December 11-13, 2020

MedTech Impact 2020

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Las Vegas, NV

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Category: News

Medtech Insider: Google Patient Data Project Under Federal Investigation

Medtech Insider: Google Patient Data Project Under Federal Investigation


Google Patient Data Project Under Federal Investigation

Shortly after the Wall Street Journal published an article detailing Google’s acquirement and storage of identifiable medical data U.S. regulators announced plans to investigate the company. The initial Wall Street Journal report uncovered a partnership with the healthcare system, Ascension, that gave Google access to tens of millions of patients’ names, health histories, date of birth, lab results, diagnoses and hospitalization records without the consent of doctors or patients. Project Nightingale, as the secret transfer partnership is called, was being used to design new AI-powered software. The Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services has announced plans to immediately begin investigations on the violation of HIPPA law.


Machine Learning Helps Predict Risk of HF in Diabetes Patients

Research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and UT Southwestern Medical center has produced a new machine learning algorithm that predicts the risk of heart failure hospitalizations for type 2 diabetes patients. Utilizing data from nearly 9,000 patients in the ACCORD Trial, the researchers developed a model that can identify patterns within 147 different demographic, clinical, and biological predictors. In a statement, Ambarish Pandey, MD, MSCS, a preventive cardiologist at UT Southwestern and the senior author of this study shared: “This risk tool is an important step in the right direction to promote prevention of heart failure in patients with type 2 diabetes. It can be readily used as part of clinical care of patients with type 2 diabetes and integrated with the electronic medical records to inform physicians about the risk of heart failure in their patients and guide use of effective preventive strategies.”


Sheba Medical Center Moves to Become First Fully VR-based Hospital

Israel-based Sheba Medical Center has announced plans to incorporate virtual reality throughout all of its hospital departments.The hospital has partnered with XRHealth technology–a technology company specializing in extended reality and therapeutic application. Eyal Zimlichman, M.D., Sheba’s chief medical and chief innovation officer explained the hospital decision in a released statement: “We’ve identified medical virtualization as one of the technologies that will transform healthcare. Within this realm, we aim to be a leader in developing new health services based on VR.” In recent years the VR healthcare industry has experienced a considerable surge, with current estimates illustrating a potential for the global VR healthcare market to reach $3.8 billion by 2020.


Study Demonstrates Value of mHealth in Medication Adherence

A new study completed by researchers from John Hopkins University School of Medicine demonstrates the capability of digital therapeutics to dramatically increase long-term medication adherence. In an analysis of 288 patients being treated at 18 clinicas within the U.S., researchers utilized a digital therapeutic program designed to help patients with Hepatitis C. The platform included an ingestible sensor and wearable patch, and showed a 99% sustained virologic response rate after 10 weeks. The overall median was 95% compared to other medication adherence programs which typically result in less than 60%. The platform monitors physiologic signs and relays information to providers. Bradley Crotty MD, MPH, an internist utilizing the platform at the Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) health network and an assistant professor of Medicine at MCW shared that program allows provider to “better partner with patients by understanding how they’re doing between appointments and increasingly help personalize and optimize their regimen more quickly.”



Medtech Insider: $4 Billion in Healthcare Data Breaches for 2019


$4 Billion in Healthcare Data Breaches for 2019

Findings reported by Healthcare Finance provide a broad and detailed understanding of the financial toll data breaches have caused healthcare organizations. Since Q3 of 2016, more than 93% of healthcare organizations have experienced a data breach, with 57% experiencing more than 5 data breaches within that time frame. According to 90% of hospital representatives, IT security budget have remained level since 2016. Further, the organization reported that while cybersecurity spending has increased to about 6% of the total annual IT spend, physician organizations have reported a decrease in expenses allocated for cybersecurity, with less than 1% of their total budgets. Overall, data breaches are expected to cost the healthcare industry $4 billion by the years end, with costs projected to rise in 2020.


