Our Top 5 Health-Tech Stories This Week: A Hacker, A GAO Report, an mHealth App

Head still spinning from the Apple API news? Can’t quite keep up with the latest in health-tech studies? HCA News is here for you.

Head still spinning from the Apple API news? Can’t quite keep up with the latest in health-tech studies? Healthcare Analytics News™ is here for you. Every week, we look to draw attention to the stories that snagged our attention and might be worth a second look.

This week, a hacker contradicted one of his healthcare victims, researchers showed why the crowd isn’t always right (when it comes to mHealth), and a doctor in Wyoming talked about face-eating maggots.

As always, if you have something to say about any of these stories—or anything in the world of health tech—let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. We often respond to (and sometimes even write about) your comments.

1. Hacker Accuses Michigan Ophthalmologists of Hiding His Attack for 2 Years

This is something of a strange one—and it broke last Saturday, so it just barely makes this list. In mid-May, a Michigan based ophthalmology group reported that it had detected a hacking incident in which 42,000 patient records were stolen. But not long after, a person claiming to be the hacker contacted a healthcare cybersecurity expert, telling him that the provider had been aware of the attack for 2 years already—and that he’d stolen 200,000 more records than had been reported.

2. mHealth Apps: Trust the Studies, Not the Stars

In 2016, Instant Blood Pressure was an extremely successful health app, having been downloaded over 140,000 times at $4.99 a pop. After Johns Hopkins researchers found its blood pressure calculations extremely unreliable, however, the whole thing came crumbling down. This week, that same team of researchers looked back at user reviews of the app—and showed why consumer consensus doesn’t stack up to validation and regulation.

3. A Smart, Small, Familial Approach to Population Health

This feature from our June 2018 print issue begins with a bang: “I’ve seen a patient who had maggots in his face,” one Wyoming physician told Healthcare Analytics News™. The story details how health officials in America’s least-populated state are leveraging technology to fight their unique population health challenges.

4. MyHeritage Data Breach: 4 Fast Facts

This week, it came out that Israel-based genealogy company MyHeritage had suffered a data breach, potentially exposing the accounts of an eye-popping 92 million members. Here’s what members should or shouldn’t be concerned about as the story unfolds.

5. Medicare Substance Abuse Data Redacted for 4 Years, Fueling Flawed Research

Good data is crucial for fighting substance abuse at a population level. And it turns out that for most of the last 5 years, researchers didn’t have it. CMS had redacted substance abuse diagnoses and procedure codes, resulting in drastic underestimates of disease prevalence.

“You don’t know what you’re missing,” one expert told Healthcare Analytics News™. “The biggest issue is that at a time when things have been unfolding very rapidly, there are a lot of studies that didn’t get done

Bonus! GAO Report on VA Choice Program: Long Wait Times, Bad Data

So it isn’t exactly health-tech, but it is big: With the new Department of Veterans’ Affairs bill mandating a permanent spiritual successor to the temporary Veterans Choice Program, the Government Accountability Office put out a damning report about implementation of the original initiative. Long wait times and poor communication often forced veterans to abandon the VA pathway altogether and book important appointments—including prenatal care—on their time and dollar.

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