Health IT Roundup—Federal auditor slams Health Net over vulnerability testing; DirectTrust CEO to step down

Empty desk chair in modern office
DirectTrust CEO David Kibbe is stepping down by the end of the year. (Getty/Robert Daly)

DirectTrust CEO David Kibbe stepping down

DirectTrust CEO David Kibbe will step down from his role by the end of 2018, the organization announced. Kibbe helped establish DirectTrust in 2012 and grew the organization into an association of 121 health IT and provider organizations focused on improving secure health data exchange.

DirectTrust’s work has laid a foundation for the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement recently release by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. The organization has launched a nationwide search for Kibbe’s successor. (Announcement)

Health Net rebuffs cybersecurity audit

Health Net has refused to comply with planned vulnerability testing by the Office of Personnel and Management’s (OPM) Office of Inspector General. In a flash audit published earlier this month, OPM’s watchdog arm called the California insurer’s refusal “unprecedented,” adding that it “raises questions” about Health net’s vulnerability management.

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A spokesperson for the insurer contends the company has “fully cooperated.” (FierceHealthcare)

University of Virginia Health System breach took more than 2 years to discover

The University of Virginia Health System has notified nearly 1,900 patients that their information may have been exposed during a breach that first occurred in 2015. The healthcare provider said in December it learned a laptop and several other devices belonging to a UVA physician was infected by malware, allowing an unauthorized third-party to view medical records.

The incident dates back to between May 3 and Dec. 27 of 2016. The person, who was arrested by the FBI, did not take, use or share patient information, according to a letter to patients. (Announcement)

American College of Cardiology highlights concerns about pacemaker hacking

A group of cardiologists, along with the leaders of the American College of Cardiology’s Electrophysiology Section Council highlight the growing concern about cybersecurity of connected cardiac devices like pacemakers and defibrillators. The authors outlined ways manufacturers can protect devices with seamless firmware updates, the role of the FDA and the need for professional societies to develop guidelines to address the risks associated with connected devices. (Journal of the American College of Cardiology)

Teladoc attributes spike in visits to nasty flu season

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the highest number of flu-related hospitalizations on record, but it appears more patients are turning to their mobile devices for treatment.

Teladoc said it provided more than 300,000 patient visits over a five-week period in January and February, twice as many last year’s flu season. The company said it saw a distinct spike in volume since the start of the flu season, with one in five cases linked to influenza during a peak period in January. (Announcement)

Teladoc cuts ties with the National Rifle Association

Teladoc has also cut ties with the National Rifle Association about a week after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Last week, ThinkProgress highlighted a partnership in which Teladoc offered NRA members a discounted monthly rate, but days later a spokesperson told the news outlet that the discount was “part of a broader program” and the webpage offering the discounted rate will be coming down. (ThinkProgress)

4 areas where insurers are making tech upgrades

Health insurers are making significant investments to upgrade technology tied to patient experience, claims systems data aggregation and underwriting, according to a new report. Those investments have been driven by a need to meet the expectations of tech-savvy consumers and streamlined business processes. (FierceHealthcare)

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