Healthcare News June 12, 2013

  • OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Administration backs down on Plan B

    Women’s health groups celebrated Tuesday after the Obama administration announced it would no longer fight a court order striking down all age limits on the birth control pill known as Plan B. The Justice Department said Monday evening it would withdraw its appeal of the judge’s ruling and approve the drug for over-the-counter access without age restrictions.

    The Justice Department and the Food and Drug Administration took a beating in federal district court as they sought to defend age restrictions on the drug, and there were no clear signs they would fare much better on appeal. 

    The FDA’s decision only applies to Plan B One-Step, not its two-pill alternative. And the groups that fought the administration in court said the administration still has to loosen its rules for generic versions of the drug.

    “We are pleased that women should soon be able to buy Plan B One-Step without the arbitrary restrictions that kept it locked behind the pharmacy counter when they needed it most urgently,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “But we will continue to fight for fair treatment for women who want and need more affordable options.”

    Healthwatch has more on the administration’s about-face.

    Anti-abortion groups protest: Abortion-rights opponents were angry at the Justice Department’s decision, and noted Obama’s past statements that he was personally uncomfortable eliminating age restrictions on the over-the-counter sale of Plan B. Many abortion-rights opponents argue that Plan B causes abortion, because it is taken after sex rather than before.

    Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, said broader access to Plan B would also help protect sexual predators.

  • House panel to probe alleged seizure of medical records by IRS

    The Energy and Commerce panel asked the IRS to explain how it handles confidential medical information.

  • ImagingElements Now Integrated with Nuance’s PowerScribe 360 for Meaningful Use

      Raleigh, NC May 30, 2013 – ImagingElements announces today it has integrated its cloud-based Meaningful Use subscription service with PowerScribe 360 | Reporting from Nuance Communications.

    ImagingElements has integrated its Meaningful Use service with PowerScribe 360 | Reporting using the Web Services API. The integration with the PowerScribe 360 platform allows Radiology Practices who use PowerScribe 360 to access the ImagingElements Meaningful Use service without the cost or complexity of traditional integration methods.  Radiologists now have a viable, practical mechanism to achieve Meaningful Use.

    ImagingElements provides ElementMU, a cloud-based Meaningful Use service that integrates with existing imaging IT solutions and is available as a monthly subscription to radiology practices of all sizes. The Company has worked closely with Meaningful Use experts in the field and developed a fully certified Ambulatory EHR that is specific to the needs of Radiology, and tuned to the way the Meaningful Use program applies to Radiologists. ImagingElements includes technology that leverages denominator reduction opportunities in Radiology that can dramatically reduce the workflow impact associated with Meaningful Use data collection.

    “This integration allows ImagingElements to seamlessly enable Radiologists who use the PowerScribe 360 | Reporting solution to participate in the Meaningful Use incentive program”, said Bob Cooke, Co-Founder and CEO of ImagingElements. “Nuance’s PowerScribe 360 platform is the most widely recognized and utilized reporting solution in the market, and the integration of our products enables users to more easily participate in the Meaningful Use Program.”

    About ImagingElements
    ImagingElements is a Medical Imaging company that delivers software technologies that allow Radiologists to achieve Meaningful Use incentives and foster collaboration between Patient, Provider, and Radiologist. For more information visit http://www.imagingelements.com

  • University of Virginia Health System, Swinfen Charitable Trust and Verizon Foundation Join to Accelerate and Expand Global Telemedicine Program

    Enhanced Telemedicine Model Links Patients in Underserved Countries to Specialty Care Worldwide Through New Mobile and Cloud Services 

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. May 30, 2013 – The Verizon Foundation, Swinfen Charitable Trust and the University of Virginia Health System today announced – at the Social Innovation Summit – the expansion of an innovative telemedicine program into rural communities in India and the Philippines.  This program will utilize mobile- and cloud-based technology that will connect renowned physicians around the world to doctors in these communities to assist them with patient diagnoses and care.

