US, UK discuss data sharing at SXSW; Complex healthcare bills give patients little leeway to negotiate;

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> The U.K. and U.S. governments, which are sharing healthcare IT and open data insights, discussed their progress at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, this week. Representatives from the British National Health Service (NHS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) outlined how "technology is helping put patients first" during a panel March 7. Article

> In a New York Times article, one man chronicles his experiences wearing 11 wearable fitness trackers, sometimes four at once, over six months. "Having worn more of these trackers than any human should, I have to admit I am less captivated than I once was. Now I almost never look at the data that they collect. But that's not necessarily a bad thing," he writes. Article

Health Finance News

> Patients no longer just face confusion over complicated hospital billing practices. In some cases, if they object to the charges, the bills may end up with collection agencies and later damage their credit, the New York Times reported. Article

> Hospitals, under constant pressure to cut jobs and employee compensation to control costs, likely will have more contentious relationships with labor unions in the coming years, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Article

EMR News

> Six Republican senators, frustrated that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services denied their request to extend the deadline for Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program, have sent a letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner asking that the hardship exceptions be clarified "immediately." Article

And Finally... Can't say Obama doesn't have a sense of humor. Article

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