Texas Cancer Clinic Forced To Shut Down IT Systems In Cyberattack
Around 36,000 patients may have been victims of a data breach at Austin Cancer Centers. Non-covid health visits, uninsured dentistry patients, an Intermountain/SCL merger, high-tech voice assistants in clinical care and Baltimore's health commissioner are also in the news.
Becker's Hospital Review:
Cyberattack Leads To IT Outage At Texas Cancer Clinics, Exposing 36,000
Austin (Texas) Cancer Centers began notifying 36,503 patients of a data breach that forced it to shut down its IT networks, according to data shared with the Maine attorney general's office. ... The cancer treatment network discovered Aug. 4 that hackers had deployed malware onto its systems, according to an Aug. 27 news release. The chain of cancer centers immediately shut down its IT network and law enforcement was contacted. (Mitchell, 9/16)
In other health care industry news —
The Washington Post:
How To Safely Get Health Care For Non-Covid Issues
Whether it’s time for a routine visit with your primary care physician or you have a medical emergency that needs immediate attention, here are tips for deciding when to see a doctor, where to go for treatment and how to try to stay safe. (Bever and Chiu, 9/16)
Dentists Chip Away At Uninsured Problem By Offering Patients Membership Plans
Nevada dentist David White has seen diseased and rotted teeth in the mouths of patients who routinely put off checkups and avoided minor procedures such as fillings. While dental phobia is a factor, White said, the overriding reason people avoid treatment is cost. To help patients lacking dental insurance, White in 2019 started offering a membership plan that looks much like an insurance policy — except it’s good only at his offices in Reno and Elko. Adults pay $29 a month — or $348 a year — and receive two free exams, two cleanings, X-rays and an emergency exam, services valued at $492. They also get a 20% discount on office procedures such as fillings and extractions. (Galewitz, 9/17)
Intermountain, SCL Health Agree To Merge Hospital Systems
Intermountain Healthcare will acquire SCL Health roughly six months after Intermountain and Sanford Health ended their merger attempt. The combined Intermountain-SCL system will own 33 hospitals, will generate more than $13 billion of annual revenue and will dominate several areas throughout Utah and Colorado — consequently gaining leverage over health insurers and employers as a must-have network if the deal is finalized. (Herman, 9/17)
Becker's Hospital Review:
Amazon Vs. Apple Vs. Google Vs. Microsoft: Which Voice Assistant Is Most Effective For Health Screenings?
As providers look to further integrate voice assistants into clinical care, some options are more effective at answering patients' queries than others, according to a recent study published in the Annals of Family Medicine. For the study, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Stanford Healthcare researchers analyzed four major voice assistants' ability to understand queries from cancer patients. The four voice assistants were Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana. (Drees, 9/16)
The Baltimore Sun:
Just A Year Into The Job, Baltimore’s Health Commissioner Faced The COVID Crisis. How Has She Helped Lead The City Through The Pandemic?
Only weeks after Dr. Letitia Dzirasa’s appointment as Baltimore’s health commissioner in February 2019, cases of measles linked to a national outbreak in the Orthodox Jewish community surfaced just over the city’s northwest border, threatening to ripple through Park Heights and beyond. Dzirasa had hoped to start her new job quietly, combining clinical experience with a passion for equity and a goal of elevating the quality of life for residents long neglected and abused by the health care system. Instead, she faced an emergency involving a highly contagious disease and the deployment of a mass vaccination campaign to keep it at bay. (Miller, 9/16)