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The Pulse

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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Zoom Video Communications has launched a cloud-based telehealth service that integrates the Epic electronic health record system.

The product, Zoom for Telehealth, offers a “standard feature set for healthcare enterprises and providers, enabling reliable, HIPAA-compliant communications between organizations, care teams, and patients,” according to a press release.

The integration with Epic EHR aims to smooth telehealth workflows for providers.

“With the introduction of Zoom for Telehealth and the Epic integration, we are further streamlining and simplifying the process for healthcare administrators and their end users to deploy and use Zoom for healthcare,” said Eric S. Yuan, Zoom’s founder and CEO, in the statement.

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Samsung and digital health company WellDoc have entered into a partnership offers access to WellDoc’s new diabetes health app, called BlueStarC, through Samsung’s mobile health application. The application, now in its third iteration, is designed to help individuals manage their chronic condition, according to a press release.

The diabetes app aims to offer real-time support for self-care, videos and other resources around lifestyle choices, “easy tracking of blood glucose readings, food, medications, physical activity and sleep,” and more.

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With the aim to more effectively monitor patients from home and allow physicians and nurses to better coordinate care, data from Garmin’s vivofit wearable activity tracker will now stream directly into Medtronic’s Medtronic Care Management Services' (MCMS) remote patient monitoring platform.

The aim of the program, which syncs data from the wearable into Medtronic’s NetResponse application, is to use connected data and personalized care coordination to more effectively evaluate patient health information, consider early intervention points and even avoid unnecessary intervention, a press release on the new capability notes.

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A new cloud-based machine learning tool for healthcare apps has launched with the aim to better analyze the massive amounts of data generated by the apps. Cerebrum, the HIPAA-compliant platform by Medable, which is currently being piloted by several healthcare institutions, is looking to generate actionable insights from the data that can improve patient care.

Satish Misra, cardiology fellow at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, writes on iMedical Apps about the platform:

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A new facility dedicated to improving interoperability in healthcare has opened its doors in Nashville. The Center for Medical Interoperability consists of health systems and provider organizations that aiming to eliminate “current barriers to swift and seamless communication of patient information among medical devices and electronic health records,” according to a press release.

The ultimate goal of the center is to provide physicians with easy access to relevant patient data, improving patient care.

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