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Latest Top (4) News

HHS announces the winners of the HHS Opioid Code-a-Thon

On December 6 and 7, HHS hosted a first-of-its-kind two-day Code-a-Thon to help turn data into lifesaving solutions to the opioid epidemic.

Fifty teams, comprised of three to five members of computer programmers, public health advocates, and innovators worked for over 24 hours to create data-driven solutions that can have immediate and practical impact on the opioid crisis.

“HHS’ code-a-thon was a major step forward in the efforts to use data to address the opioid crisis,” said Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan. “The innovative ideas developed today could turn into tomorrow’s solutions as we work to combat the scourge of opioid addiction sweeping the nation. On behalf of the administration, I commend all of our technology partners and the HHS staff for their hard work on this unprecedented event.”

HHS Chief Technology Officer Bruce Greenstein said, “We put the call out across the tech and entrepreneur communities to join us in Washington, D.C., so that we might multiply our combined skills and resources to combat the opioid epidemic. Over 300 coders answered the call and 50 teams joined us at HHS Headquarters to create a community that will continue to use data and technology to develop new solutions to address the epidemic.”

Teams used data from HHS and other federal agencies, some of it released for the first time, to analyze trends and patterns and propose solutions in three challenge areas.

Out of the 50 teams competing, nine teams were selected for the final judging round. The three winners that were awarded $10,000 prizes are:

  • In the prevention track coders were asked, “How can you help federal, state, and local stakeholders predict and analyze the supply and movement of legal and illicit opioids?The Visionist Inc. team came up with a program called Take Back America, to assess the unmet need in five states for takeback programs at pharmacies where unused or unneeded opioids can be returned, therefore taking a source of opioids out of circulation.
  • In the treatment track coders were asked, “How can you help federal, state, and local stakeholders improve access to effective treatment and recovery services?” The Origami Innovations team, from Yale University, produced a model designed for real-time tracking of overdoses, allowing first responders and health authorities to be prepared for tracking events such as an outbreak of fentanyl overdoses in communities. This real time tracking would enable area hospitals and local health departments to allocate resources where they are most needed.
  • In the usage track coders were asked, “How can you help federal, state, and local stakeholders identify at-risk populations and their underlying risk characteristics of opioid misuse or abuse?” The Opioid Prescriber Awareness Tool (OPAT) team developed a program to provide physicians with a visual representation of their opioid prescribing patterns compared with their peers. The tool also allows physicians to visualize the prescribing patterns of other physicians in their area that they might refer their patients to.

Friday, December 8, 2017 - 14:00

Readout of Acting HHS Secretary Hargan's Visit to Missouri to Discuss Tax Reform

Yesterday, Acting Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan traveled to O’Fallon, Missouri where he was hosted by the Phoenix Textile Corporation to discuss the need for tax reform in the United States.

Acting Secretary Hargan toured and met with leadership of the Phoenix Textile Corporation which distributes textile products—such as scrubs, laboratory coats, uniforms, linens, and other items—to hospital and nursing homes across the nation. They have been in business since 1983 starting with a handful of employees and today have grown to have over 100 employees. As Acting Secretary Hargan noted in his speech, “This is a really special place — the epitome of the great American tradition of family-owned small businesses: 34 years in business, growing to 110 employees, woman-owned, passed down from one generation to the next. Businesses like this are the backbone of the American economy.”

Acting Secretary Hargan and the Trump Administration understand that businesses like Phoenix Textile Corporation across all sectors, including the healthcare industry, contribute to a healthier American economy and workforce. With this in mind, Acting Secretary Hargan concluded his visit with formal remarks on President Trump’s vision for reforming our nation’s broken tax code.

As Acting Secretary Hargan noted in his speech, “…strong small businesses don’t just create jobs and economic opportunity. They also provide a strong foundation for local communities and a good living for hardworking employees to support their families. In turn, healthy communities and strong families mean healthier Americans, which is why I’m here today. President Trump’s commitment to building a strong American economy, and to all the benefits that come with a strong economy, extends across his Administration.”

