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October 23, 2013 / Issue 45

In this issue:

Apple unveils iPad Air, iPad mini

Top 10 myths of security risk analysis

IBM and Swiss hospital test new tool for diagnosing cancer

Flu shots tied to heart benefits

Most popular last issue: Top 20 most expensive inpatient conditions

Hot Clips: Mobile Computing


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Mobile Tech

Apple unveils iPad Air, iPad mini

Apple announced a new line of iPads yesterday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco: the iPad Air and second-generation iPad mini.

Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the event saying, "You're going to see some amazing products this morning."

The iPad Air is 43 percent thinner than the previous generation at 7.5 mm thin and weighs 1 pound. Inside the iPad Air runs on Apple's A7 chip, has a 64-bit desktop architecture, includes the M7 chip that was introduced with the iPhone 5S.

Apple's new iPad will have a 5 megapixel camera, 1080p HD video and keep the 9.7-inch Retina display. The iPad Air will replace the full-sized iPad, but Apple will still make the iPad 2 available for $399. The iPad Air goes on sale Nov. 1, starting at $499 for a 16 GB model.

The iPad mini now comes with Retina display at 2,048 x 1,536 pixel resolution, an A7 chip and will be priced starting at $399 for a 16 GB model. Apple says it will be available in November.

Both iPads come in silver and space gray.

Read the CBS News article. >

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HIPAA

Top 10 myths of security risk analysis

As with any new program or regulation, there may be misinformation making the rounds. The following is a top 10 list distinguishing fact from fiction.

1. The security risk analysis is optional for small providers.
False. All providers who are “covered entities” under HIPAA are required to perform a risk analysis. In addition, all providers who want to receive EHR incentive payments must conduct a risk analysis.

2. Simply installing a certified EHR fulfills the security risk analysis MU requirement.
False. Even with a certified EHR, you must perform a full security risk analysis. Security requirements address all electronic protected health information you maintain, not just what is in your EHR.

3. My EHR vendor took care of everything I need to do about privacy and security.
False. Your EHR vendor may be able to provide information, assistance and training on the privacy and security aspects of the EHR product. However, EHR vendors are not responsible for making their products compliant with HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules. It is solely your responsibility to have a complete risk analysis conducted.

Read the rest of the debunked myths in the HealthIT.gov article. >

Return to the table of contents >


Research

IBM and Swiss hospital test new tool for diagnosing cancer

IBM scientists are collaborating with pathologists at the University Hospital Zurich to test a new prototype tool to accurately diagnose different types of cancer. This work is based on a technology developed by IBM scientists called a microfluidic probe, which slightly resembles the nib of a fountain pen.

A critical step in the diagnosis of cancer is the analysis of a patient's biopsy tissue sample, which sometimes can be as small as a pinhead. Even with such a small sample, pathologists can test for the absence or presence of tumor cells and provide important information pertaining to the course of treatment to doctors.

To analyze samples, pathologists typically stain the tissue sample with liquid re-agents. The intensity and distribution of the color stain classify and determine the extent of the disease. While this approach provides insights into the tumor, it is increasingly being realized that significant variations exist within the tumor itself; mapping these variations may help understand the drivers for each tumor, and consequently assist in personalizing treatment strategies.

Based on decades of experience in designing silicon computer chips, IBM scientists have developed an innovative technology called a microfluidic probe which can interact with tissue sections at the micrometer scale to help unravel some of the molecular variations within tumors.

The collaboration between IBM and the University Hospital Zurich puts a strong emphasis on uncovering the heterogeneity of tumors. More specifically, the collaboration focuses on lung cancer, which is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer and has a high mortality rate.

Read the IBM article. >

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Personal Health

Flu shots tied to heart benefits

Getting a flu vaccine is associated with a lower risk of death in people with heart disease, a review of studies has found, and the effect is greatest in those who have had a recent heart attack or chest pain.

The review included five randomized trials that involved more than 6,400 heart patients. In all, there were 246 heart attacks and other major cardiovascular events, and 97 deaths from heart disease.

For patients with stable heart disease, a vaccination decreased the relative risk for a cardiovascular event by 36 percent. For those who had had a heart attack within the last year, the effect was greater: a 55 percent reduction in relative risk. Over all, those who were vaccinated had a 19 percent reduced risk of death.

“People who don’t like vaccines probably don’t like dying from heart attacks either,” said the lead author, Dr. Jacob A. Udell, a cardiologist at the University of Toronto. “Maybe this is a good enough reason for the skeptics to go and get their flu shots.”

Read the NY Times article. >

Return to the table of contents >


Most popular last issue: Hospitals

Top 20 most expensive inpatient conditions

The total cost of hospital stays in 2011 totaled about $387 billion, but which inpatient conditions were most expensive?

According to an August statistical brief from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medicare and Medicaid picked up most of that inpatient hospital tab – 63 percent, or $242.9 billion. Commercial insurers covered 29 percent, or $112.5 billion, while the remaining $17.1 billion went toward uninsured hospitalizations. The other $14.5 billion was labeled as "other/missing," according to AHRQ.

Of all inpatient conditions covered by every payer, septicemia was the most expensive. Treating patients with septicemia cost $20.3 billion in 2011, representing 5.2 percent of total inpatient costs. The five most expensive conditions cost more than 18 percent of all hospitalizations, while the top 20 most expensive represented 47.1 percent of hospitalization costs.

Here are the top 20 most expensive inpatient conditions from 2011 across all payers, according to the AHRQ brief.

Read the Becker's Hospital Review article. >

Return to the table of contents >


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                    October 2013 HMT digital book

 


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