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The Pulse

Considering whether a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployment may extend advantages to your healthcare organization? IT professionals say to keep these recommendations in mind:

1. Take a Long View of the VDI Deployment

Look at your investment holistically, LifeBridge Health Senior Vice President and CIO Tressa Springmann says. “In the short term, you’re simply moving staff and expense from user hardware to back-end systems.”

2. Find a Strong Vendor Partner

Make sure your vendor will help design the VDI solution; provide advice, support and service; and stick with you through the deployment and beyond, Covenant Health Enterprise Infrastructure Architect Adam Sherwood says.

3. Check That Your Infrastructure Can Handle the Change

Make sure your back-end capacity matches the size of your VDI deployment, says LifeBridge Health Systems Engineer Jon Roenick.

4. Determine Your Deployment ROI

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With the aim of fast-tracking digital health technologies to market, the Food and Drug Administration released a "Software Precertification (PreCert) Pilot Program” program that will certify digital health developers instead of their individual products.

“This new program embraces the principle that digital health technologies can have significant benefits to patients’ lives and to our healthcare system by facilitating prevention, treatment, and diagnosis; and by helping consumers manage chronic conditions outside of traditional healthcare settings,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a blog post.

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Medicaid users in Maryland can now reach their healthcare professionals via their smartphones and tablets. The state has begun offering emergency room telehealth visits through a free app that aims to bring healthcare professionals into users’ homes as well as cut down on unnecessary ER visits, WDMV reports. The app, My VirtualMPC, allows users enrolled in the statewide Maryland Physicians Care plan video chat or instant message with physicians.

“It can be something simple, whatever the issue is. Sometimes, we give them advice that they do need to be seen somewhere, but we can help them figure out where that might be. Sometimes, we can fix the problem right there on the application, and if they need a prescription, we can call that in for them,” Alex Mohseni of Sky Physicians, which provides care through the app, tells the source.

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The innovative Cleveland Clinic has tapped Edward Marx to head up the organization’s information technology efforts. In his role, effective Sept. 1, Marx will work within the clinic’s nine regional hospitals and 18 full-service health center, as well as with the organization’s partners, with the aim to improve patient care and provider experience through technology.

Already, the clinic is on the bleeding edge of health IT, implementing partnerships with IBM’s Watson, furthering cancer treatment through genomic testing and taking strides to bring telemedicine offerings into the mainstream. Marx will use his 25 years of experience as a healthcare IT leader to further the clinic’s innovative technology use cases.

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The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team has issued an alert that warns of possible malicious cyberactivity from North Korea.

“Working with U.S. Government partners, DHS and FBI identified Internet Protocol (IP) addresses associated with a malware variant, known as DeltaCharlie, used to manage North Korea’s distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) botnet infrastructure,” the alert notes. The government refers to this malicious cyberactivity as HIDDEN COBRA.

While the alert specifically mentions the media, aerospace, financial, and critical infrastructure sectors, the healthcare industry could be impacted, and organizations should be particularly wary after the recent WannaCray attacks that crippled many healthcare organizations globally.

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With the aim to improve interoperability and the secure sharing of healthcare information, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has announced the winners of the Move Health Data Forward Challenge.

The three-phase challenge looks to drive the development of applications that will allow individuals to share their personal health information safely and securely with healthcare providers and loved ones.

The winners, which will receive $50,000 each, include:

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Similarities in code, tools and infrastructure are leading Symantec experts to believe that the WannaCry ransomware attacks carried out against several healthcare organizations, among others, worldwide last week could be the same group that carried out similar attacks on Sony Pictures and Bangladesh bank. Symantec’s analysis could only link the crimes to the hackers, known as the Lazarus group, but could not disclose specific motivations around the attack, a blog post notes.

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Dell company Virtustream announced Tuesday that it is launching a Healthcare Cloud service via its enterprise cloud product. The healthcare cloud, revealed at the Dell EMC World 2017 conference in Las Vegas, promises to provide “cloud-based hosting of mission critical healthcare platforms and applications on Virtustream Enterprise Cloud in a HIPAA/HITECH compliant environment,” according to a statement from Virtustream.

The new offering aims to arm healthcare organizations with the cloud infrastructure and managed services necessary to implement and maintain digital transformations.

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Six senators have reintroduced a bill that aims to promote cost savings and quality care in Medicare through telehealth and remote patient monitoring. The Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act of 2017 was originally introduced in 2016 and builds on another recently introduced telehealth bill, the CHRONIC Care Act, which looks to expand reimbursement for the use of live video-conferencing systems to enhance at-home care for Medicare recipients.

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