HMT: Powerful healthcare people, mobile device cleaning, malware attack and more
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January 6, 2014
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In this issue:

50 of the most powerful people in healthcare

U.S. weighs tech fixes after health-site woes

Cleaning the mobile germ warehouse

Malware attack hits thousands of Yahoo users per hour

50 of the most powerful people in healthcare

The U.S. healthcare system is heading into one of its most monumental years in decades, as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will go into near-full motion.

Many sectors in the healthcare industry have played major roles in shaping the system we have today: hospitals, health systems, physicians, nurses, health insurance companies, scientists, researchers, politicians, advocacy groups, lobbyists, journalists, Wall Streeters and more.

As we head into 2014, here are 50 of the most powerful people who have shaped policy, thoughts, operations and management in healthcare.

Joel Allison. Mr. Allison serves as CEO of Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas. This past year, he oversaw the merger of Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare, creating Baylor Scott & White. The new organization, which is the largest nonprofit health system in Texas, includes 43 hospitals, more than 6,000 physicians, 34,000 employees, the Scott & White Health Plan and about $8.3 billion in combined assets. Mr. Allison has been with Baylor since 1993, when he was the system's senior executive vice president and COO, before becoming Baylor's president and CEO in 2000. He also has a national presence, serving on the Healthcare Leadership Council and The Joint Commission board of commissioners.

Mark Bertolini. As chairman, president and CEO of Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna, Mr. Bertolini oversees a health insurer with more than $35.5 billion in revenue, according to 2012 figures. Earlier this year, Aetna closed on its deal to acquire Coventry Health Care, a prominent health insurer for Medicare Advantage and Medicaid managed care plans. The transaction was valued at $7.3 billion, including $5.7 billion in cash and stock. Mr. Bertolini has been with Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna since 2003, joining as head of the company's specialty products. Prior to joining Aetna, he held executive positions at Cigna, NYLCare Health Plans and SelectCare.

Leah Binder. Since 2008, Ms. Binder has served as CEO of The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization that focuses on the safety, quality and affordability of healthcare. Leapfrog is most known for its annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey, which compares the safety, quality and efficiency of all hospitals across the country. Under Ms. Binder's leadership, Leapfrog launched the Hospital Safety Score, a system that assigns a letter grade to every hospital based on how safe that institution is for patients. Before Leapfrog, she spent eight years as vice president of Franklin Community Health Network in Farmington, Maine. She also was a senior policy adviser for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Deborah Bowen. Ms. Bowen is president and CEO of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the preeminent professional society for hospital and health system leaders. Currently, ACHE is home to more than 40,000 healthcare executives, offering credentials and board certification in healthcare management. Ms. Bowen joined ACHE's staff in 1992 as director of government relations and was promoted to vice president of the administration division. She temporarily left ACHE in 2000, becoming deputy executive director of the Society of Actuaries. She then served as ACHE's executive vice president and COO before taking over as CEO in May 2013, taking over for Tom Dolan.

Read the full Becker’s Hospital Review article here

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U.S. weighs tech fixes after health-site woes

The Obama administration, stung by the failures of the rollout, is considering loosening hiring rules for technology specialists and creating a new federal unit dedicated to big tech projects, officials said.

The steps, some of which President Barack Obama could announce this quarter, are designed to address the lack of concentrated talent in civilian federal agencies to manage large technology projects—a shortcoming exposed by October's disastrous launch of the federal health-insurance site.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services initially served as its own general contractor on the project, but its lack of technical expertise quickly became apparent. Only after the site's launch did the White House bring in experts from Silicon Valley as well as a new general contractor.

"We don't have enough people inside of government to make good sound technology decisions," said Clay Johnson, a former White House innovation fellow, a program designed to draw top technologists into the government for temporary assignments.

Mr. Obama has said the experience shows the need for the government to improve the return on the nearly $77 billion it spends annually on information technology. Until now, details of what his administration might propose haven't been clear.

Read the full Wall Street Journal article here

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Cleaning the mobile germ warehouse

Take a look at your mobile device. Do you see oily fingerprints and lint on the touch screen? Dust and crumbs forming particulate frost in the corners? Is that a hair stuck at the screen’s edge?

Because our electronics are constantly within our grubby grasp, they can get pretty gross. They are taken into public restrooms, handed to runny-nosed toddlers, passed around to share photos and pressed against sweaty skin in gyms. Repeated studies show what accumulates is germy nastiness worse than what is on the bottom of your shoe.

“That devices can be a source of disease transmission is not a subject of debate anymore,” said Dr. Dubert Guerrero, an infectious disease specialist at Sanford Health in Fargo, N.D., and co-author of a study about the persistence of bacteria on iPads published in November in The American Journal of Infection Control.

So it is a good idea to keep your devices clean, not only to keep from getting sick but also to maintain resale value when it’s time to upgrade. Companies like Best Buy, Target, Gazelle, Amazon, Verizon and AT&T all offer trade-in or cash-back programs, said Derek Meister, a technician for the Geek Squad, Best Buy’s repair and online support service.

“People don’t want any marks or grime on their devices,” Mr. Meister said, because like trading in a used car at a dealership, “the better the condition, the more like new it is, the more money you get on your trade-in.”

Read the full New York Times article here

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Malware attack hits thousands of Yahoo users per hour

A malware attack hit Yahoo's advertising server over the last few days, affecting thousands of users in various countries, an Internet security firm said.

In a blog post, Fox-IT said Yahoo's servers were releasing an "exploit kit" that exploited vulnerabilities in Java and installed malware.

"Clients visiting received advertisements served by," the internet security firm said. "Some of the advertisements are malicious."

Fox-IT, which is based in the Netherlands, focuses on cyber defense.

It estimates tens of thousands of users were affected per hour.

"Given a typical infection rate of 9%, this would result in around 27,000 infections every hour," the company said. "Based on the same sample, the countries most affected by the exploit kit are Romania, Great Britain and France. At this time it's unclear why those countries are most affected, it is likely due to the configuration of the malicious advertisements on Yahoo."

If a computer infected with malware is connected to a network, attackers can often access other connected systems and servers.

Yahoo said it is aware of the attack, and is monitoring and blocking such advertisements.

Read the full CNN article here

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