News Clips

Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense is now the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense

Press Release | Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense | September 17, 2019

Now in its 5th year, the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense is taking on a new name to more accurately reflect its work and the urgency of its mission. Effective immediately, the organization now will be known as the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense. "We do not simply study the problem," said Executive Director Dr. Asha M. George. "We conduct our activities with a self-imposed mandate and the same sort of urgency that congressional commissions demonstrate. Moving forward, we will be the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense. Our leadership team and unyielding focus remain unchanged." Read More »

Confronting Catastrophic Disasters With 21St Century Technologies

Dan Hanfling, Tara O’Toole | The Hill | September 9, 2019

The unfolding tragedy in the Bahamas demonstrates that the 21st century will be marked by increasingly frequent, often catastrophic disasters of unprecedented scope and scale. Yet again, the unprecedented challenges of disaster management are being met with mostly conventional, labor-intensive, costly, and often inadequately slow response efforts. These 21st-century threats, particularly those that affect livelihood, health, and well-being, deserve the application of 21st-century technologies. Read More »

Commentary: Ebola is Raging Again - And The U.S. Is Not Ready

Joe Lieberman, Tom Ridge | Chicago Tribune | September 6, 2019

Today, the threat from Ebola is more serious. The World Health Organization has declared it to be a global public health emergency because Ebola has again defied controls and spread to the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it could in turn spread throughout more densely populated urban areas and gain access to the global transportation system. We support this declaration and the additional resources and attention it should bring to the situation, but the WHO should have made it earlier. Ebola was an emergency long before it spread to Goma.

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CommonHealth Will Enable Android Phone Users to Access and Share their Electronic Health Record Data with Trusted Apps and Partners

Press Release | The Commons Project | September 5, 2019

Cornell Tech, UC San Francisco (UCSF), Sage Bionetworks, Open mHealth and The Commons Project are collaborating to develop CommonHealth, an open-source, non-profit public service designed to make it easy and secure for people to collect their electronic health record data and share it with health apps and partners that have demonstrated their trustworthiness. CommonHealth will leverage data interoperability standards, including HL7 FHIR to offer functionality analogous to Apple Health™ to users of Android™ phones.

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HCA Healthcare Can't Hide From Hurricanes With 45 Hospitals In Florida, So It Preps Like It's The Apocalypse

Blake Farmer | Nashville Public Radio | September 3, 2019

As Hurricane Dorian threatened the Florida coast, top officials at HCA spent Labor Day weekend wringing their hands, pulling all-nighters in a Nashville command center. It almost didn't matter where the storm hits; HCA Healthcare's hospitals were going to be affected. With dozens of hospitals on Florida's east and west coasts, the for-profit hospital chain is exposed every time a hurricane threatens the Sunshine State. Late last week, the nation's largest hospital company granted WPLN rare access to observe storm preparations as Dorian bore down on the Florida coast. The mood was serious. Chatter was limited. The only sound competing with speakers was the hum of fingers on laptops taking furious notes.

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Government of St. Maarten Launches Program to Train Students in Emergency Preparedness and Response Skills

Press Release | Government of Sint Maarten | August 2, 2019

The Government of Sint Maarten is pleased to announce the launch of the Youth Emergency Hero (YEH) program that teaches school students how to prepare themselves, their households and their communities for emergencies and stay safe during disasters. The curriculum is provided by University instructors at the Caribbean Center for Disaster Medicine at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine on St. Maarten.

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Cloud Providers Reaffirm Commitment to Open Healthcare Interoperability During 2019 Blue Button Developers Conference

Press Release | HL7 | July 30, 2019

As healthcare evolves across the globe, so does our ability to improve the health and wellness of communities. Patients, providers, and health plans are striving for more value-based care, more engaging user experiences, and broader application of machine learning to assist clinicians in diagnosis and patient care. Too often, however, patient data are inconsistently formatted, incomplete, unavailable, or missing - which can limit access to the best possible care. Equipping patients and caregivers with information and insights derived from raw data has the potential to yield significantly better outcomes. But without a robust network of clinical information, even the best people and technology may not reach their potential...

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Overdue Outbreak Detection System Leaves Patchwork Defense

Madison Alder | Bloomberg | July 30, 2019

The U.S. should have had a nationwide network to monitor for the next viral outbreak or biological threat a decade ago. It still doesn't. Instead, public health leaders make do with a patchwork system while waiting for the Department of Health and Human Services races to get its integrated network in service by a new 2023 congressional deadline. Until that nationwide monitoring system is in place, the U.S. runs the risk that a biological threat like a disease outbreak will take hold before it's noticed. "The risk is that we don't have the level of surveillance that we need. The risk is that there are things basically flying under the radar," said Helen Boucher, an infectious diseases clinician at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and director of the university's Center for Integrated Management of Antimicrobial Resistance.

