Telemedicine extends hospitals’ reach

From the Daily Star:

Thanks to innovative telemedicine technology now being used at several area hospitals, that patient’s exam can be completed remotely by a Bassett provider using secure, high-definition two-way videoconferencing similar to Skype or Facetime, saving the patient time and travel and increasing overall efficiency.

By electronically and remotely connecting patients and medical providers, telemedicine is enhancing patient-centered health care throughout Bassett Healthcare Network and at Margaretville Hospital, several hospital officials said last week. The technology is especially well-suited for managing the health of patient populations in largely remote and rural areas, where traveling great distances to get to the nearest hospital is the norm.

Internet-connected hospital drug pumps vulnerable to remote lethal-dose attacks

From Boing Boing:

Researcher Billy Rios (previously) has extended his work on vulnerabilities in hospital drug pumps, discovering a means by which their firmware can be remotely overwritten with new code that can result in lethal overdoses for patients.

The pumps are vulnerable because, like many embedded/Internet of Things devices, they don’t check new firmware for signatures from the manufacturer.

Our rural hospitals aren’t healthy

From the Washington Post:

Beyond their own economic activity, rural hospitals enhance the ability to develop economically. When choosing a community, employers view the presence of a hospital as a signal of the area’s strength and rely on hospitals to help them maintain a healthy and productive workforce.

Despite their outsize importance, both medically and economically, rural hospitals are battling the toughest fiscal environment they have ever encountered. According to the North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center, almost 50 rural hospitals have closed nationally in just the past four years. Here in Virginia, one of our rural facilities closed in 2013. The financial outlook for our other hospitals is daunting.

Where Medicaid expansion matters: Small Illinois hospital expands while Missouri counterparts cut back

From Modern Healthcare:

At a time when many rural hospitals across the country are on life support, the Affordable Care Act’s controversial Medicaid expansion has resuscitated hospitals, including Franklin. But across the state line in Missouri, where Republican lawmakers have refused to expand Medicaid, hospitals such as Perry County Memorial Hospital in Perryville are not seeing a comparable financial boost.