That’s News

By Cari Wade Gervin
Friday, July 30, 2021

Could Your Oncology Software Get Hacked?

Just as in politics and the energy business, hacking hospital systems is on the rise — and it’s not just patient privacy that’s at risk. In April, a security breach of oncology and radiology system provider Elekta took the radiation systems of numerous hospitals offline, delaying care for patients. In 2020, the University of Vermont Health Network was offline for 40 days after an attack.

In most hospitals, the security of radiation oncology software is not as up-to-date as that of EMRs. Given an expected uptick in attacks in coming years, practices are encouraged to develop a “disaster plan” ahead of time, both to ensure continuity of patient care and take preventive measures to avoid a worst-case scenario.

AI Could Detect Colon Cancer

In April, the FDA approved the GI Genius for clinical use. It is the first device that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help doctors detect colon lesions in real time during a colonoscopy.

“When AI is combined with traditional screenings or surveillance methods, it could help find problems early on, when they may be easier to treat,” said the FDA’s Courtney H. Lias, PhD, Acting Director of the GastroRenal, ObGyn, General Hospital and Urology Devices Office in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, upon approving the product.

In a randomized study, the GI Genius detected 13% more lab-confirmed adenomas or carcinomas than a traditional colonoscopy. During the exam, the software alerts physicians with a marker and sound when it detects a potential lesion. The provider can then decide whether further visual inspection or testing is needed.

Seniors Are Waiting for Medicare to Get Screened for Cancer

A new study from Stanford University suggests that the increase of cancer diagnoses seen at age 65 occurs because many seniors wait until they have Medicare coverage to see a doctor for cancer screenings or treatment of troubling symptoms.

The study assessed more than 600,000 lung, breast, colon and prostate cancer diagnoses over 12 years in people in their 60s. With every cancer, there was a greater jump in the number of people diagnosed between age 64 to 65 than at any other age.

Insured cancer patients were more likely to get surgical treatment and have better outcomes than their younger, uninsured counterparts. The study’s authors said a possible Medicare expansion to uninsured people under 65 could save lives — and medical costs.