Specialty Focus   
Volume VI | Issue 24                                                                                
June 13, 2017  
        Practice specific news, analysis and commentary 
      for Florida's Medical Specialists
                            From the publisher of FHIweekly & FloridaHealthIndustry.com

Consultant & Lawyer Fatigue No More!
Jeff Cohen
Healthcare regulatory compliance is often performed by consultants who are not lawyers. This can create tension between the professionals, since they may see the same issue differently. Moreover, since healthcare consultants often deliver their services directly to clients (not through healthcare legal counsel), the process loses the protection of the attorney client privilege.

Clients might not appreciate the need for both consultant and legal services, especially given the expense. And many times lawyers will likely tell their clients they lack the expertise to weigh in on the consultant's service, which can leave all parties feeling like they are working without a net. Additionally, many consultants are rare enough to have to be brought in from out of state.
Read More
OCR Provides Update on HIPAA Enforcement Efforts
Vitale Health Law

The recent WannaCry ransomware attack impacting hospital and healthcare information systems worldwide shone a bright light on the vulnerabilities of most healthcare provider's networks.

But the problem extends far beyond this one case. In fact, there are near daily reports of patients' private information being accessed due to a lack of appropriate security measures. And, it's not just healthcare information, but addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, financial information, the list goes on.

In the wake of these attacks, Office for Civil Rights Senior Advisor for HIPAA Compliance and Enforcement, Iliana Peters, provided an update on OCR's enforcement activities in a recent Health Care Compliance Association podcast.
More on artificial intelligence in medicine and surgery
Skeptical Scalpel

A survey published in the journal arXiv predicted with a 50% probability that high-level machine intelligence would equal human performance as a surgeon in approximately 35 years.

We have already seen a machine beat the world's best Go player. Although Go is a complicated game, it lends itself to mathematical analysis unlike what one might experience when doing a pancreatic resection.

A potential flaw in this study is that the surveyed individuals were all artificial intelligence researchers who predicted that machines would not be their equal for over 85 more years with the 75% likelihood of this occurring being over 200 years from now.

I suspect if surgeons were asked the same questions, we would say it would take over 85 years for machines to be able to operate as well as we can and 35 years until artificial intelligence researchers would be replaced by their creations.
Are You a Victim of Abuse or Neglect? 
MD Whistleblower

Words matter. Patients can get spooked by the words we use. All of us have heard vignettes of how some Whistle inadvertent harsh words from a physician have caused injury. I know there were times that I wish I could rewind and erase some errant words.

Sometimes, an innocent remark from the doctor doesn't land innocently. When I ask as a matter of routine, 'is there a family history of colon cancer', as I do with every patient, this may provoke anxiety in a patient who is seeing me for a bowel disturbance.

We ask every patient who arrives at our ambulatory surgery center if they have a living will. This often causes the patient to utter a nervous joke. We then go on to ask if the patient has ever been 'a victim of abuse or neglect'.