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The Swallow That Doth Make Summer

Healthcare IT services bellwether Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS) announced their quarterly earnings last week – our swallow for the summer of downbeat forecasts from the sector. Growth rate for healthcare is back to positive (4.90% for the June 30 quarter, compared to -3.99% for March 31). However, margins have come down by close to 7 %.The management indicated a lower revenue forecast for the year due to the macro environment, and expressed caution on the growth outlook for healthcare, which is nearly a third of the total revenue for the company. The uncertainty was attributed to the payer segment which is in suspended animation due to the pending regulatory approvals for major mergers among health plans.

We had covered the quarterly results for other industry majors in an earlier report.

This week, we saw two big data breaches in healthcare. The first was Banner Health, which reported that 3.7 million patient records had been compromised. The other was Newkirk Products , a provider of identity cards to health insurers such Blue Cross Blue Shield that may have been compromised for 3.3 million patient records.

Read this blog by Marissa Cohen from MedicFP on four important healthcare tech vulnerabilities to watch for.

What’s interesting about these breaches is that Newkirk is one of the first big cases of a HIPAA business associate (BA) that has been targeted by hackers. This could be a wake-up call to other BA’s that may be exposed to hacking and the consequent penalties under HIPAA. Time for healthcare tech firms to pull up that Business Associate Agreement (BAA) and initiate an internal assessment of processes and safeguards when working with protected health information (PHI).
Here are some new lifestyle tips to ponder this week : avoiding red meat (be vegetarian !) and reading books can lead to healthier, longer lives. 

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