Avera Health to use telehealth to connect nursing homes; Practice Fusion allows researchers to study de-identified patient data from record;

News From Around the Web

> Software created by researchers at Duke University that can track and record infant activities videotaped during autism screening tests can identify autism behavioral markets as well as individuals giving the tests, according to a study published this month in Autism Research and Treatment. Announcement

> Avera Health plans to use $8.8 million in federal funding to connect nursing homes around South Dakota using a video link to that connects to geriatric medicine specialists in Sioux Falls, according to the Argus Leader. The money will go toward training and salaries for the specialists, as well as new equipment and software. Article

> San Francisco-based electronic health records vendor Practice Fusion this week announced that it will allow physicians, researchers and analysts to study de-identified health information from a subset of 81 million patient records, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The database will be free to access, but analysts can pay for customized data sets. Post

Health Finance News

> Hospital mergers and acquisitions during the first quarter of 2014 were substantially lower than during the first quarter of 2013, but deal value increased, according to a new report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The number of hospital deals consummated during the first quarter of the year was 12, down from 21 during the first quarter of 2013--a drop of more than 40 percent. Article

> Pennsylvania's 173 hospitals reported a slight bump upward in net income, even though operating income was down by a significant margin. Operating income for hospitals dropped to $1.8 billion in 2013, down from $2.2 billion in 2012, according to a report by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council. Article

Provider News

> Two-thirds of Americans live in areas served by the 500 accountable care organizations that now exist across the country, according to a report from Oliver Wyman consulting firm. Overall, ACOs serve between 46 and 52 million Americans, or between 15 and 17 percent of the population, according to the report, "ACO Update: Accountable Care at a Tipping Point." Article

And Finally... Oh, fudge! Article