Clinical Trial Uses In-Brain Chip to Fight Opioid Addiction

Researchers from the West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) and West Virginia University Medicine (WVU) have begun a new clinical trial that uses brain-embedded technology to potentially curb opioid addiction in cases that have resisted other methods of treatment. A team of neurosurgeons from the universities implanted a “deep brain simulation” (DBS) devices into the brain of a 33 year old man.The device has a minitature electrodes attached to specific parts of the brain associated with addiction and self control behaviors. Alongside the potential for curbing addiction impulses, the device will provide researchers with data regarding real-time cravings within addiction patients.


Apple Completes VA Health Records Rolloout

On Wednesday, Apple and the VA announced the completion of the Apple Health Records rollout to U.S. veterans. Within the Health Records feature, veterans will have access to an aggregated record of allergies, immunizations, lab results, procedures, and other health information. In a released statement, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie shared: “We have delivered veterans an innovative new way to easily and securely access their health information. Veterans deserve access to their health data at any time and in one place, and with Health Records on the Health app, VA has pushed the Veterans experience forward.” The tech rollout includes 1,243 facilities across all 50 states, Cuba, Guam, Philippines, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands.


New “Intelligent” Metamaterial Could Transform MRIs

Researchers from Boston University have developed a new, affordable “intelligent” metamaterial that has the potential to change the MRI process into one “faster, safer, and more accessible.” When placed beside the body that is the target of a scan, the metamaterial selectively boosts the low energy emissions by the patient’s body, increasing SNR “by 10-fold” and improving MRI imaging at a low cost. One of the researchers noted: “Shortening MRI examinations is paramount to maximizing the capacity. Not to mention revenue, as well as the overall patient experience of this powerful imaging technology.” With the support of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, the researchers estimate the metamaterial should cost less than $100 to construct.



Medtech Insider: $4 Billion in Healthcare Data Breaches for 2019

Medtech Insider: Cerner Partners with Amazon on New Cognitive Health Platform


Cerner Partners with Amazon on New Cognitive Health Platform

Health software company, Cerner is partnering with Amazon Web Services to develop a new cloud-based health platform. The platform will utilize artificial intelligence to provide predictive insights for health care decision makers. According to a Cerner press release, the platform, named Project Apollo,will serve to bring a more cognitive approach to practicing medicine. During a company conference, the company’s Chairman and CEO Brent Shafer predicted that “Health care will change more in the next five years than it has in the past 30,” and further shared: “Cerner’s technology, and collaborative programs, along with the most respected providers, will lead a wave of disruptive innovation focused on making health care better.”


UnitedHealthcare Launches New On-Demand Telemedicine App

Major healthcare organization UnitedHealthcare has developed a new app that allows members to access virtual visits on-demand. The app will be available to over 27 million employer plan members 24/7 and will additionally allow users to track benefits and compare pricing. In a statement to Fierce Healthcare, Pat Keran–Vice President of Product Innovation for the company–shared the ultimate goal is to develop a “one-stop-shop” dashboard for patients that integrates wellness programs, claims data, and remote patient monitoring. “From a technical standpoint, we’re really modified and molded the back end to really help us modify and improve the application. […] We could really make this more of a comprehensive dashboard for members who want to engage with their healthcare all in one spot,” Keran shared.


Livongo Health Gains Federal Employee Contract

Livongo Health, a quickly growing digital health care company focused on diabetes care management, recently signed a contract to provide those covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program with connected health services. The company will provide digital health services for Blue Cross Blue Shield-based members diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In a press release, Livongo CEO Zane Burke shared: “This is Livongo’s largest agreement to provide diabetes services in our history and is another great example of the market’s excitement about our Applied Health Signals platform .” The company is is expected to serve around 25,000 included members in 2020 and 45,000 in 2021.


Omada Health Adds to $73 Million Funding Round

Emerging health tech start up Omada Health has added on to a $73 million funding round with a new “strategic investment” from Intermountain Ventures for an undisclosed amount. The digital chronic disease management company has products which help manage hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, and mental health conditions, among other medical needs. In a statement to MobiHealthNews, CEO Sean Duffy shared: “We’ll leverage this investment to accelerate the expansion of the company’s integrated digital care program, as well as deepen our collaborations with Intermountain, aiming to bring patients the very best in digital care.” The additional funding round leaves Omada total funding for the year above $200 million.




