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Healthcare Informatics’ Top 10 Stories of 2017

December 20, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Once again, we present to you the most popular stories of the past year

Another year has come and gone, and once again there was no shortage of health IT developments. At this time last year, industry stakeholders were thrust into an era of certainty as a new presidential administration took the helm. But since that early period of angst, things have seemed to calm down as most patient care organization leaders are now operating as if things will go on as planned from a value-based care perspective.

With that said, it was still another very exciting year in health IT, from major policy developments to unfortunate cybersecurity incidents to new trends that could help shape the future healthcare landscape. These topics make up just some of the top stories of 2017; indeed, the following list of stories is from you, our readers, as it is based on what pieces were most read in the year that was.

1) The 2017 Healthcare Informatics 100 This one should come as a surprise to nobody as it is a yearly fixture on this top-10 list. Every year, our team ranks the 100 vendors with the highest revenues derived from healthcare IT products and services earned in the U.S. based on their revenue information from the previous year. This year, Optum once again topped the list with a reported 2016 health IT revenue of $7.3 billion. In addition to the company rankings is a plethora of other data that helps industry observers get a better sense of the health IT marketplace and vendor landscape. Year in and year out, it’s the most popular content that we produce.

2) Most Interesting Vendors 2017: What’s Behind the Epic Juggernaut? This profile on the Verona, Wis.-based EHR vendor Epic Systems was one of the most popular features ever produced by Healthcare Informatics. Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland was able to go directly to Epic’s campus in Wisconsin and talk to its two top personnel people in person, including billionaire CEO Judy Faulkner. The story touched on several different angles, but for anyone who has a stake in this industry, it’s clearly a must-read.

3) Cyber Attack Update: Nuance Still Down, Researchers Believe “Petya” is not Ransomware This story was part of a few updates from us on a major worldwide cybersecurity incident that took place in June. This particular piece was about how operations at Massachusetts-based technology company Nuance Communications continued to suffer following a global malware attack that affected various industries in 65 countries. Some of our other coverage on the Petya/NotPetya cyber attack can be read here, here and here.

4) Who is Seema Verma? Digging Deeper into Trump’s Pick to Run CMS This story was technically published late in 2016, but we’ll make an exception here for relevance. When reports came out that President Trump would be nominating Seema Verma to run the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), not many people connected to health IT knew much about her. But our piece hoped to lessen that uncertainty by talking to some people who had worked with her in the past. While she was a healthcare consultant prior to joining CMS, Verma was generally well-regarded by her peers and was particularly praised by Republicans for constructing a Medicaid expansion program in Indiana that made sure low-income patients had “skin in the game,” despite operating under a Democratic healthcare law with different ideals.

5) MACRA QPP 2018 Proposed Rule and Final Rule Released These are two different stories but they are attached at the hip since both are about the same legislation—the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). First in June, and then in early November, CMS released two key rules that stakeholders were extremely interested in as they continue to push forward into value-based care. Neither the proposed rule nor the final version were brief in length (to say the least), but for eligible clinicians who will be participating in MACRA’s Quality Payment Program (QPP), they could not be ignored.

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