Apple Working With Health Gorilla to Offer Comprehensive Medical Records on iPhone

In its quest to turn the iPhone into a comprehensive health repository for every iPhone user, Apple has teamed up with Health Gorilla, a company specializing in aggregating diagnostic information, reports CNBC.

Citing two sources familiar with Apple’s plans, CNBC says Apple is working with Health Gorilla to add diagnostic data to the iPhone by cooperating with hospitals, imaging centers, and lab-testing companies. According to Health Gorilla’s website, the startup offers a secure clinical network that aggregates health data from a range of providers, offering doctors and hospitals access to a comprehensive overview of a patient’s health.

While the service is aimed at medical providers, patients are also able to use the service to get a copy of their medical records “in 10 minutes.”

Access your complete health profile in one place, from prior medical history, to doctor and specialist referrals, to your latest test results. It’s all available through Health Gorilla’s secure clinical network, anytime – from your computer or your favorite device on the go.

Thousands of physicians, specialists, labs, clinics, health centers, hospitals, and other facilities are already connected to Health Gorilla. Reach them easily, and securely share information with everyone in your care circle – whether medical professionals or family and loved ones.

Last week, CNBC said Apple has a “secretive team” within its health unit that has been communicating with developers, hospitals, and industry groups with the aim of storing clinical data on the iPhone and turning it into a “one-stop shop” for medical info.

Apple wants to create a centralized database for all of a person’s health data, which would allow the medical community to overcome existing barriers that often prevent or complicate the transfer of patient data between providers, ultimately resulting in better care for patients.

Through Health Gorilla, the Health app on the iPhone could perhaps include a range of data sourced directly from different health providers in the future, offering up blood work results, x-rays, physical therapy information, and more.

In addition to allegedly working with Health Gorilla, Apple is also said to have hired several developers familiar with the protocols dictating the transfer of electronic health records, and it has also talked with several health IT industry groups dedicated to universal medical records, including The Argonaut Project and The Carin Alliance.

Integration of detailed health records would make the Health app, which already aggregates medical data and health information from the Apple Watch and other connected devices, an even more valuable resource for iPhone users.

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Insurers Talk A Lot About Climate Change, But Most Still Do Business In Coal

The insurance industry’s annual confab last week was supposed to be a dry, stoic affair.

Instead, anti-coal protesters stormed the 44th Geneva Association conference at a ritzy hotel in San Francisco, plastered the bathrooms with slogan stickers and slipped fliers under the doors to executives’ rooms. A plane toting a banner reading “unfriend coal” circled the high-rise where the executives held their closing dinner and cocktail party.  

The activists’ demands were twofold: Insurance companies should divest from coal projects and stop underwriting the fossil fuel.

Insurers have raised the alarm on the risk posed by climate change in recent years, forming international coalitions aimed at preparing for the increased floods, storms and heatwaves that come with a warming planet. But of the 16 companies on the board of the Geneva Association ― the insurance industry’s think tank ― just one told HuffPost it cut off both funding and insurance for coal companies.

AXA Group, France’s largest insurer, in 2015 announced plans to divest from companies most exposed to coal activities. This April, the firm said it would no longer offer property or casualty insurance to mining companies or utilities deriving 50 percent of their sales from coal.

“Coal is often a low-cost form of energy, and is widely available to a large proportion of the world’s population,” the company said at its annual shareholder meeting on April 26. “However, coal is also the most carbon-intensive energy source. AXA, like many investors, believes coal both poses the biggest threat to the climate and its business is the most likely to be constrained.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum is XL Group, whose chief executive, Mike McGavick, is the Geneva Association’s current chairman. His Ireland-based firm has refused to divest from coal companies and continues to cover them with casualty and property insurance, calling such moves “nonsense.”

Other firms have followed his lead, including Japan’s Tokio Marine, the United Kingdom’s Lloyd’s, Brazil’s SulAmérica Seguros, Canada’s Intact, Switzerland’s Zurich Insurance Group and the People’s Insurance Company of China, known as PICC. (Berkshire Hathaway, the U.S. insurance behemoth led by billionaire Warren Buffett, underwrites and invests in coal, though the firm is not on the Geneva Association’s board.)

Italy’s biggest insurance company, Assicurazioni Generali Group, has yet to divest or curtail coverage for coal, but a spokesman told HuffPost it was completing an internal audit to determine the scope of its exposure to the fuel.

