Healthcare provider stories you may have missed – 06/25/20

Healthcare provider stories you may have missed – 06/25/20

Pandemic Update

More than three months into the battle against COVID-19, some states are starting to think twice about re-openings as the virus spreads. Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Robert Redfield are warning lawmakers of the potential for a “tremendous burden” on hospitals as the country prepares for a second wave.

For continuous, real-time updates, follow The New York Times:


Primary Care in Crisis

Primary care practices were already struggling before Coronavirus hit. “It is not hyperbolic to say that the pandemic could be an extinction-level event for primary care,” says Rebecca Etz of VCU School of Medicine.

Etz and her team at the Larry A. Green Center have been conducting weekly physician surveys exploring their challenges, fears and hopes.  

Read more in Medical Economics to see how general practices can be saved and the trends we could see later this year:


10 Most In-Demand Medical Specialties

Family medicine is the most desired physician specialty in the U.S. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, orthopedics was the specialty with the highest annual compensation. With elective surgeries just starting to resume and primary care practices struggling to remain solvent, it will be interesting to see how these rankings change post COVID-19.

Dive deeper with Becker’s ASC Review:


Shortcomings at the CDC

The New York Times writes “The flawed effort was an early revelation for some health departments, whose confidence in the CDC was shaken as it confronted the most urgent public health emergency in its 74-year history….” From outdated technology, to poor data to confusion and disagreement within the administration, see what went wrong at the world’s premier health agency as America’s pandemic response struggled.

Get the full story in the New York Times:

Life Sciences stories you may have missed – 06/18/20

Life Sciences stories you may have missed – 06/18/20

For scientists at the bench, COVID-19 testing a daily ritual

In a pilot program, nearly 230 employees from a dozen biotech startups in Cambridge and Watertown, Mass. regularly visit the Broad Institute for COVID-19 testing. The Boston Globe’s Jonathan Saltzman reports that while much of the world has gone remote during the pandemic, biotech companies have been taking precautions to allow scientists back in the lab – from testing and wearing face masks to maintaining social distancing and working in shifts. Could the biotech community offer strategies for other industries seeking to reopen onsite work?

The (virtual) show must go on: ASCO 2020

Pharmaceutical Technology’s coverage on ASCO 2020, the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting, notes a shift in pharmaceutical developers’ focus from tissue-specific to tissue-agnostic drug development. As the use of next-generation sequencing and broad molecular profiling increases in diagnostic labs, targeting niche genetic aberrations with a broad label across multiple solid cancers could be an effective treatment option.

Critical considerations for COVID-19 vaccine development

If you have been infected or vaccinated for coronavirus, are you protected from getting sick again? Not necessarily. In new paper in Nature Biotechnology, co-authors George Church, SmartPharm Therapeutics CEO Jose Trevejo and researchers from HelixNano write that antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of infection has been observed in coronaviruses. This means patients who have been infected or vaccinated can later be infected by another strain – and potentially suffer even more serious outcomes. “Careful design and testing of vaccines or alternative approaches to prophylaxis will be needed to prevent ADE,” they write.

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – 06/11/20

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – 06/11/20

The economic and societal impact of the global pandemic cannot be understated. New initiatives, regulatory updates, and national survey data spotlight both the challenges and opportunities on our nation’s path to recovery.

For individuals who have been out of work due to the coronavirus outbreak, contact tracing is emerging as a potential job opportunity. It has been widely accepted that contact tracing will be essential to the country’s reopening efforts, but proper training will be a critical success factor. CNBC recently reported that to help enlist tracers across the country, Johns Hopkins has created a free six-hour online course for contact tracing. So far, more than 250,000 people have enrolled, and 70,000 people have passed.

To help address clear disparities in the pandemic’s impact, federal officials announced that labs will be required to report demographic information for people tested for COVID19 such as race, ethnicity, age and gender along with their test results starting Aug. 1. The Washington Post reported that, “In announcing the rules, Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services who is in charge of the government’s coronavirus testing response, acknowledged what Democrats, public health experts and civil rights leaders have complained about for months.”

Additionally, a new poll from Kaiser Family Foundation shows that nearly half of Americans delayed medical care due to COVID-19. The data does not surprise many in the medical field, and they recognize it is likely to cause big problems down the road. Of those who went without seeing a doctor, 11% experienced a worsened medical condition. Moreover, nearly 40% said stress related to the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health.

Learnings from the pandemic, however, may have important lasting power. In a recent opinion piece, Diana Nole (former CEO of Wolters Kluwer Health) says that the disruption we are seeing today from COVID-19 is forcing a recalibration of what is truly important, including trust in healthcare and in our nation’s care providers. You can read it now in MedCity News.

