Here are some other local, state or national stories we are reading that may impact you, your practice or your patients.

Some providers fear 'brave new world' of freed patient health data | Hospital executives, with some support in Congress, are lobbying for more regulation to protect health information from unscrupulous data mongers. But HHS is pushing forward with rules that leave that responsibility in patients’ hands. As federal rule-makers grapple with making patient data more easily shareable, some health leaders fear that their actions could lead to a proliferation of apps selling or exploiting medical data. They worry that patients are likely to sign away their rights to data — perhaps including detailed family histories — without realizing what they're doing. “There’s going to be new apps coming online every single day,” said Steven Lane, clinical informatics director of Sutter Health and a member of ONC's HIT Advisory Committee. Patients should be able to access their data, but "most patients who are using these tools don’t fully understand the privacy implications.”

U.S. Global Health Legislation Tracker | This tracker provides a listing of global health-related legislation introduced in the 116th Congress. Currently, there are more than 30 pieces of legislation related to global health. They address topics ranging from global health security to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and reproductive health. The tracker includes the bill title, sponsor(s), current status, and topic, as well as a short description of its global health-related provisions. The tracker includes bills only; resolutions are not included. Legislation is listed in alphabetical order by short title. In certain cases, identical bills have been introduced in both chambers of Congress (often referred to as companion bills). For example, the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights Act and the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Act of 2019 were each introduced in both chambers. Such companion bills are listed separately in the tracker. The tracker will be updated as needed.

Apple Opens iPhone EHR Feature to All Healthcare Organizations | Apple has announced that it will allow any US healthcare organization with a compatible electronic health record (EHR) to register with its mobile Health Records feature, according to a tweet from Ricky Bloomfield, MD, Apple's clinical and health informatics lead. This will allow patients to securely and privately download their EHR data to a personal health record (PHR) on their iPhone after presenting their credentials to a practice's or a hospital's patient portal. Apple beta tested its Health Records app in 12 healthcare systems early this year, and it added 27 more organizations to the pilot in March. Currently, about 300 healthcare organizations, labs, and clinics with over 6500 locations across the country have registered in the app, an Apple representative told Medscape Medical News. The compatible EHRs that can download the records are those capable of plugging in apps based on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), a standards framework for exchanging clinical data over the Internet. The EHRs that Apple currently supports include Epic, Cerner, athenahealth, and CPSI, according to Apple.

New federally funded clinics emphasize abstinence, natural family planning | Thousands of California women and teenagers seeking free or discounted reproductive health services through a federal program could find themselves in clinics that focus on abstinence and natural family planning as methods of birth control. Operated by the California-based Obria Group, the health centers appear to be modeled after faith-based crisis pregnancy centers, designed to persuade women to continue their pregnancies, but with a twist: Obria’s clinics encourage young clients to use online apps, developed with funding from religious conservatives, to “move them away from sexual risks as their only option in life, to an option of self-control.” Some Obria centers participating in the federal family planning program, known as Title X, also offer “abortion pill reversal,” which involves administering large doses of the hormone progesterone to patients who have taken the first dose of the two-pill medication abortion regimen, according to the group’s site. The procedure, which the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says is not supported by scientific research, is not reimbursable under Title X.

DrChrono Teams with DeepScribe to Automate Medical Note Taking in EHR Through Artificial Intelligence Technology |  DrChrono Inc., the company enabling the medical practice of the future, and DeepScribe, whose mission is to restore the joy of care in medicine, today announced a partnership so medical practices using DrChrono EHR can use AI to automate medical note taking from physician appointments and integrate it right into their Electronic Health Record (EHR). DeepScribe uses advanced deep learning technology to generate accurate, compliant, and secure SOAP notes right within a practice’s EHR. Practices using DeepScribe have reported saving an average of 2 hours and 45 minutes per day on documentation, with providers seeing an average of 4-5 additional patients, and in some cases, up to 10 additional patients, per week.  Now, practices using DrChrono’s EHR platform can use the DeepScribe app and device to automate the note-taking process and have those notes available in the patient record. 

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