Health IT Roundup—OIG plans PDMP funding review; Cigna acquires Brighter to enhance its digital platforms

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OIG says it will review whether states that accepted funding to enhance PDMPs met federal requirements. (Getty/smartstock)

OIG schedules new audit of federal funding for state PDMPs

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) added several new health IT-related audits to its work plan, including one that reviews federal funding provided to states to enhance prescription drug monitoring programs.

The OIG plans to review funding provided to states by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to improve safe prescribing practices and prevent prescription drug abuse. The watchdog agency will look at whether states that saw high or increasing overdose deaths complied with federal requirements.

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OIG is also taking a closer look at how a new IT system at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services captures the data necessary to make a correct payment to Medicare Advantage insurers and plans to review whether a decentralized management structure at the Indiana Health Service has impacted the system’s ability to deliver IT services.

Cigna acquires Brighter to improve consumer and provider platforms

Cigna has acquired Brighter, a technology company that has made a name for itself developing digital platforms for health plans and dental organizations.

The acquisition solidifies an existing relationship between the two companies aimed at improving Cigna’s mobile and desktop platforms to connect consumers and providers with guidance to reduce unnecessary costs and provide employer plan sponsors with population health tools and data-driven guidance.

“We’re committed to delivering superior experiences that better connect consumers with high-quality healthcare providers and wellness programs,” David M. Cordani, Cigna’s president and CEO said in a release. “The acquisition of Brighter accelerates our progress towards these priorities and in establishing us as the leader in the digital transformation of our industry.”

New FDA website streamlines antibiotic updates

Amid a flurry of new digital health guidance this month, the FDA launched a new website that will provide “direct and timely access” to information about antibiotic resistance.

Previously, antibiotic manufacturers updated drug labeling with new information regarding breakpoints—criteria used to determine whether a patient’s infection was susceptible to certain drugs. Through an update required under the 21st Century Cures Act, the FDA reformed that process by launching a webpage where manufacturers can update breakpoint information.

RELATED: After a 6-year wait, FDA’s clinical decision support guidelines get a mixed reaction

The agency said the new approach will ease the burden for drug manufacturers and device companies that make antimicrobial susceptibility tests and give providers faster access to new drug information.

Mercy Health joins AVIA to accelerate digital adoption

Ohio-based Mercy Health has joined the AVIA Innovator Network, an organization that brings together health systems to help navigate the challenges of integrating modern health technology.

The 23-hospital system, with locations in Ohio and Kentucky, will draw from two dozen other health systems that have joined AVIA to test and implement new digital tools. Mercy CEO John M. Starcher said the system is focused on “building an ecosystem of innovation partners” adding that “some of the most innovative solutions may come from outside our organization.”

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