Medtech stories you may have missed – 06/04/20

Medtech stories you may have missed – 06/04/20

The demand for #COVID19 antibody testing continues to increase, as does the scrutiny regarding tests’ accuracy. While #CDC guidelines have shown that less than half of those testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies actually have them, increasing the number of tests conducted, particularly in areas of high disease prevalence, boosts positive predictive value. This NPR article shows how prevalence and false positive rates affect antibody test results and why using two different tests, which the CDC now recommends for those who test positive, could improve testing accuracy.

As a result of these CDC guidelines, our client BioDot, which provides dispensing automation and manufacturing solutions to the world’s largest diagnostic companies, continues to scale up its manufacturing operations to keep pace with testing demand. The company recently announced that more than 50 companies worldwide are now using its technology to develop #COVID19 #antibody tests. Each of its automated lateral flow dispensing platforms enable customer production of 1 million point-of-care antibody tests per week. Read more in this SelectScience piece.

In COVID-19-related #telemedicine news, our client Prospero Health, a team-based home health care company, has partnered with GrandPad to improve access to care for seniors during the crisis and address gaps in care coordination. Prospero can now provide 24/7 telemedicine support to its vulnerable patients through GrandPad’s video chat capabilities that enable care teams to regularly check in on patients in real-time, while adhering to social distancing guidelines. This story on South Carolina Public Radio highlights how Prospero and GrandPad are contributing to the promise of virtual medical care, which went from being the future to being the new norm.

How Our Clients Are Helping

How Our Clients Are Helping

Every organization is navigating the choppy waters of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our clients are working hard to help answer seemingly endless questions and offer needed services and advice. Here are three stories that highlight how clients are responding:

East Boston Neighborhood Health Center is at the center of the COVID-19 crisis, serving vulnerable patients living in or nearby the hard-hit city of Chelsea, Mass. CEO Manny Lopes is serving an important role as an advocate for this community, sharing his thoughts on racial and socio-economic inequities during recent interviews on MSNBC, the Boston Globe and Boston Herald.

SmartPharm Therapeutics has an unique approach to COVID-19 treatment, using monoclonal antibodies to neutralize the virus and protect people from infection. Unlike traditional approaches, it does not rely on the body’s immune system to mount a defense. Because of COVID-19, SmartPharm is now in the spotlight faster than intended, and together with Greenough it has opportunistically put a stake in the ground, reaching potential partners and investors through stories in BioWorld, Regulatory Focus, Forbes, EndPoints and the Milken Institute.

The pandemic struck as allergy season was getting underway, and many overlapping symptoms created panic among allergy sufferers who feared sneezes and coughs could be a COVID-19 infection. To address this confusion, which tax a suddenly overwhelmed health system, Thermo Fisher Scientific made its U.S. medical director for immunodiagnostics, Dr. Lakiea Wright, available for media. As a respected physician, who also practices at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, her guidance across national media, including CNN and Men’s Health as well as local broadcast news on WCVB, has reassured many seasonal allergy sufferers in recent weeks.


We’re proud to support these great clients as they make a difference in the COVID-19 response.


Healthcare provider stories you may have missed – 02/27/20

Healthcare provider stories you may have missed – 02/27/20

CDC: Start Prepping for a Coronavirus Outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that it expects the coronavirus to begin spreading at a community level in the United States. There have been 14 cases of the virus diagnosed in the U.S., all in people who traveled recently to China or their close contacts. But as the virus spreads to other countries like Iran, South Korea and Italy, we could see a bigger outbreak within our borders.

Check out the CDC’s recommendations for American businesses and families in Stat. 


Insurer-owned Clinics Threaten Hospitals and Physician Practices

Large health insurers like UnitedHealthcare and Aetna are capitalizing on recent mergers and acquisitions by steering patients toward clinics they now own, controlling both delivery and payment for healthcare. But according to Chas Roades, a consultant at Gist Healthcare, “It’s very worrisome for hospitals. Suddenly, the plan you’re relying on for payment is also competing with you at the front end of the delivery system.”

Read more in the Wall Street Journal


Beneath the Hospital Gown

In stark contrast to the meaning and feelings conveyed by the doctor’s white coat, hospital gowns make patients feel exposed, vulnerable and stripped of their identity. In this op-ed, Dr. Ersilia M. DeFilippis writes, “It’s as if the concept of the hospital gown is so irrevocably tied to what it means to be a patient that we haven’t considered the patient experience without it. We could empower patients and family members to bring in their own clothes, in the same way that we encourage them to bring in pictures or other mementos. This small act can go a long way with respect to physical and emotional healing.”

Dive deeper in The New York Times.


What’s Behind America’s High Maternal Mortality Rate?

The maternal death rate and heart disease are inextricably linked, but according to Nandita Scott, at Massachusetts General Hospital it’s not standard for cardiologists to be trained on pregnant women. Why not? And what’s being doing to combat this alarming trend?

Learn more in Bloomberg