Epic, Cerner, Google react to HHS' final interoperability rules & 20 other health IT notes

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Here's the latest roundup of stories about health IT companies, including Apple, Epic and Microsoft.

1. Salesforce recently launched several new capabilities for its healthcare cloud platform.

2. Siemens Healthineers on March 9 unveiled its operational, clinical and shared decision support solution Teamplay Digital Health Platform.

3. IBM Watson Health and EBSCO Information Services are combining their online clinical databases into a single comprehensive resource, with a goal of improving clinical decision-making.

4. CVS Health added five more digital health services to its Point Solutions Management platform, through which CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management clients can cover the costs of digital health tools for employees.

5. Though a study published Jan. 1 describing the success of Google's DeepMind artificial intelligence at diagnosing breast cancer was largely met with praise and excitement, in a Feb. 28 response, a group of AI researchers criticized the study's lack of transparency.

6. Google confirmed that is has temporarily banned ads for medical face masks amid growing concerns over the coronavirus.

7. In the wake of leadership changes, Microsoft has named Eric Horvitz its first chief scientific officer.

8. As the coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S., several big tech companies including Amazon and Epic have restricted some employee travel and instituted remote work protocols.

9. After shutting down its entire retail presence in China amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, Apple has reopened all but four of its 42 stores in mainland China.

10. Epic, Cerner, Google and Microsoft are just a handful of health IT companies speaking up about HHS' interoperability rules, which were finalized March 9.

11. Apple announced March 10 that an employee at its Cork, Ireland, office has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

12. Hospitals and health systems with an Epic EHR can use various tools within the system to help treat and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

13. Amazon and Microsoft on March 9 each pledged $1 million to a new COVID-19 Response Fund in Washington's Puget Sound region.

14. The next iteration of the Apple Watch wearable device might have the ability to measure blood oxygen levels and alert users to low blood oxygen saturation, or hypoxemia, which can increase the risk of respiratory or cardiac arrest.

15. Epic is altering its travel policy and allowing some employees to work virtually in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

16. Google executives continue to send out updates on the status of the coronavirus with encouraging messages.

17. Microsoft is in the process of launching several new technology solutions to improve hospital and health systems' scheduling, cybersecurity, telehealth and data analytics capabilities.

18. Microsoft confirmed that two employees in Washington state have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

19. Apple is denying applications related to the coronavirus outbreak that aren't released by an official health organization or government.

20. Though Google wants to use de-identified patient data to help improve health system operations, the tech giant continues to face backlash over how it is collecting data.

21. There has been controversy around Google's partnerships with major health systems, as government leaders are unsure if patient data is secure.

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