Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – Jan. 2021

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – Jan. 2021

Although 2021 may be the year that we finally gain control of COVID-19, the effects of 2020 will impact care delivery for years to come. This was the sentiment of Jerry Penso, president and CEO at AMGA, a trade association that represents medical groups and other organized systems of care, including some of the nation’s largest, most influential integrated healthcare delivery systems.

In a recent contribution to Healthcare Innovation, Penso shared his predictions for the year ahead. The evolution of telemedicine to home care stuck out as very real possibility given its rapid adoption during the pandemic. Penso states, “Providers of care are not only planning how to optimally deploy telehealth for various clinical pathways, but also exploring the huge potential scope of services that can be provided in the home setting.”

Related, Fierce Healthcare reported that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extended the public health emergency surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic until April, extending key waivers for regulations on a variety of topics including telehealth. Care providers and patients alike are letting out a sigh of relief. Interestingly, mental health treatment was the most common telehealth service during COVID.

Already in 2021 tech companies are stepping up in new ways to support the massive COVID-19 vaccination effort. Fierce reported that Moderna is working with Uber to raise awareness and increase access to COVID-19 vaccines. The two companies will work together initially to provide accessible, credible information on vaccine safety through Uber’s in-app messaging. The companies will also work with public health organizations to identify additional opportunities to support ongoing efforts to broaden access to COVID-19 vaccines.

These are a few of the bright spots as the nation continues to grapple with the raging pandemic. While there is little doubt that 2021 will be another transformational year for healthcare, the hope is that positive, lasting change is on the horizon.

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Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – November 2020

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – November 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic was the backdrop for this year’s presidential election, triggering important questions about the future of U.S. healthcare. Despite the uncertainty that still exists today, healthcare IT leaders have a strong grasp on the issues and technologies that should take priority in the next four years.

Fierce Healthcare reported on the key issues that healthcare leaders would like to see the federal government take immediate action on. Beyond improving the nation’s public health data infrastructure, the article highlighted improving patient identification, solidifying telehealth reimbursement protocols, advancing interoperability and strengthening cybersecurity in hospitals. All these issues have been exasperated by the pandemic which has created more urgency in addressing them. 

Additionally, an Optum survey of 500 healthcare execs revealed that more than half (56%) are accelerating or expanding their artificial intelligence (AI) deployment timelines in response to the pandemic, demonstrating the importance of this business tool during the most stressful times.

In other AI-related news, a group of researchers at MIT developed an AI model that can detect asymptomatic COVID-19 cases by listening to subtle differences in coughs between healthy people and infected people. The researchers are testing their AI in clinical trials and have already started the process of seeking approval from the FDA for it to be used as a screening tool.

2021 will hopefully look very different from 2020 from a public health perspective, and beyond taking the input of healthcare leaders to heart, the federal government has an opportunity to support broad adoption of advanced technologies that can aid in the ongoing battle against COVID-19.

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – 10/8/20

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – 10/8/20

While the healthcare industry has experienced more than its fair share of challenges amid the coronavirus epidemic, there are some bright spots worth noting. Often, where there are challenges there is also ripe opportunity for out-of-the-box thinking and innovation.

We’re only three quarters of the way through this year, but 2020 has already set a new annual record for the venture capital funding being pumped into the digital health space. Fierce Healthcare reported that companies in the health tech industry have collectively raised $9.4 billion so far this year, topping the previous record of $8.2 billion set in all of 2018.

Additionally, Frost & Sullivan revealed several global trends generating growth opportunities from COVID-19. According to the analysis, robotics, advanced data analytics, IoT, privacy and security, and business model innovation are all critical success factors for growth. Healthcare IT News has all the details.

Last but certainly not least is a CB Insights report suggesting technology giants Amazon, Apple and Google are further penetrating the healthcare industry by way of health insurance. Becker’s Hospital Review lays out four trends to know and provides a breakdown of partnerships these companies have already made in the insurance industry.    

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – November 2020

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – 08/27/20 

The impact of COVID-19 can be felt at every level in healthcare. In a short period of time, the pandemic has had a profound effect on patient care, provider well-being and technology deployment, signaling that healthcare delivery may never be the same.

The Physicians Foundation’s 2020 Survey of America’s Physicians found that the majority of doctors believe COVID-19 won’t be under control until January 2021, with nearly half not seeing the virus being under control until after June 1, 2021. Moreover, many doctors believe that the virus will severely impact patient health outcomes, as many people delayed routine care during the pandemic.

This data shows that stress associated with the pandemic on healthcare providers may only increase. Fortunately, our nation’s health systems are recognizing the toll it’s taking on the mental and emotional health of those on the frontlines and taking action. Last week, Fierce Healthcare reported that Brigham and Women’s Hospital has tapped mental health startup Rose, which uses AI and natural language processing to detect early warning signs of mental health conditions including anxiety, depression and trauma, for early intervention.

Technology vendors are doing their part in the fight against COVID-19 too. Fitbit launched a study to determine whether its wearable activity trackers could pick up on the early signs of COVID-19 and enrolled over 100,000 participants from the U.S. and Canada. Preliminary results from the study show its devices have been able to detect nearly half of COVID-19 cases at least one day before reported symptoms. While the study has not yet been peer-reviewed, early findings show potential for lightening the load of our already stressed system.

While COVID-19 rages on, healthcare stakeholders from across the continuum are lending helping hands and innovating at faster rates than ever to combat its negative effects.

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – 07/22/20

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – 07/22/20

The COVID-19 pandemic is underscoring the value of technology and digital capabilities in healthcare. While the virus is causing unprecedented devastation and disruption, it is also fueling rapid advancements in healthcare technology that are likely to have a lasting and positive impact on care delivery.

Becker’s Hospital Review rounded up some of the new predictive analytics tools that hospitals have developed to forecast COVID-19 cases and plan resources accordingly. Notably, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia developed a platform that utilizes temperature and humidity data from 389 U.S. counties experiencing some level of COVID-19 activity to predict the severity of future surges.

Virtual care has also exploded over the last several months with survey data indicating it is here to stay. A CVS Health survey data from 1,000 people showed 48% were more likely to connect with a provider if the conversation was through digital messaging, 32% were more likely to communicate through telehealth and 30% were willing to use a virtual office visit.

Many patients adopted virtual care during the pandemic out of necessity but now it’s clear they want those services to stick around after the health crisis is over. An Accenture survey shed light on what patients like about communicating with their doctors digitally. Many noted that virtual care was more personal, more convenient and timelier.

Lastly, hospitals have traditionally relied on human clinicians to assign patients to beds and make decisions about when to send them home or back to the hospital. Now, with COVID-19 elevating the need to keep patients out of the hospital who don’t need to be there, providers are turning to Artificial Intelligence (AI) for support. STAT explored how the technology is helping them plan discharges and assess readmissions risk.

 

 

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – Jan. 2021

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.