To learn more about President Trump’s vision for tax reform, please visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/taxreform and to read Acting Secretary Hargan’s full remarks as prepared for delivery, please visit https://www.hhs.gov/about/leadership/secretary/speeches/2017-speeches/remarks-to-phoenix-textile-corp.html.

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 11:30

New Members Named to Serve on Health Information Technology Advisory Committee Established in 21st Century Cures Act

Today, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Acting Secretary Eric D. Hargan named three members to the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC).

The committee, created by the 21st Century Cures Act, is charged with making recommendations to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology relating to the implementation of national and local health information technology (health IT) infrastructure. These recommendations include, “policies,…standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria” that advance the electronic access, exchange, and use of health information.

The HITAC provides the opportunity for stakeholders and the public to provide direct input to HHS about the implementation and use of health IT. The committee is supported by HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

Acting Secretary Hargan has appointed the following individuals to the HITAC:

  • Leslie Lenert, M.D., Chief Research Information Officer, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC (Public Health Appointment)
  • Clem J. McDonald, M.D., Director, Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, Bethesda, MD (HHS Representative Appointment)
  • Robert Wah, M.D., Global Chief Medical Officer, DXC Technology, McLean, VA (At-large Appointment)

The HHS-appointed members join 15 Government Accountability Office-appointed members who will serve for one-, two-, or three-year terms:

  • Michael Adcock, Executive Director of the Center for Telehealth at the University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • Christina Caraballo, Director of Healthcare Transformation at Get Real Health
  • Tina Esposito, Vice President of Information and Technology Innovation at Advocate Health Care
  • Brad Gescheider, Senior Director of Provider and Payer Solutions at PatientsLikeMe
  • John Kansky, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Indiana Health Information Exchange
  • Kensaku Kawamoto, Associate Chief Medical Information Officer, University of Utah Health, and Assistant Professor, University of Utah Department of Biomedical Informatics
  • Denni McColm, Chief Information Officer at Citizens Memorial Healthcare
  • Brett Oliver, Chief Medical Information Officer for Baptist Health
  • Terrence O’Malley, Massachusetts General Hospital and Spaulding Nursing and Therapy Center North End
  • Carolyn Petersen, patient advocate and Senior Editor for Mayo Clinic’s health information website
  • Raj Ratwani, Acting Center Director and Scientific Director of the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare within MedStar Health, and Assistant Professor at the Georgetown University School of Medicine
  • Sasha TerMaat, Director at Epic
  • Sheryl Turney, Senior Director of All-Payer Claims Database Analytics and Data Policy and Administration at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Andrew Truscott, Managing Director for Health and Public Service at Accenture
  • Denise Webb, Chief Information Officer of Marshfield Clinic Health System and Chief Executive Officer of Marshfield Clinic Information Services, Inc

In addition, six of eight appointments have been made by Congressional leaders:

  • Cynthia Fisher, Founder and Managing Director, WaterRev, LLC
  • Dr. Anil Jin, Vice President and Chief Health Informatics Officer, IBM Watson Health
  • Dr. Steven Lane, Clinical Informatics Director for Privacy, Health Information Security & Interoperability, Sutter Health
  • Arien Malec, Vice President for the Data Platform Solution Line, RelayHealth
  • Steven Ready, System Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Norton Healthcare
  • Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Chairman and CEO, NantWorks

Learn more about the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee on HealthIT.gov.

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 15:00

Readout of Acting HHS Secretary Hargan's Visit to the U.S. Virgin Islands

Acting Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan and Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec traveled to St. Thomas today to meet with local officials assisting with response efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).

Acting Secretary Hargan first met with U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp and local officials at the U.S. Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency to discuss the ongoing response efforts, and was later briefed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the environmental health of residents of the Islands. Acting Secretary Hargan then toured the USVI Departments of Health and Human Services in St. Thomas, as well as a shelter currently housing victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Information on health, safety and HHS actions are available at www.phe.gov/emergency. Public Service Announcements with post-storm health tips are available at https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/psa/index.html. Residents in the continental United States are encouraged to provide these tips to family members and friends in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Updates and health information also are available at:

ASPR - @PHEgov

HHS - @HHSgov

CDC - @CDCgov

Friday, November 3, 2017 - 17:15