MMR Global, Walgreens in settlement talks; Pathology-only online data sharing network launched;

News From Around the Web:

> Eighty percent of U.S. physicians surveyed said that using virtual assistants would "drastically change" how they interact and use EHRs and other health care apps in the next five years, according to a new survey by Nuance. The respondents stated that virtual assistants could help them better access the information in their EHRs and use conversational commands. Survey  

> MMR Global has asked the court overseeing its patent infringement lawsuit to allow Walgreens an additional month to file a response to its complaint. According to MMR Global's request, both parties "believe a brief extension to respond to the complaint would benefit all parties and conserve judicial resources." Walgreens' response is currently due March 6. The extension would allow Walgreens until April 5 to respond. Request

> The first online health information network has been created dedicated to the global pathology community. The network, called the PathCentral Pathology Network,  enables physicians to uphold case files using digital images and render consulting diagnoses. Website

Health Finance News

> Hospital mergers and the monopolies they create are causing healthcare costs to rise without an accompanying improvement in quality, three experts argued Friday during a panel hosted by the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. "Finally the evidence is catching up with the reality that we have a humongous monopoly problem in health care," said Robert Murray, a consultant and former director of Maryland's hospital rate-setting commission. Article

> Medicare paid billions to nursing homes that were not meeting the basic requirements for caring for their patients, the Associated Press reported.  The audit found 37% didn't meet the program's quality of care requirements or were not administered according to their plans. Article

Provider News

> Comics, or graphic narratives, may be an effective way to share important medical experiences with physicians in training, according to a new article in Annals of Internal Medicine. The article shows how creative learning tools, like the graphic novel format, can enhance medical training by adding an emotional and visual component. Article

And Finally... Champagne was clearly in the budget. Article