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What Matters January: MedTech News You Need to Know

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January 07, 2017

Overheard at GMM HQ

"Any airline that lets me order a cocktail from my seatback screen definitely shares my point of view."
– Mia Benenate on how Virgin America's "brand POV" upped the ante for air travel.

WHAT THE INDUSTRY IS BUZZING ABOUT

BEAM ME UP (TO PRISON), SCOTTY

Trekkies will infuse their love for Star Trek into just about anything, and the med device world is no exception. A 60-year-old Illinois man solicited a reported $26M from investors for his "McCoy Home Health Tablet," inspired by the famed tricorder used by Star Trek's Dr. Leonard McCoy character. Riiiiight.

TREKKIE TIME OUT

So yeah, that tablet is a fraud. The imaginative Trekkie pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, receiving a sentence of five years and $1.35M in forfeiture and restitution. Not even the Starfleet can deliver him from this one.

THE 411

Star Trek: Great inspiration for a Comic Con outfit, but not so much for modern day healthcare.

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NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION: DON'T GET HACKED

New Year, New Password! That's what the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General recommends as your 2017 resolution. Their newly released fiscal work plan includes a plan to "examine the FDA's plans and processes for timely communicating and addressing a networked medical device cybersecurity compromise." They also plan to lose 12 pounds and finally organize the garage.

SAFETY > SECURITY

Steve Abrahamson, Director of Product Security Programs at GE Healthcare, tackled the issues of patient safety, device security, and usability during a recent session at BIOMEDevice San Jose, saying that, "Patient safety risk always trumps security risk or malicious activity risk." Kinda sounds like a new medtech "Roe, Sham, Bo" game ...

THE 411

The FDA has upped its cybersecurity game over the past couple years with a series of guidances and alerts, but further measures are needed to navigate the matrix of patient safety, security risk, usability, and integration of legacy products. And whoever can figure that out will also teach your Nana how to use SnapChat.

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PAY TO PLAY

And by "play" we mean "receive medical care." More and more healthcare providers are requiring patients to pay their share prior to their treatment, even when that treatment is a surgical procedure with a multi-thousand dollar deductible. New pre-op instructions: No blood thinners, fast for 12 hours, and make it rain.

NOT A GREAT TIME TO CHAT

While most patients have grown accustomed to paying a $20 copay before seeing their GP, the shift towards point-of-service collections in the hospital setting raises some ethical concerns. NPR reports "experts say that trying to pin patients down for payment in more acute settings, such as the emergency department, may cross a line."

THE 411

The higher a patient's deductible is, the harder it is for a provider to collect the full amount. Hospital administrators are having some awkward waiting room conversations in an attempt to change this. ATM machines coming soon to an ER near you.

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GOOD TO KNOW

As if this past year wasn't turbulent enough, research now shows that life expectancy actually declined amongst Americans last year. How about this pick-me-up quote from David Weir, Director of the Health and Retirement Study at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan: "Virtually every cause of death [increased]. It's all ages." Time to re-up those New Year's resolutions and toast with that glass of red wine that the Blue Zone Diet purports will help us live longer.

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