so-called uterine pacemaker sites, where contraction usually begins.
Two Million Patients Affected by Healthcare Breaches in February
A more than 500% hike in data breaches in the healthcare sector was reported to the Health and Human Services Department’s Office for Civil Rights in February 2019. Hacking of healthcare data has been headlining healthcare technology news since 2018. University of Washington Medicine Seattle made up half of the reported data breaches during the month. The healthcare provider reported that a hacking/information technology (IT) incident affected 973,024 of their clients. This the most common reason among affected healthcare organizations. Theft of paper records, films or computers are other reasons for data breaches reported during the month. Healthcare providers Columbia Surgical Specialist of Spokane, Rush University Medical Center, and Pasquotank-Camden Emergency Medical Service were other organizations that suffered breaches.
Apple Watch: Effective in Detecting Heart Diseases
Stanford Medicine, in collaboration with Apple Inc., found that the latter’s Apple Watch smart watch can be instrumental in diagnosing people with irregular heart rhythm. The conclusion comes after Stanford Medicine conducted a study involving over 400,000 participants who owns and wears an Apple Watch. The study revealed the smart watch from Apple was able to detect irregular heart rhythm. The notification from the smart watch enabled its users to immediately seek medical attention. The Apple Watch 3 was used in the study. It includes the ability to detect irregularities in heart functions among many others. Apple is taking the smart watch into greater heights. Healthcare technology news outlets recently reported that it has since got an approval from the Food and Drug Administration to use the Apple Watch to conduct electrocardiograms (ECG).
CT Scan Shows Promise in Detecting Bone Density
A Hospital for Special Surgery study found that patients with low bone density scheduled for surgery can be easily detected with a CT scan of the lumbar spine. The study disclosed that almost of its about 300 participants were detected with osteoporosis or osteopenia for the first time. Participants over the age of 50 were found to more at risk for developing low bone density but it was found that only 17% of those under 50 years old suffered from osteopenia. HHS senior investigator Alexander Hughes said low bone density is a risk factor for many bone diseases. He emphasized the need for spinal surgeons to evaluate and treat this condition before resorting to spinal surgery. He further explained that diagnosis of low bone density significantly changes surgical planning and treatment.
Security Gaps Found in HHS
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG), together with an outsourced cybersecurity firm, found several vulnerabilities in eight operating divisions across the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Lapses were found in access control, configuration management, software planning, and data input controls. The review of security controls done by the OIG and the cybersecurity firm rated the HHS operating divisions as needing a more effective system to detect and prevent cyberattacks. OIG also shared the report with HHS information technology (IT) executives four recommendations on how to best individual vulnerabilities. HHS said they will be closing monitoring updates on the situation. The review comes after the HHS published a guideline on how healthcare organizations can protect themselves from cyberattacks.
Former IT Execs Exposed False Claims Made at the HHS
Two former Community Health Systems information technology (IT) executives revealed in a whistleblower lawsuit that the healthcare provider made millions of fraudulent claims to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The accusers revealed that the healthcare provider’s electronic health records (EHR) system suffers from major flaws. The computerized physician order entry and the clinical decision support software were among named as flaws in the lawsuit. It is these flaws that enables the filing of false claims with the HHS. Medhost, provider of Community Health’s EHR, denied allegations made by the whistleblowers in a statement released to healthcare technology news outlets. It explained that they have numerous clients using the software and non has experienced such problems. They added the accusation is more unlikely to happen as they have big businesses using and buying their systems. Medhost claimed that these organizations usually heavily test products and services before they are purchased and adopted.