MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Ion Torrent Systems Inc. developed a gene sequencing method that may be able to reach the target $1,000 genome, according to a study published in the journal Nature.
The Guilford, Conn.-based company published results of their sequencing technology, which uses semiconductors rather than the more common (and more expensive) optical technology to develop a technique that may be low cost, portable and scalable.
“We have a new type of sequencing method, and we can do sequencing from microbial to human,” Ion’s vice president of marketing and business development Maneesh Jain told Mass High Tech. The technology was recently used to sequence the E. coli bacteria during the recent outbreak in China and Germany, according to the paper.
“In the past, if you looked at the progression of an outbreak, it took a while to identify it. Here, we identified what it was in the first three days, and they were able to do something about it," Jain said.
Since its acquisition by Life Technologies CORP. (NSDQ:LIFE) in November, 2010, Ion Torrent has nearly doubled its workforce to more than 200 people. The product is used in 40 countries and hundreds of labs.
“Sequencing on an ion semiconductor chip makes the $1,000 genome both inevitable and predictable. Extrapolating from our current progress we will break the $1,000 genome barrier in 2013,” company founder Jonathan Rothberg said told Mass High Tech. “The development of ion semiconductor sequencing will have as profound an effect on sequencing as the introduction of CMOS imagers had on the development of digital photography, or the introduction of the microprocessor had on computing — it will make sequencing ubiquitous, fast and low cost.”
12 out of 13 states incentivizing Meaningful Use don’t plan to fully verify before paying out
Only one of 13 states planning to offer Medicaid incentives for Meaningful Use of electronic health records by Jan. 14, 2012 expect to verify all 11 eligibility requirements for incentive payments, according to a report by the Dept. of Health & Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General.
Kentucky said it would verify EHR awards for all 11 requirements for Meaningful Use prior to payment being made. All states reported that they would audit payments after the funds had been distributed.
No laws are being broken, the OIG report emphasized, as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services doesn’t require that states to verify self-reported eligibility information before distributing funds, Fierce EMR reported. .
ACO draft proposal leaked
A draft proposal for Pioneer Accountable care Organizations under review by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services was leaked to Healthwatch last week, detailing the methods that Medicare proposes for administering model organizations for coordinating patient care.
The report depicts the techniques suggested for identifying populations, calculating baseline expenditures, setting expenditure benchmarks and determining performance period expenditures.
Can EMRs stem medical errors?
Electronic medical records could be a big help in cutting down medical errors that can lead to patient readmission and even death, patient safety researchers say in the July 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Assn.
Researchers suggest that leading health care groups are exploiting EMRs to address patient safety issues, but that the technique hasn’t yet "hit the mainstream."
"The implementation of electronic health records may do more to improve the quality and safety of care in hospitals than almost any other initiative," said Dr. M. Michael Shabot, CEO of the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, where barcodes on patient wristbands connect to health records. "Before a nurse gives a medication, he or she takes a portable scanner and positively identifies both the patient and the medication. If there have been any changes in the patient’s electronic health record such as new lab work that might advise a change in the medication, or not giving it at all, the nurse will be notified," Shabot said.