Medtech Insider: Cerner Partners with Amazon on New Cognitive Health Platform

MedTech Insider: Microsoft Issues Urgent Windows Patch To Address Security Issues


Microsoft Issues Urgent Windows Patch To Address Security Issues

Microsoft is calling on Windows users to install and “emergency” out of band security patch to address critical vulnerabilities in its softwareThe advisory warns of major security flaws in some versions of Internet Explorer which could allow an attacker to remotely take over an affected system. As the most vulnerable industry, health care organizations are being urged to act quickly in response to these developments. Numerous cybersecurity experts are calling on Healthcare CIOs and security officials to address any “out-of-band patch.” Clyde Hewitt, executive advisor of cybersecurity firm CynergisTek shared: “In this instance, it means an active exploitation has been found that impacts up to 7% of all browsers including versions of Internet Explorer 9, 10, and 11.” The U.S. Homeland Security has issued an advisory warning urging all affected users to install the patches as soon as possible to avoid ransomware attack.


Hava Health Prepares Vaporizer For Smoking Cessation

Tech startup Hava Health is developing an e-product to help users stop smoking. Following the surge in vaping lung cases in recent weeks, Hava Health is positioning itself as an alternative to help users quit nicotine addiction and ultimately vaping use. The startup has already raised a small seed round from prominent venture capital investor including Global Founders Capital, Make in LA, Backstage Capital, Quake Capital, Next Fab, and Ben Franklin Technology Partners.  Unlike other vaping products, the company explain that the tech is designed to not merely serve as an alternative to traditional cigarette, but as a means to quit smoking completely. Co-founder Josh Israel explains: “We started this because [co-found Devin Serago’s] grandmother died from lung cancer and his little brother expressed frustration that he couldn’t quit using the vaporizers and was smoking more than he would have if he had used a regular cigarette.” The company is in the process of applying for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be classified as a smoking cessation treatment. 


FDA Releases Revised Guidance On Digital Health Software

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released two guidance documents regarding the regulation of various kinds of digital health software. The first outlines categories of clinical decision support (CDS) products that would or would not require direct regulatory oversight from the agency. Notably, this guidance added a risk-based categorization approach for determining the enforcement over these tools. The second describes kinds of software products that will no longer fall within the agency’s definition of a medical device including software for health care facility administration, electronic paper records, and apps designed to encourage health and wellness-which the agency noted “pose a low risk to patients, but can provide great value to consumers and the healthcare system,” and thus “generally fall outside the scope of the FDA’s regulation.”


Amazon Launches Pilot Virtual Medical Service 

Amazon has announced the launch of a new virtual health clinic with in-home visits and follow ups. Currently, the virtual health service benefit is available to employees and their families within the Seattle region. Named Amazon Care, the pilot includes a combination of telemedicine and in-person services. Amongst numerous capabilities and options, employees will be able to text a nurse on any health topic, arrange for a nurse visit at home, and select prescription delivery from a care courier. Amazon officials have shared that the service will  be able to address “urgent issues like colds, allergies, infections, minor injuries, preventative health consults, vaccines, lab work, sexual health services like contraception and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and general health questions.” 



MedTech Insider: Microsoft Issues Urgent Windows Patch To Address Security Issues
MedTech Insider: FDA Clears First AI X-Ray System

MedTech Insider: FDA Clears First AI X-Ray System


FDA Clears First AI X-Ray System

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has provided clearance to a new artificial intelligence-powered X-ray device developed by GE Healthcare in partnership with UC San Francisco. Named Critical Care Suite, the technology uses AI algorithms to scan X-ray images and detect pnuemothorax, or collapsed lung–a condition that affects about 74,000 within the United States each year. The suite provides for automated AI  quality check features which monitors acquisition errors and alerts technologists to make necessary corrections. “The health-care industry is producing huge amounts of data from images to digital health records,” GE Healthcare CEO Kieran Murphy said in an interview with CNBC, “We strongly believe that you have to turn that data into information and insight to improve outcomes.”