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careMESH Announces the First National Provider Directory Built Entirely to the HL7 FHIR Standard

Press Release | careMESH | July 30, 2019

careMESH, the only service provider to guarantee digital delivery of patient health information to any US-based clinician, announced the launch of the country's first National Provider Directory based entirely on the HL7 FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) R4 standard. HL7 is a not-for-profit organization focused on developing consensus standards for the exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information that supports clinical practice and the management and delivery of healthcare.

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IBM Donates Artificial Intelligence Cancer-Killing Drug Project to the Open Source Community

Charlie Osborne | ZDNet | July 22, 2019

IBM has released three artificial intelligence (AI) projects tailored to take on the challenge of curing cancer to the open-source community. At the 18th European Conference on Computational Biology (ECCB) and the 27th Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB), which will be held in Switzerland later this month, the tech giant will dive into how each of the projects can advance our understanding of cancers and their treatment...The first project, dubbed PaccMann -- not to be confused with the popular Pac-Man computer game -- is described as the "Prediction of anticancer compound sensitivity with Multi-modal attention-based neural networks."...

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Soom Launches Mobile App That Notifies Patients, Caregivers and Nurses of Medical Device Recalls

Press Release | Soom | July 15, 2019

Soom, a pioneer in utilizing barcode and knowledge graph technologies to bridge information gaps between data sources and physical products, has introduced SoomSafety, an iOS mobile app that allows users to scan a medical device and receive instructions for use, safety and recall information directly from the device manufacturer and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). "We built SoomSafety to help patients and caregivers relying on implanted medical devices and using medical devices at home answer one critical question, 'Is this medical device safe to use?'" said Charlie Kim, President and CEO of Soom. "Our technology makes it possible to connect previously siloed medical device data, giving patients-and their caregivers-more proactive control over their health and safety."

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How Can Information and Communications Tech Help in Disaster Preparedness and Response?

Renu Mehta | Devdiscourse | July 15, 2019

n the immediate aftermath of disasters, timely and effective information is critical for the decision-making process. ​​​​​Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) play a significant role in mitigation, preparedness, response, and rehabilitation by facilitating the flow of vital information in a timely manner. To deliver and deploy telecommunications / information and communication resources (transportable, easy to deploy and reliable systems that are non-exclusive) in a timely manner in the event of disasters, the ITU has designed the ITU Framework for Cooperation in Emergencies (IFCE). Innovative technologies such as robotics, drone technology, GIS, and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and Big Data are transforming the complex process of disaster management.

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Experts support a future Manhattan Project for Biodefense to thwart new threats

Kim Riley | Homeland Preparedness News | July 12, 2019

An effort similar to the Manhattan Project - in which American-led R&D produced the first nuclear weapons during World War II - is needed now in defense against the growing global threats posed by infectious diseases and bioterrorism, sources said Thursday during a Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense meeting...witness panelists and attendees at the panel's first public meeting held yesterday in New York City discussed "A Manhattan Project for Biodefense: Taking Biological Threats Off the Table," a proposed national, public-private research and development undertaking that would defend the United States against biological threats.

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Panel To Discuss 'A Manhattan Project For Biodefense' At NYC Public Meeting

Press Release | Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense | July 8, 2019

The bipartisan Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense will host its first-ever public meeting in New York City this Thursday, July 11, to discuss A Manhattan Project for Biodefense - a national, public-private research and development undertaking to defend the U.S. against biological threats. These threats include biological warfare and bioterrorism, where nation-states or terror groups intentionally spread biological agents to cause widespread panic and harm, as well as infectious disease pandemics.

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OSEHRA's Synthetic Patient Data Project Group Releases End-to-End Open Source Patient Data Software Package

Press Release | OSEHRA, Perspecta, MITRE | July 1, 2019

OSEHRA's Synthetic Patient Data Open Source Project Group is proud to announce the release of their end-to-end open source patient data software package. Sponsored by Perspecta Inc., an OSEHRA Organizational Member, this group has worked for more than a year to make it possible for users to generate, visualize, and ingest synthetic patient data with a single command. "The lack of realistic clinical data that mimics the volume, velocity, and variety of real-world patient records has been an impediment to health IT development, testing, and simulation," said Bo Dagnall, chair of the Project Group and Chief Technologist and Strategist for Perspecta's Health Business Group. 

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