VA, Cerner Top the Week's Biggest Health-Tech Stories

Jack Murtha

The EMR deal is done. What does it mean for medicine?

Image has been resized. Courtesy of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The top news story in healthcare and technology this past week came as something of a surprise. With the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facing leadership troubles, many pundits thought its multibillion dollar deal with the electronic medical records (EMRs) giant Cerner was on pause.

But on Thursday evening, that changed. We at Healthcare Analytics News™ were wrapping up our day when we got word that Cerner and the VA had finally inked an agreement, after a long and uncertain period of waiting. (We were also among the first to report the news.) So, then, it was fitting that our most-viewed article of the week spotlighted a related story, a damning US Department of Defense (DoD) memo describing its experience with Cerner thus far.

>> LISTEN: Return of the Luddite

Dig into that article and more of our best-performing stories of the week below. And be sure to check out our staff picks. Together, these links make up some of the best reporting and storytelling to come out of this magazine over the past week. Please let us know your thoughts on Twitter.

The Week’s Top 5 Health-Tech Stories

1. With VA Decision Looming, Cerner Rollout Receives Grim Review from DoD

Throughout the VA-Cerner odyssey, government officials and health information technology (IT) experts have tried to understand what’s to come by looking at the vendor’s other large-scale projects. Although Cerner has touted its work with the DoD as a success, the agency claimed the technology “does not demonstrate enough workable functionality to manage and document patient care.” What does this mean, if anything, for the VA?

2. Waterloo Researchers Combine AI and “Smart Shirts” to Track Aerobic Health

Here’s a fun—and intriguing—look at a brand-new technology. Yeah, you’ve heard of smartwatches and smartphones, but your shirt might be next. And here’s the most interesting part: Researchers found that this device could gather data that are critical to producing important insights.

3. Why Georgia’s Step Toward Behavioral Health Interoperability Matters

The thing about behavioral health data: They’re protected by stringent regulations. In turn, that has made it difficult for providers who want to join health information exchanges in pursuit of greater interoperability. But a group of 10 behavioral health organizations in Georgia recently made it work, a good sign for what’s to come.

4. EMRs Make Up $30B Market That No One Seems to Like

What can I write to outshine that headline? EMRs could revolutionize healthcare, but they’re falling short of that, at least as of now. That doesn’t hurt the bottom line, though.

5. Healthcare Cybersecurity Remains “Understaffed and Underfunded”

More than 96% of respondents said they think hackers are outpacing the cyberdefenses of their healthcare organizations. What’s more, fewer than 5% of these employees said their health system had formed a steering committee to evaluate their cybersecurity investments. Wake up and get to work, healthcare.

Our Favorite Health IT Stories

VA and Cerner Seal the Deal

Here’s the big news that you can’t afford to overlook. Also, keep an eye out for upcoming coverage, as this story is far from over—and it carries big implications for the rest of healthcare.

To Fight Phishing, Let’s Look at Fatigue

How come, in 2018, phishing remains so common? The short answer is that it works. In this column, I argue that fatigue is part of the phishing problem, a phenomenon that might grow even more destructive as those bogus emails continue to flood our inboxes. I hope I’m wrong.

Podcast: Return of the Luddite

To cap the week off, check out the latest from Data Book. In this episode, we tell the tale of the actual Luddites. (That doesn’t mean your pal with an iPhone 5.) Then, we welcome the acclaimed health-tech thinker John Nosta, who explains why society can’t vilify data. Healthcare leaders must play a role in fostering the larger conversation around tech.

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