Microsoft, Google, & Amazon Compete To Store Health Data

Tech giants, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are engaged in a fast and growing competition to provide hospitals and health organizations with cloud software to store health data. In July, Providence St. Joseph Health announced a data storage agreement with Microsoft. Shortly after EHR company Cerner Corp, revealed a cloud storage agreement with Amazon Web Services–the companies cloud computing unit. Earlier this week Google announced a 10 year partnership with Mayo Clinic to store the hospitals medical, genetic and financial data. The announcements mark the accelerated move towards cloud storage within major healthcare systems, while highlighting the heightened need for deftly advanced data security.


Smartphone Urinalysis Startup Closes $60 Million Funding Round, a smartphone urinalysis startup has completed a $60 million Series C funding round  led by Corner Ventures, Ansonia Holdings, Aleph and Samsung NEXT. Alongside the successful funding round, the company announced a second FDA 510 (k) clearance to support the diagnosis of chronic kidney diseases. The company’s primary product, is a smartphone enabled testing kit with a disposable strip, testing cups, and colored panel. The diagnostic technology generates readings and directly provides users with their results. The new clearance covers an albumin-to-creatinine (ACR) test kit that can detect kidney impairment. Now, the diagnostic tool can be used at any pharmacy, urgent care center, or health clinic within the U.S. In a released statement, Yonatan Adiri, founder and CEO of shared: “The smartphone has the potential to be the great equalizer of healthcare. To unlock this potential, companies must adhere to the highest clinical standards. Our second FDA clearance and additional funding allows us to expand access to critical tests and care beyond our first 100,000 patients in Europe and Israel, making it a reality for millions of Americans suffering from diabetes and hypertension, who are at risk for chronic kidney disease.”


New Privacy Guidelines for Consumer Health Data

The Consumer Technology Association have developed a new set of guidelines for dealing with consumer health data. With members includings organizations such as Doctor on Demand and IMB among others, the association released the “Guiding Principles for the Privacy of Personal Health and Wellness Information”  to assist medical technology companies navigate the unique and complex obstacles in handling sensitive patient health data. While the guide provides useful advice on building and maintaining consumer confidence, security guidelines, and existing legal frameworks, the guideline also notes that, as by nature the industry is continually evolving, medical companies would do well to continually remained informed on the latest updates and trends: “Consumer preferences and their comfort with technology will evolve, and a company’s approach to communication should evolve, too. […] Stay informed about changes to and interpretation of privacy laws that apply to you. You can sign up for alerts and mailings from your applicable regulators, outside counsel, and industry groups.”




MedTech Insider: Mayo Clinic and Cerner Partner


ONC Awards The Sequoia Project with  Responsibilities for TEFCA

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has awarded the Sequoia Project with a cooperative agreement to serve as the recognized coordinating entity (RCE) for the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA). The Sequoia Project–a non-profit that advocate for nationwide health information exchange–will now be responsible for developing, implementing, and maintaining the common agreement portion of TEFCA which will create the baseline for technical and legal requirements for health information networks to share electronic health information. In a released statement, Mariann Yeager, CEO of the Sequoia Project explained: “We have learned through our own operations that seamless nationwide sharing of health information is most readily enabled through trust agreements, consistent policy and technical requirements, and appropriate, balanced governance to provide assurance of trust and interoperability. We look forward to working alongside ONC as the Recognized Coordinating Entity.”



Goshen Health Implements Secure Text Messaging Between Patients and Providers

Clinicians at Goshen Health in Indiana have begun utilizing a secure messaging platform to connect patients and providers in real time through one-to-one and group chat text messages. Initially in search of a platform through which nurses and physicians could communicate, Goshen Health completed an extensive vetting process before selecting DrFirst Backline Communication. The application supports document attachments, photos, audio files, and video. In an interview with Healthcare IT News, Dr. David C. Koronkiewicz, of Goshen’s Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine shared: “Improving communication using secure messaging has been shown to improve efficiency and both physician and nursing satisfaction. Ultimately, our patients will benefit with more timely and effective communication.” Dr. David C. Koronkiewicz, Goshen Health Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. In a report completed following the implementation of the platform, patients around the perioperative period resulted in 83% of users being very or extremely satisfied with the ability to communicate directly with their surgeons.



