KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Viewpoints: Public Health Implications Of Information Security; Who’s Looking Out For Nursing Home Residents?

Opinion writers offer their thoughts on a range of health issues.

The New England Journal Of Medicine: Threats To Information Security — Public Health Implications
In health care, information security has classically been regarded as an administrative nuisance, a regulatory hurdle, or a simple privacy matter. But the recent “WannaCry” and “Petya” ransomware attacks have wreaked havoc by disabling organizations worldwide, including parts of England’s National Health Service (NHS) and the Heritage Valley Health System in Pennsylvania. These events are just two examples of a wave of cyberattacks forcing a new conversation about health care information security. With the delivery of health care increasingly dependent on information systems, disruptions to these systems result in disruptions in clinical care that can harm patients. Health care information security has emerged as a public health challenge. (William J. Gordon, Adam Fairhall and Adam Landman, 7/12)

The Des Moines Register: Feds Fail To Protect Nursing Home Residents
The nation's worst nursing homes have never received enough oversight, and the problem is getting worse. In 1998, federal regulators attempted to crack down on homes that had an established pattern of injuring and, in some cases, killing elderly residents, then briefly cleaning up their act, sometimes by adding temporary workers, to appease state inspectors and maintain their licenses. (7/13)

The New York Times: An Ancient Cure For Alzheimer’s?
In 2011, Ben Trumble emerged from the Bolivian jungle with a backpack containing hundreds of vials of saliva. He had spent six weeks following indigenous men as they tramped through the wilderness, shooting arrows at wild pigs. The men belonged to the Tsimane people, who live as our ancestors did thousands of years ago — hunting, foraging and farming small plots of land. Dr. Trumble had asked the men to spit into vials a few times a day so that he could map their testosterone levels. In return, he carried their kills and helped them field-dress their meat — a sort of roadie to the hunters. (Pagan Kennedy, 7/14)

RealClear Health: Digital Health Hope: Telemedicine And Increasing Access To Care
Telemedicine—which can be strictly defined as a remote virtual doctor-patient interaction—is rapidly gaining popularity. When initially developed, telemedicine was designed to allow health care professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients in remote and rural locations using telecommunications technology. Now, many are beginning to utilize telemedicine as a replacement for the traditional doctor visit even when they are located in a city or town with many brick and mortar offices. The push for an increased use of telemedicine by insurers, third party payers, and many global businesses has led its development as a worldwide multi-billion dollar industry. (Kevin Campbell, 7/14)

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