Computer giant IBM will buy Truven Health Analytics for $2.6 billion. The deal will bolster the healthcare capabilities of IBM's Watson cognitive computing system. The company says the deal will bring in more than 8,500 of Truven's clients, including hospitals, clinicians, health plans, employers, life science companies, and state and federal government agencies. IBM's existing health-record data set will swell to about 300 million patient lives, the company said. The deal for privately held Truven will be IBM's fourth health-related acquisition since launching its Watson Health cloud-computing platform last April.
Pope Francis has said women threatened with the Zika virus could use artificial contraception to prevent rare birth defects that have been linked to the virus. Francis told reporters that while aborting a fetus is an unacceptable crime, “avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil.” He pointed to a previous decision by Pope Paul VI in the 1960s that allowed nuns in the Belgian Congo to use artificial contraception because they were being systematically raped. A 1968 encyclical by Pope Paul VI affirmed the church's prohibition against artificial birth control but allowed for its therapeutic use “to cure bodily diseases.” Despite that precedent, Francis last year dismissed the sentiment that condoms could be used in the fight against AIDS, noting that there are more significant issues to be dealt with in Africa.
A 40-year-old computer system and poor safety measures at South Carolina's Medicaid agency exposed the personal health information of roughly 1 million residents to the risk of cybertheft, according to a federal report. The findings by HHS' Office of Inspector General included learning that at the time of its evaluation in 2013, the Medicaid agency did not have a security plan for its computer system, had no encryption for laptops and had not properly trained employees. The report purposefully did not give specifics. The report noted that inspectors found no evidence that any Medicaid data hacking had occurred.