Center for Medical Interoperability Releases New Verification Program

The Center for Medical Interoperability has released a new C4MI Verified program, designed with recommendations made the National Academy of Medicine and to be conducted “through partnerships with medical device vendors and its member health care organizations. The program will be combined with supporting specifications to improve and expedite the development of interoperable medical technology. In a public statement, Dean Harrison, chairman of the Centers Board, shared: “The program will enable healthcare organizations to have confidence that the solutions they purchase will be interoperable.Both buyers and suppliers of healthcare technology stand to benefit when the marketplace shifts to support products and solutions that better serve the needs of patients and providers.”.



Mayo Clinic, Cerner, and Oxford Partner In New London Clinic

Mayo Clinic, Oxford, and medical technology company Cerner have partnered together to open a new 27,000-square-foot clinic in London. Built in collaboration with Oxford University Clinic and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the clinic will be the first in Britain to provide pharmacogenomic testing that predicts how certain medications will be metabolized by a patient’s body. The clinic will utilize Cerner Millennium as its foundational electronic health record platform,  in order to provide coordinated care and aid providers in delivering proactive health management. Ben Hume, the health clinic’s manager expressed his thoughts in a public statement:”At Mayo Clinic Healthcare in partnership with Oxford University Clinic we are dedicated to providing the highest quality service to clients looking to take a proactive approach to their health. The management and security of all medical records was therefore a crucial consideration when we chose to adopt the Cerner Millennium technology.”



MedTech Insider: Mayo Clinic and Cerner Partner
MedTech Insider: MIT Develops Robotic Thread Designed To Travel Through Brain’s Blood Vessels

MedTech Insider: MIT Develops Robotic Thread Designed To Travel Through Brain’s Blood Vessels


MIT Develops Robotic Thread Designed To Travel Through Brain’s Blood Vessels

Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a “magnetically steerable” robotic thread  that can “actively glide through narrow, winding pathways such as the labrynthine vasculature of the brain.” The engineers believe that the robotic thread will soon be capable of pairing with existing endovascular technologies, allowing clinicians to remotely guide the thread through patients’ brain vessels to treat blockages and lesions that can cause aneurysms and strokes. In a statement on the research completed on the thread-like technology, Kyujin Cho, professor of mechanical engineering at Seoul National University shared: “One of the challenges in surgery has been to be able to navigate through complicated blood vessels in the brain, which has a very small diameter, where commercial catheters can’t reach. This research has shown potential to overcome this challenge and enable surgical procedures in the brain without open surgery.”



Advent Health Launches AI- Powered Clinical Command Center

Clinical health system, Advent Health has opened 12,000 square-foot AI clinical command center to ensure efficient patient care across it’s nine hospitals. Built in partnership with GE Healthcare, the center will utilize artificial intelligence to inform and guide decisions across a number of departments and areas including  patient transfers between units and facilities, dispatch of ambulances and helicopters, and prioritizations of placement across the hospital’s multiple locations. Considered to be the largest hospital mission center of its kind, the center will operate 24 hours a day and will feature 60 monitors displaying real-time data including patient-status, ambulance status, and more.



Figures Reveals Healthcare Sector Most Vulnerable to Data Breaches

A recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request from data security solutions firm Egress reveals that organizations within the healthcare industry are the most likely to fall victim to a personal data breach, with 18% of all breaches coming from the healthcare sector. The data further demonstrated that more than 60% of personal data breaches reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office this year were caused by human error. In a statement, CEO of Egress, Tony Pepper explained: “The healthcare sector persistently tops the list when analysing the sectors affected by data breaches. This is very concerning, especially given the nature of the data. Why this particular industry continues to suffer from internal breaches is worrying and the sector must quickly take action to identify how it can work towards mitigating the insider threat.”



