Items tagged with healthcare

There is hope that one day in the perhaps not-too-distant future, organ donors will not be needed. Not because the human race is going extinct (thought that's certainly a possibility), mind you, but because scientists have achieved a medical breakthrough by producing the world's first 3D printed heart, using a patient's own cells. Image Source: Tel Aviv University via Advanced Science One of the reasons why this is such a big deal is because heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States. For patients who find themselves with end-stage heart failure, a transplant is the only option. Donors are obviously in short supply, compared to the number of people who... Read more...
Lest there be any doubt to Google's mindset as a company, Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently said that artificial intelligence is more important than electricity or fire.Google also recently rebranded its Google Research division 'Google AI' to better reflect its commitment to one of the biggest fields in technology at the moment. AI development has seemingly endless implications, and one that Google is particularly interested in applies to healthcare. Specifically, the company's Medical Brain team developed an algorithm that can assess health risks, including how likely a patient is to die. This is one of the biggest challenges in healthcare at the moment—traversing through mountains of... Read more...
Fitbit and Google have announced that they have teamed up to innovate and transform the future of digital health and wearables. Fitbit will use Google's new Cloud Healthcare API to further integrate into the healthcare system by connecting Fitbit user data with electronic medical records (EMR). Fitbit says that combining its data with the EMR can give the clinician a more comprehensive view of the patient and improve care. Both Google and Fitbit also hope to help users better manage chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension using Twine Health, a company that Fitbit recently acquired. Leveraging the Google Cloud Healthcare API will allow Twine to make it easier for the user and the doctor... Read more...
Amazon has been a massively disruptive force in the retail industry and has changed the way that people shop online. Prime members get free video streaming and free two-day shipping on many items making Amazon one of the top shopping destination online. It seems that soon Amazon could be expanding its offerings with pharmacy items, as it has now gained wholesale pharmacy licenses in what is seemingly preparation in multiple states for a push into the drug industry; something that was first mentioned earlier this month.Amazon has yet to confirm that it will be entering the prescription drug market, but public records show it has gained wholesale pharmacy licenses and there is no other clear reason... Read more...
Amazon has been an incredibly disruptive force as the world’s most dominant online retailer. Not only has Amazon crushed other online retailers that have attempted to compete with it, but brick and mortar retailers have also come under immense pressure (or folded completely) due to the company's ever-growing footprint. Most recently, Amazon expanded its presence in the grocery market with the purchase of Whole Foods, and now the company is reportedly eyeing another adjacent leap into online prescription drug sales. According to a report from CNBC, Amazon will make a decision before Thanksgiving as to whether it will establish its first beachhead in the highly lucrative prescription drug market.... Read more...
Would you trust your life to a hacker? No, of course not, and neither does the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA issued a recall of nearly half a million pacemakers after the organization discovered a vulnerability that makes several models susceptible to hacking. Once exploited, a hacker would be able to control the device's pacing and deplete the batteries. "Many medical devices - including St. Jude Medical's implantable cardiac pacemakers—contain configurable embedded computer systems that can be vulnerable to cybersecurity intrusions and exploits. As medical devices become increasingly interconnected via the Internet, hospital networks, other medical devices, and smartphones, there... Read more...
The verdict is still out on whether or not the population at large will embrace smartwatches when they can whip out their smartphones to check the time instead, though one thing that's been propping up sales in the wearables category is the recent hyper focus on health on fitness. It's an angle Apple's been leveraging with its Apple Watch devices, and now it's partnered with Aetna to push its products and services onto the healthcare carrier's employees and members. As part of Aetna's new Apple-focused initiative, it plans to hand out Apple Watches to all of its nearly 50,000 employees. There's no monetary cost to the employees, they just need to participate in Aetna's wellness reimbursement... Read more...
Researchers at Tel Aviv University have engineered a bionic heart patch that could dramatically change the field of cardiac research. It could also save many lives—a depressing statistic is that more than a quarter of the people on the national U.S. waiting list for a heart transplant will die before they get a chance to receive one. That's a scary thought, considering how prominent heart disease is, and though many people die waiting for a transplant, heart transplants (and we would assume by extension heart transplant requests) are on the rise. The good news is the "cyborg heart patch" that researchers have come up with has unique capabilities that could extend a person's life.Source: Tel Aviv... Read more...
We've all misplaced things—keys, smartphone, USB flash drive—but have you ever lost half a dozen hard drives? Healthcare provider Centene Corporation did and it's currently conducting an "ongoing comprehensive internal search" for the missing HDDs, the company announced this week. Centene discovered it was six hard drives short when auditing the inventory of its information technology assets in preparation for a data project. No small thing, the HDDs contain sensitive information of around 950,000 patients, including names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, member ID numbers, and health information. "Centene takes the privacy and security of our members' information seriously,"... Read more...
In yet another security breach affecting the healthcare industry, personal information belonging to more than 10 million individuals may have been compromised by hackers, according to Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. The healthcare provider said it learned of the "sophisticated attack" on August 5, 2015. The insurer's own investigation revealed that the initial attack occurred on December 23, 2013. Excellus also notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and is working closely with Mandiant, an American cybersecurity firm owned by FireEye. Mandiant provides incident response and security assessment service to help organizations detect, prevent ,and respond to these kinds of cyberattacks.... Read more...
CareFirst, a Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurer, announced on Wednesday that it was the target of a "sophisticated cyberattack," making it the third major healthcare player this year to suffer a security breach. In this instance, CareFirst estimates that around 1.1 million current and former members and individuals who do business with CareFirst online who registered before June 20, 2014, are affected. The health insurer enlisted the help of Mandiant, a leading cybersecurity firm, to audit its systems for any suspicious activity following the recent hacker attacks affecting other health insurers. Unfortunately for CareFirst, Mandiant's end-to-end examination of its IT environment found evidence... Read more...
It's bad enough when you're in possession of a database containing 80 million customer records and it gets hacked. But what's even worse than that is when you fail to encrypt all that data. Such is the unfortunate situation facing Anthem, the second largest healthcare provider in the U.S., and its tens of millions of customers who are potentially affected by a recent security breach. Had Anthem encrypted its records, the stolen data might not be all that valuable to hackers, or at least more difficult to access. But the reason Anthem consciously chose not to encrypt all that data is so that it would be easier for employees to track healthcare trends and share information with states and health... Read more...
Last year was a busy one for hackers, and it doesn't look like 2015 will be much different. The latest to get hit is Anthem Inc., the second-largest health insurer in the United States. While investigators are still determining the extent of the breach, it's said that hackers broke into a database containing personal information for around 80 million of the company's customers and staff members. Anthem believes that "tens of millions" of records were stolen from its database, making this one of the largest data breaches ever disclosed by a healthcare firm. Personal information that was compromised included names, birthdays, addresses, and Social Security numbers, according to The... Read more...
A pair of healthcare organizations have agreed to pay a combined $4.8 million to settle charges that they potentially violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (otherwise known as HIPPA). The charges were the consequence of a data breach in which protected health information of thousands of patients was compromised. An investigation into the breach took place after New York and Presbyterian Hospital (NYP) and Columbia University (CU) submitted a joint breach report dated September 27, 2010. The report said that 6,800 individuals had their electronic protected health information (ePHI) compromised, including patient status, vital signs, medications, and laboratory... Read more...
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