A roundup of the week’s top healthcare technology news.

1. Cerner’s EHR to integrate with Uber Health app

Cerner, an electronic health records (EHR) tech company, and Uber have joined forces to provide rides for patients with transportation challenges. The Uber Health app will integrate with Cerner’s EHRs, allowing healthcare providers to schedule rides for their patients at the tap of a button.

Craig Anderson, director of innovation at BayCare, a Tampa Bay, Florida-based Cerner client, has already started using the app. He said, “Our ‘discharge order to door’ time has improved by 65 minutes due to our ability to provide an Uber ride for patients that are in need.” Both Cerner and Uber hope to address social determinants of health by lowering the number of no-shows and reducing the use of ambulance services for people without reliable transportation.

2. How pharmacies can step up locally

If you want to understand care on a local level, ask Nimesh Jhaveri, president of Health Mart Pharmacy. Health Mart is an independent franchise with more than 5,000 locally owned pharmacies across the U.S. Jhaveri joined a panel at a recent HLTH event in Las Vegas, and said pharmacists should offer:

Quality expertise. Pharmacists can educate patients and ensure the right treatment for their customers.

A “whole patient” approach. “From immunizations to weight control to smoking cessation,” said Jhaveri, “we need to provide diverse services and counsel on health, wellness and prevention.”

Healthcare team integration. “Pharmacists need to lean in and become an active member of the patient’s care team,” Jhaveri said. “We need to move from order takers to strategic partners and be the leader in the therapy of our patients.”

3. Best time for flu shot is now

It’s time to roll up your sleeve and get a flu shot. Getting a flu shot today can help protect you during the peak of flu season, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Studies show the effectiveness of the flu vaccine drops about 7 percent each month after immunization.

Getting it early provides protection, but it may not be as effective as getting it late in October or early November. The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for older adults, young children, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.

4. Mastercard to offer full suite of security services to healthcare companies

Mastercard’s cybersecurity expertise is making inroads into the healthcare industry. The financial services company will offer tech platforms for payers and providers with top-notch biometrics and behavioral analytics. They will also use artificial intelligence products and machine learning to guard against fraud.

Mastercard hopes their offerings will protect against the rising threat of data breaches. In 2018, hackers accessed 14.2 million patient records. But in the first half of 2019 alone, the number of breaches nearly tripled to 32 million health records.

“It’s a way to bring tried and true assets to the healthcare ecosystem,” Marie Aloisi, senior vice president of commercial payments, B2B acceptance and healthcare at Mastercard, told FierceHealthcare. “There’s a healthcare data breach every day. This is a serious problem.”

5. CMS issues call for help from AI experts

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) is looking for artificial intelligence (AI) insights. CMS wants to learn how to leverage AI to:

  • Process claims payments
  • Lower the burden on healthcare providers
  • Align its programs with new technology
  • Protect against breaches
  • Strengthen CMS’s integrity
  • Improve access to electronic health records (EHR)

“In addition to helping modernize our healthcare system, this technology could also allow CMS to prevent improper payments and, help us move away from the outdated, expensive, and inefficient paradigm of ‘pay and chase,’” said CMS leaders in a statement. “To do this we need emerging techniques that can help us extend the life of the Medicare Trust Funds and protect the interests of millions of future beneficiaries by eliminating fraud, waste, abuse and misspending.”

CMS invites stakeholders to share their AI expertise with CMS officials.

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