    The program’s expansion will extend the reach of the UK-based Swinfen Charitable Trust, which currently uses telemedicine to connect clinicians at 260 hospitals in 68 developing countries, with more than 550 medical specialists around the world, including 68 at the University of Virginia.

    Verizon’s investment of more than $208,000 includes a Verizon Foundation grant and Verizon Cloud services.  Verizon’s support will enable the telemedicine program to be used on mobile devices, making it easier and faster for doctors to share mission-critical information with specialists.

    For the first time, healthcare providers in resource-limited environments will be able to access the telemedicine system from mobile devices to communicate with specialists around the world.  These highly secure and reliable solutions will enable fast transfer of information; the ability to accommodate multiple, simultaneous users; GIS (geographic information systems) mapping; and other capabilities that will enhance the Swinfen Charitable Trust’s current telemedicine program.

    Healthcare workers in developing countries who participate in the program will be able to send to expert medical specialists secure patient information – including medical images, X-rays and medical histories – through Verizon’s cloud-based service.

    “A very large number of hospitals, clinics, doctors and medical workers in the developing world have no access to medical advice from specialists such as oncologists, neurologists or pediatric cardiologists,” said Lord Roger Swinfen, who founded the Swinfen Charitable Trust with his wife, Lady Pat Swinfen, in 1998. “Our telemedicine program is an invaluable tool for healthcare workers in the developing world who may not otherwise have anyone to consult about their patients’ specific cases.”

    With the Verizon Foundation’s support, the Trust plans to expand its services to providers and healthcare systems caring for patients in:

    • ·                   A community clinic in Garhwal, Uttarakhand, India.
    • ·                   A pediatric plastic surgery outreach program in Giridih, India, led by Dr. Thomas Gampper, vice chair of plastic surgery at the University of Virginia.
    • ·                   A small burns clinic in Zambales, Philippines.

    The expansion of the telemedicine program will begin in June.  Once implemented, more than 1,075 medical providers in the Swinfen network, serving thousands of patients, will have improved access to specialty consultative services.

    Dr. Karen S. Rheuban, director of the UVA Health System’s Center for Telehealth and a trustee of the Swinfen Charitable Trust, said: “Telemedicine has the power to connect medical providers around the world, enabling their patients to receive the best possible treatment, regardless of where they live.  We’re looking forward to working with our partners in India and the Philippines as well as others across the Swinfen network to aid them in caring for their patients.”

    The Verizon Foundation has partnered with the Swinfen Charitable Trust and the University of Virginia Health System since 2011, helping to bring their telemedicine program into seven countries.

    Anthony Llompart, healthcare program director for the Verizon Foundation, said: “This collaboration leverages technology to extend the reach of expert specialty care for thousands of underserved patients around the globe.  Technology can equalize access to quality healthcare and bridge the gap for health systems with limited resources.  It is an ideal match for the focus of the Verizon Foundation.”

    The Verizon Foundation is focused on using technology to solve critical social issues in the areas of energy management, education, and healthcare.   Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon’s employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.8 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities.  For more information about Verizon’s philanthropic work, visit www.verizonfoundation.org; or for regular updates, visit the Foundation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/verizonfoundation) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/verizongiving).

    About The Swinfen Charitable Trust

    The Trust puts doctors and other medical workers in the developing World in touch with a team of expert medical specialists in The USA, UK and other developed countries, who offer their advice “free of charge” to enable referring doctors, etc. to give their patients the best possible treatment.  For more information visit www.swinfencharitabletrust.org.

    About the University of Virginia (UVA)

    The UVA Health System is an academic health system that includes a 604-bed hospital, the UVA School of Medicine, a level I trauma center, nationally recognized cancer and heart centers and primary and specialty clinics throughout Central Virginia. UVA is recognized for excellence by U.S. News & World Report, Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Doctors.  For more information visit www.uvahealth.com/about/news-room.

    About Verizon

    Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with nearly 99 million retail connections nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500.  A Dow 30 company with nearly $116 billion in 2012 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of 181,900.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

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