“Generali is currently performing an in-depth analysis of its exposure to coal infrastructure both from an investment and underwriting perspective,” Matthew Newton said by email. He did not respond to questions about when the audit would be complete, but suggested it could be a first step toward the company divesting and ending insurance policies for coal.

Coal divestment campaigns have gained steam in recent years as hundreds of cities and universities pull their pension funds and endowments out of the industry. The fuel faces fierce competition from natural gas and renewable energy, and its use is on pace to peak in the next decade. But scientists warn that a business-as-usual approach to the industry that’s disproportionately responsible for planet-heating emissions rapidly causing Earth’s climate to change jeopardizes any hope of averting the worst effects of global warming. 

Peter Bosshard, who coordinated last week’s protest for the activist group Unfriend Coal, said convincing insurers to abandon coal would hasten the industry’s demise.

“It’s the one critical fact that’s been left off the hook,” Bosshard, who works for the global warming advocacy group the Sunrise Project, told HuffPost on Monday. “Insurance is a precondition for any major project to go ahead. It’s one thing to divest, but more important is to stop insuring coal.”

Some companies don’t offer any insurance for coal projects. These include New Jersey-based giant Prudential, Canada’s Manulife Financial, the United Kingdom’s Aviva and the Netherlands’ Aegon.

Aviva and Aegon also have moved to pull money they manage out of coal companies. Germany’s Allianz, France’s SCOR and Switzerland’s Swiss Re similarly have committed to divest, but have stopped short of cutting off insurance coverage for coal-heavy clients. None of these firms responded to HuffPost’s request for comment on Friday.

“Given the clean energy transition underway, all insurers should assess their risk exposure to carbon-intensive fossil fuel industries ― including oil, gas and coal ―- and disclose this information, along with their plans to reduce their fossil-fuel risk exposures, to industry regulators and other stakeholders,” Cynthia McHale, insurance director at the sustainability shareholder advocate Ceres, told HuffPost. “Coal rapidly is being replaced and eclipsed by clean, renewable energy. The market growth opportunities are with renewables, not coal.”

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Tim Hortons franchisees file lawsuit against Restaurant Brands for breach of contract

Tim Hortons franchisees have filed a class-action lawsuit against the iconic Canadian coffee chain’s parent companies Restaurant Brands International Inc. and TDL Group Corp., claiming damages for breach of contract.

The 26-page statement of claim, filed Monday in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, also names Tim Hortons Advertising and Promotion Fund (Canada) and a handful of executives.

At issue is how money was collected and spent in the advertising fund.

“The claim was filed because RBI failed to adequately respond to legitimate questions about its use of advertising funds collected from Tim Hortons franchisees,” the Great White North Franchisee Association said in a statement.

“Litigation was not our preferred option,” the franchisee group said in their statement. “It became the default option due to RBI’s lack of transparency and unwillingness to answer important questions put to it in writing.”

In the statement of claim for the proposed class action, which has not yet been certified, the plaintiffs say they want an accounting of all money in the Ad Fund as of Dec. 15, 2014, as well as of receipts into and disbursements out of the fund since that date.

They are also seeking a declaration from the court that the Ad Fund should be used only to advertise and promote franchised Tim Hortons restaurants and offerings to generate revenue at the Canadian franchisees’ level, and for marketing activities of Tim Hortons franchisees located in Canada.

The statement of claim alleges that problems for the franchisees of the storied coffee and doughnut firm began in late 2014 when TDL, the franchisor of Tim Hortons, came under the ownership of Restaurant Brands.

“Since the acquisition of TDL, RBI has used various strategies to extract more money out of the Tim Hortons franchise system at the expense of franchisees. One such strategy has been to use the Ad Fund in ways in which the fund had never historically been used or permitted,” the lawsuit claims.

“Contrary to the franchise agreement between TDL … and the plaintiff and the proposed class members … RBI has funneled this money to itself, TDL and the individual defendants at the wrongful expense of the franchisees.”

Among the claims, the plaintiffs are seeking damages for breach of contract in the amount of $500 million from TDL Group Corp.

In a statement, Tim Hortons said the legal action is “very disappointing” for the company, whose focus remains on protecting and enhancing its brand.

“We vehemently disagree with and deny all the allegations that have been made about our business and the brand,” the statement said. 

Sami Siddiqui, Canada Brand President for Tim Hortons, sent a note to Canadian franchisees in which he added to the company’s statement, calling the public accusations “unfortunate.” Siddiqui said the company has offered to let any owner “come in and review the numbers with us, line by line, as we have done in the past.”