Apple Health Records Joins Several Allscripts Platforms

Apple Health Records has integrated with a number of Allscripts EHR platforms, enabling iPhone users to assemble their personal health information across numerous difference organizations. Providers and patients documenting patient data with Allscripts’ Sunrise, TouchWorks EHR, and Professional EHR products will be given access to Apple’s platform. Patient’s will be able to view and share medication history, test results, procedures, immunizations, and various other medical data. In a released statement, Allscripts CEO Paul M. Black shared: “With Health Records on iPhone, patients can become more active members of their own care team. Health Records on iPhone empowers individuals to direct how their own health data is stored and used. We are proud to offer this and other FHIR-connected applications for our clients and their patients.”



MedTech Insider: HHS Awards $107 Million to Health Centers


National U.K. Health Data Watchdog Sets Line on App Development

National Data Guardian (NDG), the United Kingdom’s health data watchdog has released a correspondence  between her office and the Information Commissioner regarding data sharing by Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. The correspondence informed the ICO’s 2017 findings that data-sharing agreement between and NHS Trust and the Google-owned DeepMind broke the law.

The arrangement allows for the sharing of 1.6 million medical records between the two entitites without patient consent. In a release statement, National Data Guardian, Dame Fiona Caldicott shared, “I do champion innovative technologies and new treatments that are powered by data. The mainstreaming of emerging fields such as genomics and artificial intelligence offer much promise and will change the face of medicine for patients and health professionals immeasurably… But my belief in innovation is coupled with an equally strong belief that these advancements must be introduced in a way that respects people’s confidentiality and delivers no surprises about how their data is used. In other words, the public’s reasonable expectations must be met.”



Hospital Study Supports Machine-Learning Based Medical Decisions

Recent research published in the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) examines the clinical impact of health IT vendor MedAware’s machine learning based patient safety platform. Designed to minimize medication-related risks, the MedAware technology was integrated into the center’s existing EHR system. The technology monitored all medical prescriptions issued over 16 months, with staff assessing alerts for accuracy, usefulness,  and clinical validity, recording physicians responses to all alerts generated. The results were then analyzed in a single medical ward, from a hospital-wide implementation. In a statement, research lead, Dr. Gadi Segal, head of internal medicine at Sheba, shared, “Today’s widely used rule-based systems for prevention of medication risks, including prescription errors and adverse drug events, are unsuccessful and associated with a substantial false alert burden. These alerts are ignored in nearly 95% of cases. Our study demonstrates that MedAware’s patient safety platform, which leverages a probabilistic, machine-learning approach based on outlier detection can significantly minimize such risk.”



HHS Awards $107 Million to Health Centers

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced plans to award nearly $107 million to over 1,300 health centers across all 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia.The Quality Improvement award seeks to “ recognize the nation’s health centers – funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration – that have demonstrated excellence in areas such as behavioral health, diabetes prevention and management, and heart health.” The new funding comes after the HHS has announced plans to award nearly $400 million to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic crisis. Health Resources and Services Administration acting administrator Tom Engels shared in a statement: “Today we are recognizing nearly all Health Resources and Services Administration-funded health centers for their continued improvements on clinical quality measures and supporting them to continue as quality leaders nationwide in the years to come.”



New App Uses Gamification to Help Manage Asthma

A new app developed by health tech startup MySpira uses gamification and augmented reality functionality, release by Google (ARCore) and Apple (ARKit), to provide children with asthma tools to improve training and awareness of correct inhaler techniques. Developed by UK-based Orbital Media together with the University of Suffolk through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, the app was partly funded by Innovate UK and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. In response to a limited study completed by the startup, MySpira medical advisor, Dr. Simon Rudland commented: “The initial results of this research are extremely promising, improving both technique and compliance. Not only does this lead to better health long-term, but if adopted nationwide, could dramatically reduce the number of emergency cases, resulting in fewer hospitalisations. We are looking at integrating this app into our existing asthma support services in the future.”



MedTech Insider: HHS Awards $107 Million to Health Centers