Summer 2019: Healthcare Updates to Know

Each season brings new changes and modifications to the healthcare industry. With summer here, we’ve highlighted important issues, healthcare coverage changes and advances in medical research.

Cybersecurity Still Troubles the Industry

The healthcare industry continues to be plagued by cybersecurity issues. A newly published 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report from Verizon found that of the 466 cybersecurity incidents in the healthcare industry, 304 included confirmed data disclosures. Ransomware incidents comprised more than 70 percent of all the malware outbreaks for the second straight year, and almost 60 percent of data breaches in this industry were caused by employees. The two most common breaches were due to credit card hacking and employees accessing patient data.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Launches All of Us Data Browser

Approximately one year ago, the NIH introduced its All of Us program designed to recruit one million people to advance precision medicine through an online tool. The organization recently launched the program’s interactive data browser through which researchers, participants and others can examine summary data and learn about the more than 194,000 participants from all 50 states. The program is currently comprised of over 80,000 electronic health records, 146,000 bio samples and 300+ sample and measurement collection sites. The overall goal of All of Us is to enable researchers to access data to utilize in studies for advancement of personalized methods of treating and preventing disease.

J.D. Power Study Reports on Customer Satisfaction of Commercial Health Plans

According to the recently released J.D. Power 2019 Commercial Member Health Plan StudySM, customer satisfaction with commercial health plans has risen seven points over the past three years to 713 on a 1,000-point scale. Survey respondents reported their views on coverage, benefits, customer service, payment and choice of providers. Members reported being dissatisfied with high co-pays and care coordination among providers. There was also an increased interest in cost-reducing healthcare options such as urgent care, retail clinics and telehealth.

Battle Brewing Over Surprise Medical Bills

Surprise bills, which more than half of American adults report receiving, typically materialize when a patient receives treatment from an out-of-network doctor. Although insurers, hospitals and doctors have pledged to eliminate these expensive bills, there is no plan in place and no legislation on Capitol Hill to address it. The Trump administration recently announced a priority to ban surprise bills by bundling charges from out-of-network physicians and hospitals. Some senators plan to bring a bill to the floor on this issue in July.

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