A group of Tim Hortons franchisees lost an earlier legal battle against the iconic Canadian coffee company when a proposed $2 billion class-action lawsuit over the price of doughnuts was thrown out by an Ontario Superior Court judge in 2012. That suit followed a controversial switch from fresh-baked doughnuts in each store to a system of flash-freezing par-baked treats in a centralized plant to be re-heated in stores.

Bombardier C Series buoyed by Qatar interest and new deal with General Electric

Bombardier Inc.’s marquee C Series jet, which hasn’t won a major new contract in more than a year, got a boost from interest at Qatar Airways and Air Baltic Corp. and from a new jet-leasing venture between the planemaker’s largest outside shareholder and General Electric Co.

The single-aisle model could be suited to an Indian operation that Qatar Air has won permission to establish, the Persian Gulf carrier’s chief executive officer, Akbar Al Baker, said Monday at the Paris Air Show. Air Baltic said the first jets from an order for 20 CS300s have outperformed fuel-burn targets and confirmed it is progressing with an evaluation of the smaller CS100 variant.

“We’ve had several conversations with Akbar and he is watching the program,” Fred Cromer, president of Bombardier’s commercial aircraft unit, said in an interview at the expo. “His interest level increased when he was able to see the aircraft for the first time in Paris a couple of years ago.”

Qatar Air said in March that it aims to set up a short-haul airline in India with a fleet of 100 narrow-body planes as its renews a push to tap one of the world’s fastest-growing travel markets. That project remains on track, with the Doha-based company gaining the right to establish the unit when it is ready, Al Baker said.

The airline has come close to buying the C Series before, though it shelved those plans at the 2011 Paris Air Show.

Bombardier climbed 3.6 per cent to $2.56 at 1:55 p.m. in Toronto. The shares gained 14 per cent this year through June 16 while Canada’s benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index was little changed.

GE Capital Aviation Services, one of the world’s largest jet-leasing companies, said Monday that it would create a US$2 billion financing platform with Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, Canada’s second-largest pension-fund manager, to capitalize on global demand for commercial aircraft.

The move involving the Bombardier investor “may be be a positive” for the C Series, Cromer said, while declining to speculate further about the implications.

Bombardier is confident of winning more C Series orders this year. The company has delivered 14 of the aircraft to date. Certification to take off and land at London City airport — which has a short runway unable to handle most jetliners — has piqued the interest of carriers, while Riga, Latvia-based AirBaltic has reported strong performance data.

“I have CEOs coming up to me saying they’re hearing the aircraft is doing extremely well,” Cromer said. “The number and intensity of the conversations is increasing.” There was similar interest among airline executives at the International Air Transport Association annual meeting in Mexico this month, he said.

AirBaltic has improved fuel burn 21 per cent from the five C Series planes it has received, compared with the Boeing Co. 737-300s that the model is replacing, the airline’s CEO, Martin Gauss, said at the air show. That’s compared with the promised 19 per cent boost. Passenger feedback has focused on lower noise levels, a brighter interior and bigger spaces for stowing baggage, he said.

The carrier needs 14 planes to replace a fleet of Bombardier Q400 turboprops and is evaluating the CS100 against Embraer SA’s E195-E2 jet, which is set to enter service in the first half of 2018. An order decision could come later this year with deliveries starting in 2021, Gauss said in an interview.

Bombardier is also hopeful that existing customers will convert options they have for the C Series into firm orders, Cromer said. Lufthansa holds 30 such positions, while Korean Air Lines Co. President Walter Cho is talking about exercising 20 options beyond the 10 jets on order even before taking the first aircraft later this year.

Bloomberg News

Exposed GOP database demonstrates the risks of data-hungry political campaigns

 Since November, the Trump campaign’s possibly brilliant, maybe-just-lucky data strategy launched a thousand thinkpieces. Now, we’ve got a more intimate look at that data than we were ever meant to have.
As discovered by Chris Vickery, a cyber risk analyst at UpGuard, and reported by Gizmodo, an analytics firm hired by the Republican National Committee left the data of 198 million U.S. Read More

Tesla driver in fatal ‘Autopilot’ crash got numerous warnings: U.S. govt.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A man killed in a crash last year while using the semi-autonomous driving system on his Tesla Model S sedan kept his hands off the wheel for extended periods of time despite repeated automated warnings not to do so, a U.S. government report said on Monday

Illinois Medicaid payment boost talks to continue: attorney

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Talks over boosting Illinois’ lagging payments to Medicaid providers amid the state’s budget impasse will continue past a Tuesday deadline initially set by a federal judge, an attorney said on Monday.